I do so love to be indulgent, especially if I’m feeling a bit under the weather and it’s chilly outside. I felt some chai, Vegan with a Vengeance chocolate chip cookies and a date with a demon named Lucien were definitely in order. If you have not made these cookies yet, please scour the internet for this recipe or go buy the book. You need these cookies! They are my husband’s favorite chocolate chip cookie and from the carnivore cookie connoisseur, that’s saying alot. I do sub pure maple syrup for the molasses and use only earth’s balance and you should as well, it makes for an irresistable cookie. For those of you who don’t know, I am quite the book worm and I have a weak spot for paranormals. Right now, Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series is giving me plenty to day dream about and adding a bit of extra heat in the bedroom. My husband thanks you Gena.

It’s been hectic here with the holidays fast approaching and I just haven’t been able to find the time to post as much as I’d like. I have made some wonderful vegan food these last few weeks and I will definitely catch you up on what I have been doing in the kitchen. Right now I have lavender tea cookies baking in the oven, a favorite of mine from my pregan days that were easily veganized since the recipe didn’t call for eggs. These are perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon or even a cup of chamomile in the evening.

Lavender Tea Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup Earths Balance softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
a little extra sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350º F. In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and EB. Beat in the oil, extract, baking soda, salt, flour, and lavender. Mix well and form into small balls (3/4-inch). Roll balls into sugar and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Not too long ago I decided to have a few friends over for dinner and I tried out some new recipes that looked a little adventurous. The dinner was a complete success and sadly I didn’t take many pictures, but I will pass on the wonderful recipes I used.

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Menu
Vegan Spanakopita
Indian Marinated Seitan Kabobs
Tzatziki Dipping Sauce
Moroccan Spiced Couscous


Indian Marinade

1 c plain soy yogurt
1 tb paprika
1 ts ground cinnamon
1 tb garam masala
1/8 ts cayenne pepper
1 tb lemon juice
6 tb olive oil
1/2 ts freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c grated onion
1 c water
Marinate cubed seitan (I used a version of seitan o’greatness) for 4 hours, skewer and grill for a few minutes.

Tzatziki

1 c plain soy yogurt
1 cucumber peeled and chopped finely
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tb chopped fresh mint
1 tb olive oil
fresh ground black pepper

Put the finely chopped cucumber in a sieve and press out as much excess liquid as possible. In a blender, mix the minced garlic with the salt into a paste. Add in the yogurt with garlic/salt paste, add to the drained cucumbers, mint, olive oil, more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

Moroccan Spiced Couscous
1 1/2 tb olive oil
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground cilantro
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 handful sliced almonds
6 dates, chopped finely
3 tb golden sultana raisins
1 tb dried onion flakes
1 tsp minced garlic
2 1/2 c hot vegetable stock, I made mine using vegan vegetable bullion
2 cups dry couscous
1 tb chopped fresh parsley

When you are ready to prepare the couscous, measure out the correct serving of dry ingredients into a large bowl, preferably the one you will be serving it from. Add the olive oil, mix thoroughly. Add the boiling stock and mix thoroughly – place a clean tea towel over the top of the bowl and leave for 5 minutes. Fluff up the couscous after 5 minutes & add more liquid if needed. Mix & sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro before serving. You could add whatever dried fruits or nuts you have handy, this is just a basic recipe.


2 2/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, not packed + extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
4 tbsp vegan shortening cold
4 tbsp earth’s balance cold
3/4 cup soy/nut/rice milk
2 tbsp molasses

Preheat oven to 375 – *side note here* my oven runs hot, typically 25-50 degrees hot depending on it’s mood haha, so you may need to make adjustments on temp or time for this recipe. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl with a fork or a wisk. Cut in EB and shortening until mixture is crumbly. Add milk and molasses and stir with a spoon until batter is blended and a dough forms. It will be sticky. Pour all of the dough into the center of the cookie sheet round and flatten it until its about an inch or so thick, a little more or a little less is okay. Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Yours may need more time, check by inserting a toothpick into the center. Cut into wedges and serve. These are soo good when they are warm and just as good when they have cooled. Enjoy them with someone you love for the holidays!

Happy Birthday Baby!

November 19, 2008

Today is my baby’s first birthday. I can’t believe that she is already a year old. Where does the time go? We had her party this weekend. The cakes came out beautiful and tasted better than they looked. I made the yellow cake recipe that I tested earlier in the week with a vanilla version of the frosting and I also made a raspberry blackout cake from Vegan With A Vengeance. Along with the cakes, which are of course the best part of the birthday party next to the presents, I made the holiday spinach dip from vegweb. I 86’d the water chestnuts and added artichoke hearts and I also made hummus (my own recipe and I’ll post it if someone requests). I was thinking of making seitan sausages for the grill, but I didn’t have the time so I went with the tofurkey sausages and Boca burgers. No one could believe the spinach dip was vegan and everyone loved it so much that the sides of the bread bowl were scraped clean. Kadence loved the frosting so much she was licking it off her arms hahaha. It was pretty cute. The theme for her birthday was Tinker Bell and I had fun decorating the cake.

Yesterday was one of those days where I did not want to do anything. I’m still nursing this nasty cold. It’s funny because I always end up baking when I’m sick. For some reason I crave chocolate. KK’s first birthday party is this weekend and I also needed to test one more cake recipe so I figured, hey, why not? The Omni, bless his meat lovin’ heart, took the kids outside to play for the afternoon and gave me the house to myself for a few hours. I’ve been hunting for a really good yellow cake recipe and I’ve found a few with mixed reviews. I just decided to pick one and go with it. I’ve already discovered the perfect chocolate cake recipe in the raspberry blackout cake from Vegan with a Vengeance and I wanted a yellow or vanilla cake to accompany it. I went with the Shmooed Food’s Fluffy White Cupcake recipe, doubled it and poured it in two cake pans. I baked them for 35-40 minutes and they came out perfect. Also, I didn’t have coconut extract so I subbed almond extract. I could taste the almond in the cake so I think next time I’ll just omit that. I have to say, this cake came out perfect. It was light, fluffy and exactly the right consistency. I really didn’t want a very dense cake. I wanted it like a regular birthday cake and I was not disappointed. For KK’s cake, I’ll do buttercream icing, but I was craving chocolate yesterday so I whipped up my own frosting.
Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp corn starch
3/4 cup earth’s balance room temp
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz toffutti cream cheese room temp

Using an electric mixer, whip margarine, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. In a seperate bowl add dry ingredients and wisk together well. Add dry ingredients to wet in small batches using the electric mixer and scraping down the sides peridoically. Whip until smooth and fluffy. Chill for a few hours before frosting cake.

So, while I was waiting for my cake to cool and my frosting to set, I took a small bowl of frosting, Mona Lisa Craving by Sunny and sat on my couch for an hour or so. It felt so good to have an hour to myself and what could be better than erotica and chocolate frosting?

So  yummy, so yummy. Sing it with me! Okay, for those of you who don’t have children who are obsessed with Yo Gabba Gabba, it’s a children’s show created by The Aquabats that has really catchy tunes. And on to the food – yesterday I made a few batches of scones and I also went back to my fatfree vegan kitchen’s favorite recipe and altered it. I know, I need to find some other inspiration, but this was another meal that turned out really well.

About the scones, I omitted the ginger in the original recipe and decided to take that idea and bake a seperate batch. I made one with the chocolate and one with chopped crystalized ginger and lemon extract as the only flavoring. Both batches came out really well and were very yummy!

Please mom, can we have more scones?

Please mom, can we have more scones?

 And next we have the rigatoni with seitan sausage, black bean and golden nugget squash. I used the pumpkin casserole recipe and added seitan sausage, cut up the squash and tossed it with rigatoni and baked it in the oven stirring every 10 minutes or so. I did have to add more soymilk to keep it from drying out. It was really yummy!

 

I forgot to add that I am joining Vegan Ventures this year, so I’ll be posting more yummy vegan food, like you had any doubts hahaha.

I went to a local farmer’s market and bought some produce the other day. I got some zucchini, golden nugget squash, acorn squash, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peaches, rasperries and apples. I was wondering what I should do with all of this. For me, sometimes there is nothing better than a few uninterrupted hours in the kitchen. Cooking is like therapy. I banish everyone from the kitchen and usually I end up with way too much food, but I always feel relaxed and content after a nice long cooking session. Yesterday was one of those days for me. I started off by making Spicy Italian Sausage. It came out mighty tasty. I wanted to use it in pasta dish, but I couldn’t find a recipe that really appealed to me. I took the idea of Susan’s pumpkin and black bean casserole and altered it to fit the ingredients I had on hand. The end result was really good and I surprised myself. It came out more like a lasagna, which was what I was going for. Here’s what I changed in Susan’s recipe –

1 1/2 chopped spicy italian seitan sausage
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon chipotle chile powder
15 ounces canned tomatoes, drained – liquid reserved

3 good sized zucchini sliced lengthwise

1/2 cup soymilk
4 oz tofutti cream cheese softened
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika

In a large bowl, combine the sausage through tomato and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly oil an 8×8 glass baking dish. Line the bottom with 1/3 of the zucchini slices. Cover with half of the sausage mix and repeat another layer of zucchini and sausage mix finishing with last of the zucchini slices.

Pour soy milk into medium sized bowl, add corn starch and wisk until blended. Add reserved tomato juice, cream cheese, salt and paprika and wisk until it’s a little foamy. Pour over casserole, cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. It should be nice and bubbly and zucchini should be tender. Remove foil and bake for an additonal 10 minutes.

Now that dinner was out of the way, I decided to make a cobbler with all of those lucious peaches I bought. I used Isa’s recipe from her PPK blog. I threw in 2 apples for good measure and it was really good. If you haven’t tried this recipe and you have some apples or peaches just laying around, get off your vegan butt and make this! You won’t regret it. I halved the sugar with agave nectar and subbed nutmeg for the allspice.