Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Marinated Mushrooms

Marinated Mushrooms
Lately, I have been enjoying fresh salads for lunch.  I love to experiment with different dressings and new flavor combinations.  However, when I pack salads to take to work I usually omit one of my favorite ingredients:  mushrooms.  When I make salads at home, I frequently omit a dressing and simply top my greens with sauteed shallots and mushrooms.  However, sauteed mushrooms don't pack well, and I find that unseasoned raw mushrooms lack the complexity and rich flavor of sauteed mushrooms. 

Recently I realized that I could create a mushroom topping that holds its flavor and texture by simply marinating the mushrooms.  I approached the recipe in the same way I create a dressing:  start with an oil, add a sour liquid (vinegar, lemon juice, etc), throw in some herbs, a pinch of salt and a hint of sweet.  I then amplified the flavor with onion, garlic and mustard.  The result is a sweet and tangy marinade that results in both a flavorful salad topping as well as the salad dressing.  Delicious!

Marinated Mushrooms


·      8 oz sliced Button Mushrooms
·      2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
·      2 T White Balsamic Vinegar
·      2 T Fresh Basil
·      2 T Fresh Parsley
·      2 Medium Cloves Garlic
·      ¼ Medium Red Onion
·      ¼ t Mustard Powder
·      2 pinches stevia
·      2 pinches salt


  1. Place all ingredients except mushrooms in blender
  2. Blend until coarsely chopped
  3.  Mix in with mushrooms
  4. Let marinate several hours or overnight 

~Grace Geiger

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review on Living Social's Superfoods Vegan Cooking Class + a recipe for Cacao Add-Whatever-You-Want Superfood Truffles

I have to say that switching to a vegan diet has been quite easy for me living near DC. It’s one of the most vegan friendly cities in the US and over the past couple of years it has adjusted quite well to the raw/vegan boom that our country is currently experiencing. Restaurants have added vegan menus, vegan food trucks are beginning to pop up everywhere and vegan cooking classes are becoming harder to keep up with! 

Vegan cooking classes are one of the best tools to have when making the transition to a healthier, vegan-focused lifestyle. Not only do they provide you with awesome recipes, but the classes help in teaching you how to prepare and make certain dishes using ingredients that may be new to you.  Even if you’re not new to the vegan lifestyle, cooking classes are still a fun way to get together and socialize with other like minded individuals while learning new yummy recipes. I don’t know about you, but ever since I became vegan, I’ve also found a passion for cooking. For some reason the two seem to come hand in hand.

For me, cooking classes have become quite an obsession. I could know how to make all the recipes on the menu and yet I will still pay to attend. I guess my non-social self finds these classes as a great way for me to step out my norm while doing something I love and that I’m comfortable with. While there are several sources for cooking classes, both online and local, one of my favorite sources is via Living Social

Here in DC off F Street is the first, and currently the only, Living Social live event venue. It was created to “introduce people to the best local businesses in the [most] exciting ways” and for me, it has done just that. One of my favorite events to attend here are, of course, the vegan cooking classes. In the past I have taken baking classes from Sticky Finger’s own Doran Peterson, raw food classes by the owners of Gouter, a raw food company in DC and most recently, a super foods class by health coach and owner of Carpe Diem Wellness, Lisa Miles Jackson. 

The Super Foods cooking class was an unexpected adventure. Unlike with Sticky Fingers and Gouter, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew what we were making, but I didn’t “know” the teacher as well as I “knew” the other two. Also, I had gotten stuck without my usual partner, Grace, due to an awful cold I had the week before which also happened to be the week we were originally supposed to attend. I was forced to reschedule, which left me half-sick and alone. Between the unknown and not having someone I knew, getting into this class was all together nerve wrecking and exciting.  

As we made our way through two-hours of high-raw cooking, I found myself identifying with Lisa more and more. She wasn’t there to just teach us how to cook, but she was there to do what she does best: be a health coach. As we were making our dishes, Lisa shared success stories, personal stories, and tips on how to eat and live a healthier lifestyle. She explained how the food we were eating supported our bodies, why to avoid GMOs and other harmful additives, and best of all, she avoided the diet labels. I listened intently and watched her as she made her way gracefully around the table with confidence and compassion for what she does. All I could do was gawk and stare as I saw what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, stand before me teaching others about health through food. She became my role model that day. By the end of the class, I was happy that I had chosen this class over another one that I was considering. From this one I gained not only new cooking skills and new recipes, but also knowledge and inspiration. It was meant for me.  

As for the recipes, we made a wide variety of wholesome, nutritionally dense dishes. From Cacao Goji Truffles to a Mexican Quinoa Salad, each dish was loaded with whole, plant-based foods that were filled with nutrients, vitamins and minerals to support the body whether it’s standing in a cooking class or running a mile. Out of all the dishes we made, my favorite was, of course, the Cacao Goji Truffles. 

Sunflower Nacho "Cheese" Dip with Jicama Chips

Mexican Quinoa Salad

Kale Slaw
These little round gems are sweet, salty and oh so chocolaty good. I altered the ingredients a bit so that a) I could share it with you and b) to work with the ingredients I had on hand. These delicious balls of yumminess are loaded with superfoods so all you need is a little to go a really long way. Because of the high coconut oil content, these can be refrigerated instead of being frozen although freezing does make them last longer. If you do freeze, I suggest leaving them out for a few just to soften or you’ll be trying to sink your teeth into what seems like a really hard chocolate bar.

 Cacao Add-Whatever-You-Want Superfood Truffles
By Beth Mickens
Recipe adapted from Lisa from Carpe Diem Wellness, DC

  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (you can add them in or roll the balls in the hemp seeds. I prefer the chewy texture so I added them in)
  • 1-2 Tbsp of Maca Powder (depending on desired taste)
  • 1 Tbsp Lucuma, Goji or Camu Camu Powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp of Super Greens (I used Green Superfood's Raw Reserve) (depending on desired taste)
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds, ground
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut oil
  • 2+ Tbsp maple syrup or coconut nectar, depending on desired sweetness
  • 1 Tbsp raw almond butter
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • Optional add ins:
    • Goji berries
    • Cacao Nibs
    • For non-vegans, bee pollen.
    1. In a small bowl add all the dry ingredients, adding as little or as much of each superfood as you like.
    2. In a separate bowl add the coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla and whisk to blend. 
    3. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, adjusting to the amount of dry ingredients you added.
    4. Roll into balls and roll into shredded coconut and/or hemp seeds. (They will be very soft but that's the texture you want. If you find it too hard to roll, stick in the fridge to firm before rolling.)
    5. Store in the fridge/freezer to firm up before eating.

Like all the cooking classes I have attended at Living Social so far, this one was worth it plus more.  The staff was accommodating, the class valuable and the food, yummy! I look forward to many more vegan cooking classes in the future. If you are in the DC area, I highly recommend you check out Living Social 918 F Street. They have a ton of events always going on there. It makes it hard to choose JUST one! If you do not live in the DC area, here is a list of sources to where you can find cooking classes both online and possibly locally.
  • (for my NoVA people)
  • is a great place to find local groups with similar interests. I’ve found vegan potlucks, health classes, etc on here.
  • Check your local Whole Foods or natural grocers
Happy Vegan Cooking!


Forward to Day 5
Back to Day 3

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Feast for All

Lemon Curd Tarts

One of the themes foundational to The Split Plate is embracing the personalization of each individual's plant-based diet.  To one person, moving toward a vegan lifestyle could involve making certain days of the week meat free, while to another, it could include not only avoiding all animal products in food but also in products used around the house, clothing, etc.  Some people make choices to avoid animal products to support the environment, others to improve their health, others to reduce animal cruelty.  The Split Plate believes no one person is wrong for making different dietary choices than another because every individual's journey toward their own understanding of a plant-based lifestyle is personal.

I once witnessed a facebook chat in which one person, a vegan, berated another facebook member, a vegetarian, for not eliminating all eggs and dairy products from his diet.  My friends, this type of hateful, critical behavior attracts no one to a vegan lifestyle and instead alienates people who otherwise would stand a good chance of experimenting and perhaps adopting a vegan diet.  Instead of criticizing one another for our differences we need to be embracing one another for our similarities.

My mother is not a vegan.  She is not a vegetarian.  As she has seen me mature, she has witnessed my own slow and steady progression away from animal products.  However, when I bring up new vegan recipes I'm perfecting, or new research I've discovered about the benefits of plant based diets, she invariably will make statements about how much she feels her own body requires meat.  I've never disagreed with her because, even though I believe multiple studies have repeatedly demonstrated many damaging effects of meat, I also respect her right to make her own health decisions.

As I am accustomed to my mom's mini-lectures regarding the importance of meat in her diet, you may imagine how surprised I was when she called me up recently excitedly telling me about her new dinner party, which was to feature multiple vegan options!  She stated that she has many friends who are vegetarians or vegan or lactose intolerant and she wanted to host a party with plenty of delicious choices for everyone.

I see this as a demonstration of the reason we accept and love each other, regardless of how another's diet differs from our own.  Doing so creates a safe environment wherein others can experiment with plant based foods with nothing to prove and nothing to lose.  As we all celebrate our unique individual dietary preferences, each of us can find motivation to refine our choices and continue our journey toward a plant-based lifestyle.

Fruit Kebabs on the "Grill"

Spicy Cucumber Soup

Black Bean Brownies

(love you mom!)
-Grace Geiger

Back to Day 2
Forward to Day 4

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Annual Fort Lauderdale Health Food Expo

As a vegan have you ever attended a food event, a fair, or a festival and wish that you could have something that you could actually eat?  I find myself constantly having to plan ahead whenever I attend non-vegan events.  This is why the Fort Lauderdale Health Food Expo is so awesome!  This non-vegan event truly caters to vegetarians and vegans with a long list of South Florida raw restaurants, juice companies, vegan restaurants, and organic and natural alcoholic companies.  This may not have been a full-blown VegFest but it was certainly vegan and vegetarian heaven with all of the booths of local vegan and health and wellness companies! 

Prior to the event I had gotten to know Noy, the founder of the Health Food Expo.  Noy provided me with insight of his passion for health foods, and his purpose for launching an event that would include a group of vendors dedicated to health and wellness.  A few years ago he was educated about our food system, and became distraught with learning how most of our foods are sourced.  Noy had made the personal decision to stop eating out when he was home in South Florida, but he realized that traveling posed a problem to this "no eating out policy!"  One day by chance he discovered a completely plant based restaurant and was enlightened with the idea that there were healthy restaurant options across the country, (and especially in South Florida).  Thus, the concept of the Health Food Expo was birthed with the motto " Nutrition need not be compromised by lack of convenience." Health conscious individuals can find healthy options are out there - and the mission of the Health Food Expo is to bring most of these options from South Florida all together in one event!

Noy introduced me to several local restaurants that cater to those that adhere to an organic and healthy lifestyle.  A good example of a local restaurant with quite a few health options is the Royal Pig in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  The Royal Pig boasts menu items that cater to both vegans and health conscious meat eaters alike.  The reason I was excited to learn about the Royal Pig is because I have plenty of non-vegan, health conscious friends in the area, and this is great restaurant that provides a happy medium for both vegans and omnivores.

Now on to all of the amazing vegan food at the Expo!

Most vegans in South Florida will be familiar with Juicera, iConnect Café, Green Bar Kitchen, the Green Wave Café, and Veggie Xpress.  These were all on the vendor list including others such as CoCo Zia, Tower Garden, Amy's Lil' Chunks of Love, Naked Food Magazine, Make Raw Not War, Eat the Tea, Pop Lab, Healthy Xpress, and Organic Brewery.  Some of these are local companies, and others are nationwide.  I hate to admit this but considering I recently relocated to South Florida I have yet to eat at Green Bar Kitchen.  I finally got to taste their food and I was so impressed that I purchased a gift card on the spot!  Check out the picture below of vegan BBQ seitan with vegan coleslaw.  I can predict that GBK will soon become one of my favorite local restaurants! 

I wish that I could provide pictures and a description of all of the food and drink that I sampled at the event, however, the day was quite chaotic for me and I had a hard time keeping track of all of the booths I was able to sample from.  I brought two friends with me who are both enjoy health foods and who are vegetarian friendly.  We were excited to explore what our local restaurants had to offer but unfortunately the weather was not on our side, and when there was a break from the heavy downpour, the lines were very long.  We had to cherry pick and select only several booths to visit as there just was not enough time to try everything.  What was so great about this expo was that just about every vendor catered to vegans, and no one looked at me funny when I asked for vegan options.  Below you can find a few more pictures of some of the booths at the Health Food Expo. 

One of my favorite booths was of a local company in Boynton Beach called "Make Raw Not War."  I did not have a chance to take any pictures of this booth, however, they provided samples of raw energy balls.  I was able to try both the Chocolate Protini and Healthy Chia-ter flavors and they both tasted great!  Considering I have been focused on including more raw foods in my diet this is a snack I will definitely be purchasing in the near future.  This morning I actually received an email from the company with a discount code for attending the event!  I will probably end up purchasing all 4 yummy flavors that they offer, and writing up a review on this blog. 

I am very grateful that Noy put this event together and that I can enjoy a day out with liked-minded friends.  As a vegan foodie I am excited for what is to come next year for the 2nd annual Health Food Expo! 

- Kerry

Back to Day 1
Forward to Day 3

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Welcome to the Vegan MoFo 2013!!

The Vegan Month of Food for 2013 has officially started today and we here at The Split Plate are extremely excited to be participating in our first ever Vegan MoFo event! If you have NO idea what the Vegan MoFo is, well, it’s exactly what the name implies. For an entire month we’ll be posting daily, yes, DAILY, about anything and everything that pops up into our heads related to the awesomeness that surrounds veganism and our love for food. While some bloggers are following a specific theme for the entire month or daily themes as provided by the Vegan MoFo crew, we have decided to just wing it and have fun with it. That’s right. No themes, no directions, nothing. 

The purpose of Vegan MoFo is to show the world what vegan eating is all about and to also show the vegcurious how truly easy it is to be a veghead! With that in mind, I have decided to focus this month on how to find valuable sources that can help anyone on their vegan journey. From cooking classes, to free online cleanses, to vegan athletic performance tips, everything this month can and, I hope, will help anyone looking to make a lifestyle change by either going vegan or just adding more vegan-friendly eats into their diet. Of course, as I stated before, since we will be winging it, this isn’t ALL that this month’s posts will be about. We have reviews to write, recipes to share and photos of events to keep you constantly intrigued. Don’t wanna bore ya, ya know. ;) 

So who’s ready for an entire month of vegan awesomeness? Do YOU have anything you would love to see us write about?

Oh, and one more thing before I go. If you are wondering why I keep on saying “We”, well that’s because there’s not one, but three of us who write for this blog. To get to know us more check out our intro posts here: Kerry, Grace and Beth. You’ll also discover exactly WHY we’re called The Split Plate. :)

Vegan cheers to an awesome month of yummilicious food ahead of us! Who’s ready? I know I am!