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Vegan Simplified

The Vegan lifestyle is not boring, complicated, or expensive. This blog was designed in the hopes to simplify the process of healthy eating. I welcome everyone, not just vegans.

Patxi’s Pizza

rating-4 (3)

About: Patxi’s Pizza has over 15 locations and is best known for their Chicago style deep dish pizza. This particular spot is located in Hayes Valley, a very cool neighborhood in San Francisco. Anyway, this place has a really nice, laidback vibe. It gets super packed on the weekends, so be prepared to wait. It’s definitely worth it though!

What to Order: You can order the “Vegan Deep Dish Pizza” listed on their menu, which consists of whole wheat crust, fresh spinach, garlic, red onion, and daiya vegan cheese. This is the one I tried and it was unbelievably delicious! OR, you can customize your own pizza and add as many veggies as you’d like.

Overall Rating: Their pizza definitely exceeded my expectations! The crust was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and had just the right amount of cheese and veggies to make a perfectly balanced pizza. This restaurant is not 100% vegan but you are welcome to make any modifications on their menu items.

Times visited: 1

Location: San Francisco, CA

For more info: https://patxispizza.com/

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Chickpea Bruschetta

This recipe is perfect for those who don’t feel like cooking but still want something delicious. You can customize this recipe by incorporating your favorite veggies and seasonings. This is super easy to put together and the outcome is beyond amazing. Before you know it, you’ll be making a second batch!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise)
  • 1 clove garlic, minsed
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, minced
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 whole Baguette
  • Romaine lettuce, optional

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher.
  2. Add celery, green onions, bell peppers, mayonnaise, mustard, dill, and garlic until combined.
  3. Then season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Slice the baguette and spread butter on each piece.
  5. In a frying pan, fry the slices of bread until golden brown. Then add some lettuce if you’d like then top each one with some of the chickpea mixture. Dig in!

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East West

rating-4_5 (3)

About: East West is a Mediterranean Cafe located in Santa Rosa, CA. With over 25 years in business, East West offers plenty of vegan and vegetarian options made up of a large variety of tasteful, fresh and local ingredients – a must-stop for any health-conscious foodies in Sonoma County!

What to Order: The Falafel wrap was so fresh and delicious! It was very rich in flavor and the falafels were cooked perfectly. And that tahini sauce.. amazing!

Overall Rating: This was such a great find! The ambience was very casual and the food was amazing. If you’re in the area visiting some wineries, this is the perfect lunch spot!

Times visited: 1

Location: Santa Rosa, CA

For more info:http://www.eastwestcafesantarosa.com/

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(Falafel Pita: Organic pita bread filled with falafel patties, hummus, tomato, lettuce and Tahini sauce.)
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(Falafel Wrap: Falafel patties, hummus, tomato, lettuce, and avocado with Tahini sauce wrapped in organic whole wheat chapati bread.)

Blueberry Banana ‘Nice’ Cream

If you haven’t tried frozen-banana ice cream, you’re missing out! So, what makes this so ‘nice’? It’s cruelty-free which means no animals were harmed in the making of this recipe and it’s the healthiest version of ice cream you’ll ever find. This recipe is easy to make and it’s super delicious. Give it a try and let me know what you think :)

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen bananas, chopped
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Toppings:

  • Pine nuts
  • Shredded coconut
  • Kiwi
  • Strawberries

Directions:

  1. Place frozen bananas and blueberries in food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Scoop into a bowl and add your favorite toppings.

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Gracias Madre

rating-4 (3)

 

 

About: Gracias Madre is a plant-based mexican restaurant, that serves healthy, delicious foods sourced from locally grown organic ingredients. It’s actually owned by the founders of Cafe Gratitude, which also serves 100% organic vegan food. Anyway, this place has amazing decor, beautiful outdoor patio, and a very cozy atmosphere.

What to Order: The Apple Cobbler and the Gorditas.

Overall Rating: Although I’ve only been here once, I was super satisfied with everything I tried that day and I especially loved the ambience. I’m excited to pay them another visit soon!

Times visited: 1

Location: West Hollywood, CA

For more info: http://graciasmadreweho.com/

(Bowl Uno)
(Bowl Uno: This bowl consists of romaine, brown rice, black beans, tempeh chorizo, guacamole, pico de gallo, and cashew crema. Great flavor!)
(Mushroom Taco AND Cauliflower Taco)
(Mushroom Taco AND Cauliflower Taco: One taco had mushrooms with mole and the other had flash-fried cauliflower. Both were very tasty!) + (Seasonal Sangria: Enjoyed this, the chocolate covered strawberry gave it a nice touch! )
(Apple Cobbler)
(Apple Cobbler: Simply DELICIOUS!)
(Gorditas)
(Gorditas: These were potato-masa cakes topped with warm salsa verde, avocado, and cashew crema. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. So perfect!)

Redondo Roasted Salsa

My fiancé, Mike, loves experimenting with all types of ingredients to come up with some tasty salsas! So I have to give him full credit for this one. You can play around with this recipe to come up with the perfect balance of spiciness. This one was pretty mild but that’s the way I like it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 red pepper, roasted
  • 1/2 jalapeño, roasted
  • small bunch cilantro
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 slice onion (1/4″ thick)
  • 1 stock green onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • pinch seasoned salt
  • pinch cumin
  • pinch sweet paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Roast red pepper and jalapeño until slightly blackened.
  2. In a food processor, blend all ingredients together.
  3. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. Enjoy!


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Healthy Junk

rating-3_5 (3)

 

 

About: Healthy Junk offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options for those who enjoy comfort foods. It is located in the heart of downtown Anaheim in the Good Food Hall. There are plenty of places to sit inside or outside the hall, and provides a very casual atmosphere. Their menu consists of snacks, salads, burgers, tex-mex, pizza, and desserts. Pictured below are the food items that I’ve tried, along with my thoughts on each.

What to Order: The BBQ Chicken Pizza and Nacho King… yum!

Overall Rating: Although I’ve enjoyed most of food here, there have been a few that didn’t really ‘hit the spot’. The service is always great though, so that’s a plus!

Times visited: 5+

Location: Anaheim, CA

For more info: http://www.thehealthyjunk.com

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(Nacho King: This consists of corn chips topped with black beans, taco “meat”, chez sauce, and avocado cream. This was pretty good and the cheese sauce was delicious.)
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(BBQ Chicken Pizza: This is so delicious! I really like the mozzarella chez because it’s not too overwhelming and does not have a sticky texture like most vegan cheeses.)
Peanut Butter Cookie
(Peanut Butter Cookie: This was okay, not amazing.)
Pepperoni Pizza
(Pepperoni Pizza: This was pretty good but it had a little bit of a weird after-taste.)
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(Chili Chez Fries: These fries were topped with homemade chili and chez sauce. The chili was a little overcooked.)
Portobello Burger
(Portobello Burger: This burger was made with a grilled portobello, marinated patty, aioli sauce, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. This was not that flavorful.)
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( Mighty Kale Salad: This salad was made with quinoa, red cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, grilled chicken, tossed in olive oil, fresh lemon and sea salt topped with fresh mango. It was okay but a little bland.)

 

Let’s Talk About Alcohol

To avoid consuming animal products, many people simply look at the ingredients to determine whether certain foods meet their dietary restrictions or not. But I’ve come to the realization that many things are not as apparent as they seem, and it’s not as easy as just reading a food label. Although any step toward veganism is a positive one, there are still a lot of ways in which many vegans may still be ‘supporting’ animal agriculture without even knowing it. It’s important to become informed in order to make these conscious decisions for yourself.

While most alcohol is vegan, there are still quite a number of beers, liquors, and wines that do not fall under the vegan category. It turns out that animal-derived ingredients may be used in the production of these alcoholic beverages. These ingredients include gelatin, egg whites, fish bladder, and casein (just to name a few). Unfortunately, nutritional labeling is not a requirement for alcoholic beverages so there’s no way of knowing what’s vegan or not simply by just looking at the bottle. So, you have to do a little bit of research before your next alcohol purchase.

I discovered a really great site that every vegan/vegetarian needs to check out. It’s called Barnivore. It is a database of about 22,000 products, in which you can search whether an alcohol product is vegan or not. They’ve done all the hard work by researching and organizing this together for the vegan community, which is pretty awesome. So even if you’re not ready to give up your favorite alcoholic beverages, at least now you are informed!

Kale Chips

I’ve been meaning to make kale chips after I tried them at a friend’s house a while back. I usually only use kale when making green smoothies because I’m not a big fan of the taste or texture. But this recipe makes it super enjoyable to eat and it makes for a great snack. Before you know it, you’ll be making another batch. Give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Use kitchen shears to remove leaves from the stems of the kale and cut into bite-size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner.
  3. Drizzle kale with olive oil and add seasonings.
  4. Spread out the kale evenly on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake until the edges are brown, 10-15 min.
  6. Let it cool down for about 2 minutes and enjoy!

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