Homemade Spicy V8 Juice

January 9, 2014

Breville Juicer

I’M IN LOVE! :-)

I never would have invested in a juicer, but BigSis bought us this bad boy for our Anniversary back in August and when she came back to So Cal this past November for her birthday, she gave me a little tutorial. I admit that I was more than I little intimidated.

I wish that I liked raw cucumber and celery; but I don’t. I actually can’t stand it. If BigSis hadn’t practically forced it down my throat, I never would have tried it. But; I’m glad that I did.  I LOVE it!  I’ve always loved V-8, but even the low sodium version has too much sodium for me; that’s why it’s so nice to be able to make it myself, to my own taste.

BigSis published her Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe back in April but mine is a little different, so here goes. I don’t care for beet or red pepper so you won’t find that in my recipe.

For my version of Spicy V-8, these are my veggies of choice.

veggies3

Gorgeous fresh veggies.

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice

4 or 5 Romaine leaves
Handful spinach leaves
2-3 curly Kale leaves
2 cucumbers
4-5 celery stalks
5 or 6 Roma tomatoes
2 lemons
2 carrots
3 small purple carrots
2 cloves garlic
1/4 – 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 – 1/2 t. salt; to taste

Wash all the produce thoroughly. Cut ends from carrots and cut into chunks; cut cucumbers, tomatoes, and celery in half; peel the lemons and cut into quarters. Juice everything together, and season to taste.

A great tip from BigSis  is to remove this lovely pulp from the pulp bin and run it back through the juicer.

Pretty, huh?

Pretty, huh?

 Look at how much extra juice you get from juicing the pulp!

pitcher-juice

 So far, this is the best batch of V-8 that I’ve made.

In my opinion; PERFECT!!!

juice-glass

As BigSis and I call it;  ”Green Gold”!

~LilSis

Happy New Year from Even More of Us!

January 1, 2014

Big Fat Pig Butt

Photo credit: pmarkham via flickr

Happy New Year!

We’ve been out of touch for a while, but are really excited to get back to our favorite little blog baby! While we were gone taking care of some of life’s plot twists, something happened that we have to fess up to.

We both gained an extra 10 pounds and now we feel like our backside resembles the porkie guy above, but not nearly as cute! I can’t imagine why we’d see the scale shoot up though…

Coronado Pizza

Coronado Brew

Coronado Mexican

Coronado Cheese Soup

Coronado Biscuits

Coronado Omelette

Coronado Guacamole

BigSis Birthday

Ok, so we did take an indulgent trip to Coronado Island for my birthday, and from our camera roll, it would appear that we ate our way from one side of the island to the other, wrapping up with an awesome birthday cherry pie! We enjoyed every single bite but now we’re paying the piper, even though we have never stopped exercising.

We’re going to do something about this ASAP, and will be doing a series of posts on the challenges and successes we find along the way. The goal is to get rid of this excess hiney by the end of February, and we’re putting together a plan to get us there. You know the old saying, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Maybe corny, but true.

These are the common sense things we KNOW we have to do in order to lose 10 pounds as 50+ women:

  • Eat less, move more
  • Cut out the processed foods, sugar, simple carbs, chips
  • No evening snacking
  • No alcohol except occasionally on weekends
  • Continue our vegetable juicing
  • Cardio workouts at least 3 days a week
  • Get back to strength training and yoga
  • Shake up our workout routines with something new since they aren’t working any more

Starting on Monday, I’ll be jump-starting my challenge with 3 weeks of the Clean Program detox, and will then continue with a slightly less restrictive version of it afterwards. LilSis has a family to cook for, and will be going with the Mediterranean diet which is more guy-friendly. We’re going to have a little competition to see which approach works better. Any bets?

Stick with us through the series, and hopefully we’ll have some tips to share that might be helpful if you’re feeling a little porkie right now too!

Note from LilSis: In reviewing this post, I notice that BigSis is very kind to say that I’ll be doing the Mediterranean diet because it’s more guy-friendly. That is true; because I live with two meat and potato eating “big guys” who don’t consider a veggie or a salad to be a real meal. But; in all honesty, even if I lived alone, I think the Clean Program detox is more strict than I could possibly adhere to, even if for a week. Hats off to BigSis for being able to do it! She’s done it before so I know she can do it again!

I think I need to have a talk with myself,  because right now, all I want is a piece of that pizza! :-)

~BigSis

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe

April 20, 2013

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe

I’ve always wanted to find a good homemade spicy V8 juice recipe, since the store-bought juice is just too darn salty. I absolutely love it, but the sodium level gives me salt bags of epic proportions. Not a good look, and definitely not good for you.

I’m a total juice fiend lately – ever since I started having green juice every day – so I decided to try my hand at a homemade spicy V8 juice recipe. I have to tell you that I’m thrilled with the results!

Store-bought V8 juice is made of reconstituted juices of carrot, tomato, watercress, lettuce, parsley, beet, celery and spinach. I didn’t have any watercress, my spicy healing green juice used all my lettuce up, and I don’t like the flavor of parsley, so I used spinach for all the greens this first go-round.

I think using a variety of greens would give the juice even more depth of flavor, so that will be the first change I make in the next batch o’ BigSis V8. Technically, what I have here is V7. :)  Next time, I’m going to use romaine and a few kale leaves for part of the spinach, so I guess I’ll have V9 juice then.

I love the balance of tomato to carrot to beet, and the celery and bell pepper are adding in the right touches of flavor too. The spinach and lemon bring it all together.

This first version leans a little spicy, but it’s not quite as zippy as my green juice. Feel free to leave out the garlic, horseradish and cayenne to make a more pure V8.

One last note about this recipe is that it’s raw. I’ve seen some homemade V8 recipes online that were cooked, which baffles me a little. Cooking the veggies defeats the purpose of juicing for me, so we’re going raw here. I betcha you could lightly run some tomatoes through the blender and mix them into the fresh juice if you really want a thicker texture to your juice.

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe

6 carrots
1 very small beet
8 Roma tomatoes (you want a firm tomato for juicing)
1 red bell pepper
3 huge handfuls of spinach
3 stalks celery
1 clove garlic
4 small or 2 large lemons
1-2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (not creamed)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Wash all the produce thoroughly. Remove seeds and stem from pepper, and cut into large chunks. Cut ends from carrots and beet, and cut into chunks. Peel the lemons and cut into quarters. Half the tomatoes, and cut celery into big pieces. Juice everything together, and season to taste.

This recipe makes round 32 ounces. Drink within 2 days for maximum nutrition.

I don’t drink vodka, but I also think this juice would make a heck of a Bloody Mary! :)

~BigSis

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe

April 14, 2013

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Produce

I’m obsessed with this spicy healing green juice recipe. I’m one of those people who is either all in or all out. I know nothing of moderation, so it’s no surprise that when I juice, I really juice!

I bought my Breville Juicer a couple of years ago, and started juicing every day. I even dove into green juice. I was new to it though, and made some mistakes. To start with, I couldn’t really figure out how to integrate juicing into my day, so it didn’t become part of my routine.

I like to have a blueberry smoothie every morning. I’m a morning person and I have to have breakfast, so the smoothie gives me something in my tummy first thing, and provides the energy I need to do the things I want to do. I can also take my morning supplements with a smoothie, but they’d be too harsh with just juice, especially green juice.

Then when I get to work, I automatically gravitate toward the Keurig and have 2 or 3 cups of coffee during the morning. So where did juice fit in? Nowhere really. I felt like I was trying to cram it into the day when I didn’t even want it.

Besides scheduling, the other challenge I had with my first attempt at juicing was the fruit/veggie balance. I made a rookie mistake and used too much fruit. You know what that means…too much sugar! It’s natural sugar but it’s still sugar, and that leads to blood sugar peaks and crashes, and cravings for more sugar. Not good. Not what I was going for with juicing.

The bottom line was juicing wasn’t working for me. I felt kind of guilty that I had this nice new juicer, but I wasn’t seeing the health benefits I was hoping for. I just generally didn’t feel great about the whole experience.

So I quit. I told you; I’m all in or all out. My pretty Breville Juicer sat and collected dust for almost 2 years. It stayed on my counter though, and I knew that eventually I’d come back around to it.

Fast forward 2 years. I’d been reading about this new juicing company in town called Vim + Vigor. When they ran a special coupon recently, I grabbed the chance to buy some of their juices and do a 3-day juice cleanse. My favorite of all the blends I got to try was the detoxifying No. 01, which is kale, spinach, romaine, celery, cucumber, apple and lemon. I was shocked at how much I loved that juice.

When the 3 days passed and I was out of Vim + Vigor juice, my body was screaming at me. Get me some green juice now! I was kind of shocked at how good I felt on this juice, whereas my previous juicing experience left me feeling crummy.

The difference? Green juice was a necessary part of my day now. First, a smoothie and supplements. Second, not more than one cup of coffee. Third, green juice mid-morning when my energy starts to wane. Then a healthy big lunch and a light dinner; often raw like a salad or my favorite raw spinach and avocado soup.

The other major difference? I’m using lots of veggies, and just enough fruit to make the juice taste delicious. The general rule – I know now – is 3 veggie parts to every 1 part fruit. That limits the impact on your blood sugar.

Off to the interwebs I went in search of green juice recipes with the ingredients I fell for in No. 01. Finally I came up with the perfect combination for me, and that’s what I’m sharing with you today. My green juice recipe is super spicy, healing, delicious and addictive. I’m using ginger, cayenne, lots of lemon, and a touch of salt…all working together to create something I want to drink and actually enjoy the taste of, rather than just choking down a glass of grassy flavors.

I recommend buying organic produce whenever you can, especially with these juice ingredients since all of them (except for lemons) are very susceptible to contamination from pesticides.

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe

Spicy Healing Green Juice
(makes about 32 ounces or 2 large servings)

8 large leaves kale
2 giant handfuls spinach
8 large leaves romaine
8 stalks celery
1 large seedless cucumber
2 small Granny Smith apples
2 large lemons
1 small piece ginger
Salt and cayenne to taste, about 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp each

Wash all the produce. Remove tough ribs from the kale. Chop the celery and cucumber into big chunks. Core the apples and cut into chunks. Peel the lemons and cut into quarters.

 Spicy Healing Green Juice Prep Recipe

Start juicing! I think I get better yield from everything by juicing slowly, and also by mixing up ingredients with a similar texture. I start with the leafy greens, mixing kale with romaine and spinach. This is what the juice looks like after all the leafies are juiced. Pretty concentrated stuff, right? That’s a micro-nutrient powerhouse just chomping at the bit to attack any bad stuff in my system!

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Greens

Once the leafy greens are done, I move onto lemon, cucumber, celery and finally apple.

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe ToDo

This recipe makes around 32 ounces, depending on how big your items are. I drink half of the recipe one day and have the rest the next day. Ideally, you’d consume your juice fresh as soon as it’s made, but that’s just not practical for all of us. If you store your leftover juice in a glass jar, refrigerate it immediately, and use some citrus in the recipe, you’ll cut down on the oxidation a little bit.

It’s definitely a lot of work to juice, so every other day works best for me. It takes me around 30 minutes to prep the produce and juice it, and then another 15 minutes to take the juicer apart and clean all the components and dishes…

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Mess

and you have this leftover stuff to deal with too:

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Waste

There’s actually not that much of it, which makes me really happy! Some people are creative enough to use the pulp in recipes, but I usually donate it to a friend who composts.

I’m really excited about this green juice, and think I’m going to stick with it this time since I’m doing it the right way. If you try my spicy juice or have a favorite recipe of your own, please share! To your health!

~BigSis

How to Make the Best Blueberry Smoothie

February 24, 2013

The best blueberry smoothie is the perfect way to start my day. My body craves it. Even in the winter, I have to have it. If I include protein powder, a big smoothie will last me for 3 hours until I get hungry for second breakfast.

You do know about second breakfast, right? (Sorry for the dorky “Lord of the Rings” reference. I love those movies.)

Best Blueberry Smoothie Recipe

 

You can throw whatever you like into the blender, but here’s my basic recipe for what I think is the best blueberry smoothie.

Best Blueberry Smoothie

1-1/2 cups frozen organic blueberries
1-1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp ground flax seeds
1 heaping scoop unsweetened vanilla brown rice protein powder
1/2 tsp maca powder
1 tblsp coconut oil
Splash of homemade vanilla extract (see note below)
Optional: a tiny bit of chlorella powder

Place everything into a blender and mix until thoroughly blended, adding a little water if the mixture gets too thick. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • I use blueberries because they’re such a nutritional powerhouse, but you can use any fruit. I used to mix in some strawberries, but I’ve been reading that even organic strawberries are likely to contain pesticide residue. I prefer frozen fruit because then I don’t need ice cubes to get a nice freezy texture.
  • My usual liquid is Almond Breeze, but I’ve added a splash of orange juice for flavor when I had it around. I don’t like using much juice though because of the high natural sugar content. If I wanted a sugar buzz, I’d rather have a piece of chocolate.
  • Instead of the flax seeds or in addition to them, I’ve also used hemp seeds and chia seeds. They’re all good in smoothies.
  • Maca is one of my favorite little foods, and I think it’s highly underrated. Google it and see. It’s a powdered Peruvian root that I first read about it in Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive. It helps balance out hormonal issues for menopausal women, and is said to have a variety of other benefits including increasing energy and endurance, and reducing stress and adrenal fatigue. I don’t know about all of the claims, but I can tell you that my hormonal issues are lessened when I use it and I just feel better. I like the Royal Maca brand. It is gelatinized, which means it is less starchy, more potent, more concentrated and easier to digest than raw maca.
  • Coconut oil is another little jewel that I love. It’s supposed to reduce night sweats and other hot flashy problems, as well as helping to prevent Alzheimer’s and provide quick energy since it doesn’t have to be metabolized through the liver first like most other fats. I’d really like to get one more tablespoon of it in my diet each day.
  • Homemade vanilla extract is pretty complicated, so pay close attention. Once I finish a bottle of my favorite vanilla extract, Penzey’s Mexican Vanilla, I keep the vanilla bean inside the bottle and fill it up with the cheapest vodka I can find. Then I just store it in the back of the pantry for a few weeks. I have 3 bottles in rotation, so while I’m using the oldest bottle, I have 2 others marinating in the pantry. Why do this? Because I’m a vanilla extract snob; I like the good stuff which is pricey. There’s no need for it in a smoothie though and this cheap version works perfectly fine.
  • Chlorella is another food I learned about from Thrive. It’s a freshwater algae that is a detoxifying super hero! It helps speed up the rate at which toxins are removed from our bodies, and is even used in cases of mercury overload. You have to respect chlorella for the power it possesses, and add it into your smoothie very, very gradually, otherwise you’re likely to experience bloating and real discomfort. I don’t add in chlorella all of the time, and when I do it’s usually 1/4 tsp or less.

I hope you’ll give the Best Blueberry Smoothie a try, and start your morning with a team of super nutrients that will go to battle for you throughout the day!

~BigSis

Creamy Kinda Healthy Spinach Dip

February 2, 2013

Creamy Healthy Vegan Spinach Dip

I’ve been pinning some pretty decadent/wicked recipes on Pinterest lately. That’s what we all do, right? It’s no fun to pin a plate of carrot sticks. Boring.

This pin of Game-Day Garlic Knots Monkey Bread is one of the wicked ones. I’m really on a mission to eat clean, so I can’t do bread or even any wheat so Game-day Garlic Knots Monkey Bread is out. Totally out of the question. Boo.

Even while eating WELL, I think it’s still possible to eat FUN. If I go to a Super Bowl party tomorrow, I want to be able to enjoy something warm and gooey and spicy and delicious while I’m watching commercials and Beyonce’s half-time show.

Just because I’m being good right now and trying to make amends for my lack of discipline around the holidays doesn’t mean I have to be deprived. This recipe for Creamy Spinach Dip does the trick for me. Whole Foods was sampling it the other day so I grabbed the recipe and was surprised at how good it was! And as a bonus, it’s vegan, gluten-free, and high fiber!

Whole Foods‘ recipe suggested serving it with celery, carrots and red bell pepper. You can do that if you want, but that’s not my thing. I like it warm and stuffed into little bite-sized tomatoes or served alongside gluten-free crackers. I love Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers and everything from Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Creamy Healthy Vegan Spinach Dip Tomatoes

Creamy Kinda Healthy Vegan Spinach Dip

(based on Whole Foods’ recipe but jazzed up)

  • 2 fresh jalapeño peppers, chopped (seeds removed, if desired)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 cups cooked cannellini beans (or 2 15-ounce cans), rinsed
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, prepared and squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 1/2 cup vegan cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce to taste

Cook peppers, onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add almond milk and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, for 2 minutes more. Carefully transfer contents of skillet to a food processor along with lemon juice, yeast, beans and avocado and purée until smooth. Stir in spinach, and vegan cheese if using. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Frank’s. Serve warm or at room temperature. To heat dip, keep in a crockpot on low heat, or spread in a baking dish and bake in a 350°F oven until hot throughout, 25 to 30 minutes. Makes enough for a crowd.

 Creamy Healthy Vegan Spinach Dip

By the way, are you following us on Pinterest? We’re BigSisTexas and LilSisCA. Come check us out!

~BigSis

Sausage, White Bean and Spinach Soup

January 22, 2013

Sausage, White Bean & Spinach Soup

Sausage, White Bean and Spinach Soup

Last week when cleaning out some of the clutter in my pantry, I ran across this recipe that I hadn’t filed away.  I’ve only made it once so I had forgotten how delicious and EASY it is!

Luckily,  my guys don’t mind eating Campbell’s Tomato Soup or Chicken Noodle Soup occasionally, but I don’t eat canned soup at all; mainly because it has WAY too much sodium for me.  I absolutely love making homemade soups but since most of us don’t always have that much time, it’s nice to have a few quick and easy, family-pleasing recipes on hand to make on those busy days.

This recipe is very similar to the Hearty Chicken Italian Sausage Soup recipe that I’ve made a couple of times but for some reason, my family really loved this soup.  Anytime I can make something this easy and have the family rave about it, I am one happy camper!

I doubled the amount of sausage from what the original recipe called for and also added three times the amount of spinach, so each spoonful was just perfect! :-)

Soup-Closeup2

Sausage, White Bean and Spinach Soup
(adapted from Cooking Light)

5 turkey Italian sausage links
2 t. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2  c. water
1 15 oz. cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
32 oz. low sodium chicken broth
6 cups baby spinach
3 T. chopped fresh basil

Remove sausage from casings. Heat oil in large saucepan and cook sausage in the oil until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and garlic to pan, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for another five minutes or so until soup thickens slightly.

Remove from heat and stir in spinach and basil. You can top with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Note: If you’ve got big grown boys who don’t necessarily consider soup a main course, I made a pound of pasta shells on the side and let them add pasta to their bowls to make the soup a little heartier.

BigSis’ Vegan Twist: This is an easy one! I’d use veggie broth instead of chicken, and just leave out the sausage. Since I’m a kale freak, I might use it in place of the spinach. I love it in soups. On top of being a nutritional powerhouse, it adds a lot of texture, whereas spinach gets more wilty.

I bought the new Trader Joe’s vegan mozzarella shreds recently, and to me they have more of a parmesan vibe so I bet they would be tasty sprinkled in this dish. I think this soup sounds awesome, and I’m trying it soon!

~LilSis

Cheesy Black-Eyed Pea Dip

January 10, 2013

blackeyed-pea-dip2

Every year between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day our family consumes a ginormous amount of black-eyed peas; but, I may have finally gone a little bit overboard.  This year my black-eyed pea eating marathon started around noon on New Year’s Eve when I started cooking them and ended late on New Year’s evening when I polished off what was left.

We’ve always said that you can never eat too many peas on New Year’s since they’re supposed to bring you good luck, but I’m sure that I probably consumed several hundred of those little black eyes. Is that overkill?

Don’t know yet. I guess time will tell.

Our Southern family tradition has always been to serve ham, black-eyed peas,  greens and cornbread at midnight on New Year’s Eve. We’ve done it for as long as I can remember and I continue to do it every year whether it’s for a large group of friends or just our family. This was last year’s dinner plate.

peas-and-ham-450x337

This year we were invited to a neighbor’s house for New Year’s Eve so I decided at the last minute to make this Cheesy Black-Eyed Pea Dip to share with our friends for some added good luck!

Cheesy Black-Eyed Pea Dip
(adapted from Recipe Girl)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
16 ounces Mexican-style or regular Velveeta
3 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed & drained
1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded, ribs removed & diced
1 can stewed tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chilies, drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until golden brown. Turn heat to low, add the cheese and stir until melted. Add peas, peppers, chilies, tomatoes, and garlic salt. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into a crock pot or and serve hot with chips.

Note: I couldn’t find the Mexican Velveeta at my store so I used the regular instead and just added some chopped stewed tomatoes, an extra can of green chilies and an extra can of peas to make it a little chunkier. I also eliminated the green onions from the original recipe because I just don’t like them.

This dip is very similar to another family favorite and one of the guys’  most requested football watching snacks; the infamous Rotel Dip.  The main difference between the two dips is that this one uses the black-eyed peas instead of ground beef, which makes it perfect for vegetarians.

And, something tells me that BigSis knows exactly how to turn this recipe into a yummy vegan dip. :-)

BigSis’ Vegan Twist: You got that right, LilSis. No one loves a dip more than mwah, and I’ve probably eaten my weight in that Rotel dip over the pre-vegan years!

Blackeyed Pea Dip Chip Vegan

This is actually a pretty easy recipe to veganize. Just nix the Velveeta and substitute a vegan queso. You can find several brands on the shelves of Whole Foods and other grocers who carry natural foods. I prefer to make my own with just a few ingredients like flour, nooch, tomatoes with chiles, and a bunch of spices. It sounds weird/gross, but I even feed it to non-vegetarians and they eat it up.

I started with a bunch of sauteed garlic, jalapeno and onion then built my usual queso and tossed in the peas.

Blackeyed Pea Dip Vegan

My version of the black-eyed pea dip is thicker than the Velveeta version, and not that photogenic really, but I’m fine with that. It’s darn tasty, and now it’s gone. Happy new year, everyone!

~LilSis

In-Sync Exotics Bake Sale 2012!

December 6, 2012

Gideon

Gideon: our 2012 Bake Sale Poster Boy! Is there a cuter baby bobcat?

Our 2012 charity bake sale for In-Sync Exotics is right around the corner on Monday, December 17th, and we are full of gratitude and excitement about it! It’s the season to be thankful, so let me count the reasons!

  • We have a brand new sponsor joining with us in support of this wonderful charity. Paper Mart – our favorite packaging source for years – has provided us with a generous discount on the incredible items we use to make our goodies look super cute. We know that cuteness helps things sell, right? And moving our goodies out the door is the name of the game at bake sale time. We could probably feed our cookies to the lions and tigers, but we’d much rather sell them to peeps and use the money to buy what the big kitties prefer to eat (and that’s not biscotti). If you’d like to see some of our favorite Paper Mart products, check out my Pinterest Bake Sale Board. Thank you, Paper Mart!
  • We are so happy to welcome back City Vet as a returning sponsor for the third year! City Vet provides us with tons of things to sell and awesome giveaway items. This year they’ve even donated a gracious plenty of the reusable shopping bags that we all love. These will be a big help, and a nice bonus for our shoppers who buy a bunch of goodies. We also have some gift certificates for exams and baths to sell; things that all of us animal lovers need! Thank you, City Vet!
  • Last but not least, we are beyond thrilled that our employer is matching our sales, dollar for dollar, for the second year in a row. That means that we can totally leverage what we’re doing. If we sell $4000 in goodies again, that magically turns into $8000 instantly!  Thank you, our boss!

I have lots of baking to do, and ribbon to cut, and tags to make, and tweets and pins and instagram photos and facebook statuses to post, so I’m out for now. I’ll report back this weekend with our list of goodies to entice you.

For now, thanks, thanks, and more thanks to our supporters! If the wild kitties at In-Sync Exotics could thank you, they would, so I’ll speak on their behalf. Oodles of thanks, chuffs and purrs to you all!

~BigSis

Graham Cracker Pralines (Accidentally Vegan)

November 25, 2012

Graham Cracker Pralines Vegan

It’s bake sale time, which means recipe testing time, and that means this update will be short and sweet! I’m up to my eyeballs in recipes, treat bags, press releases, and save the date postcards!

So let’s get to it. One of my co-workers brought these Graham Cracker Pralines to the office, and I thought they were super delicious. Nabisco Original Graham Crackers are accidentally vegan, so I only had to swap an Earth Balance stick for the butter to veganize this simple little recipe.

There are lots of recipes for this treat online; I started with Betty Crocker’s Quick Praline Bars recipe. Basically, you lay graham crackers out on a cookie sheet (I lined it with non-stick foil). You combine brown sugar with the Earth Balance, and let it boil for one minute. Then add vanilla, pour the mixture over the crackers, sprinkle pecans over it all, and bake it for 8 to 10 minutes til bubbly. Pretty easy, right?

Some of the reviewers online had various problems with this recipe, but I had none of them. Whew! They firmed up nicely, they didn’t stick, they didn’t fall apart, and they taste pretty darn good!

I think these are going to make the cut for this year’s bake sale, which is scheduled for Monday, December 17th and benefits In-Sync Exotics. BTW, we’re looking for individuals and companies to match what we raise, so let us know if you can help with that endeavor!

I’m off to try a new Almond Biscotti. I’ll let you know if it gets to come to the party or not!

Note added later:  Nope, the Almond Biscotti has to sit out this party. That’s ok though, we have plenty of winners to bring!

~BigSis