Wednesday, September 30, 2009

German Choc-o-lotta Cake!

When I learned that a majority of pre-made frostings were accidentally vegan, I immediately added some to my shopping cart. One of the different kinds I grabbed was German Chocolate Frosting. It's kinda gooey, has coconut, and I'm pretty sure some nuts. To go with the frosting, I had to make a cake worthy of such gooey-ness. I kind of put together my own chocolate, not to sweet, and loads of chocolate flavor.

German Choc-o-lotta Cake!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30-35 minutes

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soymilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. Sift together flours, baking powder, and baking soda.

3. In a saucepan, heat the soymilk on low-medium heat. When it is slightly bubbling, add the cocoa powder and wisk well until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.

4. Combine the other liquid ingredients in the flour mixture. Add the cocoa mixture and combine well.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan, bake at 350° F for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Let cool completely and frosting.

This cake rose so much I was able to half it and make two layers. It cake itself wasn't too sweet, which I really like. Cody gobbled up two pieces right away, then we brought half of the cake to the fam's house for dessert. It was awesome! You could top it with whatever frosting suits your mood, or just eat it plain. Whatever you do, just make sure you enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Penne with Steamed Asparagus and White Wine Sauce

ASPARAGUS IS ON SALE!!! ASPARAGUS IS ON SALE!!! As I'm sure you know by now, Cody and I loveLOVELOVE asparagus. Pickled, roasted, steamed, name it, asparagus is probably our favorite vegetable. That's why when asparagus goes on sale, we buy it pound for pound. This trip, we bought 7 pounds. Three pounds for roasting at the fam's house, two pounds for pickling, and with the other pound, I cooked up something new.

For this dish, I decided to steam the asparagus and toss it with some whole wheat penne (the only pasta I had in my pantry, but a good choice, I must say!) and top it with a white wine sauce. The sauce was buttery, creamy, with a touch of garlic and a dash of heat behind it. Not to mention the pinot grigio I threw in there. :)

Penne with Steamed Asparagus and White Wine Sauce
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

1 lb asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 oz wheat penne, or whatever you have on hand
1/4 cup soy butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk

1. Prep and steam the asparagus until al dente. You want it to still have a crunch to it! Boil the pasta until al dente, too. I don't like mine with too much of a bite, so maybe a little bit longer if you're like me.

2. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Saute the garlic for 3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes (I add lots of red pepper flakes), oregano, salt and pepper. Add the wine; let it cook till it reduces. You don't want too much of an alcohol taste. Just enough. Add the soy milk and let simmer for a few minutes.

3. When it's all said and done, combine the three, top with some soy parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, and serve!

I threw in some garlic bread because bread was on sale at Sunflower, too. I love sales. And I love food. Enjoy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hummus Wrap

I got home from the gym yesterday and was famished. Usually I'll just grab a banana, or maybe a bowl of cereal...but I was hungry! After rummaging through my fridge, this is what I came up with. (Note: this is for those of you who are still questioning veganism and its tastiness.)

Hummus Wrap
Prep time: 3 mninutes

1 wrap of your choice (I use the spinach wraps)
2 tbsp (OR MORE!) hummus; I had chipotle on hand
Assortment of vegetables...
- Romaine lettuce
- carrots, shredded
- thinly sliced cucumbers
- bean sprouts
- chopped kalamata olives

1. Put it all together, wrap it up, and enjoy!

It was so refreshing, yet it hit the spot. I paired it with some fresh marinated olives and a few slices of cucumber. The perfect post workout snack!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sopapilla Cheezecake

If there were ever Heaven on earth, it would be found in a fresh pan of Sopapilla Cheezecake. For those of you who don't know what Sopapillas are, don't feel bad. I didn't know what they were until we moved to New Mexico. It's basically fried dough that is fried in such a way that it puffs out and becomes hollow in the middle (unless you're me and you screw it up the first time you make them...). Traditionally, you slather them with honey and enjoy them while they're hot. Almost every meal you get here, you get with sopapillas at the end. Yesterday for lunch, I got a stuffed sopapilla, covered in refried beans and green chile sauce. Yummmm!!!

Anyway, I stumbled across this recipe for Sopapilla Cheezecake. Even though it's not good for you or all natural, it's vegan and tastes delicious. I couldn't get over how easy they were to make and how delicious they were. (Seeing as I made my first not-good dinner, wheat meat that had the texture of something inappropriate to talk about on a blog, I needed a good dessert to make nice with the family!)

Sopapilla Cheezecake
Prep time: 10 minutes, max
Cook time: 35 minutes

1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch
2 (8 ounce) packages Tofutti Better-than-cream-cheese
2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent rolls (Pillsbury has the new crescent creations and yes, they're vegan! Hallelujah!)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup soy butter
1/4 cup honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or fruit syrup (I use honey. Yes, it comes from bees. I just don't consider it to be a non-vegan item.)

1. Preheat an oven to 350° F.

2. Lightly oil a 9x13 inch baking dish with canola oil.

3. Mix cornstarch into 1 cup sugar. Beat together the Tofutti cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar/cornstarch, vanilla extract and lemon juice, in a bowl, until smooth.

4. Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape each piece into 9x13 inch rectangles. Press one piece into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.

5. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough.

6. Stir together 3/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Dot the mixture over the top of the pastry.

7. Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 30 - 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey or syrup of choice.

8. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.

I'm not putting nutritional value on here. They're not good for you. But sometimes the best things in life aren't. :) It's good to treat yourself to something NOT good every once and a while! I didn't get a picture of the inside that came out well. The batteries were dying, the flash was too bright, and these things were too good to worry about replacing batteries! So all you get to see is the top. But the bottom looked similar and in between the two layers was the tastiest, creamiest, cream cheeze filling ever. These were gobbled up. I was so impressed with how easy and tasty they were, I can't wait to make them again!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

French Toast

Breakfast is probably my favorite meal ever. It can be sweet and decadent, or stuffed and cheezy...breakfast can really be anything you want. You can eat it early in the morning, or even switch it up and make it for dinner! I found this recipe in How it all vegan! and simply had to try it. French toast is one of my all time favies because...duh...I'm french. Haha...not entirely true, but come on! Who doesn't love french toast!

Fabulous French Toast
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

1 1/2 cups soy milk
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp sweetener (I'm assuming sugar of some sort...which is what I used...sugar...)
1 tsp cinnamon
8-10 bread slices

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, yeast, sweetener, and cinnamon vigorously. Soak 1 slice of bread in batter until bread is gooey.

2. Fry in a non-stick pan or a lightly oiled frying pan on medium heat until golden. Flip and fry other side. Repeat until batter is gone.

3. Garnish with fruit and maple syrup. Makes 8-10 slices.

I topped the hot pieces with soy butter and maple syrup...the fake kind, not the real kind, because I like the fake kind better. I know, crazy. Cody & I both ate every last piece of this french toast. It was crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Some of the pieces were a little bit too gooey, if you ask me, which you should. :) I would probably not soak the bread as long next time, but that's just me. You might like gooey french toast! Anyway, this was amazing and I highly, recommend it! Cheers!

Friday, September 18, 2009

French Onion Soup

I lost my job on Monday. Worst way to start a post, I know, but it's an even worse way to start off a week, so bear with me. The company I worked for had to let around 50 people go and I was one of them. Sad, but I know that it was absolutely not based on my performance.

First thing I did was decide how I was going to drown my sorrows and French Onion Soup was my choice. My darling & talented friend, Aleah, told me that I couldn't possibly be making french onion soup because what makes it french is the cheese. I have to tell you, that's been bothering me all week! So I finally looked it up, and it isn't necessarily the cheese that makes it french, it's the beef stock (gross) and the croutons and the cheese. And the caramelization of the onions. And the potential addition of cognac. Needless to say, my onions were caramelized, but there was no cheese, no beef stock, and I don't keep cognac on hand. I did, however, make some homemade wheat bread that we threw in the soup, so that counts for something, right? Plus, I'M FRENCH!!! I'm french, I made onion soup, therefore it's French Onion Soup. :)

I'M FRENCH Onion Soup
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30+ minutes

2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 cups of vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cornstarch

1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and allow to cook until they start to lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Reduce heat, cover, and let the onions caramelize with the garlic, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes.

2. Add the soy sauce, pepper, and vegetable stock. Bring to a slow boil.

3. Mix the cornstarch in a tbsp of water (this marvelous creation is called slurry, something that's as fun to make as it is to say! I learned about it in's the only liquid that's a solid! Ha!). Slowly add to the soup while stirring. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Your soup is now ready to eat. Again, I made some homemade bread that we sliced up and threw in the soup. You could use croutons. Heck, you could even throw cheese in if you'd like, too, but don't be alarmed if baby cows haunt you in your dreams. Bon appetit!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

If I got to open the envelope...

...Rob Pattinson would so be the presenter with me. For realzies. That is, of course, only if David Beckham didn't insist that he was the copresenter.

I went on and on about a few things that I love a few posts ago, and my wonderful newfound friend, Erin, was (and still is) one of those things. Especially since she keeps awarding me blog awards! Woo hoo! Now it's my turn to pass it along!

1. Better Together
2. Out of Africa
3. Jaclyn's Vegan Yumminess
4. Skinny Runner
5. The Voracious Vegan
6. Cupcake Kitteh
7. My beautiful sister...

Now for the 7 unique things about me to go along with it.......

1. There are 7 kids in my family and I love them more than I can stand sometimes. Jennifer, I couldn't be more proud of you and everything you've overcome the past few years, it makes me so happy to see you so happy. Miranda, you're my best friend and the strongest woman I know. Jacob was so lucky to have you for a mom and so are Hannah and Jada. I love you. Joey, you're originality and love for giving to everyone around you makes you who you are and I love you for it. Kelley, I can't believe how grown up you are. Sometimes when I look at you, you're still an 8 year old girl with beanie babies and drawings. You're the best little sister in the world. Paul, I'm so excited to be friends with you. I really hope over the next few years we get to know each other better. Dane, your taste in music alone makes me love you to pieces! Come visit us!

2. When I tell people I'm a classically trained pianist, it sounds kinda hoity-toity, but really, I'm a classically trained pianist. My mom taught me how to read music when I was three and I was absolutely hooked. My great-uncle gave me his piano and it became my favorite thing. I have been playing for 24 years. For those of you who can't put this into perspective, I have been playing piano longer than my husband has been alive. Key-tinklin' cougar!

3. Once I find a place for everything in my house, it pretty much ends up staying there. "Everything has its place, and every place has its thing." Couldn't be more me. I hate clutter, I hate mess, I hate dirt...whoever said cleanliness is next to godliness may have been on to something, but for me, cleanliness is next to sanity.

4. I love to cook. I love being creative. I love flavor. I love watching my husband devour food that I make for him. For me, it's one of the many ways that I can show him how much I love him. I'm keeping him healthy, yet keeping his tastebuds happy. I love feeding other people. I can't remember the last Thanksgiving I cooked that didn't feed 12 people. This year might be a first, so please, if you're around or have no where to go on Thanksgiving, COME TO MY HOUSE! :)

5. I used to always say I didn't like girls. You know, they're catty, backstabbing, gossipers...all things I believe still stand true for a good majority of our lot. The truth is, I love having girlfriends! It was just those girls I couldn't stand. There were so many around me all the time, I thought there was something wrong with me! That's why the few wonderful friends I have now are slim in numbers, but great in personality. I refuse to surround myself with girls that suck, make me feel bad about myself, or have no personality. (I guess I can't really refuse to do that...sometimes we have no choice in the matter...but those type of girls will never be let in on my life.)

6. My husband and I only dated for 7 months before we got married. Crazy, yes. I look at other people who do that and think they're nuts. We just knew we couldn't live without each other. He was in Japan for 3 months and my heart broke a little more every day that he was gone. I'm sure there are other people who thought (or think) we were nuts, but since we're still ridiculously happy after 4 years, even after major life changes, those people can shove it. He's my best friend and the man I love more than anything in this world. He's a great husband, a great family member, and he's going to be an even better father. I might just be the luckiest girl in the world.

7. New Hampshire is my home. No matter how far I go, how much I fall in love with my surroundings, nothing makes me feel more at home than being in New Hampshire. The smells, the weather, the roads, the's the best place in the world. Japan was fun, but lets face it, it's Japan. New Mexico has perfect weather and great sunsets, but everything is dusty and dry and clay-colored. For me, home is where the heart is, so no matter where I go with Cody, that will be my home. But New Hampshire holds a soft spot like no other and I could die happy if we ended up near there one day. I chalk it up to having such a great childhood and loving my mom and dad and siblings so much. I'm a small town girl at heart and would love it if my kids had the same opportunities I did.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tofu Omelette

I find it pretty amazing that vegan's around the world have been able to recreate foods such as hamburger, eggs, and sausage. My cousin once asked me why on earth vegans feel the need to make things taste like food they are against eating, almost as if that goes against what they're trying to prove. I can see his point. But let me throw this at you: if you stopped going to a particular restaurant because you found a massive hair in your food but it was a restaurant you loved and you missed some of its flavors, wouldn't you be happy if you found a place that served food that was almost as good? That's my answer. I don't eat meat or eggs or dairy anymore because I don't see the point. That doesn't mean I don't miss it, it just means I get to be creative! Besides, if I'm serving up food that tastes great and is better for my husband and my family, I'm going to keep on doing it. If it also tastes similar to meaty products, good on 'em. And...better yet...if I can make the foods I grew up with and you can't tell the difference, I consider myself a miracle worker.

Thanks to my new friend, Jaclyn, and someone we both look to for vegan guidance, Isa, I made omelettes this weekend for the husband and myself. Yes, omelettes. They...were...amazing. I filled them with steamed broccoli and a cheezy sauce that is also on Jaclyn's page. Cody had fresh roasted green chile in his. I paired it with some homefries and wheat toast. What a treat!

Tofu Omelette
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

2 garlic cloves
1 lb silken tofu, lightly drained (not the vacuum-packed kind) or soft tofu; Nasoya brand is recommended
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fine black salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup chickpea flour (I was able to find this at our regular's important! Plus, you can make hummus out of it! Woo hoo!)
1 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch

1. Chop up the garlic, if using, in a food processor. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric, and salt. Puree until smooth. Add the chickpea flour and arrowroot and puree again for about 10 seconds, until combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides so that everything is well incorporated.

2. Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the pan with cooking spray. (The less oil the better for the nice brown speckles we're going for.) Also, make sure that you use a large skillet, as you need room to spread out the omelet and to get your spatula under there to flip.

3. In 1/2 cup increments, pour the omelette batter into the skillet. Use the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to spread the batter out into about 6-inch circles.

4. Let the batter cook for about 3 to 5 minutes before flipping. The top of the omelet should dry and become a matte yellow when it's ready to be flipped. If you try and it seems like it might fall apart, give it a little more time. The underside should be flecked light to dark brown. Flip the omelet and cook for about a minute on the other side. Keep warm on a plate covered with tinfoil as you make the remaining omelettes.

5. Fill omelette with the filling of your choice, then fold it. Once the omelette has been filled, sprinkle with a little extra black salt, since some of its flavor disappears when cooked.

I was so amazed at how much this actually tasted like eggs! The black salt has such a sulfer-like taste & smell, it is a must. The texture was great, and the cheeze sauce that went with it was a perfect match. I'm in love!!!

Things that I am thankful for...

It took me such a long time to get this blog up and running, but it was well worth it. Cody doesn't write as much as he used to, but he's so busy with school, I'll let it slide. :) This blog has been so much fun and I'm so glad that I can share the food I cook with my family, my friends, and with people I don't even know.

I'm so thankful that I get to watch a wonderful little boy grow up with his wonderful parents, Dawn & Clive. The Benbow Family are some of my favorite people and even though they're on the other side of the world, I know I will always get to see and hear how they're doing.

Cody & I have some of the greatest friends in the world thanks to the Marine Corps. I don't know where I'd be without them. I hate that they're spread out all over the planet, but again, this blog helps me keep up with what they're doing and where they're going. Leslie makes me laugh like it's nobody's business...a laugh much like her own! :)

I can't even remember at this point how I came across this blog, but Erin, the fashion designer, runner, lover of foods, coffee, and beer over ice, has become someone I rely on throughout my day. She's inspiring, thoughtful, and so much fun. Even though I've never met her and may not ever, I'm so glad she's around!

If I were to tell you that two small-town girls from New Hampshire both became vegan and moved completely different states to be with their significant others and they didn't have the slightest idea that they were so alike, you might think "ok, so they're both from New Hampshire, big deal." WRONG. Have you seen the size of New Hampshire? Finding someone else who even knows where it is, let alone grew up there, is difficult! After cooking almost everything on her vegan blog, Jaclyn emailed me to let me know that she was also from my home state. We chatted, joked, and both found it such a bizarre coincidence that we were so alike. It absolutely made my week...and her food does, too!

Thanks to those of you who read this blog. Thanks to those of you who cook the food I write about. Thanks to those of you who make small (or large) changes to help the environment (yes, Deidra, I'm a hippie). Thanks to my wonderful, beautiful, loving family.

Oh yeah, and a BIG thanks to those of you going to the Jacob Memorial Walk this weekend. It means a lot to all of us, and to the children at Dartmouth.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Creamy Vegan Casserole

One of the greatest things ever is finding a vegan blog and becoming addicted to their recipes. This can be said about Jaclyn's blog. She basically started her blog for the same reason that I started mine and I love her for it!

I made her Southern Fried Tofu and fell in love...I had a cast party and brought a long some Zucchini Weenies that were a hit...I bought all the ingredients to make some tasty Tofu Omelettes, which I will make on Saturday...and I plan on making Cookies 'n' Cream Cupcakes for Deidra's birthday this weekend.

Last week was the start of school for Cody, and this week, it was my turn. Casseroles are a must when thinking about leftovers, time frame, ease of cooking...that's why I was psyched when I found Jaclyn's Creamy Vegan Casserole. I had all the ingredients on hand and knew that, based on everything else she blogs, it would be fantastic. I was not disappointed!

Creamy Vegan Casserole
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
10 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced (I had regular button mushrooms and they worked well)
4 tbsp Earth Balance
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth OR 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes + 1/2 cup vegetable broth*
1 cup frozen peas
4 tbsp nutritional yeast**
2 tbsp marsala or red cooking wine
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp herbes de provence***
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
Dash of black pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
1 14.5 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and mashed with the back of a fork
1 cup Fried Onions
8 oz pasta of your choice (Jaclyn recommended little shells and they were awesome!)

* I think the can of tomatoes is great in this recipe. It creates a light tomato-cream sauce for the casserole. However, the casserole tastes great with just the plain ol' vegetable broth as well. I just go by what I happen to have in my pantry. I've also used vegetable broth and then thrown in a chopped up tomato which is just as good. This recipe is very easy to adapt. - Jaclyn

**If you don't know what nutritional yeast is, you can find out here. It sounds like one of those crazy, weird, vegan things...which I guess it kind of is...but it's always in my cupboard! It adds a very cheezy flavor to everything and is even good sprinkled on pasta!

***I wasn't sure what herbes de provence was and I couldn't find it at the regular grocery store. I looked it up on line and I was able to fudge it! It's made up of savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and lavender. I had the first four ingredients, so I just ommited the 1 tsp dried basil and used 1/2 tsp of each. Voila!

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9x13" glass baking dish with oil.

2. Boil water and cook pasta until al dente.

3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp Earth Balance in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes. Add the soy sauce and saute for a few more minutes, until vegetables are tender. Set aside.

4. In a large stock pot, heat remaining 3 tbsp of Earth Balance over medium-high heat. Add the flour, soy milk, and vegetable broth and/or can of tomatoes. Whisk for about 7 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. Add the nutritional yeast, marsala, lemon juice, garlic powder, herbes de provence, basil, salt, and pepper. Continue to whisk to combine.

5. Add the chickpeas, sauteed vegetables, peas, and cooked pasta. Combine.

6. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish. Tightly cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.

7. Uncover and sprinkle the Fried Onions over the top. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the top of the casserole is golden brown.

This was awesome. Even Cody liked it! Except for when he got the occassional fennel seed which he thought tasted just like licorice...oh well! It's great reheated and definitely fed us well! Thanks, Jaclyn!