Whoah! Have the Itty Bitty Foodies turned vegan you ask? No not at all but we jumped at the chance of finding new ways to become healthier. When we were invited, along with a few select food bloggers to host the Dining at the Ravens blog tour, we enthusiastically raised our hands! The new vegan recipe book, “Dining at the Ravens” by Jeff and Joan Stanford was an exciting discovery. As we flipped through the first few pages, we discovered the Stanfords owned a unique vegan eco-inn in Mendocino, California called the Stanford by the Sea. It is the perfect family hideaway for those who want to unplug from the world and just smell (and eat) the flowers. “We think of ourselves as a garden with an inn, rather than an inn with a garden,” quotes the Stanfords in their book. The organic farm sanctuary is what we call a magical kingdom on ten acres lush with organic produce, herbs and edible flowers for the inn’s gourmet vegan restaurant, named The Ravens.
And that’s not all, there are animals too! “Children are welcome. They love to see the animals–donkeys, llamas, horses, cats, dogs, geese, ducks–and enjoy the grounds, with secret spots in the gardens. We sit on ten acres and kids love the freedom of that space,” says the Stanfords. “We have the indoor pool which is a big hit. And we have two scavenger hunt activity sheets we hand out, which encourage exploring the property. Parents enjoy these, too! Depending on ages/size of the children we have bicycles and they can go canoeing. We also have sand pails for trips to the beach. Again depending of the ages, children can join their parents in some classes: cooking, playshops, nutrition, and yoga”. Sounds heavenly!
However, if you haven’t the chance to visit, the Stanfords are sharing a slice of their plant-based paradise in their newly released cookbook, “Dining at the Ravens”. Along with featuring over 150 nourishing recipes, Dining at The Ravens shares the charming history of the Inn and the restaurant, cooking tips for on-point recipe execution and inspiration for crating your very own garden. For my Mexican food lovers, the Ravens Chilaquiles comprising of tortilla strips soaked in the signature Ravens enchilada sauce, refried beans, Mexican rice and tofu-spinach scramble makes for a healthy, hearty breakfast. The Stanfords have generously shared the recipes of their most popular dishes in Dining at The Ravens like:
- Citrus Polenta with Braised Garden Greens and a Creamy Toasted Cashew Sauce
- Crab-less cakes
- Savory Napoleon
- Mushroom Pesto Burger
- Kale Salad with Avocado Lime Verjus Dressing, Trumpet Mushrooms and Avocado
- Eggplant Cannelloni
There’s a dessert section too! Beefcake’s favorite is the “Basic Sorbet” which lets him break out the Vitamix on a regular basis, for a quick healthy fruit iced treat. The Chocolate Ganache Tart looks so creamy and rich, it’s hard to believe there isn’t any dairy in it. Non-vegans may want to start with dishes that are familiar like crab-less cakes but are made without dairy or animal products especially if you have picky eaters.
Itty Bitty Foodies and BenBella Vegan are giving away one (1) copy of Dining at The Ravens to a lucky reader. To enter is easy, just click on the widget below for all the ways to gain entries. This is only open to US and Canadian readers (sorry, we aren’t able to send it overseas but you can buy a copy of the book here). The giveaway ends March 2nd, 2016 at 12am Eastern Time.
But if you can’t wait, order a copy (or two) of Dining at The Ravens — they make great gifts! And just to whet your appetite, I’m sharing the Classic Breakfast Muffins recipe. It’s made with so much fruit, you can have it for breakfast, snack or dessert. The recipe is so easy, the children can make it.
Classic Breakfast Muffins
Makes 8 muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1–2 tablespoons golden flaxseed, ground to fine powder
1 cup soymilk
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons organic applesauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup fruit (blueberries, chopped strawberries, bananas, etc.; optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8 cups of a muffin tin or line with muffin cups.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flaxseed, soymilk, water, coconut oil, applesauce, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
4. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir until just combined. Fold in fruit.
5. Spoon batter into the muffin tin, dividing among 8 muffin cups.
6. Bake for 15–20 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Till our Next Happy Meal!
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