So I have neglected this blog for an entire year and I have realized, unfortunately, that I miss adventuring. Now while I am stuck on campus finishing off my senior year, there is no reason for life to be boring! So I have decided to pick up this blog again in honor of my favorite type of adventure--cooking!
I love to cook and talk about food so I hope you feel inspired to try some new recipes! Everything here is vegan, sugar-free and absolutely delicious (I promise).
Oh and please email me any time with your adventures (kitchen related or not)! Email me at

Monday, February 1, 2010


Ok, they are not really that intense. Well, maybe they are. These babies are my new favorite on-the-go snack and they have so much protein in them I bet they challenge those nasty protein bars those jacked-up kids from the gym munch on. Or something.

Vegan Protein Bars

  • 2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cup raw oats
  • 1/2 cup smooth nut butter (I used almond...but peanut butter would work too!)
  • 1/2 cup milk substitute (I used almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup agave (or honey, maple syrup, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup each of some fun stuff, ie dried fruit, chocolate chips, diced nuts, anything you want!
  • preheat oven on 350F
  • cook the quinoa! (about 1/2 cup dried quinoa equals 2 cups, but I also make extra to have for left overs.) Make sure the quinoa is cooked thoroughly and not too wet, otherwise the bars might have a weird texture.
  • While the quinoa is cooling, assemble the other ingredients.
  • Once the quinoa is cool enough to be handled with your hands, combine the ingredients in a 7x11 baking pan.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the top is starting to harden.
Once out of the oven I would recommend letting them cool in the fridge covered overnight so they firm up. After that, slice them up for an easy snack!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vegan Mexican Chocolate Cake with Spicy Chocolate Sauce

Nothing serves the holidays and birthdays like an amazing chocolate cake. This is hands down the best chocolate cake recipe I know (vegan or not vegan), and also one of the simplest. Taken straight from PPK, with some spices added to give it a little something extra. Don't be afraid of the chili, it is not overwhelming and just adds a little something. If you don't want to use it though, just leave it out!

This cake uses a 9 inch springform pan. For a layered cake simply double the recipe and use two pans.

Vegan Mexican Chocolate Cake

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk substitute (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with non stick cooking spray.
  • Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and chili powder.
  • In a saucepan, heat the milk on low-medium heat. When it is slightly bubbling, add the cocoa powder and wisk well until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  • Combine the other liquid ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Add the cocoa mixture and combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan, bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick or butter knife comes out clean.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the chocolate sauce:

Spicy Chocolate Sauce

  • 1/2 lbs (about half a package) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • approx. 1 cup milk alternative
  • approx. 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp chili powder
  • With a double-boiler, add the chocolate chips and add milk until the chips are just covered.
  • Once the chocolate has melted, add the vanilla. Stir continuously.
  • Now add the maple syrup until you have reached your desired sweetness. This will depend upon the chocolate chips and milk used. If the sauce is getting too thick, add more milk just a splash at a time.
  • Once the sauce has reached your desired thickness and sweetness, add the cinnamon and chili power.
  • Remove the sauce from heat and pour on top of the cake. Now serve!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

OMG Amazing Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

This is a good. Plain and simple. Probably the best vegan cookie recipe I know. This is based on nothing and is a wholly Karina original.

Vegan Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbs flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • chocolate chips (or dice an apple for a just as delicious option)
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Combine all the ingredients and mix well
  • Lightly grease a cookie sheet
  • Scoop about 2 heaping tablespoons of batter for each cookie (makes 8)
  • Stick in the oven for 10-15 minutes (when the top starts to slightly brown you are good to go)
  • Devour until done
Have fun!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

End of the Week Curry Soup

This is what I make when I am running out of fresh produce and everything is about to go. It is basically a high end version of 'Kitchen' only it is so good I get overly excited when I realize I have the stuff to make it. It is inspired from Karina Kitchen's Moroccan Coconut & Chickpea Soup.

End of the Week Curry Soup

  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, cut into thin slivers
  • 1 large yam or sweet potato, peeled, diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded, cored, diced
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, diced
  • 1 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 15-oz. can beans (chick pea works best, but I've made it with kidney beans)
  • 1 15-oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • A pinch cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Now throw everything in a pot and cook, covered, over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about thirty minutes.

Add just before serving:
1 cup packed spinach or greens
Hot red pepper flakes (optional)

Slowly stir while the greens cook down. Now serve!

This works great with some fresh bread or a scoop of thick yogurt. Enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pumpkin Pasta Casserole with Camalized Onions and Walnut Topping

This recipe is inspired from a recipe in the glorious Veganomicon. The recipe is also absolutely wonderful and will warm the stomach on any cold fall day.

Pumpkin Pasta Casserole with Camalized Onions and Walnut Topping

Main Ingredients:
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta (I did GF spirals)
  • 2 onions, sliced very thinly
  • olive oil
  • 1 serving cashew ricotta (below)**
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
  • White pepper and cayenne
  • 2 cups or 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or apple cider
**To be honest I only used about half of the ricotta recipe because I wanted to save the rest for later.

Cashew ricotta (makes 2 cups):

  • 1/2 cup cashew pieces (approx. 4 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh or roasted garlic
  • 1 lb. firm tofu, drained and crumbled (emphasis on drained)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
**Second note: This recipe called for a food processor. Now I haven't tried this, but I bet ten bucks that if you don't have a food processor you could use 1/2 cup cashew butter and mix everything together by hand. It will take a lot of hand power, but will probably still be good!

Walnut Topping:

  • 8 oz. walnuts, diced fine to resemble bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. Earth Balance or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried, rubbed sage
  • 1/2 t. ground paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9×11 or 9×13-inch pan with olive oil. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse, drain again and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, make the caramelized onions: preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Saute onions in oil until some onion bits are very brown and caramelized, about 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

Make the cashew ricotta: In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic until a thick creamy paste forms. Add the crumbled tofu to the food processor, working in batches if necessary, until the mixture is thick and well blended. Blend in the basil and salt.

Place cashew ricotta in large bowl and fold in pumpkin puree, maple syrup, nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne, and vegetable broth. Add the cooked pasta and the caramelized onions. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and level with a spatula, pressing slightly.

Make the walnut topping: Melt margarine or heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Stir in the walnuts, dried herbs, and paprika and season with salt and pepper. Stir constantly until the mixture is lightly coated, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and spread over pasta mixture.

Bake 28 to 30 minutes, until the top of the top is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Any Fruit Cobbler

Any fruit you say? Cobblers in general are delicious in all flavors, but the problem is that you have millions of cobbler recipes floating around out there. So I always have to look up separate recipes for 'peach cobbler' or 'apple cobbler' or 'tri-berry extreme deluxe cobbler'.

Well I am done with that. Here is a standard recipe that works beautifully with all types of fruit. It is also very versicle and can be made gluten free if needed. This recipe has been adapted from a PPK peach cobbler recipe.

Ingredients for the Filling:
  • 4 pounds fruit (peeled and pitted if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons flour (for GF: Bob's Gluten Free Flour Mix works)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Spices to taste**
**Keep in mind what fruit you are using, for peach or apple cobbler I like: 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves. But that combination of spices might taste weird with something like...blueberries. So just use your logic!

Ingredients for the Topping:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus some oil to brush the surface
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup milk (or apple cider!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • FOR GF: add 1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
Note: This makes a thick crust. If you are not into that, just half the topping or double the filling.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  • To make the filling:
    • In a large sauce pan, cook the fruit over low-medium heat, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the juices are being released
    • Sprinkle in flour, toss to coat
    • Add remaining ingredients, mix together and let cool
  • To make the dough:
    • In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients
    • In a seperate bowl wisk together wet ingredients
    • Slowly pour wet into dry, mixing together dough with a wooden spoon or a firm spatula. Careful not to overwork it.
  • Assemble the cobbler:
    • Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish
    • Pour fruit batter into the dish
    • Spoon dough mixture over the top, spread with a spoon
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is slightly crispy
Done! I hope you enjoy and feel free to be creative!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rice Milk and Rice Yogurt Recipe

So ever since I stopped eating sugar I have been having a lot of difficulty with various milks. Unsweetened soy milk is too chalky for me and rice milk is just too watery. Almond, oat, and almond milk are hard for me to find unsweetened and hazelnut is just impossible to find at all.

But then it occurred to me...why don't I just make my own milk? So I did! This recipe is from the VeganReader and makes about 2 quarts.

How to make Rice Milk


  • 1 cup uncooked organic long grain brown rice
  • 8 cups water for cooking
  • More water for diluting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Sweetener of your choice (I like a combination of maple syrup and vanilla)


  • Thoroughly wash the rice.
  • Put 8 cups of water in a big pot and bring it to a boil over high heat.
  • Pour in the rice.
  • Cover the pot and lower the heat to let the water simmer for 3 hours.

I will be honest, the cooked rice after 3 hours looks like a failed rice pudding you would probably throw away, but I swear that is what it should look like! Now add the salt.

Using a blender, fill it halfway with the rice mash and half way with water. BLEND. Strain twice into a large pot or directly into a mason jar. You will probably have 2 or 3 batches to blend. Now add a sweeter (if you so desire)! Done!

The final 'milk' will be really thick and creamy. Feel free to add more water to the mixture for your desired consistency. Or...keep half of it as milk and make the other half into rice yogurt!

How to make Yogurt (vegan style)

Now yogurt is something I have always wanted to try, but never found a milk I thought would be thick enough to make into a yogurt. After decided to make my own rice milk however, I knew I had to try yogurt.

The recipe is real simple:


  • 1 quart rice milk (or any milk for that matter)
  • 3-4 tablespoons yogurt with LIVE cultures and NO PRESERVATIVES (I just went ahead and bought some real greek yogurt because of the sugars in soy yogurt, but you can buy whatever yogurt works for you or powdered yogurt cultures from most health food stores)
  • Heat the milk on the stove top to ~150 degrees F (this is to kill any unwated bacteria)
  • Cool the milk to somewhere between ~100 and 110 degrees F. Warmer then this will kill off the yogurt cultures.
  • Add the yogurt and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the mixture to a clean and sterilized glass jar. Seal the jar. The jar MUST be sterilized or else you will get some nasty stuff in there.
  • Find a warm place (again, ~100 degrees F) for the glass jar to go (I like the oven on very very low with the light on) and leave it there for 4-8 hours. The timing depends upon how sour you like your yogurt. This is the tricky stage however because if the temperature goes above 110 the cultures will die off, so keep an eye on the prize!
The final product will be a bit more watery then your traditional yogurt, but I hear you can add agar if you want to thicken it up.

Well there you go! Homemade milk and yogurt! What more could you ask for?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hey! I am sorry I have never posted since I've been in Brazil, but it just seems that the more and more that happens, the more overwhelming writing becomes.
I will try and be better after this though and not put it off so much. Anyway, here's my attempt at a brief overview:
I have been here in Brazil for almost exactly two weeks now, spending most of my time in Belem living in a homestay and taking Portuguese classes. Belem is an interesting city, with beautiful old old buildings, hundreds of sketchy buses, and random posters for different Amazonian destinations everywhere. It is called the 'City of Mangoes' because one of the main streets, Nazare, is lined with giant beautiful mango trees. I am told mango season starts in October and I am extremely excited about this. I of course live on the corner of this street and get to look out my window to mango trees. Across the street on the adjacent corner is the Basilica do Nazare, a beautiful church built in the 17th century. It is actually one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen--every window has stained glass, the ceiling is painted, and the boarders are painted with pure gold. My bus stop to school is just past the church and I love walking by it every day. My family itself is very wonderful--Daniell and Cynthia are a young couple around 30 and don't have any kids. The first few days Daniell's family was visiting and there was an adorable 2 year old running around the house. Cynthia's mother is also hosting one of the students, Upasana, so I get to hang out with her a lot.

With my family I have gotten to visit many places in Belem. Mostly they are parks in the city, or areas along the river. All are very pretty and picturesque. I have gone out a little bit in Belem with friends, and it usually just results in hilarity. For example, Friday we went to this music bar called ´Liverpool´ which only featured cover bands that night. One band only sang Foo Fighters songs. In general, most of the music I have been hearing here is Brazilians singing American songs. Any song you can imagine basically gets covered with a Brazilian twist. Imagine a Hookastank (Or some band of that nature) being covered so that you can dance samba too it. Then imagine that it is one of the ´couple songs´ here. So strange. Unfortunatly, I don´t have any picture because my camera broke...obviously. My camera was on the fritz in Cambodia, but I had hope it would hold out here. My friends have been very symaphetic and taking pictures for me when I ask though and hopefully I will buy a new camera soon. I will upload their photos shortly.
Classes itself have been pretty interesting. I am in the intermediate class with 9 other students and I take class for three hours every day. Since I studied Portuguese before most of it is a review but I am fine with this because before I didn't actually have a teacher. Plus, I think the advanced class would be too hard for me and I wouldn't take much from it. My Portuguese is improving in leaps and bounds everyday and I am so happy I can actually communicate with my family. When I get tired however my portuguese just falls apart and Cynthia and Daniell have learned this and know when to just talk slowly to me and not expect me to respond. They are really good at pushing me to speak though and I like that they barely speak English.
Like I said we have mostly been in Belem, or just outside the city on a farm for orientation. Next week however we get to go Sao Francisco to learn more about farming practices in the Amazon area. We also get to learn about nutrient cycles...needless to say, I am super pumped.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Siem Riep

So I have been trekking around the temples for two days now, and it has been absolutely amazing.
The first day I went around the 'Little Circuit,' which included such wonders as Angkor Wat, the Bayon, Ta Kao and Ta Prohm. There is a map below of the two different circuits. Unfortunately, it poured and poured yesterday, which really damped (pun so intended) the day. For some strange reason I decided I was better then the rain and didn't bring my rain coat or umbrella. I was literally dripping water and soaked to the bone all day long. As for the actual temples, obviously Angkor Wat was beautiful but it was so packed with people I couldn't fully enjoy it. It you didn't already know--there is nothing more annoying that have three different Japanese tour groups around you at all times. Each group wearing their respective matching hats and fanny packs.
My favorite temples yesterday were definitely the Bayon (the temples of the four faces) and Ta Prohm. I visited quite a few, but those stood out to me the most. The Bayon completely blew my mind and if it weren't for all of the Japanese tourists trying to kiss the faces, I probably would have spent more time there. Ta Prohm was also incredible, and it is the host to most of the temple photos with the overgrown trees. The way the trees just grow out of the buildings and over the walls is breathtaking. This site was made especially popular a number of years ago because it was where Tomb Raider was filmed. This site was also really touristy, but I was there at the end of the day so I got to rock scramble some ruins while the guards where rounding people up.
Today however was a much more enjoyable day, mostly because it was perfect weather, but also because there were not so many tourists where I went. I realized that my impression of the different sites is 50% architecture and 50% the other people. Maybe if the tours were in English I would be more interested in the history but since I have read a little already I am pretty content just looking and petting the carvings. Today I went around the 'Grand Circuit,' which included Pre Rup, Banteay Srei, East Mebon, Ta Som and Preah Khan. The winners of today were definitely Banteay Srei, Ta Som and Preah Khan. Banteay Srei was a bit touristy, but the carvings were so detailed and intricate. This was one of those sites were my mouth was literally agape the whole time. It is a lady temples so all of the doorways were very small. It also meant that I fit perfectly. Sometimes people would laugh because I was probably one of the only people there that could actually walk through the ruins properly. Ta Som was also beautiful and to top it off there were barely any tourists there so I got to walk the ruins while listening only to the cicadas. Preah Khan used to be a royal palace, and as a result, the ruins were grand and huge. Alot of it had collapsed, but I never mind rock scrambles so it was wonderful for me. Most of the temples are several stories tall will large towers on each corner. This ruin however was only one story tall except for this one structure made from giant columns. None of the temples I had been up to that point had columns, so it was strange to see.
Overall, the temples in general are strange to see because the aging of the stone has given them this unnatural range of colors that is impossible to describe. On top of this, the intense blue sky and giant trees growing out of the tops makes me feel like I am in a dream. There also butterflies and dragonflies everywhere, which will often land on me. Yes, the temples are magical.
The whole time I am walking around the archaeological park, I am with my tuktuk driver, SteangHay. He is probably everything I could ask for in a driver--decent English, basic temple knowledge, and a good person to keep me company but is understanding when I want to just wander off and pet the trees. To seal the deal, his tuktuk has leopard print and heart windows. Its so hilarious I crack up every time I see it. Most drivers just let the customers wander off on their own, but I am glad SteangHay stays with me because walking around all day alone and clueless would get real lonely.
Since I am nor taking any officially guided tours I have few facts to sprinkle this entry with. I'll try to write some history with the photos. I leave Cambodia tomorrow, so next time I come online I will mostly likely be in Tokyo. Despite all my ragging on Japanese tour groups, I am so excited.
Pokemon? Sailormoon? Here I come!

A map of the circuits so you can have a picture of where I go:

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Last Days...

So the last few days have been extremely interesting, but also slightly heart breaking. I guess to start with my last weekend in Phnom Penh. As you probably know from past entries, the elections were this last Sunday. Now I was very excited for elections and I very much so wanted to go around and see the voting booths, etc. turns out that not many people are actually registered to vote in the city and that the Prime Minister ordered all the stores to be closed. So not only was the city completely deserted, because everyone went to the provinces to vote, but there was nothing to do or eat. I tried walking around to look for the booths (and food), but no luck. I spent most of the day just hanging out with Boddhi Tree staff and walking around with no direction. Needless to say, I was actually very grateful for the voting period to end so that I could finally eat something. As for the elections themselves, I believe the official decision has not been announced yet because of corruption charges. It is however well known that the CPP took almost everything (single party democracy...?), but some of the other parties are claiming that up to 1 million eligible voters weren't allowed to actually vote. Now the population is currently 13.5 million people, a significant portion of which are children. This means that leaving 1 million voters out is a very significant statistic.
As for the days before the election, I can't remember what I did really, but I know that I did discover Psar Orussey, which is another major market in Phnom Penh. This market however is not at all touristy and actually has all of the bizarre, kitschy Khmer things I have been seeing around. Example: I finally found out where all of the creepy baby posters come from. Don't worry I didn't buy any...yet. I also wrote up and designed a brochure for AFSC Cambodia. which will probably be printed within the next month.
Back in Sre Ambel I mostly did the usual, but one day we did go to Sihanouk ville and a waterfall near there. Now most Cambodians cannot swim, so being in the water with them was very interesting. I had told Tivea once that I used to be on a swim team and nobody believed it. So one of the staff members challenged me to race, and, well, like I said...most Cambodians can't swim. It was an unfair race but seeing all of their absolute shock at my ability to actually swim was priceless. We also played some water games, which I didn't fully understand but just kinnda went along with anyway. The waterfall however was absolutely incredible. It was a shallow waterfall so we could sit right in it and have it massage our backs. Kimnith also shampooed my hair in the waterfall, which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Yes, there is nothing like showering in a waterfall.
The last night in Sre Ambel was very heartbreaking, but the goodbye dinner was really cute. Everyone came and brought delicious food, so we danced and ate and drank all night. Everyone said a little goodbye to me and then they all gave me some going away presents. In exchange for the presents though I had to promise to come back, which is fine by me. That day I taught them the difference between the simple future tense and the phrase 'going to,' so they made me say, "I am going to come back" and not "I will come back." It was really sweet and made me proud of my students. As I've probably mentioned, I love it hear and cannot wait to return.
Currently I am in Siem Riep and am going to see the temples tomorrow. The bus right was fine enough and now very interesting, except that every house had these giant hay piles (10+ feet tall) that looked like mushrooms. It was really stange. I am ridiculously excited to see Angkor Wat though and I am sure there will be about 2 million photos to sift through. Siem Riep itself is nothing like how I expected. I had been told that is was an annoying, touristy city filled with beggars. For this reason I purposefully picked a guesthouse far from the downtown. When I got off the bus however my tuktuk driver convinced me/decided for me that I should stay downtown. I am very glad he did. My guest house is amazing, with delicious food, free Internet, a cute garden, a pool table, and a short walk to any other restaurant or shop I could want. The downtown is not at all loud or obnoxious and the city itself is pretty small. Maybe the temple area will be really touristy, but so far I have found Siem Riep to be pretty simple and basic.
As far as my usual entries go, I guess this one is pretty short. Sorry, but I really can't bare to write about leaving everyone. I will try to write about the temples a bit tomorrow, or perhaps upload photos from the last few weeks. Well I hope all is well!