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Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Okay, I want to start by apologizing for totally neglecting my blog for the last week.  I have been craft obsessed this holiday season and totally immersed myself in creating all kinds of holiday fun.  But I am back in the blogging saddle and ready to update everyone on the happenings in my world.

First we’ll back track a bit to Thanksgiving.  My family and I traveled to Boise and had Thanksgiving with our relatives.  I spent several days before the trip preparing road snacks and gathering plenty of vegan friendly menu items for our holiday meal.  Pretty much everything that had been made by my relatives had butter in it so I improvised for my Thanksgiving meal.  I had a lovely lentil soup with mashed potatoes, pumpkin biscuits and cranberry sauce.  My family were even willing to try a few vegan items.  They loved the pumpkin biscuits and chocolate cupcakes (I neglected to tell them there was silken tofu in the cupcake recipe, tee hee).  Everyone accept my cousin Becky were a bit leery of the green smoothies though.

When I got home from Thanksgiving I fell headlong into preparations for a small craft fair that I was doing with some friends.  I made several teddy bears and sock monkeys and printed up some original art work on greeting cards.  The show went well and I sold a few items.  I also bought a few items so it all balanced out.  : )

Now I am in the home stretch for Christmas.  For me that means baking up a storm.  This year will be a bit different from the Christmases of years past.  While I have gone vegan most of my friends and family are not and quite a bit of my gift giving revolves around home-baked goodness.  So while I am not depriving them of homemade caramels from my grandmother’s recipe I am veganizing all of my cookie, zucchini bread and truffle recipes.    I am excited to experiment a bit with the caramel recipe and see if I can successfully veganize it.

That is all for now.  How are the holidays going for everyone else?

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I love Halloween and I love baking.  Do you what happens when those two loves become one?  Bloody Eyeball Cupcakes are created!

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and Bloody Feet…..

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And don’t forget the occasional Bloody Finger.

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Oh yes, it looked like Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory in my kitchen this morning. 

As gross as these guys look they taste fantastic.  The cupcakes are made with the recipe from the chocolate cake recipe on Cake Maker to the Stars  recipe page.  The frosting is Vanilla Un-Buttercream and the “blood” is strawberry puree that has been sweetened with agave nectar and thickened with cornstarch.  I had a ton of fun making and decorating these spooktacular nibbles.

Vanilla Un-Buttercream Frosting

2 cups Powdered Sugar

1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening

1/2 Tbsp. Vanilla

1-2 Tbsp. Water

All ingredients should be room temperature.  Blend together the buttery spread and shortening until completely combined.  Blend powdered sugar into the buttery spread/shortening mixture.  Once the powered sugar is completely incorporated, add in the vanilla.  Continue to blend the frosting together while slowly adding water 1/2 tablespoon at a time until it has reach the perfect fluffy consistency.

 

 

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I got a wonderful surprise at the office this afternoon in the form of tasty, organic apples.  My co-worker brought in a bag full of lovely Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples that she had picked from apple trees in her backyard.  My head is whirling with all of the yummy goodies that I will be able to cook up with them. 

When I got home tonight my first order of business was to make a big pot of applesauce with the Goldens.  Applesauce is so easy to make and requires just a bit of effort.  The effort is well worth it too.  Not only do you get a scrumptious treat, but your whole house smells wonderfully and distinctively like autumn.

 

I keep things really simple and basic when making applesauce.  First peel, core and chop the apples.  Then place the apples in your pot and pour in a combination of half water, half apple juice so that the liquid comes to just below the top of your apples. 

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Boil the apples until they are very tender, then add cinnamon, nutmeg, clove or any other seasonings that appeal to you and mash until it is as smooth or chunky as you like.  I like my applesauce pretty thick so I will continue to cook it down a bit after it has been mashed.  The best thing about applesauce is that you can adjust it to meet your tastes very easily.

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I also whipped up an Apple-Cinnamon Upside Down Cake.  I found the recipe today on the Veg Cooking blog and just had to try it.  As usual, I did make a few adjustments to the recipe.  I used Fuji apples instead of Gala, did 2 layers of apples instead of one and dusted my pan with cinnamon instead of flour.  I also didn’t use parchment paper to line my pan and it didn’t seem to make much difference.  The cake came out perfectly and tastes divine.

With apple season in full swing I hope everyone is getting a chance to enjoy them.  I would love to know what your favorite apple recipes are and what variety of apples you like best.

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I am finally back on my feet, and after a course of antibiotics and lots of sleep I am ready to start cooking again.  While I was down for the count most of my meals consisted of canned soup, fruit and whatever else was lying around.  So, needless to say, I have been itching to get in the kitchen and cook some real food.  This weekend provided the perfect opportunity to whip up some of my favorite comfort foods. 

For me comfort food is seasonal.  Something that hits the spot in winter or fall, may not do the trick in spring or summer.  Since we are in the midst of fall (with occasional winter tendencies) comfort food favorites include potatoes, homemade applesauce, cornbread and muffins.  Yum!  Just thinking about them gives me the warm fuzzies. 

For this adventure in comfort I made use of one new recipe and one old favorite.  The new recipe is for Sizzlin’ Home Fries.  It takes the classic goodness of pan fried potatoes and kicks it up a notch with some spicy goodness.  The old favorite is my Struselicious Banana Mini Muffin recipe, which has all of the flavor of banana bread packed into tasty little bite-sized morsels.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Sizzlin’ Home Fries

2-3 potatoes (I like Reds or Yukon Golds)

2 tsp. Olive Oil

1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced

1/2 Green Bell Pepper, Diced

1/2 Medium onion, chopped (I use sweet or Vidalia onions)

1/4-1/2 cup Water

1/2 tbsp. Garlic, minced

1 tsp. Chili Powder

1/2 tsp. Cumin

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

Wash potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch  cubes.  Put the olive oil and potatoes in a large skillet and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the bell peppers, onion and water to the skillet then cover and cook for 5-10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  (You may need to add a bit more water as the vegetables cook.)  Removed the lid from the skillet and add the garlic and seasonings.  Cook uncovered for about 5 more minutes.  Serve just as they are or with your favorite hot sauce.

If you like a bit more heat you can add a diced jalapeno chile or for a different flavor add a diced chipotle chili.  If you want a more mild version just switch up the seasonings.  Keep it simple by using just salt and pepper or be as creative as you want. 

Struselicious Banana Mini MuffinsStrucelicious Banana Nut Muffins

1 cup Unbleached White flour

1 cup Whole Wheat pastry  flour

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1/3 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1 cup mashed Banana

3/4 cup Brown Sugar

3 tbsp. Your favorite Non-Dairy milk or Water

1 tsp. Vanilla

In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda then set aside.  In a large bowl, cream the Earth Balance Buttery spread and brown sugar.  Beat the mashed banana into the sugar mixture.  Add the non-dairy milk or water and vanilla into the banana mixture then add the flour mixture.  Stir until well combined.  If you like you can fold in 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. (I like pecans but I know a lot of people like walnuts.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spoon batter into a well-oiled mini muffin tin so that each cup is about 3/4 full.  Then mix strusel as follows:

1/3 cup Unbleached White or Whole Wheat Flour

1/3 cup Brown Sugar

1/3 cup White Sugar

3-4 tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/8 tsp. Nutmeg

A generous dash of Clove

Using a fork, combine the above ingredients in a small bowl until it forms small pea-sized clumps.  Spoon strusel mix over the muffin batter so that it fills the rest of each cup.

Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.  Cooking times may vary depending on your oven so keep a close eye on you muffins while they are baking.  If you want full-sized muffins prepare them the same way as the minis but use a regular-sized muffin tin and increase baking time to 25-30 minutes.

Now that I have shared some of my vegan comfort food favorites I would love to know what your favorite comfort foods are.

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Today has been lovely and filled with chocolatey goodness. 

Breakfast was a chocolate covered strawberry smoothie, courtesy Amazing Grass Chocolate Green Super Food.  It was the perfect way to start my morning and sooo simple.  I used two scoops of the super food powder and blenderized it with 3/4 cup of frozen strawberries and 1 cup of rice milk.  The result was a rich chocolate filled delight.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

When I got home from work tonight I was feeling inspired by my chocolate breakfast, so I went about making mini chocolate cupcakes with a semi-sweet chocolate ganche frosting.  Holy vegan decadence!!!  These little guys pack a cocoa filled wallop. 

I found the recipe on Cake Maker to The Stars recipe page and had to try it.  The only thing I changed is that I added a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dry ingredients.  If you have a love of chocolate, give this recipe a try.

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It was really nice to get a chance to relax this weekend.  There was not one day last week when I didn’t have to be somewhere.  I made the most of my downtime by trying out some vegan recipes from The New Farm Cookbook by Louise Hagler and Dorothy Bates.   I have had this cookbook for quite a few years and I loved it even before I went vegetarian.

Since I only have a few days left until the big V-day I wanted to try some recipes that I hadn’t yet.  That way I could expand my arsenal of tasty vegan stand by foods.  On the menu were Vegan Pancakes, Lentil Loaf, Dal, Soft Sandwich Buns and Banana Bread.  All of them were fantastic, but I have to admit that I improvised a bit on some of them.   I’ll be sure to post my adapted recipes later this afternoon and will hopefully be adding pictures shortly.   I just need to get the camera dusted off and ready to go.

What are some of you favorite vegan go to foods/recipes?  Let us know the foods that you can’t live without and definitely feel free to pass on the recipe.

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