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! :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sweet Potato and Chocolate Shortbread and More HH's Sneak Peek Food

The allergies have left the building! I made some cookies to celebrate my freedom from the invisible nose tickling elves! Pesky little things those elves. I will have to make these again and change a few things before I post the recipe because they're not *exactly* what I wanted yet. Anyway, they are sweet potato and chocolate shortbread cookies shaped like leaves and acorns. They were so tiny and addictive that I think I ate a million of them (there I go again making tiny foods).

Last night we had the crispy chickenless nuggets from Happy Herbivore's Sneak Peek e-book. They were super crispy! Next time I think I'll make the banana bread from the same sneak peek.

It's almost Vegan MoFo time! I'm thinking about having a themed MoFo. Something fun! I'm not telling you what it is yet! It will probably be spoooooky...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vegan Soup For The Germy Soul

Ugh. My body is being possessed by either allergies or a cold. Stupid vulnerable human body! Anyway, of course this germy situation demanded a hot bowl of "chicken" noodle soup. I used Morningstar Farms Chik'n strips, chiocciole (snaily-looking pasta shells), and lots of veggies.

I'd been waiting for days to make Cooking Lady's Three Grain Pancakes, but we were out of cornmeal and we only go grocery shopping on Thursdays, so I had to be patient. I finally I got to make them yesterday, and they were fluffy and delicious. These are my favorite pancakes from now on! I used 2 teaspoons of Ener-G egg replacer instead of eggs, and replaced the honey with maple syrup.

Last night when I wasn't a walking germ-fest, I made Happy Herbivore's low fat fudgy brownies from her Sneak Peek cookbook. They are a chocoholic's dream! They were really good just out of the oven, and they were even awesome today, cold and straight out of the fridge (we were good and managed not to eat them all in one night).


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Freaky Monday Meat-Cakes, Happy Herbivore's Cookies and a Lazy Vegan's Pizza

We saw this no-brainer movie the other night called It's a Boy Girl Thing, which is pretty much a "Freaky Friday" movie. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to have a Freaky Friday style dinner, so I made some "Meat-Cakes" which consisted of little veggie meatloaves baked in a muffin pan, topped with mashed potatoes that I piped on with a pastry bag. I had intended to make a dessert that looked like a savory food too, but by the time the little Meat-Cakes were done I didn't feel like cooking anymore. I bet these are very kid-friendly!

Moving on to the sweets. These are the low fat chocolate chip cookies from Happy Herbivore's "Sneak Peek" e-cookbook. This picture really doesn't do them justice. These cookies are so good and addictive I couldn't believe they were practically fat-free! Mr. Wing-it even said he liked them better than full fat vegan Toll House cookies.

And this is what happens when someone is very lazy and doesn't feel like cooking dinner. Today we had pita pizzas made with store bought pitas, pizza sauce from a jar, and some pre-shredded Vegan Gourmet cheese that I had in the freezer. Lazy!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls and Coconut-Walnut Rolls

This was the first time I made a yeast dough using whole wheat pastry flour instead of bread flour or all purpose flour. I looked it up online first and everything I found said that because whole wheat flour has a lower gluten content than bread flour, it shouldn't be used in yeast doughs. Apparently if you do this, the devil comes to get you and your buns don't rise. Pfft. I really wanted to make them with whole wheat pastry flour, so I just added a little vital wheat gluten to the recipe to make up for the lower gluten content and it worked perfectly. The devil didn't come to get me, and my rolls rose just fine! They are a bit heavier than white-flour rolls, but they are delicious.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

For the dough:

4 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp of vital wheat gluten
1/2 tsp of salt
2 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast (1 package)
2 tbsp of sugar
2 cups to 2 1/2 cups of water, at 110 degrees F

1. In a small bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast and let it sit for a few minutes until the yeast becomes foamy.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat gluten, and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture and mix until a soft dough forms.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Cover and let it rise for about 45 minutes. You can help the dough rise by letting it rise somewhere warm - but not hot or it will kill the yeast!

4. After the dough rises, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a one inch thick rectangle (about 10 x 14 inches, roughly). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Make the gooey cinnamon filling:
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tbsp of softened Earth Balance (or another vegan buttery spread)
1 tbsp of cinnamon

5. Brush the softened Earth Balance on the surface of the dough. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the dough. Leave an inch of dough free of sugar all around the rectangle.

6. Carefully roll up the dough and use a sharp serrated knife to cut the roll into 1 inch thick slices.

7. Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet leaving about one inch of space between each one. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F about halfway through the rising time.

8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush some soy milk on the top of each roll to keep them nice and soft.

Optional: Melt one tablespoon of Earth Balance and stir in powder sugar and soy milk until you get a soft, creamy frosting. Drizzle over the hot rolls.

Coconut-Walnut Rolls

I wanted to make two different kinds of rolls with the same dough, so I split the dough in half just after the first rise. Then I made only half of the gooey cinnamon filling to spread on only one of the halves. On the other half, I brushed on a mixture of 2 tbsp of softened Earth Balance and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, then sprinkled 1/4 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of shredded coconut, and a handful of chopped walnuts all over the butter. When they came out of the oven and after they had cooled down for a few minutes, I drizzled some melted chocolate on top. They were good, but I think next time I'll use brown sugar for the coconut ones too. It makes them more gooey!

(I challenge you to find a blog post that features the word "gooey" more times than this one)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Vegan Ghosts Take Over My Blog!

Follow this link for more vegan Halloween recipes!

Is it Halloween yet? No? Too bad - I don't care!

I started to make some peanut butter candy things which were going to be square shaped and boring. Then I changed my mind and decided to shape them into boring balls. Yawn. Then I changed my mind again and decided to make happy ghosts! I don't know why, just go with it.

Happy Vegan (Peanut Butter) Ghosts

1/4 cup of coarsely ground chocolate chips
1 cup of creamy peanut butter (cold)
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/2 tsp of vanilla (optional)

For the coating:
coconut milk
finely shredded dried coconut

For the happy faces:
chocolate chips

1. In a food processor grind up the chocolate chips until they break up into little pieces, but not so much that they turn into a powder. Set aside.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter, syrup, and vanilla with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds. Stir in the chopped chocolate chips.

3. Form little balls with the peanut butter mix and pinch the top of each ball to shape them like "ghost tops". They are kind of shaped like pears, aren't they?

4. Pour some coconut milk in a small bowl and dip each ghost into the milk. Roll the wet ghosts on the finely shredded coconut and place them on a plate. If your ghosts are nice and coated in white coconut, you're done, if they're patchy and brown you're going to have to dip them in coconut milk and roll them in shredded coconut again.

5. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (I don't have the patience for a double boiler). My microwave does this in 30 second intervals. Nuke the chips for 30 seconds, stir, nuke 30 seconds, stir, nuke, stir... until they're melted. Use a piping bag with a round decorating tip to draw the eyes and mouths on.

If you don't feel like melting chocolate and dealing with messy piping bags, the lazy way to give them faces is to stick two mini chocolate chips into each ghost as the eyes, and a little row of mini chips as the mouths. 

This recipe makes about 20 happy little vegan ghosts. Keep them refrigerated!

Cooking Lady's Oatmeal Pancakes

Thank you Cooking Lady for such a delicious pancake recipe! These pancakes are perfect. I made a batch and they were so good that I had to make a second one and freeze them so we can have a quick snack handy anytime! Here's The Cooking Lady's recipe.

P.S: I used Ener-G egg replacer to... replace the... eggs... (brilliant wordsmith, I am) and it worked like a charm!

Follow this link for more vegan Halloween recipes!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pankin Pumpcakes, Potato Pancakes and The Cutest Tree Hugger

You can go ahead and call them Pumpkin Pancakes if you want, but I'm gonna go ahead and be a dork and call them Pankin Pumpcakes.

Pankin Pumpcakes (Inspired by Dierberg's Everybody Cooks magazine)

1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp of sugar
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp of salt
1 cup of soy milk
1/4 cup of pureed pumpkin
2 tbsp of oil
1 tbsp of apple sauce
1/2 tsp of vanilla (optional)

1. In a medium size bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin puree, oil, applesauce, and vanilla.

3. Without overmixing, fold the liquid ingredient mix into the dry ingredient mix.

4. Lightly coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat.

5. Scop about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet and cook until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the pancake over and cook until the other side turns golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

This recipe makes 8 to 10 little 4 inch pancakes, depending on how much batter you scoop per pancake.

We had the Pankin Pumpcakes for lunch, and potato pancakes for dinner along with some veggies and TVP nuggets. The potato pancakes were so easy to make and so delicious! The tasty recipe was courtesy of Vegan Tickles.

And now, changing the subject abruptly, here's the cutest little tree-hugger in the world! This squirrel loves to rest on our tree, always on the same spot and always in the same position hugging the tree. Here it even looks like she's kissing the tree! So cute!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Triple Chocolate Cake - Take that, heartburn!

Something has been giving me some pretty harsh heartburn lately and I'm on an elimination diet to find out what's causing it. I quit chocolate, coffee, tomatoes, and citrus fruits for a week, and now I'm slowly reintroducing everything back into my diet. That whole withdrawal week was heartburn free but cravings-full!

I started eating chocolate yesterday and it didn't bother me at all. I tentatively had a little piece of Ricemilk Choco first, and when I saw that there was no heartburn I unleashed the chocolate monster and made a triple chocolate cake! My humble offering to the Chocolate Gods...

Triple Chocolate Cake

Ingredients for the cake:
1 1/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour (white will work)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup of soy milk or other milk
1/3 cup of water
3 tbsp of oil
3 tbsp of applesauce
1 tsp of vanilla extract

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 8 inch round cake pan with cooking spray. A square pan will work too.

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

3- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, water, oil, applesauce, and vanilla extract.

4- Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients and gently fold until just incorporated. Overmixing will make the cake tough and chewy!

5- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool down to room temperature before making the buttercream filling.

Ingredients for the chocolate buttercream filling:
1 cup Earth Balance buttery spread, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar (I don't like it super sweet)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 to 4 tablespoons coconut milk

1- In a medium size bowl, cream the Earth Balance with an electric mixer on high until light an fluffy, it will go from yellow to off-white.

2- Sift the sugar and cocoa powder into the bowl and keep mixing, this time on the lowest setting until the powdery ingredients are incorporated. Then mix on high until creamy, adding coconut milk as needed until light and fluffy. Taste and add more sifted sugar if it's not sweet enough for your taste. If it's too sweet, add more sifted cocoa powder until you're happy with it.

3- When the cake has cooled down to room temperature, slice it in half and spread the chocolate buttercream evenly all over the bottom half. Place the top half of the cake on top of the chocolate buttercream and make the chocolate ganache.

Ingredients for the chocolate ganache:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup milk (I used oat milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1- Place the chocolate chips in a medium sized mixing bowl.

2- In a glass measuring jar or mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and the oat milk. Feel free to replace the oat milk with more coconut milk.

3- Microwave the milk mix for about one minute or just until it starts to boil. 4- Quickly stir in the vanilla.

4- Immediately pour the milk over the chocolate chips and whisk vigorously until the chocolate melts and becomes a smooth cream. Let the ganache sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

5- Pour the ganache evenly over the cake. You're done! You can sprinkle some chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips on top if you want.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Very Berry Soft Serve and Quinoa Pae-ish

It's frozen treat day! *happy dance*

I was feeling a little fruity again today, so I made some instant raspberry "ice cream" and topped it with some mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries).

I don't have a recipe for this one. It was a major wing-it job. I took some frozen banana slices (about 1 banana) and a bunch of raspberries (about twice as much as the banana), and ran them through the food processor until they became a dark pink thick (but chunky) cream. Then I poured some soy milk through the food processor's chute until the thing had the consistency of soft serve. I also added just a tiny bit of brown rice syrup for a little extra sweetness.

Moving on to the quinoa paella. It's not quite a paella because it's not made with rice, but it's a close cousin. It's a pae-ish. I got the idea for this from two different blogs: the Quinoa Vegetable Paella from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, and the Everything But The Kitchen Sink Burritos from Small Space Sweets. I gathered all the veggies that were in the fridge and needed to be used up before they went bad, sauteed everything in a little olive oil, added one part quinoa and two parts vegetable broth, and simmered it all (covered) for about 15 minutes. We had the quinoa paella with roasted asparagus and sweet potato hash. Much like the pae-ish, calling some plain shredded and sauteed sweet potatoes a "hash" is a stretch, but if I call it "Sweet Potato "Hash-ish" like the "pae-ish"... things could get dangerously confusing!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mini Clementine-Blackberry Cupcakes

Cupcakes! These cupcakes are the result of a combination of some clementine juice that I needed to use up before it went funky, and a big craving for something fruity. I didn't just want a smoothie though, it had to be something carby that I could sink my teeth into.

Mini Clementine-Blackberry Cupcakes

1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of clementine juice
1/4 cup of soy milk (or other milk)
2 1/2 tbsp of oil
2 tbsp of applesauce

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a (24 cavity) mini cupcake pans with cooking spray.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

3. Mix the liquid ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the dry ingredients. Gently fold until everything is barely incorporated.

4. Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pans and press a blackberry into the center of each cupcake, leaving about half of each blackberry sticking out. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean (mine took 15 minutes).

Try these... "you'll thank me later!" (500 points for you if you caught that reference!)

WindowAlert decals and a dove with a 'tude!

For some reason our backyard birds have lately been trying to fly through our glass door like they're in one of those funny Japanese game shows where people run into walls and doors on purpose. Weird little birds!

We found some cute window decals that are supposed to work like a bright stoplight for the birds. We just put them up on the glass door and windows yesterday so we don't know how effective they are yet, though they do have great reviews!

From their website:

"...The decal contains a component which brilliantly reflects ultraviolet sunlight. This ultraviolet light is invisible to humans, but glows like a stoplight for birds."

We bought the maple leaf shapes. Can you see it? Birds can!

And here's one of our crazy little backyard doves with our always-hungry backyard bunny (sorry for the poor picture quality). I'm not quite sure what this strange duo was up to, but I'm pretty sure this is what Mr. Dove was saying: