Happy Holidays! (xmas recap)

I’m in the mood to do a show and tell kind of post, with pictures and descriptions of my Christmas…so here it goes:

*Note: I decided to eat gluten this holiday…I need to go back to eating gluten free because I don’t feel great again, but I wanted to see how I felt with it. I’m glad I don’t have celiacs, but I’m definitely pretty sensitive. I’ve missed some of this food so much though.

IMG_6491

My brother illustrated a portrait of two of my cats for my dad’s business. It’s really cute. Cats seemed to be the theme of our Christmas this year.

In fact, I made a bunch of cat sugar cookies.

IMG_6493

Unfortunately, I am a little weak with my decoration skills.

FullSizeRender (1)

For Christmas Eve we made my Pizza Strips and this caesar salad.

IMG_6500

My orange cat, Sammy, woke me up very early on Christmas morning so I went downstairs to make some cinnamon buns with coffee icing for everyone.

IMG_6510

Yum! They were a hit with everyone. I actually bought pre-made vegan cinnamon buns and just made the icing myself, because it would have been difficult to make them from scratch in the morning and have them ready on time.

Later, we had Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s Pistachio Guacamole from her Italian cookbook for an appetizer:

IMG_6523

For my dinner I made Sporkfood’s frosted tempeh beet loaf. My mom made Chloe Coscarelli’s creamed spinach for me and twice baked potatoes.

IMG_6531

IMG_6532

For dessert we made Chloe Coscarelli’s lava cakes with raspberry sauce, So Delicious coco whip and ice cream.

IMG_6539

And I got quite a few culinary presents in the form of new cookbooks!

IMG_6545

It was quite a delicious event!Ā I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas all had a great holiday!

IMG_6484

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan MoFo Day 11: Post #8

Okay, I’m trying to juggle everything I’m doing with school and all that and also not feeling the last few days’ prompts. I had told myself a few days ago that even if I didn’t like the prompt, I would still write a blog entry because the point of MoFo is more about posting as many days as humanly possible for the month.

Today’s prompt was to “focus on a nutrient.” Who eats nutrients? šŸ˜›

So I’m going to do a Flashback Friday post! Since I probably have some new readers here now because of MoFo, I figured I’d flashback to a recipe I posted last MoFo! And, it just so happens I am actually making the recipe tonight! Because tomorrow my neighborhood is having a block party bbq thing, and I want to impress them with my cupcake skills (sadly I personally can’t eat them now because they have gluten in them).

Remember my raspberry lime rickey cupcakes? Well, that’s what I’m making. They were seriously my favorite before I had to give up gluten (at least I can still eat my favorite part though…the frosting!!).

IMG_5197

I did an especially good job making the batter tonight. Sometimes I take too long and the coconut oil solidifies a bit while I’m mixing it. The trick I guess is to not use really cold almond milk and also to have everything ready and measured before I start making them (I’m impatient, what can I say?).

IMG_5199

They look like they baked well too.

And here’s a picture from when I made them awhile ago.

raspberrylimecupcakes

Also, for my graduation speech thingy, I made these, as well as a cake made out of the batter because I forgot how much batter this makes and had doubled the recipe. Woops, but tasty.

Oh I also wore a tank top to the gym today that said “Bake the world a better place” which is so fitting for me. I didn’t take a picture though, and it’s too gross now to try and take one by putting it back on and taking one now. Haha. I will have to remember another time.

Vegan Mofo Day 4: Post #4: My blog’s 2 year anniversary is today!

bloggiversary

Hey y’all,

Today is my blog’s 2 year anniversary! I made a cute card for the occasion šŸ™‚ It seems like it has been longer than two years, honestly. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come, too. And although I am currently frustrated with being gluten free ANDĀ vegan now, I have a feeling this year I will work out some of the problems I’m having with learning to bake vegan AND gluten free. I am going to try to learn through various cookbooks, which is how I learned to cook/bake in the first place. Then once I feel confident enough, hopefully I can go back to creating my own original, unique recipes. I look forward to sharing these adventures with you! This will also hopefully make my blog more accessible to more people!

This is also my second year participating in Vegan MoFo! Woohoo! I’m finding it a little more challenging than last year however, especially as I am finishing my last few bits of work for school before I have my degree!

Today’s theme was to tell everyone about a weird food combination I love. Well, I don’t really have a really weird one, but some people may find this weird: sometimes I get cravings for a peanut butter and potato chip sandwich. I didn’t make one today, because I’m trying to eat a little bit more healthy than usual, and I don’t have that particular craving/am not in that kind of mood…but an especially crispy potato chip (I like Utz’s chips that have ridges in them best for this) can trigger this desire. I like it best with white bread and smooth peanut butter. I think this comes from eating chips with my sandwiches as a kid (I was rarely even allowed to eat chips!) and making sure each bite of my sandwich included a chip at the same time. Eventually, as I became more autonomous in making my own choices about food, I just put the chips directly into the sandwich.

It’s childlike, weird little things like this that can make me happy.

Oh, and here is a picture of some raw brownie cupcakes I made today that I’ll pretend were in celebration for today.

IMG_5092

Making vegan Macarons for the first time!

IMG_4640

French macarons (not to be confused with coconut macaroons) are a meringue based sandwich cookie with almond flour. They are quite popular and come in all different kinds of flavor combinations. They are supposedly difficult to make even when not vegan. Vegan macarons were once believed to be impossible to make, because there was no good vegan alternative to meringues. But now there is!

You may recall my post about magical bean juiceĀ (also referred to as aquafaba in vegan circles)Ā for making meringue cookies. You can do the same thing with these! I didn’t make up my own recipe since I’ve never made these before, but I still want to share the recipe I used and my results.

This is the recipeĀ I used but I changed the flavors, colors, and frosting recipe. It worked perfectly for me, even on my first try. I personally feel like it it might have had a lot to do with the weather, it was a great sunny day. I found this recipe from a group all all about making vegan meringue and using aquafaba.

I chose to make lavender agave frosting and used a super fruit jelly in the middle from Trader Joe’s.

IMG_3930

The texture came out so great. The frosting I made was a little runny, so the recipe I am including here is changed to account for it to be better.

IMG_4638

The recipe for the frosting is as follows:

  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lavender extract
  • 3 tbsp almond milk

You just need to mix everything together.

IMG_3932

in the oven almost done

IMG_3937

out of the oven

IMG_3935

close up of the feet

I absolutely loved these, and the best part is they are automatically gluten free!

I’m deep in the midst of making food for volunteers at Girls Rock RI this week, stay tuned for a post about that soon!

Going gluten free. First gluten free and vegan baked good –strawberry rhubarb pie!

Well, I am somewhat relieved to finally have an explanation as to why I have been so exhausted lately. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disorder. I also have hypothyroidism as a result of it. So, I started researching what else I can do that will help me to feel better besides what my doctor is doing for me. And I kept seeing the benefit of going gluten free. I know I seem to have issues with feeling like crap when I eat too much gluten, so I am trying it. It’s sad for me, because I really loved gluten. I will need to learn more about baking gluten free, and I know I can do it, and be making all sorts of new delicious vegan AND gluten free stuff in the future!

In fact, I made a pie. Unfortunately, my oven and stove just randomly stopped working yesterday. I’m glad I made this before that! I have some ideas up my sleeve for the future, but they will have to wait until it gets fixed šŸ˜¦

IMG_3740It’s my favorite pie of all time, strawberry rhubarb.

I actually used Bob’s Red Mill Pie Crust Mix. I had used it before and thought it was awesome even when I wasn’t gluten free.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Bob’s Red Mill gf pie crust mix
  • 12 tbsp Earth Balance cut into tbsp sized pieces
  • 8 tbsp cold non hydrogenated organic vegetable shortening
  • 8 tbsp cold water
  • 1 lb strawberries, chopped into slices
  • 1 1/4 cup rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 cup vegan sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. First make the crust. Follow the directions on the back of the packaging. I always need the full 8 tbsp of water it says I might need. You may need 6 or 7 like it says. I find it hard to roll out after it’s been in the fridge…but I manage to fix it up if it breaks apart a bit as it’s pretty easy to put back together.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. While the crusts are chilling, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice into a large bowl.
  4. Take the crusts out of the fridge after the hour has passed, and roll one out into a large circle.
  5. Press into a pie pan.
  6. Pour the filling inside.
  7. To make a latticed topping, cut strips out of the second pie crust after rolling it out a bit.
  8. Place the strips across the pie.Ā First lay them out horizontally, then vertically. You may need a spatula to help you get them off your work surface, and they will probably break apart, but it will still look nice even if they break apart on the pie. Just smoosh them together a bit if they crack or fall apart in the process.
  9. Place in the oven with a cookie sheet underneath to avoid the gooey delicious filling from falling on the bottom of the oven, making a mess and a nasty smell/smoke.
  10. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 350 and bake for anywhere between 30-60 additional minutes until the crust is firm and golden/brown around the edges.
  11. Enjoy! My entire family loved it. When I asked if they could tell the difference between this and a gluten based pie crust, they said they couldn’t. (I can, unfortunately, haha! but it’s still really good!)

IMG_3730

IMG_3732

IMG_3738

Vegan Sausage Pancake Twinkies

IMG_3857So…I’ve been running training for my half marathon that’s slowly approaching in July. When I run, I burn a lot of calories and need to eat more than if I’m not exercising. I especially need carbohydrates.

I had been wanting to make cornbread and vegan hot dog twinkies, but they were out of the Field Roast brand I like when I went to the store. So, I decided to buy Field Roast mini breakfast sausages and use them instead. Besides, I thought they’d be the perfect size, and they were!

IMG_3851

I made them with Bisquick mix…which is actually vegan! Or at least, some versions are!

This recipe on a canoe pan, aka twinkie pan…I’m not sure what you could do instead if you don’t have this kind of pan, but they were pretty cheap on amazon when I got mine, and worth it for all the twinkie like foods you can make with it!

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegan Bisquick
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk or nondairy milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 eggs worth of egg replacer (I used Ener-g powder mixed with the amount of water recommended on the box)
  • 8 Field Roast mini apple maple sausages

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the Bisquick with the nondairy milk, brown sugar, and egg replacer.
  3. Pour or spoon batter into the cavities of the pan, about 3/4 of the way up. Save a little batter to cover the sausages with if needed later.
  4. Place the sausages in the middle of the canoe cavity. Push down until covered by the batter. You may need to spoon some extra batter on top to achieve this.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until puffy, firm, and golden.
  6. Enjoy with maple syrup and Earth Balance melted together.

IMG_3853

IMG_3855

Coming soon will be some healthier recipes, haha. Despite the appearance of this recipe, I’ve been on a big healthy food kick lately…can’t wait to share more of those types of recipes, and I have a few up my sleeveĀ right now. šŸ™‚

Magic Bean juice for lavender vegan meringues

Okay, so I had been aware that vegans all over the internet had discovered that it was possible to make meringue out of the juice inside a can of chickpeas (drained from the chickpeas). However, I was a bit skeptical. I didn’t think it was easy. But I finally got the courage to try. It was a beautiful day out, and though I’m not sure it’s the same for vegan meringue, I remember as a kid when my mom would make my grandmother’s famous real meringues, they wouldn’t come out well if it was rainy or humid. Apparently that’s an actual thing. So, thinking to myself that it was the perfect day, I decided to makeĀ them.

Meringue was seriously one thing I never thought would be successfully veganized, but I was so wrong. To me, this just proves “anything you can eat I can eat vegan!” It’s like the last frontier of veganizing…

So behold! the magical vegan bean juice. I can’t wait to try to veganize my mom’s meringue frosting, macarons, and more, never mind explore other flavors for these ones. I think I will try some peppermint chocolate chip ones next…

I took a bit of artistic license to this recipe. That recipe uses white beans instead of chickpeas and doesn’t have a flavor. I personally cannot taste the chickpeas in the recipe I created, but it’s probably because I added stuff to it.

IMG_3817

Ingredients:

  • The strained juice of a 15 ozĀ can of chickpeas minus one tablespoon.Ā 
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp vegan sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemonade (I used organic bottled strawberry lemonade)
  • 1 tbsp blueberry juice (I took the juice of some frozen blueberries that I microwaved for a bit)–this doesn’t add flavor, it’s just for the effect of the color, so this is essentially optional
  • 2 drops vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp lavender extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, pour the bean juice, sugar, lemonade, and blueberry juice.
  3. With an electric handheld mixer or whisk attachment on a stand mixer, begin to whisk together the ingredients in circles around the sides of the mixing bowl.
  4. Continue to mix until thick and fluffy. The time varies a lot. It took mine 10 minutes to get to the perfect point, but I had my handheld mixer on the highest setting (5) and I’m not sure how other brand mixers may work. See picture for reference.
  5. When thick yet fluffy with peaks, add in the extracts and give it about 2 minutes of remixing again.
  6. Lay some parchment paper on several baking sheets. Take a spoon and add dollops of the meringue onto the sheet, like cookies only with a more liquid batter. They will come out looking prettiest if you try to make them look like chocolate kisses. You know what I mean I hope…I can’t describe it any other way, haha.
  7. Place in the oven for an hour. After an hour, check them. The baking sheet that was on the bottom rack was done at this point. If you pokeĀ them with your finger they should be stiff and not make a print.
  8. It took about an hour and 15 minutes for the rest of my meringues to be done. If they’re not done after an hour and 15, check in another ten minutes, and then more frequently after that if they’re still not ready.
  9. Allow to cool on the sheets for at least 15 minutes. You’ll want to eat them, and you can enjoy almost as many as you want, I calculated that they are only about 10 calories each…depending on how big you make them (I made 34).
  10. Store them (if you have any left) in a sealed container to try to prevent them from getting too moist. I personally like them a bit soggier and chewy, though!
what it should look like when ready

what it should look like when ready

before going into the oven

before going into the ovenIMG_3815

Meringues were big in my family growing up, as I mentioned above. Check out more childhood favorite recipes that I veganized in my zine, on etsy!Ā 

Happy Birthday to me! Banana costumes and a birthday-worthy waffle recipe!

For my 30th birthday, which happens to be today, I had a bunch of fun stuff planned. The biggest thing was my run last weekend, in which I lived up to my blog’s name, and ran in a banana suit in the Providence (RI) Monster Dash 5k. I made a PR by about 2 minutes and it was soooo fun running in this costume:

1965450_10100231999967529_2817603094261667293_o

10435985_10100231982422689_6184586216801925680_nIt was a big hit with kids, especially. When I ran through the large crowd of people cheering us on, so many kids along the way would exclaim “there goes the banana!” And many of them put their little hands out to catch a high five from me as I ran past them…it was so cute. I waved to several of them, and even had a trifecta of 3 little kids put their hands out all at once that made me feel like I was a celebrity working the crowd. Haha. So that was cool, and I also plan to use this banana suit for more things for this blog, to make it funnier. You’ll see what is in store for it soon!

This morning, I made birthday cake waffles. I had some left over chocolate sauce from my candy apples and some strawberry syrup left from the strawberry frosted donut recipeĀ that I put on top. Yum.

10305612_10100233284338639_7621159669802811946_n

BIRTHDAY Cake Vegan Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Immaculate yellow cake mix (found in my local Target in the baking section)
  • 1 cup vegan bisquick mix (read labels)
  • 1-2 scoops vanilla vegan protein powder (optional)
  • 2 tbsp melted Earth Balance
  • 1 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 Ā½ cup vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Ā¼ tsp almond extract
  • Ā¼ cup vegan non-pareille sprinkles (read label, I was able to find one without the confectionerā€™s glaze thatā€™s in most sprinkles at my regular local grocery store, and instead has carnauba wax.

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and follow waffle ironā€™s directions to cook them. Makes about 5 waffles depending on your maker.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The batter

Tonight my family is making me a vegan vanilla cake, with raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream. I am making vegan crockpot buffalo ranch lasagna from this recipe for my dinner. I will share pictures later in a new post, maybe.

Also, I got three new cookbooks for my birthday present:

10444548_10100233352926189_532186424098459722_n

So far I have looked in Chloe’s book the most, and I was seriously drooling after that. I will be cooking out of these for awhile in the next few weeks I think, so get ready for me sharing some reviews and pictures! šŸ™‚

Strawberry Frosted Baked Donuts

IMG_2570

Growing up as a kid in New England, I had a soft spot for Dunkin Donuts’ strawberry frosted donuts. Since they are not vegan, I can no longer eat them. But when I started experimenting with making frostings out of fruit-based syrups, I knew making something similar would be possible.

These donuts are quite cake-like, almost with a spongy texture.Ā I still like them though. The frosting, however is wonderful. My mom said it is even better than the one at Dunkin Donuts. It is a bit different,Ā however. But still quite good.

Recipe:

Makes 6 donuts in a single donut pan

Ingredients:

For the donuts:

  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • generous dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the strawberry syrup:

  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup organic evaporated cane juice

For the frosting:

  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine stick
  • 1 tbsp organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup strawberry syrup

Directions:

For the donuts:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir the flour, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the remaining donut ingredients.
  4. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir together until combined.
  5. Spray the donut pan with oil if your pan is not a non-stick pan.
  6. Spoon batter into the donut pan.
  7. Cook for 12-15 minutes or longer, until the donuts become slightly gold. Check after 12 minutes and gauge from there.
  8. Take out of the oven and let cool 10 minutes.
  9. Place onto a cooling rack. You may need to take a butter knife and gently ease them out.

To make the syrup:

  1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon over low heat until thick and hot.
  3. Strain into a bowl. Allow to cool.
  4. You will have extra leftover after making the frosting which you can use on all sorts of delicious things.

To make the frosting:

  1. Cream together the Earth Balance and shortening with an electric handheld or stand mixer.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar. It will remain clumpy.
  3. Fold in the syrup, it will become soft and fluffy.

To make the donuts (time to make the donuts!!):

  1. Spread frosting around the tops of the donuts.
  2. DecorateĀ with vegan sprinkles on top, if desired.
  3. Eat!!

Fresh-picked Apple Cupcakes with Apple Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Drizzled with Homemade Apple Syrup

Thank you everyone for being so excited about my ravioli post. It was my most popular blog entry yet!

This past weekend I went apple picking. It was really hot that day, so I actually had some frozen lemonade after!

I had actually been planning on this recipe in a vague form even before I decided to go apple picking. In fact, this is specifically why I wanted to go. Now I need to go apple picking every year, because I have realized fresh picked apples are so much tastier than ones bought in the store.

Of course, I bought more apples than I knew what to do with (figuratively not literally basically) so I had to make some things with them. I don’t know why I just said that because that was part of the plan, but it sounds better that way? Don’t mind me…

IMG_2444 (1)

Fresh-picked Apple Cupcakes with Apple Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Drizzled with Homemade Apple Syrup

Makes a dozen cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Apple Cinnamon Syrup:

  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice
  • 2Ā cups water
  • 5-6 red apples worth of peels
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups applesĀ diced small
  • 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice (vegan white sugar)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup earth balance
  • 1/4 cup vegan non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp apple cinnamon syrup
  • 1 tbsp almond milk or other non dairy milk of choice

Ā Directions:

For the apple cinnamon syrup:

  1. Stir together the sugars and water in a saucepan.
  2. Peel the apples and place the peels into the pan.
  3. Make sure you save the meat of the apples for the cupcakes and possible other things you may choose to make or eat as is.
  4. Add the cinnamon sticks.
  5. Simmer for about 45 minutes. You can have it on a medium low heat and then turn it to the lowest heat once it starts to bubble a bit.
  6. After 45 minutes, take off heat and allow to cool slightly. Your kitchen will smell amazing, by the way.
  7. Strain into a container. Discard the apple peels and cinnamon.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to use for the frosting. You’ll have quite a bit of extra syrup that you can use in drinks or whatever your heart desires. I’m going to use it to make a vegan roasted peanut recipe, so you may want to save some of it for when that posts!

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the apples and evaporated cane juice in a mixing bowl and let sit for ten minutes.
  3. Add in the vegetable oil, vanilla, and apple sauce. Stir to combine.
  4. Fold in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Add the almond milk and stir to combine.
  6. Place batter into twelve cupcake liners in a muffin pan. You’ll want to fill them up more than typical cupcakes. Spread the batter out as evenly as you can into eat. I used about 2 huge heaping tablespoons in each.
  7. Bake for at least 20 minutes. It took my cupcakes about 24 minutes to be done. After the 20 minutes I took a toothpick and checked the middle and continued to do this every so often until they were golden brown and the toothpick came out clear.
  8. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. Cream together the Earth Balance and shortening with an electic mixer.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until crumbly.
  3. Add the syrup and almond milk and mix until smooth.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix a bit more to ensure everything is mixed together.

To assemble:

  1. I like to put the frosting into a ziplock bag and snip off a corner to use as a pastry bag.
  2. Pipe frosting onto the cupcake in yourĀ desired arrangement.
  3. Drizzle extra syrup or sprinkle cinnamon on top.

IMG_2442

So good!

PS: Today I also made Isa Chandra Moscowitz’ Kale Salad from Isa Does It. It has butternut squash and lentils and the dressing is so good. I ate it with some Earth Balance Mac and Cheese.

IMG_2440