Hi! I'm hibernating under my electric blanket whilst perpetually sipping hot tea. Wing It Vegan is on hiatus until I'm willing to come back out. Happy holidays!

Friday, October 31, 2008

VeganMoFo - MoFo has left the building (Graveyard Cake)

[cue somber music]

It's the end of the Vegan MoFo as we know it. MoFo has left us with hundreds of blog posts, countless recipes, and invaluable anecdotes and stories . Now it's time to say goodbye. I am celebrating MoFo's life with a few of my own MoFo goodies. Ah, MoFo brought us much chocolate.

Halloweegan Graveyard Cake

This sad, droopy graveyard cake is topped with the tombstones from my Graveyard Cupcakes, as well as Happy Halloweegan Pumpkins (though they forgot to say cheese here), Chocolate Spiders, and the little Happy Vegan Ghosts who started the whole Halloweegan insanity. There are only three ghosts on this cake: the Ghost of MoFo past, present and future!

I made it! 20 posts! This month has been so much fun, thank you again for ALL your wonderfully sweet and inspiring comments! I truly appreciate all your kind words!

You can find my entire Halloweegan series here. And here's a list of amazing Halloween inspired food posts from other spooky MoFo participants:

Kittee's UPS guy's brains and Sushi Candy

Kittee's Halloween Sushi

Melisser's Spiderweb Cake

Melisser's Candy Corn (this one is from last year but how could I not link to it!)

Bethany's Jack-o-Lantern Pizza and Candy corn

Sal's Pumpkin Cookies

Brooke's Maple Cake With Chocolate Buttercream

Bianca's Sugar cookies

Diann's Monster Burger

Diann's Black Bean Soup with Ghostados

Diann's Witch Salad

Veg-a-Nut's Frankenstein's Chickenless Nuggets

Krys' Pumpkin cookies

Lisa's Eyeball Martini

Shellyfish's Scary Skeleton Cookies

Lauren's Sugar Cookies

Tofufreak's Pumpkins

Vegan_Noodle's Mummy and Spiderweb Cupcakes

Vegan Noodle's Dia de los Muertos Cupcakes
Janessa's Halloween Cupcakes

Monique's Dirt Cake with Gummy Worms

Mandee's Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

Amey's Pumpkin Muffins, Pan de Muerto and Eyeball Cupcakes


Stacey and Sergio's Cockroach Cupcakes

Jeni's Spider Cake

I know there has to be more creative Halloween bloggery that I missed. Please let me know if you made something Halloweeny and I'll add you to this list!

Google Reader just reached out and slapped me. Means it's time to catch up on my final MoFo 2008 reading! Hope everyone had a great Halloween! :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

VeganMoFo - Happy Halloweegan Vampire Cookies

This is my 19th Vegan MoFo post, so unless something unexpected happens tomorrow, I will reach my goal of 20 Halloweegan posts! Tomorrow, I would like to create a post with links to everyone that has made any fun Halloween vegan dishes and treats this month. If you've posted about something Halloween-y that you cooked and you would like me to link to it, just post a comment here and I'll add your post to the list.

Today I made Happy Vampire Cookies! And of course one Mr. Cranky Pants Vampire to balance things out.

Halloweegan Vampire Cookies

Any sugar cookie will work for this, but I had to make shortbread because I'm shortbread's #1 fan. I used a basic confectioner's sugar icing for the faces. White for the fangs, spinach juice instead of water for the green part, and extra dark cocoa powder for the black details. Mr. Wing-it ate Mr. Cranky Pants first to put him out of his misery. Poor Mr. Cranky pants, he never had a chance.

P.S: I'll probably blog pretty late tomorrow, so have a super Happy Halloween everyone!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan Eyeball Cupcakes with Whippy Cream

Thank you so much for all your wonderfully kind comments on my previous post! By popular request, I made some whipped cream again and measured all the ingredients this time so I could share a recipe. I said I didn't have a recipe before, because I always eyeball it, so...

Halloweegan Eyeball Cupcakes

Ha! Creepy eyeball cupcakes! These are chocolate cupcakes with whipped cream eyeballs and raspberry centers. The raspberries are filled with chocolate.

This vegan "whippy" cream is basically a very soft buttercream. There's also a coconut milk whipped cream that I have made a couple of times and it was pretty terrific. I'll make that again next month so I can share the recipe.

Vegan Whippy Cream

Ingredients
1/4 cup Earth Balance at room temperature (or whatever margarine you use)
1 to 2 tbsp maple syrup or agave
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup soy milk or other non dairy milk

1- Cream the EB with an electric mixer.
2- Mix in the syrup and vanilla.
3- Add about a half of the milk and mix on high until it doesn't look lumpy anymore. You will need a pretty powerful mixer, not an industrial type but something with some power. I use this bad girl.
4- Gradually add the rest of the milk and mix on super-hyper hold-on-to-your-socks turbo-high until creamy and smooth. The whippy cream shouldn't be liquid, so add the milk gradually and only as much as the Earth Balance will take without becoming too liquid.

This whippy cream is an off white color. If whiteness is a must, replace the syrup with confectioners sugar. This recipe makes enough cream for 6 eyeballs.

To make the eyeballs, use a small cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to drop the eyeballs on top of the (room temperature) cupcakes. Press a raspberry down (hole-side-up) right in the center of each eyeball. I used thawed frozen-berries, which made them ooze out red juice that became the little vessels, and then I just used a toothpick to help the raspberry juice run down the eyeballs. Doesn't that just sound utterly appetizing? Two mini chocolate chips in the middle of each raspberry completes the look.

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I made these as eyeball pancakes with blueberries for my very first Vegan MoFo post!.

Monday, October 27, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan Frankenstein-ish Squares

Isa from the PPK posted a Halloween Roundup and gave me a sweet shoutout! Isa is the Vegan MoFo Queen Bee, so I feel like I've just won an Oscar or something! Thank you, thank you! Also featured on Isa's post are Diann's awesome spiderweb soup, Kittee's amazing Halloween sushi, Shellyfish's adorable Skeleton Cookies, and the cutest furry belly ever!

And now as Halloweegan continues, this is my pathetic attempt at making Frankenstein faces (or like Ambrose Monk would point out: "Dr. Frankenstein's monster's faces").

Halloweegan Frankenstein Squares

I made them with Happy Herbivore's incredibly delicious banana bread from her Sneak Peak e-cookbook. The little heads needed to be flat, so I baked the bread in a cake pan instead of a loaf pan. The original idea was to take my time and draw a couple of scars on each face, but that banana bread smelled so good that I just rushed through the whole process so we could eat it already!

To make these you will need to bake your favorite cake or banana bread in a square or rectangular cake pan. But first-sprinkle the top of the cake with 1/2 to 1 cup of green colored coconut before you bake it. Gently press the coconut down with a spoon or spatula so it sticks to the batter. I don't use food coloring, so these are greened-up with spinach juice.

Once the cake is baked, let it come down to room temperature before you cut it into squares or rectangles. Some of the coconut will most likely be loose, don't panic, just press it down again after you cut the cake.

Draw the hair, eyes, noses and mouths with melted chocolate chips. (You know the drill, melt the chips in the microwave, pour into a pastry bag, squeeze and draw.) I'm sure whatever you do will be more Frankensteiny than these silly things!

Have a fabulous week!

Friday, October 24, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan Meatloaf Scramble With Mashed Potato Ghosts

Remember my Freaky Monday Meat Cakes? This is kind of like that, but instead of baking a meatless meatloaf, I made a scramble. Sometimes veggie-loaves can be mushy, and this scramble tasted like a veggie-loaf but without that yucky mushy quality. We served them in dessert cups with mashed potato ghosts on top!

Halloweegan Meatloaf Scramble With Mashed Potato Ghosts
Meatloaf Scramble

Ingredients

1 cup rehydrated TVP
1 cup ground beef-style veggie crumbles
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp Mrs Dash salt-free seasoning
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup cornmeal
olive oil for cooking

1- In a medium bowl combine the TVP and veggie ground beef.
2- Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, tamari, and Mrs. Dash.
3- Stir in the breadcrumbs and cornmeal and mix well.
4- Preheat a non stick skillet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
5- Cook the meatloaf mix like you would cook a tofu scramble. Stir every now and then to cook it thoroughly. Mine took 25 minutes and it was enough for 4 individual dessert cups.

If you're going to Halloween these up, spoon some mashed potatoes on top and use the spoon to mold the ghosts, a la "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". Use a toothpick to "drop" ketchup eyes and mouths onto their little faces.

Have a happy weekend everyone! :)



Thursday, October 23, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan Witches' Hats

Six more posts to go to reach my 20 MoFo posts goal! I didn't really think I was going to make it! Thank you so much for all your incredibly kind comments! Some of you guys wanted the recipe for the vegan whipped cream, so I'm planning another Halloweegan post for next week using whipped cream and I'll post a recipe then. I always eyeball it, so you know how that goes.

The dinner ghosts I had planned to make had to wait untill next week because we were out of potatoes, so instead I made some little Witches' Hats! The idea came from the Betty Crocker website.

Halloweegan Witches' Hats

Here's how it all went down. I made my chocolate shortbread cookies as the base for the hats. While they were baking, I prepared the pointy tops. Sorry, I'm sure hat parts have fancy names that fancy hat people know, I'm not a fancy hat person so I will be calling them pointy tops.

The pointy tops... or cones! How about cones? Anyway, the pointy cone tops, are basically peanut butter cups sweetened with maple syrup. Recipe:

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp to 1/4 cup maple syrup (depends on your sweet tooth)
2 tbsp soy milk or other non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Use an electric mixer on high to mix everything together. Mix for about a minute or until the peanut butter starts to look a little dry and not as creamy.

To make the cones, either use a pastry bag to squeeze them out onto a plate, or shape them into cones with your hands. Dip the cones into some melted chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup) and chill until the chocolate hardens. I decided to spread some melted chocolate on top of each cookie too, which helped keep the cones in place when I placed them on the cookies. The buttons and rim are a simple confectioners sugar icing.

Of course you could take the easy way out and add some cocoa powder to the peanut butter mixture to make it dark, then you wouldn't have to dip the pointy tops in melted chocolate. But then again, where's the fun in that? :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan Pudding Pies

No more spiders! I wouldn't want to torture poor VeggieGirl anymore. Now I'm going through a ghost phase, so we're having sweet ghosts today, and probably savory dinner-ghosts tomorrow.

These were originally going to be pumpkin pudding pies, but my mother in law brought us some delicious strawberries and who I am I to say no to strawberry pudding pie? Sorry, no official recipe this time. I was chatting away and not paying attention to what I was doing, so the amount of arrowroot powder that I used for this pudding is a complete mystery.

Anyway, the general idea is to line individual mini pie/tart pans with graham crust, or shortbread crust, or whatever crust floats your boat. Fill the (baked) crusts with your favorite pudding, and chill for about an hour. And by "chill" I mean chill the pies, it doesn't mean that you should sit back and have some wine and listen to Kenny G with your cat napping on your lap. Although that sounds pretty good too! :)

See? I'm chatting away and not paying attention to the pies again. Once you and your pies have chilled, use a pastry bag to squeeze out a little cone-shaped vegan whipped cream or buttercream in the middle of each pie. There you have your little ghosts, now draw the eyes and mouths with some melted chocolate chips. Done.

See the little ghost in the little bowl in the background? That's just a ghost sitting on leftover pudding because I ended up with more pudding than crust. They are good like that too though, just the pudding and the ghost.

These would be so cute made in a muffin pan-really tiny pies! Speaking of cute, check out Shellyfish's spook-tastic Scary Skeleton Cookies and Kittee's awesome Halloween Sushi

Monday, October 20, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan Cinnamon Rolls!

So, I had some leftover spiders in the fridge from last week's spider cupcakes. What to make? What to make? It turns out that making spiderweb anything is super easy and very Halloween-y! You can make spiderweb cupcakes, cakes, cookies, puddings, all kinds of treats. You just need some icing, frosted, or melted chocolate, and a toothpick-like I described on my previous post.

You can even make spiderweb soup! You must check out this post by Diann at Eat'n Veg'n. It's too cool for words!

I had a humongous craving for cinnamon rolls, but I needed to make something for Halloweegan. So instead of drizzling the icing on top like I would normally do, I drew several icing circles from the center and all the way down to the edges. The toothpick trick didn't really work here, so I had to draw the straight spiderweb lines myself.



Wanna make some chocolate spiders? All you need is either a pastry bag with a #3 round tip or a small ziploc with a tiny cut in one of the corners, and of course some melted chocolate chips. I'm not sure how many spiders I got out of 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, maybe about 18. It's best to make them on wax paper so you can remove them easily once the chocolate hardens.

1- Draw a "U" shape as you squeeze the chocolate out of the pastry bag.
2- Draw a smaller U shape right inside it.
3- Flip the wax paper over so the U shapes are facing down.
4- Repeat steps 1 and 2. The new U shapes should almost touch the center of the upside-down U shapes.
5- Now you should have two sets of mirrored U shapes. Draw a circle over the middle where both sets of U's nearly meet.
6- Fill in the circle with a generous amount of chocolate.

Here is a step by step picture that might help you visualize how the spider-drawing process works:



Chill the chocolate spiders for 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge before you peel them off the wax paper. Keep them refrigerated until you're ready to use them.

I have some ghost treats planned for the next couple of days of Halloweegan. No more spiders, I promise! :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vegan MoFo - Halloweegan Spider Cupcakes

I ran out of spooky inspiration for a couple of days, but now I got my second wind and I'm ready for more MoFo and Halloweegan! Spider cupcakes, anyone?

Halloweegan Spider Cupcakes

I used this recipe for the chocolate cupcakes, and a wing-it pumpkin buttercream frosting. The frosting had a very mild and pleasant flavor, but feel free to increase the amount of pumpkin if you want a stronger flavor.

Pumpkin Butter Cream Frosting

1/2 cup Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup (add more to taste if you like a very sweet frosting)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1- Cream the Earth Balance with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
2- Mix in the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla. Keep mixing for a minute or two or until smooth and creamy. This is enough frosting for 12 cupcakes.

The spiderweb design on the cupcakes is made with melted chocolate chips (You know that I like to melt my chips in the microwave, in 15 second intervals.)

1- Pour the melted chocolate chips into a pastry bag, and draw a small chocolate circle at the very top of the cupcake. Repeat with three or four more circles from top to bottom. Work quickly so the chocolate doesn't harden before you move on to the next step!
2- Take a toothpick and run it from the top to the bottom of the frosting to create the spiderweb effect. Repeat 6 times around the cupcake. The spider recipe is coming tomorrow, because I'll making more spider treats!

The fabulousness that is Sal from Alien on Toast has tagged me, which means now I have to show you the contents of our freezer:



Please note the veggie "bugers". *Dunce*. There are also tortillas, pitas, whole wheat buns, and hamburger buns in the back. (Update: the Morning Star Farms crumbles are no longer vegan!) We have fruits and veggies on the door. That's chopped celery in the ziploc bag below. We only eat some of the whole head of celery before it starts getting funky, so I just chop it up and freeze it for later.


Off to read all your MoFo-ings! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vegan MoFo - What? No Halloweegan?! You got some 'splainin to do!

Today I took a break from Halloweegan to celebrate I Love Lucy's birthday. I Love Lucy is on my top five list of favorite TV shows of all time, and I just had to make an I Love Lucy cake to celebrate its anniversary!


Oddly enough, I became a Lucy fan only a few months ago. Before that, I used to find Mrs. Ricardo very annoying and over the top, but now I love her crazy shenanigans and over-the-topness! I must have mainly based my dislike on annoying Lucy impersonators that exaggerate her flamboyance.

Lucy rocks! She's a woman in the 1950's who does whatever she wants to do and never listens to her husband. She never does what Ricky tells her to do or not to do. She knows what she wants and she's going to do whatever it takes to get it. Of course, she always finds a way to get in trouble and make a big mess of things, generally with the help of the so very underrated Ethel!

So here's my tribute to Lucy, Ethel, Ricky, and Fred. Sorry about the terrible pictures. It was late and I had to use artificial light. This was a simple vanilla cake with a sweet raspberry filling and frosting. Check out my new Lucy mug!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan Spookitty Heads

It sure seems like I'm obsessed with making balls. I'm always some type of dough between my hands and shaping it into a ball. Peanut butter balls, coconut balls, veggie balls, and now chocolate balls.

Ingredients for the ears, noses, and whiskers:
24 whole almonds
12 almond slices
a few raisins or dates (frozen)

1- Carefully cut each whole almond in half. Use a sharp non-serrated knife and a cutting board-it will save you time. And watch your fingers!
2- Cut the almond slices in half to make the little triangular-ish noses. Keep using your non-serrated knife.
3- Slice the raisins, and then cut each slice into thin strips. They are definitely less sticky and easier to cut if they are frozen. These will be your little whiskers, you will need 48 whiskers for 12 kitties.

Ingredients for the "heads":

1 1/2 cup graham cracker pieces
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp coconut milk OR 1 tbsp of other non-dairy milk*

1- Grind the graham cracker pieces in a food processor. Give it a few pulses until most of it looks like breadcrumbs, but leave a few bigger chunks in there. After they are ground, you will end up with about 1 1/4 cup of graham crumbs. Transfer them to a medium sized bowl.
2- Melt the chocolate with the coconut milk. I always melt my chocolate chips in the microwave: cook on high for 15 seconds, stir, cook 15 seconds more, stir again, cook 15 seconds more. Repeat until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
3- Stir the melted chocolate into the graham cracker crumbs and knead it until it feels like firm play-doh. The heat from your hand will make it smooth. If it's too dry and crumbly, add a bit more milk.
4- Take 12 chunks off the graham-chocolate dough and shape them into balls.

Time to attach the ears, noses, and whiskers!

1- Stick two whole almond tips on top of each "cat head" as the ears.
2- Stick 4 raisin strips on the front of each ball, 2 on the left and 2 on the right-these are your little whiskers. This is when those kitchen tweezers come in handy!
3- Stick an almond slice in between the two sets of whiskers as the noses. If the noses or whiskers aren't sticking to the face, use a little melted chocolate as glue to hold them in place.

For the kitty eyes:

3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
4 or 5 melted chocolate chips

1- Mix the powdered sugar and the milk and stir to make a smooth icing.
2- Using a decorating tip, draw the white part of the eyes on each cat. If you don't have a decorating tip, you can use a mini Ziploc bag, or just draw the eyes on with a toothpick dipped in the icing. It helps to have the Spookitties facing up to keep the icing from running down their faces.
3- Dip a toothpick in the melted chocolate chips and draw vertical lines down the middle of the eyes.

This makes 12 kitties and they go fast!

*I don't like overly sweet things, but if you do, you can replace 1 tablespoon of milk with 1 tablespoon of agave or maple syrup.

And now, here's the cutest Spookitty of them all! This is our kitty friend that visits us every day. He lives in the neighborhood, but don't know exactly where because he's very mysterious. Doesn't he look terribly spooky here?

Monday, October 13, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan One-Eyed Veggie Monsters!

Well, now that I've grossed you all out with those disgusting (but yummy!) Finger Dogs, here's some less revolting goodies! :)

These are chickpea-veggie monsters with green bean legs, celery mouths, and chickpea eyes (with ketchup centers). Their mouths are smiling, but you can make mean monsters by flipping the celery slices upside down for a mean frown (see Mr. Cranky Pants on the bottom-left).



The recipe is great for improvising with whatever veggies you have lurking in the fridge. I didn't measure any of the spices so you're gonna have to wing it!

Halloweegan One-Eyed Veggie Monsters

Ingredients:

1 cup of spinach, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1/2 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, cut into chunks
1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth
1 can of chickpeas (1 1/2 cup. Remember to reserve a few for the eyes!)
salt, pepper, paprika, adobo, parsley, whatever herbs and spices you love, to taste
1 cup of breadcrumbs

Legs, eyes, and mouths:
green beans for the legs
celery slices for the mouths
whole chickpeas and ketchup for the eyes

1- Sauté the spinach, onion, celery and bell pepper in a little bit of olive oil.

2- In a food processor, combine the sautéed vegetables, carrots, and water and process until fairly smooth. At this point, it will look like alien's vomit. Hey, this is Halloweegan after all! :)

3- Add the chickpeas and process until there are no big chickpea chunks left. You don't want to make it so smooth as to make green hummus though. Remember to save a few whole chickpeas for the eyes!

4- Add salt and whatever spices you heart desires! I used adobo, paprika, cayenne pepper, and fresh parsley. Then add the breadcrumbs and pulse a few times until everything is evenly mixed.

5- Form ping-pong sized balls with the chickpea mix (it seems like I am always making balls). If the "dough" is too soft and unmanageable, add more breadcrumbs. If it's too crumbly and the balls fall apart, add more water or broth.

6- Insert two green been pieces into each ball, these will be your monster legs! Frozen green beans are hard and easy to insert into the dough. Fresh will work too, but they might not soften enough while cooking, which might not be too kid friendly.

7- Insert a thick slice of celery as the mouth and a whole chickpea as the eye. Really press them in there!

8- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and pan-fry the little monsters over medium-low heat. Flip them over on each side to cook them thoroughly. Cook each side for at 2-3 minutes.

9- Remove from heat and use a toothpick heavily dipped in ketchup to "tap" the red drop in the middle of each chickpea. Serve with couscous, rice, or quinoa with your favorite sauce!

This made a lot of little monsters, not sure how many, about 20 maybe. I also made some "normal" ones that are just shaped like nuggets. No eyes or mouths or little green bean legs. Boring, but easier and quicker for a non-halloween occasion! :)

That'll do it! There might be some spooky black cat goodies tomorrow! Thank you so much for all your sweet comments!! :)

EDIT: I'm not sure about baking time and temperature. If you choose to bake them, and you've baked falafel before, then bake them like you would bake falafel. My guess would be at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for 10 more minutes, but that's just a guess because I pan fried these! Hope this helps! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

VeganMoFo - What's In YOUR Hot Dog?

The spirit of Halloweegan is taking over the blogosphere! Check out Lisa's (Show Me Vegan) Eyeball Martini, and aTxVegn Witch Salad! Pure Halloweegan awesomeness!

So what's with the hot dog title, you ask? We all know how disgusting hot dogs can be (except for veggie dogs). Who knows what kind of mystery meat they put in there, right? In the movie "The Naked Gun," some guy even found a finger in his hot dog. Now THAT would be a scarring experience!

Mwahaha! Ladies and gentlemen, the cute food has left the building! If you find *anything* cute about this, then you should have your brain checked out by a professional. Le gross...



Ha! That's SICK! You've probably seen those butter cookies that look like fingers that are called "witches' fingers". That's what I was going to make. But then I was in the shower last night (for some reason I was thinking about how disgusting hot dogs were) when I remembered that unforgettable scene from The Naked Gun; and then it hit me-these Halloweegan fingers had to look like hot dogs!  Most of my ideas come when I'm in the shower or lying in bed trying to fall asleep at night.

So here's how to make these disgusting-looking, yummy-tasting little treats. The fingers are pretty much the same as the Happy Vegan Ghosts and Pumpkins minus the chocolate (yes, I eat a lot of peanut butter). You will also need oval vanilla cookies, preferably vegan ladyfingers. Round cookies will work too, you will just have to cut them in half.

For the fingers:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (cold)
2 tbsp maple syrup (or other syrup to taste)
2 tbsp to 1/4 cup of soy milk or other non-dairy milk
1/4 tsp vanilla


Mix the peanut butter, syrup, and vanilla with an electric mixer. If the peanut butter mix is too dry and difficult to handle mix in the milk by the tablespoon. You don't want it to be too soft and sticky though, just soft enough to handle. It should feel a little like play-doh.

Take small chunks off the peanut butter mix and roll them between your hands to form six logs. The logs should be about 3 inches long and 3/4 inches wide.

Take one of your oval cookies (or round cookies cut in half, rounded side up) and gently press the log onto the bottom of the cookie. This will be half of your "hot dog" bun. Take another half and press it on the other side of the log to add the other half of your "bun". Both halves should meet (or come close) at the bottom like on my picture. Repeat with all six logs.

Now to shape the fingers, simply pinch one end of each log to make it more narrow and finger-like.

For the nails:
almond slices
strawberry jelly/jam (or other red colored jelly)

Dip almond slices in strawberry jelly and insert the dipped side into the pinched end of the logs. Press the almond sliced down gently.

To finish it up, I took a toothpick and drew some knuckles on the top of each finger. You could squeeze some jelly on top, as if it was ketchup, but I didn't feel like it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

VeganMoFo - Spooky Halloweegan Spiders!

Spooky Halloweegan Spider Cookies! They are smiling, so they're really not that spooky, but you can make them spooky if you want. Eating these was so weird! That was the only spooky thing about them. It felt like I was going to take a big bite off a real spider! *shudders*

Spooky Halloweegan Spiders

Here's how to make them. Bake your favorite batch of chocolate cookies (I made Happy Herbivore's double chocolate chip cookies from her Sneak Peak e-cookbook). You don't want a cookie that is going to spread out too much because you will end up with flat spiders. Tip: using a cookie scoop instead of dropping spoonfuls of dough on a cookie sheet makes perfectly round spiders.

That's the simple part. The legs take quite a bit of work, but I found it to be quite relaxing:

1- Line a flat chopping board with wax paper. Keep it in the freezer until you need it.

2- Melt 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. I always melt my chocolate chips in the microwave in 20-30 second intervals stirring. Nuke, stir, nuke, stir...

3- Using a #3 round decorating tip (or cut a 3 millimeter hole in one corner or a small ziploc bag and fill it with the melted chocolate), start drawing little "V" shapes on the cold wax-paper-covered board. These will be your legs. With 1/4 cup of melted chocolate you should be able to have 64 V shaped legs, enough for 8 cookies. Don't use it all up! Save just a little bit of chocolate in the bag for step five! Tip: To keep the chocolate soft, fill a food storage container with hot water, then cover with a tight lid and sit the pastry bag/ziploc on top of the lid. The warmth will keep the chocolate soft.

4- Let the chocolate legs harden in the fridge for 30 minutes or until you can "peel" them off whole with a spatula. 

5- Using the pastry bag/ziploc again, take a cookie and squeeze a little chocolate drop onto the eight spots where the legs will go. The melted chocolate will work as glue. Hurry before the chocolate drops harden, move on to step six!

6- Attach eight legs to the chocolate drops, working very quickly so the legs don't melt in your fingertips. I actually bought a new pair of tweezers that are used only in the kitchen for projects like this. They're like mini tongs! 

7- Using a basic, fairly stiff powder sugar icing (powder sugar and water) draw the eyes and mouths. Again, use a pastry bag or ziploc with a corner cut off to pipe on the eyes and mouths. I used a toothpick dipped in melted chocolate to create a dots in the center of their eyes. That's all folks!

I've seen these made with black licorice legs, which looks WAY easier to make. But I just like to complicate the heck out of my life instead! More spider goodies coming up next week! Thank you everyone for such sweet comments!! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan Stuffed Peppers!

VeganMoFo has taken over the world! So many posts, so little time! I don't want to miss anyone's posts! I want to read all of them! It's been so much fun reading about everyone's stories and anecdotes, collecting awesome recipes, and even learning about intriguing German foods that I'd never heard of before (thank you Mihl!).

Let's get this Halloweegan party started! Today I made more phonies-pumpkin phonies. See, tomorrow is grocery shopping day, which means today the refrigerator looks quite empty and sad. We were going to have an Improper Cottage Pie for dinner, but then I wouldn't have had anything to post for Halloweegan! So I was trying to figure out what to do, when I saw the bell peppers looking at me, lonely in the veggie drawer. They just wanted to make themselves useful, so I picked them up and we had bell peppers stuffed with the (already prepared) improper cottage pie mince and croutons. I carved their faces like jack-o'-lanterns before I stuffed them and baked them at 400 degrees C for about 30 minutes. BOO!

I love'em! You can make your favorite stuffed pepper recipe and all you have to do to make them Halloweegan friendly is carve them before you stuff them. Of course the orange ones are even more "Halloween-y", but multicolor peppers are fun too!



Moving on, here's a cool survey from Food Snobbery is my Hobbery (that name makes me smile!). Surveys freak me out, BECAUSE they usually make me look like a weirdo, but this one was fun so here it is!

1. Name a song that involves food in some way.
Does Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band count?
2. What criteria do you use when choosing a new cookbook to buy?
I always look up reviews online before buying.
3. What did you eat today?
Dinner was Halloweegan Stuffed Peppers and dessert was Happy Halloweegan Pumpkins.
4. Name a vegan food that you know exists but you have never tried.
Vegemite
5. The Food Network just called and needs you to start your new show tomorrow. What will the title of the show be?
The title is: "Please don't mind the host hiding behind the counter because she's too shy to show her face" :P
6. Favorite hot sauce or other spicy condiment?Spicy = heartburn = :(
7. How old were you when you became vegetarian/vegan?
24 vegan (cold tofurky)
8. Favorite vegan cheeze?
Follow Your Heart.
9. Cutest baby animal?
I just can't answer this!! How can I choose from so much cuteness in the animal kingdom!
10. Favorite type of jam/jelly/marmalade/preserves?
Strawberry!
11. Do you take any vitamins/supplements?
I take a multi every other day.
12. What food/dish most embodies the Fall season?
Anything pumpkiny.
13. What food would you have a hard time living without?
Bread!! And chocolate.
14. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
Decaf coffee.
15. It's 10PM and you're starving. What do you eat?
Must control myself! Must not eat after 8 pm or the evil nightmares will haunt me all night!
16. If you have an animal companion, what is his/her favorite food?
George! He's a Beta fish that used to be my mother in law's buddy. All he wants to eat is fish pellets.
17. Worst injury you've gotten in the kitchen?
I've grated my fingers several times. Not any more though, graters are banned from my kitchen. Those things are the work of the devil!
18. When you have a food-related question, who do you call?
My fellow super bloggers!
19. Summer is ending- What food will you miss most?Fresh strawberries.
20. What snacks do you keep in your purse/backpack/desk at work?
Luna bars and nuts.
21. Favorite soup to make on a rainy day?
Chicken-less noodle!
22. What's your favorite combination of fresh vegetable and/or fruit juices?
Strawberry-banana is always a winner.
23. Favorite brand of root beer?
Barf!
24. Make up your own question!
What's your favorite kitchen utensil?
Tongs! They are so handy, I feel like "Edward Tong-Hands" :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

VeganMoFo - Happy Halloweegan Pumpkins

Thank you so much for all the kind comments on my previous Halloweegan posts! It's so awesome that some of you guys have been inspired by my posts. I am so happy!

Today it's pumpkin time again! Although these little pumpkins are actually big phonies-there's no pumpkin in them at all! It's actually the same recipe that I used for my Happy Vegan Ghosts. It's a bit different because they have different shapes and color, so I'll re-post the recipe below...



Happy Halloweegan Pumpkins

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:
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup finely shredded coconut
2 tbsp carrot juice

For the happy faces:
a handful of 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 make a small dent at the top of each ball, just at the center. You can use the back of a small wooden spoon to do this, I don't have any wooden spoons. My bamboo spoons have flat handles so I had to get creative and used a frozen green bean! :P

4. In a small bowl, use the carrot juice to dye the coconut, it might take you more or less than 2 tbsp, keep adding juice until it's orange enough but not "wet". It will be moist though, and this will help the coconut stick to the pumpkins.

5. Pour the coconut milk into a small, shallow bowl. Dip each pumpkin in the coconut milk, and then roll the wet pumpkins on the finely shredded coconut. If your pumpkins are nice and coated in orange 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.

6. Now they need their happy faces! 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. For the curly stems, draw an "upward spiral" on top of each pumpkin using the same decorating tip.

Variations:

*You can use other nut butters instead of PB. Mmm almond butter! I bet that would be good!
* Instead of chocolate chips, you can use finely chopped nuts. Macadamias would be awesome!
These could probably be made raw with raw nut butter, agave, etc, right?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vegan MoFo - Halloweegan Pumpkin Goodies! (Pumpkin Soup and Pumpkin O's)

Vegan MoFo continues Halloweegan style! We had some mashed potatoes left over from our mashed potato ghosts, and some pumpkin puree left over from another meal that I will post about some time this week. So that meant that it was time to improvise some pumpkin soup!

I thought the soup was just OK, but Mr. Wing it loved it! Mr. Wing-It always finishes his meals before me, and he starts doing the dishes right away (sorry, he's mine and you can't have him); so there I was finishing my soup by myself, when I looked behind me and saw him standing in front of the kitchen sink spooning out the tiny little bit of soup that was left in the bottom of the pot and licking the spoon clean. I figured the soup had to be blog worthy!


(Left Over) Mashed Potato Pumpkin Soup

olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 small carrots
1 cup mashed potatoes (waxy potatoes are the smoothest)
1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tbsp of parsley (minced)
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika, mainly for color
salt to taste
dash of black pepper
a couple of dashes of nutmeg, or to taste

1- Saute the onion and the red pepper in a little bit of olive oil for about 8 minutes or until soft.

2- In a blender or large food processor, combine the sauteed onion and peppers, carrots, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pure, water, soy milk, parsley, and paprika and blend until very smooth.

3- Transfer the soup to a pot and add salt, black pepper, nutmeg to taste.

5- Simmer until thoroughly hot and serve. This made two bowls of soup.

This soup has a mild pumpkin flavor, if you want it super "pumpkiny" add an extra 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree.

If you want to draw the creepy face on it, you just need to spoon two big drops of a smooth marinara, pizza sauce, or even tomato sauce for the eyes, one big drop for the nose, and one curvy line for the mouth. Then take a toothpick and "drag" the tomato sauce eyes and nose to create triangles. Also using a toothpick, draw a zigzag line across the mouth to create the creepy mouth effect. It sounds more complicated than it is, and it doesn't have to be perfect - mine certainly isn't!


Now on to dessert! If you're expecting a super healthful cookie, then turn around and keep looking-this ain't it! These Halloweegan Pumpkin-O's consist of a smooth pumpkin cream, sandwiched between two crunchy chocolate shortbread cookies.


Halloweegan Pumpkin-O's

For the chocolate shortbread:

1/2 cup Earth Balance or other vegan butter substitute
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 to 2 tbsp water

1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

2- In a medium size bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the EB and the brown sugar. Beat well until smooth and creamy.

3- Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and the cocoa.

4- Add 1 tbsp of water and blend it in.

5- Add the rest of the flour, adding more water if needed. The dough should be just firm enough for you to be able to roll it out and cut out your cookies. Not too firm, but not too sticky and unmanageable.

6- Roll out the dough (no more than 1/4 inch thick) on a floured surface and use a cookie cutter to cut out pumpkin shaped cookies. Round or oval cookies will also work just fine.

7- Carefully transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheet and bake for about 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool down to room temperature before you start the cream filling.

This made 4 big sandwiches (8 single cookies).

Ingredients for the pumpkin cream:


1/4 cup Earth Balance or other butter substitute
2 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp vanilla
cinnamon to taste (a couple of dashes was plenty for me)

1- In a small mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the Earth Balance.

2- When the EB is light and fluffy, add the rest of the ingredients and keep mixing on high until creamy and smooth.

3- Use a spatula to spread the filling on top of half of the cookies. Top them with the other half.

I used melted chocolate chips to draw the faces, using a decorating tip. You can melt your chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals (cook and stir, cook and stir, until melted) or if you're fancy and proper you can use a double boiler. To fill the eyes and the nose after I drew them with the melted chocolate chips, I used a powder sugar and carrot juice icing that I didn't measure at all. Sorry. I gradually added carrot juice to a little bit of powder sugar until it was the right consistency. Looking back now, I probably would have added a pinch of paprika and turmeric to give it a deeper orange color. Oh well, there's always next time.

Keep the sandwich cookies refrigerated and eat them cold so the cream stays put. Also, these have a mild, pleasant pumpkin flavor. Add more pumpkin to taste for a stronger pumpkin flavor.

Phew! That was a long post!

Friday, October 3, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan - Mummy Dogs and Mashed Potato Ghosts

It's day three of Halloweegan! This time we had some Mummy Dogs, which consisted of veggie hot dogs wrapped in a tasty crust. My wrapping skills suck, but they were good regardless! Thank you Kittee for the link to 365Halloween.com where I found the recipe!

For the dough, I used the recipe suggested on 365 Halloween, but used whole wheat pastry flour instead. The dogs are Lightlife Jumbo Dogs cut in half. We had them with some mashed potato ghosts and a veggie stir-fry. The mashed potato ghosts are super easy to make: just fill a pastry bag with mashed potatoes, and squeeze the bag with an upward motion to pipe the little ghosts onto a plate. Their spooky eyes are made with ketchup! I wish I'd had more time to make the mummy wrapping prettier, but I had to get dinner ready and the hungry-belly clock was really ticking!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan - Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Spinach RIP Cupcakes

Yes, spinach. Wait! Don't leave! The cupcakes don't *taste* like spinach, I promise! Here's the thing-I don't use food coloring, so I had to search the fridge/freezer for something green that would tint my coconut.

[Enter the spinach]

I boiled down some frozen spinach in a little bit of water, and used the green cooking water as food coloring. Here are the finished cupcakes...



Sorry, I don't have an official recipe because I was in extreme Wing-it mode, but here's basically what you have to do. First, bake your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe (here's a good one). Once your cupcakes are at room temperature, make a peanut butter frosting. The frosting should be creamy but not too soft. Go ahead and spread the frosting on the cupcakes.

Now you need to make the green coconut topping. If you use food coloring, go for it. If you don't, boil down about 1/2 cup of spinach in just a little bit of water, just enough to cover the spinach. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, stick the cooked spinach (with water and all) in a food processor or blender and liquefy on high. Make it as smooth as possible. Then using a fine mesh strainer, squeeze all the green juice out into a small bowl. Gradually add spinach juice to your dry coconut, mix well until most of the coconut turns green. I'm not sure how much juice or coconut I used, so you're gonna have to wing it too.

There you have it. Now you can stick tombstone shaped cookies on top of the cupcakes, and if you want, use some ground chocolate cookies to look like brown soil.

There, I hope all that made sense! :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

VeganMoFo - Halloweegan! The Inevitable Pancake Post

October is here! YAY! October will be a themed month, and the theme will be... well, what else but Halloween! I'll try to make every post about fun Halloweegan foods! I doubt I'll have 20 posts by the end of Vegan MoFo, but I'll try to post as much as possible.

Yes, I am blogging about pancakes again. I'm sorry. My name is River and I'm a pancakeholic.

Here's the thing though, these are special Halloweegan pancakes! Fun! OK, let's get started. These creepy little pancakes have vegan whipped cream eye balls with blueberry centers, and strawberry jelly eye vessels carved with a toothpick (veganized pancake recipe from Cooking Lady).



The next ones are vamp-cakes. Melted chocolate chip eyes, nose and mouth, and almond slices as the fangs! (same pancake recipe)




And these are my Pankin Pumpcakes. To give them their "pumpkiny" shape, using the back of a spoon "drag" some pancake batter from the top of each pancake as soon as you drop them on the griddle. This makes it look like a stem. Of course if you have a heat resistant pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, that will work! Decorate them with the goodies I mentioned above.




OK, we got the obligatory pancake post out the way. Phew! See you tomorrow for more Halloweegan fun!