Gemüsings—Vegan Musings

Musings on food, friends, furries and family

A new year, new recipes to try

All is well here. I am hoping that this winter proves to be a very different winter than last year. Last year, the snow was unending. Even those who enjoy our New England weathers were finding that there was a bit too much snow for their liking. This year is already different. It’s been unseasonably warm, sunny and with a serious lack of snow. I am not complaining! With the addition of Little Miss Pickle to my life, I am enjoying the mobility of popping her into her stroller and rolling out to Davis Square to work (me) and sleep (her) at a local coffee place. Snow will make this more difficult so if it’s a snow-light winter, I will not be sad.

There has been a lot of cooking lately..some originals that I will post later but most frequently checking out some new-to-me cookbooks such as the Voluptuous Vegan (borrowed from a friend), The Vegan Junk Food Cookbook (a gift), and the Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook (courtesy of Google Books).

One of the biggest hits in our little household over the past year has been the banana blender waffle recipe from VegWeb. Have you tried it? I declare the creator of this recipe a genius! It resolves two issues..T hates oatmeal and I love it..but no compromise is needed with this gem. The second issue? What to do with those too brown bananas. I love banana bread but I can only eat so much. These dense, caramel scented waffles are made with oatmeal, banana, water, vanilla and a little maple syrup. And the best part? All mixed up in the blender!

Banana Waffles from VegWeb

The complete spread

Waffle closeup

Waffle closeup

I’m posting a link to the Google-cached version of the recipe as there appears to be a problem on the VegWeb site:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ZXzyt4QRMdQJ:vegweb.com/index.php%3Ftopic%3D12753.0+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

A recent find is maple-flavored agave syrup from Wholesome Sweetners. I enjoy it for its low glycemic impact and its vegan-ness. Maple syrup is usually vegan but not always. The problem is that it is often hard to find out if animal byproducts are used in the clarification process (somewhat similar to how wine is produced). Here in maple syrup country, I can often talk to the sugar shack owners directly to find out but it’s not always that easy. However, now that I am more interested in limiting the sugar in my life, maple agave has pushed my Grade B maple to the back of the fridge. I will always love my maple and indulge on special occassions but for a sunday morning breakfast, maple agave and these oatmeal banana waffles leave me and my blood sugar feeling just fine. A quick sidebar: if you are a Trader Joe’s fan, their maple agave contains sugar and therefore negates some of the blood sugar friendly sweetness that pure agave offers.

As for Little Miss Pickle, she’s not ready for solid food just yet so waffles are a no-no for her. She reaches the four month mark this week and I am excited to talk to her doctor to find out when he thinks she’ll be ready to try her first food. Rice cereal is a typical first and maybe be hers but I am thrilled to consider what her other first might be. Avocado? Banana? Potato? So many yummy things to let her try. I can’t wait!

Little Miss Pickle shows us her feet

Little Miss Pickle shows us her feet

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All the bad is oh so good..V.I.C.E. #2


I’m getting pretty excited for this coming Saturday..my second annual V.I.C.E. #2..Vegan Ice Cream Event! (See last year’s V.I.C.E. here) Last year, for whatever reason, I got it into my head that local vegans needed an ice cream party. I invited all the local vegans I knew and asked them to invite their vegan friends. I also kept the event open to the “vegan-curious” so guests could feel free to bring their non-vegan partners, friends, etc. Using Facebook, I had about twelve people express interest. I made some vegan ice cream and bought a bunch at the store as well as some toppings and invited others to bring whatever they wanted.

Fast forward to the actual event:
Number of guests: ~35
Location: my backyard
Quarts/Pints of ice cream (homemade and store bought): 23
Number of toppings: too many to count but man there was enough vegan aerosol whipped cream for some fun shannigans!
Most servings had by one vegan: 4 sundaes spread out over one afternoon
Number of tummy aches: I don’t want to know..

Vegans were teary-eyed (ok, so I exaggerate a little..let’s just say their blood sugars lurched in anticipation) by the selection. We collectively sampled hemp-milk, soy-based and coconut milk ice creams and even a raw ice cream. People lingered so long that I had to “ahem” finally close the event down six hours later. So, of course, I had to make V.I.C.E. an annual event!

I didn’t know what to expect last year so I definitely over bought in regards to ice cream. My poor freezer was jam-packed with So Delicious pints and quarts for weeks. This year I’m being more systematic and asking people to rsvp AND give me a rough idea of what they want to bring.

I also won’t buy ice cream this year but instead will make some. I’ve been trying out some ideas in advance..just to see how they’d pan out. Last week, T requested a chili chocolate ice cream from the Vegan Scoop cookbook. I made the recipe and T inserted one crushed dundicut hot pepper from Penzey’s Spices. If you aren’t familiar with dundicuts, they have a Scoville rating of 60,000 (Scoville is a measurement of the “heat” of a chili pepper). Just one little pepper with intense fire power. OH man it burned! T loved it..I will probably leave this one in the fridge for him to finish up because otherwise, my guests will be rolling around on the lawn on fire as I was. However, the flavor was pretty impressive especially after I added a little of Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon. Do you share my love of cinnamon? If so, please check out Penzey’s cinnamon selection..omg..sooooo good! Someday I will do a post devoted to my love of cinnamon..

Anyway, today something fun arrived just in time for V.I.C.E.: Zak Designs reusable insulated ice cream containers! I cannot wait to try them out. Up until now, I have stored my homemade ice creams in whatever reusable containers I had on hand. They were fine. They worked. But the presentation wasn’t exactly what I was going for. I’m one of those people who is just all about the packaging! I can’t help it. Blame it on my advertising design degree. Blame it on my love of making things pretty. Whatever, the reason, when I saw these containers at an event in NYC two weeks ago, I just had to have them.

These Zak! Designs containers are really cool..literally! They are insulated and include freezer packs in the lids so your ice cream stays as cool as possible while not in the fridge. Plus, and seriously this is what gets me most, they make your homemade ice creams look so pro! Love it. They come in various fun colors but I decided on just white because..oh my vanity exposed..I don’t want the container color to detract from the beautiful colors of my homemade ice creams! Hehehe..insert my frozen, swollen ego here ;)

Stayed tuned for a massive brain freeze, possible tummy ache and definitely a blood sugar blowout when I report back on V.I.C.E. #2.

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Surprise, surprise!

It’s good to post again. It’s been a whirley bird of a year for me and I felt an update was long overdue, again. Last June, I began the first of many months of making some big changes in my life. I haven’t had much downtime since then! It’s been a very difficult transition for sure. Thank god for my family and friends who have supported me through the thick and thin of it all. Last May I went to California for a week away and decided to leave my marriage which had steadily been falling apart. It was clear to me that I was much happier outside of the marriage. Now, of course, I still love my ex dearly. It’s just sometimes people grow apart, differently, and at different paces. That was the case with us.

I tried dating..it was painful honestly. Maybe I just wasn’t ready. Maybe I just wasn’t meeting the right people. But eventually someone appeared who, like me, had also been through a painful divorce, and we really hit it off. And he’s vegan. Which I didn’t know would be as important to me as it soon became apparent that it was. I had never been in a relationship with another vegetarian let alone a vegan. It was amazing to just not have food and ethics be an issue. Not to that mention he’s a sweetheart.

Which became even more important when I found out in January that I am pregnant. Now, fast forward to June, we’re expecting Baby Pickle in September. A little vegan baby! My little vegan baby who is kicking me as I type this. Due exactly one month before my 40th birthday. I had given up hope that I’d ever have my own child and decided adoption was probably where I was heading. I made my peace with this in December..just weeks before I found out about Pickle. It’s funny how life works, huh?

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The Vegan Chocolate Factory Tour

This past weekend, I visited a local vegan chocolate factory, Taza chocolate with a group of vegans. Best Saturday I’ve had in a while! The company isn’t vegan-owned and they don’t specify that their chocolate is vegan but due to the style of chocolate that they make, it’s by default vegan. Mexican stone ground chocolate is dairy-free and because Taza uses organic sugar (non bone-char sugar) and no animal products their chocolate is truly vegan. They have no intention of creating milk chocolate either..Mexican stone ground chocolate is always dark (non-dairy). We were very happy to hear this.

Taza is one of just a few bean to bar chocolate makers in the United States. This means that they actually start their process from the cacao bean and complete it all the way to the end product: the chocolate bar. Many chocolate “makers” actually make their creations from premade chocolate. Taza doesn’t and instead has control of their ingredients from start to finish. They buy fair trade chocolate and make sure their other ingredients are equally responsibly harvested. I was really impressed with the thought and care that they put into their manufacturing process through every step of the way. They are committed to treating everyone in the entire process fairly while staying consistent to their green values. Even their chocolate deliveries locally are delivered by pedal power aka bicycle!

First stop: an visual explanation of the entire process from whole cacao pods to beans to bars and of course, samples.

IMG 0741

Hairnets were required..everyone worked ‘em well!

Hair nets

Cacao beans…

 

Our tour guide

The sorting and roasting machinery…

IMG 0747

Stone wheels for grinding in the Mexican chocolate tradition…

Stone grinding wheel

An ancient german bean roaster rescued from an abandoned building and put to good use in Somerville, MA. It’s still plugging along.

Old german roaster still roasting!

A machine for separating the beans from the pods…this machine is also salvaged but works well…

Sorter

The sorted nibs..the pods are even reused. Local brewing companies as well as a local tea company use them for flavoring. Nothing is wasted!

Sorted pods

Tasting the nibs..I like them and so did others but some find they are too bitter  (and without sugar not the kind of chocolate taste you might expect).

Yummy nibs

Packaging

Packaging

All Taza chocolate is hand wrapped with biodegradable wrappings with the exception of the foil used on the bars. The company is researching an alternative to foil.

Hand wrapping the bars

Hand wrapping station

Wrapping station

Stone wheels for grinding the beans

Stone wheels

Looks like a typical factory until we remembered that’s chocolately goodness in those machines!

LNo oompa loompas

Machinery I love

Of course they needed our help with some quality control..hehe

IMG 0779

I opted for some solid chocolate as a souvenir but this chocolate extract will be my next purchase.

One Taza product

Cacao beans

Cacao beans

Taza makes so many yummy kinds of chocolate..can I decide? No. Salted Almond, Salt and Pepper, Almond, Mocha..oh I’ll have it all!

Many flavors..I can't decide

The veganz..me in the front

The group

Some other Taza products…

Yumme!

Yeah, it is HOT! But it’s delicious…

Yes, they are HOT!

Everybody wants a little bit of Taza to bring home…

IMG 0794

The Taza tour was a really fun way to spend an hour on Saturday. If you’re visiting Boston I highly recommend giving it a try!

For more information on Taza tours check out: http://www.tazachocolate.com/tours

What else is new? Some vegan friends are starting a vegan reading group this week and our first read: Sistah Vegan. Anyone read it? I’ve got three chapters to get through before the next meeting so until then..sticky fingers and chocolately dreams!

 

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True Bistro and Fighting Cabin Fever

I hope for spring!

I hope for spring!

Today, it snowed again here in Cambridge. I was thinking about the snow last week and trying to remember if I could remember a winter as snowy as this one. According to the weather weenies, the winter of 95-96 was snowier so far. But I remember that winter well and know the reason: one blizzard that landed on April Fools’ Day that dumped several feet of snow on town. This winter is different..we’ve averaging a storm a week with 1-2 feet of new snow and not much melting in between.

I don’t like to complain too much about the seasons. Generally I enjoy the changes that we see here. This winter is different though. With a series of big changes in my life recently which ultimately are ending up as positive changes, life can seem a little scary and crazy lately. We all go through times like this, right? Between a divorce, leaving my business, and moving to the apartment upstairs from my old one (so I don’t have to leave my dear little squirrel friends), 2010 was one kicker of a year for me. The relationship wasn’t working out..we probably dragged it out longer than it needed. I’m so happy to be free of something that was painful and non-functional for both of us. So there is sadness but also a great deal of relief and happiness. I had tired of trying to make my business work with my ex..it was just too difficult..so I’m moving on and have had the amazing good luck to stumble upon work that is incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling. And my friends rallied to help me find a new home and then move me into it. I’m a lucky girl. Very lucky.

So what gives? Why am I so down? Not to blame it on the weather but okay maybe I will! I love being mobile and being outside and with winters like this neither are possible for long. My walking is hindered as there is just no place to put the snow that covers the sidewalks. Driving and parking are hellish. Try as I might, I do not enjoy winter sports quite the way I enjoy the activities of summer. Welcome to Cabin Fever 2011. Major bummer.

Two weeks for $25 at the local yoga studio down the street. Inviting a friend over for tea. Taking a hot shower. Booking a trip to California. All good coping strategies. But even better? Treating yourself to a lovely vegan lunch all by yourself when your budget is only slighter higher than your spirits..which t’ain’t saying much folks! So I decided to walk, in the snow, several blocks outside of Davis Square to the lovely True Bistro to eat lunch by myself with cell phone turned off so I could concentrate on the peacefulness that the snow brings and hope some of it is absorbed by my brain.

Flowers seem like a distant memory today

Flowers seem like a distant memory today

Obviously having fun with my camera ;)

Obviously having fun with my camera ;)

Tea service!

Tea service!

Ginger lemon tea

Ginger lemon tea

Fried tofu Bánh mì baguette, pickled radish and carrot, tempeh pate, Vegenaise

Fried tofu Bánh mì baguette, pickled radish and carrot, tempeh pate, Vegenaise

Potato salad

Potato salad

Snowy view

Snowy view

Oh greenery I miss you!

Oh greenery I miss you!

Grass and artichokes

Grass and artichokes

Coconut lemon rice pudding

Coconut lemon rice pudding

Ahhh..that was just what I needed. I think I can make it to the end of February now. Okay, well, at least until we ride out the rest of this current storm. We’ll see what next week brings ;)

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Scenes from a life

Poor Gemüsings has been much neglected this past year. That was certainly not my intention as I absolutely love writing about all things vegan. The past year has been so intense personally for me and continues to be. As I struggle to get my footing when the waters are churning, it’s easy to focus on what is going wrong not what is going right. However, with my camera by my side, I’ve caught some moments that give me reason to remember that life IS good and things are getting better.

In the past year I have had the pleasure of growing a friendship with the amazing Q. We met at a vegan potluck last November (both wearing pink and dishing up our own takes on vegan cranberry sauce) and are currently celebrating our one year “friendiversary”..he he. Long walks and tea with this woman have helped me through the toughest of times. In September, a group of vegan friends had the pleasure of celebrating Q’s 30th birthday and a fun time was had by all:

Celebrating Q's 30th bday..TL and me

Celebrating Q's 30th bday..TL and me

Q and the other A

Q and the other A

The amazing P smiles for the camera

The amazing P smiles for the camera

Also in September, I decided to take a road trip to clear my head. I had said for several years that I’d go to Bleu Lavande in Québec to see the lavender bloom. It was a little out of season but since I was en route to Montreal I decided to detour and stop. Q joined me for the adventure and using her GPS we back roaded over the Canadian-US border to an itty bitty border crossing that was unbelievably quaint.

Lavender!

Lavender!

Everyone on the tour appeared to be from the area..except for me and Q. Q’s fabulous French was an excellent help when my college French failed me in understanding what was going on!

Guided tour @ Bleu Lavande in Québec

Guided tour @ Bleu Lavande in Québec

I can only imagine how beautiful this place must be when the lavender is in full bloom in July and August.

Mid September is past flowering season but still smells great

Mid September is past flowering season but still smells great

Our tour guide forgot who the two American girls were and couldn't pick us out of the crowd!

Our tour guide forgot who the two American girls were and couldn't pick us out of the crowd!

Q with her new camera..lavender paparazzi!

Q with her new camera..lavender paparazzi!

Tofurkey Sandwiches

Tofurkey Sandwiches

During the movie and tour the sky was gray..but when we whipped out our cameras suddenly the clouds cleared and we were drenched in gorgeous sunshine.

Yes, those colors are real!

Yes, those colors are real!

The store sells various lavender products. Pour moi: lavender dark chocolate (vegan–we checked!), food grade lavender (for lavender lemon cookies), and lavender tea.

A little shopping pour moi et Q..of course!

A little shopping pour moi et Q..of course!

After Bleu Lavande, we headed west to Montreal to visit my dear college friends C and O plus their two kiddies B and E. It was a good break for C who is finishing up her PhD at McGill. Of course a stop at a local bagel shop was a must.

Bagelness in Montreal

Bagelness in Montreal

I hadn’t seen the kiddies, B and E, in three years and I was delighted to see what wonderful little people they have evolved into. E is very interested in veganism and Q and I were more than happy to answer any questions that she had. C reminded me that I had predicted when E was an infant that she’d be vegetarian..I had completely forgotten and it now seems that I’m a bit of a soothsayer! hehe! A Veganomicon lasagna was a big hit at the family dinner even with O who is 100% French and very skeptical of vegan food.

Q and our favorite little vegan E

Q and our favorite little vegan E

Also spent a lot of time at Pulse Cafe near my home this summer, always seeing friends there. If you find yourself in Boston please check it out!

Good times at the all-vegan Pulse Cafe in Davis Square

Good times at the all-vegan Pulse Cafe in Davis Square

Finally, yet another new vegan friend appears on the horizon and I join him on his quest to visit all the state parks in Massachusetts (300+). Here are some shots from Belle Isle Marsh where we watched the planes land and some rainy drizzle. Best third date ever!

T's latest conquest in his state park goal

T's latest conquest in his state park goal

Another view

Another view

More to come soon…!

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Well-heeled Boston vegans!

This past year has been remarkable for vegans in Boston. I can’t believe how better things keep getting! Last year saw the opening in October of the amazing Peace O’Pie co-owned by my talented buddies Eric and Miguel. A vegan pizzeria? Oh yeah!

Red Lentil (vegetarian with vegan options) opened sometime around the same time.

Pulse Cafe then opened in February just a five minute walk from my apartment. Vegan home cooking..and now brunch!

True Cafe is slated to open soon just a ten minute walk from my apartment. The Clover Food truck is opening another truck in Harvard Square soon (vegetarian food truck). And finally, oh I can barely contain myself, we will have a vegan shoe store!!!

Sudo Shoes is scheduled to open soon..come visit soon everyone!!

Sudo Shoes--vegan shoes!
Sudo Shoes–vegan shoes!
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Tortilla Pie + Maria & Ricardo’s Tortillas

I’m so lazy lately. My motivation to cook this time of year always fizzles out because the kitchen is so warm. As a result, the very basic cooking that I’ve done in the past month has been minimal and easy as whatever I can throw together.  A simple recipe that I just love follows below. When the customer service team from Maria and Ricardo’s tortillas contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I’d like to sample their products I was thrilled. Tortillas? Of course! Who doesn’t love tortillas. I was excited for two reasons. First, Maria and Ricardo’s is a local company based out of Canton, Massachusetts, not far from Boston. Second, many of their products are certified vegan!

A box arrived at my office a few days later..I had it sent to the office instead of home because I didn’t want the tortillas sitting around in the heat and humidity at home on the front porch. I was happy to see that they sent me not only their traditional white flour tortillas but also some whole wheat ones. I started with the whole wheat ones because, mistakenly, I thought that I’d prefer the white flour tortillas. I mean, as much as I love whole wheat nowadays my inner kid still loves white flour best! What can I do with her? Well, I don’t need to worry. The whole wheat tortillas were delicious. I actually preferred them over the white flour ones..although the white flour ones were also delicious. The whole wheat tortillas were consumed mainly in wraps..below is an unglamorous shot of a chickpea mash wrap..I didn’t cook any of the whole wheat tortillas because running even the toaster oven in July was unbearable.

Chickpea rollup

Chickpea rollup w/fresh snap peas

This past week the weather improved and we have beautiful weather here in Boston. I was finally able to run the toaster oven to make one of my favorite dishes: tortilla pie! I don’t really remember the inspiration for this dish..I can tell you it was from my vegetarian, pre-vegan days so the original recipe definitely wasn’t vegan. It was a snap to veganize and if you’re following a low-fat diet such as McDougall, this is a fairly low-fat dish that is very filling and delicious. I started with a ton of veggies that I had in the fridge. The onions were onion slices leftover from a recent vegan bbq. The peppers were from my friend Paul’s CSA farm share..he can’t eat them so I get the goods. Thanks Paul! Two identical looking peppers..one was hot, one not. Go figure! Plus tomato, regular green pepper and corn from some corn on the cob. Of course, you can add whatever you want here..just leave the stuff that is better fresh until after the baking such as cilantro and avocado of course.

So you’ll need:

  • 3 tortillas
  • A can of refried beans
  • A bunch of chopped veggies such as onion, tomato, peppers, and corn
  • Salsa
  • Some kind of vegan cheeze (optional)
Chopped veggies

Chopped veggies for the filling

I used a pie plate which ended up being the perfect size. You can put a little spray oil on the bottom of the dish if you’d like..it helps eliminate some sticking but it’s not necessary. Place your first tortilla on the bottom and spread with refried beans.

First layer..spread the refried beans

First layer..spread the refried beans

Three tortillas is all that was needed for this dish which makes approximately four servings. After you spread the refried beans, top with half of your chopped veggies.

First layer complete

First layer complete

Repeat for the next layer..think lasagna and you’ll get it. When you’re done, drizzle salsa on top of the stack before you place the final tortilla. You don’t want to do this on top of the final tortilla because you don’t want it to be wet..it won’t brown up that way.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

In the oven @ 400 degree fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes until it browns up.

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

I didn’t have any vegan cheeze in the house so I used this wonderful new to me vegan cheeze spread “We Can’t Call It Cheese.” I found it out in California in May and was disappointed that I couldn’t find it back on the east coast until last week when a vegan friend of mine mentioned that she got some at our local Whole Foods. If you want to use Daiya or Follow Your Heart, add that to the top of the stack before baking.

"We Can't Say It's Cheese" vegan cheeze spread

"We Can't Say It's Cheese" vegan cheeze spread

Yum! Topped with avocado and more salsa..

Dinnah is ready!

Dinnah is ready!

Thanks to Maria and Ricardo’s for letting me try their product. I will definitely buy this brand at my local Whole Foods. I have had numerous complaints re the 365 brand that Whole Foods carries (not nearly as tasty and they mold very quickly in this weather..I’ve actually bought some and found them moldy the same day of purchase). Maria and Ricardo’s were in my fridge for over two weeks and they were always fresh tasting and delicious.

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Put a fork in it: Trident Cafe in Boston

Hey! I’m still alive. It’s been hot although a beautiful summer in Boston. Life is a little topsy turvey right now so I haven’t been up to blogging but I have some quick updates on local places where I’ve eaten recently so I can finally add to my “Boston” tab here on Gemüsings (I guess it gets some use by visiting vegans..yay!).

A recent dinner at Trident Cafe on Newbury Street in Boston. A restaurant within a bookstore. You can actually take a book from the bookstore side and read it while you eat. Yay! This place has been a favorite of mine for literally years. Trident is not vegan or vegetarian but they make a mean vegan cashew chili and coco-banana soy “milkshake”..my favorites!  Also rumored is a vegan veggie burger but I hesitate to recommend it until I can confirm that the roll is indeed vegan. Take a gander at this yumminess! Note the book..thought it was a reduced-price version of “Eat, Pray, Love” but it was actually a parody of the book, titled “Eat, Play, F*&^”..whoops. I browsed it during my meal and it’s pretty funny but still looking to get my hands on a copy of “Eat, Pray, Love.” Anybody love it? Hate it? Can’t wait to check it out

Vegan Cashew Chili!

Vegan Cashew Chili!

chili closeup

chili closeup

The entire meal...coco-banana soy "milkshake" + cashew chili

The entire meal...coco-banana soy "milkshake" + cashew chili

And guess what? You can make your own vegan cashew chili! Here’s Chef Eric from Trident to show you how:

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Foodbuzz 24×24: V.I.C.E.–the Vegan Ice Cream Event

An old fashioned ice cream maker was the centerpiece filled with sunflowers

Our centerpiece: An old fashioned ice cream maker filled with sunflowers

When my proposal for the Foodbuzz 24X24 event was selected, summer had just hit. It’s humid and hot here in Boston. My proposal suggested that it was time for a vegan ice cream event or “V.I.C.E.” as I took to calling it. I loved the idea of covering a traditional topic such as ice cream in the summer but with a vegan spin to show that yes, vegan ice cream is really delicious!

Despite our winters here in the northeast, we New Englanders eat a lot of ice cream. In fact:
“New Englanders [...] consume more ice cream per capita than people in any other region in the country: 22 pints a year, according to Bob Bryson, executive director of the New England Ice Cream Restaurant Association in Merrimack, N.H.”–Jane Roy Brown and Bill Regan, Boston Globe August 28, 2005

This doesn’t surprise me at all. As anyone who grew up in this region can tell you, ice cream has long been a regular part of family and social outings especially in the summer months. Back in the day, whether you and your family were visiting the “big” city of Boston (Boston is small but not to New Englanders!) to watch a Red Sox game and then stop by Bailey’s ice cream parlor or if you were escaping the heat at one of our many lakes in a cabin nestled away in a pine forest, going for an ice cream cone was always a must.

So what to do when you decide to go vegan? Most ice cream places do not serve non-dairy ice cream. There are some vegan ice cream options at markets such as Whole Foods or a local natural foods store. A lot of vegans I know are also quite skillful at making their own ice cream. While it’s great that we have these options, we do miss out on the whole social aspect of going for ice cream as a summer ritual.

I decided to that a vegan ice cream social was a must. Indulgence would be the word of the day. We can go to the gym later, right?! Using Facebook, email and just plain word-of-mouth, I told all the local vegans I knew and they in turn told other vegans. By the end of the last week, we had close to 35 people who wanted to attend. The emails were often cute and would say something like this “Hi Amanda, I’m a friend of X and I heard about your vegan ice cream party. Is it okay if I come and bring my girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/friend.” How could I say no? =)

So let’s get down to business! The ingredients. Nowadays it’s so simple to replace dairy-based ice creams with nut, soy and coconut milks. The result is delicious.

We had some home-crafted vegan ice creams including:

  • Mint-chip ice cream with a base of coconut milk and cashews
  • Mud pie ice cream also with a base of coconut milk and cashews
  • Chocolate hazelnut gelato with a base of almond milk
  • Rocky road ice cream made with coconut milk
  • Raw “cheesecake” ice cream made with young coconuts
New-fashioned ice cream sundae..100% vegan!

New-fashioned ice cream sundae with mint chip coconut milk ice cream..100% vegan!

Mud pie ice cream sundae..also 100% vegan

Mud pie ice cream sundae..also 100% vegan

The sundae bar

The sundae bar

For toppings we had:

  • Fudge sauce
  • Raspberry wine sauce
  • Strawberry sauces
  • Peanut butter sauce
  • Caramel sauce
  • Marshmallow topping
  • Chocolate chips
  • Crushed sandwich cookies
  • Colored and chocolate sprinkles
  • Ice cream cones
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Bananas
  • Two kinds of whipped cream..a soy and a rice milk based one

Vegan whipped cream

Vegan whipped cream

Line for the sundae bar

Line for the sundae bar

They don't call it an ice cream social for nothing!

They don't call it an ice cream social for nothing!

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