Homemade Soy Yogurt

Soy Yogurt

For many, maybe even most people, cheese is the one thing that is most difficult to imagine giving up when considering going vegan. Fortunately, there are so many awesome and uncannily-similar-to-dairy vegan cheeses on the market these days that there’s little to miss out on in this department anymore. About as often, though, I hear another reason for which I’ve been able to offer little recourse: yogurt.

I so get this. For many people, yogurt is a breakfast staple. It’s lighter than oatmeal and cool on those days when you’re not in the mood for something hot, yet is still a solid base for all the same sorts of toppings. There actually are several dairy-free yogurt options on the market, but few of them are very good and not all of them are reliably vegan. I’ve personally only ever found two store-bought vegan yogurts that I wholeheartedly enjoyed*. The first was a brand called Whole Soy & Co, a soy-based yogurt with a nice texture that wasn’t intolerably sweet. I appreciated that it came in a plain variety and, though I was never able to find it, plain unsweetened as well. Unfortunately, this yogurt disappeared from the shelves shortly after I found it, made a brief and glorious comeback, and now seems to be gone for good (you can read the details here). The second brand is Anita’s Creamline, a coconut yogurt made with coconut milk, coconut water, and cultures—and that’s it. It’s unsweetened, free of additives and thickeners, and has a creamy, indulgent texture and a lip-smacking tang. The problem with this brand is that it’s on the pricey side, only locally available (so I can’t widely recommend it), and difficult to find consistently even at the locations that stock it.

So, last summer, in the midst of an Anita’s shortage and before Whole Soy made their fleeting reappearance, I decided to begin working on a homemade dairy-free yogurt…. 

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Pumpkin Apple Chia Cereal

Pumpkin Apple Chia Cereal

I have a confession.

You know how Amazon has that “look inside” feature that lets you preview the content of a book? Often, when I’m considering a cookbook by an author that I’m not familiar with and this feature is available, I’ll page through to get a sense of what their recipes are like and whether I might actually like them. Then, sometimes, if I come across a recipe that looks particularly good, I’ll take a screenshot of it so I can make it later.

Is that bad? It feels sort of naughty every time I do it. I mean, they’re making the content available so it should be okay, right? And, in all fairness, if I try the recipe and like it, I’ll usually buy the book. I guess there’s just something about saving it that feels a little dirty.

Glad I got that off my chest.

P.S. Don’t judge me.

P.P.S. I also have a recipe for you…. 

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Green Smoothie of the Moment

Peachy Green Smoothie
In April of this year, Chris and I bought our first home. We weren’t super well-acquainted with the neighborhood before we moved, but we were very excited that we would be living just one block away from a big park. We were even more excited when we learned that there is a greenmarket in the park every weekend and that the neighborhood CSA program’s pickup location is right next to that market.

Veggie-lovin’ jackpot! Before we even started packing boxes, I made sure we were signed up for the CSA.

We’d participated in our old neighborhood’s CSA a few times, and we loved the spirit of it as well as receiving a huge haul of organic produce every week, but our relationship with that CSA was a bit love/hate. The pick up location was more than a mile and half away without convenient subway access. While a 35-minute walk may not be such a huge deal, the 35-minute walk home loaded down with pounds upon pounds of produce in the middle of August was another story. It also didn’t help that the route passed through a pretty sketchy industrial area. Our solution to this problem was to rent a Zipcar each week to retrieve our share, which felt indulgent and totally negated the financial benefits of CSA participation.

A five-minute walk through the park to snag our veggies alongside a greenmarket sounded like heaven.

Almond Butter & Spinach
And it has been great! Those Saturday morning strolls feel sweet. We cruise through the greenmarket, stopping for a moment so that Roman can listen to the guitarist near the entrance and show everyone his awesome dance moves. Sometimes we grab lunch from Body and Soul, the vegan bakery stand with a nice gluten-free selection. Then we pop over and pick up our CSA share.

As anyone who’s ever participated in a CSA knows, the amount of produce you receive can be somewhat overwhelming. It took me a while to get back into the swing of using up all of our goodies (I totally forgot about freezing by the way! Next year I will definitely be freezing the things I know I can’t get around to.) but we’ve gotten into a good rhythm with the vegetables. I even used up all of our zucchini last week! The fruit has been a little trickier, though.

We usually receive two different kinds of fruit and will often get a lot of one of them. Early on we’d get quarts of blueberries. This was never a problem since they were sweet and wonderful; I’d eat a heaping cupful with breakfast every day and was sad when they stopped coming. Then, for a few weeks, we were getting dozens of little yellow plums. I dutifully ate as many of them as I could stomach before I’d had enough of wincing through the bitterness of their skins. Lately, we’ve been getting tons of little donut peaches…. 

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