Category: Guest Posts

I discovered Kathy Hester’s blog – Healthy Slow Cooking – a while ago, and since I am such a fan of my slow cooker I asked her to come and do a guest post for us here at Vegan Chickie. Kathy is a long-time vegetarian who lives in Durham NC with her partner, 2 cats and a big silly dog, she writes below about her love of the slow cooker and about some possibilities you may not yet thought of when it comes to using your crockpot.

Healthy Slow Cooking

You may still be wondering what all the slow cooker fuss is about. I’ve been in love with mine long before the food blogs started a new buzz. I’m glad everyone is using them now. It means more yummy recipes for all of us!

As you go in search of slow cooker goodness, don’t get bogged down in the cream of this and cream of that recipes. It’s easy for vegans to substitute ingredients. After all, who else sees so much possibility in a box of silken tofu? You can even make your own cream of mushroom from it!

One of the reasons I love using the slow cooker is that it makes easy things even better because you don’t have to be around while it’s cooking. Baked potatoes are a perfect example of this. Poke a few holes in them with a fork and pop into the slow cooker on low for 6 – 8 hours. You can also cook them on high for 4 hours. You don’t need to oil the crock or put them in aluminum foil. It’s a perfect base for a few steamed veggies and some of Jennifer McCann’s nacho cheese sauce.

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite veggies. Sometimes I “bake” them in the slow cooker, then split them in half and sprinkle cinnamon and fresh nutmeg over it and have it for dessert. You can also make a main dish out of it lathered with homemade veggie chili and a nice salad.

Winter squash are perfect in the slow cooker. You can do it the normal way and make stuffed acorn squash. Cut it in half raw and scrape out all the seeds. But sometimes with spaghetti or butternut squash you almost need a machete and a helper to cut through it. Instead poke some holes in your whole squash and throw it into the slow cooker! The trick is to allow some cooling time before you cut it open to scoop out the squash guts. The knife slides through easily and you can scoop the cooked squash out and use in your favorite dish. Freeze any leftovers to use another time.

You can slow roast veggies in your Crock-pot too. It’s great to be able to leave them all day. I cook beets, celery root, onions, parsnips, carrots, brussel sprouts and baby carrots in the slow cooker. I like to put some roasted veggies on my salad or use them in soups or stews. You can toss them in oil or add some water. I love to add fresh rosemary and thyme. It makes the house smell good and it’s yummy too!

Be sure to head over to Kathy’s blog and check out some of her fabulous recipes!


[tweetmeme source=”VeganChickie”]This is our last post in the Sepia inspired raw vegan desserts week. A huge thank you to our Joyous friend Sepia for sharing her recipes and photos with us. Our last recipe is Ani Phyo’s Raw Foods Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake and I have to say, I’ve been drooling about this cake ever since I saw the photo. With my birthday coming up this month (the big 3-oh!! Agh!) I might send some little hints bare-chested-chef’s way, in the hope of getting a Raspberry Ganache Fudge Birthday Cake!

Raw Vegan Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake
(Ani Phyo)


Fudge Cake:
3 cups dry walnuts
2/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder or carob powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pitted Medjool dates

1/3 cup semi-soft pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup ripe avocado flesh
1/3 cup cacao powder

1/2 cup raspberries


1. To make the cake, combine the walnuts, cacao powder, and salt in the food processor and pulse until coarsely mixed. Avoid over-processing.

2. Add the dates and pulse until mixed well. Shape into 2 stackable cakes of desired shape and set aside.

3. To make the frosting, combine the dates and agave syrup in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the avocado and process until smooth. Add the cacao powder and process until smooth.

4. To serve, frost the top of one of the cakes with half the frosting and top with the raspberries. Stack the second cake on top and frost the top and sides. Serve immediately, or place in the refrigerator for a couple hours to firm up. 

The cake on its own will keep in the fridge for many weeks. The frosting will keep separately in the fridge for 1 week. The assembled cake with raspberries will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Become a fan of Vegan Chickie on Facebook

[tweetmeme source=”VeganChickie”]Today is day 5 of our Sepia inspired raw vegan desserts week. As with yesterday’s post, today I will be including information about some of the benefits of using raw ingredients in cooking. So for those of you who are interested in learning more about some of the ingredients you have seen appearing in these raw food recipes, please have a look at the end of this post for more information. Today’s recipe is: Lemon Coconut Bars. Also pictured below are Sepia’s Coconut Ice treats, which were featured earlier this week.

Raw Vegan Lemon Coconut Bars
(adapted from Ani Phyo’s recipe)


1 cup almonds
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (Medjool, khadrawhi, or other semi-soft date)
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup dried shredded coconut


1. In your food processor, chop almonds into small pieces. Use some of this nut powder to “flour” the bottom of a 9 inch square baking pan.

2. Add remaining ingredients and process until well mixed.

 Press into baking pan.

 Chill for a couple hours until firm. Then cut into squares and serve. 

Will keep for six days in the fridge. Makes 12 bars


Health Benefits of some Raw dessert ingredients

Agave Syrup
“What makes agave superior to sugar? Sugar is a processed sweetener that has no nutritive value, other than calories. And agave, as compared to other sweeteners, has a desirable low-glycaemic index. This means that when consumed, it won’t cause a sharp rise or fall in blood sugar. Agave contains saponins and fructans. According to Dr. Sahelian, saponins, which are found on quinoa and many plant roots, including ginseng, have anti-inflammatory and immune system-boosting properties, including antimicrobial capability. In fact, the Aztecs used agave syrup to treat wounds because of its antibacterial properties. 

Inulin is a type of fructan or fiber that has many health benefits. Studies suggest that inulin can be effective in weight loss because of its low impact on blood sugar and its ability to increase satiety and decrease appetite. Inulin is also associated with lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of certain cancers, and increasing the absorption of nutrients, such as isoflavones, calcium and magnesium.” More Information HERE.

Nuts – Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews
“Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium.  Nuts are also high in plant sterols and fat – but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 -) which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.” More Information HERE.

Cacao Powder
“Raw cacao powder contains many rare key nutrients that enhance physical and mental well-being. Raw cacao powder also contains more antioxidant flavonoids than any other food tested including Red Wine, Green Tea and Blueberries. Other essential minerals present in Cacao are Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Copper, Sulphur, and Potassium. Cacao also contains many chemicals that enhance physical and mental well-being, including alkaloids, proteins, magnesium, beta-carotene, leucine, linoleic acid, lipase, lysine, and some neurotransmitters such as dopamine and anandamine.” More Information HERE.


Become a fan of Vegan Chickie on Facebook

[tweetmeme source=”VeganChickie”]Today is day four of our Sepia inspired raw vegan desserts week. Today and tomorrow I will also be including some information about some of the benefits of using raw ingredients in cooking, so for those of you who are interested in learning more about some of the ingredients you have seen appearing in these raw food recipes – agave, coconut oil etc – please have a look at the end of this post (and tomorrow’s) for more information.

Raw Vegan Rum Balls


1 ½ cup dates
1 cup almonds
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 tbs Cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp rum essence


1. Process almonds until powdered. Add dates and pulse to combine. Mix other ingredients in either in the processor or by hand.

2. Form balls and roll in coconut. Refrigerate.

What could be easier??


Health Benefits of some Raw dessert ingredients (continued tomorrow)..

Coconut oil and coconut products:
“The healthy fat in coconut oil plays an essential role in regulating blood sugar: it slows the digestive process to ensure a steady, even stream of energy from your food by lowering the overall glycaemic index of your meal. When you include coconut oil in a meal with carbohydrates, the carbs are broken down into glucose more slowly, so blood sugar levels remain steady even after you eat.

Coconut oil consists of medium-chain fatty acids, unlike modern vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, and safflower oils, which are made of long-chain fatty acids. Medium-chain fatty acids are more suited for energy use rather than fat storage – and the opposite is true of long-chain fatty acids. Oils that consist mainly of long-chain fatty acids may actually decrease cellular ability to absorb blood sugar, which could cause or exacerbate insulin resistance and diabetes.” More information HERE.

“A serving of power-packed dates contains 31 grams of carbohydrates, making them a powerhouse of energy. Carbohydrates include 3 grams of dietary fiber and 29 grams of naturally occurring sugars such as fructose, glucose and sucrose to provide quick energy and are readily used by the body. Dates are a perfect energy boosting snack. 

Dates are one of the best natural sources of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral your body needs to maintain muscle contractions including the vital heart muscle. Potassium is needed to maintain a healthy nervous system and to balance the body’s metabolism as well. 

Since potassium is not stored in the body, and much is lost in perspiration, it must be continually replenished. As you consume potassium you excrete sodium, helping to keep blood pressure down. As people age, their kidneys become less efficient at eliminating sodium. About a 400 mg increase in potassium intake has been associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of stroke. This roughly amounts to one additional serving daily of Dates.” More Information HERE.


Become a fan of Vegan Chickie on Facebook

[tweetmeme source=”VeganChickie”]Today is day three of our Sepia inspired raw desserts week and our featured recipe today is Raw Vegan Coconut Ice. This recipe is so quick and easy and absolutely delicious to boot! Also pictured in the photo below are Sepia’s Lemon Coconut Bars (an Ani Phyo recipe) which will be featured later on in the week.

Raw Vegan Coconut Ice


1 1/2 cup cashews blitz to powder
1 1/2 cup coconut
1tsp vanilla
1/4 cup agave
1/8 cup water
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp fresh beetroot juice


1. Mix all together except beet juice. Divide in half; press half of the mixture into a lined small loaf tin.

2. Mix beet juice into other half and press on top. Put into fridge 1 hr or freeze 10-20mins.

Looks pretty and tastes yummy!
 NOTE: Consistency of mixture should be doughy enough to mould into balls, so above quantities may need varying a little.


Become a fan of Vegan Chickie on Facebook

[tweetmeme source=”VeganChickie”]Today is day two of our Sepia inspired raw food week here at Vegan Chickie. Today’s recipe is a raw vegan apple pie. This recipe is one of Ani Phyo‘s creations and looks amazing. For those of you who are interested in the specifics behind a raw food, or raw vegan diet, I have included some links at the end of this post to give you some more information about all things raw.

Raw Vegan Apple Pie


Almond Pie Crust:
2 cups almonds, dry
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups pitted dates

1/2 cup pitted dates
1 orange, peeled and seeded
water, as needed

5 cups apples, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced, about 5-6 apples
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon


1. To make crust, pulse almonds and salt in food processor until nuts are in small pieces. You want your crust to have chunks of almonds in it, so don’t over process. Use some of the finer powder to “flour” the bottom of your pie dish.

2. Slowly add dates into processor in small batches to mix with almond bits. The dates will bind the almonds to form a dough. Press dough into the bottom of “floured” pie pan. Set aside (and try not to eat all your crust while you’re preparing everything else!).

3. To make syrup, place orange into your blender first. Then add dates and blend. If needed, add small amounts of water to help everything mix well (I haven’t “needed” this, but like to add the water to make more volume of the syrup). Set aside.

4. To make filling, place sliced apples in a large bowl with raisins. Toss with cinnamon and syrup. Spoon filling into pie crust, and it’s ready to serve!

This dish will keep for two days in the fridge (Sepia says: I’ve kept it longer, but I have low standards).


For more information on a Raw Food diet, visit the following links:

HOW TO: Raw Food Diet – Eat Yourself Healthy

Nov55: Raw Food Diet Raw Food Overview

Raw Food Recipe Database

Gone Raw – A great collection of recipes


Become a fan of Vegan Chickie on Facebook

[tweetmeme source=”VeganChickie”]Over the next week I will be showcasing the raw food stylings of my Joyous friend, Sepia, who put together a mouthwatering selection of raw vegan treats for her birthday party last weekend and has been kind enough to share the recipes and photos with me to post on Vegan Chickie. Some of the recipes are her own and some are the work of the wonderful Ani Phyo, chef, author and all round raw food wonder woman.

Raw Vegan Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce


For the Crust:
2 cups raw macadamia nuts
1/2 cup dates, pitted (medjools)
1/4 cup dried coconut

For the Cheese:
3 cups chopped cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
3/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt (optional)

For the Raspberry Sauce:
1 bag frozen raspberries (or whatever berries you prefer)
1/2 cup dates


1. To make the crust, process the macadamia nuts and dates in the food processor. Sprinkle dried coconut onto the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch spring form pan. Press crust onto the coconut. This will prevent it from sticking.

2. To make the cheese, blend the cashews, lemon, agave, gently warmed coconut oil (do not use microwave), vanilla, sea salt (if using), and 1/2 cup water. Blend until smooth and adjust to taste.

 Pour the mixture onto the crust. Remove air bubbles by tapping the pan on a table.

 Place into the freezer until firm and then top with Raspberry Sauce.

3. Remove the whole cake from the pan while frozen, and place onto a serving platter. Defrost in the refrigerator.


Become a fan of Vegan Chickie on Facebook

[tweetmeme source=”VeganChickie”]

I read about Christy Morgan a couple of weeks ago when she was interviewed on the Vegan Mainstream blog. Being a self taught vegan foodie cook, her story really inspired me so I contacted her, and asked her to come and answer some questions about herself and share one of the recipes from her cookbook with us here on Vegan Chickie.

Christy’s e-cookbook is called “The Blissful Chef: Cooking With The Seasons – Spring Edition”, and is available at the special price of $5.99 to all Vegan Chickie readers, this week only, so click the link below and grab it while you can!!

Christy, How long have you been vegan?
About 7 years now.

What motivated you to make the change?
I decided to be vegetarian for a month to see how I felt. I had many friends in college that were vegetarian, so I thought what the hay! 3 months later I watched the Meet Your Meat video on PETA and went vegan right then. I then started teaching myself how to cook and discovered how much I loved it and loved feeding people.

When did you start getting interested in macrobiotic cuisine?
My friend Sue told me about an almost vegan culinary school in Austin that was macrobiotic. At the time I had no idea what that meant. So I went to check it out and fell in love with the people at The Natural Epicurean. They had such good energy. It wasn’t until I delved into the culinary program that I started to understand how food affects your health, emotions, mind, body, and soul.

Can you explain what exactly is involved with a macrobiotic diet?
It’s hard to sum it up. It’s more of a lifestyle and way of life. It’s not just about the diet, but food plays a huge role in the quality of our health, mind, body, and spirit. The diet itself is based of whole foods, organic, seasonal, no refined sugars, minimal or no animal foods depending on your condition, and eating balanced meals that are unprocessed.

Do you find that people are generally responsive to your lifestyle choices?
I’m very blessed to live in Southern California where it isn’t abnormal to be vegan and we have tons of vegetarian/vegan restaurants here. Also, most of my friends are vegetarian/vegan. When I go back home to see my family in Texas they are shocked to see how amazing I look and they tell me I look younger every year. But, they continue to have poor diets and health problems, even though I’m living proof that what I am doing works. It breaks my heart.

What new ingredients have you discovered since going vegan that you can’t live without now?
Nutritional yeast! I could put it on almost everything! And Earth Balance. And kale, which I could eat everyday.

What have you enjoyed the most since you started your blog?
Getting to share my recipes and knowledge, but mostly being able to inspire others to try being vegetarian/vegan/macrobiotic. That is why I do the things I do – to help others and be a resource for credible information and delicious recipes, from other bloggers as well.

What other vegan blogs do you love to read?
OMG look at the Blogroll on my blog. There are SO many amazing bloggers out there it’s ridiculous. I always tweet my favorite posts each day on my Twitter. I try to feature other bloggers as much as possible so you don’t have to spend hours on the computer.

What is your favourite recipe?
I get this question all the time and I really don’t have an answer. Can a foodie and chef really just choose 1 thing?

What recipe are you going to share with us today?
Mustard Arame Saute, sea Vegetables are an acquired taste. They are the one thing lacking in the American diet. They are especially important for a vegan diet. You most likely have eaten sushi before which is wrapped in Nori, but have you ever heard of Arame, Hijiki, Dulse, Wakame or Kombu before? Sea vegetables are gifts from the sea that are rich in vitamins and trace minerals. If you can sneak sea vegetables into your daily diet, you will build good blood and protect yourself against cardiovascular disease and stroke. Sea vegetables are a rich source of iodine, which is essential for thyroid function. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism and play a role in many physiological functions, so it’s important to keep the thyroid in check.

Mustard Arame Saute


1/2 cup arame, soaked 3 minutes then drained
1/2 8 oz package of tempeh, cubed
1/3 cup filtered water
Dash of tamari
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 carrot, cut on diagonal
Pinch of sea salt
4 stalks asparagus, cut on diagonal
1 head broccoli, florets & remove rough parts of stalk & chop
Dash of tamari
Dash of brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
Dash of filtered water


1. Simmer the arame, tempeh, water, and tamari in a small saucepan for about 5-10 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in medium skillet over medium flame. Saute celery and carrots for a few minutes, cover with lid and stir occasionally. Add in a pinch of salt, asparagus, and broccoli stems and saute for a few more minutes. Add a splash of water if the veggies begin to stick.

3. Lastly add in the broccoli florets and the rest of the ingredients. Simmer with lid on for a few minutes. Taste and season with tamari if needed.

To watch a video featuring Christy as she makes this dish, visit The Blissful Chef blog.

Become a fan of The Blissful Chef on Facebook

Become a fan of Vegan Chickie on Facebook

The Aztec Superseed

[tweetmeme source="VeganChickie"]Today I’d like to welcome my dear friend, and first time Vegan Chickie guest blogger, Nathan from blog – of – nathan. Be sure to head over to her blog to check out the adventures of Nathan and Frankie, as well as all sorts of other wonderful things like vegan recipes, product reviews and lots more.


There is a new super food being talked about but it’s not really new. Chia was cultivated by the Aztecs, Mayas and other tribes, and the Chia plant has been used by humans for centuries and is making a comeback around the world for a good reason: Chia is the highest known plant source of Omega-3 (8 times more than salmon!) and unlike other sources of this important essential fatty acid (eg. flaxseed and fish), it is highly stable due to its powerful naturally occurring antioxidants.

Chia is also a good source of potassium, phosphorous, folate, zinc, fibre, Vitamins A, B12 & C, and a great source of 18 amino acids. Chia seeds are packed with complete protein and 5 times more calcium than milk, 6 times more fibre than oatbran, 3 times more iron than spinach, 15 times more magnesium than broccoli and an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value 4 times higher than blueberries!

Chia is a more sustainable environmentally friendly agricultural choice for farmers being a bug-resistant arid crop producing seed even with limited water, and was so revered by the Aztecs as a source of supernatural energy and power that it was used as money!

How to Use Chia Seeds

There are unlimited ways to incorporate Chia seeds into your diet. You can substitute Chia seeds in any recipe that calls for flax seeds. You can sprinkle ground Chia seeds or whole Chia seeds on cereal or on salads or eat a handful of whole seeds as a snack.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate Chia seed into your diet is to use it as a garnish. Simply sprinkle 1 teaspoon of whole seeds into foods. You can also add one tablespoon Chia seed into a 250ml glass of water or juice, stir, let sit about five minutes, stir again, and then drink.

Chia Gel

You can use Chia seeds to make a gel, which can then be added to spreads, smoothies, cereals, etc. You can mix the Chia gel with all kinds of foods, thereby increasing flavour, fibre and nutrition, while reducing calories and fat. Always keep Chia gel on hand to mix in a variety of things. Chia gel can be used to replace oils in most baking recipes that call for oil or butter. It can also replace eggs in many recipes.

Mix 1 part Chia seeds to 9 parts water.
Whisk to break up any clumping and let stand 15 minutes.
Whisk again then place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Will keep up to 3 weeks.

Chia Spread

100g chia gel
100g softened margarine or vegan replacement
Place Chia gel in a blender and blend until smooth.
Add softened butter or vegan replacement and blend until smooth.
Place in airtight container and use as you would normal butter from toast to melting for popcorn!

Chia Chiller Recipe

2 Cups Chia Gel
1 Cup fresh fruit, juiced
Pulp from juiced fruit
Mix the gel, fruit juice and pulp together and place in freezer for 1 hour and serve.
Use more than one fruit for this desert and enjoy!

Nathan bought her bag of Chia (pictured above) for just $8 for 250g.

For more information including distribution visit

Carrie’s Carrot Cupcakes

[tweetmeme source="VeganChickie"]I’m happy to welcome my friend Carrie as our guest blogger this week, who is here to share her carrot cupcake recipe with us. Carrot cake is my absolutely favourite cake so I’m really looking forward to giving this recipe a try. Thanks for sharing this with us Carrie!

Vegan Carrot Cupcakes

½ cup (115g) Nuttelex
1 cup soft brown sugar
¼ cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup soy milk
1 cup carrots, finely grated
1 ¼ cup plain flour

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and flour a muffin tray or line muffin tray with cupcake papers.

Cream nuttelex and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add apple sauce, vanilla extract, salt, baking powder, spices and soy milk and carrot and mix together well. Add plain flour and stir until combined.

Spoon batter into muffin tray and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until cooked through. Cool completely before icing.

Vegan Cream Cheese Icing

¼ cup Nuttelex
¼ cup Tofutti
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
lemon juice to taste

Cream together margarine and cream cheese. Add the icing sugar in 2 batches. Mix until smooth and creamy, then add the lemon juice.