Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Christmas Line Up

To be honest when I started this post I got the 12 days of Christmas song stuck in my head. And on a completely not food related rant....I see so many people use the 12 days song as a count down of sorts. A cutsie to do list Christmas count down.... I'm not religious AT ALL but the 12 days of Christmas are the days AFTER Christmas. Everyone GOT it.

Moving on. I am going in reverse order here starting from today and working my way back. Today was cookie baking day. I always bake cookies with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for Christmas. Sister-in-law, Jenny, has a 1 year old who would be taking a nap during the time I wanted to bake. So mother-in-law, Judy, decided to do split shifts.

I got the morning shift and she let us bake all Vegan cookies! We knew for sure that we would do Mexican Wedding Cakes because they are my favorite. I used the recipe from The Joy Of Vegan Baking. This recipe calls for a lot more nuts then other recipes I've used. We didn't mind one bit. They turned out wonderful. A buttery, crumbly cookie with the crunchy nuts and sweet powdered sugar. Yum!

The second batch of cookies we made were Chocolate Chunk Spice Cookies from edbv. I made these for the first time earlier in the week to bring to our Christmas lights sight seeing. After having a sample, Judy requested that we make these on baking day. I'm not usually a big fan of chocolate cookies but these will be a favorite. They taste like a chocolate version of ginger bread. I love the spice of them. They are chewy with a nice edge.

We had planned to make three different batches of cookies. For our third batch we were trying to decide between the Chocolate Peanut butter Shells from Damn Tasty or the Pfeffernusse from My Sweet Vegan. I didn't really care and Judy's vote was the chocolate peanut butter. First we ran out of cocoa powder and forced Joe to the store. Then we were out of molasses and made him go again. Only when he was back did we realise that we didn't need molasses if we weren't making the pfeffernusse. We decided to just make both.

I was afraid the Chocolate Peanutbutter Shells would be very labor intensive and delicate. They were neither. Isaac helped me form these cookies with no problems. He flattened out the chocolate dough and put in the peanut butter. Then he curled the chocolate all around and rolled them into balls. He did an excellent job. The cookies baked up really well and tasted pretty good. Not my favorite. I would like the peanut butter in the middle less goopy and more doughish. I'm not sure if that makes sense. There is a very similar recipe in another of my books that I will try next time.

The Pfeffernusse look and feel really delicate but handle very easily. With the amount spice included and the smells while baking, we thought these cookies would be very spicy. Instead they have lightness to them. The spice isn't strong and the cookie crumb is slightly fluffy.

These cookies will be the ones gracing the table during tomorrow nights party.
Isaac's birthday is fast approaching, Jan.8, and I plan on making him a volcano cake that erupts. (There will be tons of pictures, don't worry) I needed a bundt pan for this and Judy came to the rescue. Vegan cakes can be touchy at times so I thought it might be a good idea to test out the recipe I was hoping to use. I chose the Chocolate Cake recipe from Joy of Vegan Baking.

I should have lowered my rack down one. With the cracks on the cakes surface I could tell that the top had cooked solid to soon and cracked when the middle tried to rise more. Obviously from the pictures it was still edible. This is a delicious cake recipe. There is a strong chocolate flavor and great texture.

Also from JVB was the Chocolate Frosting. I added a tablespoon of instant coffee granules for a mocha flavor. This frosting is creamy and rich. I think I like it even better then the chocolate buttercream in VCTOTW. There was enough to frost the entire cake but if it were a layer cake I'm not sure if it could have filled the middle.
Doesn't this picture look dirty? This is Fuyeah's Baked Seitan "Toi-key" SEITAN. At our Christmas eve party we usually have a sandwich bar. I've seen good reviews for using this seitan on a vegan reuben and thought I'd take some along. So, we haven't had our sandwiches yet, but I'll keep post about the results.

I also plan on making the Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado from edbv to take. I think it'll be omni friendly. I'm also not a giant mock meat fan and won't be so worried if the seitan is a flop with this along.
Mac and Cheeze is one of Ramsey's favorites. I've yet to hit on one that everyone likes though. This version is from Cozy Inside. The texture was wonderful and it smelled divine. But for some reason it was pretty sweet. I'm thinking that maybe if I used a different miso, but I'm not sure. Ramsey liked it well enough. Joe and I finished our servings with help. Joe with Mexican spice and me with salt. This is worth adjusting though, the creaminess is great.
Ramsey had an awful cold this week. She's not a giant soup fan, hates it, but it sounded like a good thing to make. Just in time Julee posted about Cindy O's "Chicken" & Rice Soup for the Soul from La Dolce Vegan. Well Ramsey still didn't like this but the rest of us did! I used powdered bouillon and it was still wonderful. Most of my soups usually have barley and the rice was a nice change. There are plenty of herbs and pepper. Umm, I want some more right now. This would be great with or without the seitan.
And we are back to the beginning of the week. On Monday I broke out the twinkie pan to create the cakes. They had to sit for a day before they were filled with strawberry jam, dipped in chocolate, and rolled in coconut. This completed their transformation into a vegan Lamington .

I brought vegan twinkies to the candyless Easter hunt this last spring. They were gone in minutes. Mary Jo commented that they tasted like junk food and she meant that in the best of ways. I then told her about this version and promised to make some.

Curse my big mouth, she remembered. I'm kidding. But Mary Jo did remind me of what I had said and I thought they'd make a nice Christmas treat at our weekly park day. Well, with Ramsey so sick we couldn't go but Mary Jo kindly came buy to pick up the lamingtons.

What started out as a light fluffy twinkie must have tripled in weight once they were finished. Joe and I each had one and thought they were excellent. Mary Jo said it best, they taste like junk food in the best way.

Happy holidays to everyone. I'll be making a lasagna with garlic bread. You'll be seeing pictures next week. I'm also working on a screen print of Zorac from The Brak Show for Isaac. He's obsessed. Hopefully I'll have pictures of that also.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

For anyone who hasn't been to my house, I have a kitchen appliance obsession. I could list them all but frankly it would be tedious. (Actually, Joe occasionally reads my blog and I don't want to refresh his memory of any purchases that might have 1. escaped his notice or 2. he's managed to forget about) I can't sleep, as usual, and was looking through the favorite blogs of people who are my favorite. I came across a post about someone owning a Mochi Machine! I have never heard of this appliance. Immediately had to look up and see if such a contraption existed. It does!

Now you're thinking, 'Really, who NEEDS a mochi machine.' I'll have you know that we eat mochi at least 5 times a year. Obviously I don't need a mochi machine. Honestly I'm not really that tempted to buy it. Ok, maybe a little, but not really. It's just so cool.

That's it. Wanted to share. Long live mochi.

Edit: I'm happy to say that I've already corrupted Isaac with kitchen appliances. I thought the corruption only ran to Joe with Star Wars, video games, Simpsons....the list keeps going. Check out Isaac's wist and you will see a mini donut maker. He says he wants it for Christmas. Ha.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Breakfast for dinner

Ok, pesto take 2. Even thought last weeks pesto was way to spicy I still wanted more. This time I used the exact same recipe from The Vegan Family Cookbook but I roasted the garlic. What a difference it made. Both children ate this without screaming about burning mouths. It was a much more mild garlic flavor but still a hint of garlic spice. I'll make it this way from now on.
We love having breakfast for dinner. Everything from pancakes and waffles to more labor intensive meals that I have no desire to make upon first waking. These Breakfast Burritos from Hot Damn were excellent. I left out the mushrooms which I'm sure no one is surprised about. The recipe calls for sliced red pepper but I really hate coming across big chunks. I'm pretty sure that's why I don't like fajitas. So anyway, I diced my bell pepper. The leftovers were good even cold. Ramsey snubbed this but Isaac thought that it was ok.
Vcon Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry with rice and homemade roti. This was excellent. It also reheated beautifully. I really thought it would end up much more spicy but it didn't. The kids were just fine with the seasonings. I have never cooked with a parsnip before, I'm actually not sure if I've ever even ate one. I loved it. It was like a more flavorful potato. I loved scooping up big bites with rice on my roti. Yum! This will be made again.
Raspberry Cornmeal Pancakes from edbv. BLAH BLAH BLAH. That's about all I can say. There was no flavor. I really thought that the raspberries would help out a little more. I dumped half of mine into the trash. This was also something we threw together for dinner.
Coconut Curry Tofu On Green Jasmine Rice. Say that three times fast. This is also from Hot Damn. This was not kid friendly at my house but Joe and I loved it. We both ate the leftovers for lunch today. The kids took one look at the green rice and started complaining. I'm not a big fan of tofu that isn't fried or crumbled beyond recognition but I did like this. I'm also not super fond of chunks of cooked tomatoes in my food. The sauce and tofu were wonderful and the bites of tomato added that extra juicy citrus it needed. The green rice was the perfect accompaniment. It almost had a pesto taste to it but the coconut milk gave it a Thai flair.

Next week will have Vegan Lamingtons. It's a twinkie filled with raspberry jam, covered in chocolate and rolled in coconut. I will be bringing them to park day on Wednesday. I'm pretty sure I'll be making some cookies also.

Monday, December 10, 2007


This is going to be a lazy post. Those of you closer to me know that I have problems with my stomach and there are good stretches and bad stretches. I've kicked into a down slope that I'm doing my best to avoid or shorten. It does cut back on my experimental cooking and that makes for boring blogging. Hopefully I'll be eating up a storm again soon.

In the theme of laziness I'm not getting up to grab the books these recipes come from. You'll be getting the name of the book and my guess at the title of the recipe. Let's consider it a game.

Below is Thai Curry Potatoes from The Vegan Family Cookbook. We all liked this pretty well. I'm not sure why it's called curry as I tasted NONE. I'll be upping the seasoning in this. Maybe I'll just up the seasoning in half as the kids were pretty happy with the original recipe. I was happy to see the spinach and coconut being sent down their gullets.
Truffles from edbv. These are wonderful! You can see Joe and Ramsey snitching some in the background. The tablespoon of Kahlua and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract give these truffles a fruity background flavor almost like cherry. The coconut milk does not leave any notes of coconut that I could taste. In the future I'll double this recipe so that I'm using up a whole can of coconut milk and not just half. If I'm already going to all the effort to make truffles I figure the more the merrier.

I rolled my truffles in cocoa powder and stored them in the fridge. They defiantly have a better flavor and texture if allowed to sit out for a bit before eating. These remind me of the truffles that you can get from Henry's. Those were always my favorite. They just melt on your tongue.
Pesto from The Vegan Family Cookbook. With this recipe you can choose to roast the garlic or just use it raw. I chose raw as I'm totally lazy. I will roast in the future. We really liked this pesto and it was very easy but the raw garlic was so spicy! The kids couldn't take the heat and even I was sucking down juice. (That made it worse btw)
Not a food but I still had to post it. This is the other fabric that I ordered from repotdepot. The skirt is two complete layers, not just bottom accents. I did that for warmth and because the pink skeleton fabric is pretty light. This is a circle skirt with an elastic waste band.

I have one more piece of fabric in the wings ready to be transformed into a Christmas skirt for Ramsey. I guess I should get started as the holiday is closing in fast. I have visions of a beaded bubble skirt in my head. This will be a new experiment
We had a last lunch yesterday and so this was our oh so healthy dinner. Apple Crumble from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I put a bit of vanilla Silk yogurt on top of mine. (That is my favorite flavor) This was a good recipe. The only thing I would change would be the way my apples were cut. I think I would prefer them to be chunks instead of sliced like is seen below. I have no idea why it just seems like it would match better.

That's all that's up for this week. On Thursdays me and my friend go to my moms and watch Project Runway. We record it on Wednesday and then can zip through the commercials. Anyway, I have plans to make the filling from the Pumpkin Cheese Pie, edbv, as a dip and a side of the Baked Cinnamon Chips. We have paired these together before and it was sensational. I even bought brown rice tortillas from Trader Joe's (the clerk said they were really good) as my mom is gluten intolerant. Everyone who has tried the cinnamon chips has LOVED them. They are so much better then the fried version. We make them constantly.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Penguin Love

This penguin fabric from reprodepot was the fabric I wanted to be sure not to ruin. Everything turned out great if I do say so myself. I know that it's not really clear in the picture but I am particularly proud of the black edging on the skirt. Sewing a hem on a complete circle is NOT easy.

(The Kahlua and Rum in the picture were purchased today for some up coming recipes. I'm not such a horrid lush that I have liquor sitting out at all hours of the day. Though sometimes that sounds like a good idea )

I decided that the bodice was to plain and added an applique. I love the way that hand stitching looks and decided to make it look even more vintage. Uh huh, 2 freaking hours. I'm not a novice at embroidery and TWO hours. Next time I'll use the damn machine.

Ramsey was even more excited when she saw the penguin on top. What a good mommy I am. This is where you all pat me on the back, ignore any mistakes you spot and act amazed at my talent.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's not good if it's not deep fried

I have to start off with this dress that I made Hammy. She was twirling in the picture. First I made a circle skirt and then attached a bodice. This was my first shot at a circle skirt. Now that I've got a pattern down I have some cuter, more expensive, fabric that can be transformed. The fabric used for this grey dress is nice and thick for winter. I'm not sure if I'll add embellishments.
I've made vegan baked donuts before and yeah they're pretty good. But they're pretty good in a cupcake/muffin kind of way. I would turn my nose up at them but they aren't what I think of when the word donut comes up.

The little donut holes below aren't actually what I think of about the word donut, either. These were very good but they remind me of beignets. They are slightly crispy on the outside and nice and tender inside. The powdered sugar and nutmeg are what scream beignet.
I've never made crepes before but have always liked them. The recipe in edbv seemed simple enough that I was willing to give them a try. I didn't ruin one! They were light and tasty. I put cut up strawberries and defrosted blueberries inside and topped them with Celestial Cream, another edbv recipe.

The Celestial Cream is wonderful. I used the smallest amount of maple syrup and it was plenty sweet for us. I don't think I would ever increase the amount of sweetener. I'll be keeping my eyes open for other recipes that look like they would benefit from a helping of this cream.
I just had to take a picture of this juice because it was so pretty. I was making orange juice when I saw some pomegranates sitting on the counter that needed to be used. I decided to see if they'd juice on a citrus juicer. Well, they juiced just fine. After I did the first half I noticed my wall looking like a murder crime scene. After that I juiced with a towel over the top of my hand. The funny thing is that I juiced the oranges first but it's on top.
Orange Sesame Tofu and Simple Swiss Chard from edbv. This is actually rainbow chard, but whatever. I really don't like chard. Well, ok I don't mind it raw in smoothies. Isaac will only eat greens if there is corn mixed in.

As for the tofu, it really wasn't anything special. Dreena says it's one of her kids favorite recipes and I don't really see why. My kids didn't like it and I don't really have anything good to say about it. I won't make it again. I might make the marinade and then pour that over fried tofu but I didn't like it this way.
And another edbv recipe, Lemon Poppy Seed Crackle Cookies. These were ok, not special. I didn't bother putting away the leftovers and I'm not sure if they were thrown away or were eaten. They remind me of a lemon poppy seed muffin but in the case of these cookies I'd rather have the muffin.
I've always loved shortbread cookies and I had a craving. On Ashley's Amazing Shortbread Cookies have excellent reviews. I rolled out part of my dough and it was very easy to work with. I didn't have to put it in the fridge at all before it was able to roll. The rest of the dough was used to make jam thumb prints.

I might try adding a 1/4 tsp of molasses to get a touch more of a buttery flavor but other then that these cookies are wonderful. I made my thumb print balls a bit to big but that's operator error. I recommend these, they are much better then sugar cookies.
I've tried my hand at making roti/chapatis several times and they've always fallen short. Recently I came across all of these Indian cooking tutorials on youtube. Seeing the roti made gave me a much clearer picture of what to do. The end results were delicious.
The family has decided that the "Spicoli" Burgers from edbv are defiantly our favorite. Before it was between these and Celebrity Adzuki Bean Patties. When I was pouring out my hemp seeds I realized that I only had 3/4 cup. The recipe calls for a full cup. I subbed out for 1/4 cup of cashews and everything came out fine. It's good to know that things don't have to be so exact.

Also pictured are our favorite potato wedges. I never measure or use the same herbs twice and that makes a recipe difficult to give. Basically I cut up the potatoes and shake them in a plastic bag with a bit of oil. I add a few herbs and a few teaspoons of nutritional yeast and that's it. Bake and serve.
Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado. This is yet another edbv. I can't give enough praise for this recipe. This was so easy to put together and was amazing. Isaac ate all of his and then asked for seconds! A dish with whole black beans and the kid asked for seconds.
Here is the inside. Isaac did pick out his avocado because he said that it shouldn't be cooked. I'm always happy to eat avocado. It's a win win in my book. I already have this meal on my list to make again this week. It really is amazing.
I saw these gems on have cake, will travel! and knew that they were right up my alley. I was certainly right. They remind me of something that I can't put my finger on. They are crispy and peanut buttery and slightly chocolaty. I used a mix of maple syrup and brown rice syrup.

The kids have never had any of those sugary cereals (that I know of) and are over the moon about the leftover cocoa rice crisp cereal. They think it's a wonderful dessert. That's about it for this week. I need to get started testing out Christmas cookie recipes. I have a pretty good plan in my head but I want to make sure it'll be easy to execute.