Town and Country Magazine suggested gift ideas

We are very excited that The Vegan Divas Spelt apple cake was featured at Town & Country Magazine on their December issue in their Holiday Gifts Section!

This is a wonderful gift, comes in a beautiful reusable tin and can be enjoyed during breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Town country magazine vegan gift

Go to our site and check out the Spelt Apple Cake for yourself!

The Clean Diet

With the growing shift into a more health-conscious society, veganism is growing in popularity. I, myself, have been a vegan for the last sixteen years; nevertheless for me being a vegan is more a lifestyle than a diet. So much so, in fact, that I opened a bakery named Vegan Divas. Those who are vegan choose not to eat — or even wear — any form of animal product. This also includes anything derived from an animal such as dairy and honey.
Bravo to those who have taken the difficult steps to becoming a vegan, however, there has become a common misconception that being a vegan automatically makes you healthy. Oftentimes vegans who are kosher about not eating animal products or food end up eating tons of starch, oil, sugar, bad carbohydrates, such as white pastas and breads, sodium, GMO, as well as, processed and industrialized foods and “fake” meats.
According to several studies (as The China Study), a carnivore diet increases obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, along with their ensuing complications (e.g., behavioral health and quality-of-life problems). A diet full of processed and industrialized foods can be just as bad. Along with my vegan lifestyle, I also follow Naturopathy, a natural medicine that treats illness through a balanced diet as a system of treatment for disease that avoids drugs and surgery; it emphasizes the use of natural agents (as air, water, and clay) along with physical exercise.  My diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-wheat cereals, nuts and seeds (in less amounts); this can also be called the plant-based diet. According to the Naturopathy, if you eat a horto-frugivorous diet, your body will produce fewer toxins and have less risk of infections, thus reducing the need for antibiotics. Of course, the environment and lifestyle will influence your health as well, but a healthy diet is the baseline.
Being of the culinary world, I feel that I have the duty not just to supply fresh, clean, healthy and delicious food, but to also encourage people to learn about the food they are eating. I see many customers trying to label themselves as a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, etc., but before that, they should perhaps ask themselves these three basic questions: What is this food made of? Where does this vegetable come from? How was it made? Many companies claim their products as vegan, but they are loaded with processed sugar and margarine. What’s the point of consuming a vegan product if it is unhealthy? Some strictly vegans eat huge amount of processed fake meats and stock their pantries with fast and fried food such as tortillas and industrialized salsas. But they are proud to say that they are vegan and don’t hurt animals. I don’t hurt animals either but I don’t want to hurt myself eating junk and imitation food.
Our food habits say a lot about our culture and personality but will also influence our mood and ultimately become part of what we are. I find food to be a very emotional topic since it’s connected to our childhood memories — happy and difficult moments. Keeping a balanced, clean and sustainable diet, is the best way to keep the body healthy and the mind focused; it’s the best way to stay energized and happy. This is very well-explained in the studies of the Macrobiotic, where the yin (expansion) and the yang (contraction) poles are complementary and antagonistic; foods are determined as Yin and Yang and the balance between the two is paramount to the maintenance of good health. Following that line, we should eat preferably local vegetables and fruits in their peak season. Why should we eat sweet potatoes and radish all year round? The roots are yang foods that should be consumed in abundance during the Winter. There is a reason why certain vegetables and fruits grow, naturally, at designated times of the year. Of course, living a busy schedule makes it difficult to follow a strict diet 24/7 — and you should never feel “deprived” — but keeping a balanced diet connected to what nature is bringing to us is a great recipe for a healthy living.

Celery Root Soup with Pear and Pistachio

“My friend Pamela Morgan prepared this Celery Soup specially for us. It’s perfect for winter because the celery root warms your body. The Winter is a great time to eat roots as yam, carrots, radish and sweet potatoes because they are yang foods according to the Macrobiotic.”

To get started you’ll need:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pears, peeled, cored and diced into 1” pieces
1 pear, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2” wedges
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2” pieces
1 leek, pale and light green part only, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium celery root, peeled and diced into 3/4” pieces
2 teaspoons agave
4 sprigs of thyme, stemmed
1 bay leaf
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons raw pistachios, chopped

EB3WPsWra_NikQJ7hcMH2Fxje3Av7mTOsKf7enwhL0QHeat a large stockpot over medium heat for one minute, then add 1T oil. Add 2 diced pears, carrots, leek, garlic, and celery root. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Add the thyme, bay, and vegetable stock to the stockpot and increase heat to medium-high. Bring the soup to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
In a separate skillet, heat another 1T oil over medium heat. Add pear wedges, stir in agave, and cook over medium heat on one side until nicely browned and caramelized. Flip pears and caramelize on other side. Remove from pan and set aside.
Place the raw pistachios in another small skillet over medium heat. Toast until just fragrant. Roughly chop and set aside.
Remove Purée soup using your preferred method, either with a blender, food processor, or an immersion blender. Adjust seasoning and divide soup amongst serving bowls, Garnish each with chopped pistachio and a few caramelized pears.

KVyBcJTD6NLGav9gbUdlA5OFdL75LU9R_8GRPJ-s_zoForget substitutions, adjustments, or alternatives when it comes to vegan cooking.  The best, most flavorful vegan recipes are those that can stand on their own two feet without any help. This soup is certainly one of those recipes. When I came up with the concept, vegan cooking wasn’t even on my radar—it wasn’t until after I created it that I noticed the lack of dairy, meat, or eggs. Well color me surprised! It just so happens that the incredibly silky texture of celery root and pears add so much creaminess that you’d never know you were “missing” anything—because you’re not!
I myself am not a vegan. However, I always try to include one or more “all-veggie” days in my week. Sometimes I just cut out meat, but more times than not I stick to produce, nuts, grains, and seeds. The health benefits of a vegan lifestyle are incredible, so I make a concerted effort to take advantage. This soup is a perfect example of something I enjoy on days like those.

eJiBkI-VP3Nc-Liwuyna1Ir3fEuhbzjKPjICNn7q-osDon’t be afraid of celery root. Trust me. It may look like a baby troll, but I promise you there’s good stuff under that rough skin. Don’t judge a vegetable by its peel! Under the terrifying exterior, celery root is a dense, off-white root vegetable with a mild celery-like flavor. When braised, roasted, or mashed, it has a luxuriously smooth texture and beautifully delicate flavor.
In this recipe, we pair the celery root with carrot and pear for sweetness, and use leek for a mild flavor base. Together, the ingredients are delicately balanced—no one vegetable steals the show here. The flavor flirt (because there always has to be a flavor flirt!) in this soup is the thyme and bay. These two herbs are hardly perceptible when included in the soup but TERRIBLY missed when left out. Promise me you won’t make flat-tasting soup. Include the herbs! You’ll thank me later.
To contrast the velvety soup, I added tender caramelized pears and crunchy pistachios to take things over the edge. To be honest, the soup was already over the edge without them, but sometimes you have to go big or go home.

tKFCwu5hQ2y296Y7u1G06uly0iIf9mW_TyRPtDWiL_AServe this soup for company or make a big batch for lunches this week. I’ve served it as a Thanksgiving appetizer, a cocktail party shooter, and as a weekday office lunch. It’s the jack-of-all-soups. Enjoy! Serves 6.
P.S. Like most pureed soups, this one freezes like a dream so feel free to keep some handy in the freezer!

Toasted Coconut Cake

“I love the deep, nutty flavor of toasted coconut, especially in this moist layer cake, which gets an added depth of flavor from maple syrup. A rich vegan cream cheese frosting and a garnish of additional toasted coconut elevates this fernsmilecutcakecake to the realm of something spectacular.”

– Fernanda

(Makes two 9-inch cakes)

Coconut Cake Layers:

2 1/2 cups (320 g/11/28 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup (45 g/1.6 oz) unsweetened desiccated coconut, toasted

2 ¼ tsp (11 g/0.4 oz) baking powder

1 tsp (5 g/0.17 oz) baking soda

¾ tsp (2.25 g/0.08 oz) kosher salt

¾ cup (177 g/6.2 oz) tofu water

¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp (140 g/5 oz) coconut oil

¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp (210 g/7.4 oz) soy milk

1 1/4 cups (375 g/13.2 oz) maple syrup

1 Tbsp (15 g/0.5 oz) vanilla extract

1 Tbsp (15 g/0.5 oz) coconut extract

1 1/8 tsp (5.6 g/0.2 oz) apple cider vinegar

Icing:

You can use your favorite vegan cream cheese icing.

Garnish:

½ cup (45 g/1.6 oz) unsweetened desiccated coconut, toasted

Make the cake layers:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, gently whisk together the flour, toasted coconut, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the tofu water, coconut oil, soy milk, maple syrup, vanilla and coconut extracts and apple cider vinegar to the center.  Gradually whisk together the liquid and dry ingredients until blended. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then invert them onto the racks and cool completely.

Frost and garnish the cake:

Place one of the cake layers on a cardboard cake round or serving plate. Frost the top of the cake with a layer of the frosting, bringing it right to the edge of the cake. Top with the other cake layer, and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Pat the toasted coconut around the sides of the cake. Serve the cake at room temperature. Store, loosely covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cookbook for under the tree

Melanie Haupt, from Austin Chronicle, writes: As vegan diets gain more and more traction in the general consciousness of American eaters, more and more vegan cookbooks make their way onto bookstore shelves and into the hands of adventurous cooks looking for plant-based alternatives to their favorite foods.

Read the whole article at http://bit.ly/18FC3Wr

vegan, cookbook, recipe, gift, christmas
Vegan Divas Cookbook

‘The Vegan Divas Cookbook’ makes the perfect holiday gift

The Vegan Divas Cookbook: Delicious Desserts, Plates, and Treats from the Famed New York City Bakery, published this fall by HarperCollins, is a refreshing and delicious combination of heartfelt commitment, cruelty-free recipes, and sweet treats just perfect for the holiday season. 

Vegan Diva Cookbook
The Vegan Diva

Check it out!  If you know someone who is planning a lifestyle change for the new year that involves nutrition, diet or exercise, Vegan cuisine is heart healthy, and will help cut refined sugar from their diet too.

Always Delicious

Vegan Divas

Always Delicious

Off the Blue Mat

WHAT WE TAKE OFF THE MAT … BECOMES A MINDFUL JOURNEY OF GROWTH AND TRANSFORMATION

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