Friday, December 4, 2009

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

I've been gone from this blog a while. But here I am and here is what is going on with me in the vegan/food department:

First, I got the news yesterday that my Vegan Pomegranate Chocolate Chip Cookie that I entered into the LiveMom Cookie Bake-Off was the winning cookie! I won a massage with Sara Ballard LMT and a $25 gift certificate to HEB. I really like the way the pomegranates pop when you bite into one. They are so pretty--like little jewels!The Pomegranate Chocolate Chip cookie recipe is at the end of this post. It was inspired by this cookie and a trip to Whole Foods where I saw some pomegranates. And I thought, why not put them in a cookie!

Here are some other cookies I have made over the last two days. I guess I'm on a cookie kick this week. Little gingersnaps cut into little pumpkins and leaves and circles. They are just the way I like them --hard and crisp and gingery. The recipe was actually called Moravian Wafers and came from a Dec. 2008 Cooking Light Magazine.
Below are Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from Post Punk Kitchen. They go really well with Bourbon.
I joined a vegan dinnershare which is amazing in so many ways. 3 days a week we get dinner delivered to our door which means I don't have to do anything for dinner, not even think about it at all. And one day a week I cook for our family plus the 3 others. It is an all day affair making enough food to feed 16 people and my kitchen is a mess afterwards, but my kitchen is always a mess and I love cooking for other people. And I just love cooking, so it is really fun.

I just finished reading Julie and Julia. I know I'm kind of late since it has been out a while and now there is a movie and everything (which I haven't seen). But I don't get much of a chance to read or don't make the time or whatever. I really enjoyed it and was inspired by it and it was one of the reasons I wanted to start blogging again.

I made these Chocolate Caramel Crackers the other day. So yummy. I will be making more.
Here are some links to other things I have been wanting to make--possibly as Christmas gifts for people.
Candied orange slices
nut brittle
vanilla extract

Vegan Pomegranate Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup oats
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (I like the dark chocolate ones)
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
about 1/4 tsp zest of an orange (one clementine is just the right amount)
5 TBS almond butter
2 TBS vegetable oil
5 TBS soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with Pam or use a silpat.
Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the oats, chocolate chips, pomegranate seeds and orange zest.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, soymilk, vanilla and almond butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar and mix until well combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well with a big spoon or spatula. At the end I get my hands in there to do the mixing.
The dough is pretty sticky, so it helps to put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes before putting it onto the cookie sheet.
Scoop out between 1 and 2 TBS dough per cookie and roll into a ball and place on cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with your hand onto the cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and leave on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then remove cookies to cooling rack to continue cooling.

Makes between 2 and 3 dozen depending on how big you make them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Sweet Father's Day

Over the weekend we went to visit my parents and I took my Dad some chocolate chip cookies. I always use the Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe. I usually substitute Ener-G Egg Replacer for the eggs. But I was out so I used flax seed 'eggs' instead. I could tell a slight difference, so I prefer the Ener-G Egg replacer, but they were still delicious.
On Sunday we were back at home and celebrated Father's Day for my husband. I made him a German Chocolate Cake. The recipes were from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The basic Chocolate Cupcake recipe--which I doubled and put into two 9 inch cake pans. I made the Coconut Pecan Fudge Frosting and put it between the layers and on top. I doubled the frosting recipe also, but really didn't need to. I guess I could have iced the whole cake, but I didn't want it to be overly sweet. I have the rest in the freezer waiting to be used.

We also grilled some veggies and tofu and served them over rice. My husband actually did the grilling. I know, making him cook his own Father's Day dinner. But he enjoyed it!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

German Apple Cake

Making this cake originated the way a lot of my meals/cooking adventures do. I have one ingredient that I want/need to use and I look through my cookbooks for something to make with it that also includes items I already have on hand. So I had some apples that were not going to last much longer. I thumbed through The Joy of Vegan Baking and found this recipe for German Apple Cake. I did not have any margarine, but luckily there was a variation that suggested cutting the margarine and adding more applesauce to make this low-fat. Bonus! I turned out beautifully. I keep pointing at it and asking my husband, "Did you see the German Apple Cake I made?" The taste is very simple and fresh--barely sweet. It was really good with my coffee this morning.Now to tell you about two exciting give-aways going on:
1. Musings From the Fishbowl is giving away a copy of Sweet Freedom by Ricki Heller (Diet, Dessert, and Dogs). If I was lucky enough to win a copy, I could join in on Sweet Freedom Saturdays.
2. Wing It Vegan came back from a blog break just to give away a Lexen Healthy Chef. This thing is a food dehydrator, rice cooker, steamer, and yogurt maker! Sounds amazing to me. I would love to win one!

Fresh from the garden

It is really hot here, but my garden is managing to produce some tomatoes and green beans. My mom came in town and brought a bunch of basil and other herbs from her garden. Rosemary, oregano, parsley. I used the basil and parsley to make some pesto. Added some green beans and yellow pear and cherry tomatoes. And a delicious meal was made.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Simple, cheap eats

Here are two recent meals I have made that were cheap and easy to make. First up is Vegan Mom's Scrambled Tofu that Vegan Dad mentioned the other day on his blog. I make tofu scramble pretty often, but I never use a recipe so I just throw in whatever I have--veggies, spices, nutritional yeast. It always turns out just fine, but when I saw Vegan Mom's recipe, I thought it would be refreshing to just make a basic scramble--nothing extra thrown in. And it was really nice! I liked the addition of mustard and because I had some directions to follow I actually cooked the tofu long enough to make it a nice dry consistency. I'm sure the lack of veggies in it also kept the tofu from staying to wet also. I really liked it and I'm sure I'll be making it again. My mom even took a bite and liked it! She is not a tofu fan. I'm working on her! :) hi mom.

Next up is Fideo. I've passed by those little yellow boxes of noodles for many years not quite knowing what to do with them. I discovered this recipe at Vegan Explosion and found it to be pretty good for such a simple and very inexpensive meal. At 33 cents a box you can't go wrong, plus my 3 year old liked it. Vegan Explosion has a lot of great looking recipes that I would like to try. Horchata, flour tortillas, Avocado pie.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Quinoa Corn Chowder

The other day, as I was looking through my cookbook shelf, I found a loose recipe that I just had to make. It was a page torn out of a Jan/Feb 2008 Vegetarian Times Magazine. The recipe was Quinoa Corn Chowder. I, of course, didn't have all of the necessary ingredients so it became a variation. I didn't even have an onion, which really would have made this better. But it was still good. The quinoa gives the chowder a nice texture. Feel free to add an onion, take something away, etc. Here is my version:

Quinoa Corn Chowder

1 large red-skinned potato, cut into small dice
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into small dice
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
4 cups fresh or frozen (defrosted) corn kernels
1 1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 TBSP lime juice

Add 4 cups of water to a soup pot and bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa and red bell pepper and boil uncovered over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
In a food processor, process 3 cups of the corn kernels with 1 cup of water to make a coarse puree.
After the 10 minutes of cooking time, stir the corn puree and the remaining 1 cup of corn kernels into the quinoa/potatoes. Add the salt and pepper.
Continue cooking about 2-3 more minutes or until quinoa/potatoes are tender.
Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.

The original recipe called for a lot of things that I did not have and that would probably make this an even better soup: cilantro, green olives, scallions, leek or onion. The red bell pepper and sweet potato were my additions.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Enchilada Casserole

Enchilada Casserole
12 corn tortillas
1 can refried beans
1 recipe awesome nacho dip (without the rotel)
1 onion
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 cup corn
3/4 TBSP season salt
1 14.5 oz can enchilada sauce

I made homemade corn tortillas using masa mix and water and my new tortilla press. They were small and thicker than store-bought tortillas. I think store-bought would work, especially with some overlapping, but the thickness of the home-made worked really well to hold up to all the layers.

Make the Awesome Nacho Dip and set aside.

Chop the onion, zucchini and squash into small dice. Saute the onion in a little oil until translucent. Add the zucchini, squash, corn (run under hot water first to thaw a bit if using frozen), and season salt. Saute for about 4-5 minutes.

Start layering:
(I used a small round casserole dish, an 8X8 square pan would work also)
4 corn tortillas on the bottom, 1/2 the can of refried beans, 1/2 of the Awesome Nacho dip, 1/2 of the veggies, 4 more tortillas, 1/2 can enchilada sauce, second half of beans, nacho dip, and veggies. 4 more tortillas and the rest of the enchilada sauce.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool and then top with shredded lettuce and tomatoes.

We took a little family vacation last week to San Antonio and had a good time. Luckily, the hotel/resort we stayed in had a full kitchen which helped us save money and allowed us to cook up some meals in our room. Nothing special, just some pancakes one morning, some chili dogs another day. I don't know why I'm so surprised that San Antonio doesn't have very many vegan choices in restaurants. I wanted to thank AtXvegan from Eat'n Veg'n Vegan Food and Recipes for her suggestion to go to Green in San Antonio. Even though I was not blown away by the food at Green, it was nice to go somewhere all vegetarian. We tried the Chicken Fried Wheat Meat, the Popcorn Tofu Po-Boy, and the Green Burger (home-made veggie burger). All were okay, but I would probably order something different if I went back. There were parts of each that I really liked--the gravy on the wheat meat was tasty and the buns of both sandwiches. I also really liked the vegan chipolte ranch dressing that came with my side salad. The good thing is there are lots of other choices on the menu, so if I go back again, maybe I will find something I really like!

Funny story (or maybe not so funny): We were walking down the Riverwalk and all the restaurants have their menus outside along the sidewalk so you can see if you want to eat there. So I was looking at one at a tex-mex place just to see what they had.
The host guy asked, "Are you looking for something in particular?"
I said, "Vegetarian options."
He said, "We don't have any."
I couldn't believe he wasn't even willing to try to find something vegetarian on the menu. I wasn't even asking for vegan--I didn't want to blow his mind. Oh well, I thought it was pretty funny.