Posts tagged ‘enjoy xo’

June 21, 2011

A Cookie Like Me

by Jen Wanous

This week, I celebrated my birthday.  It was to be a low-key event…but it turned into a very memorable one that lasted for days.

The lead up to my birthday actually started out as a big bummer when my bike was stolen.  As with most obstacles in my life, I tried to look for the silver lining.  Turns out, it was right under my nose within the reach of my friends and family.  I had the thought to reach out to my community to ask for support by setting up a birthday/bike fund.  The response I received was touching.  From five dollars to fifty, from inquires of concern and support, to offering their neighbor’s unused bikes–people gave generously.  It is hard sometimes to ask for help but it was good practice for me.  I was heartened by my community’s support.

My actual birthday fell on a school day.  It was our Raw Foods day and at first, I was not so excited about this.  However, it was actually a very delicious day–complete with cake and ice cream (well, raw brownies and fruit sorbet).  I brought along some vegan cookies to share with my culinary school friends who are vegan.  After some thought, I decided that these cookies are a lot like me; it makes the best out of what it has and it’s sweet, exudes calm and has a sprinkling of saltiness.  The recipe is below.

My birthday was punctuated by the best dinning experience I’ve ever had.  Annie treated me to a dinner at Blue Hill Farms.  This is a farm and restaurant an hour outside of New York City.  We saw deer frolicking and lightning bugs against the rolling crop lined hills.  Needless to say, this really impressed our city-slicker eyes.  They have a five course “farmer’s tasting” menu which leaves you in the masterful hands of the chef.  Each course offered seasonal awe and impressed us with its presentation.  A dinner highlight of a poached and fried egg that was perfectly circular when plated in pea soup and broke into a gooey goldenness.  Of course, Annie was cringing as she watched me eat this because she does not appreciate peas nor raw egg.  Luckily, there was plenty of other samplings to keep us both full and happy.

This birthday leaves me with a deep sentiment of gratitude to the many people who helped make this birthday a memorable one.  Even the person who, (as my friend Kristina said) “infinitely borrowed my bike”, had something to offer me this year.

Lavender Sea Salt Cookies

Yields 25 cookies

1/2 cup Earth Balance Spread (or one stick butter)

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg replacer or egg

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons edible lavender flower (find at your local farmer’s market)

zest of one orange

1/2 teaspoon corse sea salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Prepare two baking sheets either with a silpat pad or with light oil.

2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add in the egg (replacer).  Mix well.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.

4. Add the flour mix to the butter/sugar until just combine.  Gently incorporate the lavender and the orange zest.

5. On prepared baking sheets, scoop out 1 teaspoon sized balls and top with a hearty pinch of sea salt.  Bake for 7-10 minutes.  Remove from sheet and cool on a rack.

April 11, 2011

Ode to New York: A Vegan Ice Cream Guide

by Jen Wanous

On my third year anniversary of living in New York, I would like to dedicate an ode to the best vegan ice cream this wonderful city has to offer.  Many of you know that I am lactose-challenged and as you probably also know, I love ice cream.  This makes for a challenging scenario, but with some digging, sweet, cool, creamy deliciousness can be found!  Below are reviews of what I have enjoyed here.

Right photo courtesy of Kelsey Leland, check out her blog at:

You see, I used to be able to eat dairy like a champ.  Hot days at the beach in my Southern California hometown would never be complete without some Thrifty’s ice cream, pizza was plentiful and cheddar cheese to complement all the Mexican food was essential.   Then came college and my earthy-herbal vegan days where I cut out dairy completely.  When I decided I was over it, I tried to go back to my decedent milkshake-loving ways and I quickly realized that I was doomed!! It was a particularly low point in my life.  I had indeed become lactose intolerant- joining the ranks of my mom’s side of the family- we would all pay dearly for our cheesecake indulgences on Thanksgivings.

It’s estimated that 75% of adults in the world are lactose intolerant. Your body is missing lactase, which is the enzyme you need to digest lactose.  Prior to pasteurization, milk contains lactase but the high heat process of pasteurization destroys it, making it hard for us to digest if we don’t already produce lactase.  If you can find a trusted local, raw milk producer, you might not have any reaction at all.  (In NYC, it is illegal to sell non-pasteurized milk…but ask around someone might be able to hook you up!)

Lactose intolerance is the heavy, stomachachey feeling you get from eating pizza, cream soup or ice cream.  (Lots of bubbles…you know what I’m talking about.)  Of course, the severity can vary.  If you tune into your body enough, you can start to notice what might bother you the most.  The sugar-lactose combo that is found in ice cream is particularly challenging for your body to digest.  It might be worthwhile to pay attention to any correlations you notice between symptoms like: stuffy nose, you have to clear your throat a lot (ehem), for kids- if they get ear infections often, asthma, snoring or just tummy aches in general.  It might not seem like such a big deal but over the years, I’ve noticed that I get totally grumpy when my stomach hurts, so for me it’s just not worth it to suffer through—especially when there are so many wonderful alternatives!

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