Sunday, May 1, 2016

Baconish! Review, Recipe and Giveaway.

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cookbook review, giveaway, vegan recipe, Kittee Berns, bacon, vegan bacon
Bacon-Ish will leave you and your kitchen smelling bacon-ish for a while, too!
Bacon-Ish is a brand-new cookbook written by blogger Leinana Two Moons, from Vegan Good Things. This cookbook begins where lots of delicious things begin--in a chapter focused on vegan bacon. Besides the bacon norms you'd expect to find like tempeh, tofu, coconut, mushroom, and eggplant, you'll also find recipes for bacon made from chickpeas, carrots, TVP, and seitan. I rilllly wanted to make the Tofu Bacon, but I couldn't find any smoked tofu in Portland to save my life. What's my city coming to?

The rest of the cookbook focuses on recipes that incorporate these bacon fundamentals, or are bacon-y all by themselves. You'll find the recipes organized by breakfast, soup, salads, sandwiches, sides, mains and sweets.

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Tempeh Bacon over steamed kale and cheezy grits
with berbere mixed into my favorite EFA oil, Seven Sources
I decided to dig right into the "Meet the Bacons" chapter with Leinana's Tempeh Bacon. This was my favorite out of the three I tried, and I loved it for several reasons. The first being that the bacon was really easy to make and came out great. I usually have issues with tempeh bacon not having enough marinade or requiring too much oil to cook. I actually put the tempeh in a zip style plastic bag with the marinade and kept it in the fridge, lifting tempeh from the bag to cook every few days as desired. I loved this! I also learned to cut the tempeh verrrrrry thin for best results. The marinade ratio is just perfect in this recipe--the tempeh does not absorb it all like in others I've tried, which keeps it moist and flavorful, and the addition of oil really helps the tempeh cook without needing gobs more.

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I admired the curly edges the Carrot Bacon acquired while baking.
I was intrigued by the idea of Carrot Bacon, so I made this on my second go. Instead of using a food processor, I pulled out my handy-dandy mandoline, and it worked just great. I loved the flavor and idea of these, but couldn't get them to firm up after baking. I was afraid they'd burn if I baked them any longer, so I popped them into my dehydrator for a couple of hours. The result was pretty fantastic--they developed a great chewy texture. I'll definitely be making more of these, but will probably double the recipe next time, since they didn't last past the afternoon. These made very snack-ish bacon-ish.

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Coconut Bacon.
The last recipe I tried was the Coconut Bacon, which I'm sharing below with permission. Dazee and I both liked this simple version, and it'll go great on salads for the next week. Leinana wasn't kidding about watching this bacon the last few minutes of baking, mine went dark really fast--I caught it just on the cusp of burnt.

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Coconut Bacon 
Makes 2 1/2 cups
From Baconish © 2016 by Leinana Two Moons. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.

What You Need:
♥ 3 tablespoons tamari
♥ 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
♥ 1 tablespoon water
♥ 1 tablespoon maple syrup
♥ 3 cups unsweetened large-flake coconut

What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Whisk the tamari, liquid smoke, water, and maple syrup together in a large bowl. Stir in the coconut and mix well to ensure that the flakes are evenly coated.

Spread the coconut in an even layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes, then stir. Bake another 8 minutes, keeping a very close eye on the coconut in the last few minutes. The coconut will go from almost done to completely burned very quickly. Remove from the oven when the coconut flakes on the outer edges of the pan are becoming a deep, dark brown, but not black.

Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack. The coconut will continue to crisp as it cools. Coconut bacon will keep 1 to 2 weeks in an airtight plastic container, but will become less crisp the longer you store it.

cookbook review, giveaway, vegan recipe, Kittee Berns, bacon, vegan bacon

Giveaway City! --> Vegan Heritage Press is offering a free copy of Bacon-Ish to one of my readers in the United States! To win a copy, all ya have to do is leave a comment on this post by midnight, May 8th (PST), with an easy way to contact you. I'll pick a random person and announce the winner in this post.


  • Title: Bacon-Ish
  • Author:  Leinana Two Moons
  • Blog: Vegan Good Things
  • Publisher:  Vegan Heritage Press
  • Photos:  Colored pics scattered throughout
  • Focus: Vegan bacon in many forms.
  • 6 Recipes to Intrigue: Loaded Potato Soup with Bacon, German-Style Potato Salad with Bacon, The Famous Coconut BLT, Apple, Bacon, and Cheddar Grilled Cheese, Spinach and Bacon Stuffed Shells and Nearly-Instant Elvis Ice Cream.
  • XGFXness:  Most of the bacon recipes are GF, and probably about half of the remaining recipes are also GF, or can be made so without much effort.

Thanks for visiting my little crumb of the internet! If you'l like to receive an email whenever I update, click here to subscribe.

xo
kittee

Disclosures:
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a product link and purchase an item, I'll receive a small compensation.

I received a free review copy of Bacon-Ish from Vegan Heritage Press. No compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the rad opinion posted here is my own. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Coming Soon! Portland's Really Big Vegan Bakesale.

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Beauteous flyer by the one and only Amey.
Hello everyone who lives near me in Portland!

Please save the date and come to Portland's Very Big Vegan Bakesale on Sunday, June 5th in front of Canteen. All proceeds will be split between two great organizations serving our community.

One Tail at a Time Portland--pups!
Social Justice Project NW (Specifically this Momentum Giving Project)--peeps!

Making an event like this successful, completely depends on our community. The more donations we receive, the more cupcakes we sell, the more money we donate!

We can use help in the following ways:
Flyer-ing (please email me for a .pdf, it's linked at the top right of the blog).
♥ Baked donations.
♥ Baking grants to off-set groceries for bakers.
♥ Day of sale help, including set up and after-sale break down.
♥ Buyers.

Also! On top of the sale, we'll also be hosting a vegan cookbook swap. Just bring a buck and a book to participate! We're hoping to have a big table with lots of titles to choose from. I myself shall be bringing many books.

This year, we're doing two drop-offs morning and noon, so even if you can't make it until later, we should have fresh things to purchase. Or, if you need to sleep in, we got you.

Oh! What am I making? Definitely some Chipotle Cheese Pretzel Dogs, and probably some cheesecake. :)

Please help us by sharing our bakesale details far and wide! The link to the Facebook event is here.

Thanks kindly!!
xo
kittee

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review! Vegan Under Pressure by Jill Nussinow

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vegan, gluten free, review, cookbook, recipe, cheesecake, cheezecake, cashew cheesecake, jill nussinow, cookbook, kittee berns
Vegan Under Pressure by Jill Nussinow!
I've been posting pretty frequently about the mad infatuation I have with the ol' Instant Pot, so when Julie showed me Jill Nussinow's recent Vegan Under Pressure, I knew I wanted to take it for a spin and review it.

I really love this book. If you have a pressure cooker, you'll also really love this book. For any of you vegan old timers, (I'm looking at you, Andrea), her cooking style reminds me a LOT of Lorna Sass--not just the pressure cooking angle, but her style with recipes, too. She's sorta got a little macro glow.

The recipes in VUP, definitely have a healthy slant to them, in a way I really appreciate. The bulk contain millet and other cool grains, with tons of legumes and vegetables. I didn't notice any processed ingredients besides healthy oils (and those seem limited--I added a little to recipes here and there) and just a little salt (I added some of that too). There are desserts, and I was particularly mesmerized by the prospect of pressure cooking cake, fruit crumbles, and cheezecake.

I'm not new to pressure cooking, but since it's been awhile and the electric cooker is newish to me, I've definitely experienced a learning curve. This book helps so much, and will be a staple for me. The author gives detailed, thorough directions in each recipe for pressure amounts and cooking times, and specifies whether to allow the pressure in the pot to come down naturally, or if it needs a quick release. The book also includes detailed reference charts for cooking legumes, rice, grains and vegetables.

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"Baked" Beans with hot dogs and 'tato chips.
Here's what I've made so far, but I'll definitely be making lots more:
Simple Vegetable Stock--This was a great basic recipe using odds and ends I pulled out of the fridge and pantry. I poured it into a pitcher and used it all week. I need to get in the habit of keeping this around, because it took practically no work.

French Green Lentils--French lentils are really easy to overcook, so I followed the cooking time for a lentil salad in the book, and they came out perfectly al dente.

"Baked" Beans--These made me ridiculously happy, because they're sweetened with dates and blackstrap molasses and came together in a snap. I'm also always looking for new bean recipes, and these are nothing like what I already had in my repertoire.

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Gomen (Ethiopian Collard Greens) over cheesie grits. This combo was soOOo good.
Gomen (Ethiopian Collard Greens)--There are several Ethiopian inspired recipes in VUP, but the gomen caught my eye first, because they're cooked with berbere, which I'd never done before. These were faboo served over cheese grits (I used Follow Your Heart cheddar shreds). These will stay in our regular rotation--they were awesome.

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Peanut butter chia-oats, topped with coconut flakes and Apple Berry Crisp
Apple Berry Crisp or Not-So Crisp--Pressure cooking a fruit crisp definitely didn't save me any time, but it is pretty awesome, because you can let it go without babysitting, and it won't burn or heat up your house. I loved the fruit part of this dessert, but didn't love the not so crisp topping, until I scooped it onto some chia-oats. I'd definitely make this again, but for breakfasts instead of dessert.

Straightforward Cashew Lemon Cheezecake--I find the idea of pressure cooking cheesecake titillating, so this was one of the first recipes I tried.  Again, you don't really save time by pressure cooking this, but it's pretty cool nonetheless. Jill and her publisher are letting me share this recipe, so you'll find it below--I've already made three! The first iteration I made as written with a blueberry-ginger chia jam on top, the second had orange blossom water, cinnamon and cardamon added with an orange mixed-berry chia jam topping, and the third is chocolate-crusted peanut butter cheesecake. Stay tuned for results on the last one, since it needs to set up in the fridge overnight before we can slice it. One thing for certain, these cheesecakes taste best after a few days in the fridge. I liked them the most after the second day, which makes them awesome for parties!

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Cheesecake #1 topped with blueberry-ginger chia jam. The crust on this is so good!!
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Straightforward Cashew Lemon Cheezecake
Makes 1 cake, 8-12 slices

To get the best results, you need to use a high-speed blender. You will need a 6-, 7-, or 8-inch springform pan that fits inside your pressure cooker. If you don’t want to make an oat crust, use your favorite raw crust.

Kittee Tip: Instead of purchasing a small springform pan, I lined a regular 6" cake pan with parchment and pressed the crust in on top of that. It worked like a charm! Just refrigerate the cheesecake and once chilled and set, use the paper to pull the cake from the pan...

What You Need for the Crust:
  1 cup quick oats (I used rolled oats)
  ½ cup walnuts
  ½ cup chopped dates, soaked in ¼ cup water for 15 to 30 minutes, drained, but reserve soaking liquid

What You Need for the Filling:
 1 cup cashews, soaked in 1 cup water for 2 to 4 hours
 ½ cup coconut flour
 ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
 ½ cup vanilla nondairy milk
 1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
 2 tablespoons lemon juice
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
 ½ cup fresh raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries; or 6 figs, sliced; or other fruit to top the cheesecake

1. Add 1½ cups water to your pressure cooker and add a rack elevated above the water. Create a set of  helper handles to enable you to remove the pan.

2. To make the crust: Combine the crust ingredients in a mini food processor and process briefly until the mixture comes together. If it seems too dry, add a tablespoon at a time of the date soaking liquid
until you have a cohesive “dough.” It should be firm but not gooey. Press into the bottom and a little
way up the sides of a springform pan that will fit in your pressure cooker.

3. To make the filling: Drain the cashews, reserving the soaking water. Add the cashews and half the
soaking water to a high-speed blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add more water, if necessary. Add the coconut flour, palm sugar, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla to the blender or processor. Blend well. Add the arrowroot and blend again.

4. Pour the filling into the crust, smoothing out the top. Cover the pan with foil or a cover. Lower the
pan into the pressure cooker, using the helper handle, if necessary.

5. Lock on the lid. Bring to high pressure; cook for 20 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Carefully open the cooker, tilting the lid away from you.

6. Using the helper handle, carefully take the pan out of the cooker. Remove the cover carefully so any accumulated moisture does not drip onto the cake. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Place the fruit on top of the cheezecake. Let cool for at least 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before removing the outer part of the pan and serving.

Text excerpted from Vegan Under Pressure, © 2015 by Jill Nussinow. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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  • Title: Vegan Under Pressure
  • Author Jill Nussinow
  • Blog: The Veggie Queen
  • Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Photos:  Colored pics scattered throughout
  • Focus: Healthy, vegan pressure cooking
  • 6 Recipes to Intrigue: Mixed Grain Blend for Any Time of Day,  Smoky, Cheesy Steel-Cut Oats, Homemade Soymilk, Artichokes in Minutes, Pear Almond Upside-Down Cake, Sai Bhaji (Pakistani Greens).
  • XGFXness:  The book is almost entirely gluten-free.

Thanks for visiting my little crumb of the internet! And, if you want to get emails whenever I update, click here to subscribe.

xo
kittee

Disclosures:
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a product link and purchase an item, I'll receive a small compensation.

I received a free review copy of Vegan Under Pressure from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. No compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the rad opinion posted here is my own.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Kittee's PDX See and Do Part Deux.

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Masala Dosa from Apna Chat Bhavan with sambar and chutneys.
It's been almost three years since I last posted my PDX See and Do--and this city just keeps getting better and better in the deliciously awesome department. This post is the cashew cream of what's going on here, but there's so much  more than what I can fit in here. If you have the time to explore, you should definitely dig in as much as possible.

Most of the spots I wrote about last are still loved and up and going strong, so I won't bother to write them out again. I'll task you with the job of double fisting both lists. If you're coming through town and looking for a good travel app, I really like the one by the folks at Stay.com. It's cool because it's free and because you download it, so when you're bopping around town, it won't eat up your data. Also, about a year or so ago, they asked me to curate a little vegan PDX list, so if you download it, you might just see me pop up here and there to help you find spots I like. Also VEGAN DONUTS.

Food Stops
Absynnian Kitchen--My newest favorite stop for Eritrean/Ethiopian food. Absynnian Kitchen is located in an old PDX house with some sweet patio seating on the porch if you're dogging it. This place has the best shiro, and if it's cold and rainy, it's one of my top recommendations. Order some to go with the veggie platter, or get the shiro / kale combo. They have all teff injera available upon request. Super nice owners. If you want to see other Ethiopian possibilities, hop over to IG and search for #pdxethiopianhop.

Apna Chat Bhavan--This huge Indian grocery store and fast food counter, might only be of interest to locals, 'cuz it's in the 'burbs, but it's a great find. The store is really tidy and clean, and the menu has lots of vegan things including the best masala dosa I've found since moving to Oregon. Kim and I bumped into a little room in the back with a wide screen mounted on the wall, so I need to investigate in case they have Bollywood screenings.

Back to Eden--All vegan and gluten-free bakery/cafe paradise. Since I knocked off the refined sugars, my favorite thing to grab is a toasted New Cascadia bagel with a Tofutti smear and tomato. Softserve and milkshakes for the masses.

DC Vegetarian--This cart downtown has a pretty decent Soy Curl chicken-style salad, but I'm really listing it here because their vegan cheeseburgers are Dazee's reason for breathing.

Departure--If you're on top of Top Chef, you might already know about Departure and chef Gregory Gourdet, probably the cutest chef ever. Departure makes me laugh, as it's plunked 15 stories high on top of a really fancy hotel in downtown, with a great view and a bathroom that is startling weird. Departure is also awesome people watching turf. We usually bring Dazee's parents here as it's a leeetle fancy and a little expensive, but probably my favorite place to eat. No matter how full you are, make sure to get the peanut butter ice cream banana split.

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My favorite from Earth Burgers, the PDmeX. Black bean and sweet potato patty, all the fixin's on a Happy Camper GF bun, with hand-cut seasoned fries.
Earth Burgers--Earth Burgers is tucked into the largest cart pod in town, and is an all vegetarian (mostly vegan) burger place that's not to be missed. I love it 'cuz the owners are the best, and they serve GF buns with hand-cut fries. Back to Eden has a cart in the same pod, so you can hit them both in one stop, plus it's really close to the mini mall.

Eb and Bean--Vegan frozen yogurt in three daily flavors with housemade peanut butter or chocolate magic shell. Plus they offer chopped up stuff from Petunia's for topping your swirl. I can't write about this is further detail, because it makes me cry I can't eat here anymore...

Epif--Sort of fancy and expensive, but a really nice vegetarian restaurant serving Andean inspired food and cocktails in a sort of romantically nice atmosphere. I really loved the plaintain chips and salsa.

Farm Spirit is the latest and greatest from Chef Aaron Adams of Portobello fame. You'll definitely need money and a reservation to get in on this. I haven't been yet, but folks have been telling me I need to get on the bus.

Harvest at the Bindery--Although I've only visited once, this is probably my favorite new place for a local produce-centric meal. Food is served family-style, and it probably would also win new best new brunch joint, since Dazee hits their Sunday brunch pretty regularly.

Homegrown Smoker Smokehouse and Deli--PDX's beloved vegan cart Homegrown Smoker has recently branched out into their own brick and mortar restaurant. It shares a building with Vtopia, making it more than easy to scoop up a Mac N Cheese Soy Curl burrito and some cultured nut cheese on your way to the airport.

New Cascadia--I'm not really sure how they've done it, but NC makes gluten-free bread that really, seriously does not taste GF. You can pick up European style artisinal loaves and bagels from their baker, or grab some to go from a FarMar. Lots of local places serve their bread too, and you can pick up rolls and loaves at New Seasons in the regular bread aisle.

The Sudra--I really love the Sudra, because I'm in love with their Peacock Salad (Soy Curls, kale and tahini). It's really teeny-tiny, but they have lots of tables outside and their Indian inspired food is comforting, creative and delicious.

Sushi Love--If you find yourself way out in deep SE, then make sure you grab some rolls at Sushi Love. I was really sorry to see them move out of inner Portland, but their rolls are definitely worth the drive. My favorite is their Mexican style roll with soyrizo and corn chips, but definitely check for the special of the day, because that's usually uhmeeezing, too.

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Go check out my recent review of Vtopia. So cheesy, so good.
Vtopia is basically just hubba hubba all over the place. I LOVE their cheese board, I LOVE their soups with cheesie New Cascadia bread, and I LOVE that beyond their amazing cultured vegan cheese, they also sell other vegan cheeses that are hard to find anywhere else. Plus Imber and Mark are the nicest people, ever.
Food Pop Ups and other Cool Stuff
Obon PDX--I tasted a little bit of Obon's glory at Vegan Beerfest last Summer, but getting to their pop-up is top of my list for birthday wants this month. Hopefully I'll report back soon with more details.
Of Roots and Blooms has been cooking at Culmination Brewing on Sunday nights. The folks who run this used to be behind PDX Cheese Plate, and I hear the Mac N Cheese is not to be missed.
Squirrel and Crow Foods--I just discovered these folks on Instagram yesterday, but I think they're one to watch. My plan is to grab some of their non-soy tempeh as soon as I can from the Alberta Co-op.

Thrift/Vintage Stops/Craft
House of Vintage is my go-to spot for reasonably priced vintage clothing and cute household stuff. It's located in a fun shopping area in SE, and is close to Harlow, if you wanna grab a bowl and eat some booch with your avocado.
Modern Domestic--my favorite fabric shop 'cuz the folks are so nice and they sell lots of Japanese prints and indie sewing patterns. If you're in the market for a fancy Bernina, here ya go!

Go Outside, Stay Outside
My advice to you is to grab a lil puddin' from Pixie Retreat, or hit a cart and then see some nature. Hug Point on the coast is one of my most favorite spots, especially if you like sea caves, natural beach waterfalls and tide-pooling. Other great places would be trails in the Oregon Gorge or hikes in Forest Park.
Also, Portland is an awesome town for a plain ol' neighborhood walk. I usually take Vee out for about 4-6 miles a day, and my favorite is to just get lost in the gardens, dogs and houses.
Farmers' Markets. We have a lot of them during the season, and a rillly big one on Saturday morning on the west side.

I'd be remiss, if I didn't remind you about these places I listed in my last See and Do. You'll have to click on that for more info, 'cuz my hands are tired of typing. Also, keep checking back here, 'cuz I'll probably keep updating it with all the new stuff.

Bui Natural Tofu--really delicious homemade tofu shop with counter service. They have super fresh tofu salad rolls and banh cam on Fridays!
Food Fight, Herbivore, Sweet Pea and the Vegan Mini Mall.
Merkato Ethiopian Food Store--If you want to grab some housemade injera, berbere and shiro to bring home to your trusty copy of Teff Love. Here's my favorite spot.
Pixie Retreat
SCRAP.

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ETA:

Sizzle Pie is pretty great for vegan slices (even GF), but they're Rabbit Salad is what keeps bringing me back over and over again. Order it with vegan ranch!

I have no idea how I left Tiffin Asha off of this list, it's one of my favorite PDX eats. It's located in a cart on Mississippi Street and is home to South Indian street snacks like dosa, vada, idli, and special's like today's uttapam. Be sure to let them know your're vegan, and make sure to try some of their gun powder (podi), it's sooOOOOo gooOOOod. Check their website for hours, 'cuz they're not open everyday.

xo kittee

Disclosure: This post contains a sponsored link from Stay.com and affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a very small commission.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

PDX's Vtopia Restaurant and Cheese Shop

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HelllOOOooo Vtopia? I RUV ROO.
I hit Vtopia Restaurant and Cheese Shop with friends today for a little Spring bake-sale planning work sesh, and I was more than a little bit distracted by my lunch. Holy Moly, this place just keeps getting better and better, which doesn't make sense, because it is already SO GOOD at base one.

I've been contemplating where to go for my birthday next month, and I really think this can't be beat. I'mma turn 48, all covered in cheese. It's decided.

So rich. So creamy. 
Vtopia stocks New Cascadia, which is pretty much the best GF bread you could ever hope for, so just about everything sammy style on the menu can be made gluten-free. This includes their cheesy bread, which today manifested in the form of grilled brie sandwhiches. I think it was brie, but it was melty, ooey gooey and divine, so why get hung up on details.

The Cheesy Bread came with salad and a bowl of one of the soup of the day specials, which was a creamy-cheesy-cauliflower soup topped with more cheese, green onion and coconut bacon. Basically, it was like eating a really good fondue with a spoon. Which is noteworthy, because I heard they're gonna be serving fondue soon, too.

Also there was ranch on my salad. This was such a deliciously, rich meal. I loved it all many times over. So much so that you are getting all the details. You so lucky.

This was my soup, Julie's salad and Cheesy Bread and Driftwood magazine. 
See? I wasn't kidding about the ooey gooey goodness of this.
Plus tables outside = dog dates.
Vee was emailing me during the entire meal. Do your dogs do that?
Truly. This place is one of my top PDX faves! Yum-O-Lum.

Vtopia Restaurant and Cheese Shop
1628 SW Jefferson Street
Portland, OR

They also sell cheese you can purchase online!

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Come back soon!
xo kittee

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sugar Lumps and Chocolate "Snicker" Cups.

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Peanut Butter Cups with Puffed Rice.
Raw chocolate, unadulterated natural peanut butter, and puffed brown rice.
When I was first diagnosed with spondyloarthropathy, my rheumatologist told me to stop eating gluten (already was) and refined sugar. I'd actually already figured out that I felt better off of sweets, but it still didn't make the news go down any better. Thankfully, after a little experimenting and the realization I could still do some natural stuff like brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and dates, I realized my life wasn't over. I just had a bit of a learning curve to sail over, and I'd be fine.

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Don't feel sorry for me. Chopped peanut butter cups and a raw chocolate drizzle 
on top of cashew cheesecakes from my birthday last Spring.
One of the treats I've really grown to love over the last year or so, is playing with raw chocolate, because it can be sweetened however I like. It can also be used to make all sorts of really cool freezer cups. I generally use it for really basic PB cups, although I often add brown rice cereal for a little crunch. I've also used it to make turtle cups which are awesome and easy, a little brown rice syrup and a walnut buried in chocolate, works in a pinch.

raw chocolate, chocolate, vegan, peanut butter, snickers, cups, gluten free, kittee, recipe
Peanut butter cups with puffed brown rice and carob! SwoooOOOOon. Dog bless America, I love carob.

raw chocolate, chocolate, vegan, peanut butter, snickers, cups, gluten free, kittee, recipe
Peanut Butter and Jam Freezer Cups.
These were filled with a strawberry chia jam!
Raw chocolate adventures led me to carob cuppers (I'm a big ol' carob fan), which led me to peanut butter freezer cups, which I wrote about a few months ago. You basically use the same amount of carob or peanut butter instead of cacao powder with similar results.

Peanut Butter Date Cups
Then a few weeks ago, I saw a bunch of people from a FB group posting about dipping peanut butter stuffed dates into melted chocolate to make "candy" bars. Chocolate chips are out for me, because the only vegan brands I know without sugar aren't listed on the FEP's approved chocolate list, and I'm a stickler. 

I figured I could make something similar with my beloved raw chocolate and gave it a go. I quickly discovered raw chocolate was too thin for this task, since it was just dastardly running off my dates, and making me grumpy. So of course, I decided to turn them into cups, and they came out WUNDERBAR.

tofu vegan gluten-free crispy stir-fry protein
Peanut Butter Date Cups
Makes however many you like.
Before you start, please read through the notes and recipe below!

The chocolate produced here isn't super sweet--add a little more maple syrup or whatever, if that's your thang. But, that said, I think these are real nice as is.

And, if you want to turn these into carob or peanut butter cups instead, just replace them in the same ratio for the cacao powder! You can add puffed brown rice for crunch, too! Or coconut, or whatever yum you want. Cocoa powder works, too.

What You Need:
♥ 2 parts cacao powder 
♥ 2 parts melted coconut oil
♥ 1 part liquid sweetener
♥ soft dates
♥ natural peanut butter
♥ peanuts

What You Do:
Line a cupcake tray with a few cupcake papers. If you mix about 1/4 cup of the cacao and 1/4 cup coconut oil with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, you'll get enough chocolate for a few cups. If you have one, I actually prefer a mini cupcake tray, and with the same amount of ingredients, you'll get a 6-7 cup yield.

Put the cacao powder, coconut oil and sweetener in a small dish and stir well to combine. If the coconut oil is not very warm, or the sweetener is cold, the mixture might seize up a little. It just means the coconut oil is thickening and you need to warm it up--either in the microwave for about 10 seconds, or set your dish over a bowl of boiling water until it thins out and is smooth.

Spoon a little bit of liquid chocolate into each paper, just enough to cover the bottom, and freeze for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, carefully split your dates in half lengthwise and remove the pits. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter onto each half. Remove the tray from the freezer and smoosh a date half into each chocolate circle. Spoon more chocolate on top, to cover the date, and sprinkle with peanuts. Freeze until set and NOM.

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Come back soon!  xo kittee