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Coconut-Lime Agave Cream Pie May 12, 2010

Filed under: Recipes & Food Ideas,vegan dessert — sharonsweets @ 9:59 pm
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I love this tangy, creamy pie that is agave-sweetened. Use any kind of agave you prefer.

Yield: 8 servings

1 1/2 cups silken tofu

1 cup full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 t coconut extract

½ t lemon extract

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons lime juice

Zest of 1 lime

1 prepared pie crust (such as graham)

Blend the tofu, coconut milk, shredded coconut, agave nectar and cornstarch in a blender or food processor. Cook all for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly without coming to a boil, whisking often. Quickly transfer the mixture to a large bowl and whisk in the lime juice, extracts and zest until the mixture is smooth and pour into the pie crust. Chill several hours before serving, and keep refrigerated.





Rice Noodle Stir Fry May 5, 2010

Filed under: Recipes & Food Ideas — sharonsweets @ 7:36 pm
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Do you ever feel like making a big stir fry but don’t know how to flavor it? This is an easy way to get excellent flavor using basic ingredients. It’s quite a versatile dish, and you can add and omit the veggies you wish to use, whatever you have in the house. It’s my everyday stir-fry, simple enough to make all the time, but nice enough for guests, and it’s always appreciated. Use various colored vegetables and cook them lightly to retain a rainbow palette.

Yield: 4 servings

10 ounces dry rice noodles

2 teaspoons toasted sesame or olive oil

1 tablespoon olive or toasted sesame oil

1/2 cup carrots, sliced in thin strips

1/3 cup soaked dried or fresh mushrooms

2/3 cup shredded cabbage

3/4 cup baby corn

2/3 cup red peppers, sliced in thin long strips

1/2 cup cooked edamame (removed from pods)

1/3 cup water chestnuts

1/4 cup green onion/scallions, sliced thinly, diagonally

2 tablespoons of the soaking water from dried mushrooms, vegetable broth, or water


1/4 cup olive or toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons tamari

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1 tablespoon shredded, minced or very thinly sliced ginger

3 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon orange zest

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

Optional Garnishes:

sesame seeds

white pepper

chopped cilantro

Prepare the sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Prepare the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and toss with the 2 teaspoons sesame or olive oil. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the carrots and mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cabbage, baby corn, red peppers and edamame and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add the water chestnuts, green onion and soaking water and stir. Add in the sauce to the vegetable mixture and cook another 3 minutes. Serve immediately over the rice noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds and white pepper.

Note: You can also add tofu or another vegan meat to the dish. Use more oil and saute it prior to adding the vegetables. If you decide to add more ingredients, you’ll have to make more sauce.


Papaya Lime Drink May 3, 2010

Filed under: gluten-free,Recipes & Food Ideas — sharonsweets @ 6:13 pm
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So refreshing and healthy!! (And it’s extra good with rum in it.)

1 1/2 cup fresh papaya chunks

2/3 cup nondairy milk

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon agave nectar

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Serve with lime and fruit wedges.





Sunny Burgers (Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free) May 2, 2010

Filed under: gluten-free,Recipes & Food Ideas — sharonsweets @ 8:13 pm
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These burgers are really substantial and super-satisfying, because of the richness and nutritional-density of the sunflower seeds, which are tiny powerhouses of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, necessary fats and other critical nutrients that’ll keep you going a long time. You can serve these burgers with the works – whole wheat buns, gourmet pickles, ketchup, vegan mayo, dark leaf lettuce, tomatoes from the garden and more.

Makes 6-8 burgers

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small red onion or 1/2 large, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds

1 stalk celery, chopped

3/4 – 1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped

Olive or other oil for frying

Sauté onion, garlic, mushroom, and carrot in the olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Cook until softened, stirring often, and add the celery and sunflower seeds. Process the cilantro or parsley in a food processor. Add the vegetable and sunflower seed mixture, in batches if necessary, and process until ground and sticky. Add the salt and pepper. Refrigerate the mixture until it cools, a half hour or more. Form 3-inch patties and cook in a little bit of olive or grape seed oil in a large sauté pan or griddle. Cook the burgers about 5 minutes on each side, or until browned.

Note: These are very grainy, so make sure you grind up all the ingredients very well until sticky, and use enough oil.





Sweet Potato Mini Patties with Sage Cashew Aioli (Gluten-Free) April 30, 2010

Filed under: gluten-free,Recipes & Food Ideas — sharonsweets @ 8:43 pm
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Sweet potatoes lend these patties a beautifully-colored combination of sweet and spicy, and are jam-packed with nutritional benefits like beta carotene, healthy carbohydrates and fiber. Sage is native to California and Mediterranean climates, but for some reason, grows for me every year in a very peculiar spot, with absolutely no maintenance, in my mid-East Coast garden, so I am always trying to use it in new ways. With pungently potent fresh sage, a little goes a long way.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen patties


2 regular sweet potatoes or 1 extra large

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 small onion

2 garlic cloves

1/3 cup brown rice flour

1/3 cup plain soymilk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne and/or black pepper

Sage Cashew Topping

1/2 cup unsalted cashews

1 tablespoon vegan butter substitute

3-4 large sage leaves, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Olive oil for frying

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Boil them until they are just tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Remove them from heat, and place them in a cold water bath. Drain and add more cold water. Mash the sweet potatoes until they are smooth.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the onions and garlic until they begin to brown. Combine the pureed sweet potatoes, the onion, garlic and oil mixture, and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Form balls with 1 tablespoon of the mixture, then press them to form patties. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Cook the patties for around five minutes on each side, or until they are light brown.

To make the topping, process the cashews in a food processor until they are ground. Heat the vegan butter substitute in a sauté pan on medium heat and add the sage and garlic. Cook until the garlic browns lightly. Add the mixture to the food processor, and add the rest of the ingredients. Process the mixture until it is smooth. Use a pastry bag to pipe designs onto the patties.





My Secret Mommy Weapon February 12, 2010

Filed under: Recipes & Food Ideas,Vegan Kids — sharonsweets @ 2:14 pm
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I don’t know of one mom who doesn’t try to get her kids to eat more veggies. Or any at all. Mine are better than most, but my older one (who’s in kindergarten now), would be happy with only broccoli and seaweed on his plate in the veggie department. The toddler will eat anything that crosses his path, so I don’t worry about him. And they both LOVE getting vitamins and supplements (as long as they are sweetened).

But to make my life easier, I like to squeeze as many veggies and supplements into one serving as possible. So I break out my blender and give them what, over many years, I have been able to convince them is a very special treat. We call it the “Special Drink.” My formula, which really isn’t so much of a true formula, is as follows:

–Liquid. Choose one or more: nondairy milk, juice, water.

–Veggies. Organic if possible, choose two or more: carrots, celery, frozen spinach, salad greens, kale.

–Fruit. Banana, fresh or frozen, plus any of these: fresh or frozen berries, apple, melon, kiwi, citrus, avocado, etc.

–Extras & supplements. Choose any amount of these: nondairy yogurt, probiotics, green powder, hemp protein, nut or seed butter, flax oil, algae oil for DHA, blackstrap molasses for iron and calcium, multivitamin, vitamin C.

–Sweetener. You didn’t really think your kids were going to eat the shake without this, were you? Yes, the banana adds some sweetness, but you will have to thin the shake with water if you put in too much stuff, and you have to sweeten it. I usually add agave nectar and/or maple syrup. You can also try brown rice syrup or a good-tasting stevia.

Make one of these for your kids (and yourself) daily, and your kids will be so healthy and full of veggies and good stuff, they won’t even know what hit them!





Countdown to the Class Valentine’s Party February 10, 2010

Filed under: Vegan Kids,vegan lifestyle — sharonsweets @ 5:52 pm
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So every time my kids have a holiday party in their class, I get advance notice and get to work planning. I don’t want my kids to ever feel ostracized by their diet and lifestyle, so I always make sure they get stuff in line with their peers at parties. Of course this is tons of extra work for me, but it’s important. For this Valentine’s party, actually I mean 3 parties, since my kindergarten son has 2 schools and my toddler has one, here’s what I’ve done already by Wednesday for the party Friday:

-Bought eco-friendly valentines. 4 packages of really cool valentines for the kiddos. One type was recycled and had recycled material tattoos, in a rainforest theme, the other was also recycled and had sheet cutouts with seeds in them that the kids could later plant. There were also the ubiquitous stickers that kids love to stick everywhere. The best thing is that I found these at Target for $2.99 each pack.

-Rice Krispy treats. The other day I found some whole grain puffed rice in the super. It was nowhere near the Rice Krispies! Today, after playing in the massive snow with the kids while the hot chocolate was cooking, I broke out the Dandies vegan marshmallows that I bought on Pangaea http://www.veganstore.com. I melted some of the unused marshmallows with Earth Balance vegan butter in the microwave. It overflowed and got sticky gooey marshmallow all over the microwave! I stirred the unmeasured mixture into some puffed rice and squeezed it onto a little pan and refrigerated it. Later we cut it and it was delicious! The rest went into a container for school Friday.

-Cupcakes. I’m making cupcakes straight outta SWEET UTOPIA for the classes, most likely vanilla. Simple and they please everyone. I’m sure the cupcakes will be decorated with plenty of frosting and colored sugar by a 5 year old tomorrow.

-Jello. In addition to all the other sweets, the class is having red jello, but my kids will be sent with vegan fruit gel cups from the refrigerator section at Trader Joe’s. These are quite delicious.

-Candy. Yup, they’re also having conversation hearts at the party, but my kids will take their favorite vegan jellybeans from veganstore.com. What a treat!

-Cheese and dip. Also at the party will be cheese and crackers, and dip and veggies. I’ll send in Tofutti cheese slices from the supermarket and some humus, and vegan whole grain crackers from Trader Joe’s (just in case).

-Pizza. Yes, they’re also having pizza! These kids can really eat! I’ll have to make pizza for dinner tomorrow night and put some aside for them for the next day’s lunch. I use a ready refrigerated dough, marinara and Daiya cheese.

-Plates. Can you believe they also want me to bring in heart plates to the party? Quick trip to the dollar store and I got this covered.

Glad I got so much done before this crazy snowstorm.

Can’t wait until Friday!! The kids are going to get so high on sugar, and they’ll crash right in time to go home!





Hello! August 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharonsweets @ 2:48 pm

Thanks for reading my new blog! Previously I blogged on Yahoo…mainly about raising my vegan kids. It was a cool blog, but Yahoo deleted it with their file transfer! So here I go again. I will blog about vegan issues like becoming vegan, eating vegan food, recipes that I create, my new book “Sweet Utopia: Simply Stunning Vegan Desserts,” raising my vegan kids who are now 5 and 2, and much more.

About Sweet Utopia: This book was in the works since 2004! I have always loved to bake and eat sweets. The hardest part of veganism for me was dessert. I never enjoyed the vegan desserts I found so I created all of my own. Back then, it was challenging to find a publisher who thought vegan sweets had enough cache…eventually I found Book Publishing Company, but the entire process was lengthy. I created a book with Milan, who made all the desserts I created look heavenly, and he photographed them. I really hope you enjoy the book. I included as many options as I could in this volume. Each recipe is a product of my relentless experimentation and improvements. My goal was for everything to taste so good that you’d never think it was vegan! Taste it to believe it!

Please leave feedback! Thanks again!