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Cinnamon’s year in review

It was last January that my husband and I decided to do a 3 week cleanse.  It was the Clean cleanse, my second time around, my husbands first.  Being a pastry chef and loving sweets, a cleanse is never easy, so this time I decided to treat my husband and I to my favorite vegan, raw, and cleanse friendly treats each Saturday of the three weeks.  It was a hit!

And I decided to reach out to a local group of cleansers at Cleveland Yoga and give them the same cleanse friendly treats.  Knowing how hard a cleanse is!

Cinnamon was off and running by the end of January.  I met with two very good friends at a coffee shop to pitch my truffles, macaroons and cakes.  They became my support system.  And one took on all the visual designing.   Weeks later, business cards were printed and a website was going to be designed!

In February, Cleveland Yoga asked me to sell truffles for Valentine’s Day in their studio.  I made hundreds and hundreds.  Anything leftover I gave to other possible vendors and to friends to taste test.  In late March I sold out of truffles at EarthFest (also the coldest spring day imaginable and the day before Passover began).

I added in a photo shoot for my truffles and cakes later that spring while still hiding the fact that I found out I was pregnant!  I didn’t stop, just paused, during morning sickness making Cinnamon cakes and truffles for individual orders.  My husband, Dan, took over a few times late at night while I taught him how to make some of the treats.

During the summer I sold mostly to individuals and I never had a week without filling an order or making a new recipe.  I learned to blog and use facebook more than I ever imagined.  And I was excited to add Energy Bars to the Cinnamon menu!

Even during autumn and the craziness of preparing for the Jewish New Year and all the holidays following I made new truffles for the season.  Including apples & honey truffles and pomegranate truffles.  And this last couple of months I prepared for winter with more raspberry and matcha tea truffles and teas.

Thanksgiving was a different yet fun challenge.  My Mom broke her hand and my sister found out just a couple weeks earlier that she must go on an all gluten free diet, permanently.  So, I took on another holiday and made a gluten free Thanksgiving feast (it seriously lasted 5 days).

As I was preparing all of that food, I got a phone call to sell at a holiday boutique.  What a great way to add in my newest love, teas!  This last Wednesday I sold gift bags of teas and truffles with beautiful tea infusers and received compliments from vegans, people who know vegans, and many who suffer from gluten intolerance.  And I just sold 3.5 dozen truffles to a fellow vegan blogger with the approval (of the ingredients) of a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic.

I couldn’t be more pleased to be ending this year on such a high note!  I have truffles well stocked in my freezer whether for sale or for gift giving.  And I have Cinnamon’s basil leaf and rose petal herbal chai tea stocked in my pantry (for sale or gift giving, too!).

My legs are going to rest now (my Mom will be so pleased!) as I blog, blog, blog, share and share with my new Cinnamon friends.  And I wait for this little baby to arrive in the next few weeks.

Enjoy the holidays!  Debbie    PS, Here’s a snapshot from my display this past week.  I enjoyed watching people smelling and touchig the ingredients used in the truffles and teas.  Cacao butter smells and feels so good. 

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Pre Holiday and Baby, Introducing Basil and Rose Chai Tea

34 weeks and counting down…while Cinnamon is brewing tea.

Here’s a little Cinnamon history on tea.  Personally, I’ve always enjoyed tea and an occasional coffee.  Hey, I’m happy with hot water and lemon.  But my husband, Dan, has a more interesting story.  He was a coffee drinker!  And when I say coffee drinker, I mean that no one should talk to him before that first cup was in his body.  And, honestly, he didn’t even like the taste.  It was the cheapest coffee I could find at the store brewed in a very old Mr. Coffee.  Even my children were trained from the beginning not to talk to Daddy till he was drinking his coffee.  Then just over a year ago he transitioned to green tea.  I can’t recall all the reasons why he transitioned,  but I know it included a combination of actually enjoying some of my teas now and then and cleaning up some of his eating habits.  And now a different man enters the kitchen in the morning.  One who is calmer and smiling, even before his first mug of tea.  These days he likes his green teas, but he’s exploring twig and white teas.  And I’ve introduced him to the world of loose leaf teas and brewing his own.  Night time is fun when he mixes up some chamomile, nettle and who knows what else for both of us.

Now, when guests come over we offer a cup of tea.  And we don’t have any tea bags.  We have tea infusers that I’ve started to collect, from bamboo to heart shaped metal, and we brew everyone their own tea.

I am trained in baking but I really enjoy just listening to the little voice inside of me, what I read, and what my friends share about their new interests in food.  And then I just start cooking, baking and creating.  And tea just seemed like a great balance to those who don’t want to have truffles pushed on them all the time or who want a hot cup of tea with a truffle (that’s my favorite way to enjoy them).

This Wednesday evening I’ll be introducing my Basil and Rose Chai Tea along with raspberry truffles as gifts to give yourself or anyone on your holiday gift shopping list!   Information about the event is on Cinnamon’s facebook page.   facebook.com/cinnamonisgood

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A little bit about…ME.

I’ve been pretty quiet about this pregnancy and the adjustments I’ve had to make to Cinnamon since late spring.

At the beginning, I couldn’t look at chocolate (what a shame!) and I took two months off of all truffle rolling and baking.  I spent many days with crackers in my mouth on the couch watching cartoons with my little boy while the twins were at camp.  Popcorn and tortilla chips were also a favorite food.  And I hid since most people didn’t know I was preggy, yet.

As the morning sickness wore off, the bump appeared, and the “honeymoon” period began, I got right back into baking, truffle making and coming up with new recipes.  And everything was pretty much a hit.  It was all good.

The school year started and a game plan was made.  I make one or two truffle flavors a month, friends and customers will stock up their freezers.

Well, it did work, but now the freezers are bare and I’m in my third trimester and wanting to put my feet up a bit more and ready to enter that nesting phase.  As I’m typing this I’m enjoying kicks, pokes, jabs from inside and want to take all of this in before the reality of sleepless nights and four children hit me hard!

I never claimed or wanted to be a supermom, what I want is to nourish my children with laughter, playing, good food and treats, and helping them welcome a new family member.  But I also want to bake and learn…

What do I learn?  Well, I’m a homeopathic junkie.  I go to study groups, I remedy my children and husband at every sign and I am humbled by the world of homeopathy.  I also am fascinated by the effects of food on the body and spirit (hence, Cinnamon!) and the practice of Ayurveda.  And I read books on these subjects at any moment.  Now I’m reading this awesome book by Paul Pitchford.  It’s funny to see me in bed with a 800 page book on a big belly.  I love tea and talking about all types of teas with my husband.  We talk about teas, a lot.  And I love music, I miss my music.  I was (am) a percussionist and play around on the piano with my children.

So, I suppose I just wanted to share a bit about myself.  Cinnamon means the world to me and my growing family.  I fantasize about the day I can have my little vegan bakery, maybe a soup or two, teas, and a fresh juice for the customers, some beautiful music, and a library of “nourishing” books.  And my family hanging out being a part of it all.  And it’s a work in progress!

Deb

 

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The newest addition to the truffle family:

Here is the newest addition to Cinnamon’s truffle family.  The Pomegranate Truffle.  The fun part of working with a new truffle is that it can take on a life of it’s own.  My first version was small, smooth, simple.  But the second time I made it nothing was coming out right.  The coconut would not turn into a sily smooth butter and I decided to just let the truffles become what they wanted on their own.

My husband says that’s when my baking and cooking is it’s best.  That’s when I wow him and friends with my creations.  So I had faith…more coconut to make the truffles chewy, more ginger for a little hiddin spice, two pomegranate seeds stuffed in each truffle (instead of one) because I just had to make these babies large!

And with Sukkot beginning in about three hours, I plan on bringing out these little treats as guests and family come to visit.  Maybe it’ll brighten our moods since rain just arrived and it’s going to be a very wet and cold Sukkah to eat in.

Cinnamon is working hard during this busy holiday season taking orders including banana split cupcakes, a November truffle party, and a late October themed pumpkin spice truffle recipe in the works.  My legs might be getting a bit achey now that the third trimester has hit, but it’s all worth it.

Thanks for growing with me (in more ways than one!).   Debbie

 

 

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Update: Part II, A Labor of Love

What a ride!  As any creator, I have never ending thoughts on the evolution of Cinnamon.  And I have my husband, kids and many friends who let me know however they can whether its during the bedtime routine, a phone call or text me with their own ideas.  I love it.

And then there is the actual physical labor.  I’ve worked as a pastry chef in a restaurant and I know the sweat and tears involved.  It’s no different when you’re working in your own kitchen.  I think it’s harder with so many distractions.  Kids need help with homework, maybe a sibling fight here and there, and then there is a growing belly that is asking me to put my feet up!  But I take a deep breath, maybe shed a few tears when I’m working past my own bed time and just keep going.

It’s a labor of love!             Zac and Mom taking a breath of fresh air after making the coconut truffle

Please, please stay tuned with Cinnamon and all that is coming in the near future.  You won’t be dissapointed.

Zac eating truffle!

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A simple Pink Lemonade

I’m getting a bit lazy in the kitchen these days.  It’s hot out and I don’t want to be in a warm kitchen to cook, I just want to be outside with toddler blow up pools and slides.  I’ve been buying enormous watermelons and loads of local strawberries to keep the family cool and hydrated.

And the other day I decided I wanted lemonade.  I went to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and couldn’t find a lemonade for my family.  Either there was way too much sugar or it wasn’t kosher.  That was frustrating.  So, I bought a bunch of lemons and decided to do it myself.

 

Pink Lemonade, Cinnamon style

1 cup freshly squeezed lemons
10 cups cold water
1/2 cup raspberries
maple syrup
agave

I added the juiced lemons (even a little pulp), 6 cups of the water and the raspberries into my vita mix, or any blender, and started adding the maple syrup and agave to taste.

I do not have the amounts sweetner because I think it’s very personal (I like it tart) but I’d say I used about 1/2 cup each.

Then I poured the pretty pink lemonade into a huge pitcher added the rest of the water (4 cups) and chilled it well.  A complete hit for the weekend.

Now go outside and play!

 

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Follow up Recipe-Summer Quinoa Salad

Here’s a follow up from my previous post.  The quinoa salad I made a huge hit with the entire family (well, not the little one, but he’s a little picky these days).

Quinoa Salad with Raspberry Dressing

Dressing:
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 oz raspberry yogurt (I actually used strawberry)
1/2 teaspoon mustard

Salad:
4 cups cooked quinoa
1 tomato, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced

Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.  (add more or less of the ingredients, to your preference)
Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl and add the dressing, chill for an hour.  Add a little salt if needed.  Enjoy.

Nice thing about this recipe is that you can use vegan yogurt, you can choose a different yogurt flavor, and add any diced fruit (I added some strawberries to mine) or vegetable you have on hand.  Even some chopped almonds or sprinkle sunflower seeds on top for crunch.

 

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It’s starting to feel like Summer…

Those who live in Cleveland know that there is rarely a season called spring.  Winter is long, too long, and it goes straight into hot, muggy, summer weather.  And this year is no different, it’s been cold and rainy and now warm and humid.  I’m not complaining, I’m just grateful to know I will most likely not (you never know in Cleveland!) see snow for several months!

What I’ve also noticed is that the abrupt changes in the seasons is changing my cooking styles overnight.

For example, all winter I loved making brown rice and quinoa with root vegetables, baking for a long time, with lots of oils and spices.  Yesterday, I wanted to make quinoa, again, but I had to think fast for a new variation for the warm weather.  I do not want to be in a hot kitchen, I’d much rather be outside playing with my kids when they finish up their homework.

So, last night around 10pm I got my rice cooker out and cooked up 4 cups of quinoa.  Just before bedtime the cooking was done.  And now I don’t even have to turn on the oven today.  I decided to make it into a salad with fresh herbs, berries, a balsamic vinegar style dressing and steam some fish on the side.  Yum.  And that’s dinner.

Recipe will follow dinner time!

 

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Rose Water Truffles!

I’ve wanted to use rose water in my sweets for a long time.  And I was just at Sur La Table where I found a beautiful and kosher Rose Water.  Immediately, I went to work and added it to my truffles with fresh vanilla beans and a cinnamon stick.  I successfully made a beautiful truffle to add to the Cinnamon repertoire!

If you want to try a Rose Water Truffle, write a comment below or on Facebook (local friends, only) and I’ll personally deliver one to you.

With love,  Debbie

 

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming up and Cinnamon will not forget all the Mommy’s out there.  Afterall, as posted yesterday, the Mommy’s need to be taken care of!

And since every Mom deserves a Cinnamon truffle…A Cinnamon is Good For You COUPON will delivered to you!

To receive the coupon post a comment in the comment section below or on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Nourish Yourself!

I’m sure you can all relate to this.  As a Mom, I take care of three children and a husband.  I worry about my friends and family.  But I forget to take care of myself.  Do I sit down and feed myself a warm plate of food during the day?  Do I ever take a long bath?  Do I laugh and giggle with my kids enough? 

There was a time that I didn’t do anything for myself.  I thought my job was to take care of everyone else.  And I noticed I wasn’t laughing enough.   

Recently, I’ve started taking baths again.  With sesame oil, essence of orange, and even lemons floating in the water.  I make at least two cups of tea during the day and sit with it and feel the warm mug.  I color and paint along with my children and compare our stick people. 

My intention with Cinnamon is to help Nourish people with my sweet creations.  Cinnamon, the spice alone, is Nourishing.  It warms you from the inside as it increases blood circulation, it balances blood sugar, relieves muscle tension and is really good for your teeth.  It is a universally healing food! 

Here is a Cinnamon tooth powder you can make at home!

2 Tablespoons Cinnamon powder, 4 Tablespoons Arrowroot, and a pinch of Pepper.  Mix the ingredients to a paste with water and brush.  This is really good for sensitive teeth. 

And here is a simple Cinnamon snack for the family!  (no amounts here, just enjoy mixing till it tastes like you want it to)

Almond butter (raw or roasted, your choice), Brown Rice Syrup, ground Cinnamon and a dash of salt.  Mix in a bowl and spread on rice cakes, toast, muffins, OR take the pit out of a Date and spoon it into the now empty space, seal it up and pop in your mouth.  It is so delicious!  This is  my favorite dessert or snack these days. 

Enjoy!!!

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Truffles are now a luxurious health food…

As I’m preparing to speak at EarthFest this Sunday, I realize that Cinnamon’s truffles and sweets are a luxury in many ways. 

They are made of the most pure, organic, unadulterated ingredients provided from nature.

They are a pleasure to taste.

They are balanced in energy and contentment.   

At EarthFest I will speak about three common ingredients I use in the truffles and how they are truely healthy and beneficial to eat.  So, relax and enjoy a treat that is kind to you and your health. 

And I will share the information that I’m speaking about at EarthFest with you in following posts.

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Vegan?!

I get this question all of the time.  Are you Vegan?!  It’s either an instant bond with another person or it’s time to pull out why or why not you (or the other person)!  I don’t look forward to the question.  But I’m always happy to answer it. 

A month or two ago, I would’ve said “YES, I’m vegan and proud of it!”.  And the truth was, I was vegan.  For months I didn’t touch dairy, animal meat or eggs.  I felt great.  And then, recently, a craving came in for dairy, then a little chicken.  And I believe in completely honoring the body and listening!  After riding out the cravings a little, I tried a bite of chicken and I had a yogurt another day.  And it was good.  And I gave thanks and a blessing while I prepare the chicken to feed my family.  And I was content having the yogurt as something that could nourish me. 

I made a mistake saying YES, I’m vegan.  What I should say when asked any question is that I believe in a wholesome, nourishing, kind diet.  Everyone can define that their own way.  And that’s great. 

Now, Cinnamon is Vegan.  That will not change.  From over 13 years of professional baking and lots of experimenting, I love vegan baking.  Cinnamon’s sweets can feed everyone.  And Cinnamon’s sweets are not just vegan, they are sweets that give you energy and stamina, that make you walk away feeling good and only enhance your inner and outer beauty. 

Thank you for letting me share!

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Shabbat Menu

I am continuing to post my weekly Shabbat menus.  It’s back to being cold (though it is sunny), so the food’s a bit warmer. 

Friday evening:

Vegan Challah (50% whole wheat flour); Pureed carrot and cauliflower soup with brown rice; sesame sweet and sour baked tempeh

Saturday lunch:

Vegan Challah; Rice balls (traditional macrobiotic dish of brown rice rolled into a ball with a little ume plum stuffed in the middle, wrapped in nori) with a dipping sauce; cucumber and radish salad; lentil, adzuki bean, and millet cholent (cooked in a crock pot overnight)

Saturday evening:

Anything leftover from the previous meals; roasted nuts; and fresh fruit for the kids.  And there are a few brazil nut macaroons left over in my freezer from taste testing!

There you go!

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Introducing Chocolate Pudding

This recipe has been around a long time and I see variations on it in many vegan cookbooks.  But I still surprise people when they try it, they can never figure it one key ingredient…avocadoes!

This is a rich, decadent and very kind to your body dessert.  Enjoy it.

2 cups avacaods (about 2)

1/4  cup agave and 1/4 cup maple syurp*

2 Tablespoons coconut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup pure cocoa powder (Scharffen berger and Navita’s natural raw is my choice)

In addition:  fresh fruit (berries) and mint as a garnish

*I like to mix sweeteners and get many levels of taste going on.  In addition, you can use all agave or all maple syrup depending on your needs.  Another neat thing to try is using date paste, just soak dates (pitted) in a little hot water and smoosh with a fork.

To prepare:  In a food processor, blend the avocados, sweeteners, coconut butter, and vanilla till creamy.  Remove to a bowl and add the cocoa powder and mix very well till smooth.  (sifting the ccocoa powder is a good idea!)

To serve:  Spoon into a bowl or into individual dishes and garnish with berries and/or mint.   Please be creative with a dash of cinnamon, some raw cacao nibs, or freezing and eating it like ice cream!

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Spring has arrived, can you taste it?!

Over the last two weeks I’ve noticed that I’m gravitating from the heavier root vegetables, short grain brown rice dishes and looking forward to fresh baby green salads and white basmati rice.  I’ve also been selecting my lemony green teas over the twig and yerba mates that got me through winter. 

Here’s a list of what I’m starting to buy and make for my spring shopping:

  • Green tea (tulsi tea)
  • Dandelion Greens in soup, salads, and juiced…try this juice recipe, I love it .
  • Quinoa and white basmate rice
  • My simple and fancy spring salad:  Hemp seed oil and ume vinegar mixed together for salad dressing over baby greens with radishes, cucumber, and celery. 

Spring pea soup

Heat 2 T olive oil in a soup pot

Add one large onion, diced (sweet yellow onion is my favorite), and sautee for 5 minutes till just softening.

Add 3 stalks celery, 1 leek chopped, 1 lb. green peas (frozen is ok) and a dash of sea salt. 

Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil.  Then lower to a simmer for 15 minutes. 

Turn off heat, add a handful of chopped mint. 

Puree soup and re-heat.  If too thick, add more water. 

Serve it with a little ume vinegar and/or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

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A Vegan menu

My family observes Shabbat.  I cook like crazy Friday morning till the rush just minutes before Sundown.  My Shabbat meals are vegan and lots of friends are curious what I make.  So, I decided I’ll post my Shabbat menu every Friday.  This should inspire you whether you are or are not vegan. 

Friday night:

Challah (vegan and 50% whole wheat); Pea, Celery, Mint soup; Avocado and Cucumber sushi

Saturday lunch:

Challah; “egg” salad (tofu); cold lemon rice salad; lentil soup (cooked overnight in a crock pot); grape leaves and pickles

Saturday evening:

Challah; all the leftovers; fruit salad; oatmeal chocolate squares

There you go.  I’m popping popcorn to snack on through the evening and tomorrow and the kid’s love that.  Of course, there are some truffles in the freezer for any of us to grab for a little extra sweeteness. 

If you keep track of these menu’s you will notice that I keep similar themes going for a while and then switch with the weather and seasons.  Two months ago, this menu would’ve been roasted squashes, baked tofu, pureed soups.  It’s amazing how the sun and a little more warmth changes even a menu.

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Cinnamon’s Breakfast Smoothie

Don’t knock this till you try it….Cinnamon’s Truffles for breakfast! 

I am very serious.  I have introduced this to several friends and my husband.  One or two, along with your favorite tea or coffee is a superior breakfast.

Personally, I find these truffles to give me a nice little boost of energy along with my tea, I don’t feel weighed down, and I know I have healthy fats and a nice stable sweetener that won’t effect my blood sugar.

And here’s a Smoothie Recipe that incorporates these lovely truffles:

In your best blender (I use a vita mix) add:

2 cup Almond milk

1 cup Frozen fruit (Type of fruit is up to your liking  or coordinate with your truffles! Such as raspberries with raspberry truffles or maybe frozen mango with the matcha tea,  banana with the chai or blueberries with the maca root).

2  Cinnamon truffles

A dash of vanilla and cinnamon (optional)

Blend and enjoy and please, be creative!  Share your creations with me…

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A favorite vegan treat

I give all the credit to Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet and here is a link for her site The Kind Life.  I think it’s a fabulous book!  A great read and never failed recipes.  I’ve tried most of them.  You do not need to be vegan to enjoy the dishes and to have a little education into why someone might want to incorporate a little bit of veganism into their home. 

This is my husbands favorite dessert and it’s usually gone within 12 hours of making it! 

Vegan, Macrobiotic style Crispy Rice Treats…

…with a Cinnamon style option*!

1 box brown rice crisps cereal

1 3/4 cups brown rice syrup

fine seal salt (pinch)

3/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter (unsweetened and unsalted)

optional:  1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (look for grain sweetened and even carob styles)

Pour the cereal into a large bowl.  Heat the syrup with the salt in a sauce pan over low heat and till it becomes a nice warm liquid.  At this point, add the nut butter and stir till combined.  Pour over the cereal and mix well.

If adding the chips, let cool to room temperature and add the chips in (so the chips don’t melt…unless you want a completely chocolate treat, which isn’t a bad option!).

Spoon the mixture into a baking dish (8×8, 9×13, etc.).  Wet a spoon or your hands lightly and press down firmly.  Let cool and then cut into squares.

*Ok, here’s two Cinnamon options!  I’ve used tahini and looooved the dessert.  It’s rich and reminds me of halavah.  I also used sunflower seed butter.  Both of these are good for kids with nut allergies. 

Easy, vegan, and easy on your blood sugar treats!  Enjoy.

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