Hi! I'm taking a little break and it might take me a few days to reply to comments and emails. I'll be back soon! :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stop and smell the dandelions

Here's one of our backyard buddies teaching us a very important life lesson: sometimes you just have to stop and smell the dandelions!

This squirrel comes with a convenient tail-handle! Call now - operators are standing by!

Update: Want more squirrels?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Easiest Cake For Chocoholics

This has to be the easiest chocolate cake recipe I have ever come across. I've modified the recipe in many different ways and it always comes out perfect. I've tried using all whole wheat pastry flour, far less sugar, sometimes I replace half of the sugar with brown rice syrup, and sometimes I swap half of the oil for apple sauce. Whatever I do to it, it always works out! The texture and flavor may vary slightly but it's always delicious. It's a magic cake! 

You can also use this recipe to make cupcakes!

Vegan Chocolate Cake (Adapted from Super Moist Chocolate Cake, VegWeb.com)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sifted cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cold water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray an 8 by 8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt

3. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, and water. Gently fold until all ingredients are incorporated. It's very important to try not to overmix the batter or it will be tough and chewy!

4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Frozen Pineapple Treat

Today was frozen-fruit treat day again! This time we had a pineapple/banana sorbet thing that was definitely worth the brain freeze. I found the brilliantly simple recipe at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.

Susan's "ridiculously easy" recipe calls for a can of pineapple chunks packed in juice and nothing else, although you can also replace half of the pineapple with a different frozen fruit. I chose to make a half pineapple and half banana sorbet and it was delicious. Head over to Fat Free Vegan Kitchen to get the recipe!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Brown Bread and Coffee... and Jane Eyre

I read Jane Eyre a few months ago, and it was such a compelling book that I had to start pacing myself towards the final chapters because I didn't want the story to end.

Charlotte Brontë has given me a new comfort food: brown bread and coffee! Jane Eyre is given a serving of brown bread and coffee on her first day at Lowood, toward the end of chapter seven. My brown bread probably isn't very similar to Jane's at all. It's made with whole wheat flour, oat bran and flax seed, and I generally make buns instead of loaves because they are more manageable. A comforting snack of brown bread and coffee is a perfect remedy for one of those moody days when everything seems to be going wrong. Thanks, Charlotte!

Jane Eyre's Brown Bread

2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
¼ cup turbinado sugar
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees if you have a thermometer)

3 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup oat bran
½ cup ground flax seeds
½ tsp salt (you might want to use more salt, this is plenty for me)

¾ cup warm soy milk (also about 110 degrees F)
¾ to 1 cup of warm water (also about 110 degrees F)
¼ cup melted Earth Balance

1- In a small mixing bowl stir together the yeast, sugar, and warm water let them sit for 5 minutes.
2- In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, oat bran, flax seeds, and salt.
3- Add the yeast mixture, milk, water and oil. Knead for a few minutes until a smooth dough forms.
4- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise some place warm for 45 minutes.
5- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
6- Take bits of dough and form them into buns. I always make mine slightly smaller than a tennis ball. Arrange the buns on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
7- Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Frozen Fruit Frenzy

When I was growing up, my mother used to make fruit smoothies every day, every summer. The smoothies were delicious, but I always felt so miserably stuffed after just one glass. Now I know why they were so filling - it was the milk! My smoothies these days consist of only fruit and water. They are light and refreshing instead of heavy and super filling. I always slice and freeze my spotty, overripe bananas - frozen bananas make smoother smoothies!

Strawberries + Bananas = Smoothie purity!

Frozen fruit makes a great "ice cream" treat too! I use one part overripe sliced frozen banana and one part frozen strawberries or raspberries, throw them in the blender with a splash of soy coffee creamer and liquefy on the highest setting until the fruit becomes creamy. If you make this, you will probably need to scrape down the sides of the blender several times to get the fruit properly blended. Add more creamer as/if needed and a little liquid sweetener such as agave nectar if it's not sweet enough for you.

Who eats ice cream on a flat plate? Apparently, I do! Weirdo.

My first post - cornbread and chili!

Here goes my first blog post!

I've been obsessed with cornbread and chili lately. Maybe it's because I find myself longing for Autumn and some nice cool weather. My favorite corbread recipe is the Grandma's Cornbread Made Vegan recipe from vegweb.com. I have adjusted the amounts of sugar and salt to my personal preference and I usually bake this as mini loaves instead of one big square cornbread.

I always make mini loaves or muffins instead of one big bread

Vegan Cornbread (Adapted from VegWeb)

1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup soy milk
1/3 cup of vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray an 8 by 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. You can also use a mini loaf pan or a muffin pan.
2. In a small bowl or cup, mix the water and Ener-G Egg Replacer until smooth and lump-free.
3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. Pour the milk, oil, and the egg replacer on top of the dry ingredients and gently fold with a large spoon until all the ingredients are just combined.
5. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cornbread comes out clean.