Saturday, July 25, 2015

The MoFos are coming!

Vegan MoFo starts in only a few weeks! Five weeks, is it? That's almost too soon. I need more time to prepare. Who am I kidding? My idea of preparing is doing everything five minutes before it's due.

Anyway, I am pumped up about this MoFo because I skipped it last year and I have a lot of pent up excitement ready to be unleashed. There is always the possibility that my energy will fizzle out and I will do nothing. Nothing at all. It happens.

This year we actually have guidelines or prompts that we have to stick to. I like this. Usually, I have about 75 theme ideas floating around in my brain, but when it's time to start MoFo I can't focus on one single idea and end up not doing a theme at all. On the other hand, I don't like to feel restricted (or worse - constricted) by guidelines, so I will take some major liberties when I interpret the prompts given to us by the MoFo overlords. Overladies? Overpeople.

I don't have any new food for today's post. Instead, I would like to do a round up of some of my favorite MoFo posts. These are either posts/foods that were the most fun for me to create, or recipes that have become some of my favorites and that I still make regularly.


Vegan MoFo 2008


Vegan MoFo 2008 was my first time participating. It was the most fun I've ever had during MoFo. It was the year of Halloweegan and I went absolutely bonkers making themed food. This was the year that the Halloweegan Stuffed Pepper was born.

Halloweegan Stuffed Pepper

It was also the year of the Mashed Potato Ghosts!

Halloweegan Meatloaf Scramble With Mashed Potato Ghosts

These little Happy Halloweegan Pumpkins were made with peanut butter and decorated with carrot-juice-tinted coconut.

Happy Halloweegan Pumpkins


Vegan MoFo 2010


I tried to settle on some official theme for Vegan MoFo 2010, but I ended up doing recipes from other bloggers instead. That was the year that I wanted to do an '80s theme. I had lots of ideas but none of them materialized. It happens. 2010 was the year when I met Ricki Heller's Beetaroni! It was love at first bite!

Ricki's Beetaroni!

It was also the year I first made Jeni's Lentil-Mushroom Loaf with Savory Potato Filling. It's one of my most viewed blog posts of all time!

Jeni's Lentil and Mushroom Loaf with Savory Potato Filling


Vegan MoFo 2012


I did the same theme/non-theme for Vegan MoFo 2012. There were a few Halloweegan posts but nothing like the insanity of 2008. The Man-Eating Burgers made an encore appearance!

Man-Eating Burger

2012 was the year of Ms. Maggie Muggins' Fluffy Newfoundland Bread. I have made this bread so many times I've lost count. I have blogged about this beautiful thing lots of times since then.

Newfoundland White Bread

It was also the year of the PPK Beet Burgers. I have also made these a million and seven times since then.

PPK Beet Slider


Vegan MoFo 2013


This Cheesy Cauliflower Sauce from Vegan MoFo 2013 was da bomb!

Cheesy Cauliflower Sauce

It was also the year when I had these Peanut Butter Not-Scones for breakfast every.single.day.

Peanut Butter - Chocolate Chip Breakfast Scones

Yeah, MoFo! Are you going to play this year? If yes, are you excited? Have you figured out what you’re going to make each day? Are you going to prepare for MoFo during August or are you just going to wing it when the time comes? Would you like me to stop asking you questions?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Blueberry-Lemon Scones

This blog post is sponsored by the color blue. First up, Blueberry-Lemon Scones.

Blueberry-Lemon Scones

Beautiful crumb, plenty of fresh blueberries, and a yummy, zingy drizzle. Zingy drizzle. Try saying that five times fast! While shoving a scone in your mouth!

This is the recipe that I chose. I doubled the sugar because I like a sweet scone. The recipe didn't call for any eggs, so the only ingredients I had to replace to make these vegan were the butter and the cream. No-brainer. For the cream I used a mixture of half coconut milk (full-fat stuff from a can) at room temperature and half So Delicious Coconut Milk. My scones only needed 3/4 cup of cream. The reason why I used room-temperature coconut milk is that sometimes the solid, fatty milk can be deceiving and it will make you think that your dough is not moist enough, when in fact it will soften in the oven and your scones will be too moist. Nobody likes a flat scone. Well, I'm sure *somebody* likes flat scones. Although I call those cookies.

The lemon icing is delicious! I thought I was going to want to leave a few scones un-drizzled, but the icing was so tasty that I went ahead and drizzled them all. I only made half of the icing and it was plenty for a light drizzle. I did double the butter for the icing and I'm not even sorry.




Today's backyard buddy is this young blue jay who is still working on growing his big-boy feathers. He's also working on his big-boy squawk, which right now sounds a bit like a squeaky toy. Keep practicing, buddy! (Check out those scruffy feathers!)

Young Bluejay

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Well, sorry. I'm just going through a casseroly thing and that's what I mostly feel like blogging about at the moment. I'm sure it will pass eventually. Weird time to be going through a casseroly thing, isn't it? Usually people get into casseroly things when the temperature is starting to cool down and fall is coming, not when it's sweltering hot and turning on the oven seems absolutely irrational. But, hey, if you're in the southern hemisphere - high-five for casseroly things!




If  the Brussels sprouts look burned, it's because they were. I zoned out while I was broiling them and they just turned black within seconds. I was actually kneeling down in front of the oven watching them! This happens often. I'm supposed to keep an eye on something so it doesn't burn and my brain decides that it's a good time to make up a story about a cheeky duck with superpowers and next thing I know the smoke alarm is going off. Would the duck have laser vision? Would she have a goose sidekick that would deliver cheesy one-liners? Would she have a squirrel nemesis? Would she wear a cape? *beep beep beep beep*

Here's an inside shot so you can actually see the green sprouts.

Vegan Brussels Sprouts Gratin

This is the recipe that I used, although I only made half of this recipe (and made two minis, of course) because I was the only one eating this. Mr. Wing-It would rather eat his own eyeballs before he eats a Brussels sprout. That's a slight exaggeration. A gratin is supposed to have a browned top, but mine doesn't because I was out of breadcrumbs and I didn't feel like making fresh ones so I just skipped them. The Brussels sprouts were *ahem* "browned". Does that count?

The recipe also calls for dairy butter, cheese, and cream, which were all easy to replace with vegan items. For the cream, I blended 1/4 cup of overnight-soaked cashews with 1/2 cup of So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk. My cheese was (ground) Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Shreds, which I got on sale for $2.49! I don't know how much vegan cheeses cost where you live, but at our local grocery store both Daiya and Follow Your Heart cost almost five bucks per bag of shreds, so when I saw them on sale for $3.49 AND each bag had a $1 off coupon stuck to it, I had to stock up! Now we have two in the fridge and two in the freezer for later. I love getting a good deal!

Follow Your Heart Shreds

Vegan Brussels Sprouts Gratin

The mozzarella shreds worked beautifully in this recipe. The mildness of the cheese and the smooth cashew cream toned down the strong flavor of the Brussels sprouts. If you're a Brussels sprouts hater, this gratin will turn you into a sprouts lover! OK, that's a massive lie. Sorry.

If you do hate stinky sprouts, allow me to whip out this photo of a cute bunny to help wipe that look of "just sucked a lemon" off your face.

Bunny

Better?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

Do you live near a Whole Foods Market or another major health food store? I don't. Our nearest Whole Foods Market is about a 30 minute drive from us, which isn't that far but we don't always have time to go there. There is a little health food store about 15 minutes from here, but everything there is obscenely overpriced and we just aren't made of money. Enter Vitacost!

Vitacost Haul

Vitacost Haul

This is not a sponsored post. This is just me telling you about an online store where you can get your specialty vegan groceries even if you don't have a health food store in your town either. Look at it all! Vegan Worcestershire sauce, two kinds of vegan tuna, Earth Balance mac & cheese, date syrup, guar gum, and look at that massive BUCKET of nutritional yeast! Score! I always try to get at least $49 worth of products because that is Vitacost's free-shipping threshold, and I do love my free shipping deals. That applies to US shipping, although their international shipping fees don't seem unreasonable. Their prices are generally lower than those at out local grocery store, which does sell some vegan items. They also seem to have coupons and deals going on often and they accept Paypal. Yep, I am smitten. It just ticks all the boxes for me. Do you shop there?

I am so enamored with Vitacost right now that I even applied for their affiliate program, but unfortunately my little blog doesn't meet their requirements and I wasn't accepted. Massively disappointing, not gonna lie, but it's not going to keep me from recommending them to you. They even have a vegan category where all their vegan products are neatly organized into subcategories! *heavenly choir*

My favorite product from Vitacost to date? Endangered Species chocolate-hazelnut spread.

Vitacost Haul

It's sweet, chocolaty, and hazelnutty, and super smooth and creamy. It isn't particularly cheap so it's not something I buy too often, but it's nice to treat myself to a little jar every now and then, and because it's so sweet a little jar goes a long way. The ingredients are: Cane sugar, vegetable oil (rapeseed, palm), hazelnuts, cocoa, maltodextrin, sunflower lecithin, vanilla extract.

I used it to make these tiny Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies inspired by Ferrero Rocher chocolates. They are simple chocolate cookies dipped in melted chocolate, then rolled in chopped hazelnuts, then filled with chocolate-hazelnut spread, and topped with whole hazelnuts.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

Small Batch Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies


Recipe Type: Cookies, Dessert

Cuisine: Vegan

Author: Wing It Vegan

Cook time:

Total time:

Serves: 12 mini cookies


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted coconut oil

  • 1 - 2 tbsp vegan milk

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

  • your favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread

  • 12 whole hazelnuts

What to do:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a small mixing bowl combine the sugar, oil, and one tablespoon of milk. Whisk well until smooth and creamy.

  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl sift in the flour and cocoa powder. Add the salt and mix well.

  4. Pour the oil and sugar mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until a firm dough forms. The dough should be quite firm, but not crumbly and falling apart. Add only as much milk as you need to keep the dough from falling apart.

  5. Scoop the dough onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. I use a mini cookie scoop that holds two teaspoons of dough, which makes 12 little cookies.

  6. To make the little "thumbprints" press the back of a rounded measuring spoon down in the center of each cookie. Make nice big wells so you will be able to fill your cookies with lots of chocolate-hazelnut spread. If the cookies split when you're pressing down with the spoon, it means that your dough it a little too dry and you should add a tiny bit of milk. The cookies should crack a bit here and there, but if they actually split into different pieces it means they need tiny bit more liquid.

  7. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Sorry!

  8. While the cookies chill in the fridge, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C.)

  9. When the oven is preheated and the cookies have chilled for about 30 minutes, bake them for nine minutes on the top third rack of your oven (unless your oven doesn't burn from the bottom, mine does so I need to bake cookies on the top third.) You may need to bake them for an extra minute, but no more than ten because they will dry up. These bake really fast!

  10. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool down to room temperature.

  11. Now it's time to dip the cookies in chocolate chips, so melt your chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring well in between cycles, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. I like to to this in a shallow (microwaveable) bowl because it's easy to dip the cookies in a shallow bowl.

  12. Dip the bottom of each cookie in the melted chocolate, then dip or roll each cookie in the chopped hazelnuts, whatever works for you.

  13. Fill each well in the center of the cookies with chocolate-hazelnut spread. It's OK to overfill them a little.

  14. Place a whole hazelnut on top of each cookie and enjoy!

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies




Mr. Wing-It, who isn't a big chocoholic, ate several of these and said *nom nom nom.* That's a good sign! But then again, I have never met anyone who didn't like the chocolate+hazelnut combo.

Alrighty then. Now it's time to wrap this up with something cute. Bunny, anyone?

Bunny
*nom nom nom*