Thursday, November 30, 2006

Spelt Biscuits

I had planned on making 'Spelt Biscuits' from Vegan Lunch Box (pg.80) for Thanksgiving, but simply ran out of time. The thought of them lingered, so I made them for lunch the next day to serve with another round of left-overs. We used the donut & (my favorite) little heart cookie cutter.

A rolling pin & cookie cutters are Liv's favorite kitchen gadgets -- this was a fun activity for her.
Jennifer McCann is totally right - these biscuits come together in a flash in the food processor. Her recipe calls for "white spelt flour" as well as "whole wheat spelt flour" -- I've never seen the distinction before, have you? At our Co-op, it's just "spelt flour." So I only used that & it worked just fine. We'll be making these easy & tasty biscuits again.

I wanted to share a photo of our Little Drummer Girl. With a Daddy like Art, Liv & Abi are constantly around music & instruments -- so when we go to The Guitar Center, it's fun to see folks gather around to watch the girls demo their instruments! :o)

Monday, November 27, 2006


A turkey walnut marked each person's place at the dinner table. (duck & mouse nuts) Our extended families couldn't join us this year, so we invited friends who didn't already have plans. They also had to be willing to experiment with us on several new vegan dishes. Not too many food photos because they didn't turn out well due to poor lighting. I was also in a hurry to just serve the food already and spare our guests waiting for photographs. Anyway, -- this is how it went.

Jeanne's Flaky Pastry

2 1/4 c. Flour
1 tsp. Sea Salt
3/4 c. non-hydrogenated shortening
7 Tbsp. ice water

Combine flour and salt. Cut in 1/2 cup of the shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Cut in remaining shortening until mixture is size of large peas. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time -- working the dough with a wooden spoon or your hands -- until particles cling together when pressed into a ball. Cover with a damp towel; let stand several minutes. (This is a good time to prepare your pie filling) Then, divide in half; roll into 2 9-inch pie crusts.

For the apple filling, I pared, cored, & sliced a 1 lb. bag of apples. Combined with 3/4 c. Sugar, 2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Bake @ 425* for 50 minutes. When the pie edges are golden, cover with an aluminum ring to protect from burning.

Pumpkin Tofu Pie
1 15 oz organic pureed pumpkin
3/4 c. Sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 Tbsp. Arrowroot Powder
1 package silken, firm tofu, cubed
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

In the processor, blend the pumpkin and sugar. Add salt, spices and arrowroot powder. Then, add tofu, and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes at 425*, Then lower heat to 350* and bake for an hour. Chill and serve. This pie was a huge hit! :o)

This is 'Curly Kale with Caramelized Onions' from Vegetarian Times, Nov. 2006. This was good, but I'll go back to my regular way next time. We also had 'Best Brussels Sprouts' from Vegan Lunch Box, pg. 261. The name is fitting, and is our new favorite way to eat brussels sprouts -- lightly glazed with sweet & sour. I also made Idaho Mashed Potatoes with plain Silk and Earth Balance. I peeled and chopped the potatoes early in the morning, then put them in the pot and covered with cold water and ice for later. I made 'Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing' from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, pg. 148. This was another success to add to next year's meal. It's great using the crockpot because it frees up hands to work on other parts of the feast.

This is our Tofurkey Roast -- Art added some carrots & onions. He also made Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, and a Green Bean Casserole. I was striving for a vegan Thanksgiving, and we came very close. If The Vegan Police had made a surprise visit, they would've tagged us for the marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes and the whip cream for the pie.

It was a great meal, and we have so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

Left-Overs Pot Pie

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 small onion
1 shallot
2 Stalks Celery
Sea Salt
2 Sweet Potatoes, cubed (optional)
left-over mashed potatoes
Fresh or Frozen Corn
2 Vegan Bouillon
3 c. Water
3 Tbsp. Arrowroot Powder
1/4 c. Fresh Parsley
Puff Pastry Sheet

Heat oil and saute onion, shallot, & celery until translucent. Add sweet potato, corn, bouillon, & water. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat an simmer until cooked through. Mix 1/2 c. liquid from mixture and arrowroot powder -- stir back into mixture. Simmer until it thickens. Preheat oven to 425*. Coat with cooking spray and press a layer of left-over mashed potatoes in the bottom of a pie tin. I also added some left-over tofurkey. Then fill with the vegetable mixture. With a pizza cutter, and using the pie tin as a guide, cut a circle from one puff pastry sheet a little larger than the pie tin. Cut air release holes in the top of the pastry and fit on top, crimping the edges. Bake 15 minutes, or until brown and puffy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Carrot Bisque & Contemplating Thanksgiving

I made more soup. This is 'Carrot Bisque' from VwaV, pg. 56. I couldn't help myself making more soup. We had a house guest who wasn't feeling well. Poor guy. That calls for soup, don't cha think? This was the first recipe I found which I had all the ingredients on hand. Lots of carots and coconut milk are signature flavors here, which is a win-win in my book. It was creamy delicious, and I'd serve this one to company. If you're still meal planning, this would be a classy first course at your Thanksgiving table. So easy, too -- just make it the night before.

I was so excited (and surprised!) to see my newspaper run this story last Friday, 'Meatless Thanksgiving - It isn't easy, but it's doable and tasty." They included 9 vegan recipes, websites with more info, and even some tips on ingredients needed.

Our current Thanksgiving Meal plan:
Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing (FVSC)
Idaho Mashed Potatoes
Mi-So Good Gravy (TEV)
Best Brussels Sprouts (VLB)
Curly Kale w/Caramelized Onions (VegTimes)
Cut-out Spelt Biscuits (VLB)
Tofurky Roast
Cliff's Cranberry Sauce
Art's Sweet Potatoes
Art's Green Bean Casserole
Viennese Apple Strudel
Pumpkin Tofu Pie (newspaper article)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Habanero Jelly

Habanero Jelly

I'm planning on giving habanero jelly at the holidays. Remember to warn the recipients that habanero peppers really pack the heat. (How hot is hot?) Serve with Tofutti 'Better Than Cream Cheese' on a Triscuit, and call it an appetizer.

Habanero Jelly (from Walt's Recipe)
2 Orange Bell Peppers
5 Habanero Peppers
5 C. Sugar
1 1/2 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Dry Fruit Pectin
6 Half Pint canning jars & lids (sterilized)

1 Put jars in large pot and boil.
2 Seed/Stem Bell, cut into pieces and process (don't puree)
3 **Put on rubber gloves** Seed/Stem Habaneros (seeds=heat, I remove them all) and process
4 Sugar in a separate bowl
5 Bells, Habaneros, Vinegar, Pectin in a stainless steel pot. Bring to rolling boil - Stir constantly.
6 Add Sugar all at once. Return to Boil, then set your timer for 1 minute. Stir constantly.
7 Ladle hot water into a shallow dish with lids.
8 Remove pepper mixture from heat. Fill jars immediately to 1/8" from top. Cover with a hot lid, screw band tightly. Invert 5 minutes.
9 Let them cool (yeah, right!) while you enjoy the sounds of the sealing "POP". Test the seal by pressing the middle of the top. If the bubble springs up, it isn't sealed.
** Never touch habaneros with your bare hands! Wear rubber gloves & don't rub your eyes.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Soup's On!

It has been chilly the past couple weeks - the perfect weather for soup. The savory smell infiltrates the house, the warmth of the stove comforts, and the steaming soup to eat on a rainy day. Soup in no particular order, family rated with stars (3 stars=a favorite, 2 stars=OK, 1 star=won't make again).

'Miso-Butternut Squash Soup with soba noodles and purple kale' Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons Bountiful Vegan by Nava Atlas **

'Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup' from
Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons Bountiful Vegan by Nava Atlas ***

I added some carrots.

'Sweet Pepper Coconut Corn Chowder'
ExtraVeganZa by Laura Matthias ***

This cookbook was featured in Veg News Oct.'06, pg. 88. And, The Vegan Diva recieved it recently for a birthday gift -- Have you tried a recipe yet, Emmy?

Inspired by 'Simple Leek and Potato Soup' from
La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer **

I added some carrots, parsley, purple kale, garlic, & cumin.

'African-Inspired Quinoa-Peanut Soup' from
Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons
Bountiful Vegan
by Nava Atlas *

Look what I received in the mail yesterday! It is such a cute cookbook, which Jennifer signed to my daughters. A sticker was enclosed, which I'll probably use as a bookmark. The Table of Contents include, Quick & Easy, Rise & Shine, Ready & Waiting, Lunch Box Adventure, Special Occasions, and much more. There's a photo section in the middle, but just go to The Vegan Lunch Box to see it all.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Slow Stuffed Grape Leaves

Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker (p. 20) I followed the recipe to a "TTT" - & tripled it!

This is the group of lucky dolmas going to the party. I sharpied a post-it for the dish that said "Vegan Stuffed Grape Leaves". I was little shy -- wondering if the crowd would go for the crackers + dip and cookies on the buffet --- or, turn a 180* and go for these very green & healthy morsels....

Here's 3 batches of dolmas (about 50) -- stuffed, wrapped, & ready for the Slow Cooker. It took a while to prepare, but well worth it. They vanished quickly at the party, and I felt a sense of victory for Veganism. It wasn't that people were starving, either, because there was plenty of left-overs of the junk food. They liked them. They really, really liked them!
These were the perfect party pleasing appetizer.

for change.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Currant Apple & Oat Muffins, Millet and Root Stew, and a Vegan Cupcake

Currant Apple & Oat Muffins
1 C. Dried Currants
1 med. Apple (peeled & Chopped)
3/4 C. Vanilla Silk
1/3 C. Granulated Sugar
1/4 C. Canola Oil
1 C. All-purpose Flour
1 C. Quick Oats
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Allspice
2 Tbsp. Florida Crystals

Preheat oven to 400*F. Oil or line 12 muffin cups. Combine fruit, soy milk, sugar and oil. In another bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Mix together until just combined. Divide batter between the cups. Sprinkle tops with Florida Crystals (or Brown Sugar). Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

This is basically a veganized version of the recipe off the Sun*Maid Zante Currants box.

Abi and Jolie enjoyed the muffins very much. But they'll eat just about anything! :o)

The true test of a successful recipe around here is if Liv will eat it. She can be a toughie, but she really liked these muffins. So did I. This doesn't happen very often, so I'm taking note and throwing this one into the regular muffin rotation hopper! Next time, perhaps dried cherries, blueberrries, or raisins instead of currants.

Isn't she a cutie-pajutie in her rainboots?! (no storm in sight) She leaves them outside the door so she can throw them on in a hurry outside. The Mums behind were blooming like that in late October!

I love raking leaves. It's great exercise, but not too rigerous. It is outdoors in the crisp Fall air, and the kids gather around to help. Even Jolie runs through the pile chasing a squirrel from time to time. I've raked leaves everyday for the past week (body is sore) and there are still a few hanging on to the branches, but not many. Most of the trees are bare now and it is looking more like Winter.

This is becoming one of my favorite cookbooks.

My first recipe was 'Millet and Burdock Root Stew' page 84. I did not have (nor have ever heard of) Burdock Root, so I subbed in a sweet potato (white one). The rest of the recipe was straight, except I left out the mushrooms & ginger because I just don't like them.

I'm telling you, this was a delicious and satisfying meal. I'll be making this again

Here it is! The moment I've been waiting for... My first cupcake from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World (Congrats on being Cookbook of the Year @ Veg News Veggie Awards).

It is:

Simple Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcake (44)

Not-Too-Sweet Blueberry Mousse (153)

I topped with some electric blue sugar crystals!

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Vegan Dog Biscuits

Jolie is dreaming about cookies beside her new 'Dog Bone Cookie Cutter Set' from the PETA catalog.

Urban Vegan hosted the tART contest, and the prize was a gift certificate from PETA.

Seems appropriate that the prize should benefit the only (official) animal in the house.

The set includes:

* Five Ways to Be Your Dog's Best Friend
* Vegan Dog Biscuits Recipe
* 7-piece Cookie Cutter Set

Here's Liv mixing the ingredients, while arranging the Cookie Cutters (big bone, medium bone, baby bone, dog house, big fire hydrant, baby fire hydrant, & dog paw).

Rolling out the dough.

The recipe yielded two packed cookie sheets for us, and we utilized each cookie cutter several times. About 35 biscuits.

PETA has lots of other cool things for animal companions that you may be interested in. When I grabbed the link, I saw a funny cat puke hazard sign for the floors.

Finally, Jolie's moment comes!

The taste test.

And.... She loved them! Schnup quickly ate as many as she could, and she wouldn't lie just to make us feel good.

I've seen her gobble up barf like it were a delicacy.

And, be finicky and refuse perfectly good food.

She eats what she likes. No excuses.

Jolie loves vegan treats -- here's a link with many recipes.

This is Jolie's special trick. She wins hearts over every time with this one.

She will stay like this as long as it takes. Then, after we say "OK", she'll toss the treat in the air, and many times she'll catch it in her mouth. It's impressive!

I didn't realize when I bent the dog bones to squeeze them on the cookie sheet that they'd be a perfect curve for her nose! Yeaah, for Jolie!

What can your animal companion do that's special?