Mama’s "Magic" Hot Cocoa

Things have been soooooo crazy! As soon as we booked our tickets to NYC everyone and everything that could have ever been due decided to become due the week before our trip (read: NOW!) so for the last 5 days (and the next 3) I have been sucking down red bulls and coffee, emailing like crazy, editing thousands of images, doing constant laundry (gotta have packing options), cleaning the house, compiling lists of places to visit in NYC, making sure our bank accounts are all balanced and ready, and attempting to keep up with our social life. So… not much time for cooking or for blogging or anything but work. But… one night I decided I needed a warm and cozy adult beverage (read: CHOCOLATE!) so I pulled out my La Dolce Vegan and decided on hot cocoa, but I decided to give it a twist (read: ALCOHOL!) Enjoy…

Mama’s “Magic” Hot Cocoa
3 tbs cocoa powder
3 tbs sugar (or your favorite sweetener)
2 1/2 c low fat vanilla soy milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch salt
non-dairy chocolate chips (for chocolate shavings on top)
marshmallows
1 shot Godiva chocolate liqueur
1 shot Kahlua

In a small saucepan whisk together cocoa, sugar, soy milk, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the liqueur and Kahlua. Pour into mugs and top with marshmallows and chocolate shavings. Serves 2.

In other news…

.The nice people from POM decided to pick me (thanks POM) as a blogger to sample their amazing juice and share with you how yummy it is. I just received a case of little POM juice bottles and am soooo excited to try them and maybe even come up with some fun recipes with them. 😉 That will be coming your way after we get back from New York. And, this morning (along with the pack of POMs) I got a 40% your entire purchase coupon to LUCKY JEANS, and a 2-park pass to Universal and IOA (for free)! It was the best mail morning ever!

.I am so excited to get away. We need it so badly. We both need to just disconnect from work, clients, and Orlando and just be in love, on an adventure, going where the wind takes us. I’m so excited! T-minus 3 days!

How are you doing today?

Pizza Primavera

Many of you know (from my twitter series) that I have been reading the book Eat Pray Love and have been luh-ving it. Reading the Italy section got me thinking about pizzas. And by “thinking about” I mean obsession over and craving 24/7. So, tonight, I decided that it was time to take matters into my own hands (and avoid ruining all my hard work at the gym) and create my own healthy masterpiece. I set out to make the most amazing vegetable pizza on the planet. And, ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to say that I succeeded.

I am extremely picky about vegetables (which, I’m sure is amusing since I am a vegetarian). My like/dislike for each vegetable rests solely on the way it is prepared. If veggies are crunchy, they’d better be raw. I hate cooked and cruchy veggies. If they are cooked, I want them either thin and crispy or soft. High maintenance? I prefer the term “attentive to detail”. So for me, preparing a pizza that was comprised entirely of veggies was an excerize in planning. I wanted to make sure that my veggies were the perfect texture. And with 3 different types of veggies, I had quite a task at hand. I decided to slice them all into super thin dollars and roast them. I had never roasted eggplant or zucchini before but I knew that I adored roasted tomatoes so I figured that the rest would be just as good. I was right. Roasting made them crispy around the edges and soft in the middle. It brought out the most wonderfully warm and rich flavors. The kind of flavors you can’t get from veggies cooked any other way. I also decided to use blackening seasonings on them, just for a bit of kick. No one likes bland veggies. And I decided to make my own pepperoni from the frozen seitan sausage logs I had saved. Sheer brilliance, I tell you! I could have eaten the entire thing. My mouth definitely wanted to. But after 2 pieces, I was stuffed and laying across the sofa in pizza bliss.

Marie’s Pizza Primavera

Ingredients:
1/2 lg eggplant, sliced into thin dollars
1 zucchinni, sliced into thin dollars
2 roma tomatoes, sliced into dollars
1/2 seitan sausage log, sliced into pepperoni sized pieces (optional)
1 c. pasta sauce (preferably one with onions already cooked in)
1 whole wheat pizza crust (or make your own from scratch)
Sprinkling of either mozzarella cheese or nooch (optional)
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Old Bay Blackening Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
Basil
Oregano

Prepare the veggies:
1. Preheat oven to 450. Move rack to highest position.
2. Drizzle olive oil all over a cookie sheet. Cover the sheet with the sliced veggies trying to not allow them to cover each other
3. Drizzle olive oil on top of the veggies, sprinkle with salt and pepper and old bay blackening seasonings
4. Roast for 15 minutes.

Prepare the seitan pepperoni:
5. In a small saucepan over medium heat warm olive oil and old bay blackening seasonings
6. Add seitan slices and let them saute for about 1-2 mintues on each side or until slightly crispy
7. Remove from heat, set aside

Prepare the pizza
8. Spread pasta sauce over the pizza crust, being careful to leave about and inch clean all the way around
9. Spread garlic throughout sauce. Sprinkle with basil and oregano (sprinkle with mozzarella cheese here if you’d like or nooch)
10. Place the roasted eggplant slices in consecutive circles covering the entire pizza
11. Layer the roasted zucchinni slices in consecutive circles covering the eggplant
12. Scatter the roasted tomato slices across the top
13. Scatter seitan pepperoni around the outside, tucking them under the veggies at the edges
14. Sprinkle with oregano and basil, salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes

We enjoyed this with a bottle of shiraz-cab and it was delicious!!! The rich berry flavor complimented the roasted vegetables perfectly. Enjoy dinner nirvana my friends!

Breakfast Balls

I still get mildly (but only mildly) annoyed when people ask me how I survive without protein. I mean, how can anyone really not know the answer to this? Obviously the answer is that I can’t, and obviously I’m alive, so I must be getting it from somewhere. But, I just look at them and sweetly answer that most meat-eating Americans eat 3x more protein than their bodies actually need and that there are many substantial plant-based sources such as beans and legumes. They usually look at me a little cross-eyed, probably imagining me eating a big pile of black-eyed-peas every day and usually make a remark about how they could never survive without steak. Maybe they are surviving, but is their body really living?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is also the easiest way for me to try and cut calories. I love to skip breakfast, have a coffee and save those calories to be spent later on. But I know that’s not healthy. And I hear that eating breakfast actually helps those trying to loose weight to loose it. However, I doubt that eating milk and sugary cereal or a calorie-ridden bagel really does the trick. Still, there’s no denying the desire for something sweet in the morning.

After hearing about “breakfast cookies” from various foodie blogs I follow, I decided to give them a try. They were good. Really good. So I tried them again, tweaking a few things to make them even better (and more portable), and also trying to pack them full of as much protein as possible (Fuller longer? Yes please!). These are so delicious! They contain a whopping 14 grams of plant-based protein in each serving (for referece, 2 large eggs contain 12 grams of protein), are a good source of omegas, calcium, magnesium, folate, and potassium, have only 214 calories, contain NO animal products (vegan), taste very much like balls of cookie dough, and they have chocolate chips. Yes, you may all send me love letters now. 😉

Breakfast Balls

Ingredients:
1/2 c. oats
1/4 c. light vanilla soymilk
1 tbs. light peanut butter
1 tbs. ground flax seed
1 tbs. wheat germ
1/2 scoop vanilla soy protein powder
sprinkle of ground cinnamon
scant palmful of nondairy chocolate chips

Using a spoon, mash all the ingredients together in a bowl. Roll into bite-sized balls (about 1 small spoonful of dough each). Place on wax paper and refrigerate 1 hour.

(makes 6 bite-sized balls)
Serving size= 3 balls
Calories per serving= 214
Protein per serving= 14!

Mounds Bar Balls
Substitute 1 tbs. coconut flakes for wheat germ
Substitue 1 tbs. vegan dark chocolate peanut butter for light peanut butter

**Other fun recipe ideas:
Apple cinnamon breakfast balls (shredded apple, cinnamon, nutmeg)
Tropical snack balls (shredded coconut, 1/2 mashed banana)
Trail mix power balls (chunky peanut butter, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, sunflower seeds)
Chocoholic snack balls (chocolate peanut butter, cocoa powder, mashed dates, chocolate protein powder, chocolate chips)