Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sun Tea


With a week of 100+ degree weather, nothing was more appealing to me than Sun Tea! I had a bunch of fun flavors to choose from but settled on Mango Passion Fruit from the Stash herbal tea sampler collection. I put 4 tea bags in the pot and set it in direct sunlight for about 4 hours. I let it cool a bit and added it to a glass of ice. It was very refreshing!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

S'mores



We recently went on a camping adventure to Mt. St. Helen's. So far, as a vegan, I have not found anything I could not veganize or find an acceptable substitute for. Knowing we were going to have a campfire, I decided to challenge myself with the task of making vegan S'mores! It was pretty simple once I found the marshmallows. Many people don't realize what ingredients are actually in real marshmallows but let me assure you, they are not vegan!!! Food Fight, a completely vegan grocery store, had Dandies Vegan Marshmallows available. They are small, not the miniature version but smaller than a regular sized marshmallow. Health Valley makes an Oat Bran Graham Cracker that is also smaller than an average graham cracker so it went perfectly with the size of the marshmallow. We added a bit of mint chocolate to the fire toasted marshmallow and had an insanely good camp treat!

New To-Go Ware


We are fans of the To-Go Ware line of products that replace traditional (and wasteful) "doggie bag" style containers at restaurants. We decided to get a second set for John to use to carry his lunch to work daily. This particular style is 2 tiered but can be carried as a single container also. It comes with a little sauce container that is very handy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mango Parsley Green Smoothie

Definitely not our favorite Green Smoothie so far! The mango was very stringy, almost like drinking something with hair in it!!! 2 mangos (peeled), 1 large bunch parsley, 2 cups water. Blend and drink (if you can stand it!!!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mac & Teese


I continue my search for a vegan cheese that is actually good. I am not saying it has to be exactly like cheese. I gave up cheese long ago and truly have lived very happily without it. But, the one consistent comment I get from people is, "I could never give up cheese." I guess because of how often I hear this comment, I continue to seek out a replacement that, even if it doesn't taste exactly like cheese, serves the same function in a recipe. With all that said, I feel that the cheeses I make myself are much more satisfying than the ones I have purchased from the grocery store. My latest splurge (vegan cheese is very pricey!) is called Teese. I mixed it with some Quinoa pasta. I was not impressed. For the record, I do not eat imitation foods, like meats and cheeses, because I miss the real thing! I like a diet that varies in flavor and texture. These imitations are generally great sources of protein and add nice flavors and consistencies to meals. The quest continues!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chocolate Mint Cupccakes

Favorite cupcakes ever!!! It all started with a trip to my favorite grocery store here in Portland, Food Fight. I noticed they had these really cute pastel M&M like candies. They are called Whizzers Chocolate Beans. I remembered seeing them on top of a mint flavored cupcake in my cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The mission began to put these cute little candies to use. The one problem I came upon was the green food coloring that was called for. I did not want to buy regular food coloring because I have found many different sources that identify disgusting animal ingredients and/or chemicals used to create the coloring. I wanted a vegetable based source but let me tell you, this was not as easy as I was hoping! Thanks to google, I ended up finding a company called India Tree that makes vegetable based food coloring. I called every grocery/kitchen store in the area and no one had the product! I was just about to give up when I decided to take a trip to Whole Foods and search their shelves myself. On my way, I passed a fancy kitchen store, Sur La Table, and decided to check. Sure enough, they had exactly what I was looking for! Three colors come in the set and they mix together to make a variety of other colors. Now, I have to be honest about one ingredient, glycerin. The yellow and blue contain this ingredient. My assumption is that the glycerin is vegetable based considering the whole concept of the coloring is vegetables! But, I have not done any research into the actual origin of the glycerin. Therefore, I can't say for sure if it is vegan! But, I feel 100% confident that even if it isn't vegetable based glycerin, it is better for me that the chemicals in regular green food coloring.
So, I finally had the ingredients I needed and decided to make these delicious cupcakes for John and his co-workers, otherwise I would have eaten all 12 of them myself! The cupcake is the Basic Chocolate Cupcake recipe but includes 1 teaspoon of mint extract added to the wet ingredients. The recipe for the mint icing is on page 73 of the cookbook, if the link doesn't take you directly to that page. The chocolate on top is the same Rich Ganache I used on my 4th of July cupcakes. Again, these cupcakes are irresistible. I highly recommend having somewhere to take them or others to give them away to or you will probably devour them all yourself!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spiced Banana Pancakes

Taken from the Vegan Planet cookbook, this recipe was the perfect way of getting rid of 3 very, very ripe bananas! The recipe that the link above takes you to is a bit different from the one in the cookbook and I followed the original. I used All-Purpose flour instead of Whole Wheat and Almond Milk instead of Soy. I also used Pumpkin Pie Spice instead of All Spice because they are very close and it is what I had! I doused my pancakes in Maple Syrup. Unfortunately, it was Canadian syrup. In the future, I will support PETA's request to boycott Canadian syrup in support of the efforts to stop the slaughter of seals. I know, I know, I usually don't get involved in PETA issues. But, I did a little research and felt it was the absolute least I could do for the poor seals.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chocolate Creme Filled Cupcakes

These also went to the 4th of July BBQ. I worked for almost an hour at a cute icing flower for the top of them, but failed miserably! So, I settled for red sprinkles. The chocolate cupcake recipe is so good, moist, and basically never fails. It is from the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook. I put a filling in the cupcakes that consisted of a stick of Earth Balance vegan shortening, a tub of Ricemellow Creme (be careful! This stuff is addicting), powdered sugar, and a little vanilla and salt. These ingredients got tossed into the food processor and mixed. I then squirted them into the cupcakes until they started to break apart. I have since purchased a better device for filling that will hopefully prevent so much cracking of the cupcakes. The frosting is from the same cookbook and is called Rich Chocolate Ganache Topping. It is ridiculously good. Boil 1/4 cup almond milk, remove from heat. Add 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped, and 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup. Mix until chocolate is melted. Set aside at room temp until ready to use.

Asparagus Pasta Salad


We took this dish to a BBQ for the 4th of July. It was on the cover of VegNews Magazine. The Feb 09 issue. The odd thing was that the recipe did not appear anywhere in the magazine! I did some searching online and found that it mistakenly was left out. Fortunately, VegNews put the recipe online. I did not put a full cup of pine nuts in, probably closer to a half cup. I thought a cup would be a bit much. It is an awesome recipe with fantastic flavors, especially for asparagus lovers like me!!!