Salad for Breakfast: Green Your AM. Try it!



If you're sick and tired of following the pack and ordering up a classic "sweet heavy" American breakfast, this post is for you! And even if you think that Salad for Breakfast sounds simply nuts - you should still read on. Maybe all this sunrise salad talk will inspire you to give it a try. Before you know it, you may be having crunchy green salad cravings before noon too!..


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ZingBerry Holiday Wrap! Tempeh, Cranberry, Slaw.


After a sunny weekend of holiday loveliness, I'm finally settled in LA and ready to slowly sink myself into the warm fuzziness of the holiday season. And perky recipes like my ZingBerry Holiday Wrap are just the thing I need to keep my mood peppy and my energy up for the busy food-filled month ahead.

ZingBerry Tempeh. Sticky sweet cranberry tempeh meets cool, crunchy Vegenaise-slathered slaw and creamy fresh avocado - all snuggled together in an extra large whole wheat wrap. Hand-held lunchtime bliss packed with zing-y flavor, protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and maybe even a little holiday cheer...


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Artisana Giveaway! Organic Raw Nut Butters and More.


You guys know when I'm obsessed with a product. I tweet it. Rave. Gush. And whip out the camera. Foodie flashbulbs galore.

My latest product obsession comes from an awesome organic, raw brand called Artisana. Creamy, dreamy, rich, organic nut butter spreads (and more) so lovely that I simply had to ask them to allow me to host a giveaway of their goodies. They obliged me and I'm happy to offer you a chance to win their "Artisana Basket of Goodies!" GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED - Congrats to Cee for winning!..


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Holiday Detox: Grapefruit-Cado Sunrise Smoothie (and Mishap Stuffing)


Well I'm happy to say that my Vegan Thanksgiving went perfectly!! Well, OK, not really. I guess it depends on your definition of perfect. Martha Stewart perfect? No way. But "Kathy perfect" in the end? Oh yes.

The high pressure day cluttered with sideline errands, missing ingredients and kitchen tools, lack-o-real-dining-table yet (a la moving in scenario), makeshift serving platters and "a very late start to cooking" may have been ingredients for disaster. But holidays always seems to turn out OK when you are surrounded by loved ones. That "perfect" snuggly moment surfaces. And suddenly, "perfect" has a new definition.

More Thanksgiving recap and my Black Friday "Detox" Smoothie Recipe ahead!..


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Healthy, Happy Vegan Thanksgiving 2011!


I hope you are all having a healthy, happy, safe Vegan Thanksgiving! Take a peek inside my holiday (the whirlwind that it is this year!)..


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Vegan Holiday Shakes: Soy Nog & Persimmon.


I adore two holiday flavors: creamy rich Soy Nog and sweet, juicy persimmon. And what better way to enjoy these two flavors than blended up into a creamy vegan dessert shake made from decadent coconut milk ice cream! Cinnamon spice and Dandies vegan toasted marshmallows accent my Soy Nog Shake and this peach-toned Persimmon Shake is a persimmon-lovers dream!..


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Thanksgiving Week: Meatless Monday Round-Up!


Happy Thanksgiving week! It's the busiest time of year for at-home cooks, self-proclaimed foodies and food bloggers like me. Recipes, shopping lists, party preparations, bevies, table settings and plenty of pumpkin pies can keep our minds quite busy this week. So whether you are crafting an all-vegan feast or simply want to add some veg-friendly dishes to your spread - my recipes will give you a helping hand - and hopefully calm your mind just a tad.

From lovely pumpkin pie to hearty vegan stuffing and tangy sweet cranberry sauce - I've got you covered this holiday season! So here is this week's oversized Meatless Monday Recipe Round-up via my posts over at Babble.com's Family Kitchen - PLUS my Thanksgiving inspiration for the week ahead...

(Babble Meatless Monday round-up follows the Thanksgiving recipe links)

Vegan Thanksgiving Round-Up! So many recipes, so little time.

Lets start with some Thanksgiving basics. This slideshow over at Babble has it all! Stuffing, cranberry sauce, veggie sides, entree ideas, desserts and more. Check out my 15 Vegan Thanksgiving recipes <-- START HERE. My classic faves and a few creative twists on tradition.

A few more holiday faves I pulled from my recipe archives:

Entrees:
* 11 Alternatives to Tofurky

Drinks:
* Ginger Pear Shooters
* Fizzy Pom Cocktail

Desserts:
* Peanut Butter Desserts (pb choco chip pie!)
* 5-Ingredient Pumpkin Pie or my 4-Ingredient Pumpkin Pie
* Easy Pumpkin Pudding (lighter dessert option)
* 7 Dairy-Free Cream Pies (pumpkin cream pie too!)
* Classic Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie, Swirled
* Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Cake
* Caramel Apple Pie

Sides:
* Sweet Potato Biscuits
* Trio of Stuffings
* Ginger Sage Butternut Pumpkin Soup - like velvet
* Cranberry Sauce Two Ways
* Cranberry Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
* Citrus Butternut Squash Dip
* Toasty Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters
* Spiced Hazelnut Hummus
* Easy Cheezy Garlicky Hemp Mashed Potatoes
* Arugula Macadamia Mango Avocado Salad
* Deep Red Beet and Greens Salad (aka The Twilight Salad - your teen guests will love this one!)
* Roasted Cheezy Broccoli over golden saffron quinoa
* Creamy Dill Potato Salad
* Panko Crispy Green Bean Fries (fun alternative to casserole!)
* Sweet Potato Tofu Hash - cozy concoction of tofu, sweet potatoes and veggies
* Sweet and Sassy Sweet Potato Pockets - an old have of mine!
* Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese Dip
* Vegan Cheezy Spinach Dip
* Lemon Thyme Hummus Dip

Breakfast:
* 18 Holiday Season Breakfast Recipes (lattes, cinna buns, savory breakfast sandwiches and more!)
* Creamy Pumpkin Maple Rice Porridge
* Holiday Spice Cranberry Tropical Oatmeal

Finding Vegan. I'm not the only vegan blogger posting a flurry of holiday recipes. Check out my other site FindingVegan.com - my goodness I've never seen so much yumminess in one place. Finding Vegan has hundreds of vegan holiday recipes submitted by a variety of talented bloggers. FindingVegan's #HOLIDAY tag

Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up - 11/21

* Breakfast: Holiday Spice Cranberry Tropical Oatmeal
Cranberries, warm oats, macadamia nuts, spice and bananas make this a lovely breakfast for the holiday season.

* Healthy Foods: Thanksgiving Foods to Indulge in!
Thanksgiving is actually one of the healthiest meals all year if you pile the right types of food on your plate. From sweet potatoes to cinnamon - find out why these super foods are so super good for you! Have a guilt free feast.

* Thanksgiving: 15 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
Need a little help throwing together a vegan feast this year? From stuffing and cranberry sauce to sweet potatoes and dessert - these 15 recipes will have you well on your way to a wonderful holiday! Delicious for you, happy for those sweet, fluffy-feathered turkeys. Turkey kisses to all!

*Entrees: 11 Alternatives to Tofurky
I adore a good Tofurky - but if you are a bit Tofurkied-out this year, here are 11 alternative entrees rich in vegan protein. Have a veg-friendly feast!

* Holiday Appetizer: 5-Minute Glazed Cocktail Balls
There is nothing worse than a room full of hungry guests and a dwindling appetizer platter. Sure veggies and dip will work, but try these steamy hot cocktail balls glazed in a spicy sweet sauce. Zesty pineapple on top.

* Bowl: Mandarin Crispy Chick'n Fried Rice Bowl
Fried rice and sticky sweet, savory crisp Gardein chick'n bits. This warm bowl has nothing to do with Thanksgiving week .. but maybe that's a good thing! Fried rice gone vegan..

* Kitchen Safety: Holiday kitchen Safety Tips with The Muppets
These adorable kitchen safety videos help you brush up on a few tips and get a good muppets-giggle in at the same time.

* Snow Day? 14 Snow Day Recipes!
When those snow days come, you'll want to be prepared! Here are 14 of my have recipes to inspire you - and get you energized for some serious snowball fights and snow-angel making sessions.

Also, be sure to check out this year's Veggie Girl Power Series. And catch-up on past interviews here: 2009 and 2010 and 2009 quotes.

Previous Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up's:

* 11/14 - Pumpkin Porridge, Tofu Triangles, Senate Bean Soup, Glazed Sweet Potato Rounds.
* 11/7 - Pumpkin Cheesecake, BBQ Chickpea Wrap, Easy Spicy Chick'n Ranch Wrap, Concord Cranberry Sauce and more!
* 10/31 - Halloween Bonanza - treats, sips, and more..
* 10/24 - Banana Pecan Muffins, Halloween Candy Veganized, Halloween Cupcakes.
* 10/17 - Papaya bowl, witches brew broccoli cheesy soup, cheezy broomsticks, Spiderweb Brownie Bites, Tofu Triangles over couscous with candied cashews and broccoli.
* 10/10 - Pumpkin Pizza, Fruity Faces, Peanut butter Banana Pudding, Carrot Juice and Double Pumpkin Cream Pie.
* 10/3 - Naughty/Nice Vegan Desserts, Raw Chocolate Shake, Pumpkin Potato Salad, Pumpkin Spice Cider Smoothie and more..
* 9/26 - cauliflower soup, pomegranate fizzy cocktail, food truck gyros at home, ghost whip, almost tiramisu pie
* 9/19 - apple jack flapjacks, seared tofu, tropical green smoothie, vanilla coconut latte, sumac salad
* 9/12 - ginger frosty, peanut butter cream pie, vegan chili, easy coconut rice and wonton lunch, peanut butter fruit stack sandwich
* 9/5 - Labor Day "Southern Food" Feast - biscuits, "chickn" fried seitan, cole slaw, pb shake
* 8/29 - pesto alphabet pasta, banana split, sweet potato biscuits, pasta salad to-go, cheeze sauce
* 8/22 - tropical smoothie, mushroom bites, veggie burger, love your green juice, peas and pasta cheezy style
* 8/15 - vegan jello, sunny pesto pasta, peachy "A" Smoothie, creamy cole slaw recipes, vegan sloppy joes, apricot cobbler and lime basil sorbet!
* 8/8 - jumbo croutons, fresh tomato hummus, peanut butter pillows, veggie burger slideshow, sticky maple french toast, cinna-rolls and more!
* 8/1 - hazelnut hummus, pesto pasta, tofu scramble, squash blossoms, savory waffles, hash browns.
* 7/25 - smoothies, vegan burrito, blueberry bread, panzanella salad, beet salad, peach crisp.
* 7/18 - roasted pepper hummus, raw food eats, papaya smoothie, owl cake, chocolate pudding parfait, hemp mashed potatoes and watermelon recipes.

And you can always peruse my HHL Recipe Index for many more vegan, meatless recipes!


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Portia de Rossi: Veggie Girl Power Interview!


I'm so excited to be closing out my 2011 Veggie Girl Power Interview Series with Portia de Rossi, a passionate lover of animals and proud voice for vegans everywhere. Get to know Portia...


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Spa Water at Home. and Monterey.



Today I arrived in Monterey California for a blogger summit hosted by Dole, on one of my all time favorite topics: salad. Yup, it's called "the salad summit" - I'm so freaking excited. Tomorrow, I'll get a first hand look at the true farm to table process, receive a tour of a Dole Growing Fields and Processing Plant - and immerse myself in what is only described as "Lettuce 101" - I think I could probably skip to Lettuce 102, but I'll humor them. So I can't wait to share all of what I learn with you guys very soon.

And to prepare for my trip, I have been chugging what I call "Spa Water" all week long. I like to nice and hydrated/relaxed when I embark on a travel adventure. Because lets face it, travel is usually anything but relaxing.

So, if you need a break from daily life - or just the dull glow of your computer screen - move into the kitchen and whip up a pitcher of this stuff. Instant Zen. My Spa Water recipe and the view from my room...

Not a bad view of the bay. Many more pics to come this weekend!..


This "Spa Water" is inspired by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel's water that they serve in their spa facility. I adore the Mandarin. And every time I have been lucky enough to visit their spa (I was married at the Mandarin in Miami!) I have gulped down their spa water. Laced with floating citrus rounds, and usually with a light pink hue. I think the Mandarin may add berry tea or some sort of tea or fruit juice as well. But my spa water is minty citrus bliss.

This spa water is really not anything flashy or complex - but the basic premise of having a large jug of fruit slice-infused chilled water, flavored lightly by natural ingredients - is quite soothing It's always there for you to grab and chug. Zenfully chug, of course.

This water makes the process of "drinking water" into a spa-like experience that will hopefully take you to a place of zen.

drink up.

Spa Water at Home
makes 9 cups

6 cups chilled spring water
1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh mint sprigs
1 cup citrus slices

Allow mixture to "marinate" in the fridge for at least 15 minutes until serving.
Serve over ice.

Also try my Triple Citrus "Spa Lemonade" recipe here.






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Kathy Freston: Veggie Girl Power Interview!


Next up in my 2011 Veggie Girl Power Interview Series is Kathy Freston, one of the most inspirational vegans of 2011. From major media appearances (Oprah, Ellen, Martha just to name a few) to the successful launch of her best-selling book Veganist - Kathy has represented vegans in a mainstream spotlight all year long - and she sure has made us proud! Get to know Kathy!...


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Cali Veggie Burger Sliders with Carrot Sunshine Slaw.


These California Veggie Burger Sliders are piled high with fresh avocado slices, sweet onion and crisp baby romaine lettuce.

These tender veggie patties contain brown rice, garbanzo beans, creamy tahini spread and sweet corn. A side of my Cali Carrot Pistachio Sunshine Slaw makes for a zippy side dish. Serve with sun citrus iced tea or maybe some fizzy minted ginger ale.


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Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up 11/14


This week's Meatless Monday Recipe Round-up via my posts over at Babble.com's Family Kitchen: Creamy Pumpkin Spice Porridge, Snow Day Breakfasts, Senate Bean Soup, Salt and Pepper Tofu, Seasonal Recipes, Sweet Potato Medallions glazed in maple spice and more inspiration for today and the week ahead...

HOLIDAYS are coming.. Celebrate the holidays with the help of my other site: FindingVegan.com - hundreds of vegan recipes sure to inspire you (and more being posted everyday). From savory to sweet. FindingVegan's #HOLIDAY tag

Big shout our to my mom - today is her birthday so Happy Birthday mom! She is indeed my biggest blog-fan. And I'm so very proud of her the past few months she has transitioned her diet into "almost vegan." Soy milk, tofu, low oil, lots produce and other vegan goodies in her diet have helped her lose about 15 lbs - as well as increase her HDL and lower her LDL cholesterol. I love vegan success stories. And I'm especially proud of people who embrace vegan foods later in life. It can be hard to break habits that you have kept your entire life. So bravo mom! And Happy Healthy Birthday!!

Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up - 11/14

* Breakfast or Dessert: Creamy Pumpkin Spice Maple Rice Porridge
Creamy rice porridge infused with vanilla, pumpkin, spice and maple. This creamy, hearty bowl is delicious for a sweetly-kissed breakfast or hearty dessert. Oh, maybe a side scoop of vanilla soy or coconut cream over top the steaming hot rice - yum dessert..

* Soup: Veganized Senate Bean Soup
This is my new have soup recipe. I love it. White beans, vegan buttery mashed potato a few veggies and a nice burst of .. hot sauce! This is a recipe with a try history in the USA. The US Senate serves it at lunch every single day! So I decided to help them out with a delicious vegan version. Easy and delicious. Healthy too. Protein and fiber packed.

* Thanksgiving: 15 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
Need a little help throwing together a vegan feast this year? From stuffing and cranberry sauce to sweet potatoes and dessert - these 15 recipes will have you well on your way to a wonderful holiday! Delicious for you, happy for those sweet, fluffy-feathered turkeys. Turkey kisses to all!

* Entree or Appetizer: Salt/Pepper Tofu Triangles
These crispy, delightful little tofu triangles will have you ... craving tofu! Can you just imagine the dipping sauce possibilities?? Easy recipe that's a great party app!

* Holiday Breakfast: 18 Holiday Season-Approved Breakfasts
Start your busy holiday mornings off right with some serious vegan fuel. Pumpkin, spice, maple, pomegranate and more flavors of fall and winter ahead!

* Side Dish: Maple-Spiced Glazed Sweet Potato Medallions
Easy, delicious sweet potatoes - worthy of the snazziest holiday feast table.

* Snow Day!! 14 Snow Day Recipes!
When those snow days come, you'll want to be prepared! Here are 14 of my have recipes to inspire you - and get you energized for some serious snowball fights and snow-angel making sessions.

Also, be sure to check out this year's Veggie Girl Power Series. And catch-up on past interviews here: 2009 and 2010 and 2009 quotes.

Previous Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up's:

* 11/7 - Pumpkin Cheesecake, BBQ Chickpea Wrap, Easy Spicy Chick'n Ranch Wrap, Concord Cranberry Sauce and more!
* 10/31 - Halloween Bonanza - treats, sips, and more..
* 10/24 - Banana Pecan Muffins, Halloween Candy Veganized, Halloween Cupcakes.
* 10/17 - Papaya bowl, witches brew broccoli cheesy soup, cheezy broomsticks, Spiderweb Brownie Bites, Tofu Triangles over couscous with candied cashews and broccoli.
* 10/10 - Pumpkin Pizza, Fruity Faces, Peanut butter Banana Pudding, Carrot Juice and Double Pumpkin Cream Pie.
* 10/3 - Naughty/Nice Vegan Desserts, Raw Chocolate Shake, Pumpkin Potato Salad, Pumpkin Spice Cider Smoothie and more..
* 9/26 - cauliflower soup, pomegranate fizzy cocktail, food truck gyros at home, ghost whip, almost tiramisu pie
* 9/19 - apple jack flapjacks, seared tofu, tropical green smoothie, vanilla coconut latte, sumac salad
* 9/12 - ginger frosty, peanut butter cream pie, vegan chili, easy coconut rice and wonton lunch, peanut butter fruit stack sandwich
* 9/5 - Labor Day "Southern Food" Feast - biscuits, "chickn" fried seitan, cole slaw, pb shake
* 8/29 - pesto alphabet pasta, banana split, sweet potato biscuits, pasta salad to-go, cheeze sauce
* 8/22 - tropical smoothie, mushroom bites, veggie burger, love your green juice, peas and pasta cheezy style
* 8/15 - vegan jello, sunny pesto pasta, peachy "A" Smoothie, creamy cole slaw recipes, vegan sloppy joes, apricot cobbler and lime basil sorbet!
* 8/8 - jumbo croutons, fresh tomato hummus, peanut butter pillows, veggie burger slideshow, sticky maple french toast, cinna-rolls and more!
* 8/1 - hazelnut hummus, pesto pasta, tofu scramble, squash blossoms, savory waffles, hash browns.
* 7/25 - smoothies, vegan burrito, blueberry bread, panzanella salad, beet salad, peach crisp.
* 7/18 - roasted pepper hummus, raw food eats, papaya smoothie, owl cake, chocolate pudding parfait, hemp mashed potatoes and watermelon recipes.

And you can always peruse my HHL Recipe Index for many more vegan, meatless recipes!


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Veggie Girl Power Interview: Anya, aka G0lubka


Next up in my 2011 Veggie Girl Power Interview Series is Anya, the talented woman behind the raw, vegan website G0lubka. Some of the most beautiful food photos and recipes I have ever seen are on Anya's site. Find out what inspires this creative blogger!..

Raw Vegan.
I always like to include at least one raw vegan blogger in my series each year. In 2009 I interviewed Sarma of Pure Food and Wine fame. Then last year I had Gena from ChoosingRaw and Ani Phyo of cookbook fame. Actually, I have to thank Sarma since she is the one who introduced me to G0lubka's fabulous website via twitter.

Light, Love, Beauty. I'm talking food people. Anya's food radiates all those things and more. Such gorgeous photos can only be accomplished with food that is pure, inspiring, living. Anya's raw vegan blog is filled with recipes that even if you don't end up making - are still incredibly inspiring. Check out the photos from Anya's latest blog post. She never misses - every post is amazing!..

Photos from Anya's latest post Caramelized Onion Bread with Green Olive Tapenade..




What's behind the name G0lubka? Anya says this, "Golubka means "dove" in Russian, my native language. I have had lots of links with golubkas and doves throughout my life. My maiden name is Golub. Back when paper letters were the primary means of communication, my mother used to sign each one with a custom-made dove stamp instead of a written signature. You could say it's our family amulet! My younger daughter's name is Paloma, Spanish for "dove," we couldn't resist that one. And I very much like the bird itself, as a symbol of peace or just a free creature in the sky."

Green Kid Inspired. Anya and her friends recently did a video about their kids drinking green smoothies: Green Kids. Super cute video, play below..



Why the video? Anya says "We're passionate about feeding our kids nourishing food and very concerned about the state of school lunches in our country. Since then, we've decided to start hosting interactive gatherings called 3D Dinner, Decor, Delight, where our guests do both the cooking and the eating, all the while learning about healthy ingredients. The profit from these events will be sent to Jamie Oliver's Foundation, which works a lot on improving school lunches." More info about 3D.

Onto the VGP interview!..

2011 Veggie Girl Power Series Interview: Anya, of G0lubka.com

Q1: Sunrise, what is the first food and/or drink you reach for to start your "Veggie Girl Power" day?

Anya: A glass of purified water, followed by a green smoothie or green juice.

Q2: As a Veggie Girl Power trailblazer you inspire many girls, who or what has inspired you?

Anya: I'm endlessly inspired by amazing food bloggers like David and Luise from Green Kitchen Stories and Coco from Roost. Sarma Melngailis influenced me the most in linking creativity with food and lifestyle. When I first read her cookbooks and learned about her restaurants, I felt like I discovered a whole new world of possibilities. My older daughter, who is the creative editor of Golubka, has always inspired me with her wisdom, high ethics, and talents.

Q3: When you first went vegan, what was the most challenging aspect of your new lifestyle? How did you overcome those obstacles?

Anya: If following the principles of a vegan lifestyle precisely, going out with friends can be a bit of a disappointing experience, at least in the Tampa Bay area. Even a good vegetarian dish is not always available in common restaurants here. When it comes to particular items, giving up cheese is the most difficult for me.

I constantly experiment with new flavours and like to learn about new foods, which help to keep my meals exciting and make overcoming cravings easier.

Q4: When people ask you why you 'went vegan' what is your usual response?

Anya: I like the idea and challenge of a vegan diet. Our blog is devoted to vegan food almost exclusively, but we don't like to label our food as vegan, raw, or anything else, but would rather focus on it being tasty, vibrant, seasonal, and fresh.

Of course, I find myself in situations when people assume that I eat nothing but vegetables and ask the famous protein question. I've yet to find the simplest answer to it, so I often refer to books like Eating Animals or Crazy Sexy Diet, and movies like Food Inc. I try to avoid arguments and focus on the pleasure of good food and a nice time at the table. I find that the laid back approach attracts people's attention in a much more effective way.

Q5: What is the one message that you always try to project to your fans/followers?

Anya: Healthy food can and should be delicious and visually pleasing, and therefore appealing to everyone.

Q6: Vegans love to share their knowledge about food and nutrition, what is an interesting food fact you love to share with people?

Anya: Most of the time, I leave the nutrition facts to specialists. But because I love green leafy veggies so much, here is one - they have the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food.

Q7: Vegans don't live on carrot sticks and hummus alone, give us your most creative/delicious vegan snack idea!

Anya: I love my homemade sprouted pecan butter on fruit, crackers, or raw bread. Also, thinly julienned zucchini with a drizzle of macadamia oil, or any fruit in season sprinkled with buckwheat crunchies. Nothing beats chia pudding or anything with cocoa. Oh, I am a Libra and can never pick one!

Q8: Words to live by: what is a favorite life tip or quote of wisdom?

Anya: From Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals - "If nothing matters, there is nothing to save."

Q9: How do you respond to negative comments from those critical of a vegan lifestyle - both online and in the real world?

Anya: I find that it's best to avoid telling people what they should or should not eat, that also helps keep negative comments to a minimum. What is right for one person is not necessarily perfect for another.

At Golubka, we often like to mention that first of all, we love how our food tastes and looks, and the fact that it makes us feel healthy and is better for our planet is a wonderful bonus.

Q10: What vegan ingredients and/or vegan products have you discovered that you simply couldn't live without?

Anya: It has to be Irish moss. That doesn't mean that I like to chew on it, of course, but this seaweed's ability to improve the texture of many dishes is amazing. The culinary possibilities it provides, from raw preserves to breads, are truly endless, and the health benefits are great.

Connect with Anya and G0lubka:
Twitter
Facebook - G0lubka
Website - http://g0lubka.blogspot.com/
Flickr

Check out all the interviews in this year's VGP series! more ladies to come.

(Linked ladies have posted already)
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart
Stephanie Morgan
Annie Shannon
Anya
Kathy Freston
Portia de Rossi



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Sour Cream-Swirled Pumpkin Pie for Vegan Thanksgiving.


Meet my Cream-Swirled Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Velvety maple-pumpkin-cashew filling accented by a light swirl of tangy-sweet cream. Light meets rich as swirls of cream blend with dense fall pumpkin.

I promised this recipe as a spin-off to my 4-Ingredient Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Only one added ingredient needed to make the "cream-swirled" upgrade. Both recipes are holiday-approved.

Plus I want to share a short story about my little old houseplant. Oh, the things we can learn from plants..





First, a story.

I have a few houseplants. Those shiny green, thick-leaved types that can go weeks without watering (trust me I know). I guess you can say I don't have a green thumb. But I do love my plants.

A few months ago I moved one plant to a new spot. The top of the fridge.

Today as I was watering this plant I noticed something strange. He (yes, my plants are "he's"), he was drooping. This wasn't a slight droop, but a full tilt lean to the left. I inspected the root area and it looked as though the dirt in the pot had become too dry and the plant too top-heavy with its sprawling, fluffy leaves. I thought that sadly, the plant pulled its roots out of the ground - thus the sudden lean.

Shoot. I really liked this plant! I hoped I could repair the roots. But after closer inspection I found that my hypothesis was very wrong. The roots were sturdy into the dirt - not budging a bit. The lower stalk strong as well. The explanation?..

The plant was half-bathed in sunlight everyday. That spot of morning light that hits the top of the fridge and glows a bright golden orange was just a few inches out of its reach. So slowly but surely this plant, this living yet brainless organism began moving. Changing. Reaching. Actually leaning towards that speckled ray of sunlight on the other side of the fridge. My plant was on a journey towards his happy, warm sunbeam. Why? Because he knew what made him happy. And more sunlight was it.

Smart plant.

Cool little story with a nice metaphor for life. If my houseplant has the will to change direction and move towards the sun, maybe, just maybe we should too.

So ask yourself: Are you fully bathed in sunlight each day? Or are there directions you can turn and changes you can make to move towards your full-body sunbeam? Sometimes the "easy" thing to do isn't what really makes us happiest. Sometimes we have to get up and grab that darn sunbeam.

And yes, I moved him to a sunnier spot.


And when busy chasing sunlight, you'll need a few easy holiday recipes like my Cream-Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake is a spin-off of my 4-Ingredient Pumpkin Pie. Add in only two more ingredients for a tangy sweet cream swirl accent. But this isn't a "cheesecake" pie. For that recipe, you can see my Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe posted over at Family Kitchen.

The "cream" in this pie is vegan sour cream. No vegan cream cheese in this swirled pie. I love the silkiness of the sour cream. And when blended with the maple it creates a nice sour-sweet cream flavor. Very unique and worth a try if you are up for something new.

Sour Cream-Swirled Pumpkin Pie
vegan, makes one pie

1 1/4 cups raw soaked cashews
1 cup maple syrup
1 can organic pumpkin puree (16 ounces) (or use fresh puree)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt

Sour Creamy-Top Swirl:
1 1/4 cups vegan sour cream (try Tofutti brand, in blue tub)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt (to taste)

ingredients notes: using high quality spice is helpful. Also, I prefer grade B maple syrup for its rich amber tones and caramelized flavor - but grade A works too.

One standard vegan pie crust - or make your own crust - recipe. Vegan Pie Crust How-to video.

Coconut Whip on top:
*recipe one (with dispenser)
*recipe two (hand beater)

To Make:

1. Soak about one cup of raw cashews in about 2 1/2 cups of water in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 - 1 tsp of salt to the bowl - mix to dissolve. The salt allows the water to absorb more efficiently into the cashews and also adds some salt for your recipe. Note: you may want to soak more cashews than needed and make two pies - or use in other recipes like my vegan pumpkin spice cashew cheese!

2. Soak this cashew bowl overnight in the fridge. You want well-soaked cashews so that your pie mix blends up perfectly creamy. I soaked my cashews for about 18 hours. At least 8 is optimal. Don't soak for more than two days or the cashews can get grimy in my opinion.

3. The day of your actual pie making allow at least 3 hours from the time you start to the time you wish to serve the pie. I like a cool time of at least 2 hours.

4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

5. Add your vegan sour cream and maple syrup to blender. Blend until smooth. Pour out and set aside. You do not need to rinse the blender.

6. Next, drain the water from your cashews. They should be very soft to bite and a slight purplish dark hue. This is normal. Add 1 1/4 cups of cashews to your food processor - or even better, a Vitamix or high speed blender. Get your own Vitamix here with free shipping!

7. Add pumpkin to blender. Next, add in the maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice. Blend on low -> high for about 3-5 minutes until the mixture is completely creamy. If your mixture is a bit thick for some reason - you can add in a few teaspoons of either water, maple syrup or even non-dairy milk. After blending, do a taste test and add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt if needed. I added in about 1/3 tsp extra salt. But taste before adding.

8. Pour your mix into a par-baked vegan pie shell. Then spoon the sour cream mixture over top the pie. Swirl it roughly down deep towards the pie crust. Then use a toothpick to create fine swirls. Try not to over-swirl or the colors will become muddled.

9. Bake pie at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then reduce to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes - or until the edges look fluffy and a darker caramel orange tone. Use a toothpick in center if unsure. The tooth-picked filling should come out slightly wet - but very thick and dark. It is important to remember that your pie will firm up significantly upon cooling and chilling in the fridge.

10. Remove pie from oven. Cool on counter for at least 30 minutes. Then place in fridge until ready to serve. At least 2 hours cooling and/or chilling time is my preference. A warm pie will be tasty, but still a bit "wet" to slice.

11. I serve chilled with a swirl of my vegan coconut whip on top..









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Veggie Girl Power Interview: Annie Shannon!


Next up in my 2011 Veggie Girl Power Interview Series is Annie Shannon, one half of the quirky, fun and inspiring blogging team responsible for the website Meet the Shannons. So it's time to Meet Annie!..

Annie's other half is her husband Dan.
Ah, a vegan power couple if ever there was. On Meet the Shannons, Annie and Dan share their vegan adventures, eats, passionate love of animals and random fun stuff sometimes described as "Nerdery" and such.



The Betty Crocker Project. If you've seen the movie Julie & Julia you will understand this quite quickly. Annie and Dan's mission is to veganize the entire Betty Crocker Cookbook. Wow, right? Well they have already posted quite a few recipes. You can check out their creative-veganizing skills and track their progress here: Betty Crocker Project

Meet the Shannons has been seen on and applauded by everyone from VegNews to The New York Times. But really, my favorite thing about the Meet the Shannons site is that it is pretty much impossible to browse without cracking a smile.

..I think the interview answers below will have the same effect :)

2011 Veggie Girl Power Series Interview: Annie Shannon, Meet the Shannons Blogger

Q1: Sunrise, what is the first food and/or drink you reach for to start your "Veggie Girl Power" day?

Annie: I'm a pretty lucky lady and am married to wonderful vegan man who makes me smoothies and lattes every morning while he watches The Daily Show from the night before. He has this whole morning system that is like a combo of science, politics and art. It maximizes time, nutrition and blueberries, and is a brilliant way to start a day.

Q2: As a Veggie Girl Power trailblazer you inspire many girls, who or what has inspired you?

Annie: When I was around 13, I read Gloria Steinem's Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. It was the right book at the right time in my life, and hit me like a lightning strike. Tween angst, the cusp between the 80s and 90s, and years of catholic school guilt all mixed together with a book that had a simple message: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Lines like "Evil is obvious only in retrospect" started me on the path to becoming a life-long activist who would do what she could to prevent “evil” whenever possible.

I can still remember my first years after reading that book; it not only empowered me by making me more aware of the impact of my choices, but also helped me understand my privileges and responsibilities. Since then I’ve really tried to be aware of the “evils” in this world, and do what I could to make a difference. It played a huge role in making me who I am today: both my career in the human and animal rights movements, and starting The Betty Crocker Project.

Q3: When you first went vegan, what was the most challenging aspect of your new lifestyle? How did you overcome those obstacles?

Annie: Back when I first went vegan, mock meats and soy cheeses were still in their Model T phase. I'll admit that in the early years, I ate a lot of baked potatoes and salads. I never doubted that I was making the right choice, but I was impatient for food technology to catch up with my hopes and dreams. I mean, I was living in a world with catsup that changed color and mini-pizza lunchables with ingredient lists that read like chemistry term papers. Why couldn’t science make a vegan cheese that melted?

My Italian mother raised me with a love of food that made me curious enough to try all these primordial vegan products back in the day, but it also gave me high standards. On top of that, I had no idea how to use these products properly. I devoted years to learning how to cook tofu, different chilis, Indian and Chinese currys, my own seitan, falafel, whatever. I played around with a raw diet for a while and every kind of vegetable I could find.

In the end I realized that eating vegan wasn't really that much harder than my previous omnivore diet. I mean, if you ate meat you wouldn't just microwave a chicken breast and think "this is delicious!" You'd season it and cook it at the right temperature and with the right vegetables. Tofu and mock meat dishes are no different. They need the little extras to help them reach their full potential.

Vegans today don't really have to worry about that as much though. Brands like Tofurky, Gardein, Match, Field Roast, Daiya and Light Life – just to name just a few – have completely revolutionized going vegan, finally making it the convenient, compassionate, healthy lifestyle I dreamed of as a kid.

Q4: When people ask you why you 'went vegan' what is your usual response?

Annie: I love animals. I'm pretty sure I say that every time, and it’s always true. Since I went vegan, I've learned about the health benefits and environmental impact of conscious eating. I've discovered how fun it is to search out new ingredients and products. I love playing in the kitchen, trying to find creative ways to make a dish vegan. I've fallen in love with searching out new vegan restaurants and seeing how other vegans all over the world are challenging the myth that going vegan is anything less than fabulous.

So really, I think I should start saying that I'm vegan because it's a blast and you can't beat the food… and I love animals.

Q5: What is the one message that you always try to project to your fans/followers?

Annie: There’s room in 'The Vegan Club' for everyone. Even if you’re only vegan one day a week, you’re still making a choice that is better for your own health, the environment and animals. I feel like it’s really important to be as inclusive and helpful as possible. Being vegan can be really fun once you figure out how to do it in a way that works for you, and I just want to help people find that.

Q6: Vegans love to share their knowledge about food and nutrition, what is an interesting food fact you love to share with people?

Annie: Vegans are so smart already. I’m sure whatever I could tell you all, you probably already know. Like how you need to grind up flaxseeds before you use them to get through their tough hull and get all that nutrition for your salads and smoothies. Or how it’s important to not just eat soy and wheat-based everything when you’re vegan—so try new things like almond milk in your morning coffee, or bread made with buckwheat flour, to help add variety. Again… vegans are already pretty smart. I would bet you already figured that out.

Q7: Vegans don't live on carrot sticks and hummus alone, give us your most creative/delicious vegan snack idea!

Annie: I’m not much of a snacker. I usually have a few small meals throughout the day… which may actually mean I’m nothing but a snacker. I guess it depends how you look at it. One of my favorite mini-meals right now are crostinis. I’m in the process of finalizing the recipes for our book, so I’ve been experimenting with a few different types, like Greek with Kalamata olives and Pepperoncinis, and desserty ones with Cinnamon-Apple pie filling. But my favorite is Mexican.

Basically, you brush slices of whole wheat baguette bread with a little olive oil and lightly toast it. Then add a layer of sliced avocado or guacamole and then top that with some of your favorite salsa, diced cilantro, and sliced black olives! It takes less than 10 minutes and about 3 of them make a nice little mini-meal.

Q8: Words to live by: what is a favorite life tip or quote of wisdom?

Annie: I guess I have 2.
#1. "Goonies never say die!" and neither should vegans. Not every recipe works out the first time, and not every product is going to live up your expectations - but never give up. It's too important.
#2. "You always know the mark of a coward. A coward hides behind freedom. A brave person stands in front of freedom and defends it for others." - Henry Rollins. Whenever someone tells me it’s their "right" to eat meat, I think of this quote. Animals have so little, and rely on our compassion and judgment just to survive. Just because people can eat meat doesn't mean that they should.

Q9: How do you respond to negative comments from those critical of a vegan lifestyle - both online and in the real world?

Annie: I usually find that the people who are the most critical of a vegan lifestyle are the ones dealing with some kind of guilt that's made them defensive. When given an opportunity to actually talk to these people and hear their reasons for being defensive, you can usually find some common ground. I think being able to start the kind of dialog where you're looking for what you can agree on is usually more productive than just calling someone out for supporting industries that are destroying our environment and inherently cruel to animals and people.

Q10: What vegan ingredients and/or vegan products have you discovered that you simply couldn't live without?

Annie: I can't imagine my kitchen without nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, Braggs Liquid Amino Acids, and red wine. They’ve helped me countless times in countless recipes. They're my kitchen BFFs. As far as products go, the recent wave of great vegan products available in grocery stores around the country has made me feel like a kid in a candy store. Daiya vegan cheese plays a huge role in our lives, on pizzas and cups of soups as well as in sandwiches and quiches. I still can’t believe it’s real. Sweet and Sarah vegan marshmallows and Lite Life Smart Bacon have become my guilty pleasures of choice… but not together.

Connect with Annie & Meet the Shannons:
Twitter
Facebook - Vegan Foods = Joy (Meet the Shannons)
Website - www.MeetTheShannons.net
Betty Crocker Project

Check out all the interviews in this year's VGP series! more ladies to come.

(Linked ladies have posted already)
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart
Stephanie Morgan
Annie Shannon
Anya
Kathy Freston
Portia de Rossi



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Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick'n Shiitake Salad. Gardein inspired.




This Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick'n Shiitake Salad is topped with one of my favorite new frozen Gardein products: Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick'n. Mandarin-orange-glazed, sticky-sweet, crispy-tender vegan protein bites.

I've added sweet mandarin oranges, perky chopped scallions, cilantro and tender savoy cabbage tossed in a light, sassy-sweet rice vinegar dressing. The cool crunchy greens are studded with warm salt & pepper shiitake mushrooms. Fine black pepper, colorful carrots and tamari rice crackers accent. And really, these Gardein Crispy Chick'n bits? So good! Must try for vegans and vegan-skeptics!..







Love/Hate Relationship: Fake Meat. I am always a bit apprehensive about posting recipes featuring a main ingredient of "fake meat" - no matter how delicious is tastes.

First there was the Tofurky for veg-eaters one day a year. And from there, it seems the range of fake meat products covers anything and everything. From vegan shrimp to vegan sausage - vegan ribs to vegan duck. But really, "vegan duck" just sounds so weird and contradicting of the entire meaning of veganism. I think. I discuss my trepidation regarding "fake meat" products in this post: Fake Meat Defending or Defeating the Point?

But I'm putting away my "hate" side for this recipe post. One bite of these crispy bites and I was inspired...







Really, with vegan food (no matter what it is called) tasting so delicious and easy to make - it would be a shame not to embrace it, right? My fave "fake meat" products include: Field Roast Spicy Chipotle Sausage, Boca Spicy Chick'n Patties, Amy's Veggie "Burgers" and Gardein's Crispy Tenders, Crispy Chick'n and Spicy Buffalo Wings.

I guess it is the names that bother me most. Chick'n obviously infers the word "chicken." And to me, I'd rather be enjoying a chicken's company and giving his feather a few kind strokes, rather than enjoying a chicken for dinner.

Instead of "fake meat" I'll just refer to these products as creative presentations of my favorite veggie protein sources from legumes to grains. :)

Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick'n Shiitake Salad
vegan, serves 2-3

Salad:
1/2 cup light Asian dressing (recipe below)
6 cups savoy cabbage (or romaine lettuce), roughly chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup salt and pepper shiitakes (recipe below)
1/2 cup mandarin oranges, drained (canned or fresh works)
Gardein Crispy Chick'n bits (recipe below)

garnish:
fine black pepper
5-10 tamari rice crackers
optional garnish: crushed peanuts

Salt/Pepper Shiitakes:
2 Tbsp safflower oil
1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp fine black pepper
1 1/2 cups shiitakes, thinly sliced
1 tsp tamari

Light Asian Dressing:
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil (opt'l)
2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
extra sweet: add in a splash of maple or agave
spicy: cayenne to taste
for a drier, less sweet dressing: sub rice vinegar with apple cider vinegar

Chick'n:
1 bag Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick'n
1/4 cup safflower oil

Directions:

1. Prep your salad veggies and add to large mixing bowl.
2. Add the dressing ingredients to a cup and whisk briskly. Pour over top greens and toss well. Layer salad greens on serving plates or bowls.
3. Mushrooms: heat the safflower oil in a saute pan. Wait until oil is hot. Add in the mushrooms. Saute until tender and slightly crisp on edges. During last minute of cooking, add in the salt/pepper and tamari. Remove shrooms from pan. Set aside.
4. In same pan, add 2-3 Tbsp safflower oil. Wait until very hot. Cook the Gardein product as instructed on package - adding sauce last once chick'n is mostly cooked. Turn off heat, set aside.
5. Add mandarins and rice crackers to salad. Top with the shiitakes and Gardein crispy chick'n bits. Fine pepper to taste. Crush peanuts are optional.

Serve while lettuce is still chilled and the shrooms and chick'n is still warm





Note: Even though I am raving about this product, it is NOT a "paid post" for Gardein. (All sponsored reviews - and those are very rare for me - will contain clear labeling of this). I'm just a huge fan of this product and highly recommend it to anyone who loves the idea of a vegan crispy "chick'n" mandarin salad. This product is ah-mazing. Really, the next day after tast-testing, I went back to Whole Foods and bought two more bags.


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Tofu Veggie Hash Brown Breakfast Pockets!


I adore pockets. Those cozy, warm, crusted over pastries with something spectacular hiding inside. One bite, warm steam escapes, the yummy aroma coaxing you to dive into a sea of delicious flavors.

I also love tofu scramble. And nutritional yeasted-cheezy hash browns. Veggies and Daiya pepperjack cheese. AM fare to pull me out of bed. Much like in my Breakfast Burrito. But this time I decided to stuff my fave AM flavors into vegan buttery, flaky-crusted pocket. Total happiness for breakfast in these easier-than-you-think Tofu Scramble Veggie Cheezy Hash Brown Breakfast Pockets!..









Pockets. Like I said. They made me happy. Tofu in a pocket is a wonderful thing. I used to have the Amy's Kitchen Tofu Scramble pocket for breakfast many mornings when I was in college. And the tofu scramble stuffed pockets I found at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC were nothing short of amazing. And actually, my first signature recipe was a pocket: Sweet & Sassy Sweet Potato Pockets.

So this is my first attempt at stuffed pockets (where I made the crust from scratch) - some notes..

Tips and Tricks for Pocket Tarts

* The Crust. The goal is to stuff as much filling into the pocket as possible. Otherwise you are really just left with a lot of crust and a few bites of filling. Not good. So here is how I achieved this. First you prepare your dough. Knead well. Place in the freezer for about a half hour or so to chill for easier rolling. Roll out as thin as possible, but don't go crazy since the next steps will assist you. Cut out a large circle of dough - about 5" across. Then take that circle and roll out (again) as evenly and thinly as possible. Now you have a perfectly thin piece of circle dough to work with! From here you can stuff and fold into a half circle pocket - or roll out a second slightly larger circle for the top layer. Seal edges with a fork, poke a hole in the top.

* The Filling. The filling should be cooked slightly (in my opinion) - although you could also add in raw marinated tofu. Filling contents will slightly bake in the oven. My tofu came out delicious - but maybe slightly "over cooked" - so next time I'd pre-cook a few minutes less before stuffing into the pocket and baking.

* Whole Circle Pocket. As noted in step one, if doing a two layer circle pocket - you want that top circle of dough to be rolled out slightly larger than the bottom circle, in order to accommodate the enormous lump of filling you have piled on top the first circle.

Here are links to recipes that will help you recreate my tofu hash pockets..

Tofu Hash Breakfast Pockets
makes 4+ pockets (depending on size)

herbed pocket dough (Recipe below)
Tofu Scramble recipe 1 or recipe 2 - see my 5min tofu scramble video here - or my 5-ingredient tofu scramble
Cheezy Hash Browns
Daiya Pepperjack Cheese (or another vegan cheese brand - optional)

Herbed Pocket Dough
1 3/4 cups white flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 Tbsp salt-free seasoning blend (like a Mrs Dash type spice)
3/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 stick vegan butter, softened
1/2-1 cup cold water (add in teaspoon increments) note: for a more buttery, rich crust crust you can add in another spoonful vegan butter. Coconut oil can also be used in place of vegan butter - but you will need a pinch more of salt if using all coconut oil)

To Make:

1. Start with the dough. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, pepper and spice to a large mixing bowl. Add in the softened vegan butter. Add the water in teaspoon increments until you have a nice sticky - yet kneadable ball. On a floured surface, knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Place back in bowl and freeze for about 30 minutes.

2. Prepare you filling according to the recipe instructions - see links above. Set aside to cool at least a few minutes. Remember DO NOT overcook your tofu. You want it slightly undercooked so that it doesn't over cook in the oven. Slightly wet is OK since the filling will dry out a tad when baking in the crusty pocket.

3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

4. Roll out your dough. See tips above. Thinly. Use bowls or cookie cutters to create dough circles. Roll out circles. As thin as possible without compromising strength - dough should be hole free.



5. Add filling to dough (tofu, scoop of hash browns and sprinkle of vegan cheese. Hot sauce or salsa is a nice add-in as well.

6. Add top layer of dough or fold over pocket - top layer dough should be rolled out slightly larger than bottom layer. Crimp edges tightly with fork. Poke hole in top to vent.

7. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18 minutes. Longer if using extra large pockets - shorter if mini pockets.

Cool a few minutes before serving.
















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