No-Bake Mocha Brownies

By Alexandra Courts

We’ve done it! We’ve figured out a delectable and healthy way to satisfy your chocolate cryings!

These no-bake babies are free of any oils, artificial sugars, gluten or animal products. We replaced all of these nasty ingredients with dates, which provide the body with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They’re killer sources of energy, natural sugar and fibre.

Behold:

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(Recipe has been adapted from The Minimalist Baker)

Ingredients…

  •  2 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1 cup chopped raw walnuts, pecans, or nut of your choice
  • 3/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp finely ground organic direct-trade coffee
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract

Directions…

  1. Pulse almonds in food processor until finely ground. 
  2. Add raw cacao powder and ground coffee to mixture and continue to combine with food processor. Set mixture aside in separate bowl. 
  3. Process dates separately, then add mixture back to food processor and pulse until a dough-like texture is reached. Stir additional nuts, coconut and vanilla extract into batter.
  4. Pour batter into a lined square cake pan. Spread evenly.
  5. Chill brownies in fridge for 2 hours or freezer for 1 hour. Serve cold.

Enjoy! Makes about 12 brownies.

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Easter Weekend Dessert Series: Baked Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

By Contributor: Alexandra Courts

The first in our Easter food series! Why spend time decorating eggs when you can bake treats instead?

Buy a doughnut pan. Seriously. It will change your life…or at least the way you think about homemade doughnuts. Ditch the deep fryer and opt for a light and cakey version that is both vegan and gluten-free!

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This plain doughnut recipe that I’ve adapted from bonappetit.com is so simple, yummy, and healthy that you will ditch that love affair you might have had with your local bakery.

The recipe is as follows for these little cinnamon sugar babies:

Ingredients…

Doughnut Batter

  • 1 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (Melt a little extra to coat the trays with to prevent sticking)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot
  • 1/4 cup vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 1/2 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions…

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush doughnut tray with coconut oil and set aside.

2) To make a “flax egg” (egg replacement) mix 1 part ground flax (1/2 tsp) with three parts (1 1/2 tsp) hot water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

3) In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Once combined, add flax egg, melted coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, vanilla extract and remaining hot water.

4) Spoon about 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons of batter into each doughnut mold.

5) Bake for 8 minutes, flip, then continue baking for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Let the doughnuts sit for 10 minutes before removing from tray.

6) Whisk together coconut sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut lightly into the sugary coating before serving.

Yields 12-15 doughnuts. Enjoy!

Raw Energy Balls

Post by Alex Courts

It’s the middle of the day. Too late for lunch and too early for dinner.

You’re hungry and you’re faced with the decision of what you should have without spoiling your dinner.

Chips? Cookies? Candy? No!

Opt for something natural, nutritious, and filling! These little babies are vegan, gluten-free, and raw!

Good news is that these are quick to make and can be stored and enjoyed later on!

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Yield: approx. 2 dozen snack balls

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup dried mango
  • 1/2 raisins
  • 1 cup sliced raw almonds

Directions:

  1. Run the first four ingredients through a food processor for a full minute (or until well-combined).
  2. Add the almonds and process for another full minute.
  3. Place mixture in bowl and start forming (squeeze and roll) and form 1 tablespoon into a ball.
  4. Repeat process until all the mixture is used.
  5. Suggested: Roll the balls into any remaining shredded coconut.

Store any uneaten balls in the freezer for up to a month.

Easy Vegan Holiday Season: Day 12

By Alexandra Courts

Snickerdoodles. If you don’t know what they are already, you really should.

Essentially, snickerdoodles are cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar, made with the holy trinity of baking: butter, sugar, and flour. I was eight-years-old when I first discovered them at my grandmother’s Christmas dinner. I downed about twenty of them in one sitting. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

My Christmas would not be complete without these, so I present to you: my gluten-free/vegan alternative!

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Adapted from OhSheGlows.com

Makes about 20 cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup gluten-free flour (if you use regular flour, just omit milk from ingredients)
  • 2/3 cup + 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm water)
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance non-dairy butter (room temperature)
  • 1 – 1 1/2  cups of almond or soy milk (I used almond)
  • Cinnamon sugar: 2 tbsp sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon, mixed together

Directions:

1) In a small bowl, mix the flax egg. Set aside.

2) In a medium sized bowl cream the sugar, butter and vanilla together. Add in the flax egg and beat for about 60 seconds.

3) In a third bowl (so many bowls!) whisk the dry ingredients together (cream of tartar, baking soda, flour, and cinnamon). Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir well. Add non-dairy milk. Use your hands to knead together the dough. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 1 hour until chilled.

4) Preheat the oven to 375F and take about 1.5 tbsp of dough and shape into a ball. Roll in cinnamon sugar and then press the ball with the palm of your hand. Repeat 20 times! Spread the balls out onto a baking sheet.

5) If you want your cookies chewy, bake for 10 minutes. If you want them crispy, bake for 12 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before eating.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

The Girlfriend’s Guide

To me, being vegan is a lifestyle. Take everything I grew up around: big box stores, grocery store “super centres”, prepackaged foods, frozen meals…gross. Food is needed for nutritional purposes, sure, but let’s enjoy it too! By changing our diets we get the chance to start over, refresh our palettes, try new things and find out what really works for our bodies. What you discover from this might actually surprise you! Good food makes for a good body. And vegan food is always good food. Therefore, you should totally go vegan.

Time and time again I’ve heard, “I’d love to go vegan but I just don’t have the time!” Wrong. Wroooooong.

Most people (myself included, I’ll admit) are used to instant gratification for pretty much everything. Our bodies need food multiple times throughout the day and it’s tedious to put in a lot of effort. Everything nowadays seems to be done very hastily. Buying a frozen dinner that was designed to be microwaved to prevent us from needing to what, boil water? Opting for self-checkout at the store in order to skip the cashier’s spiel about donating to a local charity? It’s hard to figure out how to find time to cook, yes, but it really is worth it. Meats and processed foods are bad for both your body and your wallet.

Being a vegan really isn’t as time consuming as people think, but obviously it takes more effort than lining up at a fast food joint for a burger would. I put effort into each meal because I enjoy taking the time to appreciate what I’m doing. What can I say, I like to cook! It’s comforting to be aware of every single ingredient that I’m putting into my body. Vegan food is good for me and the environment.

So what the heck are we babbling about this for anyways? Well, we want others to be able to transition into veganism smoothly and we’re here to help with that. On this website we’ll be providing quick and easy original recipes, shopping tips and more. Being vegan doesn’t mean that you have to spend a bunch of money, or that you can’t eat out with friends! That’s just malarky.

So friends! In honour of Vegan Girlfriend’s launch we have put together a little shopping cheat sheet. Below you can find a chart that lists important staples for vegan cooking that can (and should!) be bought in bulk. This chart compares the prices of three types of stores where you can normally buy these products: bulk food stores, health food stores, and a ‘big brand’ grocery store.

Stick with us and we’ll keep coming up with stuff like this to help you become the health-conscious money-smart vegan that we know you secretly want to be.

Love,

Áine

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