The other day while perusing Facebook (read: not writing the progress notes I should have been writing at work), I came across a status update from an old friend of mine. She mentioned that she was on day 10 of going vegan, gluten free, sugar free, caffeine free, and alcohol free and that she and her band (who are freaking awesome by the way ... check them out at www.sarahmacband.com) were doing this as a 10 day challenge. I responded by telling her to check out my blog and we started chatting. She no longer lives in our hometown and I don't think I have seen her in probably 10 years. Serendipitously, she happened to be in town for the weekend and we were able to meet for lunch today. How awesome is that?! ? I tell you all of this because it was really nice to be able to chat face to face with someone who is going along the same journey as me. We compared notes and were able to share how this lifestyle change has affected both of us on so many levels. She shared what she and the band have been doing and I shamelessly self-promoted my blog. She and the band have also started a blog about their journey that you should definitely check out at www.bandgoesgreen.wordpress.com. She and the band are continuing their challenge past day 10 and pretty much planning to keep the shift in lifestyle. IT IS THAT POWERFUL, PEOPLE! We talked about what a difference these changes have made for us on a physical, emotional, and even spiritual level. I have been so blessed to have so much support from friends and family through this, but it was really nice to be able to talk to a friend who is doing it. On top of that, it was great to catch up with an old friend!
I then left and went to the camera store. I have asked for a camera for the last three years at Christmas time. Each year, I have been given money, which I always said I would use to go buy a camera. Buuuuuuut, it is so hard to hand that money over once it is in your hands! This year, I vowed that I would actually buy a camera. The iPhone is great and all, but I want to be able to take better pics than that! January came and went and still no camera. I also noticed that when I take pics for the blog, they often do not do justice to the food that sits before me. You just can't quite capture it all with an iPhone. So, I went. I got a great deal on a refurbished DSLR Nikon D3100. You will see my handiwork with this new jewel when you get to the cookie dough recipe below!!! I am in love with it already, and you can expect higher quality pictures from here on out! Woot woot!
Next, I went to a local health/whole foods store to check it out and pick up a few ingredients I needed. I had not been there before and I felt like exploring. There was a juice bar right as I walked in and I decided to get some. I do not own a juicer and I wanted to see what all the rage is about. I didn't want to look like a novice, so I just tried to quickly pick a vegetable juice. I ordered a veggie juice with carrots, kale, beets, and spinach. I did not see that I had chosen one with beets. I love food. I pretty much love all of it. BUT, I HATE BEETS. When we were kids, my dad used to make my sisters and me eat beets from a can for dinner. BARF. If we didn't eat them then, he served them to us again at breakfast. He was determined that those beets would get eaten and I hated them! He denies this ever happened, but my sisters and I will tell you any day that it is true, true, true. I have DESPISED all things beet-related since. I watched as the girl put six carrots, a large bunch of kale, several beets, and a ton of spinach through the juicer. Crap. I just paid six bucks for something with BEETS in it! I couldn't throw it out, so I gave it a shot. The familiar (read: disgusting) flavor of beets filled my mouth in the first sip. I was not a fan. Nonetheless, I put my big girl panties on and downed the juice doing everything by holding my nose to get it down. Had I left the beets out and had, say, tomatoes ... it would have been awesome. Alas, I did not do that. Lesson learned.
There is a company in town that makes vegan and raw food. They sell it at a few restaurants and health food stores around town. They are the ones that introduced me to cashew cheese and sprouted bread. I have loved everything I have tried that they have made. They had a nice selection of these prepared foods at the health food store today. As you may have noticed, I have mentioned craving pizza several times in the last few days. I decided to the buy their "Pizza Roll Ups with Ranch Dipping Sauce". Please note that this was neither actual pizza not actual ranch dressing. The ingredients included: "kale, corn, sunflower seeds, flax, cashews, tahini, miso, dates, tomatoes, lemon, olive oil, parsley, basil, onion, garlic, pepper, Italian seasoning, Himalayan salt, love, and gratitude". Vegan. Gluten-free. Raw. A little hippie. Good?
Good indeed! These little delicious nuggets were surprisingly delicious and filling. They certainly provided the feel of having an Italian treat, but I am not going to go so far as to say that they took away my pizza craving. That aside, they were great. I am planning to take some cooking workshops with this company, so hopefully I can provide you with the recipe in the near future!
So, you are probably wondering when and if I am ever going to get to the elusive "cookie dough" I mentioned in this post's title. I am, and the time is NOW! I am typically not a sweets person. My coworkers used to joke that they would bring a salt lick in for my birthday instead of a cake because I never wanted the sweet stuff. That being said, there is one certain time of the month that I tend to have a sweet craving (and by this I mean that certain girl time of the month if you catch my not so subtle drift). Last night, I couldn't stop thinking about cookie dough. Do vegans get to eat cookie dough? I doubted it. I was wrong! I found a recipe for vegan "cookie dough" on Pinterest that led me to the Chocolate Covered Katie website. The most disturbing part of the recipe was the main ingredient... chickpeas. I thought, "Really? REALLY? I have been reduced to eating cookie dough flavored chickpeas for dessert? When did I become this person? What's next? Cotton candy flavored alfalfa sprouts?!" After some though, I reminded myself that the majority of the recipes I have made in the past month sounded gross or at the very least odd when I first saw them. Now, they have become my favorite foods. What the hell? Why not give this one a shot too? The worst that could happen would be that I would have to throw it out. No biggie. So, I decided to give it a whirl today. As I said, I adapted the recipe from the recipe on the Chocolate Covered Katie website. Let me tell you ... THIS STUFF IS AMAZING. I am talking so good that I had to re-read the ingredients over and over again to make sure I hadn't accidentally slipped some eggs, sugar, or crack in there. You could probably technically eat the whole bowl, but I was good with two heaping spoonfuls ... well at least for now. I will be back! If you like chocolate chip cookie dough, I promise you will love this recipe too. Trust me ... would I steer you wrong?! Just look at the pics (taken with my sweet new camera) ... you are going to want to make this and make it soon!
Chocolate Chip "Cookie Dough" (Vegan)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup raw peanut butter
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (you can add more of you need to for the consistency)
- 3 tablespoons oats
- 1 and 1/4 cup pitted dates
- 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand - available in most health food stores)
- Put all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in blender (Vitamix, baby!).
- Blend until very smooth (Doing this in my Vitamix caused the "dough" to become warm, so some of the chocolate chips melted when I added them ... which was perfect).
- Add chocolate chips and stir with spoon (don't blend).
- Eat by the spoonful or refrigerate and eat later!