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Cocozia Coconut Oil Review

A while back, I reviewed Cocozia’s coconut water. It turns out they also have organic, non-GMO coconut oil AND they were kind enough to send me a jar to try out.

cocozia coconut oil

The Cocozia Coconut Oil is pure white in the jar. When I popped it open the light coconut scent made my mouth water a little. This oil seems to have more of a scent than other coconut oils I’ve used, but it dissipates when you cook with it.

Now, I’m already a fan of coconut oil, so there was no learning curve here. I already cooked with it regularly. So to take it to the next level, I tried to use it as much as possible, and for dishes that normally call for different oils.

This is my standard quick tofu recipe.

fried tofu

Next, I made some BBQ Soy Curls, around 6PM on this plate.

bbq soy curls

Being a typical vegan,  of course there was a tofu scramble.

tofu scramble

We have this Cosmic Kale and Chickpeas regularly, but I admit I always use a little oil.

cosmic kale and chickpeas

This coconut oil performed spectacularly in every one of these dishes and the ones I forgot to take pictures of. I used this oil nearly exclusively until it was gone. If you’re looking for an oil that is USDA Certified 100% Organic, NON-GMO Project Verified, NON Hexane and free of bleach or deodorizers, you should look into Cocozia Coconut Oil.

Vegan BLT Spring Rolls

First things first: do you get the Meatout Mondays email newsletter? If not, you should sign up. Each week they send a recipe along with some other interesting tidbits.

The week that I linked to above had a recipe in it for Vegan BLT Spring Rolls with Avocado. With cashew based ranch sauce. What? Does that not sound like perfect summer food? I thought so and left it in my inbox until I decided to make it.

vegan blt spring rolls

Dealing with rice paper can be a little tricky. But you usually get the hang of it after a roll or two. And if it tears, big deal. You can still eat it, right?

And rolling up spring rolls can be quite the production. There’s definitely a process to it. But these vegan blt spring rolls don’t have as many ingredients as most which makes it go a little faster.

Here’s a video showing you how to work with the wrapper. Bonus: you get another vegan spring roll recipe!

For the tempeh bacon, I just used my own standard smoky tempeh recipe. I guess I should post that some time. There are several commercial vegan bacon products out there like Sweet Earth Foods, Tofurky’s Smoky Maple Bacon, and Upton’s Naturals Seitan Bacon.  Make your own or choose your favorite!

For the dipping sauce, I made the zesty ranch dressing listed in the recipe. It was perfect and we had the leftover dressing on salads. If you want to get a little lazy, Hampton Creek just released their Just Ranch dressing.

vegan blt spring rolls inside shotOh, and if you’re having trouble finding rice paper in your area, you can get it on Amazon. This is one of the brands I pick up at the Asian grocery here.

This recipe made at least 8 rolls. Plenty for a hearty dinner and there were leftovers that I ate the next day for lunch.

These would be a terrific potluck food. Whenever I bring spring rolls to a summer cookout, they are gobbled up. Oh, and these can easily be gluten free!

How about you – do you ever make spring rolls? What are your favorite innards & sauces?

Vegan Dumplings & more at Gu’s Bistro in Krog Street Market

gu's bistro - home of vegan dumplings

About a week ago, we finally wandered into Krog Street Market for the first time to finally experience the vegan dumplings at Gu’s Bistro. Gu’s is a Szechuan spot that used to have a location up on the international food mecca, Buford Highway. We had already heard so many good things, it was just a matter of remembering to go there rather than default routing to our normal spots.

First, a little about Krog Street Market. It’s right off the Beltline, a fairly new mixed use path in Atlanta, and they are fully prepared. There is a ton of bike parking. And when we went by on a Saturday much of it was in use. Love to see that! As we walked in, it looked like seating could be a problem. But after making a lap to see what was there, we saw that there were seats further in.

Gu’s Bistro is what we decided to get. Of course, the vegan dumplings were going to have to happen. But we were hungry and needed more. We decided to get one tofu dish and one vegetable dish. I had to steal Kevin’s photo of the dishes because mine of the dumplings and green beans were just a blurry smear.

gu's vegan dumplings stringbeans and ma la tofu skin

The dumplings were swimming in a sweet and slightly spicy sauce. It’s delicious but it’s also a little oily. File this one under occasional food.

vegan ma la tofu skin

There were a couple of tofu options, but we chose the Ma La Sliced Tofu Skin, a cold dish. When someone says tofu skin to me, I picture Inari, the slightly sweet sushi. But this had a completely different texture. Like noodles but a little more rubbery. Don’t let my poor description put you off. We destroyed these.

We’d heard the lotus root was really good, but I felt like we needed something green, because I’m annoying like that. So we got the string beans. Also tasty. Plus, all this food was very chopstick friendly. I hate it when everything is cut small and you feel like you’re picking up one pea at a time. These dishes enable you to shovel large quantities into your face at a time, even if you aren’t a native chopstick user.

Now, this was not a cheap meal. I think everything you see here came to around $29. I’m not saying it isn’t worth it, but it’s definitely some thing to keep in mind. I’m sure the rent in Krog Street Market is out of control. Still, I’m looking forward to going back and trying the other tofu dish and lotus root.


Eating Vegan on the Road: 500 Miles Atlanta <--> Central Virginia

Sometimes when we travel, it’s more about the food than the trip. Asheville, I’m looking at you. But sometimes we need to travel somewhere for other reasons, usually involving relatives or maybe work.

Eating vegan on the road used to be a little more challenging but with chains like Chipotle stepping up it’s become so much easier. And if you have time to veer off the highway, Happy Cow can help you find vegan friendly spots along the way.

On this recent trip to Virginia, I decided to pack a small cooler with food for the way there. A Tofurky cold cut sandwich, some chips that I got at a gas station when filling up and maybe some Oreos ended up going into my pie hole. I really wanted a Chick-O-Stick, but none of the convenience stores seemed to have them. It’s definitely less than a perfect road trip without Chick-O-Stick.

I brought Tak along. She’s a pretty good traveler but on the way there she’s so excited that she doesn’t want to lay down and sleep. Which wore her out pretty good. And that was fine.

boston terrier on a road trip

Normally when I go visit my mom, I make every effort to go into Richmond and eat all of their vegan food. But this time was more about family, so I brought some provisions and stuck close to home.

Since I was driving, I hauled the Vitamix with me so I could have smoothies every morning. I also used it to make a raw cashew cheesecake that I took to our Passover dinner. Other provisions included Soy Curls, BBQ sauce, tofu, nutritional yeast, black salt and some Earth Balance. I knew my mom would have vegetables, so this was plenty to keep me fed.

The first night, my mom and partner wanted to go out to dinner. And they didn’t want to go to Richmond. So I got on my phone and started searching around for something. A Mexican place called Don Pepe popped up and they had a vegetarian section to their menu. That’s something I can work with. By the way, this place is right off of I-95 if you’re ever passing through.

As you can see, I was a bit hungry and attacked this before I remembered to take a picture. It’s a bean burrito with rice and I got an order of guacamole as well. It was really good. The sauce on the burrito was fresh and flavorful. And the guacamole wasn’t filled with a bunch of filler like some places do.

eating vegan on the road mexican  food in chester, virginia

The next night, I made BBQ Soy Curls with sautéed kale and a couple of pieces of toast. Soy Curls make an excellent provision since they don’t require refrigeration and they’re light. As a matter of fact, I’m making a mental note right now to pack some when we head to Mexico in a couple of months. My mom was pretty adventurous this visit and tried the BBQ Soy Curls and really liked them.  Whenever I cooked something, she pretty much ate what I ate.

vegan bbq soy curls, kale, toast

For Passover, I made up a batch of tofu scramble and took a little box with me. It was packed with veggies too so it could be a full meal. There were various munchies around I could eat as well. I’m assuming you’ve seen a tofu scramble and also I forgot to take a picture, so here’s a lovely haggadah.passover

The next day, we met some family at the cemetery to visit relatives.

grave stone at Blandford Cemetery

Then headed to Old Town Petersburg to walk around. This is a good side trip from Richmond.

old bricks in petersburg virginia

old brick facade in petersburg virginia

After that, my mom and I grabbed lunch at Wabi Sabi. The menu is a mix of sushi and sandwiches. With the sushi option, I knew I could make something work. That something turned out to be veggie sushi with a side of sweet potato fries. My mom may or may not have learned an important lesson about wasabi when she accidentally scooped up the whole dollop with a piece of her sushi. Ouch!

vegan sushi

sweet potato fries

wabi sabi petersburg virginia

Finally, my last day in town, we did make it to Richmond for lunch. There was a new place I was thinking about trying, but they were closed Mondays, so we went to an old favorite, Ipanema Cafe.  It’s a vegetarian sandwich place with lots of vegan options, including a jackfruit sandwich, and more importantly vegan pie. ipanema cafe richmond virginia

My mom and I both got the tempeh reuben. Delicious and only a little messy. My mom really liked it which is pretty impressive. Tempeh can be a hard sell.

tempeh reuben at ipanema cafe richmond virginia

And pie could not be resisted. My choice was the cherry pie which I had with the soy ice cream because it was the right decision to make. It had a crumb top and shortbread crust. Yum!

vegan cherry pie from ipanema cafe in richmond virginia

After that fine dessert, coffee was necessary and Harrison Street Coffee Shop, another favorite, is right around the corner. They also have simple sandwiches and vegan breakfast items. Plus it’s one of my favorite coffee shop spaces. Oh, it’s also vegetarian. Yay!

eating vegan on the road harrison street coffee shop iced latte

On the drive back, I didn’t want to worry with packing anything. I decided I’d just wing eating vegan on the road. This time I hit the old standby, Taco Bell. I learned the lesson long ago, to always check the innards of a wrapped food before biting unless you’re in a vegan restaurant. Taco Bell is no exception. Save yourself some grief and open them up at the counter before you take off. Even though my ticket was right, both of my burritos were wrong. They put some ranch sauce in my modified 7 layer burrito that doesn’t even come on it and there was cheese on my bean burrito. No worries, just had them remade and was on my way. Why did I go to Taco Bell rather than Chipotle? Because you can hold a Taco Bell burrito in one hand while driving.

taco bell bean burrito

How do you handle eating vegan on the road? Do you carry food, research spots along the way and plan or just wing it?

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe

At Dough, one of the most requested items in our bakery case was the chocolate chip cookies. They were big, crisp around the edges and chewy in the center. And completely irresistible when they were still warm. If I’m totally honest with you, one reason we didn’t have them in the case every single day is that I would eat them every single day. Seriously, I can’t stop myself. Take that as a warning.

This recipe isn’t too far off from most vegan chocolate chip cookie recipes, but there is a secret ingredient that most others don’t have. Well, it’s not going to be secret in a second. That secret ingredient is brown rice syrup. Yes, that’s the magical ingredient that gives them a little extra chewiness. If you don’t have any or it is hard to get where you are, you can substitute corn syrup.

vegan chocolate chip cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Makes about 4 dozen small cookies

3/4 cup Earth Balance margarine
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar
2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax seed mixed with 1/4 cup warm water)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment.

2. In a large mixer bowl, cream together the Earth Balance, sugars, brown rice syrup, and vinegar, then beat in the flax eggs. Beat in the vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir in the flour and chocolate chips.

3. Drop by cookie scoop or spoon onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, until they’re just set; the centers may still look a bit underdone. Remove them from the oven, and cool complete on a rack.

I’ll be posting more recipes from Dough from time to time. Any requests? Just leave it in the comments.

Would you have any interest in an ebook of vegan baking recipes? Drop your email below and I’ll contact you if I do one!

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