Curried Chickpea and Carrot Salad + Choosing Raw Giveaway!

Gena Hamshaw's Choosing Raw

Today, I have the pleasure of reviewing Gena Hamshaw’s Choosing Raw a beautiful cookbook with photos from the talented Hannah Kaminsky. I remember when I started my blog, back when it was only on Tumblr, and I looked up to many awesome and successful vegan bloggers. One of the first people was Gena, and really, why wouldn’t she be? She has recipes that nourish your body but that aren’t intimidating and her narrative is supportive, informative and comforting. You will find all of her greatest attributes in this book!

One of the things that I love about the layout is that it’s broken down by ease of dishes and familiarity. This is great for the vegan-curious or new vegans out there that don’t really know where to start. There is a balanced mix of cooked vs. raw recipes, and plenty of ideas for snacks (I LOVE snacks!). Gena uses wholesome ingredients and has a variety of substitutions for you to use in dishes to make them healthier but not compromise on flavor.

I ended up making two recipes from her book, the Curried Chickpea & Carrot Salad and the Mango Chia Pudding. That may seem obvious seeing as how I love curry and have made many chia puddings for this blog! Both dishes were very good and came together in no time at all. I won’t even lie when I say that I was picking recipes based on what I had on-hand, further more, I had a hard time choosing because there were a lot that used everyday ingredients! I can’t wait to try more recipes from this book and share them with friends and family.

That Curried Chickpea & Carrot Salad really hit the spot, for me, so I’m sharing the recipe with you! Pro Tip: Make a wrap using the salad with spinach, green onion and sriracha; SO GOOD. Also, because Gena and her publisher are awesome, I’m giving a copy of Choosing Raw to one lucky winner! Just go to the Rafflecopter Widget at the end of the post to enter the giveaway.

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BBQ Seitan Skewers + Giveaway!

Today, I am celebrating being done cooking for the cookbook that I’m doing photos for! Of course, I have about 700 photos to go through and edit, but that is beside the point. I seriously can’t believe that I did it, and with time to spare! The photography and food styling in this book is some of my best so far, so when that hard copy shows up it’ll be cool to see how it turned out. I just hope that I did the author justice. ;)

To be honest, I’ve missed being a blogger these past two weeks; the interacting, recipes of my own, and even just looking at other blogs. I feel so out of the loop now! I can’t wait to get back into the groove of things, even though I’m not sure what that is at this point. There are some recipes and reviews that I’ll finally have time to post for y’all and I think that you’ll be stoked.

Now, for an awesome recipe! With this one, I accidentally found out that if you used black beans instead of chickpeas while making seitan they will make it have more of a steak-like appearance as opposed to chicken-like. I plan on using this to my advantage in the near future! But, now you know why my seitan looks a little different from its usual tan color.

I used Massel’s Chicken-Style Low Sodium Bouillon for this recipe and loved it! When mixed with water it creates a vegan broth that is a lot like it’s non-vegan chicken broth counterpart. I can’t wait to make a vegan chicken noodle soup or tortilla soup when the weather cools down, which should be interesting seeing as how Summer just started. Urgh.

Out of the few vegan products that I’ve tried by Massel, I would say that their bouillon granules are my favorite; they’re super convenient, low-sodium (so that I can control the flavor more), and they don’t take up precious space in my refrigerator. Plus, they’re packaged in what look like mini-paint cans! Ha ha.

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Trip to Italy – A Photo Essay

Happy Hump Day, everyone! Today, I don’t have a recipe for you, but instead, a ton of photos from my trip to Italy earlier this month. Actually, I say “ton” but this is a very small percentage of the photos I took. To give you a brief overview, my family and I first stayed in Rome for 4 days and enjoyed taking some tours, then headed out to the Italian countryside for a week in Preggio, Perugia and a few other cities within driving distance.

It was actually in Preggio and Assisi that I suffered from a serious panic attack due to freelance work emails and being overwhelmed with how much work needed to be done once I returned home. Talk about infringing on a great vacation. Now that I’m back home it’s gotten better but anxiety is now something that I struggle with more seriously. If there was one thing this trip taught me, it’s to not stretch yourself too thin because it will catch up with you in a huge way.

On a lighter note, I really loved Rome and walking around the city amongst buildings that held so much history. Overall it was a tremendous experience.

The Forum

Our amazing tour guide Antony

The House of Vestal Virgins

The Colosseum

The first of many fancy churches

Rome, Italy

Here is what I would show servers and chefs when I went out to eat with my family (yes, I know vegana is the feminine version, google translate didn’t know that I was female! ;) ). It was SUPER helpful!

Il Margutta Ristorarte – a vegetarian restaurant with many delicious vegan options; not to mention, walking distance from my hotel!

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Beefy Jackfruit Tacos with Tomatillo Fajita Filling

I have to be honest, I’ve never prepared jackfruit on my own before. Of course, I’ve enjoyed BBQ Jackfruit Sliders and the like, but it was never very easy to find. But, now that I work at Whole Foods, I found out that my location has the canned jackfruit in brine and I couldn’t be more stoked. For my first homemade jackfruit recipe I thought that I’d try it out with Massel’s Concentrated Liquid Stock, Beef-Style; which is vegan and gluten-free!

Now, the texture didn’t come out quite as firm as I would have liked, but the jackfruit tasted great all the same. One of the best parts of this recipe is that it’s all prepared on the grill. Of course there’s some marinated and mixing, but it’s seriously low effort. I’d also like to mention that this was my first time grilled tomatillos, and oh my goodness you guys, SO GOOD. I’ve used them in green salsas before, but this- this I’ll have to do more often.

To balance out the savory, warm components of this recipe, I made a seasoned sour cream sauce to drizzle on top. I may have cheated and used Tofutti, but if you want to go the homemade route, blend 2/3 C. raw cashews with 1/4 C. water for a creamy sauce base, then stir in seasonings.

I must mention that using the concentrated liquid stock shortened marinating time immensely and really added significant flavor to the jackfruit. It is a tad on the salty side so taste your marinade and adjust accordingly; keep in mind that the end product won’t be as potent as the marinade itself. Massel actually sent some of their products for me to try out, so I’ll definitely be using another one soon, and hosting a giveaway, too! So, keep an eye out for that. :D

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