Month: November 2010

New Cookbooks

Look what came in the mail today!  Our new place is finally ready for a housewarming party and Christmas is just around the corner, so Party Vegan got here just in time.  Of course, Appetite for Reduction will come in handy for 2011 when I make my usual new year’s resolution to lose weight.   I’m excited about the recipes containing nutritional information.

Muffins!

Vegan Brunch has the most amazing muffin recipes. My favorite is the mixed berry muffin. It is not a healthy muffin, but it tastes just like a coffee shop muffin full of eggs and dairy. A healthier option is the pumpkin bran muffin. It gets a little dry after a couple of days, but nothing a little margarine & 10 seconds in the microwave can’t fix.

This past weekend I made coffee chip muffins. I used instant espresso instead of coffee. We ate them when they were a bit warm, but cool enough not to stick to the wrapper. So delicious!

 

 

Christmas Trees & Decadent Hot Chocolate

Today we put up our Christmas tree.  Since moving to Woodstock, we’ve always gone to Anthony’s Tree Farm for our Christmas tree.   The last two years we just picked up a pre-cut tree.  This year we went early enough that there were still good trees in the ground.  We got there 15 minutes before closing, so we picked the first decent tree we saw.  Here is our Douglas Fir:

Here’s H cutting down our tree:

The farm:

We took our tree home and got out the decorations.  Sassafras quickly got in the holiday spirit:

Decadent Hot Chocolate

  • 3 1/2 cups of soy milk
  • 1 Godiva dark chocolate bar
  • sugar to taste
  • peppermint schnapps to taste

Heat soy milk in a small pot and melt in chocolate bar.  Add sugar to desired sweetness.  Pour in mugs and add a shot of schnapps.

Sassafras loves Christmas because there is a big bowl of water in the living room.  Despite having fresh filtered water in his bowl, he’d rather drink water out of the shower or tree water.

The Iron Bowl: An amazing first half

Iron Bowl menu:

I stumbled upon granny’s slow cooker chili during my search for a crock pot chili recipe.  It has good reviews and looked pretty easy, so I thought I’d give it a shot.  It turned out well.

The sugar cookie recipe is from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar.  I made the dough earlier in the week, because I sent some elephant cookies to my dad for the game.  As cute as the elephant cookie cutter is, it is a PITA to use.  The dough gets caught in the trunk and tail and it takes a lot of patience to get usable cookies.  The cookies are frosted with a buttercream frosting and I bought this glittery Wilton gel at Michael’s to make the As.  The gel should also come in handy for decorating Christmas cookies. Unfortunately, it does not dry, so you cannot stack cookies (makes mailing them quite difficult).

The game started off well with Alabama leading 24-0.  Unfortunately, they did not play the first second half like the first half and ended up losing 28-27.  Oh well, there’s always next year!

Chinese Thanksgiving

H’s family fuses Chinese and American foods for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  They make flour tortillas (“bing”), stuff them with American turkey & ham and Chinese vegetables, egg, and/or tofu and top it off with plum sauce.   It’s pretty tasty.  In my vegan burritos are tofu with mushrooms, bean sprouts, greens with some kind of noodle and scallions.

For dessert, I made a chocolate pumpkin cheesecake.   I used a recipe from PETA (click here), but added 1/2 cup of chocolate chips on the bottom of the pie crust.  I melted another 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and after it cooled a bit (but not too much), I stirred in a generous 1/2 cup of the pumpkin mixture.  After pouring the pumpkin mixture over the chocolate chips, I swirled in the chocolate/pumpkin mixture.  It was incredible.  No one would ever guess this has tofu in it.

For breakfast this morning I made pumpkin pancakes from Vegan Brunch.  I served it with left over cranberry sauce from the night before and Gimme Lean sausage (which tastes like “real” sausage according to meat eaters!).  Sadly, I have no pictures of brunch.

American Thanksgiving

My in-laws came for Thanksgiving.  My husband’s family has their own traditions, so I decided to do a traditional (sans turkey) American Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night.  I spent Monday evening stressing over what to make.  I looked through Veganomicon and Vegan World Fusion, but H would veto my suggestions or I’d happily be making the list of ingredients only to find out that the last ingredient is something that can only be found in a liberal city.  I gave up.

On Wednesday afternoon, I was ready to call it off.  I would just show them delicious vegan food on Thursday morning for brunch.  Besides, I had 2 hours to cook dinner and that was not enough time.  However, I spent my lunch break googling vegan versions of classic Thanksgiving classics.  I printed out the recipes and made a grocery list.  Time would be tight, but this might be doable.

Main dish: Tofu stuffed with rice and mushroom dressing

Sides:  The best vegan green bean casserole

Sweet potato casserole (I subbed marshmallows for the pecan topping.  It was disgustingly sweet, but so is the original, so I suppose that’s a success)

Cranberry sauce

Dessert: my mom’s apple crisp with vegan margarine, of course.

Apple Crisp from “More with Less Cookbook”

Serves 6
375 Degrees
35 Minutes

Preheat oven to 375
Combine and put in greased casserole:

3 c sliced or chopped apples
1 T. flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 T. water

Cut together with pastry blender:
½ cup rolled oats
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar

Sprinkle on top of casserole mixture. Bake 35 minutes.

Fortunately, I was able to leave work a little early and my SIL’s flight was delayed.   I timed everything pretty well.  I had considered making vanilla ice cream, but I was lucky to get the apple crisp made, which only happened because H cut the apples for me.

It was a great success.  Everything tasted amazing (with the exception of the sweet potato casserole which is just a disgusting dish no matter how it is prepared).  My in-laws often ask H what we eat.  Before tonight, I think they though we just ate salads and sides.  As amazing as a plate full of mashed potatoes sounds, I’m glad they got to see and taste good vegan food.

Vegan with a Vengence

Vegan with a Vengence was my first vegan cookbook. The binding has come undone, so I have to be careful not to lose any pages when I use it. It has seen better days, but it still tells me how to make delicious vegan food.

Tonight I made jerk tofu with sweet potato fries and garlicky kale. The jerk recipe is for seitan, which I am terrible at making, so I substituted tofu.

I like my sweet potato fries very seasoned, so I used about half of the amount suggested in the recipe. I also added salt. The garlicky kale recipe suggests tahini sauce, which looked really good, but I didn’t have a lemon. I also wasn’t sure tahini would go with jerk sauce. Everything was really good. Cumin on sweet potatoes is brillant and the jerk sauce was tasty (add extra cayenne pepper- it’s even better with more spice).

 

 

 

Pesto & pasta

After last weekend’s pizza and Monday’s peanut sauce, I had leftover noodles and lots of arugula. I did not have much basil and I was really low on olive oil. I was determined to make pesto despite the lack of ingredients. I took 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, 2 cups of arugula, a few basil leaves, 1/4 cup of daiya mozzerella style, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and some kalamata olive juice to make it blend better. I added a dash of cayenne & salt and pepper to taste.

I mixed it with the noodles and topped with a few olives.