Food & Shoes

By Kelly Behr

Native Foods had an opportunity to be part of a great event at Amour Shoes, an all vegan shoe and accessories store located by our River Forest location.

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Students were treated to Native Foods eats and were able to hear our Pals at Mercy For Animals speak about living a cruelty free life! It was like the full vegan circle. Learning about the harmful effects of factory farming to animals and the environment and then treated to both vegan food and fashion, showing these kids how easy it is to incorporate vegan options into their everyday life…great tasting and looking ones!

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It is so awesome to expose a whole group of students to plant based cuisine who may have never eaten vegan food before. Thank you Amour Shoes for inviting us to participate!

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In the Spotlight: Lighter

by Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe

We have written about Micah Risk before and her rad Runner’s World cover where she was sporting vegan socks for the entire running community to see.

This isn’t the only cool thing Micah has been up to. She recently launched Lighter, a plant-based recipe and grocery delivery service. We caught up with Micah to talk all about her new company. 

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1.) What is Lighter all about?

We are the easy button for going vegan! Lighter’s mission is to challenge the Standard American Diet (SAD) and celebrate real food. We do this through our curated grocery delivery service, which means we create custom meal plans for your whole household and arrange for all the groceries to be delivered. We believe that eating good food at home should be delicious, convenient and affordable for everyone!

2.) What inspired you to start it?

We were looking for real solutions to real problems that people face when they make the decision to eat healthy food. Our curated grocery delivery service includes delicious, easy recipes that are nutritionally balanced and customized to your household. We do the planning and budgeting for you then we have all the groceries delivered right to your doorstep!

3.) How can people get involved?

 Check out our website: www.lighterculture.com to sign up for delicious recipes, a customized meal plan, and groceries delivered right to your door! It’s super easy.

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V-Lish is Delish

Farm Sanctuary offers a great resource for even more delicious plant-based meals! Try this Mushroom Burger and many more.

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Native Foods uses this image courtesy of v-lish.com.

When you choose to go meat-free for lunch, you will soon discover the incredible variety of meat-free foods out there, from standbys like stir-fry to fun new favorites like Southwest Black Bean and Corn Mini Burgers (yes, we have a recipe for that!). Plus, you are taking an important step toward a more vibrant you and a better world for farm animals. Try one of these recipes for lunch today! Click here for the entire recipe!

Five Awesome Stocking Stuffers for Seriously Anyone

By: Lauren Neuschel

 1. Creek House Vegan Chocolate Truffle Collection: Have you ever tried these uh-mazing vegan truffles? They are literally addicting, and come in a ton of cool flavors…chili mango, dark espresso, luscious raspberry, and coconut, to be exact. Vegan AND gourmet!

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Native Foods uses this photo courtesy of: http://www.amazon.com/Creek-House-Chocolate-Truffle-Collection/dp/B00BL9J1IQ

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Go Pick on Someone Your Own Size!

By Kelly Behr

 

One big (huge) company is suing little Hampton Creek who are the creators of Just Mayo. Just Mayo, if you are not familiar is a vegan brand that comes in delicious flavors like chipotle & sriracha not to mention the tastiness of the original. 

Just Mayo found themselves smack dab in the middle of a lawsuit the other day brought on by it’s much larger competitor, Hellmann’s. Their problem? Hampton Creek “mayo” wasn’t using real eggs!! I mean how dare they! Hellmann’s is claiming that Just Mayo is participating in fraud by making people think the product contains real eggs and by definition should not be allowed to use the word Mayo. Looks like someone is a little scared of this up and coming brand if you ask me! Continue reading

I Think….Therefore I Cook….

Chef Susen A. Hunter

Native Foods Cafe

 

People often ask me how I come up with recipes so I thought I would take a minute to explain the “process” for me.   The explanation is that there is NO process.  I can find inspiration in a variety of ways –  from tweaking an existing recipe or using a “new” spice, to having a visual in my head and trying to create it, or even just thinking ”what if I…..”.   I LOVE the “what if” game!

There is nothing I find more refreshing than having 3-5 days with nothing do to but be creative in the kitchen.  I may start out with tweaking a recipe only to think of additional new recipes or methods that I want to try.  Or, I may have a theme in mind and try to brainstorm new ways to present foods/flavor profiles that represent that theme. 

I love it when I’m creating new foods and I have a few friends available to try what I’m making…then I don’t have to constantly eat/taste everything myself!!!  I love getting instant feedback during the creation process because it helps me narrow down the precise amounts of ingredients – most usually the spices and salt content. 

I try never to google any of my ideas before I try them….that way I know my recipes are original and I haven’t been subliminally influenced by some other recipe.  Overall, I rely on my decades of cooking/baking/creating experience to guide me in my inspiration. 

I can tell you that as a chef, there is a great feeling of accomplishment when hundreds of people have tried your food and have responded positively.  That, for me, is why I love doing cooking demos for the public…that sense that I shared a unique recipe and the members of the audience love enough to go home and make it.  How cool is that?

Here is a recent creation!

 

Orange and Black PROTEIN POWER PILAF 

 

1 C of Black Forbidden Rice – Steamed/cooked according to instructions

1 C of Black Beans from can – rinsed/drained

1 C of Black Lentils – Steamed/cooked according to instructions

1 TSP Better Than Bullion Vegetable base dissolved in 8 oz water

1 TSP Adobo seasoning

½ TSP Chipotle seasoning +/- by taste

1 C of baked sweet potato – cubed

½ C carrot – diced fine

¼ C orange pepper – diced fine

Vegan Butter- approx. 1 TBS

Pinch of garlic powder, pinch of onion powder, pinch of sea salt

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In a large skillet over medium heat, add the water/veggie base and adobo and chipotle seasoning.  Stir and add in the rice, beans, and lentils stirring to get the flavoring distributed evenly.

In a separate skillet, melt the butter over low heat and toss in the sweet potato, carrot and pepper.  Sprinkle with onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt.  Stir gently over low heat for about 3minutes then gently fold into the beans/rice/lentils in the larger skillet.  Serve with a dollop of chipotle mayo.

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Optional — Carve orange peppers into Jack-O-Lanterns, rub with EVOO, and stuff with pilaf.  Place in covered baking dish and bake in oven on 350⁰ for about 25 minutes

 

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Vegan Recipe: Rum Point Fruit Fry

By Chef Susen A. Hunter

Native Foods Cafe

This recipe is one of my favorite vegan comfort food desserts.  I first created it whilst living near the beach at Rum Point on Grand Cayman Island.  I didn’t have plantains for my breakfast, so I friend up some bananas instead and threw in some fresh pineapple for good measure.  The resulting breakfast treat morphed into a dessert over time.  It’s really yummy and warm fruit is especially good on a cold, windy day.  The taste takes me right back to the tropics….

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Rum Point Fruit Fry

Recipe:

2 bananas sliced

½ cup pineapple chopped

2 TBSP +/- Coconut oil

1 TBSP +/- Vegan butter

Agave nectar to taste

Cinnamon- just a dash – nutmeg also works

2 teaspoons dark rum

Vegan granola and/or ice cream

Directions:

Heat oil and butter on medium heat and add all ingredients…. Stir until caramelized and when it “dries” up.  Squeeze a little lime juice

Sprinkle with shredded coconut chopped and serve with granola and/or coconut ice cream

Yield —  approx. 2 servings

There are over 300 different species of Agave plants that grow in the Central America region from the top of South America to the southern United States.  Natives called the naturally occurring liquid in this succulent “aguamiel” which means “honey water”.   This substance can be reduced down to form agave syrup or fermented to become tequila.  Centuries ago, agave syrup was used by the Aztecs as a healing salve for wounds, infections, and skin irritations.  

The aguamiel reduction results in a syrup that can range from light to dark without having any overpowering taste other than “sweet”.  Because of its neutrality, agave syrup has become popular in cooking, baking, and as a drink sweetener.   Although gram for gram agave has more calories than regular sugar, it is sweeter so less is needed resulting in less calories overall. 

Always buy Organic Agave Syrup to be certain that it has no added sugars or high fructose corn syrup.

(((Photos below — all mine))))

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Foul-mouthed Vegans!

By Lauren Neuschel

Native Foods Cafe 

 

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The vegan duo behind the completely crass but undeniably entertaining health food blog, Thug Kitchen, is coming out with some offline reading – a cookbook – under the same name “Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F – – k.” The pair, who cook up, write, and photograph their own healthy vegan creations are putting their own take on your typical cookbook…swear words! A lot of them. Warning: not the right holiday gift for your boss or Grandma.

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The book is set to launch in early October, but even in vegan cooking, there’s controversy. After the authors recently revealed themselves as the tag-team behind Thug Kitchen, they were hit with uproar in the form of protests nationwide. As a white couple from Hollywood, the loose use of “thug” has become an issue for many. Is calling their book “thug kitchen” racist? Expected to tour the Bay area before the launch of their cookbook, the couple have since canceled all appearances in the area due to the protests. Those against the book and both its title and profanity, call themselves ethical vegans, according to SF Weekly and feel that “neither these authors nor this store should benefit or profit from this hurtful work.” Booksellers have found themselves caught in the crossfire.

Still, many are huge supporters of the book and its writers. Gwyneth Paltrow, author of Goop, is singing their praises and helping launch their book. And even with the uproar, it’s hard to take issue with how much press they’ve brought to vegan cooking and their hip blog. It’s definitely a go-to read, and as the blog reads, you should “Sign the f – – k up.”