Tag Archives: bacon

Crispy Coconut Bacon

5 Oct

If you enjoy bacon but not the part about it coming from a pig, you are in luck because there are various tasty alternatives available (one such version is my Tofaken). The latest craze, however, is coconut bacon. People go cuckoo for this stuff and I can understand why. While coconut flakes pack a lot of calories and fat, they are also low in carbohydrates and high in fiber (source).

To further boost the nutritional value of this coconut bacon, these crispy little guys are seasoned with liquid aminos (which boasts 16 different amino acids) and practically melt in your mouth. They make an excellent addition to nearly any salad, sandwich or wrap, and can even be enjoyed by themselves. Enjoy!

Coconut Bacon

Crispy Coconut Bacon
Yields 1 cup

1/4 cup liquid aminos
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 cup dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
oil for the pan

Place first three ingredients in a small bowl and mix until combined. Add coconut flakes and stir to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease a large baking sheet with oil.

Evenly spread marinated coconut flakes on prepared baking sheet and spray with oil. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until desired crispness is achieved. Remove and allow to cool before consuming.


All About Avocados

26 Aug


Sometimes referred to as alligator pears due to some varieties’ pear-like shapes and textured green exteriors, avocados are technically a fruit and are botanically considered to be large berries.

Originating in Mexico, the avocado tree thrives in environments with no frost and little to no wind. Once matured, avocados are picked and allowed to ripen, typically in one to two weeks. Now cultivated in various Mediterranean and tropical climates throughout the world, avocado trees are partially self-pollinating and can grow to be 66 feet tall (source).

Currently the most common type of avocado is Hass, accounting for more than 80% of cultivated avocados in the United States (source). Oval in shape with pebbly green-black skin and a small-medium seed, the Hass avocado is easy to peel and ranges in size from 5 to 12 ounces (source). Other popular varieties include:

Bacon: oval in shape with smooth green skin and a medium-large seed, the Bacon avocado is easy to peel and ranges in size from 6 to 12 ounces (source).

Booth: oval in shape with shiny yellow-green skin and a large seed, the Booth avocado ranges in size from 14 to 22 ounces (source).

Fuerte:  pear-shaped with smooth green skin and a medium seed, the Fuerte avocado is easy to peel and ranges in size from 5 to 14 ounces (source).

Lula: pear-shaped with shiny green skin and a very large seed, the Lula avocado ranges in size from 8 to 16 ounces (source).

Reed: round in shape with a medium seed, slightly pebbled green skin and easy to peel, the Reed avocado ranges in size from 8 to 18 ounces (source).

Zutano: pear-shaped with shiny yellow-green skin, a medium seed and a light taste, the Zutano avocado is moderately easy to peel and ranges in size from 6 to 14 ounces (source).

One cup sliced avocado provides a variety of nutrients. Some of which include:

  • Potassium – approximately 20% daily value
  • Dietary Fiber – approximately 40% daily value
  • Vitamin B6 – approximately 20% daily value
  • Magnesium – approximately 10% daily value
  • Vitamin C – approximately 24% daily value

In addition, one cup sliced avocado provides approximately 32% of your daily recommended amount of fat, most of which is monounsaturated (source). According to the American Heart Association, when consumed in moderation, monounsaturated fats have the ability to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, in addition to lowering bad cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats also tend to be high in Vitamin E, an antioxidant (source).

Craving some of this buttery, creamy, heart-healthy fruit? Try my favorite recipe for guacamole.

CAUTION: According to the ASPCA, avocado bark, fruit, leaves and seeds can be toxic to various animals such as cats and dogs (source).

Smoky Hoppin’ Jane

30 Dec

Let your first meal of the New Year be filled with foods that are said to bring good luck.

Commonly consumed in the Southern United States, Hoppin’ John is centered around black-eyed peas, which symbolize coins and are thought to bring prosperity. The black-eyed pea, a legume and subspecies of the cowpea, provides various vitamins and minerals. These beans are a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Folate and Manganese, and are a good source of Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Protein and Thiamin (source).

This recipe, which I like to call Smoky Hoppin’ Jane, is healthier than the original but without sacrificing flavor. Traditionally served alongside greens, this dish is enhanced with the addition of collards, which symbolize dollars due to their green leaves. If that doesn’t provide enough luck and prosperity for you, serve with a piece of cornbread, and this Hoppin’ Jane will be the perfect New Year’s meal.

Smoky Hoppin' Jane

Smoky Hoppin’ Jane

1 cup uncooked black-eyed peas
3 cups water
2 bunches fresh collard greens, rinsed well
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup white onion, chopped
8-10 slices tofaken, chopped (recipe here)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
2 cups steamed brown rice

Soak black-eyed peas in 3 cups water overnight or during the day for 12-14 hours. Drain and rinse peas.

Meanwhile, rinse collard greens thoroughly and discard any wilted or discolored pieces. Tear the leaves away from their rigid stems and squeeze to remove excess water. Stack leaves on top of each other and roll into a log. Slice into 1/2-inch strips.

Place greens in a large pot along with soaked peas, vegetable broth, onion, tofaken, bay leaf, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes, or until beans are tender. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Serve over rice.

Addictive Bacon, Green Onion & Cheddar Cheese Fries

18 Dec

Who doesn’t like cheese fries? These greasy, gluttonous fries are a great fix for a hangover or simply a bad day. Sprinkled with “bacon”, green onion and melted “cheddar cheese”, these were inspired by a steakhouse appetizer I ate before going vegan. Complete with a zippy dipping sauce (which also doubles as a sandwich spread), these fries can be enjoyed without guilt (caloric intake excluded).

WARNING: May be addictive and cause stomach expansion if consumed too often!

Bacon, Cheddar & Green Onion Fries

Bacon, Green Onion & Cheddar Cheese Fries

1 (28-ounce) bag steak cut french fries
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup tofaken, crumbled (recipe here)
1 – 1-1/2 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese

Dipping Sauce:
1 cup vegan ranch dressing (recipe here)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano

Prepare sauce by mixing together ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.

Next, prepare french fries according to manufacturer’s directions, baking 5 minutes less than recommended. Remove fries from oven and sprinkle with green onion, tofaken and cheese. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before consuming. Serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce for French Fries

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