Thursday, February 10, 2011

They're heeeere! Vegantine's Day Strawberry Love Bugs!

Brace yourself for the post with the most pictures eva'! It will hog up all your bandwidth! It will break the interwebs! The planet will implode! Took it too far?

Love Bugs!



The Strawberry Love Bugs are back! Remember the ones I made in 2009? These are pretty much the same, except that I printed out their little signs instead of making them by hand.

Which one are you teaming up with?

Which one are you teaming up with for Vegantine's Day? I *heart* You or Love Stinks? If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you probably know that I always like to throw in a Mr. Grumpy Pants along with the happy faces, you know, for balance. Wanna make some? First you're going to need to wash and pat dry about a pound of strawberries...

Mmmm... strawberries

Then you're going to need about two ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. I melt mine in the microwave at half power, stirring every 45 seconds. If you're a proper double-boiler person, then go for it. Dip the tips of the strawberries in the melted chocolate...

'Dipping

I use bamboo picks to dip them, but you can use regular toothpicks too. Place the strawberries upside down inside a small ramekin or other fairly shallow container...

Letting the chocolate set

A bouquet of bugs-to-be!
Purdy strawberry bouquets!

Refrigerate the strawberries while you make the antennae. The antennae are totally optional, and I'm not going to lie to you, they can be a pain in the gluteus maximus. If you want to make them, check if your melted chocolate needs a few more seconds in the microwave to soften it up. Mine did. Then transfer it to a small ziploc and cut a small tip off one of the corners. You can print out my antennae pattern if you would like to use it, then tape it to a chopping board and tape a piece of wax paper on top of the pattern paper. When you're ready, use your chocolate-loaded ziploc bag to trace the little swirly antennae. If you have no idea how to do that, check out my chocolate spider-legs video that might paint a clearer picture.

Making antennae

Place the chopping board in the freezer and let's make some buggy dots! Use the same ziploc to drop little dots all over the tops of the strawberries, except for the heads, of course.

Dotty!

This next step is also optional, but I like to flatten the chocolate dots with a hot (dry!) knife.

Hot knife

Totally optional, and maybe even unnecessary. But I like them better flat...

Flattened dots

Now it's time to draw some eyes and mouth on'em. I used melted vegan white chocolate chips, but you can also make them with a very stiff powdered sugar and water icing. Use another ziploc to pipe the melted chocolate/sugar icing and draw their little faces. Mr. Grumpy Pants needs a pair of grumpy eyebrows.

Eyes and mouths - white chocolate

Now pipe a little drop of the semi-sweet chocolate in the center (or not!) of each eye. Or you can dip a toothpick into the melted chocolate and then "poke" the center of each eye. Also, this would be a good time to attach the antennae. Use a generous drop of melted chocolate as glue, on top of their heads, and then quickly attach the antennae. If your hands are too hot and the antennae melt in your hands, you can always use some kitchen-only tweezers to grab them.

Eyes - chocolate dots

Now they need their signs! You can make your own or you can print mine out if you want. I *heart* You signs are here, and Love Stinks signs are here. Your choice! Just cut out the signs and tape a toothpick to the back of each sign.

Sign

Insert the signs to the top/back of each Love Bug and you're done!

All signed up

At this point I realized that the leaves were looking a little dry and ugleh, so I trimmed them...

An army of Love Bugs! Ruuuunnnn!

The bunny hop? The buggy hop?
A nice little row of bugs, coming to steal your heart!

I *heart* U on a cupcake! :)
They also make cute cupcake toppers!

Love Stinks on a cupcake!
Even Mr. Grumpy Pants!

Did you guys catch my Gluten-Free Almond Butter Blondies at Go Dairy Free? Alisa is the coolest and she invited me to do another guest post! These are a gluten-free version of my wheat-based almond butter blondies. These wheatless goodies are fudgy, rich, almondy, and they have a yummy crusty top, which is absolutely necessary in a blondie. Amirite or amirite? Thank you, Alisa! :)

Gluten-Free Almond Blondies

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Teeccino Winners and Date-Sweetened Ice Cream

**If you landed here via Tastespotting looking for the Teeccino review, you can find it here. Sorry! I entered the wrong URL when I submitted my picture!

How fun! Congrats to all 50 winners! I just realized that I didn't ask Ashley (the sweet Teeccino elf behind this giveaway) if she was OK with me posting her email address here for all to see. So you can email me your mailing address and I will happily forward it to Teeccino so they can send you the goods. I promise not to sell your info to the devil.

The list of lucky winners:

Nichole, Maggie, Robynrawr, Cartercam, Denise, Animal-Friendly, Aimee, Jane, AJP, Patricia, Crash, Suzanna, Kim g., Vegyogini, SF Bay Area, Carissa, Lori, Andrea, Susan@sweetimaginations, AmyL, Corrin Radd, Heather, Kristen, Brenda W., Elaine, Angela DiGiovanni, Diane, baxtersmom396, jackie-, nape80, Ricki, Tory, Katie, Brewed Bohemian, kmm22, Danielle, HeyitsBeth, Edmontonjb, Dolmadez, Krystle Rose, Claire, Amanda, Tiffany Miller, Cadry, Heather, Theuglyquip, Morgan, Michele (you sure you WANT? You didn't quite make that clear! :P), Katy Spring, Hyperwink, and Maggie.

You can email your name and address info to wingitvegan (at) gmail (dot) com. Enjoy!

Now I'm feeling awkward about publishing a foodless post. How'bout some date-sweetened ice cream?

Date-Sweetened Ice Cream
Date-sweetened ice cream with chopped carob chips.
I had to take new pictures! The ones I showed you before were horrid! :D

Date-Sweetened Vanilla Ice Cream

4 oz pitted dates (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup water
1 14 oz can of full fat coconut milk, cold
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a small pot or sauce pan, combine the dates and the water and bring to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and let the dates soak, covered, for 15 minutes.
3. Pour the coconut milk into your blender, add the vanilla and the dates along with their water. Blend until smooth.
4. Transfer the blended mixture into a bowl (with a spout, you'll thank me later!) using a fine mesh strainer to catch little bits of date that might have been left unblended. Refrigerate for an hour or until cold.
5. Once cold, use a fine mesh strainer again (I'm really not happy about tiny bits of date in my smooth ice cream) to pour the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. It takes my awesome Cuisinart about 30 minutes to churn this bad boy.

NOTES:

This is plenty sweet for my taste, but if you like a sweeter ice cream you can always add some maple syrup.

Add some chunky goods when the ice cream maker is done churning! Chocolate or carob chips, nuts, fruit...

I always have a can or two of coconut milk in the fridge, that way if I need to make a quick ice cream or whipped cream I don't have to wait for the milk to chill. If you're making this ice cream with room temperature coconut milk, the ice cream mixture will probably need to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours instead of just one.

Keep it in the freezer (O rly?) and take it out a few minutes before serving. It will be way to hard to scoop straight out of the freezer! One of these days I'm going to buy some vodka and I'm going to add a little splash to my ice creams just to see what happens. It shouldn't freeze so hard if it has some vodka in it, right?

Date-Sweetened Ice Cream

funny pictures
*omnomnomnom* via icanhascheezburger.com