Friday, September 28, 2007

Off Topic

How cute is this hat? The little girl, too. I want to get one of these for Ramsey, and myself, but can't choose a color. What do you think? I like the darker more neutral colors...this grey/green, the redish/brown, the dark grey, any opinions for Hammy?
Ohhh, I just found a brown one with no flower and a few bright blue stripes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ginger Hoisin Rice Noodles

Actually, I grabbed the wrong package of noodles and they aren't rice. So, the title isn't really correct. I pulled this recipe out of The Every Day Vegan, for tonight's dinner.

Bringing the water to a boil was what took the longest. Every thing else was pretty quick. Joe loved this dish. He even went back for seconds. Ramsey didn't take one bite and Isaac dug around and only ate the noodles. To be honest, I did the same as Isaac.

Well, I ate the carrots but I avoided the bell pepper. I love raw bell pepper but for some reason I don't enjoy it in it's cooked state. I would have much preferred this dish with carrots and broccoli and maybe some snap peas. I would leave out the ginger, too, or use powder. I like the flavor of ginger but don't enjoy coming across a chunk, no matter how small.

Overall, I think this is a good dish. There is a lot of room for adaptation to account for personal tastes. I know my kids would like it better if I made the changes mentioned, not to mention me. Poor Joe, he's the odd man out. That means he'll never have it made this way again. Oh well, when he starts to cook he can have it his way.

A few nights ago I had planned to make flautas again stuffed with some leftover Rancho Papa that was from Rancho's on 30th street. I was going to stuff a few with refried beans and left over "neat balls" for the kids, as well.

I ended up getting a late start and realised how much faster it would be to just fry the tortillas flat. A la tostada. We threw some Mexican relish on top and were good to go. These were great and a lot less work. I'm going to do this again when I'm felling lazy.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Double Chocolate Pecan Chippers

The Double Chocolate Pecan Chippers are another recipe from The Every Day Vegan. I didn't take a picture of these cookies because they were pretty ugly. The dough spread so thin that I just cut out cookie shapes. The end result was crispy and crunchy.

They actually tasted pretty good. The recipe would be great for a pie crust. In Dreena's instructions she says it's best to chill your dough or it might spread to much. I was to impatient to wait. Next time I'll let it chill and see if they come out thicker and keep there shape.

I'm really not displeased with the outcome. I liked the light, airy, crispy, thin chocolate cookies that we ended up with. It'll be fun to experiment some more. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Christmas Cookies

Don't shoot me!!!! I swear I'm not really planning the holidays yet. I just wanted to throw this out.

I've heard of cookie exchanges but I've never been to one. You bring like two dozen of some kind of cookie and then everyone gets to take like 6 of each kind, or something like that. It would be great to have a vegan cookie exchange. Any interest? There could be other stuff like fudge or candy and we could make our own rules.

So, respond in the comments and then we'll pretend we never spoke of Christmas until after Thanksgiving. We could even do it twice. Once for Thanksgiving as a sort of trial run. Don't hit me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sweet and Sour "Neat" Balls

For dinner tonight I made Sweet and Sour "Neat" Balls from The Everyday Vegan. I served it along side of some rice and steamed broccoli.

I thought the neat balls were pretty quick to put together. There are more vegetables called for then in most of the other recipes that I've come across and I like that for the kids. For myself too. I don't eat near the amount of vegetables that I should, not counting onions.

They had a nice outside that held together but a tender inside. The vegetables are put in raw, no having to saute before hand, and they are a great texture. I wondered if they would be more noticeable to the kids but they weren't to crunchy.

I also made the sweet and sour sauce, instead of using store bought. I thought the sauce tasted good but I'm not sure if I would identify it as sweet and sour sauce if I hadn't known before hand.

Isaac liked the neat balls well enough but Ramsey was the big surprise. She ate all of hers and she chose them to eat before the rice. That's unheard of at our house. Joe and I both thought they were good. I will make these again.

I also made these Oatmeal Breakfast Bars from another recipe from vegweb. I chose to use almonds and cranberries as my nut and fruit. Also, I used agave nectar as my sweetener.

These are good. I don't think that they are out of this world, but everyone here said they were good. I will probably tweak the recipe. I like more of a nut bar and less oats. Isaac called these rice crispy treats and if that's what he thinks I'm ok with that.

Recipe submitted by

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Ingredients (use vegan versions):
2 and 2/3 cups oats
1/3 cup flax seed meal
2 medium bananas, mashed
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, whatever you want)
2/3 cup chopped nuts (i use pecans but walnuts, peanuts or sunflower seeds will work)
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoon some kind of vegan sweetener (i use honey, but i know with vegans that is a no no)
enough liquid Ener-G Egg Replacer to equal one egg
add a small amount of water if mixture isn't moist enough.

Directions:Combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. add mashed bananas, liquid Ener-G Egg Replacer, oil and sweetener and mix well until blended and mixture is sticky. now this part is messy, but worth it. Shape dough into bars on a greased cookie sheet, making the bars about 1/3 inch thick. I would definitely recommend shaping all the bars at one time, because the longer the dough sits, the stickier it gets. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.I make these for my husband in lieu of buying him store bought breakfast bars. They are healthier and cheaper. They aren't very sweet either, but you can add more sweetener to your discretion.Serves: about 10

Following some of the review advice I used 1/4 cup of flax seed meal so the bars wouldn't turn bitter. I also oiled a 9x13" pan and patted the mix in there and baked for 20 minutes. While the bars were still warm I cut them into squares.

This has nothing to do with recipes but it's some thing that has been on my mind and is making me insane. The back ground information here would be I was looking up vegan lotions and deodorant. WHY do people use the term flavor when referring to scent? I hate it. Vanilla "flavored" deodorant. Are you going to eat it? It's SCENTED damn it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dinner and Beyond

I've been a lazy poster, but what can you do. I don't really have an excuse.

I'll start of with breakfast on Sunday. I used the Morning Pancakes recipe from The Vegan Family Cookbook. This recipe yields a really large batch. With most recipes we have enough for all of us and 3-4 left over for the freezer. This time I had at least 20 left over. My freezer is stocked.

I used half whole wheat pastry flour and half white. We also made a few blueberry. These were the closest that I have ever come to a pancake that looks like it was made at a restaurant. They were the perfect thickness nice flavor and fluffy texture. I take full credit for the perfect golden color. :)

Next in line is graham crackers. I can't find plain vegan graham crackers in any of my most frequented shops. I came across this recipe in the Post Punk Kitchen message boards. This is one of Isa's recipes.

Gwam Crackers

Makes about 12 crackers

I wanted a graham cracker that was relatively hassle free, most graham cracker recipes call for chilling the dough and that sometimes turns me off from baking. I want graham crackers, NOW. Not in 3 hours. I also wanted them to be relatively healthy for a sweet treat, with a hearty wheaty crunch, so I ultimately went for regular whole wheat flour - pastry flour didn't give me the crunchy crumbs I was wanting. These aren't too sweet so if you would like them sweeter and more cinnamony sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon cinnamon before scoring. To add to the beauty of this recipe, everything gets done with just a large mixing bowl and a fork.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup rice milk (plus maybe an extra tablespoon or so), soy milk or water will work, too

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in oil, molasses and vanilla. Give the liquid ingredients a quick whisk with a fork and then continue mixing until everything is well combined and crumbly.

Drizzle in the milk and combine. Use your hands to knead the dough a few times until it holds together, add an extra tablespoon of rice milk if needed. You should be able to form a pliable ball of dough.

Line a work surface with parchment. Place the dough on the parchment and work into a rectangle. Flatten a bit with the palms of your hand and sprinkle with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle that is roughly 10 x 14 inches. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick. If the edges look crumbly, that's okay. Cut the edges off so that you have a relatively even 12 x 8 rectangle. Cut the dough into 8 crackers, to do this evenly use a sharp paring knife to slice the dough in half lengthwise and width wise. Then cut width wise again on either side of the center width wise cut. That probably made it sound confusing, read it slowly.

Use a very thin flexible spatula to transfer the crackers to a baking sheet. It helps if you spray the spatula with cooking spray so that it slips on and off easily. Gather up the scraps of dough and form them into a ball, then roll it out into a 4 by 8 rectangle, or whatever size you can manage. I was able to get 4 more crackers out of the deal, but your mileage may vary. Cut the edges evenly and slice into 4 crackers then transfer to the baking sheet.Score each cookie with a fork 4 times in 2 columns. You don't need to poke all the way through. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. 14 will give you nice crispy crackers, 12 minutes will be better for making ice cream sammiches.Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

Mine didn't turn out near as pretty as the one's Isa posted. I'll live. Honestly these were a pain in the ass. I didn't think that they would turn out to be worth it. Also, I did end up using whole wheat pastry flour instead of plain whole wheat.

I was completely wrong. These are really good and worth the effort. I will make these again. I want to get a system down so that it's easier. They were perfectly crispy and the flavor was amazing. When the kids go to sleep I'm going to bust out the Ricemellow.

Last, but not least, was this lovely pasta dish from The Everyday Vegan. I made the Basic Creamy Garlic Sauce. Obviously the vegetable that I went with was broccoli. The recipe also calls for fresh leafy herbs. I chose parsley.

I was really looking forward to eating this. I wasn't sure if the kids would go for it, since it calls for 3 heads of garlic, but I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone finished off their portions. The garlic flavor was really mild and went wonderfully with the broccoli. Joe has a grudge against spaghetti noddles, as opposed to any other shape, but he had no complaints. Maybe next time I'll choose a penne just for him.

Aside from roasting the garlic, this was a quick dish to prepare. The vegetables and sauce are done in the time it takes you to boil the noodles. I'll have to experiment with freezing roasted garlic. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Potato Poppers

I wanted to take some black and white pictures of the kids at the beach and figured it was a great opportunity to hit Stephanie's Bakery in Ocean Beach. I love the strudel at Stephanie's but haven't been there in a long time. Turns out that they have started serving lunch in my absence.

We ordered a 14" plain cheese pizza. It was ok. I think that it could have been cooked a little bit longer. The crust should have been a bit more golden and crispy underneath. I like my own pizza better. It's nice to have a place to buy a vegan pizza even if it's not exceptional.

For dinner I made the Potato Poppers from The (almost) No Fat Cookbook. They were a bit like tater tots but more dense. Obviously, they are more healthy then tator tots. I doubled the recipe so I could put some away into the freezer.

I liked having these as a side dish. I try to stay away from potatoes because I'd rather get a "better" vegetable into the kids but I don't feel so bad about these. Along with the potato there is onion, brown rice and whole wheat bread crumbs.

I would make the potato poppers again as something easy to have around.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sicilian Bread Pie

I don't think that there is one recipe that doesn't look good in Nonna's Italian Kitchen. This Sicilian Bread Pie is the first recipe that I've tried. I made the broccoli version. There is also a spinach version which Isaac has requested for next time.

To put this pie together I used Bryanna's recipe for Pizza Dough and Vegetarian Hot Italian Sausage, also included in Nonna's Italian Kitchen. It ended up being a bit labor intensive. You could use commercial vegan Italian Sausage.

We all liked this pretty well. Next time I will double the amount of broccoli. I would like more vegetable flavor. I added the optional tomato and that gave a more pizza flavor that the kids enjoyed. I accidentally made a full recipe of the pizza dough when this recipe called for half. So, I made bread sticks with the leftover dough.

The sausage had a nice spice to it and an authentic Italian flavor. I also think that this recipe produced a better more realistic texture then many of the store bought faux sausages. I have plenty of sausage patties left over sitting in my freezer for the next time it's called for. I like having things stored up.

I decided to use up the phyllo dough I had sitting in the freezer. I went searching on vegweb for a strudel. This is what I came across.

Recipe submitted by weelittlebuddy, 01/11/07

Apple Strudel

Ingredients (use vegan versions):
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup boiling water
2 Fuji apples (about 1 1/4 lbs total), cored and chopped
1/4 cup favorite sweetener
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for dusting
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 sheets phyllo dough
non-stick cooking spray

Heat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine cranberries and water. Let stand 5 minutes, then drain.

In a large bowl combine apples, softened cranberries, sweetener, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss until combined.

Unroll phyllo dough on work surface; cover with damp towel. Separate one sheet and place on clean surface. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and dust with a little ground cinnamon. Place another sheet on top; coat with spray and dust with cinnamon. Repeat 6 more times, coating each with spray and dusting with cinnamon.

Spoon filling along a long side of phyllo, 3 inches in from edge, leaving 1 inch at either end. Fold both short sides (ends) over filling. Fold 3 inch wide long strip over filling; roll up, jelly roll style.

Place, seam side down, on foil-lined baking sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake and 375° for 35 minutes, until nicely browned. Let cool on rack for at least 20 minutes.

Slice with a serrated knife; best served the same day.

I really like the pastry part of strudel and so made three thinner strudels with this amount of filling. Next time I think I would only split it into two. The filling was excellent and the cranberries gave a touch of extra bite. I also sprinkled the top with cinnamon and sugar. I like the way it sweetened the pastry.

This was a quick and easy dessert, once the phyllo was defrosted. I figure that it's not as bad for us since it has fruit. Please don't shatter my delusions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cookies with Sizzle

I was reading someones blog about chocolate with chili peppers in it and I started thinking that would be tasty in a cookie. I grabbed up a bar of dark chocolate with chili pepper and chopped it up into chocolate chip size pieces. I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, Dreena Burtons, and added in a bit of cinnamon.

The results were good. The cookies spread a little bit thinner then I like. Next time will call for a touch more flour. The spice from the chocolate went nicely with the cinnamon. These would be perfect with coffee or tea. I don't really like either one but if you do.....

For dinner we had one of our favorites again, Dreena Burton's Celebrity patties. I made a double batch so that I would have a lot to freeze. I cook them all up in the skillet when I first make them and then put them in the toaster oven to reheat them after they've been frozen.

Everyone in our house loves these. I love having some put by in the freezer for when I'm in a rush or one of the kids (Ramsey) has snubbed their nose at what ever I made for dinner. They are great on buns like a burger as well.

If you still haven't tried these patties I suggest you hop to.

Ricemellow update

This stuff is soooooo good! I went and bought some chocolate graham crackers, they were the only vegan ones. We spread peanut butter on top of the graham crackers, drizzled on some homemade chocolate syrup and plopped on a big spoonful of Ricemellow. They were amazing. It's a great way to not over indulge on dessert. or have a not so good for you snack that isn't as bad for you as most of the results of my baking habit.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Random Reviews

Joe was in Palm Springs for a few days this week and I haven't done a lot of cooking. One thing I did make was the Taco and Burrito Fill from Hot Damn and Hell Yeah. I took pictures but the dinner wasn't that exciting. We made tacos with the filling on some corn tortillas. I thought that it was to sweet. I finished my portion but wasn't very thrilled. I won't make it again.

Friday night I stopped in at All Vegan and discovered they are carrying a few new edibles. They have started carrying Sweet & Sara's marshmallows and smores. The smores are amazing! I bought one of the plain and one of the peanut butter. They were both excellent but the peanut butter really went above and beyond. I also bought some toasted coconut covered marshmallows. Sara's marshmallows are much more like the real thing compared to the ones from pangea. I want to get some of the plain marshmallows to make smores at home.

Last night we went to Ranchos for dinner. The kids had blueberry multi grain pancakes. They were awesome. I mean totally perfect. I had the enchilada trio. One enchilada had beans inside with a red sauce on top. Next had a tofu veggie filling with a mole sauce. The last enchilada was avocado with a verde sauce. I'd never had mole before. I really hope that I never have mole again. The bean enchilada was good, nothing special. The avocado enchilada was great. I had never thought to put avocado inside. I can't wait to make that at home.

We stopped off at the Rancho's grocery store after dinner and grabbed a few things to take home. I got some Ricemellow but I haven't decided what to do with it yet. The kids got some watermelon popsicles that were pretty good. We also grabbed some ice cream that hasn't been tried yet.

Tonight for dinner we went to Sipz. The service sucked, as usual. I'd much rather get their food to go. I got the broccoli "beef" but with "chicken". It was to sweet. I didn't finish it. The kids had the "chicken" drumsticks with steamed broccoli and a coconut. They thought the drumsticks were really neat. For the first time we had dessert at Sipz. We had the vegan cheesecake and the banana cake with coconut cream. Both were wonderful. The cheesecake would totally satisfy a craving if you were missing that sort of thing. It had a nice raspberry sauce drizzled on top and was plated very nicely. The banana cake was served warm with the coconut milk cream on top. It was a total comfort food. I want to find a similar recipe so I can recreate the banana cake at home.

That's all the food adventures for the past few days. There should be some pictures tomorrow.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Or vegetarian kashmiri "hash". This is the first recipe that I've tried from 20 Minutes to Dinner by Bryanna Clark Grogan. My mom and the adult part of the household really enjoyed this. I didn't use the mushrooms or carrots but it still turned out well. I wouldn't say that this dish was very kid friendly. It wasn't spicy but it did have a lot of seasoning. There were also two onions. We love onions around here but that still raised my eyebrows.

Like the title of the book indicates, this "hash" was quick and easy to put together. I would make it again but would have more then just rice for the kids to fall back on. Isaac ate the TVP and a few peas, Ramsey would only eat the rice.

You can't win them all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Barbecued Seitan Ribz

All of that partying wore me out. I haven't wanted to crawl over to the computer until today. This isn't the greatest picture that I've ever taken, oh well.

I'd been dying for an opportune moment to try out the barbecued seitan ribz from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. Finally a BBQ rolled around where there wouldn't be an insane amount of people to provide for.

These ribz were super easy to throw together. They had a nice smokey flavor and I love anything with BBQ sauce on it. They had a meaty texture with that crispy grilled outside. We had them with corn on the cob and some other sides but I would love to have these on a BBQ sandwich.

I'm not the first blogger to post about these and I know I won't be the last. Give them a try.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Happy Birthday / Labor Day

The partying has continued and for today I had planned to make my easy pasta salad. Despite my best intentions, I either did not hear the timer while the pasta was boiling, or it didn't go off. I'm leaning towards a defective timer. So, I got distracted while visiting with my mom and by the time Joe asked me what was cooking it was just one big mush.

I didn't want to show up with nothing or I'd be stuck eating fruit and carrots all afternoon. I knew I had all the ingredients to make the Vegetable Phyllo Roll from Vegan Family Favorites, so I pulled that out and got to work. I've never worked with phyllo before but it was much easier then I though it would be. I shredded my vegetables in the food processor and the rest of the prep was very simple.

I loved this. The pastry was crispy and buttery on the outside. The vegetables were cooked nicely and tasted fresh. The hoisin sauce gave it a nice subtle seasoning. I ended up making 3 smaller rolls, instead of one big one. I don't really see how all of that filling would have fit in one roll. Even with 3 rolls I had some filling left over.

I forgot to take pictures of my phyllo rolls at home and they were gobbled up before I had my camera out at the party. These were really quick once the phyllo was thawed out. I'll make them again to go along with some Asian food.

For Ramsey's continuing celebrations I made the Triple Layer Chocolate "Cream" Cake from The Everyday Vegan. Everyone was amazed at the frosting. It's made from tofu, maple syrup and semi-sweet chocolate chips. It was wonderful. It was super creamy and had a very rich chocolate taste. I really was surprised at how well it turned out, though it is Dreena Burton. Dreena is a cooking goddess.

We had a lovely time today. It was crazy hot and we didn't stray from the pool much. We have one more party to get through before the partying is at an end. I'll give you a hint about tomorrows involves a grill and some BBQ sauce.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Happy Birthday Ramsey!

The next few days are going to be filled up with birthday celebrations. Expect a lot of cake. This year no one had the same days off. We started of Ramsey's 3rd birthday yesterday. It was a swim party with some of her friends.

The weather was insane and that made the pool that much more inviting. We had a BBQ with vegan Boca burgers, watermelon and my easy peasy pasta salad. Also, not pictured, was Dr.Furmans bean dip with tortilla chips and a hummus tray with carrots.

For dessert we had lemon cupcakes with lemon frosting, courtesy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Also from VCTOW were chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. The heat made the frosting a bit melty, so I sprinkled on some pink sugar to hide any imperfections.

It seemed like everyone had a nice time, I know we did. It was a lazy afternoon just hanging around. No major sunburns, that I saw, and the kiddie meltdowns didn't happen until people were starting to leave.

Thanks for everyone for celebrating with us!

Here's my pasta salad.

1 package colored noodles, cooked and rinsed with cold water
1 bottle of your favorite Italian dressing
1 small can of sliced olives
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
tomatoes chopped

That's it. I'm sure that pine nuts or any other additions would be good. I recommend only pouring half of the dressing on when you make the salad and the other half when you are about to serve.

Most of the pictures have a lot of people in them and I don't want to post pictures of others kids without permission. I'll try to find a way for friends to view the set.