Yummiest Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge Ever

Anyone who knows me also knows that I have a huge sweet tooth.

One of my favorite things to make is Peanut Butter Fudge.  Before I became vegan, I made it with milk and butter.  I thought I would have to give it up forever but I just figured out an amazing vegan recipe for it!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One 14 ounce can of coconut milk – I use the Aroy-D brand
  • 2 cups of organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  •  1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of natural peanut butter

Here’s what to do:

  • Mix the coconut milk and cane sugar together and bring to a boil slowly over a medium heat
  • Use a big pot so that it doesn’t overflow onto your stove!
  • Stir constantly
  • Boil and keep stirring for approximately half an hour or until hardball stage – you will know it has reached the hardball stage if you can drop a small amount of the mixture from a spoon into a cold glass of water and see it change from liquid to more of a solid as it moves through the water

When it has reached the hardball stage, take it off the heat immediately.

Fill your sink with a couple of inches of cold tap water and place the pot into the water.  Stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. You will see it get thicker almost immediately.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla – it will bubble up a little and smell absolutely amazing!

Add fine sea salt to taste while the mixture is still quite hot – I add approximately 1/2 teaspoon – this replicates the buttery taste I love so much in fudge.

Add the peanut butter, 1/2 cup at a time, and keep stirring until it gets quite thick.

Spoon the mixture into a dish and place in the fridge.  It will be ready to eat very soon but quite warm.  Cut it into squares before it gets too cold with a sharp knife.

Refrigerate until hardened.

If you like your fudge creamier, simply remove the mixture from the stove a little earlier than hardball stage and add less peanut butter.  I’ve tried both ways and both are delicious!! The creamy version can be stored in, and eaten straight from, the freezer.

If you have a sweet tooth like me, you won’t be able to get enough of this fudge! 🙂

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Plant Strong

Hey!

If big, strong men do it (http://engine2diet.com/), and big, strong animals do it (http://www.vegansouls.com/top-vegan-animals), why don’t you do it?

Be Plant Strong today!!!

It’s (surprisingly) easy, delicious and when you need it, totally decadent!!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/satisfying-vegan-dinners#.etn3bqMX8y

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/decadent-brownie-recipes/

With a few simple changes to what you have in your fridge and pantry, you can do it!

http://vegankit.com/be

Do it for yourself. Do it for the planet. Do it for the animals.

Enjoy!!

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The Pledge to Be Vegan

After almost 14 months of being vegan, I ate salmon. I didn’t even like it. And afterward, I felt like a failure.  I wondered how someone so devoted to animals and to veganism as a way of life could have stumbled.

I wanted to be stronger than that–and I wanted to show others that it is really possible to be vegan.

I reached out to friends and it helped a little, but I still felt bad.

I went online to look for support and I came across this blog:

http://www.choosingraw.com/what-if-i-mess-up-why-going-vegan-is-not-a-pledge-of-perfection/

Here are some excerpts:

“Pledging to be vegan doesn’t mean that you’re pledging to be perfect; it means you’re pledging to try. Intentions matter. Whenever I write about the choice to be vegan, I return to the Vegan Society’s definition of veganism, which has always rung true to me. Veganism is:

A way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.

Another iteration of this pledge is this:

[Vegan lifestyles are] ways of living that seek to exclude, as far as is possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

What I like about these definitions are their clarity and their inherent gentleness. The Vegan Society makes clear that veganism is a pledge not only to eat non-animal foods, but also to avoid commodities like leather, which are often a by-product and support the continuation of factory farming. At the same time, the language used here—“encourages,” “possible and practical”—indicates something important, which is that even the most passionate proponents of veganism are merely asking people to do their very best. Effort and intention is the point: results matter too, but in my opinion, they take second place to the ongoing intention of make vegan choices, day in and day out. Sooner or later, most vegans accidentally consume non-vegan food, or they encounter some sort of temptation, whether food or commodity. Whether or not these temptations get the better of us is less important than how we react to the experience: does one non-vegan choice beget more, undermining the lifestyle altogether, or do we simply recognize that we struggled, forgive ourselves, and remain committed to making vegan choices as we go forward?”

I realized after reading that even though I had not been perfect, I could still be vegan if I decided to commit to it again.

Which I did.

For anybody else out there who may be feeling badly for not being a perfect vegan, read Gena’s blog. It will help you see that nobody is perfect and your blunder may just make you even more committed to the lifestyle as it did for Gena and as it did for me!

What? Good news for chocolate lovers!

My favorite vegan chocolate bars-Terra Nostra-are no longer available at the local place I shop.

The cashier there said that all dark chocolate is vegan though so just buy any of them. I checked the ones my local store carries and not all of them are vegan but for the most part she was right!

I checked a few other kinds of dark chocolate online and they are mostly vegan! 🙂

Some of you may be laughing because you already knew this but I am very happy right now!!!

I don’t know why I thought they all had milk in them – I suppose the ones I checked previously did and I supposed they all did.

Well-good news today!!!

Indulge people – indulge in lovely vegan dark chocolate.

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Getting used to Being Vegan!

It’s been over three months now and I’m really getting used to being vegan. I can’t believe how many delicious things I’ve discovered to eat! There are so many great recipes out there from the ever and ever larger vegan community.

My vegan butter recipe is a simple mixture of coconut oil and sea salt (I use a coconut oil that doesn’t taste like coconut for this).

I create cheesy dishes when I want them using nutritional yeast.

I bought some vanilla soy ice cream this week and it tastes so delicious – I could never miss ice cream!

I use a mixture of soy and rice milk in coffee – it’s so yummy I will never miss milk!

I eat coconut milk ‘yogurt’ instead of one made with animal milk.

And my friends are helping too! I had a potluck at my house this week and one of my good friends (who is not vegan) brought over a 100% vegan dish for us all to enjoy! I fed my friends vegan chocolate for dessert and they loved it. I don’t think they could have really noticed a difference had I not told them anyway 🙂

My biggest test to date though was last week when a colleague brought in a homemade sugar pie – those who know me know that this is my absolute favorit-est treat in the world. It wasn’t too difficult to resist though. And I know there are vegan sugar pie recipes out there anyway for when I want to indulge.

I have read that it only takes 2 weeks to give up a habit or get used to a new one. Three months in – I’m definitely well into my new lifestyle and loving it!!

Aglio E Olio Cheesy Vegan Pasta with Broccoli

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Aglio E Olio has always been a favorite of mine.  Garlicky olive oil sauce drizzled over my favorite pasta.

In the days before I was vegan, I’d top it with fresh parmesan cheese.

I recently tried a vegan version and it worked out wonderfully-it’s very cheesy and really satisfying!

I used rice pasta so this recipe is gluten free as well, but feel free to use whatever pasta you like.

For two servings:

Boil water for your pasta for two (I used Tinkyada Pasta Joy spaghetti: http://www.tinkyada.com/ – it’s awesome!) and get it ready while you’re preparing the rest.

I love garlic so I chopped finely 6 cloves (use whatever amount you prefer).

Cook the garlic in 1/4 cup of olive oil.

Once the garlic is softened (not too browned) add in 3 – 4 tbsp. of vegan parmesan cheese (an easy nutritional yeast and cashew mixture):

http://www.veggieful.com/2012/08/vegan-parmesan-cheese-recipe.html

Then chop up ½ cup of vegan cheese. I used Vegan Gourmet Monterey Jack though any kind will do:

http://followyourheart.com/products/monterey-jack-3/

Mix it all together until most of the vegan cheese has melted. 

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once your pasta is ready add it into the mixture with a little of the water you cooked it in.

Keep the pasta mixture warm while you cook 1 cup of broccoli in the same boiling water.

Add the broccoli to the mixture.

Plate it and add parmesan cheese to the top.

Voilà-cheesy vegan aglio e olio pasta with broccoli!!!

I hope you enjoy it. 

A good recipe for the coming months of a cold—very cold – winter in Canada.

Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Blondies

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I have always loved chickpeas. Now I use them to make vegan gluten-free blondies!!!

Here is an easy and quick recipe to make:

INGREDIENTS:

1 can (15 oz.) of chickpeas rinsed and drained

1/2 cup of peanut butter (add more or less to taste or use different types of nut butters)

1/2 tsp of vanilla

1 tbsp organic coconut oil

1/4 cup of maple syrup (add more if you like them sweeter)

1/2 cup of organic dark vegan chocolate broken into pieces (you can use Terra Nostra rice milk chocolate or vegan Camino baking chocolate)

Preheat your oven to 375 F

Put all of the ingredients except the chocolate pieces in a food processor and process until smooth.

The mixture will be thick and quite wet – don’t worry as this produces delicious results!

Once your mixture is fairly smooth, stir in the chocolate pieces – but don’t process them.

Spread into 9 x 9 baking pan.

Bake for 30 -40 minutes.

They don’t rise very much but are delicious just the same!

They are done when you can put a toothpick in and it comes out clean.

Let cool down and cut into squares.

Refrigerate and enjoy!!

They are best, I think, right out of the fridge and seem to hold together better that way too.

Yields about 9 blondies.

Bill Gates is Talking about Veganism

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Here is what Bill Gates is saying:

http://www.iflip4.com/video/bill-gates-is-going-vegan.-heres-why-you-should-go-meat-free-too#.U9EXd9Ig9wU

And he’s investing in a vegan start-up:

http://www.organicauthority.com/foodie-buzz/bill-gates-is-investing-in-a-vegan-meat-start-up.html

He talks about the sustainability issue – as good a reason to go vegan as any I think. He also talks about fake meat (meat and dairy created by scientists to mimic the real thing) which I don’t go for – who knows how food made in a laboratory environment will hurt us in the long run? But the sustainability issue is a big one.

More and more countries that historically did not eat meat and dairy are starting to. Studies show that the consumption of meat and dairy in developing countries is rising to an astonishing level and in conjunction with rising income levels:

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/11/3907S.long

Depleting the land of the earth in the way that we do for food consumption cannot continue forever even if we want it to and even if more and more of us can afford to.  Using up the land hurts the animals and plants that live on it, but it hurts us ultimately too.

Animal agriculture is causing huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions which is hurting our planet.

If we cannot live without the earth, we’d better think about making some changes.

Animals need so much food to grow to the sizes we want them to be before we slaughter them for food. Doesn’t it make more sense for us to simply eat the plants and grains they eat in the first place and also save them from the suffering they have to go through for us?

The UN is recommending global dietary changes as a means to our survival:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet

Some people are looking at a vegetarian diet-a good place to start in reducing humankind’s reliance on animals.

‘Meatless Mondays’ have been around for a while encouraging people to try a day a week without meat.

http://meatlessmonday.ca/

Bill Gates is talking about ‘fake meat’.

Whatever small steps we can take will be a huge help in healing our planet and our lives.

I prefer a plant-based diet with vegetables balanced with legumes, nuts and grains. It’s surprisingly easy once you let go of your pre-conceived notions of what you need to be healthy and happy.

Veganism – the way of the future!

A Vegan’s Latte

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One of my favorite things is a big and delicious bowl of latte in the morning.

Now as a vegan I can’t use milk, but I find that mixing soy and rice milks together and adding a dash of cocoa seems to make it taste quite a lot like milk.

After less than a week of making them this way, I was converted.

I also find that soy and rice milks together on cereal tastes very much like regular milk.

When using soy products, always make sure they are organic or they may be genetically modified.

Getting Complete Protein

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Complete protein is something that vegans need to think about getting into their bodies now that they are no longer ingesting meat and other animal products.

Having nut butter on wheat bread is an easy way to make sure that you are getting a complete protein.

My recipe for nut butter has varied over the last year that I’ve been making it.

My new mix is roasted almonds with a few walnuts added in for creaminess.

Nut butter is so simple and delicious and has huge health benefits!

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=20

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=99

To make it, put roughly a cup of almonds into a food processor with a handful of walnuts and process it until it’s relatively smooth (the walnuts will make it a bit coarser than almonds alone).

It will not look right at first as when the nuts break down as they will have a floury texture which is great if you want to stop here and use this flour in a recipe rather than using wheat flour! For the nut butter however, keep going until you see it starting to get moist and smooth.

Then it’s a matter of keeping the processor going until the mixture takes on the texture of a spread.  Stop, look, taste and even feel it if you’re not sure. Don’t go too long though – I did that once and the nuts and oil separated. If you’re using my mixture of both almonds and walnuts, it shouldn’t take more than about 10 minutes while almonds alone can take close to half an hour.

I add a tiny sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt and a little maple syrup after mixing it all together in the food processor as I found if I added all ingredients in the beginning, it did not always yield a good result.

Of course, it’s delicious unsalted and unsweetened too.

A little experimenting of your own and you’ll find the perfect recipe for you!

For more complete protein ideas, here is a site that shows 8 plant foods that contain complete protein on their own:

http://www.revmodo.com/organic-food/8-plant-foods-that-contain-complete-proteins-for-vegans/”>http://www.revmodo.com/organic-food/8-plant-foods-that-contain-complete-proteins-for-vegans