Aquafabulous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Vegan and Gluten Free

I am not a baker. I don’t pretend to be. So it may seem a little odd that I’m going to share a cookie recipe with you. So let me tell you how this all came about.

These Aquafabulous Chocolate Chip Cookies are vegan and gluten free. They are made using aquafaba as an egg replacement.

A couple weeks ago, Lindsay shared a cookie recipe on her blog. They were gluten free, dairy free, Maple Chocolate Chip cookies. They sounded delicious, and I commented saying so, and shared them on Twitter. They did contain eggs, and Lindsay knows that I’m vegan, so when she replied to my tweet…well, just read it yourself:

That led to a conversation between Lindsay, Beth Miller (@millerbeT) and myself about what on earth chickpeas had to do with vegan cookies. And that led to my learning about aquafaba.

Cookies2

What is aquafaba? Well, simply put, it is bean juice. Seriously, you know that liquid that you usually pour out when you open a can of beans? It turns out that it makes an amazing egg replacement. How amazing? Well, you can actually make meringue, whipped “cream,” waffles, macarons, mousse, cookies, cakes, and more. It even has its own Facebook page where people share their meringue recipes.

The best part (well aside from it being virtually free), is how simple it is to use as an egg substitute. One egg = Three tablespoons aquafaba. That’s so easy even I could do it.

Aquafabulous6

To keep it extra simple, I decided to use an old standard cookie recipe and see if I could make it vegan using aquafaba. I decided on veganizing Toll House Cookies, because that recipe is easy to find, pretty basic, and definitely not vegan. I decided to also make the cookies gluten free, in honor of Lindsay who inspired them.

Aquafabulous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Vegan and Gluten Free

Vegan and gluten free chocolate chip cookies with aquafaba, the leftover juice from garbanzo beans!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Aquafab-ulous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Vegan and Gluten Free
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 2-3 doz
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup non-dairy butter (I used Melt which is made from coconut oil)
  • ½ cup safflower oil
  • 6 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1 package (10 or 12 ounces) non-dairy chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
  2. COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in small bowl. Beat non-dairy butter, sunflower oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar, aquafaba, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

These cookies don’t make any pretense to being anything but delicious. Yes, they may have too much sugar and oils to be considered healthy, but they’re cookies. Enjoy a couple, share a lot. And while most people use the brine from garbanzo or white northern beans, black or other beans can be used too. And yes, you can make your own when you cook beans.

Aquafabulous5

I’m linking with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday. Hop on over to their blogs and find some more fabulous recipes.

Have you heard of aquafaba? Are you as excited as I am? Just think of the possibilities!

Jackfruit: The Perfect Whole-Food Meat Substitute + a Recipe!

I want to start off by thanking you so much for your kind words of support on Friday’s post. Your reminders that I was working for a school system helped remind me that this was political and bureaucratic, not personal. They may have tried, but couldn’t take away the fact that I am a coach and will always be one.

Today I want to tell you about an all natural, whole-food meat substitute that has no fat, very few calories, and can be used to replace chicken or pork in a variety of recipes. It’s called jackfruit, and while I’m really not sure if it is considered a fruit or a vegetable, I do know that it is completely plant based, contains so gluten, soy, chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors, or sugars. That’s because it grows on trees!

Jackfruit

I’m linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! I’m also linking with Annmarie for her Meatless Monday party! Be sure to check out all of their yummy recipes! I have a few jackfruit recipes to share with you too.

I’ve written about the amazing jackfruit before, but in case you’re new, here’s the scoop on this amazing “vegetable meat.”

The jackfruit grows in tropical locales on tall, evergreen trees. Pricky and green in its unripened state, which is when it is perfect to use as a meat substitute (it is yellow and sweet when ripe). It is cultivated in India, Ceylon, southern China, Thailand, and other countries with hot, humid climates.

But, how does it taste? The unripened jackfruit has a taste and consistency similar to chicken when it is cooked. It can be shredded or cut into chunks, and can be slow cooked for extra flavor. Because of its cultivation in Asian countries, it is frequently used in curries.

The jackfruit is nutrient rich, especially in vitamins C and B complex. It has small amounts of vitamin A, plus potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. It is also high in dietary fiber.

So you don’t have a jackfruit tree in your backyard? No worries. In this country, jackfruit is most frequently available in cans and is sold at Asian and Caribbean markets.  There are a few online sources, including Amazon.com (note: that’s an affiliate link, but it is much cheaper if you can find it in a local market. Like about $20 cheaper!) Make sure to look for green unripe (or young) jackfruit in brine or water.

In fact, the only nutritional downside to jackfruit is, that since it is so low in calories, it is also pretty low in protein. So to offset that deficit, be sure to prepare or serve your jackfruit with foods that are higher in protein. Beans work great, either to thicken a sauce or to serve as a side dish with many jackfruit recipes.

So, have I piqued your interest in jackfruit? Here is my favorite recipe (originally posted in September 2013), plus a few links to others.

Curried Jackfruit with Avocado - vegan and gluten free recipe

Curried Jackfruit with Avocado

Curried Jackfruit - vegan recipe

This curried jackfruit is served hot, over rice and avocado, but it would taste great chilled too.

curried jackfruit - vegan

Curried Jackfruit with Avocado. Vegan
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Curry
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 can jackfruit, green, in water or brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon asafetida (if you don't have this, don't worry. Add a teaspoon more curry powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour (for gluten free simply use a thickener of your choice)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 ounces coconut milk (from a can)
  • 8 ounces vegetable broth
  • 1-2 avocados, scooped out with a spoon
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, use a fork to shred the jackfruit,
  2. Heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Cook the onions and garlic until soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the jackfruit and cook, stirring occasionally, until the jackfruit's moisture has evaporated. If necessary, use the fork to break up the jackruit a little more.
  4. Add the curry powder, asafetida, and salt and stir to combine.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the jackfruit mixture, add the beans, and stir to combine.
  6. Slowly pour in the coconut milk, mixing it in as you go.
  7. Increase the heat and stir in the broth. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. You can add more seasonings to taste if you'd like.
  8. Heat the avocado halves (30 seconds in the microwave or 5 minutes in a 350 oven).
  9. Serve on rice, spooning a scoop of the curried jackfruit on each avocado half (you can quarter the avocado for a lighter meal if you'd like).

curried jackfruit - veganI called that my favorite, but in fact, I love all of the dishes I’ve created with jackfruit. Here are a few more. Remember, they are all vegan and gluten free (except the tortilla on the burrito, easily fixable if you need or prefer gluten free).

Jackfruit “Tuna” Salad with Avocado and Quinoa

Jackfruit Tuna 4Jackfruit Chili

Jackfruit ChiliJackfruit Burritos

Jackfruit Burrito veganAvocado Stuffed with Jackfruit Salad

Jackfruit Salad - vegan recipeI hope you enjoy trying out this perfect meat substitute. If you’ve tried it before, I’d love to see links to your own recipes. I have two cans sitting in my cupboard right now!

Mary’s Secret Garden Review plus an Instagram Weekend

Alan and I were in Ventura over the weekend. We got home kind of late on Sunday and I was in no mood to open up my computer. So I apologize that I don’t have a new recipe for Meatless Monday today. However, I’m still linking up with Tina and Deborah today because we visited one of the most popular vegan restaurants in Southern California on Saturday, so I’m sharing pictures and my review.

Mary’s Secret Garden

Marys Secret Garden Review. One of the most popular vegan restaurants in So. Cal, this little gem is tucked away in Ventura, a few blocks from Main St.

Mary’s Secret Garden is a tiny, funky little restaurant tucked away on Fir Street, a few blocks from downtown Ventura. With a beaded entry to the kitchen, messages printed on the ceiling, and a casual atmosphere, it almost feels like stepping back in time. The music, selections from the 60s, helped cement that impression.

Marys Secret Garden 6

Marys Secret Garden 3

We had called ahead to make a reservation, but it really wasn’t necessary. There were many open tables, though most of them filled up as the evening went on. Our server was quick and friendly, and introduced the specials briefly before she went to fill our drink orders. I had a glass of chardonnay, Alan tried the homemade ginger ale. I had to give it a taste, and I’ll say that it was different than any other ginger ale I’ve ever tasted. It actually tasted of ginger, something you rarely get notice in the canned version.

Alan and I decided to share an appetizer and an entree. Because of our almost four hour drive, lunch had been a little late, so we weren’t super hungry. For the appetizer we chose the Cheeze Trio ($15). It is served with three raw vegan nut cheeses: Macadamia Chive, Chipotle Cashew cheeze, and Curried Almond cheeze, along with cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and raw gluten free crackers.

Marys Secret Garden 2All three were excellent. The curried cashew cheeze was deliciously flavorful, with a bite of curry, smoothed out with other seasonings. The chipotle also had a little spicy bite, and the macadamia chive (my favorite) was creamy and was probably the one that tasted the most like real cheese. The crackers were good too, and they went quickly. Our order for a second serving of the raw crackers was $4.

For our entry we chose to share the Cilantro Chycken Sandwich ($14). It came with grilled veggie chycken, chipotle cashew cheeze, cilantro pistachio pesto, avocado, red onion, grilled jalapeno peppers, and tomatoes on a whole grain bun. We chose to add the Fakin Bakin ($2). It was served with a choice of soup or salad. I selected the Coconut Broccoli Lemongrass, which was the soup of the day.

Marys Secret Garden 4First, the soup. I love lemongrass soup, and this was no exception. It was very flavorful, with just the right amount of lemongrass. Alan, who does not care for broccoli, enjoyed the soup too, even though there were a few pieces of the vegetable in our bowl.

The sandwich was very good. The chycken had a good flavor and texture, and it was made even tastier with the chipotle cashew cheeze and pesto. It was served cut in half, so it was easy to share. It was quite large, so a half was just perfect for the two of us.

Of course, we had saved room for dessert (a bonus for sharing our entree). Mary’s has a Jumbo Cupcake du Jour ($8), and the offering that day was Chocolate Peanut Mousse. Our server suggested we try the vanilla coconut milk ice cream. I’m not sure of the price as an add on, but a serving of the ice cream alone is $8.

Marys Secret Garden 5I loved the presentation. And both the cupcake and ice cream lived up to it. The cupcake was moist and chocolatey, and the peanut mousse was delicious and oh, so rich. The coconut milk ice cream was light and creamy, and a great complement for the cupcake.

Mary’s, as always, came through with a great, healthy meal. Yes, it is a little pricy, but all of the food is natural, organic, much of it raw and gluten free, and made on the premises. The service was friendly and the atmosphere is comfortable. Whether or not you are a vegan, Mary’s Secret Garden is a great option in Ventura.

Mary’s Secret Garden Organic Vegan Bistro
100 S. Fir St.
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 641-3663
Reservations not required but suggested

Meatless Monday

My Marvelous Weekend (the Instagram version)

Other than that, Alan and I had a marvelous weekend in Ventura. While the desert sizzled at around 107 on Sunday, we were a little chilly in the overcast, cloudy weather on the coast. Still, it was good to get home and see the pups. I’m even glad it’s Monday, which is why I’m linking up with Katie for MIMM!

MiMMWe were in Ventura because Alan was announcing the Father’s Day 5k and 10k. At the last minute I decided to run the 10k. I have not really been training, just running, so I had no expectations. I though it would be a good tempo run, plus, the weather you know, how could I not enjoy that?

Here are some Instagram photos from the weekend (do you follow me?), that pretty much tell all about our Marvelous weekend.

VenturaSome would call it gloomy and cold. We called it wonderfully cool and a great change from the desert.

WineWe stopped and bought a few things for the morning before the race, plus I bought a bottle of wine. It wasn’t until we got back to the hotel room (or rather motel..Motel 6 that is. Ah, the glamorous life of a race announcer!), that I realize that I forgot to bring a wine opener. I have a lot of these. I seem to buy them every time we travel, then forget to bring it along the next.

RaceWe got to the race venue early. Before the race director actually. Alan likes to be prompt. That meant I had a few hours to wait around until the race actually started. There was a nap involved.

Race 2The race was fun. I had no real goals, but as I got going I decided I’d like to finish under an hour. It had been about 13 years since I’d run a 10k. In the last one I ran 44:04, was first woman and fourth person overall. I also won my 40-44 division (oh, and I was 44). I think four was my lucky number that year.

Race 4This year I accomplished my goal of coming in under an hour by about 45 seconds, 59:14. I was also second in my age group (the first woman in my age group was second woman overall!), and eight woman overall. Yes, it was a small race. It was also flat and cool, basically out and back on the bike path. Very well organized. Oh, and they had a great announcer too.

Race 3As part of the Father’s Day theme, there were team divisions: Father/Son, Father/Daughter, Grandfather/Grandson, and Grandfather/Granddaughter. The winners of each team division took home a cruiser bike! I passed this little cutie above on the way back. She did the whole 5k with her dad! When I passed her I gave her a thumbs up and said something like “great job!” She smiled and said “thank you very much!” Adorable.

They also gave out four cruiser bikes to random bib numbers. Sadly, I did not win.

NatashaThis is Natasha, not from over the weekend but earlier last week. For those of you who have asked: She’s doing just fine. She is 17 years old (so is her “brother,” Boris). She’s in great health, but lately she has been losing a lot of weight. We found out that she is hyperthyroid, a common condition in older cats. She also has a little UT infection. She is on medication for both and is doing much better. She should start to gain some of that weight back now, though she will be on the thyroid medication for the rest of her life. Happy ending!

Whew! Got a little wordy on this one didn’t I? Well, for those of you who stuck with me I hope that you had a marvelous weekend as well. Any events, delicious food, or other fun stuff? Do please share!

Perfect Pasta Salad for #MeatlessMonday

The Perfect Pasta Salad: Gluten free, vegan, and delicious. It has a great combo of sweet and tart flavors with apple, grapefruit, and raisins.

Weekend Snapshots

Let’s play a little catch up before the recipe, shall we? I’ve been laid off for over a week now. Ask me how much I’ve accomplished. Go ahead, ask. The answer is, sadly, in spite of big plans to use this time to take some of the tips I learned at Bloggy Boot Camp, set up regular work hours, and really work on improving this little ol’ blog, I haven’t even started. Which is why I’m sitting down at 5:30 on a Sunday evening to write my Monday post.

I’m not really worried about it, though. I have, unfortunately, plenty of time until the weather cools down and my clients return. And I (we) did accomplish a few things. Like this:

DishwasherWe purchased a new dishwasher and garbage disposal and installed them ourselves (with plenty of help from our pack). It took a good part of the day, and we questioned our choice a few times, but we did it and we now have an operating dishwasher for the first time is a long time. When we ran it last night for the first time I kept checking for leaks every time the water ran. It’s been that that long since I’ve heard one!

We took a break about halfway through to pick up a couple of parts that we needed and somehow ended up at Dick’s Sporting Goods where I let Alan reward me with this:

Love these really cute shorts from Calia by Carrie. Find them at Fred's Sportting Goods!I adore these running shorts by Calia by Carrie. They’re very flattering, fit nicely, and I love the tropical pattern. And I’m loving the tropical right now because:

That's us, finishing my first ever marathon, the Honolulu Marathon. So exciting to be going back for my 37th marathon in December!Alan had my 30th Annual Honolulu Marathon watch fixed! That was from 2002, the last year we were there. As you know, it was also my first marathon in 1996. And now, on December 13, it will be my 37th (and will be celebrating its 43rd year)!

Almost as exciting as the watch was this:

Airline Tickets

We purchases our tickets to Hawaii! Now it’s real. We also made arrangements for a house on Kauai for the week after the race. We always stay in Hanalei, one of my favorite places in the world. This is one of those times that I’m happy that time flies because I can’t wait!

I’ve also been running. In fact I’ve had to remind myself that just because I’m off work right now doesn’t mean I should run every day!

Run

So what picture do you think looks better?

Jump CollageI love this picture because it looks like I’m jumping so high, but I didn’t like the truck in the background. So I decided to eliminate it! I did this using PicMonkey. I think it looks okay. Not as good as Photoshop of course, but I’m a little challenged in that department.

Let’s get down to talking about some vegan food, shall we? First off, I found two new products this week that I’d never heard of:

Daiya MacThese Daiya Mac and Cheeze products were at Ralphs (Krogers to you east-coasters). We tried the Alfredo style. I added a little vegan chicken to it and it was good. Not great, but good. I’m looking forward to trying the other one (very soon). By the way, both pastas are gluten and soy free too.

GardeinI saw these little pocket sandwiches while shopping today and I just had to have them! I haven’t tried them, but I’ve been assured on Instagram (<—follow me!) that they were really good. They are not gluten free, but they are vegan (even though the label just says vegetarian). Lunch tomorrow, I think.

Tempeh SaladOn Saturday, during our dishwasher installation break, Alan and I had lunch at Luscious Lorraine’s, a little lunch counter inside a health food store in Palm Desert. This is a tempeh sandwich and it was really good. It also gave me an idea for a tempeh salad, which I hope to work on this week. Stay tuned.

I’m linking up with Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots.

Meatless Monday

Still with me? On to the recipe! I’m also linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday. Hop on over to their blogs to see what fabulous recipes they and the other bloggers have planned for you.

Meatless Monday

The Perfect Pasta Salad: Vegan and Gluten Free

Why is this the perfect pasta salad? Well, for one thing, it’s full of flavorful vegetables and fruits. For another, it is vegan and gluten free. And for another, I needed to call it something because to call it rotini with onions, olives, raisins, apples, etc., seemed a little long. Seriously, I love the different tastes and textures in this salad, from the sweet apples and raisins, to the tart grapefruit, from the crunch of the radishes to the creamy white beans.

The Perfect Pasta Salad, it has a tasty combination of sweet and tart, with apples, grapefruit, raisins, and onions. Great for a BBQ!It’s also one those salads that you can add or take away ingredients. Don’t like black olives? Skip them or use green. Have some corn or celery you’d like to use? Go ahead and toss them in. I do suggest keeping the apples, raisins, and grapefruit, because those are the flavors that make this salad so good perfect.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Perfect Pasta Salad. Gluten Free and Vegan
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Salad
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces gluten free/vegan rotini
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅛ cup white wine vinegar
  • ⅛ cup grapefruit juice (about the juice of one half grapefruit)
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 6 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
  • ½ cup radishes, chopped
  • ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if they're large
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped (squeeze a little grapefruit juice on them to keep from discoloring)
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a measuring cup, combine olive oil, vinegar, grapefruit juice, pepper, and salt. Allow some pulp when you're squeezing the grapefruit. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When it's done, rinse under cold water.
  3. Combine pasta, raisins, olives, radishes, tomatoes, onions, apples, and beans.
  4. Add the olive oil mixture and toss lightly.
  5. Add the parsley and toss again to combine.
  6. Add more pepper to taste.

This gluten free and vegan pasta salad has a great flavor combination of sweet and tart with grapefruit, apples, and raisins. Perfect as a one-dish-meal or for a BBQ side dish.

That’s it! It takes only about a half hour and you have a perfect pasta salad that will work for a main dish or that you can bring along to that Independence Day barbecue.

Have you ever installed a dishwasher or garbage disposal? Would you do it again?

 

Meatless Monday: Chili con Not-Carne. Plus #BloggyBootCamp!

Bloggy Boot Camp

So, Saturday I went to Bloggy Boot Camp! It’s put on by the SITS Girls and the Sway Group, and it’s a day loaded with great information to help improve your blog. I’ll have a full recap later this week, but here are a few pictures to tide you over. (Sadly, I didn’t get a picture with Lisa or Teresa. You know it’s a busy day when there is no time for selfies with your favorite blogging friends.) I do just want to say that Tiffany Romero is a great speaker and a very funny woman.

Desert BloggersMy carpool (l-r): Lizzie, Me, Andrea, Candi

Tiffany RomeroThe fabulous Tiffany

MelissaI did get that selfie with my Ragnar teammate Melissa. So good to see her!

Nia PeeplesThe Nia Peeples

Michelle SegarI can’t wait to read Michelle Segar’s book No Sweat.

Happy to see meEveryone was happy to see me when I finally got home Saturday evening.

Meatless Monday

I know that chili is not a meal that is usually associated with summer time and warmer temperatures. I can imagine snuggling up around a fire, wrapped in a comforter, holding a hot bowl of chili to warm me up even more. Well, not really, I live in the desert and I haven’t used my fireplace since I’ve owned my house, but you get the idea.

Chili con Not Carne 2

The concept came, though, when I wanted a quick meal after work the other night, and upon reviewing the contents of my cupboards, a decided to try using the seitan that I had on hand to create this Chili con Not-Carne.  The meal took about 45 minutes to prepare, including cooking time, but you can let it simmer for a longer time if you’d like, which would make it even more flavorful.

Chili con Not-Carne

Chili-con-Not-Carne

Meatless Monday: Chili con Not-Carne
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Vegan/Vegetarian
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Serrano or Jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups or 1 packages seitan, cut into small cubes
  • 2 28 ounce can tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha (the more the spicier!)
  • 4 15 ounce cans beans, drained and rinsed (Use a variety: kidney, pinto, white, whatever you prefer)
  • 1 cup corn
  • Avocado, cilantro, vegan cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the seitan and chile. Cook until the seitan starts to brown.
  3. Add the tomatoes (along with their liquid), Sriracha, chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt. When the mixture starts to bubble, add the beans and stir. Add the beer slowly, stirring as you do so, scraping up anything that may have stuck to the pan. Bring to a boil then stir in the corn. Reduce heat to low. You can simmer anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple hours (you may have to add more liquid if you simmer longer, you can use water or more beer).
  4. Serve in individual bowls with a few slices avocado and some cilantro sprinkled on top.

Seitan is one of my favorite meat substitutes. It is made from wheat gluten. You can make this chili without the seitan for a gluten free meal (make sure that you use gluten free beer, or substitute water or vegetable broth). Another gluten free options is to substitute tofu or mushrooms, which add protein and a meaty texture. It is a great dish to prepare as you’re making the transition to vegan, or to enjoy for a Meatless Monday, because it is quick, with easy to find ingredients, and has a rich, meaty flavor.

Best Vegan Burrito_3

If you like seitan, here are a few more recipes: Seitan Burritos and Seitan Skillet Meal, and my all time favorite, Herbed Risi Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing.

Risi Salad

I’m linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! Hop on over to their blogs and see the amazing vegan and vegetarian recipes that they’re sharing.

Meatless-Monday-Button1-200x300

So that opens the question: If you are vegan or vegetarian, do you enjoy meat substitutes? If you occasionally go meat-free, do you just skip the meat or use a sub? What are your favorites?

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Coola Sun Care, Bloggy Boot Camp, and some Link Love

First off, thank you so much for your support after yesterday’s post. I feel so loved and so comforted by everyone’s comments. It truly helps.

Today happens to be my last “official” day of work for the summer. The snowbirds have all gone, none of my clients live here year round, so I’m headed back to unemployment for a few months. I have plans (don’t I always?). I discussed a few the other day, but I’ll share a few more ideas in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite products, reads, and adventures for this last Friday in May.

Coola

While we need to protect our skin year round, with the weather warming up most of us are showing a lot more skin. Finding a good sun care line is really important. You want one you can trust. You need more than just sun protection, you want a product that is good for your skin, made by an ethical company, with the best ingredients possible.

I was first introduced to Coola Sun Care products several years ago at a fitness conference. I was given a couple samples to try. I’ve been in love ever since. First off, one of the most important things for me, they do no testing on animals. And Coola is based locally, in San Diego, and they incorporate a Farm to Face philosophy. They use the freshest ingredients possible, mostly organic, locally sourced, that are free of paba, parabens, petroleum, and phthalates.

CoolaMy favorite products are the Sport Unscented Spray, the lightly tinted mineral sunscreen for your face, and the Radical Recovery After-Sun lotion. The spray goes on easily and lightly with no oily feel. It really is unscented, so you won’t smell like a coconut (they do offer the spray in pina colada and citrus mimosa scents if you like). I use the mineral face sunscreen daily. The tint is so light that you can wear it alone or underneath your regular foundation. It has a matte finish and feels really good on my skin. I rarely have to use the Radical Recovery, as long as I’m consistent using the other two products, but it’s nice to have just in case. It contains aloe vera, agave, sunflower oil, and other ingredients to soothe and help repair your skin.

Coola has a variety of luxurious sun care products for your skin, your face, your lips, as well as for your baby.

I did receive the Sports Spray from Coola in exchange for my honest review. I asked them, because I love the product so much. I purchased the other items shown.

Bloggy Boot Camp

Tomorrow is Bloggy Boot Camp! I am so excited to learn, among other things, more about SEO. Not to mention that work/life balance that seems to be so challenging to achieve. Of course, for me the most exciting part is meeting up with old and new blogging friends, including Lisa and Melissa. And I’ll be driving up with three lovely blogging ladies from the desert, Andrea, Lizzie, and Candi. I can’t wait!

Sunwarrior

I make a smoothie almost every day to take with me to work. I want it to hold me over for the morning, keep away hunger pangs (yes I’m that person who needs fuel every two hours), and taste good. After recently getting a chance to try out Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder, I found it so perfect for my needs that I’ve continued to use it. It blends well, tastes good (it’s a perfect base for my favorite Berry Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie). I found a really good deal on it at Whole Foods, and they recently had it on sale at Vitamin World. I love finding a good deal on my favorites!

Sun Warrior 2I’ve been using the Warrior Blend. It has a complete essential acid profile, is easy to digest, and it tastes good. It’s made with a blend of hemp seed, pea, and cranberry proteins, it mixes well and does not have a gritty texture. It’s perfect for everybody, not just vegans.

Outlander

I was first introduced to the Outlander books last summer when we were visiting a friend in Big Bear. She absolutely raved about the series of novels, written by Diana Gabaldon. Somehow, even though the series began in 1991 and I am a constant reader, I missed hearing anything about it! Perhaps that is because some would consider it a romance novel, which it is. My friend assured me though, that it is much more like historical fiction.

Outlander

The premise sounds a little fantastical: A woman, Claire Randall, who is a nurse during World War II, is transported in time to 18th century Scotland, where she marries and falls in love with (in that order) Jamie Frasier, a Scottish Highlander (in spite of leaving another husband back in 1942).

But, I believed my friend and ended up downloading Outlander, the first in the series from Audible. I am now on the sixth (of eight so far) book, and I’m loving the whole series. After many adventures, Claire and Jamie are currently in America in 1773. Of course, Claire knows that the American Revolution is coming, but she doesn’t know what will happen to the two of them.

I’ve never read either romance novels or historical fiction, but I’ve loved every moment of this tale of two lovers from different centuries. I highly recommend the Outlander series. You can also watch the new series on Starz! I don’t get that channel, though I did purchase Outlander Season 1. One of these days I’ll sit down to watch it.

Link Love

I’m a little short on link love today (this post was already running a little long (oxymoron?)), but here are a few of my favorite posts from the past week.

Running

I love variety in my speed workouts, and I’m especially loving this one from MissZippy: Take it to the Track Workout.

Blogging

Most bloggers love getting comments. Here’s some great advice from Olyvia.com: 5 Official Secrets to Getting More Blog Comments.

Food

Here is the latest of delicious breakfast idea from Cadry’s Kitchen using her Eggy Tofu: Vegan Denver Omelet Quesadilla.

Do you enjoy romance novels? Have you read Outlander? Have you ever been to a Bloggy Boot Camp or other blogging event? What did you think?

I’m linking up with xoxoRebecca for That Friday Blog Hop

That Friday Blog Hop

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