Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Blackberry Nice Cream Cake

As a kid, birthday parties always included ice cream and cake, or better yet, the magical combination of an ice cream cake. Flash forward a decade or two and I'm not so quick to gobble down food just because it tastes good.  Artificial food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, loads of sugar, milk, fat and cholesterol go into making those cakes! Now that I know better, I say "no way!" to putting crap in this 31 year old body.  However, part of the fun of being plant based is creating delicious recipes that rival all of that not so healthy stuff I used to eat.  Banana "nice" cream has become one of my favorite foods and there are many mornings, noons, and nights that nice cream gets made in this house.  So easy and so delicious, I knew a fully raw nice cream cake had to happen for my birthday! Plus, it had to be pink because I love pink and well, it's very pretty.  What better way to celebrate life than with a healthful Blackberry Nice Cream Cake?!

This nice cream is smooth and creamy thanks to the addition of coconut cream.  Using bananas that are fully ripe, yes we love those little brown spots, means that the carbohydrates have broken down into simple sugars creating a perfectly sweet and low glycemic ingredient for nice cream!  I really encourage you guys to play around with flavor.  This cake uses shades of pink so my ingredients had to match. However, the flavor combinations are endless and using what you love will make this cake method even more special to you.  Future flavor combos will probably be along the lines of mint chip, chocolate and peanut butter, and maybe even an almond joy cake! 

For this cake, we will be using blackberries, beet juice powder, acai powder, raw cacao powder, maca powder and coconut cream to blend into the nana nice cream.  Maca is optional.  It's a wonderful superfood with many health benefits and it delivers a good punch of energy.  However, it can be pricy so choosing to omit will not change the flavor at all.  The measurements are for an 8" springform pan, so use these ingredients as a guideline if playing with a flavor creation of your own.

*This recipe calls for 6 cups of chopped, frozen bananas. To freeze bananas, take really ripe bananas, peel, break into pieces, and freeze overnight in a freezer safe plastic bag or for at least 6 hours.  If they aren't frozen, the nice cream will not be creamy.

Here's what you're going to need:
Crust Ingredients:
1 cup medjool dates, chopped, pitted, soaked 1 hour then drained
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup almond flour (option to just add more almonds but the flour makes for a more pastry like crust)
Crust Method:
To a food processor fitted with the "S-type" blade, add all ingredients and process until a dough ball forms.  If the dough is too chunky for your liking, use a spatula to spread it apart and then process again.  The dough should start to ball up and become nice and sticky.  If this is not happening then you might need to add an extra date or two.
Once you have your dough, press the crust evenly onto the bottom of your pan.  Okay, the crust is done!
* This was my first time using a springform pan and my crust stuck a little.  Perhaps placing a round cutting of parchment paper down before pressing on the crust would help.  Otherwise, just make sure to run a knife along the bottom to loosen the crust.
Blackberry Nice Cream Layer
1 cup frozen blackberries
2 cups frozen banana
1 tsp. raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp. coconut cream
Beet Acai Layer
2 cups frozen banana
2 tsp. beet juice powder
1/2 tsp. acai powder
1 tsp. maca powder
2 Tbsp. coconut cream
Coconut Layer
2 cup frozen bananas
4 Tbsp. coconut cream
1 tsp. maca powder
Blackberry Coulis Topping
1/4 cup frozen blackberries
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
squirt of lemon juice
pinch cinnamon
Add all ingredients of blackberry layer to your food processor and process until smooth and creamy. You might need to stop the processor one or two times, smooth down the nice cream with a spatula or spoon and then process again.  Make sure all banana and blackberry pieces are smooth and creamy.  Pour this layer directly on top of the crust.  Smooth out the nice cream to an even layer.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer while making the next layer.  It is very important to allow each layer to firm up in the freezer so that the layers will not bleed into each other. Frozen layers make for very clean lines.  Trust me on this, I learned the hard way.
Repeat the same steps for the beet layer.
While the beet layer is firming up in the freezer, add all coulis ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
Go ahead and process your coconut layer and add this layer on top of the beet layer.  Then use a spoon to draw a spiral on top of the cake with the blackberry coulis.  Doesn't have to be tidy, it can even be a little messy because we are going to marble it.  Then take a chop stick and gently drag it through the coulis in a swirl pattern. Follow your spiral and trace a ribbon down the path to create a marble effect.  If there are any places that seem a little too white still, just drop a bit of coulis and swirl away.  Reserve any extra coulis to dress the plate when serving. 

Optional garnish: decorate the edges of the cake with more blackberries but reserve any green garnish (such as the mint I've used) until just before serving as it will wilt in the freezer.
Pop the cake in the freezer for 4 hours or overnight. When it's ready to eat, remove from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for ten minutes before removing the ring.  Then slice and serve!

To plate, garnish with a little extra coulis and some fresh mint and enjoy! This cake is sure to please everyone at your table and children especially love nice cream!  Dairy free, cruelty free, guilt free indulgence with every bite!  I had two pieces!
Thank you for sharing this vegan voyage with me! Blogging has taught me so much about cooking, ingredients, recipe creation and the power of sharing your passions with anyone and everyone!  I hope you guys enjoy this cake as much as my family did! To celebrate we went to my favorite Chinese restaurant for tofu that is delicious and a tad deep fried!  Good thing dessert was healthy!

I must say happy birthday to my kitty as well!! She was a birthday gift when I turned 10 years old and we have been celebrating together for 21 years now!! We took a birthday selfie together, she spent most the day sleeping.

 Thank you for stopping by my blog and happy holidays to everyone!!  Your readership has kept me motived through the years and I'm so grateful!  As always, please feel free to share any and all recipes with friends and families!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Easy Raw Chocolate Truffles

It's truffle season!!  Every year when the weather starts to cool down and the scarves and mittens go on, I'm always reminded of sweet, delicious chocolate truffles.  The desserts of my childhood were always in the form of store bought truffles, y'know the kind that come in a two layered box where each one is a different flavor and half the fun is taking a bite to see what is inside!  Well, fast forward to today and I am no longer a lover of milk chocolate OR processed sugar. Instead, my holiday table and celebrations always feature this healthy twist on holiday truffles.  Bite-sized and healthy enough to enjoy for breakfast and sweet enough to enjoy for dessert, these gorgeous raw truffles will please your palete and your health.  Low GI, raw, and loaded with antioxidants thanks to the fully raw cacao, my holiday truffles will make you think twice about what goes on in a raw, vegan holiday kitchen!!
These truffles are incredibly easy to make and are guaranteed to please.  They would make a lovely addition to any holiday table, party, or just a great treat anytime!  Here is what you're going to need:
  • 2 cups raw nuts (I usually always use raw almonds but cashews, pecan, or walnuts would work)
  • 3/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup dates, pitted (medjool are a good choice but today I opted for golden)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons filtered water
  • 2-3 Tablespoons maple syrup (optional for added sweetness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional for added sweetness)
  • Pinch of Himalayan or Sea Salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded, dried coconut (for decoration, option to also use raw cacao nibs, sesame seeds, chopped nuts, and raw cacao powder mixed with cinnamon).

  1. Into a food processor fitted with the "S-type" blade, add your nuts.  If you want little pieces of nuts in your truffles, then process nuts until they are in tiny pieces.  If you want a smoother truffle, process nuts to a fine powder.
  2. Add cacao powder and salt then process briefly to combine.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture begins to form a giant ball.  The dates are nice and sticky so they will encourage the ingredients to form together.  This should happen pretty quickly.  Test your dough by pushing some between your finger and if it sticks together then it is good to go.
  4. Roll the truffle mixture into small 1 inch balls. 
  5. Take coconut and place on a plate (option to also use more cacao powder or sesame seeds to roll your truffles in for variety).
  6. Roll each ball in the coconut so that is covered like a little ball of snow.
  7. Enjoy!

As the weather cools down and we finally accept that yet another summer has come to an end, don't stay indoors drinking endless cups of tea by the fire just waiting for a break in the clouds, get outside! Winter is a great time to play outdoors as long as we have on our vegan ugg boots and hoodies!  Trust me, I live along the Puget Sound and our weather is wet and freezing right now!  That doesn't stop the beauty of the world, in fact, it often enhances it!  I took a break from truffles and headed outdoors to do some yoga, find inner peace, and watch for passing whales on a beautiful winter day!
Thank you for visiting my blog!! These truffles are such a joy to make and I hope you all enjoy making them as well!  Just remember to have fun and share them with those you love!
Namaste and Happy Eats!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Jack-o-Lantern Nachos and Spooktacular Nice Cream

Happy Halloween friends! I hope that everyone is having fun dressing up and getting in the spooky spirit this year! I know I am!  Since today is traditionally a day for sweets, I thought I'd offer two healthy yet festive and kid-friendly recipes which feature loads of fun and zero processed sugars.  We tend to allow ourselves to indulge on holidays and this holiday is a doozy for genetically modified ingredients, processed sugars, and unhealthy food additives and colorings that can be found in our favorite and most classic candy bars.  Don't fear! The spirits of Halloween will forgive you if you decide to forgo the chemical concoctions that filled our trick or treat bags of yesteryear.  Even if you do decide to have a couple sweets, these recipes will help keep you full of nutrition so that you are better equipped to handle those sugar spikes and toxic overload.  These recipes are dressed up for the holiday but are wonderful recipes for any time of the year!  Let's get started!
Spooktacular Kale and Chocolate Blackberry Nice Cream Smoothie (Makes 1 serving)
2 leaves of kale, de-stemmed, torn into pieces
2 frozen bananas
1 tsp. maca powder
2 cups frozen blackberries
2 heaping Tbsps. Coconut Cream
1 tsp. raw cacao
1 ripe banana, cut in half. One half sliced and one half for your ghost
1 raisin, cut into pieces for the eyes and mouth of your banana ghost
extra blackberries for decoration
1/2 tsp. hemp seeds for decoration
Kale Layer
To a food processor fitted with the "S-type" blade, add your kale and process until the kale is very well chopped. Add your frozen bananas and maca and process until the nice cream is smooth and the kale is well incorporated.  You might need to stop a few times and scrape the sides.  Take a bowl and pour the kale nice cream into it.  Take your mason jar and add a kale layer.  Place mason jar and bowl in the freezer while you make the blackberry layer.  Rinse food processor.
Blackberry Layer
Add your frozen blackberries, coconut cream, and raw cacao to the food processor and process until smooth.  Take your mason jar and bowl of kale nice cream from the freezer.  Add a layer of blackberry.  Then line the inside of the jar with sliced banana(pressed to the glass) and add more kale nice cream on top of the blackberry.  Then add the rest of the blackberry piled high and place the mason jar back in the freezer while you make your banana ghost.  Leave the left over kale nice cream on the counter to soften as this will be used to make the spider web on top.

Go ahead and affix the raisin pieces to your banana.  Let your smoothie sit in the freezer for about ten minutes.  Take a piping bag and add the kale smoothie to it.  Take your mason jar from the freezer and use the kale nice cream to decorate the top.  Add your banana ghost, a few frozen berries and some hempseed sprinkles and your smoothie is ready!  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Nachos (Serves 2)
2 large sweet potatoes, sliced to 1/8" (I used a mandolin but you can slice carefully with a knife)
1 cup black beans
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 avocado
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 jalapeno, de-seeded, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2-3 leaves romaine, chiffonade or chopped (you can also use green cabbage)
cilantro to garnish
salt to taste*
1 Tbsp. Grapeseed oil

Spicy Pumpkin Nacho Cheese
2 cups pumpkin, steamed
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 jalapeno, de-seeded, chopped
2-3 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste*

*Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Take your sliced sweet potato and cut jack-o-lantern faces using a cookie cutter or a knife.  I didn't have a cookie cutter so I stacked a few slices at a time and cut the faces into them. I reserved one small slice of sweet potato to go on top of the guacamole so I cut a scary face with fangs on that one.  The rest are happy little jack-o-lanterns!

Take two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Lightly oil each slice by tossing sweet potato in a bowl to coat. Place on the cooking sheet in one layer without overlap then dust with salt.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400 °F then flip and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
To make the guacamole, take your avocado and slice down the middle.  Use a spoon to remove the flesh and pit. Then use a fork to mash.  Add about 1 tablespoon each of your chopped onion and tomato, the lemon juice, your 1/2 jalapeno then salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.
To make the pumpkin nacho cheese.  Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Then add to a small pan and place over medium heat.  Stir occasionally until the cheese is warm and ready for your nachos.
One the sweet potato chips are done, remove them from the baking sheet and allow to cool for about 2 minutes.
To serve: Take a plate and layer the romaine lettuce to create a bed for your nachos.  Add a layer of sweet potato chips, then some beans, bell peppers, tomato, onion, some guacamole and some cheese.  Then create another layer.  Add a large dollop of guacamole to the top, garnish with cilantro, a dash of salt and pepper and the little sweet potato chip with fangs to garnish if you so desire.  Eat right away and enjoy your boorific nachos! 


Happy Halloween and don't forget to set out your carved pumpkins for all the trick or treaters to enjoy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Nice Cream Smoothie

Welcome to another installment of the nice cream chronicles! This nice cream recipe incorporates all the flavors of pumpkin pie without the calories and you can eat it, guilt free, for breakfast! Also, as if pumpkin pie had anything on this nice cream smoothie, yeah right, I've included a chocolate layer and a vanilla layer so it's like pumpkin pie a la mode with chocolate! Who could ask for a better breakfast? You guys know I love my superfoods and this creation includes raw cacao, coconut cream and maca! In addition to the banana and dates, this meal is one cleanse friendly, taste explosion that is perfect for Fall! 
For those of you who are wondering what nice cream is, well, nana nice cream is an ice cream made purely of frozen bananas. No added sugar needed since bananas are loaded with low glycemic sugars when ripe so make sure to freeze your bananas when fully ripe and covered in spots.  Once the bananas are frozen, you blend away and get this amazing soft serve that you can eat right away or put it in the freezer to harden and you'll have sweet, delicious, body lovin', soul jivin' nice cream!  This creation is a particular favorite of mine because it soothes my pumpkin spice craving.  Have fun and enjoy!
* Freeze your bananas peeled and broken into pieces so they are easier to blend.

Here's what you're going to need:
Pumpkin Spice Nice Cream Smoothie (makes 2 servings):
8 frozen bananas, diced
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. coconut cream
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice*
2 Tbsp. maple syrup (optional for those days when extra sweetness is required)
1 Tbsp. maca powder
2 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
2 dates, pitted, chopped
1 fresh banana sliced

1. Add your bananas, coconut cream and maca powder to a food processor fitted with the "S-type" blade. If you have a weak food processor, take caution as these bananas might break your equipment. You need a solid piece of kitchenware to accomplish this task.  Another option is to use a high speed blender such as a vitamix or a regular blender that you will need to stop frequently and stir but will get the job done.
2.  Process until creamy.  Divide mixture in half, leaving half of the nice cream in the blender and half into a bowl.  From the bowl, divide in half again and place in another bowl.  Put both bowls in the freezer while you make the pumpkin layer.
3. To your food processor, add the pumpkin puree (option to use raw sugar pie pumpkin as well to keep fully raw), pumpkin spice, and optional maple syrup.  Process until incorporated. Scoop pumpkin spice nice cream into a bowl and place in the freezer.  Rinse your food processor.
4. Add one bowl of nice cream to your food processor.  Add the raw cacao powder and process until well combined.
5.  Take your mason jars and scoop the chocolate layer into each of them.  Use a spoon to smooth down the surface of your chocolate layer.  Then remove your pumpkin spice layer from the freezer and add a layer to each jar.  Add a row of sliced banana to the inside of each jar and press them gently against the glass. Finally add your coconut layer.  Garnish with sliced bananas and chopped dates and enjoy right away! 

It was pouring down rain while I made my smoothie but the sun came out just as I finished and it was so beautiful outside I had to take pictures on the dock.  I sat down right there on the pier to eat my smoothie and this gorgeous rainbow appeared across our little cove.
After the storm cleared and I finished my smoothie, I went for a hike since maca makes me feel like a combination of Rainbow Brite and the Energizer Bunny so I had to go burn some of my plant induced energy with a little activity.  The calm after the storm left the water so beautiful.
I hope you guys all get a chance to try this amazing smoothie.  If you decide to make just one, the left over nice cream will keep well in a freezer safe container and makes an excellent dessert.  Enjoy and thank you for vising my little blogosphere!  Sending you all light, love and loads of nana nice cream!
* Pumpkin Spice is a combination of spices that you can buy as a blend or you can use this recipe to mix up your own:
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. Allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin Korma

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I have two great loves in life. Indian food and pumpkins! Indian food is easy to love because it is delicious and vegan friendly but mostly because it is spicy and who doesn't love October and pumpkin season?! Combine these two great loves and bam! You get Pumpkin Korma! The flavors of Fall and the spice of curry pair beautifully in this festive and easy to make meal.  The true beauty of vegetable korma is that you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.  Look in my refrigerator on any given day and you will find red bell peppers and a mason jar full of freshly sprouted chickpeas. Therefore, these two ingredients grace this dish but don't be afraid to use what you have on hand, in fact I encourage it! Play around and always use what you love, what is local, and what is in season.  This dish is perfect for a cold, stormy night when the trees are turning and the wind has its hint of the chilly winter to come!  Since it is October, I'd say this is a beautiful time of year to eat Pumpkin Korma and enjoy the colors of Fall! Washington has truly beautiful seasons and Fall has slowly crept its way onto our landscape here in the Pacific Northwest.

A quick word about the pumpkin for this recipe.  It's absolutely okay to use canned pumpkin but I like to use fresh pumpkin when it's in season because it lends itself to a stronger pumpkin flavor and because I like pieces of pumpkin to accompany the other vegetables.  Of course, use what you are comfortable with and what you have time for, using fresh pumpkin can add about 20 minutes to the prep time for this dish but it is so worth it!
To prepare the pumpkin, you'll need about 2 cups of cubed pumpkin.  Use an organic sugar pie pumpkin and cut in half.  Then scoop out the seeds and remove all the inner strings and mushy parts (great culinary jargon, I know!).  I like to save the seeds and roast them with a little bit of olive oil and salt for a healthy snack later and sometimes I dry the seeds to save for my garden the following season.  Once you've cleaned the inside, use a knife to carefully cut off the skin.  Once you have the clean flesh of the pumpkin, cut into cubes.  To steam the pumpkin, place a large stock pot of water on the stove to boil and add the pumpkin to a steamer basket.  Cover and let steam for about 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.  To make a puree, add the pumpkin to a blender and process.  This puree can be used to make soups, pies, smoothies, sauces, or anything else that you might used canned pumpkin for! Now that we have our steamed pumpkin, let's put it to good use! We will use some of our pumpkin to make puree and some will be reserved to be added to the vegetables.
Pumpkin Korma Ingredients:
1 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
4 carrots, cubed
1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
3 Tbsp. raw cashew, ground to flour (use a coffee grinder to make cashew flour)
3 Tbsp. raw cashew pieces
2 tsp. sea salt
2 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. garam masala
1 cup coconut cream
2 cups vegetables
 - 1/2 cup green beans, chopped
 - 1 cup cauliflower, broken into bite-sized pieces
 - 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
 - 1/4 cup chickpeas (mine are sprouted but you can use canned or cooked)
2 cups pumpkin, steamed
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add ginger and garlic, stir and cook an additional minute. Add the carrots, cauliflower, jalapeno and season with 1 Tbsp. of the curry powder and salt.  Stir and cook for ten minutes.
2. While the vegetables cook, add 1 cup of the steamed pumpkin, the coconut cream, 1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder and the garam masala to a blender and process until smooth and creamy.
3.  To your skillet, add the rest of your vegetables, the remaining cup of steamed pumpkin, and the cashew flour to the pan and stir.  Now add your pumpkin puree to the pan and stir again. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for ten minutes.
4. Add the cashew pieces and stir just before serving.
To serve:
Serve pumpkin korma over a bed of jasmine or basmati rice or even over quinoa.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and shredded coconut.  Enjoy!


I had some leftover steamed pumpkin from making this dish so I used it in a simple supper that I had the following night.  In our house, veggie korma goes quick and we never have leftovers so I was really happy to have the pumpkin! I've made some rice and steamed some kale to serve alongside some pinto beans, fresh romaine, bell pepper, cilantro and hot sauce for an open face burrito plate. Simple, wholesome goodness to end a busy day.

Thank you for vising the Venturing Vegan blog today! I hope you get a chance to make this recipe and that you love it as much as we do! Happy Fall to all!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dragon Roll with Cauliflower and Hemp "Rice" and Spicy Mayo

I've been playing around a lot with cauliflower rice and I thought to myself that it would be so tasty in a sushi roll!  Then I got the bold notion that not only could I make my rice a super rice by adding in super food hempseeds BUT I was so bold as to think I could look like a pro doing it :)! If I can be a sushi master, so can you!Behold my raw Dragon Roll with Cauliflower and Hempseed Rice and Spicy Mayo! Let's get started:

Dragon Roll Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados (they are ripe when soft to the touch and the skin is dark brown)
1 carrot, julienned
1 bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, julienned
4 tender green lettuce leaves, sliced in half

Raw Cauliflower and Hemp "Rice":
1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into large pieces
2 Tbsp. - 1/3 cup hemp seeds (I know hemp seeds are expensive so you can use what you like)
1 tsp. hemp oil
1/2" piece of ginger, shaved
1 tsp. seasoned rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar to keep it raw
a few drop of your favorite sweetener coconut nectar/honey/yukon syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Raw Spicy Mayo
1/2 cup coconut cream
1-2 tsp. Sriracha
1/2 lemon, juiced
pinch of sea salt and pepper

Before we begin, if you haven't made sushi before then check out my how to for sushi rolling here.

For the Raw Cauliflower and Hemp Rice: To a food processor fitted with the "S-type" blade, add all ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles sushi rice.  You should only have to pulse for about 30  seconds to achieve this texture.  If you over process, the rice will look more like pate, we don't want this so pulse a few times, take a look, then pulse again until the correct texture is achieved.

For Spicy Mayo: add all ingredients to a bowl, mix well and set aside.

Dragon Roll:
Take your nori sheet and place it shiny side down on your cutting board.  If you are using a bamboo roller, place the nori on top of the bamboo.  Add the cauliflower rice to the nori, covering the entire sheet except for a 1" line across the top of the sheet.  This is where the nori will seal so we want to keep it clean.  Next, toward the bottom of the nori, the side closest to you, line up your ingredients. Add some lettuce and veggies but don't overfill or it will too stuffed to roll.  Then roll the sushi very tightly being careful not to tear the nori.  Again, if you want a picture tutorial on rolling sushi you can find one  here.  Once the nori is rolled, use a small amount of water to seal by dabbing your finger in water and wetting the nori then pressing together for a nice clean roll.

Adding the Dragon: Take one half of your avocado and place it on the cutting board then thinly slice as shown below.
Once the avocado is sliced, use your knife to pic up the sliced and intact avocado and transfer it on top of your sushi roll.  Then carefully spread across the top of your roll.  This is a practice makes perfect technique so have patience, have fun, and no matter what it looks like, it will be yummy!
Next, cover with plastic wrap and gently press down to mold the avocado to the sushi roll as shown below.

While still covered with plastic wrap, slice your sushi and then remove plastic wrap.
Plating: To serve the sushi, line it up on a plate and garnish with a dollop of spicy mayo and chives on each piece.  Serve with pickled ginger, tamari, and wasabi.  Sake is optional ;)

Domo arigato gozaimasu for stopping by the Venturing Vegan blog today! I will be posting lots more recipes using the all mighty and healing hempseed so stay turned for more delicious and plant based creations!  I hope you enjoy this recipe and feel free to share with friends!

Citrus Infused Sesame Garlic Tempeh

Tempeh, for those readers who find this food to be foreign, is a fermented soybean product.  The reason I love tempeh is because it is so incredibly easy to digest.  Unlike tofu, which contains trypsin inhibitors that make digestion and protein absorption difficult for the body, tempeh has been fermented thus deactivating the trypsin inhibitors found in other soy products.  It is full of protein and is a wonderful substitute for those, like me, who sometimes have digestive issues from eating soy products.  Since tempeh is a fermented product, I've paired it with my homemade sauerkraut, fermented cabbage, for a probiotic rich dinner that tastes of my favorite flavors from Asian cuisine!  Adding the sauerkraut raw ensures that the beneficial probiotics are fully intact when eaten so please don't heat raw sauerkraut if you want the enzymatic benefits of it, which are plentiful.  I promise to post a how to blog for making raw sauerkraut soon!
This Citrus Infused Sesame Garlic Tempeh recipe was inspired by the Buddha Bowl at Native Foods, my favorite vegan restaurant in Southern California!!  I remember it having tempeh, sauerkraut, kale and rice and having a heavenly flavor.  I think theirs is made with tahini but I've made mine with a citrus infused sesame garlic glaze and it was heavenly!!  My sister made an abundance of raw sauerkraut and brought a jar over for me so I had been thinking about what to do with it and wanted to try something new!  So, I thought why not make a Buddha bowl?!!
I'm not Buddhist but I believe there are many similar principles between a vegan lifestyle and Buddhism.  Buddha said, "If you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe.  You will feel its rhythm.  Go with this flow.  Happiness lies ahead.  Meditation is key."  As an avid yogi, I feel that this concept is true and can be felt in the daily practice of yoga, meditation and the mindfulness that accompanies a whole foods plant based diet.  I don't meditate per se but believe that food can be a form of meditation.  If I choose to eat plant based foods that are full of nourishment and a higher life force frequency, then I feel more connected to the Earth and to myself.  I truly believe that eating plants provides the ability to connect deeply with the life cycle of the Earth and provides great fulfillment in the little moments of life.  Today my little moments were enjoyed during a walk down the coastline with my dog and little beach kitty.


Practicing beach yoga is my favorite...
... and remembering always that there is little point in working towards a beautiful body if you do  not also have a beautiful heart.  Practicing ahimsa allows me to work towards both.

Speaking of ahimsa, doing no harm, let's talk tempeh! Yay for cruelty free protein that is yummy and Earth friendly!  When you steam the tempeh, it softens the patty and makes for a tender and flavorful result.  I've chosen to combine a pan fried and steamed method to seal in the marinade for excellent flavor.  It's so easy, I promise!

Citrus Infused Sesame Garlic Tempeh  (Serves 2)
1 package tempeh, organic and gluten free
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
1 Tbsp.  liquid sweetener such as coconut nectar or honey
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste
3 cups curly kale, de-stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup raw sauerkraut
1/2 medium white onion, sliced
1 cup jasmine rice, brown or white
2 cups water
Coconut oil for cooking

1. In a large bowl, mix the sesame oil, tamari, liquid sweetener, orange juice, garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and chili flakes.  Whisk together to incorporate. 
2. Remove tempeh from package and either cut into triangles or cubes. I prefer triangles because they make for a pretty presentation and sit atop the kale quite easily.  Place tempeh in sauce, saturate each piece evenly, allow to marinate for 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature.
3.  In a medium sized pot, add 1 cup rice and two cups water.  Bring to a roaring boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.  Cooking times vary so check your rice bag for specific cooking time.  I usually just keep an eye on my rice and once the water has been absorbed, I turn off the heat but keep it covered to trap the heat.
4.  While the rice cooks, take a medium sized skillet and add a small amount of coconut oil.  Once the oil is melted add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.  Once the onions are translucent, remove from the pan and set aside.
5.  Using the same pan, remove the tempeh from the marinade and add to pan.  Quickly pan fry on each side for two minutes over medium heat.  Then reduce the heat to low, add the remaining marinade and cover.  Allow to steam on each side for about 5 minutes or until the outside is golden brown. 
6.  While the tempeh steams, bring a medium sized fry pan to medium heat and add a very small amount of coconut oil, about 1/2 tsp. Add the kale and stir to coat in oil and then add a dash or two of tamari sauce. Stir a few more times and allow to cook for about 1 minute.  When the kale begins to wilt, reduce the heat to low. 

To a small plate or bowl, add the rice, then top with kale, add the onions and sauerkraut, top with two slices of tempeh and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.  Serve with a small side of tamari and optional sriracha.  Enjoy!

We were lucky to have a wonderful sunset to watch from the deck as we ate our yummy tempeh.  Perfect Sunday!  Thank you for stopping by Venturing Vegan! I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you do, please feel free to leave a comment or share your cooking creation on instagram with #venturingvegan.  Happy eats!