Posted by Noelle on April 14th, 2012
Categories: Pasta, Salads, Sides
Tags:

Summer is almost here! I can barely contain my joy these days when I walk outside in the morning and feel the warm sun beating against my face. Even though it's still chilly enough that I need to don my favorite thick brown sweatshirt, the sunshine itself is enough to remind me that the gray days of winter are over and the warm days filled with buzzing bees will soon be here. I love living here in the north where we go through the seasons, year-after-year, it really makes me appreciate it when the seasons change. Now we are in the midst of spring with the flowers blooming in all their glory, the trees unfurling their leaves, the grass returning to it's vibrant green lushness, you get the idea... But maybe it wouldn't look so stunning to me if I was spoiled and had it year round, ok I did say maybe 🙂 Here we get to see all of these amazing changes happen right before our eyes and over the course of a few weeks we go from cold constant grey to brimming life at every seam. It truly is amazing. So all of this means one thing...summer is on it's way. I already have picnics and dinners outside on the deck planned in my head. Pitchers of iced tea, seitan kebabs on the grill, mmmm! One of my most favorite sides for summer is macaroni salad. And as you know I like to experiment with flavors, a lot. Sometimes my family enjoys it, sometimes they cringe when I start whipping together ingredients like a mad scientist. This one was not too hard to sell, we love curry and we love macaroni salad. So I married them. There wasn't an official ceremony or anything, but the food at the reception was amazing... Now I can say that not only do I love macaroni salad, but I love creamy curry macaroni salad. It's something different, a twist if you will on the faithful standard. It doesn't stray too far from the original, but it travels just enough to make it an interesting and delicious ride. Happy almost summer to you all 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz macaroni noodles, or pasta of your choice, cooked al dente, drained, rinsed, and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup yellow, orange or red pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup Vegenaise
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the pasta, vegetables, and cilantro in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine. In a separate small bowl whisk together the Vegenaise, curry, agave, and vinegar until the curry has dissolved into the liquids. Pour over pasta and stir gently with a wooden spoon or spoonula until the pasta and veggies are fully coated in creamy curry goodness. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or longer to get the salad chilled and give the flavors a chance to marry. Serves 6 as a wonderful summer side.

Posted by Noelle on April 9th, 2012
Categories: Insights
Tags: ,,,,,

Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I am lucky enough to live in the area where the Dia Doce Cupcake truck decides to park and spread happiness one cupcake at a time. The best part is that Dia Doce is not just any cupcake truck… not only do they have your everyday person’s cupcakes (boring), they have vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, corn-free, soy-free, legume-free, etc… virtually allergen-free cupcakes. Holy Cow! No… Holy Cupcake!

The woman behind the cupcakes, Thais, is every bit as sweet and beautiful as her cupcakes. She recently went on Food Network’s show “Cupcake Wars” for their Girl Scout cookie episode. We watched with baited breath as in the very first round she decided to make a vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, corn-free, soy-free cupcake that was her version of the thin mint cookie. Now I have watched this show religiously and I know the judges have loved some vegan cupcakes, but I have never seen them love a gluten-free cupcake. They always make a comment that they can tell its gluten-free, etc and not in favorable way. So I was literally jumping out of my seat at her daring decision to make an allergen-free cupcake for the first round. With fingers and toes crossed we watched the judges as they tasted her cupcake… and they absolutely loved it! My family and I were jumping up and down with joy. She literally just told the world, or at least the small portion watching cupcake wars that a delicious vegan and allergen-free cupcake exists. At that moment I imagined kids with nut allergies and their parents shedding tears of joy. Thais and her Dia Doce cupcake truck won that entire episode, blowing away the competition. I am so proud of her for not taking the easy route and making all regular cupcakes, but for taking the risk for all of us with special dietary needs.

So my family and I have eaten many Dia Doce cupcakes, even when the cupcake truck itself did not exist yet and she was just the sweet woman offering her treats at local farmer’s markets. When the truck came, she already had built up quite a following. I know there have been times I have driven miles and miles in hopes to buy a vegan cupcake, but she was already sold out within 30 minutes of parking her truck. Now with her recent fame and success… the lines form and she sells out even quicker. Thank goodness she stocks some local stores so if I time it right, I get my cupcake fix. After she won the episode she was selling the packs of cupcakes from the show, I was desperate to get my hands on them…without much success. So I sent her a message and she was nice enough to set aside a vegan pack for me. You can see how pretty they are, did I mention yet that she only uses natural ingredients even for dying her frostings? I know, I love her too. They were all awesome. She changes her flavors regularly which makes it so much fun to keep trying her cupcakes. My all-time favorite was a banana chocolate chip cupcake, I still dream about it. The thing I love most about her cupcakes, is that unlike other gluten-free and even vegan cupcakes I have had that seem to overcompensate with sugar, her cupcakes are not too sweet, really letting the flavors shine through. So if you are ever in southeastern Pennsylvania, or even if you aren’t….check out Dia Doce. Support Thais and her efforts to bring sweets to everyone, without exception. You will taste the love in every bite. She’s on Twitter @DiaDoce and Facebook “Dia Doce”. Here’s her website: http://www.diadoce.com

Peace 🙂