Monday, December 27, 2010

After Christmas blues

Christmas is over, and I am glad... and sad... I did sooo much baking I don't even believe it! During the break I was having some second thoughts about school but now I am more energized than ever! I just hope I am not going to overwork myself. I find myself as one of those people who puts myself 100% into everything I do and burn myself out.

Anyway, I have also seen a lot of new movies lately. I have seen: The Other Guys, Black Swan, and Julie and Julia.

I LOVED Julie and Julia. Probably because I blog and cook/bake even though I am just getting into it. However, the movie was so well done how the two plots parallel each other! Fantastic!

The Other Guys was a great movie, very funny albeit a little crude, but still great!

Black Swan, I feel this movie would have been better had I knew what it was about or had read the book. She becomes psychotic by the end and my mother (as always, she teaches psych nursing) began diagnosing her with numerous psychological fallacies. I believe the mother sexually abused her, as she was clearly very sexually repressed and the mother was a very controlling, overbearing sign of anxiety for the lead. Wonderful acting, could have used a little more explanation though.

So over this break, I have baked: (click on the purple items for links to their recipe)

Peppermint crisps

Gingerbread cake 
2 of them! The recipe makes WAYY too much icing- I only made one batch of icing

Buckeye balls
I used less powdered sugar than the recipe called for and instead of doing all of them covered in chocolate, I covered some in gingerbread icing. They made about 50!

Icing covered cashews and pretzels
using leftover gingerbread icing

Marshmallow bars
I did not add any icing, and I used only about 1/4 a cup of margarine because I ran out, I used smart balance light with flax- it's vegan! I also used semi-sweet chocolate chunks instead of butterscotch, Baker's brand is vegan. I would suggest using smaller marshmallows like she has because it is difficult to cut with bigger ones and leaves the baker eating too many scraps! Not that that's a bad thing, but I have a big event coming up and can't afford the calories. However, this is by far my favorite dessert EVER!

Goddess bars
The recipe doesn't tell you this, but make sure to break up your shredded wheat! I added some coconut to the top!

Gingerbread cake cutouts, buckeye balls and coconut covered goddess bars!

Chocolate chunk oatmeal peanut butter cookies

Cashew Butter cookies

Peppermint Cheesecake
I used a little less than 16oz of toffuti, and I skipped the lemon juice and added at least a half a teaspoon of peppermint. Peppermint is very potent so add to it in little portions, I used 1/8th a teaspoon at a time until I found a taste I liked. I also added two drops of red food dye to make it pinkish

Over this break I have cooked:

Bean tacos

Cheezy Rice and Bean Cass

White Bean Chili- This is actually my aunt's recipe and originally included chicken and chicken stock.

  • 3cans Great Northern Beans drained
  • 32oz Vegetable Stock
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • cumin, cayenne, and cloves were also included but cannot remember the exact amounts, start with 1/8th or 1/4th teaspoon and adjust to taste
  • I bag daiya cheese (possibly more for topping)
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  1. Add olive oil to a sauté pan, then add onion until translucent. Then add in garlic and the rest of the seasonings. 
  2. Pour beans and vegetable stock into a big pot (it makes about a gallon) add seasoning and cheese. Heat until cheese is melted. 
  3. Pour into a slow cooker (4quart or more) and cook on light for a while or until ready to serve. If you do not have a slow cooker just keep in the pot until ready to serve on a light setting. This has a bit of a kick to it but is super good with cornbread!

I made this for thanksgiving so this was the third time I made it. It fills an 8x8 pan nicely. It is soooo good!

Mac 'n Cheez

and others!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Impulse Baking

I decided at 8pm tonight that I was going to do some major baking for friends. I have 5 things on the menu, but could not find vegan marshmallows or graham crackers at my local store so one of them will have to wait. O well!

I am almost done with my first recipe, peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies. They look soooo good so far I cannot wait to sample! I got this recipe from but it was an adaption to an original recipe found in Vegan with a Vengeance.

The dough was yummy as I have found from my samplings (strictly for informative purposes only, I assure you)

Ok, so they turned out GREAT! A different texture than I thought, but still amazing! YUMM!

Now I am working on the peppermint crisps! I got this recipe somewhere non-vegan, but just make sure you use vegan chocolate and you're good! You will need a food processor for this one though. I am a little nervous because I don't have one and I'm going to attempt to break up the caramelized sugar with peppermint extract and get it down to the consistency of sugar again... with a rolling pin! Wish me luck!

Ok, so the first time I made the serum I messed up the proportions and only cut one of the ingredients in half! DUMB! So, I am re-trying it... I hope it works better this time...

Ok, so the syrup worked... but when it cooled it stuck to my wax paper....its a huge mess... and the saucepan I put it in got all stained. GROSS! Ug... I do NOT recommend this recipe unless you are highly skilled in cooking/baking.

I've got to admit, had it not been such a pain
in the rear it would have been pretty cool!

I will upload pics later... I'm too exhausted from that peppermint mess to even think.

Ok, so I finallllly finished those damn peppermint crisps! Word to the wise: if you are new to cooking/baking do NOT make the peppermint yourself!

All you have to do is melt your chocolate (1 cup dark, 1 cup semi-sweet: or any combo you like that's vegan)

then pour in about 1/8th a cup of sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of peppermint and your coconut and spread it into your pan! sooo much easier and only takes about five minutes!

Now, on to the buckeye balls! Another vegweb recipe. This will have to wait till tomorrow though because it is 4:11 am and I decided to start baking at 8pm! Of course, I had to go shopping, etc. Anyway, goodnight!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vegan Wine and Cheese Meet-Up

So, I haven't really had many updates on recipes because I have been eating leftovers and my mom and I went out to lunch today. One of my favorite restaurants! I got my favorite veggie burger of all time and a tempeh wrap. Ya, I've been eating a lot lately! Anyway, last night I went to a vegan wine and cheese meetup in my area. It was really great to meet so many awesome new people. I was definitely the youngest one there, luckily I dragged my mom along with me though! It was awesome, they had amazing desserts and I met so many ARA's who were willing to help me out. They gave me so many new ideas and I am excited to try them out in my college town. They had sugar and gingerbread cookies, chocolate mouse cake from The Chicago Diner, chocolate coffee truffles, "cheese" cubes, cashew basil and herb "cheese" spread (follow the link for recipe), crackers and tofurky and toffutti roll-ups!! SOO GOOD! Now I want to do AR with my life. I do not know what I want to do exactly with my life though, so it's difficult. I just know I need to help animals. It makes me nervous because the clock is ticking. Anyway, I have been able to get in touch with a couple vegans from my town so I am actually really excited. I think we are going to start leafletting!!! Cannot wait!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cheezy bean and rice cass

Tonight my dad is having a party for his running friends. They are running around a park that is decorated with extreme Christmas lights. Then they are coming back for dinner, they are all running in monogrammed santa hats! So, I decided I would make a casserole. I created this recipe myself and I made it last night for my mother and myself so I would know what to adjust, and believe me there was a fair amount!

Serves: about 6-8 depending on portion size
Prep time: 1 Hour (seems like a lot but most of it is waiting for rice to cook and I haven't gotten the hang of multi-tasking in the kitchen yet, so it may be quicker for you)
Cooking time: 20 minutes (10 covered, 10 uncovered)
Preheat to 350

Olive oil (for greasing pan, just in case)
1 cup semi/mostly drained black beans
1 cup semi/mostly drained kidney beans
4 tablespoons of black olives (diced or sliced, add more or less depending on your taste)
~3 tablespoons Taco Seasoning
~4 tablespoons Onion Powder
~3 tablespoons White Rice Vinegar
~1.5 tablespoons Soy Sauce (some are prepared using isinglass, which is not vegan, be careful)
~3 tablespoons White Cooking Wine
(for all of the above approximates, I used the taco seasoning and onion powder in between each time I used liquids, they are approximates because I did it on looks and taste, make sure to taste yours as well)
1 Tortilla (sliced in half)
3/4 Cup of Water (for rice)
1/2 Cup of Brown Rice (I would use a little more but definitely not 2/3 I poured a smidge less than 2/3 and I had some leftover)
Pinch of salt
1.5-2 cups of Daiya Mozza Shreds (I only had 1 cup, I used 1/2 in the mixture and the other 1/2 between layers and as toppings, I would have liked more)
Tortilla Chips

Rice Directions:
Boil 3/4 cup of water with 1/2 cup brown rice and a pinch of salt, turn down heat, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, I would check in at 15 minutes. The first night (also my first time making rice, I overcooked it and it was a mess!) I wanted my rice a littler crunchier but not too much, the first night it was too crunchy, tonight I think it's better.

Filling Directions:
It is okay for it to be liquidy, this will allow it to soak
into the chips and will leave it moist while baking
Mix beans and black olives. Sprinkle taco seasoning and onion powder over mix, stir. Add two or three splashes of white rice vinegar and two splashes of soy sauce. Dust your mixture with taco seasoning and onion powder again (I like doing it this way because it allows you to adjust after each addition) Add about two splashes of white cooking wine. (again, do this to taste) Do one final dusting of taco seasoning and onion powder if you'd like. Now, add in 3/4-1 cup of Daiya mozza shreds. This will help your casserole stay together better (the first night I didn't add it into the mixture and it kinda all fell apart, which is fine it still tasted yummy!) Add rice and stir!

Prepping the pan: 
Grease with olive oil, just to be on the safe side. Take your tortilla halves and place them in the pan so the the straight sides are against the edge.

The first night I kept the beans separate
to make sure they both tasted good
Pour your filling over the tortillas, use a little less then half (it's shocking how it doesn't look even later)

Cover this layer with Daiya, disregard my earlier comment in an earlier post about being sparse with Daiya, using plenty helps with congealing.

Crunch tortilla chips over this layer and then pour your final layer on top, spread evenly and cover with Daiya and more black olives (I didn't think of this, but would have been a nice aesthetically pleasing touch) 

If you let it sit for a bit before putting it into the oven, it will allow the chips to get a little soggy and won't be as crunchy. I like it this way.

Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven at 350 for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or till you think it looks good. 

Let sit for a bit so it can cool and congeal and also let the chips get a little more moist.

Update: Sitting seems to be the best option to keep it together, the cheese didn't really do much to it as far as keeping it together. However, you could try using the same cheese sauce used to make the mac n cheese, that could help. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Three-Cheese Grilled Cheese

I revisited an old favorite today for lunch. I used to make my favorite, 3-cheese grilled cheese before I was vegan. It had, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and one other type I think I used provolone or cheese shreds, but I can't really remember. So, today I veganized it! Now, you are really going to think I am the biggest space cadet, which I guess I kind of am... Anyway, I remembered to take pictures so that's good! I will give you the recipe for how I made it, with the additions of how I SHOULD have made it! I eat small meals every couple of hours, so I made a half sandwich.

Three-Cheese Grilled Cheese

  • Toffuti better than cream cheese
  • Daiya mozza shreds
  • Parma-Raw vegan parmesan 
  • Bread
  • EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Pour some evoo into a skillet and place bread so both sides get covered on evoo. Heat till it sizzles and gets a little brown, do NOT let it sit all the way. Only have it as cooked as you want on the side that will be inside. You will put the bread back on the skillet later, but only on the sides that are on the outside. (hopefully you followed that) Remove from skillet and spread cream cheese on the side you have cooked the way you want (aka, the inside), it melts so you don't need much. On half of the bread cover in Daiya cheese.
This cheese goes a long way and is very cheese, so you don't need as much as you would regular cheese. Now, this is where you add the vegan parm, shake as much as you want! There is nothing special about this "cheese." Cut bread in half, fold up, replace on skillet. Normally, this would actually melt, but since I already had the bread the way I liked, I was afraid to leave it on for much longer. If the outside of your sandwich is in condition to be left on longer, leave it on until it is the way you like it (I like my bread a little crispier) This will help the Daiya melt.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mac 'n cheesyness on my one month!

Ok so tonight I was so excited to make this I completely forgot to take pictures. I'm kinda ticked... I even had my camera right there! O well! I was so excited partially because this is my one month anniversary (lol I sound like a kid in a relationship!) of no meat! Yay! I was veg for about six months a couple years ago and about a month during the summer but this time its for real! I have never been this passionate or determined. Anyway, heres my dinner:

I got this recipe from My only complaint is that it made less than I thought it would, but proportionately it was a good amount of sauce/noodles ratio. I am making this for christmas eve dinner (we always like to have something super kid friendly since I have three little monster cousins) I added a little bit more almond milk that suggested to make a little bit creamier, and I noticed the hotter you made it the more the "butter" started separating. I used earth balance butter, almond milk, daiya mozza shreds, and whole wheat spiral/corkscrew like noodles. I added basil, salt, and pepper to my sauce. It was delish!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Taco Night!

Tonight I made tacos for dinner! Completely cruelty free! This recipe served six tacos with a little extra rice (I didn't put rice in every taco) For reference, it is best to read through my recipes thoroughly before starting as I add some details that you may need to know before starting. This way, you can adapt my recipe to best fit you!

Vegan Taco Shells (I used taco bell's)
Black Beans
Onion Powder
Taco Seasoning
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Vinegar (I used a rice vinegar I believe)
Vegan Cheese (I used Daiya Mozzerella flavored shreds)
Optionals: vegan sour cream, lettuce, onion, garlic, lemon juice, peppers, tabasco sauce, anything you've got in the fridge that seems yummy!

Pour some olive oil in your skillet and heat 'er up! Pour the excess bean juices into a cup and save for later (I left some still in the container though) Pour in your beans and stir them around while you sprinkle dashes of onion powder and taco seasoning in. Test it to see if you want to add more seasonings. Once most of the excess juices are gone add the rest of your drained juices and pour a splash of vinegar in. Here you can get creative and add things like garlic, lemon juice, or other things you have in your fridge (if you have onions or anything that would be best sauteed, add them at the beginning before the beans so they have more time to fester) When most of the juices are soaked up, make sure to leave a little left over so the beans don't get all dry or whatever, pour them into a bowl and cover so they don't get cold (I put mine in the microwave to hotbox it!). Also, I cooked my rice in some leftover bean juice. I ended up eating some rice plain so this was yummy! Now cook your rice- I had microwavable rice that had already been cooked so I just heated it up.
While you are doing all of this, heat up your taco shells so they are ready to go!

Now spoon some rice into the bottom of your shell, add some beans, and top with whatever else you like on your tacos (as long as it's vegan!) I simply used daiya cheese because it is all I had, but salsa or vegan sour cream would work great! I believe tofutti makes a vegan sour cream if you are curious!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Hello all! I am starting my blog and I am still trying to get a grip on what all I am going to be posting about. I am a new vegan and I am really enjoying my experiences cooking, so I will probably post recipes I find or make as well as updates in the AR world. First, I would like to say that I come from a family where high class cooking was done in the microwave and no one cooked. Also, I may not have very "exciting" recipes, although I will post some! but I will also be posting my day to day food to help those who want to know just what a vegan CAN eat.
So to start, I am going to post about my salad I had tonight.
First, I started with a head of lettuce and cut and chopped some lettuce to a fitting amount.
Then, I took three baby carrots and sliced them into little chunks
Next, I took broccoli and cut it up (I used some of the stem to add different textures and flavors)
Finally, I used Newman's salad dressing (can't really remember what type, but a lot of Newman's dressing is vegan)
annnd VOILA! I didn't take a picture because I was pretty hungry and didn't think about it until it was nearly all gone : (