Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Day and Day After

Thanksgiving Day After Meal

Our Thanksgiving's alternate each year between mine and Peter's family. Regardless of where they are I like to make us a Thanksgiving meal "my way" afterwards which excludes all meat, dairy and eggs. This year was know different. We dined on Balsamic-Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetables (a Thanksgiving staple for me), Green Beans Almondine, Corn of the Cob, and Seitan Cutlets smothered in Golden Gravy. The Golden Gravy is a tester recipe for Joanna's next Yellow Rose Cookbook. It was my second time this week making it already it's that good.

Balsamic-Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetables

I <3 this recipe so very much. It's based on a recipe from an issue of Bon Appetit that my mom received a few years ago and we have been making every year since. I don't follow the recipe anymore but it's the same basic idea. Roast whatever root vegetables you want with whole cloves of garlic and rosemary (fresh is best) then add the vinaigrette to it when it's done. I now just dump some balsamic vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice into a cup without measuring and dump it over the veggies. I leave out the oil because the veggies were roasted in enough oil already that they don't need anymore added to it.

This year I roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Acorn Squash, Parsnips and Rutabaga along with some garlic cloves. Usually there are Brussels Sprouts and Beets in there but I didn't feel like going through the trouble since I had lots of other food to make for the real holiday.

This was the second time I bought this dish to my in-laws and it always gets rave reviews and everyone asking for the recipe.

Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

My Daring Bakers Challenge turned into what I was bringing to the dessert table on Thanksgiving. Read about this particular dessert in the post below.

The Dessert Table

The only thing vegan there were my cupcakes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

Phew! I took like a 1/2 month break without even realizing it! What's really been happening is that instead of blogging at night I've been knitting a purple and green blanket for myself. It's taking along time.

But I make my grand return with my Daring Bakers challenge! I was really upset that I had to miss last months pizza one due to my little Reno getting real sick at the end of the month so I was super happy to make this one.

It is a Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting by Shuna Fish Lydon. I had to make my own caramel syrup for this one! It was so fun, scary and dangerous. I luckily came out of that process unscathed with the help of oven mitts and a pink plastic cutting board to protect me from the bubbling hotness that is homemade caramel syrup.

The cake itself was really straight forward and easy. I just subbed soy milk for the milk, Earth Balance for the butter and some egg replacer for the eggs. I would have like to have used some soy yogurt instead of the egg replacer but I have a box of the stuff that needed using up. The cake came out sweet, slightly dense and had a very old fashioned taste to it.

I was really looking forward to making this into an actual 9 inch round cake but when I realized that I would be bringing this for dessert on Thanksgiving I figured cupcakes were the way to go just so know one would have to mess around with cutting up a cake.

All in all this was a great success and a recipe I will be keeping for a very long time.

Host for this months challenges were:

Dorlores of Culinary Curiosity
Alex of Blondie and Brownie
Jenny of Foray into Food
Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go

Thursday, November 13, 2008

4 ingredients.

Refried Black Bean Taco

I wasn't sure whether to call this a taco or a quesadilla. I went with taco. Since we ate it like a taco and not a quesadilla. I've been trying to think of new things to feed Reno so I bought a can of Amy's Refried Black Beans and some soft whole wheat tortilla with the hopes that if I heated up the beans and spread it on a tortilla and rolled it up she would eat it. Well she did. She liked it a lot. Thing is though she can't consume a whole can of refried black beans so I made a version of her dinner for us with some brown rice and diced fresh tomato. It was really good. I mean really good. So good that I might keep a few cans of that stuff around for days when I don't feel like thinking about food and what to make.

We aren't big canned food eaters at all but I'll make an exception here. The only canned items we ever buy are beans (we buy dried also), tomatoes, chipotles and the occasional artichoke hearts. I really believe in making foods from scratch but with a child you have to make exceptions here and there because sometimes you have no time at all for a scratch meal. Especially when she is yelling "mammamamammamammamamammama" or "ninininininininininininininniiiii" which usually means "I"M HUNGRY" or she just hangs from the tray that is attached to her highchair and screams like the monkey that she is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shells and Chreese

Shells and Chreese

You either love or hate this boxed mac and cheese from Roads End Organics. I happen to LOVE it. Its my favorite thing to eat on a rainy afternoon when I want to sit around and do nothing. A lot of people like to doctor theirs up by adding garlic powder and such. I just like a bit extra milk, recently oat milk, and earth balance. Plus lots of black pepper. In my opinion it doesn't need anything else.

I've only ever had the Cheddar Style Shells and Chreese so I can't say much on their other products but I'll get around to trying them one of these days.

Reno also loves this stuff. When I ate it the other day after I gave her her lunch she was climbing all over me for it. I gave her a taste and that was the end. I had to give her many many tastes after that. So now I have to share my Shells and Chreese with her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Beer Brats.

Beer Brats w. Peppers and Onions and a side of steamed Green Beans

Another tester recipe from Joanna at Yellow Rose Recipes. This one actually has the recipe on her website for all to see. So if you like what you see here then go HERE for the recipe.

I've never made any of the steamed sausage style recipes that are floating around on the Internet. Now I wish I had made them sooner. It is super easy. Its quicker then my baking method that I love to death. My favorite part is that you don't need to re-wrap them after they are done because they are all ready wrapped in foil and can just be thrown into the fridge to use later.

I decided to use it as one would when making Sausage w. Peppers and Onions. Slowly cooked onions, yellow and red peppers caramelizing with some garlic and thyme in a healthy amount of extra virgin olive oil. Stuffed inside a whole wheat ciabbata and served with simply steamed string beans. It was perfect. The sweetness of the caramelized onions and peppers was driving me crazy. I could have just eating a whole bowl of that stuff. The brats were a perfect consistency and delicious. I will be making this again very very soon as well as all the other steamed seitan recipes floating around.

IMPORTANT NOTE!!!!! If you decide to make this recipe PLEASE allow your beer to become stale. You can't skip that part of the recipe or it will make for some weird brats or so I've heard from other testers.

Stale beer = perfect brats!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Dip Dip Dip Dip.....

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I am soooooooooooooooooo happy that Joanna is back and letting us test more recipe for her. I've been in a bit of a cooking rut lately and was just saying to Peter that I need new things to make. I knew Joanna was going to be posting new stuff soon and low and behold I checked the very next day and there were all the new recipes. Horray!

This one caught my eye IMMEDIATELY! I knew I had to make it right away. I've always loved Spinach and Artichoke dip but have never made it myself, vegan or non-vegan. It was always easier to just order it at a restaurant for an appetizer or maaaaaybe for my main meal.

I have nothing bad at all to say about this recipe. It took no time at all to make. Maybe 10 minutes to put together and then another 10 in the oven. It also took no time to eat. I ate a very unhealthy portion of it for my lunch with some homemade tortilla chips from Whole Foods that I'm obsessed with. This dip will definitely be making a few appearance at the holidays this year.

When Joanna's book comes out sometime next year make sure you make this recipe ASAP!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Food Fight!

A mess of goodies from Food Fight Grocery

It's about time I get back to blogging. Reno is finally all better from her ear infection one week and then a stomach virus this past week. I missed the end of VeganMoFo and I wasn't able to partake in this months Daring Bakers because of Reno's sickness. I can't wait to go food shopping and cook real meals again.

For now I will share with you my haul from Food Fight Grocery. I received a gift certificate from my Aunts, Constance and Anne, last christmas and had yet to use it. I finally got to business and ordered some items that I just haven't been able to locate locally yet here in NJ.

I got:

Soy Curls, I can't wait to try these
MimicCreme, It's soy free!
Soyatoo Soy Whip, Its in the fridge waiting for a pie or sundae or..
Primal Strips Mesquite Lime, these I can find locally but not all the time.
White Chocolate Chips, I was never a fan of white chocolate but I liked them in
Macadamia White Chocolate Chip cookies and I've been craving those.
Crispy Cat Chocolate
Boom Choco Boom Chocolate
Hemp Seeds, I love them in salads

As I try each of these products I'll let you all know my feelings on them...


So far I've only tried these two different chocolate bars.

Boom Choco Boom dairy free rice milk bar:
meh. Peter seemed to like it a lot but I was just so so on it. I was never a milk choclate fan to begin with and though it would be fun to try a vegan milk chocolate. I would not order this again or buy it in a store if I saw it.

Crispy Cat Mint Coconut: Now this is a different story from the chocolate above. YUM YUM YUM!!!! I hated that I had to share with Peter the only bar I ordered. The chocolate was great as was the mint coconut flavor. I'm now interested in trying out the other flavors this company offers.