Two years ago at this time I was just coming back from three weeks exploring Thailand and learning about vegan Thai cooking.
It was a frickin awesome adventure and an unbelievable experience that I am incredibly grateful for!
That year and into 2019 I had the opportunity to share what I learned by teaching Vegan Thai Cooking classes at a vegan cooking school in Maine. Every class was full of fun and incredible tasting food that my students eagerly cooked.
While everyone enjoyed learning the basics of Pad Thai, Tom Kha, and Massaman Curry, for example, they were surprised by the two desserts I taught them to make.
Traditional mango sticky rice most people had hear of, but banana soup was a new one. One that at first sounded really weird, but one that upon tasting was one of the favorite new foods of the night!
I created these vegan recipes to be adapted to Western cooking (aka easy as possible!) and wanted to share them with you now. We have one more month of winter, so why not take a tropical vacation through your dessert plate and try out these delicious, unique, sweet treats!
Mangy Sticky Rice - serves 4 (rice cooker or insta pot needed)
1-2 ripe mangos, peeled and thinly sliced or cubed
1 cup sticky sweet rice (purchase Thai brands only as Japanese sweet rice is different)
1 cup canned coconut milk
2/3 cup water
1 pandan leaf (found in the freezer section at an Asian market or sub 1 Tbsp. vanilla)
3 Tbsp. organic white sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Optional toasted sesame seeds to top.
Rinse rice several times until it is clear. Drain it and place it into the rice cooker bowl. Add coconut milk, water, pandan leaf tied in a knot or vanilla, sugar, and salt.
Press button and let it cook! When the rice cooker button pops, let it sit another 10 minutes to finish the steam cooking.
Scoop onto a plate and serve warm with sliced mangos.
(Note the photo here is of sticky rice that has been dyed purple/blue from the natural butterfly pea flower. And it is topped with fried mung beans which adds crunch.)
Sweet Coconut Milk Soup with Banana - serves 4
3 cups canned coconut milk
1 pandan leaf or 1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. organic white sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 firm bananas cut in half then down the middle and in half again to make 4 pieces (16 total)
In a wide pot bring coconut milk and pandan leaf (tied in a knot) or vanilla just to a gentle boil. Add the sugar, salt, and bananas and cook over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes or until bananas are soft and tender, but not mushy. (Be careful that it doesn't fully boil).
Remove from heat. In 4 separate bowls divide the sweet coconut broth with 4 slices of banana each. Serve warm and enjoy!
LOOKING FOR MORE RECIPES AND INSPIRATION TO COOK PLANT BASED MEALS? STAY TUNED FOR PROGRAMMING AT THE LOVELY NEW EMERY FARM MARKET & CAFE THIS SPRING.
Not local? Online programs will be coming soon too!
,As the poet Rumi so simply stated "Never give from the depths of your well, but from your overflow."
Self care and self love are not synonymous with selfish. In order for you to shine your brightest and share your gifts to the world you must take care of yourself. This means fueling your body with vibrant foods, taking deep relaxing breaths of fresh air, letting your mind stop for a minute, and doing things that make you happy.
Sounds simple, but sadly many of us don't take the time to truly honor and care for ourselves. We need to ask ourselves "Why?".
Why don't we take that 30 minutes we stare at social media or race through our work lunch to instead meditate, get outside of the office, or just sit and eat? Why don't we value our bodies, our minds, and our spirit as much as we value others, our work and our cell phones? What has happened to us?
And we wonder why so many are suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, random aches and pains, digestion disorders, and so forth. Maybe because we aren't valuing our divine selves and taking care of our needs.
So for Valentine's Day this year, why don't we commit to showing ourselves LOVE. You are so worth it.
5 Ways to Show Yourself Love
Now go fill your well you beautiful being. Then shine, shine, shine!
Bliss balls are those wonderful little protein packed vegan truffles that can be made a gazillion different ways.
They are usually made from a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits with either cocoa, carob, or flavorings added. You add your desired blend into a food processor, whiz them until they make a dough, form them into little balls, then pop them into your mouth! Yummy!!
This recipe uses protein packed foods such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and almond meal, along with carob powder and the ancient grain known as teff.
Teff seeds are super tiny red brown seeds that are a staple food in Ethiopia and Eritrea. They are also grown in Idaho and can be purchased at your local grocery store from the Bob's Red Mill line. Teff is gluten free, high in calcium, iron, protein, and fiber. (Power food!!)
Try this recipe today for a healthy, protein packed dessert!
Carob & Teff Bliss Balls
Makes about 9 one inch round balls. Store in the fridge.
2 Tbsp. teff seeds, toasted in a pan
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup craisins
2 Tbsp. carob powder
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 Tbsp. maple syrup (to taste)
pinch of salt (to taste)
In a small food processor fitted with an S-blade add all ingredients and pulse until a sticky dough is formed. Use your hands or a small cookie scoop and roll into one inch balls. Optionally roll in carob powder or toasted teff seeds.
You can sub cocoa powder for the carob powder and change the ratio of seeds if needed. Play with the ingredients to get the taste you like!
Photo by Stacey Hamblett (me!)
When you have an abundance of carrots, what do you do? Make carrot cake! I had all the necessary ingredients for a good batch of cake and even had vegan cream cheese in my fridge, so I decided to play with creating a new recipe.
This cake is hearty as it is full of shredded carrots, unsweetened coconut flakes, and walnuts. It is flavorful as it is made with 5 spices, coconut milk, and almond flour. And it is moist and not at all gritty like some gluten free foods can be.
I just baked the cake and alternated from eating as is to simply adding a spreading of vegan cream cheese (Tofutti brand). But you could also make a glaze with vegan powdered sugar, orange zest, orange juice and a bit of coconut or almond milk to thin to the right consistency. Simply whisk all together and pour on.
Or you can make a cream cheese frosting with equal parts of room temperature vegan cream cheese and vegan butter, blended with vegan powdered sugar and vanilla/lemon/orange extract, and a bit of coconut or almond milk to thin to the right consistency. Place all in a bowl and use a handheld mixer to blend until frosting like.
Again, if you want a fast and easy cake though, just bake, let cool, smear on vegan cream cheese, and maybe grate some orange zest on top and VOILA! Eat and enjoy!
CARROT CAKE - VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE
makes one 9" cake layer
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9" springform or cake pan.
1 cup almond flour
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3 Tbsp. ground flax mixed with 1/2 cup water (let sit 5 minutes to thicken - "flax egg")
1 cup coconut milk (from can, not the beverage)
1/2 cup organic canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla or orange extract
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts or raisins
In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients from flour to spices. In a separate bowl mix the flax egg mixture with coconut milk, oil, and extract. Add the wet mix to the dry and blend until ingredients are all incorporated.
Fold in the carrots, coconut and raisins. Pour mix into pan and bake 50 minutes to 1 hour or until top springs back when lightly touched or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool then either drizzle on glaze, frost, or add cream cheese OR just eat as is! Can be frozen in small pieces and taken out of freezer and microwaved to enjoy anytime.
Vegan gluten free lemon coconutty bites of deliciousness!!
I made these Sunday morning to bring to my family's Easter dinner gathering and they were a hit. My aunt, for example, couldn't stop exclaiming "oh my god!" and had to be pulled away from them at one point!
These are ridiculously easy to make and can be flavored a few different ways. If you want vanilla or almond, then just sub the lemon juice for vanilla or almond extract. You could even try subbing lime juice instead of the lemon and add lime zest for a touch of color.
Also you can play with the sweetener and either add all maple syrup, all agave or even try a local honey if you're not vegan. And the drizzle is optional but it adds a touch more flavor and fun!
VEGAN GLUTEN FREE LEMON COCONUT MACAROONS
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment.
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (not flakes)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp almond flour
1/4 cup solid refined organic coconut oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp agave syrup
2 Tbsp lemon juice (plus 1 tsp extra for drizzle)
pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt
3 Tbsp organic powdered sugar (for drizzle)
In a food processor fitted with an S-blade add the coconut, almond flour, coconut oil, sweetener, lemon juice and sea salt, and blend until the mixture forms a dough. This might take about 1-3 minutes.
With a tablespoon cookie scooper, firmly scoop the dough in and slightly press down to compact it. Release scoop onto the lined sheet pan. Make about 20 cookies and place in the oven to bake.
Bake about 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are starting to look golden and are slightly firm to the touch. They will firm up a bit after baking.
Let cool and make the drizzle. In a tiny bowl add the 1 tsp lemon juice and 3 Tbsp powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. The consistency should be thinner than honey. Add more sugar if it's too thin. Add more juice if it's too thick. Then with the whisk or a fork or a knife drizzle glaze onto the macaroons.
Eat and fall in love! They can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge. Or make a double batch and freeze so you can enjoy any time!
Please let me know if you make these and how they come out for you. Enjoy!
Photo by Stacey Hamblett (Me!)
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.