Jasmin here. Are you hungry? Are you ever not hungry? Yeah, I can relate. So much great food is ripe for the picking (uh, literally) when you’re living the glorious life as a compassionate vegan, #PRIVATE# and I for one am never bored with the countless options available for our taste buds and stomachs. I hope by now you had a peek at Carrie Forrest’s interview with Laura Theodore – singer, cookbook author, and all-around jazzy lady. Her book, Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Classics, is sure to add some spring to your culinary step. For our hungry and precious flock members, we have some extra treats below – tips on healthy eating from Laura, another scrumptious recipe, and one more chance to win a copy of the book. Why, flock, do we do this? Because we at OHH love you and want you fed and happy, every day, so you can keep inspiring us to change the world for animals. (Special thanks to Carrie, whom we adore, for coordinating this yummy flock-only post!)
Our Hen House (OHH): Laura, since you are so talented at making plant foods taste delicious, would you share one or two of your favorite healthy cooking tips?
Laura Theodore (LT): Absolutely! I love to share! Here are a just couple of my favorite “go to” solutions for making delicious, low-fat dishes in your own home kitchen:
- Whenever possible, use vegetable broth or even water in place of oil in many recipes. This helps lower or eliminate fat while adding lots of flavor. That is the key to great plant-based cooking – layers and layers of flavor! For example, in sautéed veggie dishes, replace all of the oil used in the recipe with low-fat vegetable broth or water. Use 3 tablespoons of either broth or water to replace 1 tablespoon of oil. Unlike oil, broth or water will evaporate quickly during cooking, so keep an eye out and add more liquid, about 2 tablespoons at a time as needed, if your pan becomes dry.
- In recipes for sweet baked goods like muffins or cakes, use fresh apple puree to replace all of the oil and some of the sugar. Simply peel and core apples, and then puree them in a blender until they have the consistency of a smooth applesauce. Start by adding the apple puree in the same ratio you would add oil to the recipe. When using the apple puree, you may have to add more liquid to your recipe. If the batter seems too dry after adding the apple puree, add more nondairy milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved. In addition, cut down on the sugar in the recipe by 25 percent. In general, substituting flavor for oil in your recipes will make your plant-based creations lower in fat and full of great taste.
OHH: What does a day’s worth of food look like in the Jazzy Vegetarian’s kitchen?
LT: A day in the life of food for me . . .
- Smoothie, oatmeal, freshly baked muffins, and/or whole grain toast in the morning. I like to add ground flax seeds to my smoothies, my oatmeal, and even breakfast muffins. And yes, I do have a “cup of Joe” with soy milk.
- Salad, sandwich, and/or soup for lunch.
- For dinner, I like to prepare a “jazzy” recipe. I often serve a new recipe that I am still testing (I usually test new recipes every day). Often, I do my first test on a new recipe for dinner – my husband is my biggest fan, but he is my strongest and best critic, too!
- Sometimes, admittedly, like everyone else, I am too tried or rushed to cook. In that case, I might have canned, low-fat vegan soup with a small salad or a whole-grain roll.
- As I have shared many times on my radio and television show, I keep some vegan staples in my cupboard to help me create tasty meals in a flash. Keep staples on hand that you like to cook with and that your family likes to eat – this will make it easier to create quick-to-prepare, tasty vegan meals on a daily basis.
OHH: Read on for the Jazzy Vegetarian’s yummy recipe for Chocolate Date-Nut Lollipops! (Yes, please!)
[print_this] Chocolate Date-Nut Lollipops
Recipe and photograph published with permission from BenBella Books.
Makes 8 to 10 lollipops
Fun, fun, fun! That’s how I describe these lovely little lollipops! The dates help to hold the pops together while also standing in for much of the processed sugar. They’re perfect for any party, whether you are entertaining kids or adults.
1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chips (grain-sweetened variety works well)
6 large Medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup whole pecans
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts, ground (optional)
2 tablespoons dark, nondairy cocoa powder (optional)
Put the vegan chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium-low heat. When the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat. Meanwhile, put the dates, pecans, and vanilla extract in a high performance blending appliance and process to the consistency of soft dough. Transfer the date mixture to a medium bowl, pour in the melted chocolate, and stir until well-combined. Put the date mixture in the freezer for 7 to 15 minutes or until the chocolate has set enough to roll into small balls.
Line a small baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Spoon out a heaping tablespoon of the chocolate mixture, and quickly roll it into a ball. Roll it in one of the optional toppings until completely coated. Continue in this way, forming all of the remaining chocolate mixture into balls and coating them in one of the optional coatings.
Insert the end of a lollipop stick into each chocolate ball and place all lollipops upright in 2 separate mugs or shallow glasses, making sure they do not touch each other. Chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving. For a festive presentation, wrap each lollipop in cellophane and tie with a pretty ribbon. Stored in an airtight container, leftover lollipops will keep for up to 3 days. [/print_this]
Hey flock: Want to win a copy of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics? Simply leave a comment below describing your favorite vegan dessert and you’ll be entered! We will randomly choose a winner in one week, so make sure you include your email when you enter. (That means you have until Monday, January 13 at Midnight EST to enter.) You may only enter one time as a flock member, but to double your chances, head over to Carrie’s interview with Laura for another chance. Good luck!