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Biscuits with lemon curd

25 Sep

I made some amazing vegan lemon curd a while ago and needed an excuse to use it up, so I made one of Mr. HVC’s favorite foods, biscuits!

I tried a new recipe I found online, subbing in white whole wheat flour for the AP flour.  They came out so good and fluffy!  The white whole wheat adds a nice nutty flavor.

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With a little butter and some spread, they were a really yummy dessert.

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I even made a little baby biscuit out of the extra dough for Rhodie! He was pretty stoked.

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I can haz more, mom?

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Too cute!!
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MoFo #12: Almond-quinoa muffins

14 Oct

It’s hard to get my omni partner to eat healthier! One way I do it is by baking muffins for breakfast. I’m pretty good about eating a decent breakfast – usually fruit or yogurt – but left to his own devices my boyfriend often resorts to an egg- & cheese-laden breakfast burrito or a greasy muffin from the coffee cart at work. If there are delicious muffins in the house though, both of us can start our day off properly!

I always forget how many awesome recipes are in Veganomicon.  I can honestly say I’ve never made anything bad out of it!  For some reason, I’ve never tried many of the breakfasty items.  Feeling guilty about my inconsistent MoFo posts, I decided to try a new muffin recipe and my book automatically fell open to this one.  It sounded really interesting – chock full of whole grains, almond meal, very little oil, and used agave nectar and dried fruit for sweetness instead of white sugar.  Plus it used two of my favorite spices.  Score!

I didn’t have almond meal in my pantry, but I figured out I could make my own from whole almonds by pulsing them in a coffee bean grinder.  Sweet!  Just make sure, if you try this, to not grind too long because you will make almond butter!  Sift the flour after grinding since there will still be some small almond pieces in there.

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The final product was really good, especially with a little agave nectar drizzled on top! They are light and puffy and the almond meal makes them a little more hearty while also lending a nice nutty flavor. Sadly, the boyfriend didn’t like the muffins as much as I did, but that’s because our dried apricots were rather sour. Damn you, Safeway bulk bins, for your inferior dried fruit products!

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If you want to make these yourself, you’ll need:
-soy milk
-ground flax seeds
-oil
agave nectar or maple syrup
-vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom
-A.P. or whole wheat pastry flour
-almond meal or almond flour
-baking powder
-quinoa
-dried fruit (apricots or currants are suggested)

MoFo #7: Vegan Bake Sale

10 Oct

This weekend I helped out at a vegan bake sale we held to raise money for the Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals. Three other MoFo-ers, CarrieAmey, and coldandsleepy, also baked and organized. We had an awesome spread and raised over $600 for the cause! W00t!

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I busted my butt in the kitchen Thursday and Friday baking into the wee hours of the morning. I had big plans but I didn’t get to make everything I wanted. Here are links to recipes of what I made (you can see pics in the photos below):

Roasted apple, butternut squash, and carmelized onion flatbread from Chef Chloe
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Macadamia Ginger Drop Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar – I made a gluten free version of these too!
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies – Just sub Ener-G egg replacer for the eggs!
Socca (chick pea flour flatbread) from xgfx.org
Matcha Green Tea Cake Pops

If anyone’s interested, I made my own gluten free flour mix thanks to the wonderful folks on the PPK message board.  The recipe is:
4 cups superfine brown rice flour (Authentic Foods)
1 1/3 cups potato starch
2/3 cup tapioca flour/starch

I couldn’t find superfine rice flour so I used regular brown rice flour from a bulk bin at Whole Foods.  Things came out a bit grainy but at least in the ginger cookies they tasted fine.  I had to add about 1.5 cups more flour to make the batter thick, and I had to roll the cookies into balls and cook them less time.

I topped the socca with pesto spread from Vegan with a Vengeance and sliced tomatoes from my garden, or home-made sun-dried tomato hummus.  I tried both thin and thick variants of the bread using either the Sil-Pat (thin) or spring form pan (thick) and thick was definitely the crowd favorite!

Here are some pics from the day!

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MoFo #6: Vegan cake pops!

10 Oct

I’ve fallen behind in my MoFo posts but rest assured I’ve definitely been keeping busy in all things vegan!

This weekend I participated in a vegan bake sale to raise money for the Bay Area PPK team (link provided in case you want to donate! hint hint!) in the Walk for Farm Animals.  I’ve been scheming and dreaming all week what goodies to bring.  I especially wanted to make something that would appeal to kids, since I always make stuff geared towards an adult palate.  When I worked at Legoland one of my jobs was to make marshmallow pops, which I thought were the most disgusting, revolting things ever and would never sell.  Guess what!  The kids LOVED them.  Impale 3 stale marshmallows on a stick, dip em in chocolate, and roll them in rainbow sprinkles and you’ve got an instant hit!  I’m sure parents hated us (esp since the damn things cost $5!).  I considered making the vegan equivalent for the bake sale but Dandies are just too gummy for my preference and Sweet and Sara are ridiculously expensive.  I settled instead on cake pops, which I had never heard about until a few months ago. There’s an entire book of them at Borders and my facebook feed has been flooded with pics from crafty friends making their own pops.

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There are lots of sites with info on cake pops, including Bakerella’s page where I think they originated.  There aren’t lots of vegan variants though and everyone seems to use cake mixes and canned frosting so I thought I’d give my take on how to make vegan, homemade pops.  They’re kind of gross but oh so delicious.  As a side note, Duncan Hines cake mix and frosting are vegan but they’re loaded with partially hydrogenated oil so be aware before you buy!

Start out making your favorite cake or cupcake recipe (cupcakes cool faster)!  I wanted to avoid using a lot of food dye so I settled on matcha green tea cupcakes and frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  I envisioned making creepy green monsters and eye balls (which didn’t actually happen) and matcha provides an excellent hue!  I was a little worried kids wouldn’t go for green tea but I think the flavor was mild enough that they didn’t care.

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After they’ve cooled, use your fingers to break the cakes into fine crumbs.  Then add an entire batch of matcha green tea frosting from VCTOTW and mix well!  The frosting should be fairly thick so when you’re making it, go easy on the soy milk and add more powdered sugar, if necessary.  Be gentle when combining the crumbs and frosting.  I used my hands to mix everything into a sticky dough because I didn’t want to turn the cake into goo.  You’ve added enough frosting when you can form the mix into balls of dough that will hold together.  Once mixed, roll the cake mix into quarter-sized balls, cover them with plastic wrap, and chill them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  I did this in the fridge overnight, but things dried out a bit so maybe a few hours in the freezer would be better!  One batch of cupcakes + frosting made about 35 balls.


On to decorations!  I chose to do half of the pops dipped in chocolate and half covered with frosting.  Initially I wanted to use those candy melts from Michael’s that come in lots of cool colors, but sadly they’re not vegan! Le sigh. Instead, I used melted 365 brand semi-sweet chocolate chips to dip in.  I make note of the brand because –

a) They’re cheap and decent quality chocolate! Only $2.50 for a bag (compared to almost $5 for Ghirardelli!)…and you will need an entire bag!  I’m not sure if they’re fair trade, sorry.

b) A lot of chocolate melts badly in the sun but the pops made from 365 chocolate were champs and did not turn into sad little goo balls even after many hours in pretty strong sun. Yay!

To keep the pops on the sticks I discovered you’ve got to dip the stick end in chocolate before insertion and then chill the undipped pops in the fridge 15 min to let everything set.  Otherwise you’ll end up with cake balls falling off sticks into chocolate.  Disastrous!  Plus you’ll have to eat all the broken ones.  Boo hoo.

After a quick sprinkling of Wilton’s (accidentally vegan) sprinkles and about 30 min chilling upright in the fridge, you’re rewarded with these little gems!

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I made  a second batch of green tea frosting to cover the rest of the pops.  Again, I put a little frosting on the end of the stick before putting it into the cake so the thing would be sturdier.  Then I just covered it in frosting and colored sugar!  I used some Skittles and black frosting to try to make eye balls and I also found some Halloween ghost Dots that I painted little ghost faces on.  I think they came out pretty cute!  And guess what…kids loved them!

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Some salads

28 Sep

I can’t believe it’s 85 degrees at the end of September! Wait, yes I can! As a native southern Californian (and current Bay Area transplant) I have never experienced a true fall. Crisp winds, dim sunlight, colored leaves, cozy coats, and hot soup…these are the things I dream of. I know “the grass is always greener” and such and when I inevitably have to move somewhere cold and icky for my post-doc in a few years I know I’ll long for coastal California weather. Until then, I’m going to complain and use the heat as an excuse to have cold, raw food for breakfast lunch and dinner!

Today for lunch I went to a little cafe on campus and had the best best best salad (I actually have it almost every day). It’s got romaine, grape tomatoes, red onion, sweet white corn, black beans, jicama, and tortilla strips on top all tossed in a cilantro lime vinaigrette. Nothing special but it tastes amazing and they give you the most gigantic bowl along with some French bread so it’ll keep you full till dinner! I forgot to take a pic but I think you get the idea!

Tonight I started off just making a simple green salad but it seemed way too boring so here’s my version of curried chicken salad:

Chick peas are absolutely amazing in mayo-based mock-meat salads. I’ve seen them used in place of tuna (with a little sea weed flavoring to add “fishiness”) and chicken. I know I probably swiped this recipe from a cookbook but now I just kind of wing it.

Curried Chick Pea Salad:
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1-2 Tbs vegan mayo (I like Vegannaise best)
1 tsp curry powder
salt, to taste

Mash up chick peas with a fork or in a food processor.  Add onion, celery, curry powder, and enough mayo to moisten everything.  Add salt to taste.  Serve on salad or in a veggie sandwich!

I just threw some on top of my salad (the white stuff is a little ranch dressing from Appetite for Reduction) with some chopped chives.  Simple, healthy, and yummy!

While I was making dinner I used leftover veggies to make salad for lunch tomorrow.  I grabbed a handful of chick peas from the can I used to make chicken salad with and made a little cous cous while I was chopping, and voila!

The recipe comes from Appetite for Reduction, but it’s a pretty basic concept.  I think the book calls for quinoa but I didn’t have any so I subbed cous cous and it’s still really tasty.  There’s also some romaine, carrot, red onion, and tomato.  It’s not pictured but I used the balsamic vinaigrette from AFR too.  That stuff is awesome!  It doesn’t use any oil and all the fat comes from pureed cashews.  Genius!  And it’s amazing on this salad.

Remember what I said about eating cold food in this hot fall weather?  Well, I lied a little.  Last night the boyfriend and I were craving pumpkin so we made a pumpkin pie.  We had to turn on the fan to counteract the heat of the oven but it was worth it! 🙂

It’s not beautiful, but it was really good and you can’t really tell the difference from non-veg pumpkin pie.  I used pumpkin pie filling and just mixed in a package of pureed silken tofu and a little more spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice). I hate most crusts so we made a cinnamon graham cracker crust instead. My oven is stupid and I burned edges a bit so it’s a little ugly but still tasted fine!

Now that’s my kind of swollen ovary!

17 Sep

Fun fact: did you know that zucchini is the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower? Hee hee, that’s the appetizing description you’ll find if you check Wikipedia!

Boyfriend is not fond of zucchini and we got quite a few in our CSA box this week so I tried to disguise it a bit!  When I was a kid my parents had a huge garden in their backyard and our fridge was always chock full of tomatoes, green beans,  cucumbers, radishes, and squash.  One way to use up the tons and tons of zucchini was to turn it into a sweet bread.  I’ve never made zucchini bread as an adult because it seemed wrong to “waste” it in bread when I could be eating it in its truest form.  So while it often drives me nuts that bf is so picky about his veggies, this time it was awesome because I got to do some fun baking!

I modified a Betty Crocker recipe:

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

3 cups shredded zucchini (abouot 3 medium)
1 2/3 cups sugar (I used 1 cup white, 2/3 cup brown)
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
equiv of 4 eggs (I used Ener-G egg replacer, but you can also use flax or banana)
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans (the ungreased sides allow the batter to cling while rising during baking, which helps form a gently rounded top).  Mix zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla and egg replacer in large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour into pans.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 min.  Loosen sides of loaves from pan and remove from pans  Cool completely before slicing and store tightly wrapped in fridge up to 1 week.