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How I spent 1/3 of my income on FOOD!?

I just finished my taxes and… are you ready for this? It looks like I spent about 1/3 of my income on food! More than one human should ever spend on food costs. Even if that human IS a professional vegan chef. A massive amount of my food expenses went toward eating meals out at restaurants. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll chock it up to sheer boredom with my recipes, being too busy and having consistently poor meal planning. And, boy, did I pay for it!

So, with the goal of saving more money this year and minimizing my overall food expenses, I’m committing to making more meals at home. And… I want YOU to do it with me. Can we agree that making more meals at home is not only more rewarding and confidence-inspiring, but way healthier and more affordable? Gimme a “well, yeah!” In fact, a recent research study from Johns Hopkins University showed that people who make home-cooked meals more often are healthier and weight less than people who don’t. To help you with your goal of saving money and making healthy food this year, I want to share the most uber-fantastic sale from my favorite online culinary school.

Right now, you can save $400 on the Rouxbe Professional Plant-Based Certification Course. Take advantage of early registration for the new May semester and you’ll enjoy their 6-month online course for only $183 a month. This is the absolute lowest price they have EVER offered!

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Learn healthy cooking techniques, vegan recipe creation and plantbased nutrition from the experts – all online from anywhere in the world. You’ll save time and money by making meals at home and wow your friends and family with your badass pro culinary skills.

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Whatever you do, don’t sleep on this awesome discount. If you’ve been on the fence about the course, take a leap of faith and step up your cooking game in 2015.

This dynamite deal for the May semester expires February 24th, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. PST. You’ll see the discounted price of $1,099 on the final checkout page. Get on the good foot and click on the link below to sign up right now with Rouxbe:

YES – I’m ready like Scooby – Sign me up for Rouxbe right now!!!

Blendtec Giveaway

Blendtec Giveaway & New Review!

This is the ultimate high-speed blender from Blendtec. The most powerful, easy-to-use and intuitive consumer model they’ve ever designed – and it can be yours this Holiday season! Enter now to win your own Blendtec Designer Series 725 model (a $650 value) in the new giveaway on my blog and prepare to take your recipes to a whole new level of flavor and fun in the New Year!

Before you enter the giveaway below, be sure to check out my new, in-depth video review of the incredible Designer Series 725 model and all of its fantastic new features. The video also includes recipe demos for my #1 all-time Superfood Smoothie and fresh Hazelnut Butter:

And now… drumroll please… the long-awaited epic Blendtec Holiday Giveaway!

Remember – the more entry requirements you complete, the higher your chance to win the giveaway. The winner will be selected on Friday, December 12th at 12:00 a.m. PST. Good luck and may the smoothie force be with you!

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Lusty Vegan Slider

How to Date Vegans & Feed ‘Em Well!

I recently had the pleasure of checking out Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg’s new plant-based cookbook and dating manifesto, “The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manual for Vegans and Those Who Love Them”. First of all, I’ve NEVER seen a book concept like this before and had my initial reservations about how well it could accomplish both objectives. I mean – a dating guide AND a vegan cookbook?!? It’s kind of like… Dr. Ruth and Tal Ronnen walk into a bar to start discussing the esoteric carnal symbology of figs and clams… (ahem)… I digress. Back to the book review.

To my delight, not only is this new book chock full of useful advice for navigating a relationship with a vegan (or advice on how to co-habitate peacefully and deliciously with someone who eats differently than you) – it also gives mouthwatering recipe recommendations based on different stages in the relationship. I found myself simultaneously drooling and laughing at the same time flipping through the pages. Speaking of the pages, the eye-popping food photography by Geoff Souder is enough to make you resign to a lifelong diet of Mac n’ Yease (Ayinde’s veganized family classic), Kale Salads and Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes. Not a bad way to live for the next 50 years, if you asked me.

Speaking of the aforementioned Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes, I’ve got the super-dank and amazingly authentic recipe from the uber-talented Mr. Howell to share with you! My mouth has been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of this recipe and I can tell you that the texture, taste, smell and mouth feel are nearly IDENTICAL to the old-school crab cakes that I enjoyed in my youth growing up in the Midwest. Ayinde nailed this one, y’all.

If you’ve got any skeptical eaters at home that are still hooked on seafood, give this recipe a shot and get ready to post their reaction shots on Instagram. And, for more insanely innovative and easy-to-prep recipes, you’ve got to check out “The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manual for Vegans and Those Who Love Them” which drops worldwide on October 7th. Click here to order it on Amazon now:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Lusty-Vegan-Relationship-Manifesto/dp/0985466294/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412546148&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lusty+vegan

And now… for the hella good Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes Recipe!

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Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes

(From The Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.)

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Serves 2

Maryland crab cakes are traditionally oversized, and I wanted to recreate them using hearts of palm and traditional seasonings. I make them gluten-free and pair them with a garlicky dill aïoli. I don’t know if it’s spot on, but from what I hear, it’s pretty darn close. Use a soy-free mayo to make this soy-free.

GARLICKY DILL AÏOLI

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon minced garlic

CRAB CAKES

3 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil, divided, plus more for frying

1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, (not packed in sugar), roughly chopped to the consistency of crab meat

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

BREADING

1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, or more

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

Lemon wedges, to serve

1. Garlicky Dill Aïoli: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Set in the fridge to keep cool.

2. Crab Cakes: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hearts of palm and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Set aside to cool. Add the celery and peppers and mix well.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-heat heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

4. Remove from the heat, add to the hearts of palm, and mix well. Add the Old Bay seasoning, cornstarch, and mayo.

5. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then shape the mixture into four round patties.

6. Breading: In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Old Bay seasoning, stirring to mix. Coat the patties with the breadcrumb mixture and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

7. Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium- high heat until hot and shimmering. Carefully place the patties in the skillet and cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Watch closely to prevent burning. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Serve hot, topped with the aïoli, with lemon wedges on the side.