Looking for something to do with those grains from dinner last night? Tonight I baked up some apples stuffed with maple-nut quinoa. Of course I pulled an epic blog fail by eating them without taking any pictures, but they were pretty sexy. I just took some cold cooked quinoa from, mixed in 1/2 a tablespoon of maple syrup, a handful of raisins, walnuts, cinnamon and allspice and stuck it in a fuji apple cut in half with the core scooped out. Twenty minutes in the oven at 350 and voila! An amazing thing to do with left-overs, could definitely work with any grain.

Another of my favorite tricks to use up cooked grains is to let them soak over night in some non-dairy milk – almond is my fav– with vanilla, cinnamon, dried fruit, and coconut (or any nut). By morning the grains have soaked up the liquid and you’re left with a tasty breakfast treat! Add a bit of maple syrup and enjoy it for dessert instead. This trick (which my culinary whiz of a mom taught me) works well with uncooked oats; try layering them with fresh or frozen fruit before tucking the mix into the fridge for the night and wake up to a parfait.

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I like to support local business, and here in Lynchburg one of my favorite places is the White Hart coffee shop. For the fall (quickly becoming my favorite season) they offer a ‘fall spice latte’ which is a mixture of delicious spices (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, etc) and a drizzle of maple syrup with fair trade, organic expresso and steamed soy milk all sexed up in my mug. It is so sensual in fact, that a 16 oz cost me 6.10. I try and make myself feel better about this outrageousness by reminding myself I am supporting local business, fair trade products, vegan goodness and that they only offer this treat for a few short months so I won’t be able to completely drain my bank account.

Here I am enjoying my deliciousness at 8 AM on a Saturday after a trip to the farmer’s market with Alex.

happy!!

Here is Alex upset because when our drinks arrived, unlike me,  she was too sweet to take it back and politely ask for a new one sans whipped cream, thus the plate of whipped cream she tried to scoop off…

not so happy...

In all of its glory...

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I found a new place to put spirulina, the stinky sea algae with my daily dose of b12! I’ve been putting it in green smoothies and on popcorn for months now, but this morning I put it in..drumroll please..my oatmeal!! It turned it a lovely shade of forrest green, which might freak some people out, but the idea of green food only starts my engine. At one tiny teaspoon per serving, you can’t taste or smell it (although have fun sniffing that bottle! Fish food, for sure), and all of its brain boosting benefits and high protein content make it worth the funky-fresh color.

Oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, almond butter and spirulina! Green goodness..

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Since I’ve been on my own for a few months now, I basically live like a college student despite the fact that I graduated in May. Today I opened my fridge to find it containing only condiments, an assortment of nut-butters and a big bag of prunes. Still a day away from grocery-day and with my tummy rumbling, I opened up my pantry hoping for better luck and there it was, my saving grace: Quinoa. I love the nutty stuff for its unique flavor and amazing versatility. I like to stuff it in peppers and mushrooms, make grain burgers with it and cook it up for breakfast with cinnamon, raisins, walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. Plus, it is the only grain that acts as a complete protein all on its own.

After raiding my freezer for veggies I whipped up some fried quinoa,  a healthier version of fried rice, by getting out my wok and sautéing cooked quinoa with a bit of soy-sauce, cumin, onions, safflower oil, edamame, green peas and shredded carrot. A protein power-house!

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Before heading off to visit Ben in California – where it is freakishly colder than here in Virginia – I have to clean out my fridge. This is pretty easy since I have been being super frugal and the fridge is basically empty anyways. I’ve been eating my way through its content the entire week now and all that is left is a massive bag of carrots, scraps from a batch of vegan chili I made for a catering job last week. What to do, what to do?

I  set off to make a huge batch of curried carrot soup! I had quite the time roasting the carrots and pureeing them in batches, and the result  was  a delicious I-can’t-believe-there’s-no-cream-in-this hearty fall soup, and a kitchen wall splattered with orange carrot entrails…

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Someone had a little too much Halloween candy..

I love the fall and its plethora of tasty eats. My favorites? Apples, sweet potatoes, butternut and acorn squash, and pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin! I near had a heart attack last spring when I went to get a can of organic pumpkin to make me some muffins and found out that – don’t panic – even canned pumpkin is now considered seasonal!! That meant I had to wait until fall to get it, when actual pumpkins are  in season and I can roast one up and puree it myself. The ridiculous of this still amazes me, and you should have seen me arguing with the poor Kroger employee as if she made the executive decision herself. Isn’t the entire point of canning to preserve and extend the life of produce and make them enjoyable year-round? So now, I plan on hoarding mass cans of pumpkin in my cupboard like I’m stocking a bomb shelter, cause I don’t want to even imagine having to wait another year to enjoy my favorite canned treat again. Alright, off to go make a vegan pumpkin-nut smoothie.

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Now that's a human vegetable..

Today is World Vegan Day! Woohoo. I will be celebrating all month long with VeganMoFo, short for Vegan Month of Food, originally created by Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Post Punk Kitchen. By joining the VeganMoFo blog roll – along with hundreds of other happy vegan bloggers – I have pledged to write at least five times a week about vegan food and/or vegan cooking. I hope my creativity holds out…

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