May, 2012

  1. chocolate chip cookies

    May 30, 2012 by Angie

    These cookies are fantastic!  Everyone loves them and nobody guesses that they’re vegan.

    The recipe is from Mattie at VeganBaking.net, who is also the creator of our favorite vegan chocolate brownies.  They have a complex flavor –  you can taste hints of the molasses and cinnamon and then there’s delicious chocolate chips in every bite.  The best part is that one batch yields a lot of cookies.  I got 29 this time.  I’m bringing two dozen to the ol’ library today to say “Happy Retirement!” to two of the best librarians ever.


  2. seven layer dip

    May 30, 2012 by Angie

    I don’t even feel bad about eating this delicious seven layer dip because it’s a slimmed-down version with a shredded Romaine lettuce base, fat-free sour cream, and reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese.  Still have to watch out with those chips though – bummer.

    Based on the recipe “7-Layer Mexican Dinner Dip” from 400 Calorie Fix by Liz Vaccariello.

    The seven layers are:
    1. lettuce


    2. bean mixture


    3. veggies


    4. avocado


    5. salsa


    6. sour cream


    7. cheese

     

    Ingredients

    4 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
    1 tsp olive oil
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1 clove minced garlic
    1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
    1/3 cup water
    1 tsp ground cumin
    2 medium tomatoes, chopped
    1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
    1/4 cup chopped green onion
    1 avocado
    1 cup salsa
    1 cup fat free sour cream
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/2 cup reduced fat shredded Four Cheese Mexican cheese (I like the Sargento brand.)
    Chips for dipping (We are in love with Beanitos brand low-glycemic corn-free chips.  You can make your own not-horribly-bad-for-you chips by baking whole wheat tortillas.)

    Directions

    1.  Make the bean mixture by heating the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onion and garlic for about a minute then add the beans, water, and cumin.  Cook for about 5 minutes then let it cool.  Mash the mixture using a potato masher.

    2.  To make the veggie layer, wash, chop, then combine the tomatoes, cilantro, and green onions in a medium-sized bowl.

    3.  In a small bowl, mix the fat-free sour cream and chili powder.

    4.  In a big clear dish like a 9×9 glass brownie pan, assemble the dip starting with the lettuce layer and ending with the cheese layer.  Use the chips of your choice for dipping.

    I made this for a potluck at work a year or so ago and it was a huge hit even with my co-workers who are usually not into “healthy” or “vegetarian” food.  It tastes so fresh that everyone loves it.


  3. chocolate chip cookie cake

    May 29, 2012 by Angie

    This week’s 52 Weeks of Baking challenge is another technique: letters and/or stencils.  I have made some likeable frostings this year but I am still not all that pro-frosting.  I think the work/cleanup to enjoyment ratio is not sufficient to warrant making it again so I went with a powdered sugar stencil situation to decorate my chocolate chip cookie cake.

    I used a recipe from The Sweetest Vegan for the cookie cake.  She is so adorable and funny, I love her.  You can see a video of her making this and a recipe at the link.

    Cake ingredients

    Dry ingredients

    Folding in the chocolate chips

    Cute Husband is a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur and is a big fan of the cake version too.  He gives this recipe two thumbs up.  I think it tastes great but my wonky oven caused a bit of a problem with the consistency.  I know for sure that my oven doesn’t heat evenly and I also suspect the temperature is off.  Next time I will bake it longer at a lower temperature because the top was perfect but the inside wasn’t set.  I refrigerated what we didn’t eat the first day and the cold leftovers right out of the fridge are awesome.

    To fulfill the stencil challenge at hand, I used a star cookie cutter and tried to fill that in with powdered sugar.  I don’t own any kind of sifter so I had to do it with a small spoon.  It’s a disaster. My first cake wreck!  Oh well, at least it tastes good.


  4. vegan hot dogs with cashew queso

    May 25, 2012 by Angie

    There is a magical place in Downtown Orlando that only comes out at night.  It’s the Sah Nevaeh Vegan Hot Dog Cart.  We could eat an unlimited number of these hot dogs.  The Buddha Dog is the way to go with all the toppings.  Robbie and I have been salivating over and trying to recreate these perfect hot dogs for a few years now.  We were in Orlando last weekend and used that opportunity to order three and gobble them down standing up on the sidewalk.  We did our best to analyze the ingredients between exclamations of how amazing they are.  It’s a saltier soy dog on what seems to be a steamed bun with three-bean vegan chili, vegan cheese sauce, onions with sweet red sauce, sauerkraut, vegenaise, and curry-naise.

    Here is our latest attempt using Smart Dogs hot dogs, wheat buns, homemade cashew queso, Inglehoffer Stone Ground Mustard, Vegenaise, Health Valley 3 Bean Chipotle Vegetarian Chili, ketchup, and diced onion.  Get the cashew queso recipe here courtesy of the Post Punk Kitchen.

    Cashew Queso: Really queso-like and great on hot dogs and chips.

    I don’t think we’ll ever manage to copy the masterpiece exactly but this rendition is pretty amazing in its own right.  We had our friends over for dinner and drinks.  One BFF ate three hot dogs so I think that’s a ringing endorsement.  I was too busy having fun with them to take many photos but here is a shot of my hot dog after it fell over under the weight of all those tasty toppings.  Messy but so good!

     


  5. sweet and sour tofu

    May 24, 2012 by Angie

    Sweet and sour tofu is my go-to order at most Asian restaurants (unless there’s massaman curry to be had).  I love the combination of the slightly sweet and very tangy flavors and with all those vegetables it still feels healthy!

    Ingredients

    1 package of extra firm tofu (I freeze mine just for a few hours then move it to the fridge until I’m ready to use it.  It gives it a great texture.)
    1 tbsp cornstarch (plus about 3 tbsp for coating the tofu)
    3/4 cup vegetable broth
    3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
    1 tbsp sugar
    1 tbsp ketchup
    2 tbsp soy sauce
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I use a bit less because we are wimps.)
    2 tbsp Smart Balance oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    vegetables for stir fry: onion, bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms, pineapple, and tomato are more traditional.  I used: 1/2 green bell pepper, a zucchini, some baby spinach, and a pre-cut, pre-washed 12 oz bag of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.

    Directions

    1.  Drain and press the tofu.  Cut it into one inch squares.

    Super high-tech tofu pressing device.

    2.  Make the sweet and sour sauce by mixing together the ingredients from 1 tbsp of cornstarch through the cayenne pepper.  Place the tofu squares in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate while you complete the next step.  If you have time it’s good to do this thirty minutes to an hour before you’re ready to stir fry the vegetables so that the tofu can absorb the marinade.

    3.  Wash and cut the vegetables.

    4.  Heat a medium-sized skillet with Smart Balance oil on medium heat.  Pour about 3 tbsp of corn starch into a small bowl.  Using a slotted spoon, lift the tofu squares out of the marinade and shake gently to drip excess marinade back into the bowl.  Transfer the tofu squares in batches to the bowl of corn starch.  Turn to coat the tofu with corn starch.  Move the tofu to the hot skillet and cook until browned on all sides.  Keep the bowl of sweet and sour marinade and set aside.

    5.  Meanwhile, in a larger pan heat some more oil.  Add the garlic and then the rest of the vegetables.  Stir fry until just cooked.  Pour the remaining sweet and sour sauce over the vegetables and stir.

    6.  Serve the tofu and vegetables over rice or noodles.  We like to eat it just the way it is by itself.

     


  6. orange cranberry muffins

    May 16, 2012 by Angie

    This week’s Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking Challenge is citrus.  I made these orange cranberry muffins by following a recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen.  These were really easy to make.  The only thing that was kind of a bummer was zesting an entire orange and squeezing the juice by hand but that’s mainly because I don’t have the right tools.

    Ingredients including orange zest and fresh-squeezed orange juice

    Batter

    I was a little skeptical about orangey muffins but these are so good.  The sugar and fresh-squeezed orange juice make them a little sweet and the cranberries add pops of tartness.  Our apartment smells heavenly.  It’s taking quite a bit of willpower to not eat a second one.

     


  7. cream cheese brownies

    May 11, 2012 by Angie

    This week’s Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking challenge is black and white.  I used the vegan brownies recipe from Week 1 and added a cream cheese swirl to the top.  I used fat-free dairy cream cheese but these can easily be made vegan by substituting the same amount of vegan cream cheese.

    Cream cheese topping ingredients:

    8 oz package of fat-free cream cheese (or vegan cream cheese)
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

    Directions:

    1.  Make the vegan brownies as directed in Week 1’s post and spread the batter into the pan.  Before baking stop and follow these next steps.

    2.  Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add the cornstarch, flour, and vanilla and beat again until smooth.

    3.  Drop the cream cheese mixture onto the brownie batter in clumps.  Use a knife to swirl the cream cheese mixture into the brownie batter to create a marbleized look.  I had a lot of the cream cheese mixture so I ended up covering top of the brownies with it and then trying to swirl with the knife so that the brownie part showed through.

    4.  Bake for 35 minutes in your oven’s lowest rack.

    I’m bringing these to a get-together tonight but Cute Husband and I tried them last night for…science.  They’re pretty decadent and amazing.  Delicious, gooey, chocolate brownie with sweet, creamy, cream cheese mixed into every bite!


  8. tempeh BLT & a strawberry salad

    May 10, 2012 by Angie

    Cute Husband loves BLT sandwiches.  I made this vegan version with marinated, baked tempeh.  I followed this recipe for tempeh bacon from Vegetarian Times.  While the bacon was baking, I toasted two slices of whole wheat bread for each sandwich.  To construct a sandwich, put a little Vegenaise on one slice of bread then top with fresh spinach leaves (you can use lettuce if you’re a purist) and slices of tomato followed by a heaping helping of tempeh bacon and the second piece of bread.

    These were easy and tasty.  The addition of the liquid smoke to the marinade goes a long way toward achieving the bacon flavor.

    I made a strawberry salad to go with it.  The salad is mixed field greens, quartered strawberries, reduced fat feta cheese, and fat free raspberry dressing.  Yummy!


  9. margarita cupcakes

    May 5, 2012 by Angie

    Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I hear it’s kind of a fake holiday but I’ll accept any excuse for margaritas and Mexican food.

    Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking challenge for Week 18 is to transform a drink into a dessert.  I followed Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe for Mucho Margarita Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  As always, her recipe is marvelous and led to fantastic cupcakes.  They contain a small amount of tequila and some fresh lime juice and zest.  They really do taste like a margarita! Refreshingly lime-y and tangy.

    Mini cupcakes before frosting

    I made just one recipe each of cupcake batter and frosting.  It yielded enough for 24 mini cupcakes and 6 regular-sized ones.  Check out a photo of the lime-i-licious frosting below.

    Frosted mini cupcakes

    A mini cupcake about to meet its maker.

    I decorated the larger cupcakes with a lime wedge.  Festive!  Don’t forget the guacamole and tacos.