Thursday, January 24, 2008

Feeling The Joy of Vegan Baking!

It was a perfect situation for making 'Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins' from The Joy of Vegan Baking.....

We had 4 ripe bananas!

With a little help, this recipe is easy enough for an "almost" 5 year old. Pick your favorite muffin liner design for 12 cups, and use your fine-motor skills to separate them.

Measure the dry ingredients.

We used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose.

Carefully stir that together.

Use a potato masher to squash 4 ripe bananas. This requires some muscle!

While that is going on, mom can use a hand-mixer for the sugar & oil.

Sample the semisweet chocolate chips to make sure they're not poison before adding to the flour mixture. I know it's risky, but someone has to do the quality control.

Finally, combine all the ingredients.

Carefully fill the muffin liners, but not too full.

We had enough batter to also make a little heart cake. It turned out perfect.

The girls LOVE, LoVe, love these muffins! I believe they think they're getting one over on me because there are chocolate chips...

When actually, I'm getting one over on them because of the 4 bananas and whole wheat flour! Just think of all that beneficial potassium, vitamins A, B, & C, & fiber! I feel really good about serving these to my kids.
What joy have you baked from this cookbook?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Julie's Sausages!!

After reading about Julie's sausages, I wanted to make them right away! Deciding to do without a store-run for the exact ingredients, I tried to get as close as I could to the recipe using what I had.
Btw: If you're like me, and enjoy cooking shows, you'll definately want to see all of Julie's cooking videos. Bonus! She gives you the recipes, too! What could be better? Well, she makes it fun, too. :)

Chefs in training mixing the dry ingredients:

vital wheat gluten
nutritional yeast flakes
chickpea flour
onion powder
coarsely fresh ground pepper
ground paprika
ground allspice
2 Tbsp poultry seasoning (to make up for the spices I didn't have)

When mixed with the wet ingredents:

Better than Bouillon veg base (to make up for not having Bill's Best)
cool water
olive oil
soy sauce

the mixture comes together really fast, and it's easy to work with.

Here I am just before rolling the last of 7 sausage logs. Scoop up dough with a measuring cup, and form into logs. I was surprised that the dough wasn't very sticky at all, and quite easy to manipulate.

A unique aspect of this recipe is that you steam the sausages!

Our tamale steamer worked great, as usual, for these kinds of steaming projects. I was able to fit 5 sausages along the bottom, with 2 stacked on top. I do wish it had another shelf as Julie described hers.

After they cooled at room temperature, I removed the tin foil, and stored them in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Don't they look great?

The spices are on spot. No overwhelming flavor, ready to take on your unique spice preference.

Later that afternoon, I served them with pita chips and stone ground mustard. It was a delicious snack for Art and I.

The girls were curious, especially after all the cooking excitement earlier, but neither were brave enough to try it. One of these days, I think they will try it, and I think they'll like it, too.

Again later that evening, Art was mixing us cranberry & vodkas (so rare an event, the bottle is literally over 10 years old, so I took a photo!) and decided that called for cutting another log!! Yes, we are exciting married people.
Next, we plan to sautee it in teriyaki for rolls, or for a tofu scramble, or soup topper. We have some thoughts on the next round of spices, to add other sauces to experiment because the possibilities are endless!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Some new favorites

These are 'Jam-Filled Oat Bran Muffins' from The Joy of Vegan Baking (turn to page 46 for a photo of what they should really look like!) Much lovelier indeed, but I'll tell you, these were so delicious, like a yummy bowl of oatmeal on the go - lightly sweetened with your favorite jam. I ate the entire batch by myself over a 3 day period (I tried to share), and the last one was as delicious as the first. I'll be making these again very soon! Hmmm, what jam to use next... I love this cookbook even more!

While scanning Nava Atlas' "The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet" thinking to myself what a cool cookbook concept, I got the idea to try it myself. Use only 5 ingredients, and try to make it taste good!

My 5-Ingredients: black beans, coconut milk, elephant garlic, carrots, & serrano pepper.

What would your 5-Ingredients be???

Clean, chop, and saute 2 carrots, 1 clove garlic, and the pepper, then cover to steam with 2 tablespoons water (water doesn't count as an ingredient... right?). Drain & rinse the beans, place in a soup pot, add the coconut milk, and the carrot mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer until you can easily fork a carrot. Let it cool, then whiz it in your food processor with 1/2 cup water to desired consistency. Garnish with shredded carrot. I didn't even add salt (that would be another ingredient... right?) to the soup, and it was yummy, but what can I say, I love coconut!

Perhaps I'm the last blogger to have tried Dreena's 'Tamari-Roasted Chickpeas' from eat, drink & be vegan, though I don't know why. I knew I'd love this recipe, I just didn't know how much. Chickpeas are my thing, and usually I just eat them out of the can, so I'm excited about this new way of eating them, and of course, I opted for the coconut oil here.

Speaking of... Did ya hear? Dreena's
next VegNews article will be in the March/April issue - a hemp feature! I'm hemp to that!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vicki's Stew & French Rolls

I like to have a meal ready for Art when he has a late flight. This was for him.

Layered in the Crock Pot --
1. Red Potatoes, chopped in large pieces
2. Carrots, scrubbed & wheeled
3. Saute in canola oil: 2 cloves elephant garlic, 1 large sweet onion, 3 serrano peppers, 2 tsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. sage, & 2 tsp. thyme

Cover the veggies with water and add 2 Tbsp. Better than Bouillon vegetable base, and 1 bay leaf, and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.
5. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.

6. Whisk together 4 Tbsp. arrowroot powder + warm both to thicken. Throw in a handful of fresh Green Beans or frozen peas. (I forgot peas!)
7. Cover & cook another 20 minutes.

The next day, we dressed it up a bit with Veat's Bites & French Rolls. Art sauteed the Bites with Earth Balance and some of the stew broth, braggs, & kitchen bouquet.

I used Kramer's 'Easy French Bread' recipe from La Dolce Vegan! I adore this recipe as you can tell here & here. This time, I used 1 1/4 cup each of spelt, all-purpose unbleached white, and whole wheat pastry flour. Divided and shaped the dough into 6 and placed in my jumbo muffin tin, slashed the dough diagonally, and topped with poppy seeds. Art really enjoyed and appreciated this meal, especially that the veggies were large and I didn't use any weird spices! I love the ease and results of my Crock Pot! Do you have any favorite slow cooker recipes??

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cherrybrook Kitchen

A dear friend was coming over for lunch so that we could celebrate her birthday. I decided to try these Cherrybrook Kitchen baking mixes I brought home from California.

It's a dairy free, egg free, and nut free line of baking mixes. We read through the ingredient list just to find out exactly what was inside the box. We nodded in agreement recognizing each item and that we actually had it stocked in our own kitchens.

And, the cupcakes were delicious! Even my finicky daughter, who often shuns sweets, thought these were the absolute bomb. Hey, I felt good serving one of these for dessert after a healthy meal was eaten, and she thought the exchange was good, too. I used the chocolate cake and chocolate frosting mixes. Too bad they don't sell this at our Co-op, but looking at the Cherrybook store finder, I see that Fred Meyer does. As a mom, these mixes are the perfect solution for classroom treats, which need to accommodate food allergies.

We made another snowman! Even though most of the snow is melted by now, we've had more this year than in the recent past. This is such good news!

Anyone else have good news to share? I'd love to read your answers to this question posed recently by Cafe VegNews.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Holiday Wrap-Up

We did lots of delicious eating over the holidays! This was my Christmas dinner plate:
*Idaho potatoes mashed with soy milk, Earth Balance, and sea salt
*bread stuffing with vegetable broth
*Tofurkey slices
*Brussels sprouts sauteed in EB
*side green salad with local greenhouse
tomatoes & carrots
*fruit salad with apples, pears, banana, and pineapple with juice (less local):

With all this food preparation, it was nice having a couple helping elves in the kitchen!

We strive for food that is locally grown and organic. We're completely vegetarian (consume nothing with eyes) and almost vegan (eliminating dairy)! We
realize the immense impact our day-to-day food choices have. Reducing or eliminating meat consumption is something concerned citizens can do every day to help our planet. In the face of our daunting global warming problem, I find it comforting and encouraging to know there IS something you can do every time you eat! The force of the fork has great potential! Pass it on. . .

All of this healthy eating is great fuel for a winter bicycle ride around town and through city parks. What an exhilarating ride!

Art was able to stay home from work a couple weeks, and we vacationed at the best place... home! :)

BIG smiles for snow! Bring it on!

It took several hours to build Frosty and was quite a playful workout. To Liv's delight, he looked in our kitchen window for about a week!

Below is a photo of a warming meal! From Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson, 'Sweet and Spicy Lentil Chili' I added celery & carrots, omitted the red bell pepper, with Eden organic crushed tomatoes.

Next time it'll be in a burrito with rice &/or sauteed seitan, Smart Ground by Lightlife, tofu scramble or something. . .

This time, the '
Skillet Corn Bread' from Veganomicon stole the show - the Double-Corn Variation. I feel like a (mad) scientist curdling the soy milk with apple cider vinegar to simulate buttermilk. ahhhha!

'Chocolate Brownies' from The Joy of Vegan Baking. Warning! These brownies are super moist and sinfully chocolaty! Your resistance will be low. . .

The fun here is using ground "good for you" flax seed as the binder. That's right, just whirr it up with water in your blender, and presto! No eggs needed. (or wanted.)

This cookbook really is awesome, and I'm still bent on baking every single item!