We vacation in Ocean Grove, NJ every year. Every year it gets easier and easier to be vegan down there. From Porta and Mogo in Asbury Park which is just a short boardwalk walk North or Kaya’s Kitchen in Belmar just a short car ride 2-3 towns South. It used to be that I would have to bring a ton of food with me. I’d have to pack a cooler. With 2 kids now I don’t have room for a cooler anymore besides a small frozen lunch bag thing that I bought awhile ago. I ended bringing down: Earth Balance and a cashew spread that I made. So I appreciate the vegan options that are popping up all over the Jersey Shore. Here are a few of the eats from down there. I’ll have a separate post about Kaya’s and the Cinnamon Snail coming later in the week or two.
My mother in law would toast some bread with tomatoes, herbs and cheese for everyone. I asked that the cheese not be added to mine and I topped mine with a cashew spread I made the day before we left and brought down with us. That spread came in handy while I was down there! I was glad I brought it! It’s cashews, garlic, lemon, water, salt and pepper blended in the Vitamix.
Local Ocean Grove coffee house The Barbaric Bean offers soy or almond milk for their coffee drinks and had a gluten free vegan peanut butter cookie. I’ll admit that I wasn’t to excited for these cookies when I saw them. I wanted to try them anyway and I was glad I did. They were really good! I hope they have them next time we are there. Pre-vegan I LOVED the scones at The Barbaric Bean. They were the best I ever had. I wish they would consider making vegan versions of them.
On Sunday’s the Cinnamon Snail is in Red Bank, NJ at the Farmers Market. I brought back a large box of treats and two of these savory seitan mustard cashew tarts. Peter and I each had one for breakfast later in the week. They are one of my favorite things that the Cinnamon Snail has to offer.
We all know my obsession with bagels. Especially bagels with Earth Balance and nooch. This part of NJ isn’t known for there bagels like the part of NJ that I live in. I found some decent looking ones at a bakery in town and they didn’t disappoint! Me and kids were happy that I remembered to bring some Nooch down with us.
The Iced Coffee in some of the pictures was beach house homemade. I brought down my large french press and made some cold brew coffee with some almond milk that my mother in law picked up at a grocery store down there. I bring that french press on all our vacations.
We have had lots of celebrating going on lately. Miles birthday, Reno’s summertime birthday celebration at school, Fathers Day..BBQ’s..etc…I’ve been baking a lot of desserts for all these events. First up was my son’s 2nd birthday. We packed our backyard with family and friends. I was originally going to make cupcakes and then quickly realized I’d have to make 4 dozen of them. Then realized that most of the time the kids just lick off the frosting and leave the cupcake behind. I didn’t want that experience! I decided to make a double batch of my Double Chocolate Brownies and then got the idea to make a Brownie Ice Cream Sundae bar. My sister was kind enough to stop at the store and pick us up some vegan ice creams. It was hugely popular and I’ve decided to do this for all hot weather parties. Since this was a last minute idea all there was were my brownies, ice cream and berries. Next time I’ll have other toppings and whipped cream available.
Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes
For my daughters summertime birthday celebration at school I made 2 dozen Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I love this recipe and it alway’s goes over well with kids and parents because the cake isn’t too sickening sweet. I piped the buttercream on top after it was in the carry case to make less of a mess and was lucky to find some hot pink sprinkles in the spice cabinet. According to my daughter a few of her friends wanted seconds, some kids didn’t want them at all and I’m sure some just licked the frosting. C’est la vie.
For the record..my daughter ate 3 of them.
Double Dare Peanut Butter Cake
Peter’s cousin was kind enough to invite the whole family over for a BBQ last weekend. She saw the peanut butter cake I made from Robin Robertson’s Nut Butter Universe book and asked if I would make it for her party. I jumped at the chance to make it again. Its so easy and everyone loved it the first time I made it. The pic above is the same as in the review post. I was so embarrassed with how the second cake looked! The piping bag dropped on the cake and the piped border started melting…it was hot mess but it was still delicious. His whole family really enjoyed it though and they thought it looked nice. I’m sure I’ll be making this cake again soon.
Father’s Day BBQ
Our last celebration was Father’s Day and I again made my brownies. Instead of talking about them I’ll show you our feast. My sister made some of the best grilled vegetables I’ve ever had. She didn’t do anything special with them at all and they were amazing! My mom was kind enough to set aside some macaroni salad and potato salad before she put mayo on them. I was then able to add some vegan mayo and enjoy the salads along with everyone else. (she even put the macaroni salad aside before she added peas to it! she knows me well!) My mom’s famous doctored baked beans were served also. You can find a recipe for the baked beans right here on the site.
We have many other events and holidays to celebrate over the summer months..I’ll be very busy baking for them!
Vegan Heritage Press was kind enough to send me a copy of Robin Robertson’s book Nut Butter Universe. I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t expecting much from this book just by the title alone. I think like a lot of people I’ve talked to I just had images of only nut butter recipes in my head. Let me tell you that I was pleasantly surprised when I read through this book. It’s definitely not just nut butter recipes! Its chapter after chapter of amazing sounding recipes along with a few beautiful photographs of some of the dishes. After reading through all the recipes and making notes on which ones I wanted to try I ended up with more then 10 recipes on that list! I didn’t know where to start but I narrowed it down to 2 recipes to try over this past weekend and the rest will have to wait until later this week.
Double Dare Peanut Butter Cake
One of the first recipes that stood out for me was the Double Dare Peanut Butter Cake. I am a peanut butter fiend and this recipe promised a peanut butter cake AND a peanut butter frosting. I had my 2 year old son help with the cake batter while my daughter was in school. When she came home from school I had her help me with the frosting. Both kids had a lot of fun in the kitchen that day and I was happy to have them help.
The cake batter is very thick. Its not pourable like other cake recipes but it baked just fine. The frosting recipe was incredibly easy to make. You dump everything into a food processor, blend and refrigerate for an hour so it can set up a bit. While my daughter and I were frosting the cake the directions said it was optional to top with chocolate curls. We only had chocolate chips and they weren’t very nice looking due to the hot weather. I decided to make a quick ganache by melting the chips with a touch of almond milk and swirl it into the peanut butter frosting. I put some of the extra frosting into a pasty bag and piped some stars all along the edge of the cake. My daughter wanted the big star in the middle and I think it was a brilliant decorating decision on her part.
We ate the cake after dinner with my parents. It received rave reviews! My daughter want’s it to be her birthday cake. My husband ate 2 pieces. He doesn’t usually like cakes. My parents have offered to taste test the cake again tonight. My husbands cousin wants me to make it for her BBQ this Saturday. I will definitely be making this cake over and over again!
Apple Almond Butter Pancakes
These pancakes were made for a Sunday morning treat. Easy to make and delicious. Apples and almond butter a favorite combo of mine and I knew these pancakes would be great. I did alter some of the pancakes for my daughter who was screaming about me putting apples in them. Before I added the apples to the batter I poured 3 pancakes onto the griddle and added chocolate chips into them minus the apples. She happily devoured them. The rest of us ate them with the apples added. My favorite thing about them and most of the recipes in this book is the added protein the nut butters add to each dish. I liked that my children ate these and got something more then they would have if I just made traditional pancakes. We will be making these a lot come apple season this fall.
I am so happy I gave this book a chance. I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to try all of the other recipes I bookmarked.
Over the summer I wrote about taking a food writing class in NYC and the food my friend Dianne and I ate. I mentioned having a Butterfinger Milkshake at Terri and how I’ve only ever ordered a Butterfinger Milkshake at Terri and that I’ve never actually eaten food that they serve. Well I finally got a chance to eat a proper meal there…of course….with a Butterfinger Milkshake!
First I’ll admit that my husband and I weren’t suppose to eat at Terri the night we were in the city. We had reservations at another vegan establishment but a broken down bus just past the tolls to the Lincoln Tunnel made us miss that reservation. I was sad about it but perked up when I realized that Terri was actually on the way to where the second part of our evening was to take place. It ended up working out for the best.
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
I knew immediately what I was going to order. I’ve been eyeing their Buffalo Chicken Sandwich on the menu each time I’ve gone in and only ordered a Butterfinger Milkshake. Buffalo Sauce is one of my favorite foods. Period. The sandwich comes with celery on it and if there is one thing I don’t like in the food world it is celery (and seaweed). I’ve tried to like it and it just isn’t happening although I have become a bit more tolerant of it in things. I was going to ask them to not include it in the sandwich but decided last minute not to. I’m happy I did because it added a flavor to the meal that I actually didn’t mind for once in my life. The crunch the celery added to the sandwich was a welcome event in my mouth.
Roasted Veg Sandwich and a Brazilian Bombshell Smoothie
My husband is not much of a meat analog type of guy so he went with the Roasted Vegetable Sandwich and a smoothie called Brazilian Bombshell. The sandwich was loaded with eggplant, squash, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers and kalamata olives. He loved it and I loved the look of it. I’ve decided the next time I go to Terri I’m going to order this sandwich for myself. The Brazilian Bombshell smoothie he had with his meal was also great! Since it is a Brazilian smoothie it just has to have acai´in it and it did as well as cherries, blueberries, mangos, bananas, soymilk and agave. The next time we go to Terri I’m going to make him order this again and steal sips from it. I won’t be ordering it for myself because I’ll be ordering myself my usual Butterfinger Milkshake!
Chickpea-Almond Brown Rice Stir Fry with Tamari-Peanut Sauce
This was the very first meal I cooked for us since we brought Miles home from the hospital. Up until then we have been well taken care of food wise from friends and family. My non-cooking husband even cooked a meal for us one night. Of course when the time came for me to have to start making dinners again we pretty much had nothing in the fridge/pantry. After standing in the middle of the kitchen wondering what the hell I was going to make for dinner I all of a sudden remembered that I had a whole container of brown rice from some Veggie Heaven take out a few nights before, then I saw a can of chickpeas in the pantry and found some broccoli in the fridge. The rest of the dish just kept evolving while I was cooking.
I first sauteed some onions and garlic in oil then added the broccoli and chickpeas. While rooting around the fridge I found a bag of almonds so I chopped them up and tossed them into the pan along with the leftover take out brown rice. While this was all “stir frying” together I was trying to think of way to get Reno to eat this meal. I knew by the looks of it she wouldn’t eat it at all. I have in the past gotten her to eat similar dishes, usually with noodles instead of rice, if I put peanut sauce on it. We were running low on peanut butter, thanks to all the smoothies I’ve been making, so it was heavier on the tamari then on the peanut butter. Which is better for a stir fry anyway. The sauce was made with: tamari, peanut butter, water, orange juice and ginger powder. I added it to the stir fry right towards the end of cooking it and cooked it for a minute more just till it was heated through.
By then…Reno had emerged from her bath and declared that she would NOT be eating this dinner. I informed her that she WOULD be eating it and if she didn’t want to eat it then she was welcome to go straight to bed. If I know that she’s not going to like something I’ve made I’ll always give her another option but I knew she would like this. She complained through the whole thing. First that it was made with rice and not noodles and I always make peanut sauce with noodles. Then she was fine just eating the rice but that there was all “this stuff” in the way of her doing that…that “stuff” was the chickpeas. Oh and she also wasn’t going to be eating the broccoli which is actually a vegetable that she likes. After she had basically eaten 1/2 of her bowl she claims that her belly is full. Which was too bad because that’s when I decided to announce to Peter that there was some ice cream in the freezer for me and him when we were done with our bowls. Well wouldn’t you know it…Reno wanted some ice cream…she quickly ate the rest of her meal. ;)
The meal was delicious and I can’t wait to make it again. I hope to have the time and mental capability to write the measurements down so I can post the recipe for you all.