Last day of Vegan Mofo 2014, I’m sad! Here are some too-good baked goods-Chamomile Lavender Cupcakes

Ugh, I’m so sad Vegan MoFo is over. This was a great month for me and my blog. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, as I started a new college program at the same time. I did it though! And my blog got featured on the Vegan MoFo Roundup, mid way through. I had met all the success markers I had set for myself in participating in this, including over 500 views. I actually doubled that amount! This was my most successful month of blogging to date, which is not surprising as MoFo provides a lot of the ability to be successful by participating in it. The trick is to a stress-free MoFo while being quite busy, I found, is to plan it out early. I made a calendar of recipes in advance, tested them, photographed them and did not stray too much from that!

I met and interacted with a lot of great bloggers that I haven’t been able to before, which was really nice. I have a bunch of new vegan blogs to follow now full of awesome people!

I have a lot of exciting things planned in the coming month as well, so don’t stop checking out my blog! Tonight I am going to be testing out a recipe for spinach raviolis with butternut squash and sage filling which I hope to post soon. I may even be doing a cooking demo for them in RI. October is my Birthday month, and I have a birthday cake waffle recipe I’ll be sharing soon! There will be other posts too that relate to my vegan education project for new vegans or people interested in becoming vegan, in which I’ll be addressing common concerns and how to deal with them. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see me cover, be sure to comment here or in the future.

Now, without further ado, let’s get the final Vegan MoFo recipe for Chamomile Lavender Cupcakes out!

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Makes a dozen regular sized cupcakes.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 tea bag worth of chamomile tea opened up, contents removed
  • 1 tbsp dried culinary lavender
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted not solid
  • 1 cup unflavored (plain) almond milk
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp and a few drops coconut creamer
  • a couple drops of lavender extract (optional)
  • vegan red and blue food coloring to make a lavender hue (optional)

Decoration (optional):

  • Dried Chamomile flowers

Directions for the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with twelve cupcake liners.
  2. In a food processor, blend the sugar, chamomile tea and lavender until ground well and very fragrant. Be careful upon opening the food processor, as there will be powder coming out…don’t inhale!
  3. Melt the coconut oil.
  4. Whisk the sugar and herb mix, almond milk, and coconut oil in a medium large size mixing bowl.
  5. Mix in the baking soda and powder.
  6. Incorporate the flour in.
  7. Add vanilla extract and stir until everything is mostly smooth. The batter will be a bit clumpy with the coconut oil and that’s okay.
  8. Place about 2 tbsp of the batter in each muffin tin.
  9. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cupcake.
  10. Wait 5 minutes and then place on cooling racks. Allow to cool completely before decorating with the icing.

Directions for the icing:

  1. With a small whisk, mix up the coconut oil and powdered sugar in a small bowl until large crumbs form.
  2. Add the coconut creamer and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the optional extract and food coloring and mix until satisfied.

For assembly:

  1. Use a frosting spatula and place a thin layer of the icing on each cupcake.
  2. Decorate with dried chamomile flowers.

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Bye, Vegan Month of Food 2014! See you next year in 2015! I already cannot wait!

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Vegan MoFo Day 28: Sunday Brunch: Pretzel Bread Chia Pudding and Date Caramel Casserole

So I already posted this, but I’ll post it again in case you missed it because it’s relevant. I’ve been making food to share with my classmates at my college program as a part of my project I’m working on. Recently, they wrote about me in their “student snapshots” and actually took pictures of me unveiling this dish I’m about to post the recipe to now. It was a big hit. Take a look.

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This is the type of brunch dish that is so good it amazes people. It’s also the type of dish where when you eat it you are gasping a bit. I literally said “Omm nom” when I first tried it, I think. It was so good that no one who wasn’t vegan even cared that it was vegan. I’m sorry for bragging, but honestly I was actually a bit shocked at first at how good this thing I invented came out.

It has a lot going on, but trust me, it’s so good.

It’s a bit of a pain if you need to make the pretzels just to make this dish, but if you want pretzels too, then it’s a great decision. Just reserve at least 2 days before you plan on having this.

My family has a tradition for certain holidays to make the most luxurious, elaborate, and fancy brunch recipes for certain holidays like Christmas morning and such, and this is definitely already on the menu for that!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 homemade pretzels from my recipe here
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 batch caramel date sauce (recipe from the pretzel recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance, melted

Directions:

  1. Break up pretzels into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour almond milk over this mixture and coat well. Let sit in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, mix the chia seeds, arrowroot, water, sugars, vanilla, and spices together.
  5. Place the pretzel mixture into a casserole dish, and fold in the mixture you just prepared in the medium bowl.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  7. Take out of the oven and drizzle both the date caramel and melted margarine over the bread pudding.
  8. Dig in!

Vegan MoFo Day 23: Too Good Baked Goods Tuesdays: Soft Baked Pretzel with Date Caramel Dipping Sauce

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I love these pretzels so much. The date caramel sauce makes them even tastier. The best part is though, that once you make a batch of these, if you set aside four of them, you will be able to make the most amazing bread pudding casserole when I post the recipe for the next Sunday Brunch post. I can hardly contain myself.

If this recipe makes too many for you (it can make 14-20 pretzels) you can halve it or make the whole thing, bake them, and then freeze some of them to eat later.

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I’m starting to get sad that Vegan MoFo 2014 is almost over! I’ve met so many awesome people from different blogs and my blog has been doing really well. Boo 😦 But I’ll save my sorrows for now, since there is still a full week left! Gotta give thanks where it is due!

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Pretzel Ingredients:

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4 -6 tablespoons Earth Balance(melted)
  • to taste coarse salt (optional)

Caramel sauce ingredients:

  • 8 medjool dates, with pits removed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup original flavor coconut creamer
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar

Directions for pretzels:

  1. Mix yeast with lukewarm water in large mixing bowl until the yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add to the yeast mixture the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved; add flours and stir with a spoon until combined or mix in a standing mixer with the dough hook attached.
  3. Knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Let rise in the bowl with a towel covering it for 30 minutes.
  5. Around the time the dough is about to be ready, prepare a baking soda water bath with 4 cups warm water and 4 tbsp baking soda in another bowl. Stir this mixture often until ready to use (once you form the dough into pretzel shapes they will be dipped into this and baked).
  6. When the dough has risen, break dough into 14 even sized small balls, and then roll each ball into a snake/coil shape. There is an art to this that I have discovered. First, you knead the ball of dough and roll it around in your hand to soften it. Then you start to roll into a coil between the palm of your hands, focusing on the ends. Then you stretch it out by pulling it to elongate it, and roll it out more with the palm of one hand on a flat surface.
  7. Shape into pretzels…it’s pretty easy to figure it out, but you lay the coil down horizontally and curl the two ends in the middle so that they overlap.
  8. Dip the pretzels into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet (you will need at least two).
  9. Cover the baking sheets with a towel and allow pretzels to rise again 30 minutes. This is a good time to preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  11. Upon taking out of the oven, immediately brush with melted earth balance.
  12. Sprinkle with salt if desired, immediately after applying the earth balance. Allow to cool completely before eating.

For the date caramel sauce:

  1. Place dates in a small bowl and cover with the water. Let sit at least one hour.
  2. Blend all ingredients in a blender until it is as smooth as you can get it.
  3. You can heat this up on a stovetop before serving if you want, but it isn’t actually all that necessary.

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This post was brought to you by Vegan MoFo 2014, and the letter ‘P’

Vegan MoFo 2014- Day 9: My Rhode Island semi-famous vegan Cashew Cheese Danish Recipe

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I’ve been back and forth about whether I should actually share this recipe. My future dreams of possibly owning a vegan business and definitely (I hope!) writing a cookbook tell me I should keep this a secret until then. However, seeing there aren’t any recipes on the web for vegan pastry dough and cashew cheese danish quite like this (but it has been attempted many times in other ways), I figured, why not share the deliciousness with everyone? Part of my goal with this blog is to make vegan food accessible to all. So, it seems rather hypocritical of me to guard this recipe so much.

Besides, I’ve been told that, “I have the patience of a saint” which I partially agree with. I do have a lot of patience. The patience ranges from elaborate, multi-step recipes that are strewn out across several days (like this one) to working with people (unless those people are my family whom I still live with or my cat when he tries to make biscuits with his claws out eat my favorite blanket, inadvertently destroying it). This recipe requires a lot of patience in that sense, although I love the relatively easy cleanup that comes from making the dough in a food processor!

Finally, I want to share an anecdote from when I first made these to test out the recipe. They came out way more amazing than I had ever hoped. I was going to a vegan feminist meeting in Providence and wanted to share them with my fellow feminists. They seemed to enjoy them. But upon walking back to my car from the meeting, as I was crossing the street, a car full of three of my friends from Girl’s Rock, RI who all love the food I make for their camps randomly saw me and stopped at the light. They asked me what I was doing, and since I had a bunch of the danish with me, I offered them some. When I got home, awaiting for me on my facebook was a picture they took of me with a mischievously delicious grin on my face (quite secretively because I didn’t even realize it!) proclaiming that I was:

A magic angel. We bumped into her at a random intersection and she fed us homemade baked goods. I am not hangery and that danish was ah-mazing. Providence we are a lucky bunch.

And last night I made them again and they came out even better than the first time because they were so beautifully browned! I fed them to my cohort at my school, and they were a huge hit! Even with no one being vegan themselves, there!!

Before I get to the actual recipe, here are some pictures so you can see the process after the dough is all set to be made into the pastry:

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Putting the brown sugar on the dough squares

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Making the dough into a cylinder shape

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The “pinch pot” coil shape

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Adding the cheese

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The finished product

 

Vegan Cashew Cheese Danish Recipe:

Makes 2 dozen danish pastries

Ingredients:

For the sweet Lemon Cashew cheese:

  • 2 cups raw cashews soaked in water overnight and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp plain coconut milk yogurt
  • 2 tbsp plain almond milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 12 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the pastry dough:

  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp egg replacer powder and 2 tbsp and water
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast (about 1 1/2 – 2 tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance cut into 1 tbsp sized chunks

For assembly:

  • Brown sugar to sprinkle
  • 1 tbsp egg replacer powder mixed with 4 tbsp almond milk as a wash

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup (a bit more actually) organic confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp almond milk

Directions:

To make the cashew cheese:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Lay out some cheesecloth inside a mixing bowl and pour the cheese inside.
  3. Wrap the cheesecloth around the cheese into a ball.
  4. Let sit in a warm area of the kitchen overnight or at least 8 hours.
  5. Place in the refrigerator until needed, up to a week or so.

To make the pastry dough:

  1. Pour water and almond milk into a bowl and sprinkle with the yeast, mix a bit until absorbed, and let sit ten minutes untouched.
  2. After the 10 minutes, add the egg replacer and water to the bowl with the yeast, mix together, and set aside.
  3. Set up your food processor with a large mixing bowl next to it. Place the flour, salt, and sugar inside the processor.
  4. Pulse very briefly to combine the ingredients, then add the Earth Balance chunks and pulse about 10 short times. You still want to see small chunks of the Earth Balance in it.
  5. Empty this crumb mixture into the bowl you set aside. Add the yeast liquid and combine with a rubber spatula or your hands. Don’t over mix, it should still be gooey and messy.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.

To prepare the dough further:

  1. Take out of the fridge and let it sit to warm up a bit for about 10-20 minutes, depending on how long you let it stay in the fridge.
  2. Lightly dust a clean surface area to work in with flour.
  3. Take half the dough and roll out into a thin square or rectangle-like shape.
  4. Fold in thirds as you would a pamphlet.
  5. Turn so that the folded edge is to your left, and roll out again into a square, repeat the rolling and folding steps three more times. Fold one more time and leave the dough that way.
  6. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  7. Place each dough rectangle in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To make the Danish:

  1. Roll one of the wrapped dough rectangles out into a large thin square or rectangle shape.
  2. Cut into 12 squares or rectangles, about 3”x2.”
  3. Sprinkle each square with brown sugar.
  4. Roll up with the width side (the longer side) into a round cylinder shape. (See pictures)
  5. Now take these cylinders and form into a coil shape, sort of like a cinnamon bun.
  6. Take your hand and mush so there’s no gaps in the coil, making a well for the filling. It’ll look sort of like a pinch pot if you’ve ever done basic clay/pottery work.
  7. Top each with about one tbsp of the cream cheese filling.
  8. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper lining it, and brush the egg replacer and almond milk mixture around the pastry part.
  9. Let sit for an hour and a half.
  10. After one hour has passed in the sit time, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Place in oven for 20 minutes or longer, until slightly golden brown and firmly puffy.
  12. When cool to the touch, place on a wire rack and make the glaze.

To make the glaze and finish these delicious suckers:

  1. Mix the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and almond milk in a bowl with a spoon.
  2. Drizzle over the danish with a fork and allow to set before eating. 
  3. Share with as many people as possible, and don’t forget to tell them where you got the recipe from! 😉

 

 

 

 

mish mosh of things and the week in review of foodie photos (albeit a day late!)

Yesterday there was no post because I was so tired! I had to get up really early and go to an event at the school I plan to go to for Culinary Arts and hopefully nutrition! I got to try out working in a culinary classroom for three hours. I made the quinoa salad that was on the menu, which was nice. I was really scared/nervous and struggled a bit due to that, but I am so excited to learn more, and I learned so much in that short amount of time! It was so enjoyable and went by really fast, there was no time to spare!

I am looking forward to starting in the Fall!

I have decided to try to only use my banana ratings system for vegan products and companies that I try now. The reason for this is because I want to be supportive of people like me or my vegan chef role models even if I don’t love a recipe as much as I would like to. I will still make suggestions and tips and maybe some constructive criticism when necessary, but will try to be more positive from now on. I think that’s fair because I would like the same types of things said about me and my recipes.

I made some really good food this week!

Here are some pictures/descriptions/links to them!

Buffalo Cauliflower (Made without hot sauce!) with dill cashew dip

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This recipe was amazing! I ate so much of it! I love that it does not use bottled hot sauce and instead uses herbs and spices to make your own. This way, I could control the sodium content and it was not ridiculous in that regard. It was extremely tasty, too. I put a little more cayenne in it and it was the perfect hotness. The dip blew me away though! It tastes exactly like blue cheese somehow!! I liked it so much that I am going to make it again this week!

Tempeh Sloppy Joe’s

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My picture definitely lives up to the “sloppy” title. Oops. I found this recipe here.. It was quite tasty and I loved that it had so many servings of vegetables in it! The cooked cherry tomatoes were a great idea. I added black olives (although I did not like how they tasted in it really), chopped scallions, and tofutti sour cream into half a pita. I did mix the tempeh with the sauce.

I think that was it, I had lots of salads and was eating leftovers from last week too!

This upcoming week you should get some really great ideas/inspiration from the recipes I will be cooking from! Or at least, have to wipe up your watering mouth. Hopefully I’ll be able to post at least on Friday, but it depends on my schedule and school stuff!

Baked Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese Bun Sliders–I am sharing the recipe!

I have so much I want to say about what went into creating this recipe. I have broken them up into sections so that if you do not want to read a ton of text before you get to the recipe, but some of my ideas and advice may be of interest to you, you will be more apt to read the pertinent ones.

My Inspiration

First of all, this was an attempt to recreate and veganize this recipe that I was originally alerted to on Pinterest. I had been saving it for a long time, waiting for the right moment in time to do it, and I decided the other day to try.

Nutrition Information

I was recently doing poorly with my B-12 intake food-wise (I take a vegan B complex vitamin but typically also try to get enough from nutritional yeast added to my food as well. As vegans the food we eat does not naturally have this essential vitamin in it, so it is crucial that we take a supplement and/or eat fortified foods in order to be able to do the awesome work we vegans do for our health, animals, the environment, etc. Not doing so can cause many health issues, such as Anemia.) and my nutrient tracking showed me I needed to improve on that (I use sparkpeople.com to track my food and other health/wellness/goal related things). So I decided to make this, because I knew it’d have a lot of nutritional yeast in it, and it definitely does. It helps me meet that goal exceedingly well!

I also did not want to further bread with flour and breadcrumbs and then deep fry the mac and cheese buns for my recipe. If you want to, go ahead! But I feel this fits with more with what I wanted and that step is unnecessary. It is still sinfully delicious (albeit maybe a bit less crispy and might not stay together as well).

The calories (if that concerns you) can vary a lot. I definitely don’t recommend attempting to fry the mac and cheese buns if you are concerned about them. I used a calculator to determine and tweak the amount of servings and such, but it will vary a lot most likely for everyone depending on how big you choose to make the burgers, the mac and cheese buns, etc. The way I made it, though, It comes out to be approximately 465 calories.

Making it gluten free

It has the potential to be gluten free if you use certain substitutions. I think a whole grain gluten free elbow pasta would work fantastically, as I think it might lend itself to being a bit more thick and sticky which will be pretty helpful in the long run for getting the buns to stay together more. Use a gluten free flour instead of the whole wheat pastry flour that I used. I think the rest of the ingredients I used should be gluten free, but please make sure you check further with people more knowledgeable than I am about gluten free ingredients if making it for yourself or others who have sensitivities or allergies.

This recipe is really kid friendly (not just because of the taste!)

I had a lot of fun making this recipe, not just to create conceptually, but also to prepare. When I was setting up the mac and cheese buns, and making the burgers, I felt like a kid again. It is ooey and gooey in certain parts, you can use your hands a lot to touch slimy and fun textures, can make some funny noises, and get dirty. When I was a kid, these were all qualities that made me interested in helping my mom with cooking, as well as the characteristics of a task that made me want to do it (my earliest “culinary” experience involved me making “mud cookies,” putting them in my outdoors “oven” and then proceeding to convince my younger brother they were actually edible…) so you may really want to have your kids help at certain parts of the preparation! I would recommend having them help you especially while making the mac and cheese and laying it out in the pan, and also making the burger mix! Unless they’re much older, I would say that setting up the mac and cheese buns after they have set and need to be shaped into the buns will be much safer, and less frustrating and wasteful if an adult does that part. It takes a bit of finagling, craftiness, dexterity, and a lot of patience to do that part.

Some other helpful tips:

Do not make this at the last minute. You will need to make the macaroni and cheese at least the night before so it sits for awhile and sets really well in order for the buns to stay together. I probably let it sit in the fridge for more than 24 hours though.

Adjust the burger servings to the amount of buns you make. This may require making the burgers bigger or reducing the ingredients, or just plan to have lots of leftover burgers!

Making them into the buns requires a bit of patience and skill, don’t get frustrated, it will still taste just as delicious with falling apart buns or even just as a side to the burgers with some ketchup on it.

My non-vegan brother was a bit thrown off by the taste of the Mac ‘N Cheese. If this is something you want to make for someone who is not vegan, and is unfamiliar with vegan cheesy tastes, it may not go over so well. I thought it was delicious because I love vegan Mac ‘N Cheese, and I haven’t had real cheese in ages.

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The recipe!!!!

(Makes anywhere from 5-10 complete burgers, depending on how large you want to make the veggie burger piece, you will have leftovers. I made 18 veggie burgers for a small slider size and it worked really well. I recommend saving the leftovers, maybe even freezing them for later, and putting them in other types of buns, or doing this again! Or you could just half the recipe for the burgers…)

Ingredients:

For the Mac ‘N Cheese (it’s great as a stand-a-lone or typical baked Mac ‘N Cheese if you want to eat it by itself and not make it into the buns!)

  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute gluten free flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
  • 2 slices Daiya cheddar cheese (what I used) or 1/4 cup Daiya cheddar shreds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 box elbow macaroni (you can substitute it with gluten free or whole wheat elbows if desired)

For the Burger sliders:

  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unflavored veggie-based protein powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke (if you can’t find a gluten free brand, maybe use extra smoked paprika and use gluten free tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup or chili sauce (the kind that’s sort of like ketchup, I used it and think it tastes a bit better than ketchup)
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or regular if not available…I buy my smoked paprika at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp salt-free italian herb blend
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Salt, to taste (optional…I try to cook with no added salt lately)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat (or gluten free) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (can omit if necessary)

Directions:

For the Mac ‘N Cheese buns:

  1. Prepare the elbow macaroni according to the directions on the package. Note: I would suggest you don’t drain it immediately, and let it sit a bit to get a bit stickier, but don’t wait horribly long. You can definitely start the cheese sauce while you are cooking the pasta, and then let it sit until you are almost done with the sauce.
  2. Prepare the cheese sauce by pouring the almond milk into a large sauce pan.
  3. Place the margarine  into the pan, and turn the heat to medium.
  4. Stir somewhat frequently until the margarine is melted, and the almond milk is hot but not fully boiling.
  5. Add in the flour, and stir with a whisk until smooth.
  6. Stir the nutritional yeast until combined.
  7. Add the cheese, stir until melted.
  8. Continue to stir if possible, and fold in the salt, onion powder, paprika, turmeric, and mustard.
  9. Pour the drained elbow macaroni into the sauce, mix until every bit of pasta is completely covered.
  10. Spray a large casserole dish or baking sheet (it needs to have sides, though…) with a small amount of oil.
  11. Place the mac and cheese on top. If you are working with kids (see my note about kid friendliness up top) I would say it would be really  fun to use your bare (clean) hands. But if you do not like making funny squishy noises and getting your hands really messy, then take a piece of plastic wrap that covers the pan completely, and squish down, making it as compact as you can.
  12. Place in the fridge to set, at least 6 hours, preferably overnight or longer.
  13. When set, preferably after you have cooked the burgers (see below for instructions), preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  14. There are several ways to make the bun shape. I used a drinking glass. But you could also use a biscuit cutter, or a ramekin, or whatever else you think may work like that.
  15. In my case with the drinking glass, I pressed the opening lip into the mac and cheese, wiggled it in a circular motion a bit, and pulled up. It might (and did for me) get stuck inside the glass (that is actually a good thing for the final product, I believe!) What I did to correct this is to take a knife and un-wedge the pasta circle by sliding the knife around the edge between the glass lip. Work slowly and carefully, and be ready to place it down onto another baking sheet sprayed with a small amount of oil before you get it unstuck.
  16. Repeat until you are out of Mac ‘N Cheese to make into buns. Or you can save some of it to eat on it’s own, along with the potential mangled reject mac buns which are very likely to end up existing.
  17. Place in the oven until crispy. This takes about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your buns and also your oven.

For the slider burgers:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil along with the chopped veggies until soft, somewhere around 5 minutes in a large frying pan. Let sit for a bit to cool before placing into a food processor. Do not discard the pan as it will be used for cooking the burgers.
  2. In the food processor, blend the beans along with the condiments, spices (except for mustard seeds), and protein powder until they are no longer resembling whole beans, and the other ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  3. Add in the veggies, blend until combined, but not to the point where they are complete mush.
  4. Take out the mixture and place in a large bowl.
  5. Add the bread crumbs and brown rice, and combine with a spoon or (better yet) use your hands to mix it really well.
  6. Add the mustard seeds and follow the same procedure as the last step, making sure they’re spread evenly throughout.
  7. Spray the frying pan with a lot of oil so it is heavily coated. Heat on medium.
  8. Place the burgers into the pan carefully, in batches if necessary.
  9. Heat each side about 3 minutes, or until completely cooked and lightly browned.

To assemble the whole burger:

  1. Take one Mac ‘N Cheese bun, place the smooth side up.
  2. Place the burger on that side.
  3. Add any desired condiments, it tastes delicious with just some chili sauce or ketchup on top, and some salad on the side.
  4. Carefully place the other bun on top,  smooth side down. You may want to use a toothpick in the middle to help it stick together.
  5. It’s going to be a bit difficult to eat the whole way through in tact, but definitely take a few bites out of the Mac ‘N Cheese Bun burger before it falls apart!
  6. Eat, enjoy, and have fun!

 

 

 

 

Foodie (photo) Friday! My week of cooking in review…

Hey everyone!

I have been trying to have a salad every day (or a meal comprised mostly of raw veggies…) and so I may have by default reduced the amount of meals I cook in a week…although usually lunch is pretty easy regardless of salads…so maybe it is essentially the same.

This week I made three things:

1. Good Gravy Bowl from Isa Does It! (the cookbook by Isa Chandra Moscowitz)

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Instead of putting rice in the bowl, I made mashed potatoes and put that at the bottom, it was really good, savory, and comforting. It is not something that really has a huge “wow!” factor to me but it’s definitely tasty and something I would make again! I’m going to give it 4 good bananas, 1 bad since it lacks the real wowieness…

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2. Butternut Squash Soup made in the crockpot from this recipe

ImageI may have ended up altering this recipe as I didn’t know weigh my squash and had no idea if was a pound, but assumed it was less, and so I reduced everything. For this reason (since I do not know if it was accurate to the original recipe or not) I am not going to give it a rating since I could have changed the flavors a lot. It was good, but I may have put too many carrots into it as the butternut squash flavor seemed weak…I also wished the coconut milk was more smooth in it, but I think that was also due to error on my part maybe.

3. Brace yourselves–Baked Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese Bun Sliders–My own original recipe (to be posted here tomorrow or possibly later on tonight)

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Oh my goodness, have I created a monster! I loved this and I am so proud of myself for pulling it off. It’s been something that has been in my arsenal for awhile now since seeing this on Pinterest. I wanted to create a version that A) was vegan and B) was baked, not deep fried. It’s possible to make it gluten free, and some of the processes that go into making it are fun to involve kids (plus the recipe itself is very kid-friendly!)

That’s it! I will be back here shortly to post the recipe for the Mac ‘N Cheese Sliders soon…

Foodie (Photo) Friday #6-Philly Cheese Jackfruit Steak, Jalapeno Poppers, and Garden Vegetable Bechamel Lasagna

Well, well, well. It’s another edition of Foodie (Photo) Friday! I’m having some technological difficulties so the photos will be larger than normal, because when I try to resize them within wordpress I am getting a blank screen.

I have some good ones to share with you this week! I also just started the process of making some cupcakes for my birthday weekend, but those aren’t photo-ready yet.

First off, is this amazing Philly Jackfruit Cheesesteak sandwich from the “V” word blog. Recipe here. Image

This recipe really had a “wow” factor. I’m now officially in love with jackfruit after seeing how versatile it is! I may have possibly had a cheesesteak once or twice as a non-vegan, but it never was much of my thing anyhow. But now that I am a vegan this was a fun thing to make, and it was delicious in it’s own unique way. The spices were spot on I thought, I would not even know what spices to use to recreate this dish were I the one creating the recipe. The onions are also perfect. I think I cooked it all for a bit less time than suggested because I do not like too strong of a blackened flavor, and perhaps my stove gets too hot, but the steps worked out great to get a really crisp yet chewy texture out of the onions and jackfruit. I will definitely be making this again when I have more cans of jackfruit. I only made two servings because I wanted to only use one of my two cans. Oh well…

ImageI definitely give this recipe:

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The Jalapeno Poppers were from the cookbook The 30 Minute Vegan.

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They were supposed to be a healthier version of the classic snackfood/appetizer. I am not sure how unhealthy typical poppers are nutritionally, but after calculating the calories and other information for these, I wasn’t all that impressed really with the numbers. But I wanted them so I ate them anyways. These are baked, not fried. They certainly fulfill any craving you may have for this sort of food. I had never worked with 10 jalapenos at a time though, and scooping out the seeds and veins with a serrated knife was not exactly easy. I kept breathing in some of the fumes and gagging/coughing/sneezing. So if you make these, remember to use caution with the peppers haha. The coolest part of these is the way you attach the bread crumbs to the outside of the pepper so it can stick when baked. You coat them in a mixture of tahini, soy sauce, and water. It works amazingly. However, for the cheese filling, I highly recommend you use at least 2 tbsp of vegan cream cheese to help the cheese and spice mixture meld together more easily inside the peppers. Otherwise the daiya falls out really easily. I didn’t add the red onion to the cheese mixture because it sounded weird, but oh well.

I rate this recipe:

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It was really good but had some flaws.

Finally, the Garden Vegetable Bechamel Lasagna. Oh.My.Gosh.

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This was delicious. I first made the tofu herb ricotta. I tasted it and could barely stop myself from eating it all before I even made the lasagna. I was really skeptical of the idea of including butternut squash in this. I usually hate butternut squash, but had never tried it roasted, so I did that. I tried a piece of just the squash when it was finished roasting, and I actually liked it! So that’s a plus for this recipe: discovering how I like butternut squash cooked!

There are also caramelized onions, garlicky spinach, daiya cheese, the bechamel sauce, and nutritional yeast, along with the lasagna noodles of course. This took me a long time to make. So many dishes were used. I would recommend this dish for when you really want to impress someone, and not as an everyday dish, because it’s so elaborately time consuming. It is totally worth every bite, however. I had trouble fitting all three layers that you were supposed to do into the dish, so I just made two layers which worked out fine. I wouldn’t have had enough stuff to make a third layer, and even then, it was towering over the dish.

This is so deserving of a 5 good banana rating.

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That’s all for today! Stay tuned next friday to see what I cooked up!