Lentil Wheat berry Cakes

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I have to say, anything in the form of a patty, cake, croquette, or once was a ball- then got squished, I am a fan of.  Maybe its the versatility.  Maybe its the fun of forming the shape.

These cakes were incredibly easy to make, but did require a lot of pots and pans.  I started with three pans.  One to cook the lentils, one for the wheat berries, and one for the couscous, which was going to be my ‘binder’ for the cakes.  Needless to say, I made a HUGE amount!  We now have a freezer full of these yummies, which Im told, will be great for those first weeks of our babies arrival.

The texture was great, credit to the wheat berry, and lentil combination.  All in all there are two types of wheat berries, the hard, and soft.  The hard wheat berries tend to keep there nice chewy texture, great for whole grain salads.  The soft I tend to favorite more for stuffed squash, and a wheat berry breakfast oatmeal.  I bet some cooked soft wheat berries would be insanely good in a spin off of an oatmeal cookie (note to self!)  There are red and white varieties, as well as spring and winter.  I’ve heard that the red wheat berries can be a tad more bitter, due to the extra proteins, but I can barely tell the difference.  I think depending on what you choose to use them for, the color can play an important role.

Other ingredients in these cakes included porcini mushrooms, onion, shredded carrot, lemon zest and juice, dijon, and some herbs and spices.  I served them above with some sauteed arugula, basil, cherry tomatoes, and kalamata olives.  We then had them as a quick lunch the next day with some ketchup.  Both we great.  I am thinking a nice tart cranberry sauce would be lovely served along side.  And I have a freezer full to experiment!

Heres a close up:

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In the voice of Lou Reed….’Sunday Morning’ Pancakes

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I do love Sunday mornings.  And countless times upon rising, the first thoughts that run through my head are:

1.  Finally a day without the alarm clock, including snuggles with the fam & pups.

2.  I am so incredibly thankful that I am not a brunch chef anymore.  I love cooking brunch.  I just like to leisurely sit and eat it too.

3.  Pancakes!!

As I lay in bed still sleepy eyed, The Velvet Undergrounds ‘Sunday morning’ lyrics pop into my head quite regularly.  Thus its time to flip on the tunes, and make some pancakes!  Not a bad way to start the day.

Since I became pregnant I haven’t had many odd cravings at all.  No pickles, non of the non vegan things people mentioned I would crave.  Except for one thing.  Pancakes.  I have always been more of a savory breakfast person, but the little one inside screams for fruit topped pancakes weekly.  And who am I to deny that.

So here is a pancake recipe I adapted from Candle Cafes recipe, and changed a bit to be a little more whole foodie.  We skipped out on the blueberry ‘butter’, and opted for just some fresh peaches, and maple syrup.

Sunday Morning Pancakes

  • 1 Cup Sprouted Spelt Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Quinoa Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Unbleached Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seed
  • 2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk or Alternative of Choice
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Fresh Fruit, for accompaniment, we had peaches that needed to be used.
  • Maple Syrup, for accompaniment
  1. Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ground flax seed in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla and add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
  3. Spray a large nonstick sauté pan with canola oil cooking spray and heat the pan over medium heat.
  4. Drop large spoonfuls of batter into the pan, leaving room for the pancakes to expand.
  5. Cook until the bottoms are golden and bubbles are popping to the surface, 1 or 2 minutes.
  6. Flip the pancakes and cook the second side until golden.
  7. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  8. Serve with fresh fruit, and maple syrup.

Here’s a close up of the finished cake stack topped with fresh peaches and syrup!

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They turned out wonderful, and I was glad I didn’t use all unbleached flour.  The sprouted spelt flour we used was from a new-to-me company called  One Degree Organic Foods. Every grower/farmer who helps make One Degree food products uses veganic growing methods only.  How cool is that?!  If you haven’t tried any of their products I urge you to.  It’s amazing being able to support a company that prides themselves on transparency.

Next weekend Erik wants banana walnut, and I’ll opt for blueberries, as Im sure any filling will be wonderful.  Maybe even chocolate or carob chips if you feel up to it!

Happy Autumn!

Watch out, the world’s behind you. There’s always someone around you who will call. It’s nothing at all.  Sunday morning….

Champs Family Bakery, Brooklyn


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I could sit here and type a long list of reasons why it feels good to be on the east coast again, but I’ll start with one.   Food.  And by that I mean the vegan options.  And taking it one step further, I mean establishments that are ENTIRELY vegan!  Living so close to home, aka NY, feels so great.  I forget how easy it is to find every little vegan item you want. Taco truck?  “We got that.”  Ice cream in a cone?  “got it.”  Raw samosas?  “Yup.”  How bout a huge vegan breakfast menu, fresh juice, then pie for dessert, or maybe a slice of turtle cheesecake?  “You know it!”  Ah yes, New York is wonderful.  Especially if you are a 7 month pregnant vegan.

Another reason living so close to home is great is my friends.  I haven’t lived back here since 2004, when I swore that California would be it for me.  While there is something so special to me about Cali, it feels so nice to be around people I’ve known for over a decade of your life.

So mushiness aside, lets talk food!  It was Sunday, and I wanted breakfast (what else is new).  Thanks to my Happy Cow app, and va voom – we find Champs family bakery. Champs is everything you think it should be.  Retro diner atmosphere, and a nice variety of menu options for the naughty and healthy vegan.   We waited about 30 minutes for a table, as the place is small.  Fine by me.  After all, it was Sunday.

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Mac and Cheese Pancake

The special was mac and cheese pancakes- say what?! We ordered one for the table.  It was pretty darn good. As for the rest of brunch, we all tried to keep a variety.  I opted for the classic, tempeh bacon, ‘sausage’, tofu scramble, and a piece of french toast.  Oh yes, a side of whip cream please.  My breakfast, the French Toast Slam, wasn’t bad.   As I am a scramble snob, and I think my scramble is above all.  Erik had warned me of this… I should’ve listened.  The blueberry pancakes were to die for!  As was the whip cream (not sure if this was made in house).  The Monte crisco was, eh.  I think the french toast needed to be a bit more fried.  I just said that didn’t I?  Never ever had I imagined to recommend more frying of anything, (please never let those words leave my mouth/keyboard again!)

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The French Toast Slam

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The Drunken Cowgirl

Erik’s breakfast was the Drunken Cowgirl.  Chili, potatoes, scramble, daiya cheddar, avocado, and toast.  It was great, especially with some hot sauce.  Steve had the Awesome Bowl, a healthier option, which sounded delish.  Quinoa, scramble, greens, peppers, and potatoes.

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The dessert case

As I got up to go to the ladies, I couldn’t help but notice a lovely filled with vegan goodness dessert case!  And again, all vegan.  It was entirely too hard to make a decision.  Places like that should be fined.  I knew we had a 3 hour drive home, and I was the only one opting to not let dessert slip on by, so I went with the Turtle cheesecake.  When I got back to the table, the waitress had packed us up some ginger cream cookies as well.  Thank You Ma’am!

All in all I will definitely be back at Champs.  The Tofu Rancheros, Enchiladas, and more of the dessert case will be calling my name next month perhaps when we return.   Oh and the Turtle cheesecake… simply devine.

IMG_2203Happy 40th Steve, Happy 32nd Meg, and Happy back to school weekend everyone!

 

Are you ready?!

photo (8)No I didn’t harvest all these vegetables today…  Its been so cold and rainy here, one would never know its June.  But this is a picture from one of our harvests last summer to remind you, excite you, and get you stoked for the Sheboygan summer farmers market!!

Vegpod will be in full effect this summer, starting tomorrow (Saturday June 8th) at Fountain Park, from 8-1pm.  Though we have been known to sell out early, so don’t sleep in too late!  If you haven’t seen us, or stopped by to taste any of our goodies, we will be offering our normal shebangs of Muffins, granolas, assorted hummus’, wraps, and At least one entree and side, soup, as well as one salad.  Vegpod will also be testing out the raw food market in Sheboygan this year.  Raw crackers, pizzas, burgers, cakes, and other tids and bits.

So whats on the menu for tomorrow? Rhubarb muffins, Lentil loaf with mashers and gravy, Raw Italian herb crackers, Eggless egg salad wraps, Fruit & Nut Granola, Chocolate Cherry Hemp Granola, Three Sisters Stew, and 5 varieties of Hummus.  We are having a hard time getting local produce this early in the season, but we did manage some rhubarb, and lettuce!  Most everything else is Gluten Free, organic, and of course vegan.  I did hear the weather should be sunny and beautiful, so come have lunch, and soak up some vitamin D.

Breakfast

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It has occurred to me that I don’t need to write a whole essay on just anything.  I mean, blogging is blogging right?

So back to breakfast…  Sweet?  Savory?  I’ll take both please.  Five grain pancakes, topped with granola, a dollop of homemade vegan yogurt, and some peach compote.  And for my savory, some green pea infiltrated tofu scramble, topped with Muir Glen kethup, and house grown-pickled jalapenos.  Yum.

Heartland Farm Sanctuary

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One thing I miss most about being in California or New York, is my veg-head friends.  It is a really special thing to gather over food amongst your fellow vegans.  It is almost cult-like, the way us vegans can obsess over trying the new veggie place in town, organize events based around veganism, new cult cook books, lectures, and even cartoons.  But cultish tendencies aside, I love being vegan, and I love having vegan friends.

When I heard about Heartland Farm Sanctuary thru random google searching, I decided it would be the perfect veggie adventure for some of my new vegan, and non vegan friends. Who can say no to a visit with cute rescued animals?!

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Ready for our tour!

Heartland started in 2009, as a place to help homeless farm animals.  Their mission is “To provide care for farm animals in need, nurture people through the human-animal bond, and foster respect and kindness toward animals and each other.”  Sounds great.

When starting our tour it was nice to see that there were at least ten other people along with us to see the place.  Heartland is located in the mountains about 20 miles outside of Madison, WI.  Great location to get people involved.

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The Llamas.  And what a view they have!

At the start of our tour, we met some ducks, turkeys, chickens, and some smaller pigs residing in the barn. As we made our way outdoors we got to hang with the llamas.  Its so easy to see how any child can fall in love and want to hang out here.  Heartland says it not just about people helping animals, but animals helping people.  They want the animal to provide a sense of comfort for kids at risk.  Whether it be emotional or physical traumas, or children with a challenged home life.

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Cherish and Taylor!

Next to the Llamas was a huge space for Cherish.  When she was brought in, she couldn’t stand and was very malnourished.  They brought in a ‘friend’ to keep her company until they can find her a proper home.  What a beauty!

IMG_0868Darien and Amy!

Next to Cherish and her friend were perhaps my favorite of all…. the goats and sheep!  All were so super friendly.  You could tell they loved human interaction.  I also think when Erik and I have the chance to finally retire from city life, we can start a tiny commune of goats.

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Lily and Lucy

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Curtis and his new BFF.

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Heartland has summer camp programs for kids as well as the barn tours which seem to happen at least once a month.  Its such a fun and easy way for anyone to get involved more with our own community and to teach and understand more about the value of life.

For more info on finding an Animal sanctuary possibly near you check this site.  There is of course the big ones such as the Watkins Glen location or the two in California.  I call these the big guys, due to there focus on veganism, and activism.  The host all sorts of benefit shows, which have included one of my favorite musicians, John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.  Here’s a clip:

 

Oh Cali, you’ve done it again.

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I am always the first to note that I am a New Yorker. Through and through. A bagel loving, pizza folding, IheartNY New Yorker. But somewhere along my timeline, I must have gotten sidetracked and gave away a big piece of my heart to California. This seems to be a trend among many east coasters. Its as if we had a time lapse. A battle of my inner conscious. Girls just don’t go around giving their hearts away to just anyone, let alone anyplace. Why would I have done such a thing?
On our recent vacation out west, I was reminded.

After the wedding of my dear friends Rachel and Josh, we headed up to Ventura, where we would take a ferry over to the Channel Islands. There we would Kayak around Santa Cruz island to explore the sea caves! The water was perfect. Erik proved to be the risk taker of the group, and the day was surrounded with sea lions, starfish, anemone, sea urchins, dolphins, and sun burn. All we needed was an aloe plant.

San Luis Obispo. Central Coast of California. For me this seems to be a perfect fit. Maybe it was the charming street signs, maybe it was the fog rolling in as it covered the mountains peaks. If I had to live out that way again, this would be where. We decided to have lunch at Big Sky Cafe. Not completely vegetarian, but wow. This might be where I could say I had my favorite meal of the trip. Erik had the vegetarian Pozole. A South American stew, spiced and seasoned perfectly, with Hominy. It was topped with a slice of cornbread and a slab of tofu. I had a veganized black bean Huevos Rancheros, and breakfast potatoes.

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Side note: I find myself severely addicted to Hominy these days! Use this in a stew soon Meg!

After a filling breakfast we traveled around the corner to Kreuzberg, Ca coffee shop.
Berlin is a special place for Erik and I. What do Plato and Ayn Rand have in common? They are both entrees on the menu, along with a surplus of other great authors.

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Haruki Murakami (a personal favorite of mine) was a vegan sesame tofu dish.

Erik had some doubts about Dostoevsky being a turkey pesto sandwich, but as we headed inside, we couldn’t miss a life size copy of the most prominent graffiti art in Kreuzberg Berlin. This place was filled with comfy furniture, and books…. tons and tons of books. Any of the books in store were fro sale. No more than $4. Unfortunately we had no room left in our bellies, so I ordered a latte. To my surprise, I had not only the option of soy, but almond, hazelnut, oat, rice, and coconut. This place was great.

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Take note of the upside down light fixtures!

We bought sunscreen, and aloe then headed up the coast another 3 hours swirling round hwy 1. With our thrown together last minute packs, we set out for a 10 mile trek to Sykes hot springs. Knowing that we were going to stay the night at a place that had no amenities, we tried to pack lightly. Avocados, oranges, grapefruits, eggplant tapenade, and ezekiel sprouted tortillas, aseptic containers of miniture soy milk and packets of Chocolate vega protein mix, and coconut waters, held us up quit well. We hiked, camped, soaked in the springs, the set out for our 10 mile return. Just another beautiful day of hiking around the redwood covered mountains of Big Sur.
We made it out alive, still sunburned and our bodies sore, but lucky us, Big Sur Bakery was located just around the corner!

Big Sur Bakery prizes themselves on working with the local farmers, and the simple elegance of the vegetables themselves. We split a bread board, which included their 11-year in the perfecting 9- grain bread, and their italian bread. Both delish. I could’ve eaten a whole loaf. We made sure to finish all the black sea salt that was piled on the wooden board as well. We also split a vegetable dish that was composed of cauliflower, pine nuts, green beans, and cranberries. It was divine! The flavors were so fresh. We finished it off with two espresso shots, and hit the long road back to so Cal.

We made a stop in Los Angeles on our way back to visit some friends and family. Our dear friend Roi, is a chef at Sun Cafe in Studio City. Sun Cafe serves mostly raw vegan food. Roi insisted we try the gluten free macaroni and ‘cheese’ and Erik wanted to get his raw fix, and ordered the Pad Thai, with kelp noodles.

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Both were great, but we were quite envious of Roi’s raw Shamrock shake, which consisted of banana, mint, spinach, and raw cacao. On the drive down I was whining about craving an ice cream sundae, which doesn’t happen often.

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Roi insisted we skip the shakes and head around the corner to kindkreme. Kindkreme is and all raw, all vegan ice cream shop. They have 3 locations, offering cones, cups, shakes, floats, and pints to go! My craving was met! I got a cone with a scoop of mint chip, and a scoop of the superfood which had raw cacao, goji berries, hazelnuts, chia seeds, and a whole mess of other raw goodness.

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The owner was so nice, she offered to let us sample every flavor!

The rest of the trip was filled with M Cafes’ sushi and macro bowls topped with the best seitan in the world (I have said this many a times before- go there and just get a side of seitan with their macro-ketchup!), beer breakfasts at Ranchos accompanied by chilaquiles, and the fabulous tofu cutlet sandwiches from Mama Turners B & B. Though many more food ground was left to be covered, our last stop before the drive to the airport was the old time fav, Influx Tofu #1’s.

The whole vacation was well spent, absorbing everything the beauties of California had once offered me, and had proven to stay true. I understood why my heart had sunk as I boarded the plane back to Wisconsin. I missed it already. The drive back up from the airport felt like forever. I knew work beckoned in less than 6 hours. But as I arrived home, my heart had been so distracted, that I had forgotten with what was really important… these two:

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Kala & Cooper

And then I was glad to be home.