By Lily Donofrio
The life of a teenager is hectic and stressful. Hormones are raging, papers are due, positions on sports teams are being filled, social lives are being balanced, the working world is being introduced, bodies are changing, homework is taking up on average 2 hours a day, and such a depressing amount of more. We have boyfriends and girlfriends and pets and parents and siblings and teachers and bosses and coaches and best friends and secret admirers and advisors. It is essential for us busy bees to take some time to ourselves and relax.
How does one relax? Some take comfort in hot baths, vacationing, exercise, food, meditation, sleeping for obscenely long lengths of time, massages, Netflix marathoning, etc. The list can go on forever. I personally find relaxation in spending time with friends and vegging out. But different from the typical teenage binging, we do it vegan-style. We watch True Blood and Keeping Up With the Kardashians seasons over bowls of vegan cookie dough. We run out to the store to pick up Amy’s brand dairy free Mac n’ Cheese after major test weeks. We bake kale chips to satiate our cravings for salt. We have learned to keep our teenage norms animal-free.
It is so easy to prepare vegan comfort food. You just have to take recipes into your own hands and play around with ingredients. There are the obvious replacements like nut milk and Earth Balance Spread, and the not so obvious ones like using hot water and flax seed or avocados as eggs. Playing around with these variations is a great way to make veganism even more fun!
So if you are cramming for your finals, practicing relentlessly for your band’s gig this weekend, or swimming countless laps in the pool in preparation for your next meet, and are looking for a little bit of extra motivation, I suggest that you plan a night in with your buddies and cook up some intriguing vegan treats.
VEGAN COOKIE DOUGH
1 can chick peas
Almond milk, as needed
Sweetener to taste
Desired amount of vegan chocolate chips (I use 1/4th cup)
Blend chick peas in a food processor until smooth, add almond milk 1 Tablespoon at a time if preferred consistency is not reached. Add sweetener and continue blending. Mix in chocolate chips.
Kale (2 cups obtains about ½ cup kale chip)
¼ cup oil of choice (I prefer sesame)
Seasoning of choice: SALT AND VINEGAR= 1 tbsp coarse sea salt, 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar; CHILE LIME= juice of ½ lime, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cayenne pepper (another tsp if you prefer spicier); ASIAN STYLE= 2 tsp ginger, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp garlic
Add all ingredients together in a bag, shake thoroughly. Bake in oven set at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, or until crispy.
MICROWAVE MUG CAKE
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp sweetener of choice
2 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Vegan chocolate chips (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a mug, mix thoroughly. Cook in a microwave for 2 minutes.
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS= vegan chocolate chips, peanut butter, vegan ice cream, vegan coconut whipped cream.
THE GUAC (Yields 2 cups)
Juice of 1 lime
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup favorite salsa
½ tbsp coarse sea salt
Harvest the meat from the avocado and mash. Prepare and combine all ingredients.
LOADED VEGAN NACHOS
2 cups of tortilla chips
½ cup soy crumbles (store bought soy crumbles or crumbled seitan)
¼ cup cashew nacho cheese (recipe below)
¼ cup salsa
Handful of jalapeños
Handful of chopped onion
½ cup beans (black or pinto)
1 cup lettuce
Arrange ingredients to your liking.
CASHEW NACHO CHEESE
¾ cup cashews soaked for 30 minutes
1 tbsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
Juice of ½ lime
1½ tbsp nutritional yeast
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
CHOCOHOLIC ICE CREAM
2 frozen bananas
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp sweetener
Splash of almond milk
Combine all ingredients in food processor, blend, freeze, and serve.