Archive for December, 2010

Finally!! Pecan Sandies!!

This is a holiday favorite of mine! I would eat these every Christmas Eve from, ironically, my aunt Sandy! I’ve never given them a go, but I thought, since this was my first Christmas being vegan, I should bring something to the party!

This recipe I found on the Whole Foods Market website in the recipe section.  I did a few modifications.

Vegan Pecan Crumblies

Yields 48

1 cup Earth Balance butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup pecans, finely processed

3/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

Cream the Earth Balance butter and the powdered sugar until light and fluffed, then add the vanilla; meanwhile, process the pecans in a food prrocessor until finely processed, yielding 1 cup.

In a separate bowl, combine the pecans, flours and salt.

Stir the pecan mixture into the creamed butter and sugar until incorporated.  Dump out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap tightly.  Refrigerate overnight.

one…

And two!! I just had to double this recipe!

DAY TWO:

Take out of the refrigerator and dump out onto a clean surface.  Use a teaspoon, or any scoop, to portion out the cookies.  Roll them each in powdered sugar and place on a baking sheet an inch apart.

Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 9-10 minutes; let them cool for 4-5 minutes then dredge a second time in powdered sugar.  Set onto a drying rack and cool completely.

I hope everyone had a great holiday, got spoiled by Santa, and enjoyed many cookies.  I’m stuffed and it’s time for bed.  See you next year Santa – these cookies are for you!

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December 25, 2010 at 11:55 pm 3 comments

Pancake Breakfast!!

Today Ryan and I woke up (slowly) and decided to have a nice Christmas pancake breakfast.  No, no, I know it’s not Christmas yet… but it’s 2 days away!!! I guess you could call this the pre-pre-Christmas breakfast  We like to be prepared for the real thing. Time to prep our stomachs for stretch!!

Choco. Chip Banana Pancakes!

serves 4

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened original

2 Tbsp. oil

1 tsp. vanilla

2 mashed, very ripe, bananas

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat a nonstick skillet on medium-low with a little bit of oil; once preheated wipe out the oil lightly with a napkin or paper towel.

Mix the flours, baking powder, salt and brown sugar together in a bowl with a whisk.

In a separate bowl, mash the banana up well with a fork; add the oil, vanilla and milk and mix well to combine.

(I purchased some new measuring cups from Urban Outfitters… they all go together into one big cupcake! SO presh *stole Kelly’s word* (-: )

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together lightly.  I like to follow America’s Test Kitchen’s technique on combining pancake ingredients by letting the batter fall through the whisk gently a few times.

 

 

Fold in the walnuts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use a tablespoon, or any scoop you’d like, to portion out the batter into the hot skillet.

Let cook a few minutes, until the sides bubble and the pancake is set, then flip and do the same on the second side.

Set the pancakes aside on a plate, or set your oven to low and set the pancakes onto a baking sheet to be kept warm.  Enjoy with maple syrup and/or a big slab of Earth Balance butter atop!

Mmm!! 1 serving of fruit… CHECK!

 

December 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm Leave a comment

Warming Winter Soup

Snow fell throughout Massachusetts today! It is so beautiful!! Aunt Sue is here from California and snow is just what she needed!

Warming soup was also needed… so Ryan made some kale and sweet potato soup to get us through the night.

Sweet Potato, Kale and Carrot Soup

Serves 4-6 (4 meal portions; 6 smaller portions)

3 bunches of kale, washed, de-ribbed and roughly chopped or torn (we used a mixture of varieties: 1 dino/lacinato, 1 scots/curly, and 1 purple kale bunch)

10 garlic cloves (don’t be afraid…)

4 cups of vegetable broth, divided

1 large sweet potato

6 carrots, chopped or diced to your liking

6 celery stalks, chopped or diced to your liking

2 bay leaves

1 cup white wine mixed with 1 cup of water

Salt and pepper to taste

2-3 tsp. olive oil

Directions:

In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the carrots and celery; cook for a few minutes to soften them.  Add the sweet potatoes and cook for 2 minutes more.

Add 2 cups of liquid and a small pinch of salt and pepper; bring to a simmer to infuse.

Add in the kale, a small pinch of salt and pepper, and 2 more cups of liquid.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook until the kale has wilted.

Add the rest of the liquid, the wine, bay leaves, garlic and another pinch of salt and pepper.  Cover the pot and let this simmer for 20-30 minutes until everything is tender.  Don’t forget to serve this with some hearty grain bread smothered in Earth Balance butter!! 🙂

This is an extremely easy, warming soup that is packed with nutrients!! Hopefully this will keep sickness away…

Betty was quite jealous!!

December 21, 2010 at 12:00 am 1 comment

Vegan Chickpea Marsala

Dinner has been becoming semi-boring lately.  We’ve been so busy there hasn’t been much time for some delicious gourmet vegan food! Since finals are over and we’re finally free for the winter break… it seems appropriate to make something special!  Meg came over and we made chickpea cutlets from PPK and a nice Marsala sauce that was adopted from Martha Stewart‘s website.  Then for dessert we made peanut butter thumbprint cookies that we got from my fav. recipe book The Vegan Table.

 

Marsala Wine Sauce

Yields about 1 cup sauce

4 Tbsp. Earth Balance butter, divided

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 package mushrooms (we used crimini)

2 cups Marsala wine

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. chopped fresh sage

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Directions:

Heat the olive oil and 2 Tbsp. of Earth Balance in a saute pan on medium.  Add the mushrooms and cook until deep golden brown.  Dissolve the flour into the marsala wine; add the wine mixture, lemon juice, the remaining 2 Tbsp. of Earth Balance and the sage to the pan and let simmer until thickened.

We made the chickpea cutlets first, then the sauce.   When the sauce was thickened we added the cutlets to the pan and simmered just a few minutes to infuse the flavors together.  If you fry the cutlets the texture is a bit chewier than if you bake it (it’ll be a little more meaty if you bake it).

We ate the Chickpea Marsala by itself, but next time I will definitely pair it with some steamed veggies (like kale or collards) and some bow tie pasta (or rice).  It was very, very satisfying!

For dessert we had some peanut butter thumbprint cookies.

Peanut butter Thumbprint Cookies

Makes 18-20 cookies

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/3 cup Earth Balance butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. vanilla unsweetened almond milk

Jam, as needed

Directions:

Combine the flour and baking powder; set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the Earth Balance and the brown sugar; beat until light in color and fluffy.  Add the peanut butter, milk and vanilla; mix to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir, by hand, until incorporated.  Using your hands (the dough should be dry enough to handle), portion out 18-20 dough balls, then flatten with the back of a damp, metal spoon or your fingers.  Make a well in the middle of each and add your jam.  We used mixed berry in half and blueberry in the other half.

Bake in a 375 F preheated oven for 12 minuts, until golden brown.  Let cool then transfer to a metal cooling rack to finish cooling  This will harden them up a little to make them easier to eat.

I really don’t know which I liked better… they were all gobbled up before we could say done!

 

December 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm 2 comments

Holiday Toffee Bars

‘Tis the season to get baking!  Vegan toffee bars we shall bake!

This recipe was adopted from the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur’s English Toffee Squares

Toffee Choco Nut Squares

Makes 24 bars (aprox.)

1 cup Earth Balance butter

1/2 cup pack brown sugar

1/2 cup vegan cane sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup mixed chopped nuts (we used peanuts, almonds, pecans, and pine nuts)

Directions:

Cream together the butter and sugar.

Once fluffy and light, add the vanilla.  Sift and then stir in the flours until incorporated.  The batter will be moist and somewhat crumbly.

Prepare an 8X8 baking dish by covering the bottom and sides with parchment paper, letting the paper hang a little above the sides of the pan to make removal easier; press the batter in firmly.

(we doubled the recipe so this is a 9X11 in. baking dish pictured here)

Bake in a 350 F preheated oven for 15 minutes (we baked it for a few minutes more – 17 min. – each oven will vary); check to make sure the crust is golden and firm to the touch.

Meanwhile, prepare the nut topping by placing the nuts into a food processor and process to your liking.

When the crust is done, remove it from the oven (I love this part) sprinkle on the chocolate chips and return it to the oven for a minute longer to melt the chips; spread the chocolate evenly over the crust.

Sprinkle on the nut mixture and let rest for 2-3 hours at room temperature (or in the fridge/freezer for a shorter time span) so the chocolate can set; do not leave them at rest for too long if they’re not cut, the chocolate gets very hard and may crack unevenly.  Remove from the pan gently using the parchment paper for support.  Place onto a cutting board and cut into the desired amount of bars.  Let these rest anther hour or so at room temperature before wrapping or transporting (but eating can definitely be done at this point 😉 ).

These make the perfect holiday gift! Even your non-vegan friends will be begging for more! Next time (which will be in just a few days…) I’m going to get creative with the toppings i.e. crushed candy cane, chopped dried cranberries, or maybe I’ll spread the bars with some raspberry jam and then drizzle on some chocolate… Oh I’m brainstorming now!!

Now go get creative!!!

December 18, 2010 at 12:42 am 1 comment

Eggplant Parm.. minus the parm.

Eggplant was on sale this week at Whole Foods so I grabbed a few when I was at the store.  Tonight’s dinner is Vegan Eggplant Parmesan, but we omitted the parmesan! Julie came over and we made a night of it! Eggplant Parm and Paper Heart on Netflix!!

The eggplant came out amazing! I love when Ryan cooks!! 🙂

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 4

1 large eggplant

Oil for frying

Flour, water mixed with flour, and Italian seasoned bread crumbs (all for dredging the eggplant discs; measurements vary)

1 box whole wheat spaghetti

Water, for boiling the pasta

Pasta sauce, jarred or homemade (today we used jarred: Newman’s Own Tomato and Basil)

Directions:

Wash the eggplant; slice into thin discs.

Prepare your wet and dry batters.  The first dredge is in flour, we started with about 1/2 cup and ultimately had to add a little more.  After the flour, the eggplant disc gets dipped into a wet batter of about 1/2 cup water and 2 Tbsp. of flour (to thicken the water slightly).  After the wet batter, the eggplant is covered with the Italian seasoned bread crumbs.  Place the prepared eggplant discs on a parchment lined baking sheet.


Heat some canola oil in a skillet, enough to do a shallow fry, then fry the battered eggplant, 4 or 5 slices at a time.  Cook until the batter becomes golden browned and crisp, about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Remove the cooked slices and place on a parchment lines baking sheet.

Continue like this until all of the eggplant is cooked.  Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente and heat the pasta sauce in a saucepan.

Now put everything together: some spaghetti on the plate, top it with some sauce and then place one some eggplant slices.  We also added some nutritional yeast and sesame seeds on top for some extra flavor.

 

Kombucha Update!!


Look at how much he’s grown!! I had to wrap it in my warmest sweater though to try to keep a steady temperature.

All in all I think know it’s working!  One more week until it’s bottled and flavored!

December 15, 2010 at 11:51 pm 1 comment

Spicy Sweet Potato Home Fries

I love the holidays!!!


And there’s nothing like Christmas morning breakfast! Home fries are definitely on my vegan food pyramid… But I thought I was up for a little change to the original… Sweet potato!  Hopefully your family, and mine, will be enjoying these in just 15 days!!!! (scary thought right?)

 

Sweet Potato Baked Home Fries

Serves 4

2 large sweet potatoes

2 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil

Dash of paprika (or more if your morning can handle it…)

Ample sprinkle of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Scrub the potatoes well; slice first into rings by cutting end to end then cut each circle into triangles by slicing it in half twice.  I just love this method because I always get pieces that are the same size.

Place all the chunks into a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients; toss to coat.

Spread onto a baking sheet, being sure that they are in a single layer, and bake in a preheated 400 F oven for 8 minutes; flip after the 8 minutes and bake 8 more.  Since the cubes are small they won’t take long at all.

Carefully remove each one and put in to a dish for serving; serve hot!

Now here’s something that is sweet and spicy and will satisfy just as good as a cookie 😉 maybe…

December 10, 2010 at 9:33 am 1 comment

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