Friday, October 29, 2010
My fav snack lately? Coconut almond granola served over So Delicious coconut milk yogurt (vanilla, if you must know). Simple, filling, beyond yummy. I wish you all lots of yummy treats this weekend! I'll see you back here on Monday for the start of Vegan Mofo - woot!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I just started to have a love affair with cabbage. C has been a big fan of this veggie for quite a while, but I continued to hold out and politely decline whenever he made a dish with a little cabbage thrown in. I'm not entirely sure where my anti-cabbage sentiment originated, but I remember not being a fan of 'slaw' when I was younger so I imagine that has something to do with it. Plus the name - cabbage - doesn't sound particularly appetizing and brings back memories of those creepy Cabbage Patch Kids who stare at you with their dimpled cabbage-sized heads (I had a few of those when I was younger, and looking back those were some of the creepiest toys I've ever played with).
Fast forward to the present. We're definitely trying to be a little more thrifty in our food spending habits - it's too easy to walk into Whole Foods and want to try everything. We're really making sure we're using up what's in the fridge and cupboard before filling them up again. The other night for dinner the remains of some cabbage were in the fridge, and I knew my time had come to incorporate that into our meal. I had a momentary panic attack, and then thought about lettuce wraps. I had never made these before but imagined I could use the cabbage as the outer layer to hold some yummies. I slow cooked seitan, carrots, and a little cabbage in veggie broth for about one hour and played around with lots of different spices. The end result was completely delicious and I am completely converted to loving cabbage. When C was out of town I found myself adding it into my meals - into pasta sauce and sliced onto sandwiches - without his nudging to do so. In fact I feel rather sheepish that it took me this long to get over my inexplicable cabbage protest. I'm planning on making my own version of slaw this spring - I will most likely name it something else because 'slaw' is really a terrible name for a dish - and I'm pretty excited to continue finding new ways to cook with my current fav veggie.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Oy. The past two weeks haven't seen too much time for blogging on here - apologies. We're still getting settled and unpacking and the like. I have an amazing internship that keeps me busy-busy and C just got back from a ten day tour. I've definitely been cooking up a storm so I have lots of catch-up to do here - or I can save a few meals to write about during Vegan MoFo, which starts in a few days. It's pretty exciting that I'm planning to partake in Vegan MoFo this year - last year I happened upon some amazing blogs right in the middle of MoFo and I was able to read some inspiring stories and recipes. I hadn't really read too many vegan blogs before that - just every now again while searching for meal ideas would I randomly come upon one. But last year's Vegan Mofo was the catalyst that got me hooked on several vegan blogs and had me seriously contemplating starting my own. Almost one year later I've signed on to do MoFo and I couldn't be more excited! So I've been jotting down some ideas to make sure I have enough material to last the full month - and my lack of posting the past two weeks ensures I'll have plenty of things to post about for November.
So that cupcake above? Pumpkin s'mores cupcake. Yes, that's right. Pumpkin. S'mores. Cupcake. It was an idea that hit me late one night and the next morning I ran out and grabbed some chocolate so I could make this immediately. The bottom is a graham cracker chocolate cake and the top is a dollop of pumpkin marshmallow cream with a little bit of chocolate. Please excuse my lackluster decorating skills - I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to decorate these, so they came out not as pretty as they taste. And my marshmallow 'ghost' (with painted chocolate face) was a silly afterthought. But holy smokes - these taste delicious. I was especially pleased with the graham cracker chocolate cake - it was moist, and the flavors continued to get stronger in the few days these babies lasted. I'm going to throw together another batch of these in the next two days because my bro is in town (wahoo!) and I'm pretty sure he will bow down to my vegan awesomeness if he tastes these. Seriously - these are a treat that will amaze non-vegans, and I'm all about subversive intros to vegan goodies.
Graham cracker cupcakes
1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Earth Balance (or other veg butter sub)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 powdered egg replacer
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk + 1/4 cup soy yogurt
1 cup choc chips
Combine the first five ingredients. Cream the veg butter with sugar until well mixed, then add in the applesauce and egg replacer (quick note: This is something I usually try to ensure fluffy, moist cakes: I split up my egg replacers. My fav egg replacer is usually applesauce (1/4 cup applesauce = 1 egg), but I've found that if I add applesauce in addition to the powdery egg replacer it covers up the chalky taste I find that stuff has but still binds everything together really well. The applesauce adds that little bit of moisture. I've tried it with a couple of different cakes and am always really happy with how it turns out. Feel free to use your own egg replacer in this recipe.) Add in the vanilla. Mix together the milk and soy yogurt until well combined, then add this into the butter/sugar mixture. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Finally, add in the choc chips. Pour the cupcakes into liners or a greased muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (depending on your oven).
Pumpkin Marshmallow Cream
1 1/2 cup Dandies Marshmallows
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp soy milk
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Our current house has a microwave - something I haven't used in years (I've pretty much been a baking luddite). I'm slowly figuring out how to incorporate it in my baking process, which I was able to do with this step; I microwaved the marshmallows. I did it in short blasts of 10-15 seconds and stirred them together in between until they became creamy and gooey. Then I added in the other ingredients and stirred until combined. I popped the mixture in the microwave one more time because as it cooled the marshmallows wanted to solidify back together.
I spooned dollops of the pumpkin marshmallow on top of the cooled cupcakes. I had a few choc chips left, so I melted them with a smidge of Earth Balance (in the microwave!) and drizzled the 'icing' around the marshmallow. Next time I'm planning on spreading the marshmallow cream all over the cupcake and covering all of it with some more chocolate. I'm also pretty excited to make this into a cake vs a cupcake. I envision a marshmallow cream middle layer and chocolate icing all over it. Hmm, maybe that's what I'll make my bro this week instead?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Check out that title, huh? I'm trying to do a clever play on words with 'Moment of Zen.' I'm not sure if it's a success, but I'm going to go with it for the time being. The Moment of Yum will be a little post highlighting a refreshing respite from a busy day, usually involving a tasty treat (like my best respites do). Today's Moment of Yum is Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar All Natural Drink, the Ginger Spice flavor. Apple vider vinegar + ground up ginger = the best idea ever. Really. It was super tasty and I'm pretty convinced that if anything was ailing me this cleared it right up. Also, if I was Popeye this would be my spinach (no offense to spinach), supercharging me to be able to conquer my day's activities with a previously unknown strength. All together now: YUM.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Last Sunday C and I celebrated our first Sunday in Council Bluffs together with a 'radical' breakfast for dinner. Waffles, tvp sausage crumble and hash browns were the stars of the show. This was my first time making a breakfast sausage crumble, and my oh my it won't be the last. I think breakfast sausage is one my new faves. That hint of syrup and molasses? That light liquid smoke taste? It was heavenly, and the sausage was the first to go from my plate. I used this recipe - I give it two hearty thumbs up. C used some jalapenos to spice up the hash browns and I'm 99.99% positive these were the best hash browns he's ever made. The entire meal was an absolutely delightful - yet rebellious - way to celebrate our new adventures in the midwest.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Richard more or less stated, 'Just because I'm a vegan doesn't mean I don't want a greasy, unhealthy, cheesesteak (speaking about the dearly departed Gianna's in Philadelphia).' It's true, sometimes I have a terrible craving for half a batch of cookies or a whole pan of brownies (oink oink, no?). Now I could certainly make those cookies or brownies a little healthier, and sometimes I have, but when I have a craving for sweets or greasy stir fry what I'm craving is not a healthy version of those treats, but a vegan version that still celebrates the sugar and butter and oil and not-good-for-you parts of these recipes. Obviously such recipes don't make up the bulk of my vegan oeuvre - that would certainly be an issue that many would fault - but I believe every now and again such treats are okay. Everything in moderation, as they say. I also believe that veganized, 'unhealthy' versions of traditional eats are an excellent way of introducing cruelty-free foods to non-vegans, oftentimes creating an 'Aha!' realziation that vegan food is not so foreign or radical or scary. It can be an ambassador of sorts. And that's a good thing.
Which brings us to today's post - Jalapeno Poppers. This is by no means a healthy version of these spicy treats, what with the vegan cream cheese, the Daiya and the frying. Could I have made a healthier version of these? Absolutely. Were these a little heavy in our belly afterwards? Definitely. Were they worth it? YES. Now I've only ever had non-vegan jalapeno poppers once in my life, around the age of twelve, and I loved the cheesy gooeyness and hint of spice. C and I are spicy fiends, always eager to add more garlic or peppers to any recipe. So this seemed like an indulgent, spicy treat to make for ourselves - plus I love a good new cooking experiment. So during a visit with C before I moved up here I decided to try out some poppers.
I googled recipes for non-vegan poppers, intending to make as traditional a popper as I could. I found this one and made a few alterations based on the ingredients we had on hand. I included some of the jalapeno seeds in the cheesy mixture - for added heat - and didn't bother with the bacon (although I've been dying to try out the coconut bacon recipe from Vegan Good Things ever since I laid eyes on it). I also used twelve peppers, so I decreased the amount of cream cheese to 1/2 a package and I used about 1 cup of Daiya cheddar shreds.
There is something I absolutely love about getting a little messy while making food. It's oddly satisfying, no?
Ta-da! Greasy, gooey, messy, spicy, cheesy jalapeno poppers. Yummm. They were a little difficult to fry - the cheesy mixture kept wanting to spread outside of the peppers - and the breading wouldn't stick to the outside of the pepper. I think next time I try these I'll keep the peppers whole instead of cutting them in halves, to better contain the cheesy mixture.
Now even though the recipe warned me to use gloves when handling the peppers I did not. Although I had cooked with jalapenos before I've never handled this many peppers at once, so I was in for a terrible surprise when a few hours later that night, two of my fingers on my left hand started to feel like they were burning. The feeling began to intensify and then slowly spread to the other fingertips. I was baffled by whatever this could be until - Oh my! - it was from the peppers! We quickly googled how to remedy this situation, and were presented with the info of rubbing olive oil on the burning area before soaking it in a bowl of water.
So I leave you with a warning - if you will be attempting vegan jalapeno poppers definitely wear some protective gloves. Or be prepared for the hilarious adventure of soaking your burning hand in sudsy water for about fifteen minutes.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
To make up for the lack of yum-o posts this week here are some pictures of our cats!
Moxie Lou Who (the Christmas Kitty)
Switters, the lone male
Gilmore, a talktative part-Siamese named after the equally talkative Gilmore Girls
I have a ridiculous amount of photos of Gilmore and Switters cuddling. They're always doing something cute together.
All four of our cats are rescues. We adopted Bonanza and Switters from the Hermitage Cat Shelter, a no kill no cage shelter in Tucson, AZ. We found Gilmore (she was abandoned at 4 weeks old!! She could fit in one of my hands!!) in the parking lot of our first Kansas City apartment building and Moxie was a rescue we adopted after seeing her at our vet's office. These lovely kitties are, after C, the loves of my life and I can't imagine a single day without them. I'm clearly a big fan of adopting animals and my dream is to someday have a large enough house and property to rescue and provide for more animals. I'll try to keep the gratuitous kitty photos to a minimum after this, but a cute pic every now and again can't hurt, right?