Week two of my very first Vegan Cookbook Challenge is complete! I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty fun to flip through Oh She Glows Everyday and pick which recipes I wanted to tackle for the week. It’s kind of like picking out your own birthday present! My birthday is actually at the end of this month and I kind of just want food/cookbooks/kitchen tools. Is that weird? Probably.
I spent the first half of this week in Connecticut and away from my kitchen so I wasn’t able to make as many recipes as I wanted, but it’s probably more realistic to aim for three or four recipes a week anyway. It’s been really good to have this project to focus on – I’m still not working (ever since I had my surgery three weeks ago) and while I am obviously making plans for what I’m going to do next, it’s really nice to have a checklist of recipes that I’m making progress on each week. I feel like I am doing something positive for myself, and of course I love having more food around the house, but it’s also a cathartic way to start to take back control of my life. Endometriosis has screwed up my plans a lot over the years, from the big to the small, and anytime I can have the opportunity to meet my own goals (even if it is only making three or four particular recipes a week) it feels like a victory. But, I’ll talk about all that at another time maybe. Now onto the fooooooooood!
If you missed the first week of the challenge, check it out here!
Okay so I’m a big fan of chickpea salad. I have a staple recipe in my repertoire that is very basic – pickles, celery, lemon juice, etc. so when I saw that Angela had a recipe for it in this book I was pumped. Her recipe takes this basic concept and turns it into a fancier, flavor-filled explosion! The cilantro in it is so good and I love any excuse to put turmeric in something. There’s also green onion, red bell pepper, and I put a good amount of cayenne in for spice. It’s definitely spicy so if you’re not a fan of the heat then I would only put a tiny sprinkle of cayenne in the salad. I used Sir Kensington’s vegan mayonnaise for this recipe and I am a big fan. Their “fabanaise” is made with aquafaba, the water that chickpeas are cooked with, and they actually partnered with a hummus company to use their aquafaba. So instead of just discarding the aquafaba after cooking the chickpeas, it ends up in this mayonnaise, and therefore it ends up in my chickpea salad, and my mouth. The End.
But really, this curried chickpea salad is a burst of flavor. I combined it with some arugula, lemon juice, and avocado and it was a filling, heavenly meal. And now I still have some left over in my fridge and I think I’m going to scoop it up with some tortilla chips. YES.
Now I definitely don’t need an excuse to bake cookies. Like at all. So when I was planning my recipes for this week, I knew that I wanted to make another cookie recipe. There’s just something so comforting about having a stash of freshly baked cookies lying around. And I see nothing wrong with this! I love Angela’s cookie recipes because so many of them are gluten free. For the last year or so I’ve drastically reduced the amount of gluten in my diet because of my health issues. I am definitely not afflicted with Celiac Disease but my body has had a ton of inflammation all over and eating inflammatory foods (like gluten) was causing me more pain. So while I have not been 100% gluten free, it doesn’t make much sense to bake cookies with wheat flour when I know I am going to be eating a lot of them. So Angela’s cookie recipes have been, hands down, the best gluten free cookies I’ve ever made. She uses very basic ingredients (all things you can find in my pantry) and they come together so quickly. I’m obsessed!
These cookies have all of my favorite things – chocolate chips, peanut butter, coconut, and oats. The tops are super crispy when they come out of the oven and the insides are chewy and peanut buttery. They’re pretty much the perfect cookie so go make them right now! I stored them in the fridge like Angela suggested and whenever I wanted a snack or warm dessert I would microwave them for twenty seconds so they got slightly warm and the chocolate chips started to melt. Okay now I really want another cookie…
I used to manage a juice and smoothie bar in Boston so whenever I see a recipe for a smoothie, or in this case a smoothie bowl, I feel equal parts intrigued and deterred. Now, I’ve made A LOT of smoothies in my life, whether they were for myself or for customers, and even though I love them I still have this gut reaction of “oh man, another smoothie.” And don’t even get me started on smoothie bowls – they’ve become so trendy, they’re all over Instagram, and they give me these awful flashbacks of me explaining to customers what they were. Over and over again. “They’re like thicker smoothies, in a bowl, with toppings like granola and fresh fruit, kind of the consistency of frozen yogurt!” I said it all with a smile and hoped against hope that they would order it and love it and that it would be the last time I had to give that speech that day. So, needless to say, I have some baggage with smoothies and smoothie bowls. But I still really do love them so I keep coming back for more!
I’m not usually a fan of watermelon, or any melon for that matter. It’s a textural thing – I like the flavor of watermelon but it’s so spongy and it’s not hard and it’s not soft. Eeeeek. But a couple of weeks ago we were gifted with these two huge watermelons from our neighbor’s garden and I LOVE finding random garden surprises on our front porch. I decided that I would freeze most of the watermelon and try blending it in smoothies to hopefully mask my textural disdain. And then I saw this recipe and BAM! I knew what I would be making! This smoothie bowl was super basic but really really good. It was mostly frozen strawberries, watermelon, a touch of maple syrup, and a ¼ cup of avocado. The avocado gave it more of a creaminess and the color was so vibrant. The watermelon made it incredibly refreshing and I piled on chia seeds, fresh strawberries, mango, and this granola that my aunt made. The toppings are the most fun part of smoothie bowls, let’s be real.
Okay smoothie bowls, you win. I still love you.
What’s your take on smoothie bowls? Are they incredibly delicious or just an excuse to take a pretty Instagram picture?