Category Archives: Healing Series

Vedged Out Turns One, Gets a Sweet Book Deal and More Awesomeness!

Howdy beloved readers! It’s Vedged Out’s One Year Blogiversary today and I’m taking you on a tour through the highlights and lowlights of the year:

chocolate layer cakeInsane Chocolate Layer Cake

It’s been an amazing year! Some highlights included Forks Over Knives featuring my health transformation testimonial and ChooseVeg.com featuring me on their health page.

SomerRunning570x299

Then we’ve had two very. awesome. Virtual Vegan Potlucks.  

macadamia nut brie en crouteSpooky Macadamia Nut Brie En Croute 

um, I’m still dreaming about that one

vegan-blt-slidersMini Jackfruit and Kimchi BLT Slider Bites 

Two words. Jackfruit. Bacon.

The top viewed post on my site this year:pizzaIndividual Vegan Margherita Pizzas with Homemade Fresh Moxarella

people go crazy when homemade vegan cheese is tastier, easier, healthier and cheaper than running to your local Whole Foods for another bag of Daiya.

The least viewed post on my site this year:maple lima beansBaked Maple Dijon Baby Lima Beans

Yeah, can’t blame my readers, doesn’t look like the most appetizing dish, does it? I swear they were good!

The cookie bars that took over Pinterest by storm:cookie barHealthied Up Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

who doesn’t love an easy to put together ooey gooey dessert?

This ALL VEGAN Thanksgiving Menu shared with beloved friends and family, including Annie at An Unrefined Veganvegan thanksgiving

Then we had that low point, with that injury (currently still injured, I’ll have another healing series coming up soon).goodbye-runningGoodbye Running, I still miss you like crazy.

But when one door closes another one opens! And now I’ve also got some awesome news, I’ve signed a book contract with Vegan Heritage Press! I couldn’t be more proud to be working with such an amazing and compassionate publishing house. You’ll have to wait for all the juicy details, but it’s official. I’m an author!

vegan heritage press

The Vegan Heritage Press family all ready includes some Vegan Superstars: the amazing and talented raw vegan chef Amber Shea Crawley, prolific vegan cookbook author and goddess Robin Robertson, recipe developer extraordinaire Bryanna Clark Grogan, vegan baking fool Tamasin Noyes, national recipe competition winner Betsy DiJulio and several new faces that I can’t wait to become acquainted with!

SunWarrior+Blogger+Banner

Oh, and I’ve all ready been a recipe contributor for Sunwarrior for some time, but now I’m joining their expert ambassador team as well! Yeah, just gotta submit that Bio. They’ve truly got the best vegan vitamins and supplements on the planet. Pure love.

Thanks for all the love and support along the way. Can’t wait to see what this next year brings!

good-clean-foodAmanda, Somer (holding Amanda’s juicy baby), Carolyn and Erika

If you want to start at the very beginning, see my very first post on Vedged Out here: 20 Reasons Why Going Vegan Sucks.

Love, Somer

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Filed under Appetizers, Books, Bread, Cheez, Desserts, Films, Forks Over Knives, Friendship, Healing Series, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Main Dishes, Running, Sandwiches, Sunwarrior, Ulcerative Colitis, Vegan, Vegan Heritage Press, Virtual Vegan Potluck

Chocolate-Drizzled Vegan Cannoli with Fresh Peaches! Guest Post from Kelli Roberts at Kelli’s Vegan Kitchen

Choc-Drizzled-Cannoli-Peaches-1

So, right after I wrote my injury post, the sweet Kelli at Kelli’s Vegan Kitchen contacted me and offered to send me some yoga DVD’s from her practice to enable me to get some healing exercises into my regimen. Being the ratbag that I am, I kind of ignored the message then later tried to tell her I had plenty of other things I was trying to incorporate into my recovery (I have a hard time accepting help, even when I need it). Thankfully she eventually got through to me, mostly because she wouldn’t take no for an answer. At that time I was doing a restorative yoga class at my local gym and some pool running for cardio. I found that even though restorative yoga was good for my soul, it wasn’t really giving me a workout, plus the pool running became more and more difficult when I found I would be in pain for several days after each session. When I tried the yoga class that was the next level up from restorative at my gym, I couldn’t do most of the poses or keep up with the fast pace of the class because of my injury. I ended up leaving after 10 minutes, humiliated and down trodden.

Choc-Drizzled-Cannoli-Peaches-6 (1)

Enter Kelli’s miraculous TriYoga DVD’s. I finally decided to give them a go since I figured I had nothing left to lose. Well ladies and gentlemen, they are absolutely perfect for my level of fitness at the moment. Gentle, but challenging. They actually make me feel like I’m getting a workout without hurting myself. And, I can preserve my novice yoga dignity and do them in the privacy of my own home. A couple of weeks ago, I had ladies in my family lined up on our family reunion vacation doing these yoga exercises with me. Yeah, my mom ended up ordering the DVD’s too.

Anyway, the moral of this story is that sometimes people come into your life for the right reason at the right time and that sometimes you find help, healing and inspiration where you think you’d be least likely to find it.

Be open to it.

Stay tuned at the end of this post to see some of the delicious offerings on Kelli’s site. Now, here’s Kelli with these amazing Cannoli!

Choc-Drizzled-Cannoli-Peaches-3 (1)

Hey Vedged Out readers! I’m thrilled that Somer has invited me to join you all today and share a new recipe. I’ve long been an admirer of hers, and her creativity in the kitchen continually inspires me to new heights. I’m so honored to be in such talented company here.

One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that I don’t often actually plan out recipes. Sometimes they’re triggered by a memory, or a meal that I’ve loved, and sometimes they just appear in my mind fully formed. Amazing how that happens…. This particular one came from remembering long-ago desserts.

When I was young, my father was a news photographer for a local tv station. And like fathers do, he brought me souvenirs from the stories that he filmed – from huge Jimmy Carter presidential convention posters, to autographs from every famous person who came into town, to (my favorite) the video he filmed of an open-heart surgery that I brought in to show my sixth-grade class. (It was 1981, and things like that weren’t seen much). And every year around the holidays, he always managed to do a story at a local Italian bakery and brought home the most amazing desserts – what kid doesn’t love a pile of fried dough balls covered with sugar syrup and colored sprinkles? And the cannoli – the most incredible things I’ve ever had. I was recently thinking of those yummy desserts….

But sadly, I’d not had cannoli since becoming vegan, so I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to create the ideal late-summer version: sweet whole grain shells filled with tangy cashew cream and perfectly ripe peaches, all drizzled with chocolate. And it was so much easier than I’d ever expected!

cannoli-shells

Now before we get to the recipe, I have 2 variations, just so no one gets scared off  :)

-          If you want the delicious cannoli flavors without the bother challenge of rolling the shells, press the baked dough into mini-muffin tins, let cool and then fill, to make mini cannoli cups.

-          These are best served right away so the shells stay crunchy, but if they do get soft, put them in the freezer for an AMAZING frozen dessert. They taste just like ice-cream cake rolls!

Choc-Drizzled-Cannoli-Peaches-5

Chocolate-Drizzled Vegan Cannoli with Fresh Peaches

 For the filling:

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours if you don’t have a high speed blender)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave
  • ½ cup diced fresh peaches

For the shells:

  • 3 teaspoons egg replacer, mixed with 4 tablespoons warm water
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance (coconut oil may also work, but I haven’t tried it)
  • 1/3 cup organic sugar/coconut sugar/sucanat
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup spelt flour

For the chocolate drizzle:

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

Make the filling first by blending together all of the filling ingredients except the peaches. I made mine more tangy than sweet, so I used 4 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of agave. If you prefer your filling sweeter, you can add more agave and reduce the water accordingly. Stir in the diced peaches. Place in the fridge to chill while baking the shells. The filling can also be made a couple of days in advance.

For the shells, begin by creaming the Earth Balance and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg replacer and mix well. Blend in the vanilla, balsamic vinegar and flour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, make thin flat circles of batter 3-4 inches in diameter (I drew circles on the parchment to make sure I had the right size and shape). Do only about 3 at a time. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, until the edges are brown and the dough is cooked through. Let cool for a minute or so, and then while the dough is still pliable, roll it around something about 1” in diameter. I used cannoli forms for this, but you can also use a bottle neck or the handle from your mortar & pestle. Let it stay wrapped until it starts to cool and holds its shape. Place on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Melt the chocolate chips and non-dairy milk together in the microwave or on the stovetop. Whisk together to make a smooth, drippable chocolate.

Once the shells are completely cooled, pipe the cashew filling into them using a pastry bag or plastic bag with a hole cut in the corner (make sure it’s big enough for the peaches to go through!). Drizzle with chocolate and a dusting of powdered sugar if desired. Serve immediately.

This amount makes about 10 cannoli.

Kelli's Cannoli

I’ve always thought of cannoli as a special occasion dessert, but why wait? It’s a delicious way to do something special for someone you love.  Thanks again, Somer, for having me over today!

Kelli Roberts is a skilled Vegan Chef with a certificate in plant-based diet from Cornell University, and is a certified health & nutrition counselor from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She has been vegetarian for nearly 20 years and vegan for 11, and has spent hundreds of hours learning about the benefits of a vegan diet and healthful cooking techniques. Kelli teaches vegan cooking classes and programs to transition to a plant-based diet (online and in person), and offers individualized nutrition and lifestyle counseling. She is also a Level 3-certified TriYoga teacher. With this training, she leads vegan yoga retreats that offer a complete package of wellness, including yoga classes, group meal preparation, health and nutrition information, and techniques to bring this knowledge actively into our daily lives.

Kelli's Collage

To see some of Kelli’s most recent incredible creations on her site, click on any of the following links.

Clockwise: Carrot Cake WafflesMostly Raw Blackberry Lavender Ice Cream, Rosemary Olive Potpie TurnoversRaw Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Sundaes, Vegan Pasta CarbonaraRaw Strawberry Ginger Pudding, The Best Avocado Toast Ever and Green Warrior-Goddess Soup.

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Filed under Desserts, Friendship, Guest Post, Healing Series, Vegan

Reinventing Somer. Healing Series I

goodbye runningGoodbye for now, running. I miss you like crazy.

I’m here to clear up some myths, as well as find a way to ease some of my angst. If you don’t feel like getting personal, come back and visit in a couple days, I have some great food coming on the blog again on Friday.

“Every night you cry yourself to sleep. Thinking: “Why does this happen to me? Why does every moment have to be so hard?” Hard to believe.” -Maroon 5

I am not the perfect picture of health right now. In January of this year, I had an accident. I fell on black ice. I hit my head, my elbow and my lower hip/(hamstring) area. At the time, I just thought I had very (very) painful watermelon sized bruising. It hurt like hell, but I’m stubborn and didn’t go to the doctor. I just thought it would heal and that I would be fine. It wasn’t until 3 months later, while I was still in pain all the time and couldn’t make it up my stairs without cringing that I decided it was time to go in. My sports medicine doctor gave me a cortisone shot, a frown and a referral for emotional therapy (I didn’t go).

“You gotta cry without weeping, talk without speaking, Scream without raising your voice” -U2

The other solution? Physical Therapy, and lots of it. I’ve been going now for over a month and a half. My sessions consist of some sweet torture with these archaic looking Graston Therapy Technique Tools followed by soft tissue massage.

graston technique

The physical therapists work me with the various tools from my hip to my knee, trying to break down the muscle tissue fibers that have healed wrong. The treatment is supposed to realign the scar tissue and get it to heal properly. The therapy causes ripe bruises to bloom nearly each time I visit. The result is that my dent in my leg where my hamstring muscle perforated is somewhat smoother, but the truth is, I probably waited too long before seeking treatment. My scar tissue is like a crazy big lump and it isn’t really going anywhere. I can’t sit or stand comfortably for more than 20 minutes at a time. I’m always feeling some level of pain, even on my good days it’s nice and dull and present. Stairs are getting easier, but if I have to bolt up them, I’m quickly reminded to slow the heck down so I don’t hurt myself. Any repetitive motion exercises are out. Walking two blocks is a chore. Don’t even ask me about pushing a grocery cart or rolling over in bed to sleep on my left side.

Pain is Weakness

Even harder though is that I’ve felt like the injury crushed my soul just as much as it crushed my leg. I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with how something that happened in a flash could alter me so completely. Running not only provided a fitness outlet for me, it was also my stress relief, my internal therapy and something that I felt like was a huge part of my identity. Sure, I’ve taken a running break now and again, but now that I’m unable to run, I feel like I’ve lost a huge piece of myself. I’ve been in mourning. Tears come too easily most days. But I’m learning that running doesn’t define me, just like the number on the scale (a bit higher) doesn’t make me any less awesome. I’ve found strength in turning to my spiritual side. I’m also trying to re-direct my focus onto what I can do. 

“What else should I be? All apologies.” -Kurt Cobain

I’m doing pilates like exercises with stretchy bands to strengthen my legs, which have pretty much atrophied from disuse. Sometimes I get crazy and do the recumbent bike or elliptical for a few minutes. (Ow and ow). Last week I tried running on the treadmill at physical therapy with an anti-gravity harness on for 10 minutes. It was way too soon, and I’m paying for it big time.

“Aim high, but do not aim so high that you totally miss the target” -Gordon B. Hinckley

The waffle makerGoodbye Ragnar Relay and the Beautiful well earned Waffle Breakfast. This would have been our sixth year together. I think I miss you the most of all the races.

No more breakfastGoodbye fit legs. I hope we can be friends again someday.

So, I’m not exactly sure what comes next. I’ve bought a fancy prancy gym membership with a Restorative Yoga Class and a pool for me to get my pool running on with this awesome pool belt.

the hand offI’m passing the baton and teaching some running skills vicariously to someone new who asked for my help. I’m sure they’ll love it as much as I did in time.

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing, ‘Cause I built my life around you” -Stevie Nicks

somer luckyFor now, I’m happy to spend a good portion of my day cuddling with my dog and snoozing on the couch (he’s been glued to my side ever since I got hurt). I’ll let you know how things are going. Hopefully, someday soon, I’ll be up and running again.

“Every step I take, every move I make. Every single day, every time I pray. Ill be missing you” -Sean Combs, riffing on The Police

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Filed under Healing Series, Running