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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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

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

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

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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:

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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 recipe that I put on top. Yum.

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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 ½ cup vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ cup vegan non-pareille sprinkles (read label, I was able to find one without the confectioner’s glaze that’s in most sprinkles at my regular local grocery store, and instead has carnauba wax.

Directions:

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

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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:

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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! 🙂

Foodie (Photo) Friday is back! (sorry it was absent for a bit…I was still cooking though!)

Hey there!

I am still recovering from the weekend where I was very busy…I cannot believe it’s been a week already since the start of the Ladies Rock Camp. It went really well, especially the food, from my standpoint.  Well of course everything went well, but I was focused most on making sure the food was great, and I think it was.

Anyhow! I think I am going to play catch up a bit.

This week I made some Hawaiian Toast (Page 44) for breakfast and Texas Beefless Skewers with Chipotle Peach Glaze (Page 140) from Betty Goes Vegan, pizza english muffins and easy monkey bread (from the Vegan Stoner Cookbook, haha) with a friend, a really good salad several times, and a jackfruit/northern beans “tuna” melt. I don’t have pictures of the monkey bread and pizza English Muffins, sadly…

In weeks prior where I did not get to post, I also made:

  • a Cheezburger Pie from Betty Goes Vegan
  • Cupcakes for my birthday (on October 29) from Chloe’s Kitchen–the spice ones

and other stuff too, but that I apparently did not take pictures of or remember. Ooops.

Here are the details and evidence:

Northern bean/Jackfruit un’tuna melt…
photo (73)recipe here 

Bye bye, chickpea untuna sandwiches! This combination beats chickpea faux tuna sandwiches by a landslide! So good and a close flavor from what I remember! I didn’t add any salt and it was recommended to me to not use a whole lemon. I did not use the frying step as listed because it seemed fairly redundant. I just broiled some bread with spinach, tomatoes, and daiya cheddar on it and then put the still hot sandwich mixture inside. The un’tuna salad tastes good when cold the next day, too. Also, I don’t know how this makes just two sandwiches! It makes about 4 for me. If I piled the amount it’d take to halve the recipe on the bread, it wouldn’t hold it all. But this is probably one of my favorite recipes using jackfruit I’ve tried so far.

I rate this recipe:

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Hawaiian French Toast from Betty Goes Vegan Cookbook

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This cookbook has so many amazing sounding recipes, especially for breakfasts. This one immediately caught my eye when I read it. It has both a tropical and cheesy flavor to it, and works out really well when you follow the directions as instructed. I would not change anything about it! It’s so yummy. My non-vegan brother gobbled it up, and I don’t even think he likes French Toast type things much, but no complaints…This definitely deserves a 5 good banana rating!

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Texas Beefless Skewers with Chipotle Peach Glaze from Betty Goes Vegan

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I used Gardein Beefless tips as directed for this recipe. It looks almost too real, which is slightly scary for me. They were oh so tasty, though! I made some cilantro lime rice with corn in it (a frozen prepared bag, haha) to go along with it and it was delicious! When I shared this picture on facebook, it seemed to get more “likes” than usual…I do not know if maybe it is because it looks so convincing as a fake meat, or what, but yeah…It was also pretty quick and easy to make. I am finding that most of the recipes I have tried so far in this cookbook are, which is great and a huge plus for me. The only thing I would recommend with this particular recipe that wasn’t mentioned in the book is to have a baking pan on the rack underneath in case the juices drip out…it was needed and I thankfully thought of it before it was too late…

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Cheezburger Pie from Betty Goes Vegan

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 Well, this was amazing. I used Whole Foods Brand burgers and did not defrost them and they worked fine. The Bisquick and the ener-g egg replacer make this almost quiche-like…which I was very impressed with. I have not been too keen on ener-g egg replacer powder until I used this cookbook and particularly this recipe. I ate it with ketchup, dill relish, and yellow mustard. It was comforting. Amazingly, when I calculated the nutrition facts  it was fairly decent  (at least calorie wise, I was thinking this would be really intense). Visually it is appealing too as you can see, haha!

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Finally, I amnot going to review them because I’m mostly tired now, but I will leave you with some pictures of the cupcakes for my birthday on October 29 which I neglected to blog about. They were from Chloe’s Kitchen.

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Foodie (Photo) Friday #4

Well, this week was rather slow as far as my cooking was concerned. Oh well.

Aside from making my Caesar salad several times this week (see my post before this one for details), the other two meals I cooked this week were jackfruit “carnitas” tacos and quick “buttery” biscuits and a southern black eyed peas skillet.

While I cannot share the recipes as they’re both in published cookbooks, I can share what they the pictures, and a review of them!

jackfruit carnitas tacos

These were from the book The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life by Melisser Elliott. I halved the recipe because I had only one can of jackfruit and it came out fine and made a good amount, still. I used store bought blue corn hard taco shells, put some lettuce inside, the “carnitas” and a cheese sauce I invented which was basically the easiest thing in the world: a 2:1 ratio of tofutti sour cream to nutritional yeast.

As far as the recipe goes,  I was a little concerned at first that it might be too spicy for the likes of me. I can handle spicy, but not straight up full jalapeno flavor. Luckily, after being reassured my Melisser herself on twitter after I announced I was making these, it seemed like my mouth would not be on fire after eating these. The main ingredients are various spices appropriate to tacos, salsa verde (the one I used came in a can, made by a brand called Embasa, and the first ingredient is tomatillos, not jalapenos, phew!) and the jackfruit of course. There’s some other stuff in there too, but I don’t want to give it all away. The book can be found on Amazon and it is a really helpful guide to a lot of vegan girl stuff, not just about food.

This was a better jackfruit experience than my first one which had more of a sweet and overly acidic barbecue flavor that did not go so well with the jackfruit’s flavor.

I liked this one because the spices and sauce really complemented and contrasted the sweetness of the jackfruit. Also, it is the perfect texture for going in the taco. I liked my addition of lettuce and cheese sauce though, as this recipe definitely goes great with various yummy taco fixings.

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yay a 5 good banana rating!

The Southern Skillet Black-eyed Peas with Quick Buttery Biscuits recipe from my (probably favorite) cookbook Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli is one of my favorite recipes I’ve found as a vegan cookbook connoisseur.  It is an extremely comforting dish, and the biscuits don’t hurt that factor one bit. black eyed peas and biscuits

It has cauliflower, black eyed peas, tomato sauce, maple syrup, sweet and savory spices, onions, etc in it. It ends up cooking pretty thick when I make it. I love that because I’m not a big soup eater, but it’s probably possible to leave it more brothy if that is more your style. Either way, it’s delicious.

I like making the biscuits in the food processor because it’s unbelievably easy that way! At least for me, they’re basically fool proof.  Like my conversation on twitter with Melisser Elliott, I also told Chloe Coscarelli on twitter a week ago or so that I wanted to make this again. It’s really pretty rare that I’ll repeat recipes often, but for some reason Chloe’s recipes make me want to make them much more. She was so nice to me and grateful for me sharing how much I love this and the Matzo Brei, and further confirmed why she’s one of my favorite vegan cooking “celebrities,” of sorts. I’m a vegan cooking nerd, deal with it 😛

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Two 5 good banana ratings in one post? Um, yes please!

So that’s basically it for this Food Porn Friday. But before you go, I wanted to tell you that I’m going to be in the midst of trying to perfect and veganizing a really amazing Danish Pastry that you all should get excited about and hope I can figure out! So while I’m working on that there may not be as many original recipes posted, but I may have some other exciting things up my sleeve to share with you! (Like the next salad of the week!)

Foodie (Photo) Friday!

Starting this week, every Friday I plan to post pictures of the food I’ve been making (with recipes and reviews, if possible) since the last Foodie (Photo) Friday entry. This first entry has a bit more than a week’s worth (and some things I made may be missing because they have been included in my other blog posts or I couldn’t get a good picture of it before I ate it all), but they’ll typically convey a week of food making. Some weeks will probably have way less food in them than others, if I eat a lot of leftovers or prepared vegan foods, so keep that in mind. Aside from writing this blog, I also go to college and do other stuff. heh.

 So without further ado, let’s get foodie:

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Cajun quinoa cakes with lemon dill sriracha remoulade

Cajun Quinoa Cakes with Lemon Dill Sriracha Remoulade

Recipe here

Review: Meh. These were very difficult to cook, because they didn’t mold together very well and I didn’t want to add more flour (my own fault though probably). The quinoa cakes themselves were pretty good, although keeping them in the oven like the recipe says to do dried them out considerably more after they were fried. So they became very crispy and…not moist which would have been tastier. The remoulade was gross, in my honest opinion. I do like sriracha, but I guess I’m not a “Sriracha Lover.” Also, have you seen how much sodium is in 1 tsp of sriracha? As someone who is trying to improve her blood pressure, this is not a good thing. My bottle of it has 2,500 mg in one TEASPOON! And this recipe called for 1/4 cup! So if I ever wanted to make this again I’d try and use less sriracha. It was way too spicy for me anyhow. I think maybe a tbsp would be better than a 1/4 cup!! But even then, I think I should personally avoid it. I just like to try people’s original recipes first before I tweak anything in it (unless I know they’re using way too much salt, pepper, oil, etc and the recipe will be okay without it)…

Anyways, I’m gonna rate this a 3 good banana, 2 bad rating, mostly because the quinoa cakes themselves were decent.

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Spinach Artichoke dip

Spinach and Artichoke dip

Recipe here

(my photo is the main picture there because there were not any pictures uploaded yet until I did! but I didn’t create the recipe)

I ended up adding a 1/4 cup daiya cheddar shreds to the recipe. It is quite good, and is pretty healthy. I’m not sure how to describe this recipe but there were no issues with the directions or ingredients and it is pretty standard tasty spinach artichoke dip. I wish I could find a recipe though with silken tofu that doesn’t have a strange after taste, but thems the breaks, I guess 😉

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Pretzel burger slider

Pretzel Burger Sliders

Recipe from Vegnews Magazine August 2013 Issue (No link, sorry!)

Okay, first of all the pretzel buns were difficult to make but I will not complain about that because I knew that would be the case…My only regret is that I didn’t follow the recipe carefully enough and probably left out two pretty crucial ingredients which is probably why they do not look exactly pretty. But they came out good enough to eat. The slider burgers are decent, but a little chewy because they have a cup of vital wheat gluten in them but don’t boil or precook them in any way before baking. They were also really moist. They taste good with the whole package, but probably not by themselves or in a different presentation. The smoked cheddar sauce recipe that was suggested to make in the recipe series was my favorite. The last time I made one of the other burger recipes in this section of the magazine the pepper jack cheese sauce was good as well, so I expected the cheddar to be good too, and it did not disappoint. I wish I could find a way to make it less lumpy, though.

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Baked Zucchini Fries with Bloomin’ Onion Dip

Baked Zucchini Fries with Bloomin’ Onion Dip

Recipe here (note: to veganize use 2 flaxmeal eggs or powdered egg replacer and water to an egg white thickness, vegan Parmesan, vegan margarine, vegenaise, agave or bee free honee)

My only complaint really (which is kind of a big one) is that these take forever to make. And they don’t translate very well with the flaxmeal eggs, if I make them again I may try using unsweetened almond milk instead and see if the panko coating sticks better. However, the caramelized onion “bloomin’ onion dip” is what makes this recipe worthwhile. It is amazingly yummy.

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Matzo Brei

Matzo Brei

Recipe here (by my absolute favorite cookbook author, Chloe Coscarelli)

I’ve never had an actual matzo brei before. I’m assuming it maybe is made with eggs and is sort of like an omelet? That’s the picture I get when eating this delicious vegan dish. I did make a few changes, I only used 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, and reduced the oil for the veggies in half because it also had 4 tbsp of margarine in it (to keep it fairly healthy). My only real complaint of any sort is that it might be even tastier if the matzo in it has a bit of a crunch left in it. I let it get completely soggy, and I don’t know if it’s supposed to be that way, but I bet it’d be yummy with a slight crunch! I ate this for breakfast and loved it, and my non-vegan brother did too! 🙂

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That’s all for this Friday’s (the 13th! good luck!) edition of Foodie (Photo) Friday! Let me know if you try any of the recipes I linked to and how you liked them/whether you agree with my reviews, etc! Bon appetit! (As my brother would add, “Don’t eat your feet!”)