Why I Went Vegan Part One | Living Vegan

If you’re an avid reader of blog then you already know that we announced (on yesterday) our brand new Facebook online community called Living Vegan. I am super excited to engage more readers across the country who are currently living a plant-based diet as well as those who may be semi-plant-based, interested in going plant-based, or anywhere in between this spectrum. Veganism and plant based living is still not the norm in our society and the ultimate mission of the platform is to engage, encourage, and support each other throughout the journey.

theglutenfreechef is transitioning as well. Plant-based living has always been close to my heart and as I dive back into the lifestyle, the recipes here will inherently be vegan and plant-based. Guest features, articles, and other content will also skew more and more towards veganism and plant-based living. This is not to say that a meat-inclusive or dairy recipe might not sneak in every now and then, but overall plant-based will become the norm. Does this surprise you?

Does this surprise you?

Don’t be surprised! Even though I am purposefully and explicitly writing more and more about vegan culture this is in no way my first time delving into the lifestyle. I lived a very strict vegan life from 2010-2013 just before moving back to Upstate NY (Rochester) from Nashville and am in a way; returning to my roots so to speak. Therefore, the purpose of this post is to:

  1. Detail my vegan/plant-based journey and give reasons why I am coming back to the vegan lifestyle.
  2. Educate and encourage others to understand that the Living Vegan space here on this platform is not a judgemental nor condescending space of “ You are awful because you are not vegan”.
  3. Quite the contrary, this is a space of understanding, encouragement, motivation, and self-refection to help you appreciate that veganism is not cut and dry. There are many beneficial reasons for moving to a plant-based way of life but there are also many reasons that a person might decide to leave the lifestyle.
  4. Throughout this post and in the future, the mission will be to keep it real, genuine, and highlight that living vegan in a carnivorous world can make it difficult to stay the vegan path. The mantra,  Old habits die hard does not fall on deaf ears in this space.  Most folks living vegan were not raised vegan and popular culture, peer pressure, having a family, and many other factors can sometimes make those of us that choose a vegan lifestyle feel ostracized, isolated, and frustrated to stay the course.

I am here to say I understand the struggle and I am here to show you that I was there, I get you and we are here to support each other during our triumphs and our falls. These are the aspects of vegan culture that I feel are lacking in the “online vegan community”

Bonus Lesson

For me veganism is a journey not a final destination therefore, no one will never be made to feel shame or guilt for falling off the vegan path. Understanding and empathy for everyone’s choices is how we will run the Living Vegan spaces here on the blog and on Facebook.

So without further adieu…

Why Did I Go Vegan

The year was 2009… (Post continues tomorrow) ūüôā

Special Announcement | Ask The Gluten Free Chef Live! Wellness Tour

I am thrilled to announce my first Wellness Tour!

 

After four years of writing, curating, planning, plotting and blogging I am finally taking my mission on the road with Ask The Gluten Free Chef Live! Wellness Tour. I am thrilled to bring this very special educational experience to my hometown of Rochester and (fingers crossed) nationwide by the top of 2018.

buy-tickets-here

 

Ask The Gluten Free Chef Live! personifies the blog’s mission of making gluten free holistic living accessible and simple for everyone. Whether you’ve been a celiac for years, are newly diagnosed, have a gluten sensitivity, or simply curious due to the 101+ reasons people are curious about gluten free, this show is for you.

You bring the questions and I’ll have the answers from the most basic to the most complex facts, figures, and diatribes about my life as a celiac and how gluten free living has impacted every single facet of my life.

Tickets are on sale via Eventbrite and for those living in Rochester, Harts Local Grocers beginning Saturday January 14, 2017. Stop by Harts and visit me for my first 2nd Saturday demo if you live in Rochester (January 14, 2017) . Otherwise, let me know in the comments what city you want me to come to next! I am so happy to be bringing this tour to Rochester and cannot wait to see you

Portion of tickets sales support 540WMain Community Center

The Rochester Gluten Free Guide Winter 2017 | Pre-Order

 

The Rochester Gluten Free Guide Winter 2017 is back and available to Pre-order for FREE

button_preorder

I am pleased to announce that The Rochester Gluten Free Guide (RGFG) is back. Bigger! Bolder! and Better than ever for Winter 2017!

The Winter 2017 is our first ever expanded digital issue which means more content on living your best holistically well and gluten free life. The Winter 2017 issue can be pre-ordered for free today and will be released digitally on January 22, 2017

The digital edition is FREE and comes in an expanded e-book PDF format making it readable on any tablet, smart phone, or e-reader device. The RGFG is released seasonally four times per year in the Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Each digital & print issue includes:

  • Full color content
  • Full color recipes and photos
  • Health and wellness articles written by industry leaders and experts
  • New gluten free products, deals, specials, and coupons from local and national gluten free brands
  • New and exclusive content by theglutenfreechef, Calvin Eaton
  • And much more…

In addition to the free digital edition, The RGFG can be purchased in a full color print edition via an annual subscription of just $20/4 issues.

The RGFG can also be purchased in a full color print edition via an annual subscription at a special low cost of $20

Pre-Order your FREE digital copy by clicking the button below

SUBSCRIBE TO FOUR PRINT ISSUE | CLICK HERE

button_preorder

Twelve Days of Gluten Free Cookies | Pecan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Day 8)

Ina Garten is one of my favorite celebrity cooks so it should come as no surprise that I adapted one of her cookie recipes. This gem was adapted in 2015 and it remains one of my all time favorite cookies to bake.

This gem remains one of my all time favorite cookie recipes.

Pecan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients

3 cups gluten free oats
1 ¬Ĺ gluten free flour blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¬Ĺ cups golden raisins
1 ¬Ĺ pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1.    Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Coarsely chop.
2.    In a medium bowl shift together flour blend, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
3.    Using a stand mixer cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy.
4.    Slowly beat in eggs, one at a time and pure vanilla. Slowly beat in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in oats, raisins, and chopped pecans.
5.    Separate dough into 3 inch balls using an icecream scoop or a tablespoon on parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
6.    Bake until lightly brown for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned
7.    Let sit on sheet for at least 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to completely cool.

Twelve Days of Gluten Free Cookies | Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Day 6)

Finally a new recipe to the Twelve Days of Gluten Free Cookies fold. These newly minted cookies are literally the best recipe that I created this year. Already a fan favorite; these babies have already been baked in double and triple batches and the best part…the folks that love them the most are not gluten free. Thee cookies are a loaded version of a oatmeal raisin cookie and just one is enough to convert any naysayer.

These newly minted cookies are literally the best recipe that I created this year.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) softened
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups gluten free quick oats,
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup dairy free chocolate chips (preferably Enjoy life brand)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preparation

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats and baking soda in small bowl. Set aside
  2. In a stand mixer combine brown sugar, cane sugar, vanilla, and butter. Blend in peanut butter then eggs one at a time.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips, coconut, and golden raisins using a spatula. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill cookie dough for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from chiller and using a icecream scoop, scoop cookies on to a silpat lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle each with sea salt. Bake for 11 minutes. Take out of oven allow to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Makes about three dozen. (Recipe can be halved)

Twelve Days of Gluten Free Cookies | Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip & Walnut Skillet Cookie (Day 4)

I  tastespotted and created this A+mazing and super simple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip & Walnut Skillet Cookie recipe in April 2015 and it is by far my most used cookie recipe ever! It simply does not get any better than one bowl and a cast iron skillet. Instead of a dozen little cookies you get one giant chocolate chip cookie. The peanut butter and walnuts take this recipe from good to GREAT.

Our Twelve Days of Gluten Free Cookies countdown continues.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip & Walnut Skillet Cookie

Ingredients

¬Ĺ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or vegan margarine, softened at room temperature
¬Ĺ cup brown sugar
‚Öď cup cane sugar
2 tablespoons apple sauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 egg
‚Öď cup creamy peanut butter, melted

1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
¬Ĺ teaspoon baking soda
¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips (dark or semi-sweet)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350¬į F. Evenly coat cast iron skillet with baking spray
2. In a large bowl combine the butter, apple sauce, sugar and vanilla, and cream on medium with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add the egg and beat again until combined.
3. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Fold in melted peanut butter, chocolate chips, and walnuts into the batter until just combined.
4. Using a silicon spatula transfer batter into prepared skillet and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 23 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Granola Cookies

Twelve Days of Gluten Free Cookies | Granola Cookies (Day 3)

Our Twelve Days of Gluten Free Cookies countdown continues for the third day with¬†my Granola Cookies. These cookies are very close to my heart as they are one of the very first gluten free recipes that I ever created. That’s right. Before I was the gluten free chef, I was a lowly single transplant living in Nashville, TN learning the ropes as a new teacher and figuring out to afford a gluten free diet out of my tiny kitchen. These cookies were the result of literally what I had in my cabinet and fridge at the time and a longing for a sweet treat. They were a fan favorite¬†at the (now defunct)¬† theglutenfreechefbakery and here on the blog.

Granola Cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup corn starch
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup rice milk or almond milk
1 egg
1/3 cup dairy free chocolate chips (preferably Enjoy life brand)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup golden raisins

Preparation

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix rolled oats and cornstarch in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan on low heat, combine brown sugar, cane sugar, vanilla, honey and rice milk. Stir sugar mixture until completely combined.
  3. Combine sugar mixture with dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in egg, chocolate chips, coconut, and golden raisins. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill cookie dough for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from chiller and drop dough by rounded spoonful’s on a prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle each with sea salt. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Makes about one dozen.