Tuesday, June, 25, 2013
Last week was Cultivate Kansas City‘s Urban Grown week. Our city was abuzz with many fun events, everything from beekeeping workshops to a wine dinner with a celebrity chef. My favorite part of the week was the Urban Farms and Gardens tour, the nation’s largest urban farms tour with more than 60 spots to visit!
Perhaps the most attended event of the week was an appearance by Mark Bitttman. Over 800 people came to hear him speak.
Before Mark Bittman spoke, Chipotle offered tasty nibbles and margaritas. I was excited to try their new Sofritas, a gluten-free tofu. I’m hoping it comes to our local Chipotle soon. It’s SPICY!
I have to tell you, it was exciting to see Eden Alley, KC’s original veg restaurant, overflowing with people.
So back to Mark Bittman…He spoke about his new book, Vegan Before 6. Just last week I wrote about tossing out labels and finding what’s healthy for you. I stand by that yet I understand why the label appears on this book. Would “Eat more plant-based food all day” be as sexy? Folks wanna slap a label on things and no doubt it will help to sell this book. The concept is to eat plant-based food for breakfast and lunch and then animal products with dinner. But this book is so much more. I hope you’ll look beyond the title and read it. Plus I’ve got a signed copy to give away below!
Here are my top five takeaways from hearing Mark Bittman speak:
1. The most important thing to do to change our diets is to favor plants over meat.
2. Develop a personal food policy. (Notice this says personal. My food policy is not your food policy. And that’s ok!)
3. You changed your lightbulbs to CFLs, change your diet to include a freaking salad!
4. 60% of the food we eat already is vegan. (I say the same about gluten-free!)
5. Think about foods using a traffic light system: red light foods (desserts, treats) rarely, yellow light foods occasionally and green light foods often.
A similar list of take-aways from the book could be written, but it would be much longer. The book includes some terrific nutritional comparisons of things like diet bars and candy bars. It also has great tips for pursuing health, not just a number on the scale. Oh, and recipes! There are more than 60 recipes to help include more plants in your diet. About those recipes…
I attended a second event with Mark Bittman on Friday, a luncheon hosted by the KC Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier. Check out the beautiful plant-based lunch prepared by Chef Matt Arnold and crew at Webster House, featuring recipes from the book:
While not all of the recipes in the book are gluten-free (and not all are vegan either, surprise!), many are easily modified. Switch out pasta for gluten-free, make sure stock is gluten-free, use gluten-free bread crumbs, etc… The chickpea ratatouille served at lunch was delicious and naturally gluten-free, as was the lentil salad.
After the luncheon, I had the chance to ask Mark Bittman what one thing he would encourage people to do to stick with dietary changes. His response: eliminate refined sugar. From personal experience, I can say this is very helpful. While I have reduced, not completely eliminated refined sugar (I drink Kombucha), I do know that if I eat sugar, my body wants more sugar. And I get more puffy and cranky and less likely to eat food that is good for me. So there you have it, get rid of the refined sugar!
So enough about all of that, you want to win a book, right? I’ve got a signed copy of Vegan Before 6 to give to one lucky reader. I personally got this signed for you, so it’s legit. Just use the Rafflecopter entry below to enter. I’ll choose a winner on July 2nd and give the winner 24 hours to respond before choosing another winner. Good luck and happy reading!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on links in this post and making purchases, Johnna may make a bit of money, which allows her to continue providing free content to you on this site. Thanks for your support!
Monday, March, 04, 2013
I love browsing at the grocery store. I know, I know, it’s weird. I hear people say often they dread grocery shopping. I actually look forward to going to the store alone, pushing my cart around, checking out all of the things I’ve never tried, seeing what produce looks great, what’s on sale. It’s my happy place, a store packed full of food with so many possibilities, so much goodness just waiting to be created in those aisles!
While at Nature’s Pantry recently, I spotted date syrup from The Date Lady. I’m a big fan of anything made with dates so of course I bought it. While waiting in the check-out line, I noticed it was made just down the road a few hours in Springfield, Missouri! I’m excited about a local product that’s full of all sorts of goodness and contains none of the not-so-goodness. I’m even more excited to share it with you!
So what’s one do with date syrup? Well, about a million things. My favorite is as a topping for waffles, it’s better than any syrup I’ve ever had. And The Date Lady caramel sauce is the most decadent ice cream topping I’ve ever had. If you told me there was a way to make caramel sauce dairy-free and more flavorful than the “regular” sauce, I would not have believed you. Then I tried The Date Lady’s caramel sauce. Unbelievably rich, yet it contains no ingredients that I worry about eating. Just good stuff here, folks.
Surely it’s no surprise I decided to bake with the date syrup, to use that amazing caramel sauce in a dessert. AND thanks to the kind folks at The Date Lady, you can enter my giveaway so you can bake these at home! Or top your waffles or ice cream or eat it on a spoon from the jar. Yep, I did that. You’ll find the entry information at the bottom of the post. The winner will receive a jar each of the date syrup AND the caramel sauce!
I baked up chocolate cupcakes, except they are just dense enough to be a muffin, a really sweet muffin. Cupcake + muffin = cuppin. Then I frosted them with a classic American buttercream with a hint of caramel. These are definitely more cupcake than muffin when frosted, but unfrosted you might be able to pass it off as a muffin. These are great either way!
- 1 cup of Johnna’s Gluten-free flour blend
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder (don't skimp on this, buy a good one like Askinosie.)
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 t. fine sea salt
- 1 t. guar gum
- 1 jar Date Lady date syrup
- 2 T. flax meal, added to 6 T. hot water to make a slurry (this is an egg replacement)
- 1 container, 6 oz., So Delicious Greek Style Vanilla cultured coconut milk or other non-dairy yogurt
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
- 2 T. vanilla (I know it sounds like a lot, trust me on this one)
- 2 t. instant coffee (I use the Trader Joe's variety)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners for 18 cupcakes.
- In bowl of stand mixer, mix the Date Lady date syrup, flax meal slurry, So Delicious cultured coconut milk (the yogurt-y stuff), non-dairy milk, grapeseed oil, vanilla extract and instant coffee. Mix just until well combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour blend, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and guar gum.
- Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer bowl. Mix on low until combined. Repeat two more times, incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet. There's no need to over-mix, just mix until it's combined.
- Fill each well of the muffin tins with a scant 1/3 cup of batter. Place in oven that has been pre-heated to 350 degrees. Close the door. Turn the temperature down to 325 degrees. Bake for 20-22 minutes. A cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when they are done. (The temperature instructions will result in a slightly better dome on top of the cupcake. If you like a very flat or concave cupcake top, bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.)
Caramel Buttercream Frosting with The Date Lady Caramel Sauce
- 3 sticks Earth Balance non-dairy butter substitute
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup Date Lady caramel sauce
- In bowl of stand mixer, cream Earth Balance until fluffy.
- One cup at a time, add in sifted powdered sugar. Mix until each cup is incorporated before adding another.
- Once the sugar is well combined with the Earth Balance, add the Caramel Sauce. Turn mixer onto high and let it mix for about 5 minutes. Frosting will be fluffy.
- Top cupcakes using your preferred method. I use a piping bag and large tip, but this frosting works just as well with the traditional knife frosting technique.
You can win goodies from The Date Lady! Make your own Chocolate Cuppins with Caramel Buttercream Frosting! The Date Lady will send the winner one jar each of her delectable date syrup and the decadent caramel sauce. Just enter below, lots of ways to earn more entries and increase your chances of winning!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: The Date Lady provided date syrup and caramel sauce for use in developing the above recipe. The opinions expressed are my own.
Tuesday, January, 01, 2013
Happy New Year! Even though I don’t make new year’s resolutions, I do enjoy the fresh start of the new year, getting back on track with healthy eating and back to my pre-holiday exercise routine.
Even as committed to my healthy routine as I am, I still get busy and often need a quick on-the-go breakfast option. Two of my favorites are Bearded Brothers bars and Straw Propeller’s oatmeal cups. Both are handy for mornings when I don’t have enough time to cook breakfast and also when I’m traveling. Both of these are in my travel kit right now, ready to hit the road!
The Bearded Brothers bars are handmade in Austin, Texas from 100% organic ingredients, gluten-free and mostly raw. I’m a big fan of their Mighty Maca Chocolate bar. I’ve also tried their Colossal Coconut Mango and Fabulous Ginger Peach bars, all delicious and the perfect burst of energy I need from a bar. The bars are great on their own, but I’m also a fan of their packaging. Each bar comes in a resealable pouch, which is great for mornings when I eat part of a bar and stick the rest in my bag for later.
Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods offers 3 varieties of gluten-free oatmeal cups: Wholly Oats, Apple Crisp and Fruit & Nuts. My favorite is the Fruit & Nuts, which has cherries, raisins, blueberries, almonds and walnuts. I like the use of all-natural ingredients in a flavored oatmeal that is gluten-free and comes in a portable container. No more skipping breakfast excuses for me!
And here’s the great news! Courtesy of Bearded Brothers and Straw Propeller, I’ve got goodies to give away. One winner will receive two Bearded Brothers bars and two additional winners will each receive a case of 12 gluten-free oatmeal cups from Straw Propeller. What a great way to start the new year.
Enter below using Rafflecopter. Winners will be chosen on January 8th, 2013. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Full Disclosure: Products for the prizes were provided to me by Bearded Brothers and Straw Propeller