Cool vegan recipes for a hot summer

June 11, 2020 by  
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What makes food summery? Our top summer food picks are lighter than winter meals. They’re unfussy dishes that won’t have you standing inside for hours over a hot stove when you could be enjoying a summer evening. Better yet, some are foods that you can cook outside on a grill. Vital tips for summer recipes include using fresh seasonal fruits and  vegetables , incorporating more raw ingredients and trying some dishes that you eat at cooler temperatures. Dust off the patio furniture and get ready for summer dining! Fresh and delicious summer salads You can get endlessly creative with salads as a main course. Even if you ate salad every day for a week, you could vary the ingredients enough that you wouldn’t get bored. Start with fresh, crisp greens.  Everyday Health  ranked the five most nutritious: kale, spinach, beet greens, Swiss chard and dandelion greens. Each will give your salad a distinctive flavor. If you’re planning salad as a meal, you’ll want to include  protein  in the way of lentils, garbanzo beans, quinoa, black-eyed peas, nuts, seeds, chunks of tempeh or similar. Adding pasta, or whole grains like millet or brown rice, will provide energy and give that salad more staying power. Find your salad inspiration in these 25 recipes from  It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken . Related: Wonderful recipes for all the weird veggies in your CSA box Gazpacho — the summer soup This chilled Spanish soup has a long and intriguing history. You can find mentions of gazpacho all the way back in Greek and Roman literature. But the recipe must have been different then, as  tomatoes  and green peppers, two of the soup’s now standard ingredients, came from Central and South America. Gazpacho recipes vary regionally, but usually include tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, garlic, olive oil, onions and breadcrumbs. This gazpacho recipe from  The Spruce Eats  only takes 20 minutes to prepare and is perfect to eat outside on a summer evening. For an extra summery recipe, try basing your gazpacho on watermelon rather than tomatoes. This watermelon gazpacho recipe from  Forks Over Knives  spices things up with jalapeño, jicama and chili powder. Endless taco variations Tacos are another easy and highly adaptable dish. It all starts with the tortillas. Most store-bought tortillas seem to be vegan these days, but double-check to be sure you’re not buying ultra-traditional tortillas made with lard. Or buy a bag of masa harina and make fresh corn tortillas with this recipe from  Mexican Please . It’s easy, if a little messy. For a balanced taco meal, choose a protein like tempeh, tofu or walnut taco meat like this recipe from  Make it Dairy Free . Topping choices are endless. Add some sautéed fajita veggies like mushrooms, peppers and zucchini, or choose raw toppings like shredded red cabbage and diced tomatoes. Cauliflower is especially trendy this year.  Brand New Vegan  has a recipe for cauliflower-mushroom taco “meat.” What vegans grill Backyard dining often calls for the grill. Red peppers, zucchini strips and onions are grilling standbys. But you can get creative. The folks at  Meatless Mondays  have crazy tips for grilling cucumbers, kale,  avocados , romaine lettuce, watermelon and grapes. Vegans also like veggie burgers. If you’re in a hurry, pick up frozen patties from the store. Otherwise, you can craft your own. This innovative mushroom-based veggie burger from  Love and Lemons  incorporates short-grained rice, paprika, walnuts, breadcrumbs and other good stuff for a thick burger that will put most frozen patties to shame. It’s berry time Summer is time for fresh berries. If they’re perfectly ripe, they need no accompaniment. You can also mix your fruit and veggies by adding fresh raspberries to vinaigrette  salad  dressing. This recipe from  The Spruce Eats  adds the oomph of Dijon mustard. Of course, lots of us with a sweet tooth like berries even better when they’re in a pie.  Feasting on Fruit  meets all your blueberry needs with thirty recipes. Homemade vegan ice cream If you have an ice cream maker, you might have already dusted it off for your summer frozen treat needs. But even if you don’t want to acquire yet another appliance, you can still make vegan ice cream at home. For the lightest indulgence, try a two-ingredient ice cream made from frozen bananas and cocoa powder with this recipe from  Bowl of Delicious . Those who crave something creamier can use coconut milk,  coconut  cream, avocados or nuts as a base. Once you get the hang of making homemade ice cream, it’s endlessly adaptable. You can add peanut butter, vegan chocolate chips, fresh fruit or spices. Related: Easy vegan ice cream recipes to enjoy all summer long Vegan lemon bundt cake Citrus fruits are so summery. This vegan lemon bundt cake from  Vegan Yumminess  has been a huge hit at my  house , already showing up for a birthday and an anniversary celebration. The key is the glaze, which goes on before the frosting. It moistens the cake so nicely. Use a combination of fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and lemon extract, and all tasters will know this cake means serious citrus business. Images via Teresa Bergen

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Cool vegan recipes for a hot summer

Should you make sourdough starter?

April 27, 2020 by  
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Because the pandemic has ushered in a back-to-the-kitchen movement, social media is filled with gorgeous, professional-looking loaves of sourdough bread. Is it easy to make a sourdough starter? Should you jump on the sourdough bandwagon? Here’s what you need to know about making a sourdough starter. Initial reservations Making sourdough starter has one big advantage. It only requires two ingredients: flour and water. It’s like magic, how these two ingredients , plus time, can produce yeast. Really, it’s more like science. As it says on the King Arthur Flour website, “Wild yeast is in the air around us. It settles on kitchen work surfaces and in your ingredients, including flour. Add liquid to flour, and this wild yeast is activated and starts to produce carbon dioxide bubbles. This growing army of gas bubbles, effectively trapped by gluten within the dough, are what ultimately make sourdough bread rise.” Related: How to bake bread Together, the yeast and lactobacilli form a harmonious symbiotic relationship right on your countertop. Making your own yeast out of thin air is especially popular now, since the yeast supply chain has dried up as the pandemic turns us into a nation of home bakers. But as I read online guidance about how to create my starter, I had some reservations. First, I don’t have filtered water. I drink good ol’ Oregon tap water that has some small amount of chlorine , which isn’t good for sourdough starter. Second, my online sources advised keeping the starter at room temperature, which they claimed was 70 degrees. Not in my house, which currently ranges between the upper 50s and low 60s. My third reservation was that you must constantly “feed” the starter with flour, each time discarding much of the starter. In the name of science (and this article), I endeavored to persevere. The starter would just have to deal with my water. Next, the temperature. The King Arthur Flour website advised those living in cooler houses to “try setting the starter atop your water heater, refrigerator or another appliance that might generate ambient heat. Your turned-off oven — with the light turned on — is also a good choice.” It was just too creepy to put the starter on the water heater in my dungeon-like basement, and no way am I leaving my oven light on for a week. We’re also trying to conserve energy , here! So the fridge it was. Unfortunately, the top of my fridge doesn’t seem any warmer than the rest of the house. How to make your own sourdough starter The process for making sourdough starter is quite simple. It is also perfect for sheltering in place, because starter likes a regular schedule. Though I consulted many websites, I decided to go with King Arthur as my guru. It has a five-day program to turn your flour and water into sourdough starter. On day one, you combine one cup of pumpernickel or whole wheat flour with one-half cup water in a non-reactive container with at least one-quart capacity. This means crockery, glass, stainless steel or food-grade plastic. I used a blue plastic mixing bowl. Unfortunately, I only had all-purpose flour, so I used that. This isn’t the time to be running out to the shop for one ingredient, right? You mix your flour and water until you can’t see any flour. Use cool water if your house is warm or warm water if your house is cool. Cover loosely with a kitchen cloth and set the starter somewhere warm. On day two, discard half the starter (or save that for a recipe to reduce food waste). Add a cup of all-purpose flour and one-half cup of water to the remainder. Stir well, re-cover and return the starter to its warm spot. By day three, your starter is supposed to start bubbling and increasing in size. Its appetite soars, and it demands two flour feedings a day, spaced 12 hours apart. Each time you feed, you must reduce the starter to about one-half cup before adding the new flour and water. Sometime after day five, the starter is supposed to be very lively and will have doubled in size. “You’ll see lots of bubbles; there may be some little ‘rivulets’ on the surface, full of finer bubbles. Also, the starter should have a tangy aroma — pleasingly acidic, but not overpowering,” according to King Arthur. Now, your starter is ready to become sourdough bread. You’ll use some in the bread recipe and keep the rest in your fridge, where it needs to be fed once a week and used for future loaves. You might want to name your starter — it could be around for a long time. The famous Boudin Bakery in San Francisco is still using the yeast Isidore Boudin collected in 1849. Hardcore bread lover Seamus Blackley, with the help of an Egyptologist and a microbiologist, managed to collect 4,500-year-old yeast off ancient Egyptian pottery for his loaves. So treat your starter well. Cooking with sourdough starter discard What is the reality of joining this long line of sourdough bakers ? Is it as romantic as it sounds? You might spend a lot of time asking yourself if your sourdough is really bubbling yet, whether it’s supposed to smell this way and what on earth are you going to do with all the discarded starter, especially as you move onto feeding and discarding twice a day. Related: Bakers yeast and sourdough starter — it looks alive to me! The first day, I added some starter discard to a regular cornbread recipe, pretending it was just more flour. It was a little hard to stir in, but for the most part, it worked out okay. My most successful dish was vegan sourdough pancakes, which involved following this recipe from Food52 and stirring in a ripe banana. They tasted more like delicious flat donuts than pancakes. My low point came when I tried to fashion a flatbread out of starter. The stomachache-inducing flatbreads wouldn’t cook all the way through. As I made my fifth attempt, my back aching, smoke alarm screeching and my husband and quarantine-mate sniping at my starter — “That (bleep) is like (bleeping) glue!” — I realized it was not the lifestyle moment those Instagram bakers had promised. The main event: sourdough bread All this feeding the starter eventually leads to making delicious sourdough bread. Theoretically. “When your starter has doubled in size, you see bubbles breaking on the surface, and it feels somewhat elastic to the touch, it’s ready to bake with,” King Arthur explained. But woe to us in cold houses. As I read down to the comments section, another cool-home dweller said his took two weeks to bubble sufficiently! Meanwhile, my starter has eaten nearly all of my flour, so there won’t even be enough to bake a loaf with. At press time, I’m trying to decide between A) trying my luck with my prepubescent starter and remaining flour to make a mini loaf, B) aborting the mission and turning all the starter into pancakes or C) throwing it all in the compost . A more persistent soul could add option D) going to the store and buying more flour to see the process through. Another option? Try making a “mini starter” , which requires much less flour but also takes longer to yield enough discard to make anything. But let’s assume you’re in a warmer house and have a bubbly, delightful starter. Now you’re in for a long process of kneading, folding, autolyzing (letting your dough rest), watching like a hawk for sufficient rising and eventually baking a delicious loaf. Best of luck to you. Here’s the Clever Carrot’s guide to that multistep process. The verdict I was not sufficiently committed to sacrificing all my flour to the voracious starter, nor did I have the right container. I thought all those upright glass vessels that look like vases were just for show on social media. As it turns out, they help you watch the starter. Maybe mine doubled in size and dropped back down when I wasn’t looking. Who knows? It’s in an opaque bowl atop the fridge covered with a tea towel. This experiment will also tell you more about what kind of person you are, if you don’t already know. Good candidates for making starter include people who love being in the kitchen, who take pride in their cooking or who have kids at home that enjoy culinary science experiments. If you cannot commit to your sourdough starter, it could just lead to a lot of food waste . Some of us lack the patience and interest. For the last 15 years, whenever I wanted a quick bread fix, I’ve made baking powder biscuits from a recipe in PETA’s The Compassionate Cook. The whole process takes about 20 minutes. My slightly more ambitious bread-making friend swears by this no-knead bread recipe . These might be better options if you don’t feel confident in working on a sourdough starter. The biggest thing I learned from making my own starter is how lucky I am that Trader Joe’s sells sourdough loaves for $3.99. Even my neighborhood boutique bakery that charges $7 or $8 a loaf seems like a bargain now. If you’re like me, you can consider making sourdough starter an exercise in bread appreciation. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat, Tommaso Urli , Thomas Bock , Oscar S , Richard Klasovsky

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How to make milk alternatives at home

April 8, 2020 by  
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Milk alternatives have become a booming industry. More and more people are choosing plant-based milk alternatives because they can be healthier. These options are also cruelty-free and better for the planet. Plus, in these times when grocery store offerings are sparse, non-dairy milks — or at least the ingredients to make them — are often more readily available and shelf-stable. Here are some tips for making your own milk alternatives , such as oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk and more. Types of plant-based milk Grocery stores typically carry a wide variety of milk substitutes: soy, almond, cashew, hazelnut, oat, rice, coconut, pea-protein and even flax seed. But homemade varieties can be healthier, and during a pandemic when it is hard to come across any milk — vegan or otherwise — making your own plant-based milk could be your only option. Related: How to choose the healthiest, most sustainable milk alternative Advantages of making your own plant-based milk Despite the popularity of brand names, sometimes making homemade non-dairy milk is preferred over store-bought. Consider how COVID-19 has made shopping in the age of social distancing a challenge. Besides, making homemade plant-based milk can save money. You can also control the consistency, flavor and sweetness of the non-dairy milk you make, avoiding unnecessary additives, like oils, thickeners and xantham gum. Homemade milk alternatives also allow you to tailor your recipes for any dietary restrictions. How to make most milk alternatives First, choose your ingredient. If you prefer soy milk, select organic , non-GMO soybeans, as suggested by One Green Planet . For nut milk, select your organic, non-GMO nut of choice, making sure they are raw. The same can be applied to oat, rice, coconut, pea and seeds (sesame or sunflower). These ingredients can all be sourced either online, at stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts or from a local farmer. Thoroughly rinse 2 cups of your ingredient of choice, whether dry soybeans or raw nuts, for example, then let them soak overnight in 5 to 6 cups of water. The next day, remove them from soaking. Discard the water and rinse off the soybeans (or nuts). Next, remove the skins (skip this step if the ingredient of choice has no skins). Add the soybeans (or nuts) to about 6 cups of water in a blender, and blend until smooth. Related: Is almond milk bad for the environment? After blending, strain the blended mixture via a muslin, cheesecloth or fine nut milk bag. Note that twisting permits the squeezing out of more milk from the pulp. After ringing out as much milk as you can, either discard the soybean pulp (in a compost bin) or save the nut pulp. Nut pulp can be frozen for later use in smoothies, pancake batters, oatmeal or granola. Next, place the strained milk in a pot or saucepan. Remember, adding more water determines the thickness and consistency of your milk. For instance, you may add about 1 cup of water to the mixture, or more if you prefer a thinner milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, while frequently stirring to avoid sticking. When at a boil, reduce to medium heat and continue heating or cooking the milk for up to 20 minutes. Make sure to continue to stir often. After the 20-minute span, cool the milk to room temperature. For added taste, stir in cocoa powder, honey or cinnamon while serving. If you want your entire batch of milk to have added flavor, place all of the liquid into a blender and mix in vanilla extract, honey, dates, berries or other fruit. How to make oat milk For oat milk , there is no need for overnight soaking. Rather, you can choose to either soak for just 30 minutes before draining and then blending, as recommended by the Simple Vegan Blog . Or, you can just immediately blend together 1 cup of rolled oats in 4 cups of water for about 30 to 45 seconds before straining. Why under 1 minute? Over-blending can make the oat milk seem slimy in texture, as observed by the Minimalist Baker . Another important adjustment is not boiling nor heating the milk mixture after straining from the pulp — heating will lead to a slimy texture, too. Note that nut milk bags might not work for oats, so try a fine mesh strainer instead. Some folks even go so far as to use a towel or clean T-shirt to strain the milk out of the pulp. How to make coconut milk For coconut milk, the Minimalist Baker recommends using 2 cups of shredded unsweetened coconut. Once you’ve acquired your coconut, blend it in 3 to 4 cups of water, noting that for thicker, creamier milk, less water is best. You’ll still strain the milk with a thin cloth, cheesecloth, nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer. Again, the pulp can be saved for future baking purposes. No need for heating of the strained milk either, just seal in a tight container in the refrigerator. Should you see separation after removing this milk from the refrigerator, simply shake it before use. How to make pea or seed milks For pea milk, Nutramilk follows the same basic methods described above, except there’s no need to boil or heat the strained milk, either. Moreover, pea pulp can be saved for soups or as an added ingredient in just about any dinner recipe. Regarding seeds, Nest and Glow says they must be soaked overnight, but there’s little need to extract skins or boiling the milk. Because they are smaller, their blend time need only be 2 to 3 minutes until finely ground. How to store homemade milk Store your homemade soy, nut, seed or oat milk in an airtight bottle within your refrigerator. It should be good for up to 3 days. Hoping to preserve the milk for longer? Your homemade, plant-based milk can be kept in the freezer for 3 to 5 months. After thawing it, you can choose to also use this homemade milk as a dairy substitute for cooking or baking. Images via Unsplash and Adobe Stock

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The Nature Conservancys Oregon HQ gets a green renovation

April 8, 2020 by  
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Portland-based LEVER Architecture has breathed new life into The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters with a LEED Gold-targeted renovation. Completed in 2019, the refreshed headquarters has received a much-needed facelift constructed from sustainably harvested materials as well as a new addition topped with a roof garden. Beautiful and sustainable, the addition is also one of the first buildings in the nation to be built of domestically fabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Built in the 1970s, The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters was formerly defined by dark and introverted offices as well as a lack of sizable meeting and event space. To better meet the needs of the highly collaborative organization, LEVER Architecture expanded the building footprint to 15,000 square feet and introduced new open-plan layouts, meeting rooms of varying sizes and a staff cafe and lounge. The Nature Conservancy’s mission of environmental stewardship has also been proudly showcased through updates to the exterior facade and landscaping. Related: Metal-clad Treehouse for “no-commute lifestyles” mimics Portland’s forests The new landscaping that surrounds the building on all sides evokes three types of habitats across Oregon: the Rowena Plateau, Cascade-Siskiyou and forests of western hemlock and cedar. The connection to nature is strengthened by the use of juniper and cedar siding, materials that were sustainably harvested from The Nature Conservancy’s conservation sites. The weathering steel that wraps around the upper portions of the new addition and main building will develop a handsome patina over time to further blend the building into its surroundings. In addition to a sustainable renovation and expansion, the architects have introduced new energy-saving and -generating systems. New rooftop solar panels on the main building produce 25% of the headquarters’ energy needs, while efficient fixtures and building systems reduce electric consumption by 54% and water consumption by 44%. All stormwater is captured and managed on-site. Low-tech passive strategies, such as daylighting and operable windows for natural ventilation, also help cut down the building’s energy demands. + LEVER Architecture Photos by Jeremy Bittermann and Lara Swimmer via LEVER Architecture

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How to make a delicious vegan pie for Pi Day

March 13, 2020 by  
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Pie is delicious on any day, but Pi Day may be the impetus to bake — or at least eat — a pie. The annual celebration is named for the mathematical constant ? and observed on March 14, because ? is 3.14. In honor of Pi Day, Lisa Clark, owner of Petunia’s Pies & Pastries in Portland , Oregon shares some of her vegan pie baking tips with Inhabitat. This Pi Day is especially exciting for Clark, as it marks Petunia’s 10th anniversary. Inhabitat: What are the main differences between vegan and non-vegan pies? Clark: The main difference is just the fact that you don’t use butter for the pie dough. We use a blend of half soy -free Earth Balance and half organic shortening. We never use any of the hydrogenated stuff. Even the fillings are not too different: the fruit and a sweetener, which is usually just sugar, and citrus and something to thicken it, whether it’s organic corn starch or tapioca pearls. We do a lot of pies with streusel. We make that the same as traditional streusel but we use, again, the soy-free Earth Balance instead of butter. Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas Inhabitat: What about cream pies? Clark: That’s where it gets definitely a lot more challenging. We make coconut cream pies and chocolate cream pies, and we do key lime pie and banana cream. Depending on what the flavor is, we use a lot of coconut cream instead of regular dairy cream. We try not to use a ton of soy. A lot of people don’t tolerate it well, including myself, so we use a lot of coconut cream and nuts. We try to do some without nuts, because there’s a lot of nut allergies, too. When we make our chocolate cream pie, we use the Mori-Nu silken tofu with the coconut cream just to help the texture be a little more smooth and creamy like it would be traditionally. Automatically, that makes it super thick. Folding in the melted chocolate, it really stiffens up and sets in the fridge. We make coconut whipped cream instead of regular whipped cream for the tops of pies. Inhabitat: How do you make meringue without eggs? Clark: For the meringue, we use dehydrated aquafaba powder. We were using actual aquafaba from a can of chickpeas. But the problem with that is, what are we going to do with all these chickpeas? So there’s a product now that’s dehydrated aquafaba powder; you have to add a certain amount of water per tablespoon and mix it up. Then you cook it on the stove to reduce it down to a third of the volume. You take what’s left, and you whip that up with sugar, like if you were making a traditional meringue with egg whites and sugars. Inhabitat: What are the easiest pies to make? Clark: Definitely the fruit pies are the easiest. Berry pies are the easiest because there’s really no prep involved with the berries . Our most popular pie that we’ve made for the longest time is the bumbleberry peach pie. It’s a mix of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and peaches. We make a coconut hazelnut streusel for the top. ( See the recipe below! ) In the summertime, if people go berry picking, that’s the best time and the best way to make the most amazing pies with fresh, in-season berries. Other times of the year, it’s totally fine to use good frozen berries or even frozen peaches. Frozen fruit works fine, it’s just a little more temperamental with the baking time. There’s more moisture in the fruit because it’s frozen, so all that water is trapped in there. Inhabitat: Can you share any shortcuts you’ve learned over the years? Clark: Chill the fats and mix all your dry ingredients ahead of time. If there’s any fruit to prep, or the lemon zest, you want to do it in advance. I will sometimes measure out the sugar and any of the spices that are going in the filling in a little bowl and have that ready. You can make the streusel in advance and keep it in the fridge. I like to get all the steps of everything ready, so when I want to throw it together, it goes together much faster. Inhabitat: What is the most basic equipment somebody needs to make a pie? Clark: A pie plate and a rolling pin. At the very minimum, that’s what you need. Beyond that, if people have a handheld little pastry blender, that’s really helpful to make the streusel and the pie crust. But you don’t have to one. You can just cut it by hand. Beyond that, if people have a food processor for the crust and streusel, that makes it even faster. A zester for the lemon zest for the filling. A knife. But most people have a knife. And time. You just need some time, some patience. Inhabitat: Any pie mishaps you’re willing to share? Clark: Oh, yeah. I think the most common one would be just not baking the pies long enough. It’s always different. It depends on the weather , it depends on the oven, the flavor of the pie, how much moisture is in the fruit, how long you mix the dough. Sometimes, the crust can start to get too brown in the streusel, but the filling isn’t cooked. We actually bake a pie for the first half without the streusel and then we put the streusel on for the second half of baking to help with that. Every oven is so different. It depends on how thick your pie plate is, too. Like a deep dish or a more shallow pie plate, the baking times can vary so much. The only way to know when it’s really done is by seeing how the fruit bubbles up through the streusel or through the crust on top. It should be bubbling really slowly and look really thick and syrupy. If it just looks watery, like water bubbling out, it’s totally not done. Inhabitat: Any last words of advice for Inhabitat readers? Clark: The biggest advice I want to give people is not to be intimidated. I think when you read the steps, it can sound like a lot. But when you break it down and take one step at a time, it’s really not too bad. The more you do it and practice, it gets easier and easier. Pies are simple. It’s just a dough and a filling you have to sweeten and thicken. And you have to bake it. That’s really all it is. So just remember, it’s very simple and don’t overthink it too much; try to have fun. When people realize that, they tend to do a better job and not get so stressed about it working. As long as it tastes good, too, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Be brave. Recipe for Bumble Berry Peach Pie with Coconut Hazelnut Streusel By Lisa Clark, Petunia’s Pies & Pastries Pie Crust 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon white rice flour 7 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons brown rice flour 7 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons tapioca flour 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons millet flour 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoon Earth Balance spread, very chilled & cut into 1/4” pieces 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoon organic vegetable shortening, very chilled & cut into 1/4” pieces 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ice cold water Filling In spring and summer, use fresh berries & peaches if possible. The rest of the year, frozen berries and peaches will work just fine. 1 1/2 cups raspberries 1 1/2 cups blueberries 1 1/2 cups blackberries or marionberries 3 1/2 cups sliced peaches 1 cup sugar 6 tablespoons organic cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Coconut Hazelnut Streusel 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned 1 cup coconut 1/4 cup millet flour 1/4 cup white rice flour 3 tablespoons brown rice flour 3 tablespoons tapioca flour 2/3 cup sugar 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup Earth Balance spread, chilled and cut into 1/4” pieces To make the crust, combine the flours, xanthan gum, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add the cold shortening pieces and the cold Earth Balance pieces, and blend with a handheld pastry blender until the fat pieces are in pea-sized clumps. Be careful not to overwork the fats into the dry ingredients. Drizzle the ice-cold water over this mixture and mix by hand until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Again, be careful not to overwork the dough. Flatten the dough into a disk about 1” thick and wrap in plastic. Chill for about 20 minutes. Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly millet-floured non-stick baking mat or countertop. Roll the dough into an even circle, about 1/4” thick. Transfer to a pie plate. Press the dough into the pie plate and form nice fluted edges. Refrigerate the pie shell for 15 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the filling, combine all of the fruit in a large bowl. Mix the cornstarch with the sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit and mix to evenly combine. Pour lemon juice over the fruit mixture and stir well. Let sit for about 15 minutes (about 25 minutes if you are using frozen fruit) to form juices. Pour mixture into chilled pie shell. Place pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 35 minutes (without the streusel). While the pie is baking, make the streusel. Combine hazelnuts, coconut, flours, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the cold Earth Balance and work it in by hand until the Earth Balance is in pea-sized clumps. Larger clumps are better than smaller for the streusel. Refrigerate until ready to use. Once the pie has baked for 35 minutes, carefully remove it from the oven and top evenly with streusel, covering all of the fruit. Bake about 35-40 minutes more. The streusel and crust should be golden brown. The pie is ready when you can see the juices bubbling out on the edges and it looks very thick and syrupy. If it appears watery, continue to bake. Let cool (at least 2-3 hours) so the pie can set a bit, then slice, serve and enjoy! + Petunia’s Pies & Pastries Images via Lisa Clark

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12 easy vegetarian and vegan potluck dishes for Thanksgiving

November 20, 2019 by  
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Sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet on a holiday that revolves around poultry doesn’t have to be a bummer. With the idea of potluck Thanksgiving dinners gaining more and more popularity in the United States (Friendsgiving, anyone?), this can be the perfect opportunity to expose your meat-eating friends to your plant-based lifestyle and provide some healthier alternatives to classic Thanksgiving staples. Pumpkin gnocchi Making your own gnocchi is a great way to show off your cooking chops without doing a ton of work. Swap out the potatoes for nutrient-rich pumpkin and replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat and almond flour. This simple recipe from Kale Me Maybe uses ghee, a type of clarified butter, for the sage sauce along with garlic. Ghee is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine and is often made using low heat, allowing it to retain more of its natural health benefits. Related: 6 yummy organic pumpkin recipes you can make for Thanksgiving Roasted Brussels sprouts Perfect for larger groups looking for a traditional Thanksgiving vegetable side, roasted Brussels sprouts can be whipped up and topped with any number of vegan or vegetarian ingredients. Slice off the stems of the washed sprouts. Then, cut the sprouts in half, making sure to remove any brown leaves off before roasting them with salt, pepper and olive oil in the oven until they are crispy. Top with lemon zest and cheese for a vegetarian option, or toss with chopped pecans and cranberries for a hearty vegan dish. Green bean casserole with crispy onions This recipe from OhMyVeggies puts a healthy spin on the classic side dish (usually packed with sodium and processed ingredients, like condensed canned soup and bagged fried onion strings). Use fresh green beans and mushrooms along with soy milk or almond milk to veganize your green bean casserole. Pomegranate spinach salad Nothing says autumn quite like tangy pomegranate seeds, and this recipe from Cooking Classy combines them with fresh, sliced pears and nutrient-dense leafy spinach. Even better, the dressing uses apple cider vinegar (we suggest using the organic , unfiltered kind to get those gut-friendly enzymes). Vegetarians can make the recipe as-is, but vegans can swap the honey for agave and leave out the cheese. Glazed carrots Sliced carrots can be roasted in the oven, cooked in a slow cooker or sauteed on the stove with either butter or olive oil for a simple Thanksgiving side dish. Add salt and pepper to taste along with a touch of balsamic vinegar to give it an extra bite. No matter how you cook the dish, consider leaving the skins on the carrots instead of peeling them off — they are loaded with vitamins and minerals (just make sure to thoroughly wash the carrots). Related: 6 vegan and vegetarian turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving Stuffed mushrooms These bite-sized treats are sure to draw a crowd of meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Play with different ingredients depending on your audience, but make sure to top it all off with plenty of fresh herbs to compliment the savory mushroom caps. Everything about this vegan stuffed mushrooms recipe from Blissful Basil screams festive, from the diced walnuts to the sage to the cranberries. Butternut squash soup With a sweet, flavorful base made from coconut milk , butternut squash and curry powder, this soup is the perfect comfort food for any Thanksgiving potluck guest. Check out this recipe from the Minimalist Baker that incorporates cinnamon, maple syrup and chili garlic paste for an extra sweet-and-spicy kick. Vegetarian stuffing Thanksgiving is incomplete without a side of delicious stuffing to soak up the rest of the meal, but it typically isn’t a vegetarian-friendly dish. This recipe from the Vegetarian Times calls for cubes of whole-grain or sprouted bread and a variety of herbs to get that same stuffing taste without the meat juices. Use a medley of mushrooms for an earthy flavor, throw in some chopped nuts for an extra crunch or add dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness. Swap the butter for olive oil if you’re sticking to a vegan recipe . Wild rice pilaf Another great side option for larger groups, this wild rice pilaf recipe from One Green Planet is packed with fiber and whole grains. With the added autumnal flavors of dried cranberries, baked butternut squash and fresh squeezed citrus fruits, this Thanksgiving side is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Creamed kale Spice up your classic creamed spinach recipe by swapping the traditional greens for vitamin-packed kale and using soaked raw cashews instead of cream and butter to make it vegan. This recipe from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen uses shallots and garlic for a burst of fragrance and flavor and can be made in large batches for bigger potluck groups. Vegan cauliflower risotto With riced cauliflower becoming all the rage in vegetarian and vegan cooking these days, why not elevate the classic cauliflower rice into a hearty risotto? Check out this recipe from Foolproof Living that uses a unique combination of tahini, miso paste and nutritional yeast to give the dish a savory, cheesy flavor without any dairy. Vegan spinach artichoke dip This recipe from Nora Cooks combines spinach and fiber-rich artichoke hearts to make a hearty dip. The secret to this dish is in the cashew cream, which gives the dip its cheese-like consistency, and nutritional yeast, which keeps it satisfying without any dairy products. The best part? It only takes about 30 minutes to make. Images via Shutterstock

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12 easy vegetarian and vegan potluck dishes for Thanksgiving

10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas

November 21, 2018 by  
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Choosing to live a healthy, vegan lifestyle can be an easy choice to make, but when it comes to actually following through and cooking those meals every day, it can seem like a complicated, time-consuming task. Not to mention, recipes can easily become repetitive. Cooking plant-based meals doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little planning and a smart grocery shopping strategy, you can make quick and easy vegan dinners every day of the week. Here are 10 dinner ideas to help keep your diet full of nutrients and flavor that won’t require you to spend hours in the kitchen. Creamy vegan one-pot pasta This Asian-style recipe from Vegan Heaven is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. Loaded with veggies and seasoned with red curry paste, garlic cloves and coconut milk, this one-pot recipe is super easy to make, and it takes less than a half-hour to prep and cook. This dish is packed with flavor and will save you a ton of time. Vegan Philly cheese sandwich Red bell peppers, sweet onion, chilies, black pepper and spices, along with some vegan cheddar and seitan strips on a hoagie roll create a perfect vegan Philly that you will crave. This recipe is from Healthy, Happy, Life, and it is easy and fun to make. Related: 12 plant-based recipes for a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner Vegan Swedish meatballs Just because you are a vegan, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy meatballs! This recipe from Rabbit and Wolves makes a super quick weeknight meal and takes about 20 minutes to throw together. Vegan grilled burritos with black beans, rice, avocado and salsa crema This may seem like a gourmet meal , but you can put it together super-fast, and it is loaded with flavor. The recipe comes from Veggies Don’t Bite, and when your family takes their first bite, they will think you spent hours in the kitchen. Spicy chickpea veggie burgers It can be difficult to make a veggie patty that sticks together, but this recipe from Running On Real Food does the trick. They take about ten minutes to prepare, and you can mix up the spices in the recipe to get the flavor you want. Hearty white bean vegetable soup Who doesn’t love a bowl of hot soup on a cold day? With just a few ingredients, you can make a ton of soup with this recipe from Hello Glow, and it will fill your tummy with veggies. You can also easily mix things up and experiment with different flavors. Related: 10 vegan sources of protein you can grow at home Easy vegan Alfredo pasta This creamy recipe from Rainbow Nourishments features cashews, garlic and onion, and you can use raw zucchini noodles or gluten-free pasta. Just remember to soak your cashews the night before. Hummus pizza with veggies Another recipe from Vegan Heaven, this pizza uses hummus instead of tomato sauce, and has toppings like cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and artichokes. The dough is also super easy to make and has just four ingredients – flour, instant yeast, salt, and olive oil. However, you can also opt for a ready-made crust if you are running short on time. If you are a pizza lover and would like a vegan option with tomato sauce, try this simple vegan pizza from The Minimalist Baker. Vegan no-bake peanut butter energy bites If you need a boost of energy to start your day, or a good snack during the afternoon, try these three ingredient energy bites from Beaming Banana. This sweet and salty snack is addictive and easy to make. Vegan potato pancakes This recipe has simple ingredients like potatoes, onions, flour, and a little jalapeno to spice things up, and they are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, these potato cakes from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken take just a few minutes to make, and they are potato perfection. Via Vegan Heaven , Healthy Happy Life , Rabbit and Wolves , Veggies don’t bite , Running on Real Food , Hello Glow,  Beaming Banana , It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken and Rainbow Nourishments Images via Lars Blankers , Stevepb , Nadya Spetnitskaya , MootikaLLC , agamaszota , PDPics , gate74 , JESHOOTScom , rawpixel and coyot

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10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas

10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas

November 20, 2018 by  
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Bananas linger on the counters of many kitchens throughout the world, because they are a perfect snack and a healthy companion to things like yogurt, peanut butter and cereal. But it doesn’t take long for them to move past peak ripeness and start getting covered in brown spots before turning black. Just because they are past their prime doesn’t mean that overripe bananas need to be tossed in the trash. To reduce your food waste , try some of these creative and delicious ideas for overripe bananas instead of throwing them away. Bread and muffins Banana bread and muffins are the perfect options for overripe bananas. Believe it or not, dark and ugly bananas bring a ton of flavor. Simply put your blackened bananas in the fridge, and when you are ready to bake, smash them up and try recipes like flourless peanut butter banana muffins , banana bread  or  chocolate chip and banana muffins . Cakes Bananas add sweetness and a springy texture to cakes, and there are amazing banana cake recipes out there that are surprisingly healthy . This recipe for chocolate chip banana cake with cream cheese frosting  doesn’t have butter or oil, but you would never know it. The bananas and light cream cheese frosting bring amazing flavor, and this sweet treat is still low in calories. Brownies You can make amazing vegan brownies with just four ingredients: overripe bananas, peanut butter, protein powder and cocoa powder. The bananas make these guilt-free brownies sweet and moist. They are also full of protein , making them the perfect, quick breakfast. If you prefer, you can sub almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter. Smoothies and milkshakes When your bananas get ripe and mushy, try adding them to a smoothie or milkshake. Bananas will make your smoothie or milkshake super creamy and add loads of flavor. Try this frozen banana, peanut butter and chocolate chip milkshake for a nice light treat, or you can opt for a smoothie like this banana oatmeal breakfast smoothie . Related: Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil Pancakes You can either slice some banana onto your pancakes while they cook or smash them up and add the bananas to the batter. Either way, the bananas will make your pancakes so sweet , you will probably have to cut back on the syrup . Cookies Adding bananas won’t necessarily make your cookies healthy, but they do make them delicious. Try this recipe for Mindy Segal’s banana Nilla cookies or these three-ingredient banana chocolate chip cookies from Curls ‘N’ Chard . Banana chips One of the quickest and easiest options for overripe bananas is to make sweet, guilt-free banana chips. This is an extremely healthy snack to have on hand, and all it takes to make this treat is ripe bananas and some fresh lemon juice. Oatmeal Another quick and easy option for your overripe bananas is to add them to oatmeal. Simply smash up an overripe banana, and then stir it into a warm bowl of oatmeal. This will give your oats a naturally sweet flavor, and if you add some cinnamon and chopped walnuts, it will be even more delicious. You can also use overripe bananas for baked oatmeal, like in this recipe from Live Well Bake Often. Banana bread batter This idea from The Big Man’s World is an easy, gooey, healthy treat perfect for any time, day or night. It will take you less than five minutes to make, and it is naturally gluten-free and vegan . It is also full of protein and comes with a paleo and grain-free option. Fro-yo With just three ingredients, you can make amazing banana frozen yogurt . Throw your overripe bananas into the freezer. When you are ready to make this dessert, simply peel two bananas and cut them into chunks. Put them in a food processor, and add a half-cup of plain, 2-percent Greek yogurt and one-and-a-half tablespoons of peanut butter. Puree all the ingredients until they turn into a smooth, fluffy paste. Then, freeze your fro-yo for about 15 minutes before serving. Images via Jeffrey W. , Green Guavas , Marco Verch , Theo Crazzolara , Cara Faus , Ella Olsson and Shutterstock

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10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas

12 plant-based recipes for a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner

November 15, 2018 by  
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For many people, Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without a turkey on the table. But with diet trends turning toward vegetarianism, veganism and flexitarianism , people are starting to break away from the traditional turkey dinner for health, animal welfare or environmental reasons. Luckily, there are amazing plant-based dishes that you can prepare for a mouth-watering Thanksgiving feast, making it easier than ever to skip the turkey. Here are some ideas for main dishes that will replace the turkey on your table, plus some side dish and dessert ideas that will keep the food at your celebration completely plant-based. Main dishes Classic seitan roast Forget the tofurkey — try this basic meat substitute for a savory, meaty main dish that you can use for Thanksgiving day, and any extras will be perfect as salad toppers or sandwich fillings. This recipe comes from One Green Planet , and it does have an involved process. But the results are totally worth it. Seitan pot roast Another idea from One Green Planet , this recipe is not the traditional pot roast your mom would make, but it is the perfect recipe for a large Thanksgiving dinner. The biggest plus about this dish is that you make it in a slow cooker. Just throw everything in the pot, and let it cook while you make your other dishes. Related: 6 vegan and vegetarian turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving Lentil shepherd’s pie This recipe from Plant Based Cooking is perfect for picky eaters, vegan or not. Lentil shepherd’s pie is loaded with mushrooms, carrots, peas and garlic mashed potatoes, and you can easily refrigerate or freeze it. Vegan lentil loaf with gravy Perfect for the holiday season, this recipe from Vegan Heaven is easy to make, super healthy and beyond delicious. You will impress your family with this main dish, which takes a little over an hour to make and bake. Vegducken This is a vegetable main dish that will have your family and friends talking long after Thanksgiving is over. This recipe features roasted butternut squash stuffed with eggplant, zucchini and whole scallions. Then, you layer it with a puree of sautéed mushrooms, red onion, chickpeas, scallions, red lentils and gluten-free breadcrumbs. Side dishes Thanksgiving cornbread stuffing with gravy You might be able to skip turkey at Thanksgiving, but no one can live without the stuffing. This delicious vegan recipe from One Green Planet takes a little time to make, so you might want to prepare it a day in advance. Vegan pumpkin biscuits Free of dairy , egg, corn, soy and yeast, these pumpkin biscuits from Vegan Richa are easy to make and perfect for any guest at your Thanksgiving dinner. They feature fresh sage and thyme, and they are a savory side dish that is crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Buttermilk vegan mashed potatoes Who says you need dairy products to make fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes? This recipe from The Vegan 8 calls for just eight ingredients to make creamy mashed potatoes that are full of flavor with a buttery taste that comes from apple cider vinegar. They will be one of the most-loved dishes at your Thanksgiving dinner. Smokey maple roasted carrots with lemon thyme drizzle If you are looking for an easy side dish that you can throw together, try this recipe from Veggies Don’t Bite . Not only is this carrot dish loaded with flavor, but the lemon thyme sauce will make you want to lick your plate clean. Related: The best in-season veggies to buy at your local market for Thanksgiving dinner Vegan green bean casserole This casserole is so creamy that you won’t believe it doesn’t contain dairy. Using raw cashews, unsweetened almond milk, bread crumbs, onions, garlic, flour, EVOO, mushrooms, white wine, soy sauce, salt and black pepper, this dish from Hummusapien will be so good, no one will know its vegan. Desserts Vegan pecan pie This recipe from the Center for Nutrition Studies is a healthy, vegan alternative to the popular holiday dessert . It is decadent, but not too sweet, and it is gluten-free and soy-free. Chocolate ganache mousse pie If you want to add a chocolate dessert to your menu, here is a delicious option that has a cookie crust and light filling that will make any chocolate lover happy. Images via Pixabay and Shutterstock

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12 plant-based recipes for a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner

The Seasonal Food Guide helps you store, cook and enjoy seasonal produce

October 18, 2018 by  
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When you cook at home, there is nothing better than using fresh, seasonal produce as ingredients in your recipes. But it can be difficult to remember what is in season near you throughout the year. Luckily, there is an app for that, thanks to GRACE Communications Foundation, a non-profit organization aiming to boost awareness and support for sustainable food initiatives. Last year, the foundation launched its Seasonal Food Guide app (available for Android and iOS) just before National Farmers Market Week (in August each year). When you download it, the app will update you on the seasonality of everything from apples to zucchini in your own state. The guide is free, and it uses data from the Natural Resources Defense Council as well as the USDA and state departments of agriculture. When using the app (or the website), you can search for what is in season at any time of the year in every state. It is billed as the “most comprehensive database of seasonal food available in the U.S.” Related: Everything you need to know about online farmers markets “Today, people want to know where their produce is coming from, how long it will be in season and available at their local farmers market or grocery store, and what’s in season at other times of the year or in other neighboring states,” said Urvashi Rangan, GRACE’s chief science adviser. “We built the Seasonal Food Guide app to put those answers right at your fingertips.” This app will help you in your efforts to eat as much local produce as possible, which not only helps you increase your fruit and veggie consumption, but it also helps local growers and the local economy. The money you spend on local produce stays in your community, and it is reinvested with other local businesses. Why should you eat seasonally? If you haven’t had a lot of experience with eating fresh produce, it is definitely worth a try — it is ripe and flavorful and less bruised and handled, because it is transported locally. You can often taste it before you make a purchase, so you know what to expect. During peak harvest times, there is usually an abundance of fresh produce, and that means lower prices. You can also get “seconds,” which are slightly blemished fruits and veggies, for a major discount, and you can eat them right away or preserve them for a later time when they aren’t in season. This is an extremely frugal way to help you eat healthy all year long. Related: 5 mouthwatering plant-based fall recipes When you purchase seasonal food, you get a fresher, tastier and more nutritious product compared to the foods you would buy in the store. The best time to eat produce is shortly after harvest, and the only way to do that is to buy your produce from a local grower. Plus, when purchasing your produce from local farmers , you can talk to them about how they grew the food and the practices they used to raise and harvest their crops. Another benefit of eating seasonally is that it tends to lead you to cook at home more often, which is a great thing to do for your health. Taking control over what you put in your body — from what oil you cook with to how much sugar you add — helps you to consciously make better choices. Cooking is also a great way to bond, and it is a fun activity to do with your family and friends. Eating seasonally will also challenge you to be creative and come up with new ways to use your local produce. Buying local food is a benefit for the environment, because it helps to maintain local farmland and open space in your community. Direct-to-consumer produce is also less likely to have pesticides or herbicides. Eating seasonally can be intimidating. What is at its peak this month? How do you use that strange-looking vegetable you spied at the market? How do you store your abundance of fruits and vegetables so they do not go bad before you use them? This is when the Seasonal Food Guide comes to the rescue. Recipes, storage tips and more If you need some help with what to do with your local produce, the Seasonal Food Guide has a “ Real Food Right Now ” series to give you tips on cooking with food from your local grower. There are ideas for everything from asparagus to okra, and there are also tips for which seasonings and oils will complement your produce. The Seasonal Food Guide also explains the history of each item, giving you a chance to learn more about the food you are enjoying. Each fruit, vegetable, nut and legume is also broken down into its nutritional value and its environmental impact, meaning you can see how your produce is affecting the land. The guide also aims to curb food waste by teaching users how to properly store produce and how long it typically remains edible before it needs composted. The comprehensive app teaches users a wealth of information about the foods they eat, while also making it easy to experiment with new, unknown produce items. Get the Seasonal Food Guide app Check out the Seasonal Food Guide on your phone or computer, and get the best information about what is available in your state this month. You’ll find information and tips for about 140+ veggies, fruits, nuts and legumes. You can also set a reminder for your favorites, so you don’t miss them when they are available. Because the app provides photos of each item, you can also quickly identify that strange fruit or vegetable you passed at the market and learn more about it. This guide makes it incredibly simple to eat local, seasonal foods you love as well as find new favorites to experiment with in the kitchen. To see the web version click here , or download the iOS or Android apps here . + Seasonal Food Guide Images via Seasonal Food Guide , Caroline Attwood and  Maarten van den Heuvel ; screenshots via Inhabitat

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The Seasonal Food Guide helps you store, cook and enjoy seasonal produce

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