“I feel like such a heifer. I had two bowls of Special K, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, five peanut butter M&M’s and like three pieces of licorice.”—Cher, Clueless
When the real-life Cher, Alicia Silverstone, went vegan, it was the peanut butter and chocolate combo she and her Clueless alter ego so loved that constituted her greatest source of angst. “The thing I was really sad about when I went vegan was that I’d never have a chocolate peanut butter cup again [they’re typically made with milk chocolate]…but then I came up with my own amazing recipe.” On the plus side, she felt the opposite of a heifer. Fifteen years ago, when the actress gave up meat and dairy, a happy side effect of helping the animals was shedding the excess weight she’d been straining to lose through dieting.
It may no longer be Meatless Monday, but if you’re seriously invested in slimming down and feeling more energized, cutting out meat just one day a week won’t, well, cut it. In her interview with Women’s Health, Alicia Silverstone had this advice for those of us looking to ease our way into a healthier, more eco-conscious lifestyle: “…even [making] a few changes does have an impact…Start just by increasing the amount of whole grains [you] eat each day—like quinoa, wild rice, and couscous. Then you can do simple things—like, if you eat chicken and beef four times a week, cut down to just once a week at first. All of these choices can make a significant difference.”
No time like the present to get on track. When you’re throwing together dinner tonight, take a page (or two) out of Silverstone’s cookbook The Kind Diet with these delicious and easy vegan recipes. As far as taste is concerned, this toasted nori burrito rivals any authentic Mexican munchies Cher could’ve picked up from the Valley, plus its nutritional value is through the roof. (It also requires no cooking and can be made from leftovers…need we say more?) For dessert, treat everyone to the mouthwatering vegan peanut butter cups that kept Silverstone from missing the real thing. Bonus: These confections also make a great, festive finger food for Halloween parties, and are a sweet alternative to corn syrup-laden candies.
Alicia’s Toasted Nori Burritos
1 umeboshi plum
1 cup cooked brown rice (leftover is great)
2 sheets toasted nori
2 romaine lettuce leaves
1 avocado, sliced
1 apple, sliced
4 fresh basil leaves
Leaves from 6 cilantro sprigs
Leftover cooked kale or salad greens
1. Tear the umeboshi plum into little pieces and discard the pit.
2. Place half the rice on each sheet of nori and top with the remaining ingredients.
3. Roll the nori into a cone shape around the filling; if it’s rolled tightly, you can seal the edges by wetting your finger to dampen the edges of the nori.
Alicia’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
1/2 c Earth Balance natural spread (dairy-free butter)
3/4 c crunchy peanut butter (preferably natural, unsweetened, and unsalted)
3/4 c graham cracker crumbs or 10 graham cracker squares, crushed
1/4 c maple sugar or other granulated sweetener
1 c grain-sweetened nondairy chocolate or carob chips
1/4 c soy, rice, or nut milk
1/4 c chopped pecans, almonds, or peanuts
1. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. (Find out where to acquire unbleached liners at ifyoucare.com.) Set the tin aside.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and maple sugar; mix well. Remove the mixture from the heat. Divide mixture evenly (about 2 tablespoons per cup) among the muffin cups.
3. Combine the chocolate and milk in another pan. Stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted. Spoon the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture. Top with chopped nuts. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours before serving.