Saturday, December 27, 2008

Who took my Christmas Spirit?

*Shyly* Hey, 'member me? I've been so fooded-out I don't even have any Christmas recipes to share! Plus, the Christmas Spirit abandoned me in the middle of December as if it had been exorcised out of me. Bad, bad blogger.

Luckily, everyone else was all about the Holidays! Like these awesome bloggers:

Joanna from A cup of Jo made a gorgeous French Yule Log. She stayed up late making dessert after a whole day at work. That's dedication! :)

Sal from Alien On Toast made some awesome Christmas tree cookies. Prepare for some sexy beater licking action! :P

Karen from And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true had a fabulous Christmas cookie Bake-a-thon!

Joanie at But what does she eat made a whole lot of Christmas cookies (so pretty!). Joanie also made Strawberry Santa Hats AND Raspberry Santa Hats!

Katie, everyone's favorite Chocolate Covered Vegan, made the most adorable Christmas cookies. Katie made these precious cookies for a Christmas party for an organization called Circle of Friends. "The group pairs children with special needs with a buddy, and it plans fun events for everyone to do together." If you look closely, you can see a Halo over Katie's head.

Mandee from Cupcake Kitteh made Gingerbread men and trees. Look at their little scarves! Have you seen Mandee's Candy Cane Cupcakes? Adorable!

Super fun Holiday inspired lunchboxes from Disposable Aardvarks Inc. Check out this post too. Did you see her Reindeer Cupcakes on my previous post?

Ricki at Diet, Desserts and Dogs had a series of "Gastronomic Gifts", including Tutti Fruity Christmas Cookies, Jam-Filled Turnovers, and Marzipan-Topped Shortbread Cookies that she made with her own homemade buttery spread! Oh, yes, Ricki is that awesome!

Diann at eat'n veg'n had a Christmas feast, including some super Christmassy Big Fat Sugar Cookies! Diann also made a delicious French Yule Log.

Another amazing French Yule Log courtesy of Bex from How to feed a vegan. Bex even had the added challenge of using only items from her pantry!

Too cute - this 3D Snowman Cake at In the kitchen of a tofufreak is beyond adorable!

Susan from Kittens Gone Lentil (love it!) baked lots of Christmas goodies, including my Strawberry Santa Hats and Reindeer Cupcakes! They are so pretty they put mine to shame!

Another amazing Yule Log by Shellyfish at Musings from the Fishbowl! Her sweet little Guppy adds a perfect finishing touch with cute little star sprinkles!

From my previous post, Isa's Minimalist Gingerbread Men and Isa and Terry's Gingerbread Punks! You have to have Gingerbread Punks at the Post Punk Kitchen!

Mihl at Seitan is my motor made a delicious Christmas Stollen and shared a German tradition with us!

DJ and her kids at Skint Vegan made Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies for McGonnagles' Judo Christmas Party. These cookies kick butt! I know, I'm so lame.

Bethany made some too-cool-for-words sugar cookies. Look at those zombie squirrels and kissing, giant-eyed swans! Would you expect any less from a blog called Spotted Devil Cat and his Vegan assistant?

Enjoy these Hanukkah and Christmas cookies from Krys at Two Vegan Boys! Krys has so kindly reminded us never to eat yellow snow! :)

Bianca at Vegan Crunk made these extra Christmassy Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes from Lindsay's Pudge Free Holidays e-cookbook. I love the picture of Bianca's puppy opening his Christmas present!

VeganLovlie made the most amazing Ratatouille Christmas Tree Pies! How super creative!

Amanda from Walking the Vegan Line put together a video of Christmas goodies! It even plays music from The Nutcracker! Amanda also made a fabulous French Yule Log complete with festive vintage decorations!

I love these adorable Christmas cookies from Zoey's Kitchen! Plus, Zoey is the the cutest sleeper ever! No really, go look at her!

All of my Christmas treats are here. Though I didn't go crazy like I did with Halloweegan!

There must be so many more posts that I haven't seen yet, so feel free to let me know if you made something special for the Holidays and I'll update this post with a link to your post. (Update: I've removed the links to the blogs that are no longer with us. Sadface.)

Want to see my Christmas presents?
I've told you about my early Christmas present from Mr. Wing-it:



I now use this photography lighting set to take all my food pictures. It also has two light tents and six backdrops that I still haven't had the chance to use much.

I've also told you that I love the Gilmore Girls and themed coffee mugs/cups. Look! It's my brand new giant Luke's mug!


Peek-a-boo! The mug is pressed up against my nose and it covers almost my whole face, that's how huge it is! Now I can watch GGs and feel like I am sipping coffee with them at Luke's. If only I could talk as fast as Lorelai and Rory do.

I also received some Christmas money, so I bought me a poor man's Kitchenaid. It's a Hamilton Beach that costs around $200 but Kohls had a sale and I got it for $100! It was 50% off!!



How about some non-Christmas food? I made some sort of brownie things. They aren't really brownies, but they aren't cake either, or even a sweet bread. Brown-cake bread?

Brown-cake bread things


Untitled Brownie-Cake Bread Thing

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup pureed banana*
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat)**
1/2 cup soy milk or other non dairy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
3- Whisk together the pureed banana and the liquids. Make sure the banana puree is super smooth and lump free.
4- Stir the banana mix into the dry mix until smooth.
5- Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
6- Pour the brown-cake bread thing batter into the prepared baking dish.
7- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the brown-cake bread thing comes out clean.

* This has a subtle hint of banana. If you don't want your brown-cake bread thing to have a hint of banana, replace it with 2 extra tbsp of oil.

** Mr. Wing-it isn't a big fan of coconut milk, so I compromise and only use 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 soy milk, but I bet this would be richer and yummier with all coconut milk and no soy milk!

The frosting is 1/2 cup of chocolate chips melted with 1/4 cup of coconut milk. I like my frosting soft, but if you like it firm, use only 2 tbsp of coconut milk. To make the frosting, bring the coconut milk to a boil and pour it on top of the chocolate chips. Stir until smooth.



If all the fat scares you, I recommend Happy Herbivore's Low Fat Fudgey Brownies from her Sneak Peek e-cookbook!

One more thing: thank you, Sal, for giving me the Proximity award! Even though we are an ocean apart, I'm glad we can at least blog friends. In your own words... Sal rocks socks! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mashed Potato Snowmen and Meatless Christmas Presents

The Holiday Spirit has taken over Vegan Blogland! Check out these amazing festive posts:

Mandee's Candy Cane Cupcakes - so beautifully whimsical and colorful!

Veganf's Reindeer Cupcakes - they kick my cupcakes' butt!

Becks' Rice Crispy Cake Christmas puddings - coolest things ever - seriously!

Isa's Minimalist Gingerbread Men plus Isa and Terry's Gingerbread Punks - punks I'm telling you!!

By the end of the month I'm going to create a post with links to all the cute Holiday treats everyone has made, like the list I made for Halloweegan. I'm collecting links, so let me know if you make something cute and Christmassy so we can have a huge list of vegan goodness!

Kelly from The Pink Apron has given me a Butterfly Award! Kelly is such a sweet blogger and she always leaves the kindest comments on everybody's blogs. Thank you so much, Kelly! It's so exciting to be recognized by such a fabulous blogger like you! :)


A couple of nights ago we had meatloaf again, and this time I wrote down every single drop and pinch of everything I used. Instead of making mini loaves, I shaped them into squares and decorated them with green bell peppers slices to make Christmas presents.

Meatless Christmas Gifts


Mini Meatless Loaves/Squares

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped (use more if you're an onion person)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp soy milk
1/4 tsp salt (I'm not very salty, add more if this seems too little for you)
2 tsp adobo OR 1 tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning (I've used both and they both work well)
2 cups ground beef style crumbles (I use frozen Morningstar Farms)
3/4 cup breadcrumbs

Baste:
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp brown sugar

1- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2- In a sauce pan, saute the onion in the olive oil until tender.
3- Whisk together the tomato sauce, tomato paste, soy milk, salt and adobo.
4- Add the tomato mix to the sauteed onions in the saucepan (it will splatter a little bit, tomato fireworks!) and heat it up just until it simmers.*
5- Stir in the frozen beef style crumbles and remove from heat.
6- Stir in the breadcrumbs.
7- Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Take out about 1/4 of the meatloaf mix and shape into a loaf with your hands (it's messy, so use gloves if you must). Place the loaf on the baking dish and do the same with the rest of the mix to form 4 loaves. If you're making the little presents instead, shape the meatloaf mix into 6 to 8 little squares and place them on the baking dish.
8- Whisk together the three basting ingredients and brush half of the mix on the tops and sides of each mini loaf/square.
9- Bake for 15 minutes.
10- Remove from the oven, flip the loaves/squares upside down and brush the rest of the basting mix on the tops and sides. Bake for 10 more minutes.

*If you're using thawed or refrigerated crumbles, you don't need to simmer the tomato mix, just add the tomato mix to the onions and stir in the non-frozen crumbles right away.

This is enough for the two of us, if you need to double the recipe you should use a larger pot instead of a saucepan. These also make good meatballs!

If you want to decorate them like Christmas presents, just steam or boil a few green bell pepper strips and use some ketchup or tomato sauce as glue to stick them to the squares. I sauteed the peppers and they are tasty, but they have brown spots that wouldn't be there if they were steamed or boiled until soft and manageable. The little pepper pieces sticking up on the tops are raw, so they don't look all droopy!



Last night we had mashed potato snowmen! I made them using cookie scoops, a large one for the bodies and a small one for the heads. They have steamed red pepper scarves, and pea buttons. The noses are little carrot pieces, the mouths are black olive slices cut in half, and the eyes are black bean tips. We had them on top of black bean patties, so the black beans came in handy for the eyes.

Mashed Potato Snowmen

These would be so much fun for kids to make themselves! Notice the olive tips as hats? They look like yarmulkes! It was unintentional, but I thought they looked cute! :)

In other news, Jessy suggested I started doing weight training, which was weird in an awesome kind of way because I had been thinking about it for a few days! Wouldn't you call that synchronicity, Ricki? Jessy's posts and comments are always so full of energy, that her suggestion helped me get started. So with the help of Mr. Wing-it I had my first session yesterday. We'll see how long it sticks!

Enjoy the countdown to Christmas!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Déjà vu: Chistmas Pancakes and Failed Santa Hats

What happens when a foodie gets sick of food?

Said foodie neglects her blog and the blogging community because she doesn't want to see, hear, or read anything that has anything to do with food. The weight gain quest is going great, but I am not too excited about cooking or taking pictures of food these days. So I don't have super cool Christmas treats for this post; instead, it's a déjà vu post with pancakes and failed Santa hats.

Pumpkin-Gingerbread Pancakes


Pumpkin-Ginger Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp molasses
1 cup to 1 1/4 cup soy milk*

1- Whisk dry ingredients together.
2- Whisk together the pumpkin puree and the liquid ingredients. I needed 1 1/4 cup of soy milk, but you might want to start with 1 cup and add more later if you need it.
3- Add the liquids to the dry mix and stir until smooth.
6- Lightly coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and preheat.
7- Spray the inside of a metal gingerbread man cookie cutter with cooking spray and place it on the hot skillet. From now on you should use tongs to handle the hot cookie cutter!
8- Using a large cookie scoop, pour a scoopful of batter inside the cookie cutter and cook over low-medium heat until the bottoms are golden brown.
9- Carefully and using your tongs, pull the cookie cutter up. If you didn't spray it enough, you might need to use a knife to separate the edges from the cookie cutter.
10- Flip the pancake over and cook until the other side turns golden brown.

* You will need at least 1 cup of milk, how much more you might need depends on how soft your pumpkin puree is. They should be soft enough to easily pour the batter inside the cookie cutter but not too soft that most of the batter leaks out of the bottom of the cookie butter.

This recipe makes 10 gingerbread-man pancakes using a 10 inch long cookie cutter.

I used the last bit of pancake batter to make a gingerbread house pancake.

Pumpkin-Gingerbread Pancakes

It would be so pretty decorated with candy! Candy for breakfast? Well, it's just one day!

Anyway, here are the failed Santa hats. They don't resemble hats so much when they are made with raspberries, and the buttercream brims (thank you Aimee!) should be really tiny for this to work. I definitely like my Strawberry Santa Hats better. By the way, the cupcakes are the basic vanilla cupcakes from VCTOTW.

Not so Santa-ish Raspberry Santa Hats

We're having the little meatless meatloaves tonight, so I'll have a recipe and hopefully a picture of Christmassy loaves for my next post. Plus, I opened a can of pumpkin to make the pancakes, which means I'll be making the mini pumpkin pies really soon.

The super cuteness that is Miss. Jo has given me a lovely award! Isn't she sweet? Thank you so much for thinking of me, Jo, you just made my week!

"This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."


I need to pass it on to 8 bloggers, but we all know I'm not going to stick to the rules. I never stick to award rules, so this goes to everyone on my blog roll, because you all are "exceedingly charming"!

Thank you for all your cheering comments and support! Your encouraging words mean the world to me! You guys rock!!

EDIT: Sweet Denny from A simple kind of life has also passed on the Proximity award to me! Thank you so much!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Morning Pancakes and Strawberry Santa Hats on Coconut Milk Cake!

UPDATE: I made these Strawberry Santa Hats again in 2009, and again in 2012! Oh yes, and yet again in 2012 along with a handy how-to video!

What's Christmas without a festive Christmas morning breakfast? Morning is the best part of Christmas! After waking up to see what Santa left us under the tree, and checking if he ate his cookies and drank his soy milk, there must be a special breakfast. So let's have some spinach pancakes! YAY! Spinach... WHAT?!

OK, they don't taste like spinach, but they're green and Christmassy! And they're even more Christmassy when you make Christmas Tree Pancakes using a copper or stainless steel cookie cutter.


Christmas Tree Pancakes

These pancakes were very fluffy and light, and a little bit of a pain to make because I only have one non-plastic tree cookie-cutter. I threw some blueberries on top, but red cranberries or pomegranate seeds would be so pretty on the green trees!

Spinach-Clementine Christmas Tree Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup clementine juice
1/2 cup frozen spinach (chopped)
1/2 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

1- Whisk dry ingredients together.
2- In a blender, combine the clementine juice and frozen spinach and blend until smooth.
3- Strain the spinach/clementine mix into a small mixing bowl and discard the solids that are left in the strainer..
4- Add the soy milk, oil, and vanilla to the spinach mix, and whisk all wet ingredients together.
5- Add the liquids to the dry mix and stir until smooth.
6- Lightly coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and preheat.
7- Spray the inside of your Christmas tree cookie cutters with cooking spray and place it on the hot skillet. From now on you should use tongs to handle the hot cookie cutters!
8- Using a large cookie scoop, pour a scoopful of batter inside the cookie cutter and cook over low-medium heat until the bottoms are barely golden.
9- Carefully and using your tongs, pull the cookie cutter up. If you didn't spray it enough, you might need to use a knife to help you separate the edges from the cookie cutter.
10- Flip the pancake over and cook until the other side turns barely golden .

This recipe makes 10 fluffy Christmas tree pancakes using a 10 inch long cookie cutter.



The next Christmas inspired recipe is called "Strawberry Santa Hats", because "Santa's Berries" just doesn't seem very appropriate!

Strawberry Santa Hats... or Santa's Berries? :D

These are little cake squares, with buttercream and strawberry hats. I wanted to make a dense cake using coconut milk (recipe below), but you can use any cake recipe or you can even use cookies instead of cake. Ooh, chocolate shortbread would be perfect!

Anyway, once your cake has cooled down to room temperature, cut it into squares and use a pastry bag to squeeze out a buttercream circle right in the middle of each square. Be generous with the buttercream, you should have a circle a little bigger than the base of a strawberry. The whole circle should be filled with buttercream to end up with a nice frosting disk.

Place a washed and trimmed strawberry on top of each buttercream disk (tips up) and gently squeeze them down so the buttercream spreads out all around the berries. Finally, squeeze out a little "pom pom" of buttercream on the tip of each strawberry.

Coconut Milk Cake
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
2 tbsp oil
3/4 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tsp vanilla

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2- Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
3- Whisk wet ingredients in a small bowl.
4- Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth.
5- Pour the cake batter into an 8x8 inch baking dish prepared with cooking spray.
6- Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: This cake is begging for some chocolate chips!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Beginning To Taste A Lot Like Christmas!

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my Thanksgiving dinner post! By popular request, we will be having meatloaf again later this week and I will meticulously write down every ingredient that I use. Thanksgiving day was one of those days that I just cannot stick to a recipe, so I just wing it. The recipe for the little pumpkin pies will come soon too!

Christmas time! When I was making all the Halloweegan treats, I knew for sure that for Christmas I was going to make some classic Rudolph Cupcakes with cherry noses. I can't believe it's Rudolph time already! These guys have cherry noses and pretzel antlers. Mr. Fancy Rudolph on the left has coconut milk eyes with melted chocolate chips centers and a little melted chocolate chip mouth. Mr. Lazy Rudolph on the right just has two chocolate chips for eyes. Any basic chocolate butter cream will do for the frosting.

Rudolph Cupcakes

Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree... These are the same concept as the Happy Vegan Ghosts. I dyed the coconut with spinach juice, but if you use food coloring go for it. I bought a pair of tiny scissors (they're actually called moustache scissors, but they will only be used for cooking) to make little horizontal cuts all around the trees, so that they look like pine trees. I just noticed that I don't have a "coconut" tag for my posts; if I did, probably 90% of my posts would be tagged "coconut".

Christmas Trees

We've had our first snow that has made everything seem even more Christmasy. Not everybody is thrilled with the winter wonderland though...


Have a super happy December fellow bloggsters!!