Saturday, May 31, 2008

Compare and Contrast

This really isn't a fair test of comparing the old camera with the new. The pictures from the new camera are of the kids and the old camera are of the food. I had to find a way to squeeze in some pictures of my monsters some how.

Isaac is the proud recipient of my old camera. He is in love with it and I'm pretty sure he knows more about its functions then I ever did. His favorite thing to do is to set the timer and be in the picture of what ever it is. It's a lot of fun for me and Joe to go through and see what he's taken pictures of. It's neat to see what has caught his interest and at the some times odd perspective the picture is taken at.
We spent the morning down in Little Italy and Ramsey hammed a balloon out of the folks at a camera shop. I don't think it's possible for her to look any more like Joe.
Back to the old camera. Booo. The old cameras pictures are almost completely gone. The next three meals are all from The Candle Cafe Cookbook. These Tex-Mex Tostadas were my favorite of the three. The tortillas were baked until crispy and I found that much easier then frying. I loved not having to keep an eye on them. The salsa was good but not out of this world. The seitan and it's seasonings were great. There is also beans between the bottom two tortillas. I'll be making this again.
This recipe for Mini Potato Latkes makes an insane amount. There are still some hanging out in my freezer. I cooked these on my electric pancake pan but I know they would be much better cooked in a skillet with a bit more oil. Still they were pretty good. I'm not super good judge because I can't recall ever having had latkes before.
This sandwich is not much to look at. The bread is homemade and the title is Tuscan White Bean Pate Sandwiches with Arugula and Tomato. That's a mouth full and so was the sandwich. Obviously I used lettuce and not arugula, the store was out. In spite of that the sandwich was still very good. The bitterness of the arugula really would have rounded everything out. I'll try again.

I just checked my file and there is only one more old camera picture left. Next I'll have to get some cute new plates to show case my food on.

Friday, May 30, 2008

ExtraVeganZa

There was a slightly blustery day a few weeks ago that caused me and a few of my mom friends to wimp out of park day. Instead I had my friends and the children over to my house. That means that the kids play, the moms talk, and I stand in the kitchen baking way more treats then I should.

I had just received ExtraVeganZa so that was where we were working from. First up was Kahlua Chocolate Almond Cookies. I really wasn't expecting these to be as good as they were. The kids basically formed a line that just kept circling around until the cookies were gone. All of us moms loved them, too. This recipe would be in my top ten. The second treat was the Lemon Poppyseed Cake. The cake part was good but I can't give it a higher rating then that because it was hard to taste past the frosting. This frosting was BAD.

First off the frosting was sort of melty. So the texture wasn't what it should have been. Second was it was insanely salty. The recipe doesn't actually call for salt, so I'm blaming that on the rumor that Earth Balance was changed. Even after blaming the Earth Balance the sugar/margarine proportions just didn't seem right. It should have had twice as much powdered sugar or half as much margarine.

I'll try this cake again but with a changed or different frosting recipe. Other fun news is that I've been accepted as a cookie tester for an upcoming vegan cookie book. I'm very excited to be involved but mostly to try all the cookies.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Complete Vegan Kitchen

This hearty looking patty is a Black Bean Burger from The Complete Vegan Kitchen. I don't think burger is really the correct title. It's more like hash. Yes, I formed them into patties. Yes, while cooking they sort of stayed in patty shape. They fell apart after that.

Aside from the misleading name they are great tasting. We loved the texture and spice. I'd make them again just as a hash. They were to spicy for the kids but that could be adjusted. I also thought that they could use more salt. All things that are easily remedied.
Another recipe I pulled from this book is the Potato and Rosemary Pizza. In contrast to the last recipe, this was way to salty. I'd be willing to it again with adjustments. The flavor and texture was still pretty good. Sadly the kids did not like the idea of potatoes on pizza. They wouldn't touch it.
I haven't tried to many recipes from The Complete Vegan Kitchen but I'm sure I'll get around to a few more. I have to admit that this book purchase was a spontaneous decision made with birthday money. Not as many recipes scream out at me as they do in my other 50 books.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You won't believe it's vegan!

You won't believe it's vegan! is my newest book purchase and I've already made the French Toast twice. I've had the best luck with this recipe and the kids love it to. It gets a nice caramelized crust on it and it just wonderful!
Joe's birthday was last week and he requested a cake with peanut butter. There just happened to be a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting in ywbiv that I wanted to try. What luck!

The cake recipe doesn't call for any white sugar. There is sucunant and maple syrup. I didn't think the cake would be bad, or I wouldn't have made it, but I was expecting maybe a bit of a health taste. There was nothing like that! The chocolate cake was moist and rich. Everyone loved it.

Normally I'm not much of a frosting freak. I like it, don't get me wrong, but I don't swoon like other members of my family. This peanut butter frosting made me swoon. It tastes like the peanut butter balls my mom made at Christmas when I was growing up. I really want an excuse to make this frosting again. I even licked the bowl.

Joe's birthday was a lot of fun, we all had a great time. For his prize he got a new fancy camera. Supposedly we're sharing it but I have my doubts.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Not me

Me- Ramsey did you color on the door.

Ram- No.

Me- You didn't, then who did?

Ram- Isaac did it.

Me- Really, this looks like your type of drawing.

Ram- You didn't see me do it.


She's right, I didn't see her do it. I wish I could write the tone of voice she used when she told me that. I just love when my 3 year old wins the battle of the wills. She can out stare me too.

There really was no come back, she effectively ended the conversation.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Good Eats

I finally got around to making Vegan Momma's Black Bean Quinoa Salad. We used it to put on top of our tostadas. It was great! The kids did not like it but we didn't care.
Tofu Scramble with Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Homefries from The Candle Cafe Cookbook. I didn't find the tofu scramble anything to write home about but the potatoes were amazing. They took a lot longer to cook then the recipe stated but the flavor was spectacular. I'll make them again with out the tofu scramble.
Rosemary Cornmeal Polenta Fries from edbv. The fries were the only new recipe tried on my plate. We liked them a lot. On some of the fries I added nutritional yeast to the coating. These were awesome. Next time I'll do that to all of them.
Mexican Wraps from Candle Cafe. These fell apart really fast but the taste was good. The citrus marinade for the tofu really adds a lot of flavor. This was the first time I've blanched the tofu before marinating it.
Maple Walnut Cookies from Vive le Vegan! Joe liked this cookies a lot but I really didn't care one way or another. They tasted only slightly different from a sugar cookie to me. They as have the soft texture of a sugar cookies. These weren't my favorite and I'd only make them again if someone asked for them specifically.
Apple Pie-Crumb Cake Muffins from vwav. These were good and we finished off the batch but they didn't have a very strong apple flavor. I was surprised. Maybe next time if I used a green apple there would be a more tart apple flavor. These would be worth try again.
Obviously I've gotten behind again. I've probably got another 3 posts this length before I'll run out of pictures. I don't really have a good excuse. Life, kids, home school. I won't promise that it won't happen again.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Swimming Song

I have no idea why Ramsey calls this The Swimming Song. This is one of her favorites and she let me catch her singing on video.

video

It was also Ramsey's idea for the short haircut. It took me awhile to get used to it but now I think it's pretty cute.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lemon-ies

I was gifted with another batch of amazing lemons and was trying to decide what to do with them. I didn't really want cake but I wanted something along those lines. Something like brownies. That was the texture that sounded good. Chewy, dense inside, with a harder edge.

I set to work looking over a bunch of different brownie recipes. The end result was great on flavor, good on the edge texture but not that dense or chewy. For those of you who like cakey brownies and want to try a lemon flavor, I'll post the recipe. For people who like brownies like me, the right way, you'll have to wait. I'm thinking 1/4 cup more flour and 1/2 the amount of baking powder for more dense but I haven't tested this theory.

Cakey Lemon-ies

1 1/4 cups unbleached flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Lightly oil 8 inch square pan.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, oil and vanilla. Add the wet to the dry and stir until well blended.

Pour into oiled pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Cool completely if you're going to frost. If not, wait 10 minutes.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz tofutti cream cheese, softened (1/2 the container)

2 tablespoons margarine, softened

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)

Cream all the ingredients except the sugar with a hand mixer. Slowly add in the sugar a bit at a time. Done. If you want larger more obvious pieces of zest, wait until after the sugar is in to add it.

That's it. I really love how lemony these are, I just want them more chewy. If anyone tries the recipe let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Vegan Dad

This post is going to look like an add campaign for Vegan Dad. To start off with we have pancakes from JVB, Spicy Hash Browns from Vegan Dad and Breakfast Sausage from Vegan Dad.

Joe is a hash brown fiend. So I've made hash browns in the past but they have never cooked up as crispy as we like. Vegan Dad's recipe was really crispy, just how hash browns should be. I halved the spices because I thought the kids would like it better. Everyone really enjoyed these and now I see where I was going wrong. I'll use the recipe again with and without the spices.

The breakfast sausages were pretty good. The kids liked them well enough. Joe thought that they were to sweet. Seitan isn't a total favorite of mine and this recipe sort of drove home the point that it needs to be spicy for me to like. These were still good though and would be great to serve to omni's.
Also from Vegan Dad is this Cheesy Creamy Casserole. The flavor was good and I liked all of the ingredients and veggies included. It was a little to saucy for us though. I'd just halve the sauce part next time. This was a quick casserole to throw together and great for broccoli and cauli that needs to be used up.
Thanks for feeding us Vegan Dad.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

So Sad

Ramsey was sleeping late one morning last week and Isaac and I had some quality time making muffins. We chose Cinnamon Swirl Muffins from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. Isaac was an awesome little chef and soon our muffins were in the oven.

As I was removing our muffins from the oven I could feel my grip slipping. I tried really hard to get the pan to the counter. It was not to be. The pan tumbled to the floor. Some of the muffins survived but others were not so lucky.
By this time Ramsey was awake and hungry. So, we each plucked a survivor out of the muffin massacre. We were all please with this recipe. They weren't overly sweet but had a nice cinnamon flavor. We will defiantly make these again AND be a little more careful when holding the pan.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Indian Potluck

Our Vegan Families Potluck was done a little bit differently this time. We decided to see how we liked having a theme. I got to choose! I wanted to pick some thing that I liked, obviously, but also that would do well waiting to be served at the park. So, I chose Indian.
My plate here doesn't show everything we had. For example the amazing samosa I had and some other fried goods didn't show up until after I shot this picture. What is shown was delicious. I loved the chana masala and that yellow/brown rice. Those were my two favorites.

We had a lovely time at a busy park and it was great hanging out with everyone again.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Wheat Noodles in Soup with Tempura

One of my favorite restaurants in San Sai. They make my most favorite salad and have great veggie sushi. They also have awesome udon soup and tempura. I was excited to see recipe for two of my favorite things in The Asian Vegan Kitchen.
I subbed out soba noodles for my udon, just for kicks. This soup was dull. Bad. Plain. No flavor. Catchin' on? I was really disappointed.
I figured the tempura would save the day. Umm, no. The batter was insanely thick. So thick you would have to roll the veggies in it. So I added more liquid. Then some more. It was finally thin enough to dip the veggies in but thick enough to cling. The taste, not good. It was dense and just bad.

All around this was a disappointing meal. I'm going to have to compare these recipes to others I have around. Live and learn.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars

I heard rave reviews over this blondie recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. I'm not the biggest blondie fan, it's all about brownies yo. But I decided to give them a shot.

First off the recipe goes into a 9x13" pan. That's a lot! Second, I baked beyond the allotted time but still they seemed doughy in the middle. When it came time to eat them I thought that they were ok but not amazing.

They felt a little more cakey then what I expect of a brownie or a blondie. The taste didn't do that much for me either, they were just sweet. We never made it much further then the first row. These ended up being pawned off.
These were not a big success in my book, or blog as the case may be, but a die hard blondie fan might feel differently.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lemon Pudding Cake

Denise is the greatest friend ever and it's not just because she gave me like 50 lemons from her tree, that just helps. These are the juiciest lemons and I've been going nuts.
Vegan Dad posted this recipe for Lemon Pudding Cake and it looked so tasty and quick to throw together. It ended up being both of those things. The lemon cake wasn't overpowering with the lemon flavor. It was a nice light taste. Then there was the awesome tart lemon pudding. It was perfection!