Monthly Archives: April 2014

Baltimore EcoFest

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If you’re local to our area, you need to make a little time tomorrow, Saturday April 26th to check out the Baltimore EcoFest. This FREE event is produced by the nice folks at Baltimore Green Works and it’s the 11th year they have put the event on.ecofestB

EcoFest will be at Druid Hill Park from 11am to 5pm. There are activities for the entire family, including music, bicycle safety courses & tours, crafts and games, as well as a tasting pavillion from Whole Foods & Honest Tea.

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The weather in Baltimore tomorrow is a high of 74 – a perfect day to head to the Park and check out the EcoFest!

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Healthier Peanut Butter Eggs

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Seriously, WHAT is Easter without a basket of treats? Yes, it’s true that the  meaning of Easter has absolutely nothing to do with candy. 100%. But for our family, it was holiday more about being together and, well, eating. Like all holidays in my family. Sure, we had egg hunts. They were never the highlight. That place of reverence was held for the homemade chocolates and sweets my mom painstakingly crafted for us.

By a long shot, everyone’s favorite candy was always peanut butter eggs dipped in dark chocolate. We would practically fight over them. My mom’s original recipe used peanut butter, vanilla, cream cheese – and a pound of powdered sugar. No joke. Over the years, though, I didn’t want that pound of sugar. My teeth used to literally ache after eating a few of her peanut butter eggs. There had to be another way.

And now, here it is. This recipe includes only a few, simple, wholesome ingredients: pitted dates, natural peanut butter, vanilla extract, coconut flour and of course, dark chocolate. You will feel the joy of spring with this one, folks. It’s lighter and doesn’t make your teeth hurt from sugar overload.

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The recipe is online and guest-posted at the Sister Eden blog.  But there’s still time to make these for Easter on Sunday, so don’t delay and hop on over there right now to get it going!

This  recipe is gluten free as written and highly adaptable for nut allergies – if you can’t do peanuts, sub in almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter or soy butter. Any of them will work fine. It may taste slightly different, but it will still be super yummy!

For little ones to help out, an adult can make the filling and handle the part with a food processor/blender blade. After that, children can assist with rolling the candies to egg shapes and dipping them into chocolate. Delicious, messy fun!

Happy Easter!

Chocolate-Coffee Scones

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Who doesn’t like scones? They’re cute, sweet and great with hot drinks. Usually tea, but also coffee and cocoa. This scone recipe is in homage to the latter two beverages.

We used Salazon‘s organic dark chocolate with sea salt and crushed coffee as the morsels in this recipe. And it was SO DAMN good. Not only do we generally adore Salazon, but they’re a local Maryland company, so we love supporting them by, you know, eating their chocolate! Oh, Salazon also happens to be fair-trade, organic and single-source chocolate, in addition to offering eight varieties of vegan bars. Yum!

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Chocolate-Coffee Scones

1/2 cup vanilla soymilk

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer, mixed in 4 Tbl. water

2 3-oz. Salazon Sea Salt and Coffee Dark Chocolate Bars

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbl. baking powder

5 Tbl. canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. coffee extract

2 tsp. vanilla soy milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk, or water)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silcone baking liner.

Next add the vinegar to the 1/2 cup soymilk and set aside. This is also a good time to mix up the Ener-G Egg Replacer with water (works well with a whisk to avoid lumps).

Using a large chopping knife, cut the Salazon chocolate bars into small pieces, the size of chocolate chips. It will be about 1 cup of morsels. Set aside.

Sift together flours, cocoa powder and baking powder in a large bowl.

Mix canola oil, vanilla extract, coffee extract, soymilk/vinegar combo and Ener-G Egg Replacer. When well integrated, pour into dry ingredients and stir by hand until just combined. Don’t overmix or the scones will get tough. Gently fold in the chocolate chunks.

Using a spoon, drop portion-sized scones onto the baking sheet. Depending on how large you like them, this recipe will yield 8 to 12 scones. Bake at 425 for 12 to 16 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one comes out clean. Allow to cool on the baking sheet 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack for drizzle.

To mix up the drizzle, add 2 tsp. vanilla soy milk (or use water or any other non-dairy milk) to 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Mix well and if the texture is too thin for your liking, add some more powdered sugar; if it’s too thick, add more liquid. Using a spoon or fork, drizzle over scones as desired. Allow to set up for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy with coffee or hot cocoa!

Cook’s Note: Can’t find two Salazon chocolate bars where you live? No worries. Use two regular dark chocolate bars of choice, then add a teaspoon of instant coffee granules to the wet ingredients, as well as a pinch of salt. But stay on the lookout for those Salazon bars, or get some online. They are truly special!

Coffee extract is available in most supermarkets in the spice aisle. Look near the vanilla and lemon extracts – it’s usually easy to find. Also available on Amazon.com, of course!

Emily’s Matza Crunch Clusters

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Our friend Emily truly has a gift. She can take chocolate and make anything delicious. I know, you’re thinking – duh, it’s chocolate. But seriously, not all chefs are as masterful with chocolate as Emily. Just take her Passover treats as an example – Matza Crunch Clusters.

I’ll admit, it’s an oddity how much I like matza. Most people say that is tastes blah. Maybe I just have happy associations with it. As a girl, I grew up two blocks from a large Jewish synagogue in Penna. Next door to that was a kosher deli, and the owner, Mr. Kaplan, was always kind to me. Every time I went in, he had something tasty for me to try and it was in his deli I learned to love matza.

But I digress – Emily’s Matza Crunch is so much more than just the sum of its parts: roasted matza farfel and pecans, enrobed in rich, dark chocolate. It’s sweet and salty at once and the recipe is pretty much fool-proof, as she shared it with me. All you need to do is roast in the oven, warm chocolate in a slow cooker and stir. This is a super recipe for the family to help with!

 

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If you’d like to try Emily’s Matza Crunch Clusters, click over to the Sister Eden blog. The recipe is live there and this treat is sure to be the highlight of your Passover Seder meal.

Not celebrating Passover? Seriously, try this candy anyhow! Emily’s gift for chocolate makes it a sweet treat that anyone can love! The simplicity of the recipe combines to a luscious candy that, personally, I’d be happy to eat any time of year.

Of course, I have been known to eat plain matza all year long, too… like I said, it’s an oddity!

Happy Passover!

 

 

5-way Cincinnati Chili

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Folks from Cincinnati take their chili VERY seriously. Just the fact that we made it vegan is probably not okay by them. However, with the new Fiesty “Beef-Free” Crumbles from Beyond Meat, I’d venture a guess that even hardcore chili fans may take a fancy to this recipe. These crumbles are worth seeking out – they’re vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, kosher and REALLY delicious. We’ve even got a coupon code for you at the bottom of this post.

Cinci chili is traditionally a chili con carne style dish, beef-based and no-bean, with an unusual mix of spices that resembles a pumpkin pie blend. It’s commonly served over spaghetti or hot dogs, and is a thinner, sauce-like consistency than the normal stick-to-your-ribs chili most folks make. Regional Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana restaurants that serve Cincinnati chili are called “chili parlors” and according to the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau, Cincinnatians consume more than two million pounds of chili each year, topped by 850,000 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese.

That’s an impressive amount of chili! But with no further fanfare, we’re excited to offer up a vegan style Cincinnati chili. Oh – you’ve got to get the lingo right: try it one-way (in a bowl); two-way (with spaghetti); three-way (with spaghetti and cheddar); four-way (with spaghetti, cheddar and onions) or five-way (with spaghetti, cheddar,onions and beans). And oyster crackers are always served on the side.

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5-Way Cincinnati Chili

 

3 Tbl. olive oil

1 cup onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbl. chili powder

1 Tbl. paprika

1 Tbl. cumin

1 tsp. ground allspice

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 bay leaf

pinch salt/pepper, to taste

1 pack Feisty Beyond Meat Beef-Free Crumbles

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)

2 Tbl. A-1 sauce (yes, it’s vegan!)

2 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbl. apple cider vinegar

 

Fixin’s/Toppings:

bag or box of your favorite spaghetti (we used Tinkyada)

shredded vegan cheddar (we like Daiya)

finely diced sweet onion

kidney beans or chili beans

oyster crackers

 

In a large soup pot, saute chopped onion and minced garlic over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, until caramelized and light brown. Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, ground allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, ground cloves and bay leaf to pot. Stir until onions are well coated and oil makes the spices into what looks like a paste. Warm for about one minute, then add entire pack of Feisty Beyond Meat Beef-Free Crumbles. Again, stir to coat so the spices are well distributed.

Over low heat, add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, A-1 sauce, cocoa powder and apple cider vinegar. Gently combine. The mixture should not be too thick; if it looks too thick, add a little water. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. Before serving, remove bay leaf.

In the meantime, prepare your chili fixin’s. Boil spaghetti according to package directions; drain and set aside. Chop onion into fine mince. If using pre-seasoned chili beans, warm them in a saucepan. If using kidney beans, drain and rinse from the can and season lightly with chili powder, cumin or your favorite spices. Warm in saucepan with a splash of water and olive oil.

To serve 5-Way Cincinnati Chili, build in layers: first the spaghetti goes into a bowl, top with a generous portion of chili. Next, add a handful of vegan cheddar shreds, some chopped onions and chili beans. And maybe more cheddar shreds, just cuz they’re good. Don’t forget the oyster crackers!

As promised, here is the coupon to try Beyond Meat’s Beef-Free Crumbles. To find them in your area, check Whole Foods, or try the map on Beyond Meat‘s website for the closest retailer. The code to get your own copy of this coupon is: http://bit.ly/OVWF3I

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Karen’s Broccoli Salad

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Just like there are favorite foods in the Dirty Hippie’s clan, likewise my family had their own traditions. My mom’s broccoli salad was that legend for my side. It was fresh, colorful and had just enough mayo to feel decadent.

We had to swap up a few ingredients to make this vegan, but  give it a whirl for your next potluck, picnic or gathering. Or even for weekday lunches at work. The broccoli is filling and the sauce is balanced to be sweet and bity, all at once.

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Karen’s Broccoli Salad

6 cups broccoli florets, rinsed & chopped to bite-size

1/2 cup peanuts, shelled (use other nuts or seeds if you prefer)

1/2 to 3/4 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)

1 cup Daiya cheddar shreds

1 cup Vegenaise

3 Tbl. sugar

1 Tbl. apple cider vinegar

3/4 to 1 tsp. ground white pepper

1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, combine Vegenaise, sugar, apple cider vinegar and white pepper. Whisk into a smooth sauce.

In a larger bowl or your serving bowl, toss together broccoli florets, peanut cranberries, Daiya shreds and green onions. Pour sauce over and fold until everything is well covered.

Chill at least one hour or overnight before serving to really combine flavors.

Cindy’s Potato Salad

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In some families, there are famous recipes that the same person makes for every special occasion: holidays, birthdays, showers, graduations. In the Dirty Hippie’s family, that recipe is his mom’s potato salad.

Ironically, thought everyone knows it as “Cindy’s Potato Salad,” it was actually not her original recipe. The recipe originated from her Grandfather-in-law, John F. Corn, Sr.  The Dirty Hippie’s dad, Mike, used to always make it and in fact wooed Cindy with it  when they were first dating.  A few years after they were married, Cindy took over the making of the potato salad.

In the original recipe there were no actual amounts, it was recreated by taste. We got out our measuring spoons though, and broke it down. Now you, too, can enjoy this family  tradition, just in time for spring holidays and picnics!

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Cindy’s Potato Salad

5 lbs. white potatoes, skin on

3 stalks celery, minced (about 1 cup)

1 sweet yellow onion, minced (about 1 cup)

1 cup yellow mustard

3/4 cup vegan mayo (we use Vegenaise)

2 Tbl. garlic powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. sweet paprika

Boil potatoes whole until soft in the middle, about 30-45 minutes. Cool completely and peel. Slice into bite-sized pieces.

Gently toss cooled potato, celery, onion, mustard, vegan mayo, garlic powder, salt, pepper, celery seed and sweet paprika until everything is evenly coated. Chill overnight or for several hours before serving. Serve cold.

Dirty Hippie Kale Chips

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Everyone loves kale chips. It’s gotten to be a very mainstream thing. Even Details magazine wrote about them. Why are we so slow getting a post out with our own recipe, you ask? Well, we never intended to post one. But so many folks have tried the Dirty Hippie’s homemade kale chips and asked for the recipe, we decided, what the heck – why not share?

We use a dehydrator to make our kale chips. You certainly can use an oven, which we did for more than a year, but honestly – they are SO MUCH TASTIER out of the dehydrator. You can pick up a small dehydrator at any department store for $20-$30. And even if you only use it to make kale chips, it’s worth the money. Kale chips are pricey at the store – sometimes $7 or more for a small box with two portions. Buying your own kale and making these at home is a great savings.

According to Dr. Joel Furhman, kale is among the healthiest foods on Earth. Which means you can feel free to eat it like a fiend. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself making these more than once weekly. We sure do!

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the Dirty Hippie’s Kale Chips

2 lbs. kale, washed, stemmed and shredded

1 lemon, juiced

1/3 cup olive oil or grape seed oil

1 Tb. liquid aminos

1 Tbl. apple cider vinegar

2 Tbl. smoked paprika

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 cups nutritional yeast

 

Make sure kale is washed and de-stemmed. Shred into bite size pieces. Add kale and all other ingredients to a large mixing bowl and massage together by hand. When it’s ready, the kale will be well coated and the leaves will smell just heavenly.

Arrange on dehydrator tray as desired. We like ours in big clumps; others prefer them spread out completely. Dehydrate on high for about one hour (145 degrees) and turn to low (about 105 degrees) for 15-24 hours. You may not be able to wait that long, but it’s really worth it if you can! The kale chips will be crispy and crunchy. Chow down!

If you are using an oven, preheat to the lowest possible heat your oven offers. Ours is 250. Place cookie cooling racks on baking sheets and drape kale over racks, so air circulates around them. Bake about 4 to 6 hours on lowest heat, until kale chips are crisp and crackly. Allow to cool slightly before eating.

And it’s that simple! Let the kale-madness begin!