Saturday, October 31, 2009


Happy Halloween everyone!

I have two treats for you today, both recipes from Celine at Have Cake Will Travel.

Pumpkin Whole Wheat Bread – a yeast bread that is one of my family’s favorite sandwich breads.

Apple Pie in Pecan Crust

What I love about this pie, aside from its fantastic flavor, is that the crust is made with no oil, no margarine, just pecans ground into butter. How clever is that!

Absolutely fantastic served slightly warm.
If you’re celebrating tonight, be safe and have fun!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge - French Macarons

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

This challenge was not a vegan friendly one. In fact, the hostess pretty much said, Vegans, I don’t know what to tell you. Unlike American macaroons, French macarons are basically meringue sandwich cookies. Now I did previously have success making egg replacer meringue, but that was folded into a cake batter. This time I would need to fold almond flour into the meringue and bake it. Instead of agonizing over forming a perfect replica in vegan form, I decided to just have fun with my vegan interpretation.

I made meringue and tinted it orange. These will be Halloween cookies.

It freaks me out to use too much food coloring, so my orange is rather pale.

Rather than grind a whole cup of expensive raw almonds into flour, I used 1/3 cup ground almonds, 1/3 cup ground peanuts, and 1/3 cup ground….

Banana chips!

I folded the flour mixture into the meringue and piped the batter onto baking sheets and baked as directed. I have never eaten macarons so I’m not sure these are the proper texture. I can tell you that I ended up calling them *pillows* because they were super fluffy and soft with a slightly crisp edge.

I made a chunky peanut butter filling. Before I show you my final product, this is what real macarons look like:

Photo from

Knowing I could not create anything remotely equal to those gorgeous cookies, I grabbed a few chocolate chips and created these little monster treats.

They are gluten free, tasted good, and were fun to bake, and they're spooky, right? So I count this challenge as a success. Also, please see Hannah’s perfectly successful vegan macarons – amazing!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tandoori Vegetable Bake, Collards, and Fried Squash

An eclectic meal, but a very very delicious one. Of course I prepared all this in the hopes my son would join me for dinner, but I guess Sunday dinners aren’t just going to happen for us anymore.

The Tandoori Vegetable Bake was easy to put together. Combine chopped broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, red peppers, carrots, fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, onions, and a can of chickpeas in a big bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix in cashew cream sauce (1/2 cup ground cashews and 1 cup nondairy milk) and a heaping tablespoon of tandoori spice mix. Put in a big casserole and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly (and your entire house smells divine).

This was a huge casserole! Thankfully Chase was able to come to dinner on Tuesday and eat leftovers with me. I served it with rice and then he took all the rest home with him. Yum.

For my Sunday dinner though, I found two recipes in Local Bounty I wanted to try. I had mentioned earlier that I wanted to make squash chips from my Flying Saucer squash, but I decided to fry them instead. I know! I never fry anything but this recipe was too intriguing. It’s used with several different veggies in the book and I will certainly find more veggies to fry this way again. The batter is so unique (it’s cooked!), and instead of flour the squash was coated in masa harina. Now I really sag at frying because I never do it, but this was the best fried anything I’ve ever eaten. Chase really missed out on these!

Also from Local Bounty was a simple recipe for collard greens. The *secret* was to cut the collards into thin ribbons.

Then they are just sautéed in oil and garlic. I don’t know that they tasted any better, but they did taste good and they do look very nice. And I ate them all. So here’s my lovely little Sunday dinner plate.

This Sunday is another Austin Food Bloggers potluck. The theme is beer and it should be lots of fun.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mexican Roasted Vegetables

Yesterday was a big football game day. The ‘Horns played at 11:00 a.m. in Dallas so I fixed up lunch to take to my mom’s and watch the game with her. There were no chips and dips, no burgers or dogs, not even any treats. I went the healthy route and took veggies. With only a few hours in the morning before kickoff, something quick and simple was the best option.

I prepped tons of veggies to roast – zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, radishes, red and yellow and purple peppers, onions, and sweet potatoes. Then I gave them a light coating of olive oil and a good coating of chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.

After 30 minutes, they were perfect – slightly browned and full of flavor. And a little steamy!

I also made some easy spiced black beans. Just a can of rinsed and drained beans mixed with some spices, a little salsa, and water, and then let them cook until thickened.

I brought along corn tortillas and lettuce so we had our choice of tacos or salad. My mom ate just veggies. She loved them and wanted all the leftovers. I made myself a salad, topped with the veggies and beans – yum.

How do you like my idea of game day food? I know, you’ll probably never invite me to watch football with you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Soup and Snax

I cooked for 6 hours on Sunday and I don’t have much to show for it. I made my weekly pot of beans, then I made a test recipe for the upcoming Austin Food Bloggers potluck which I don’t want to share yet (it's good!), and then I made some requested nonvegan birthday scones for a friend, which he loved.

It was a cold and rainy weekend, so a big pot of soup for dinner was in order. I made another recipe from Love Soup and took to my mom’s, hoping Chase would join us as well. Naturally he got called in to work, but in these hard times we are all thankful to have jobs and don’t complain. Anyway, I decided on White Bean, Garlic, and Greens Soup.

I used spinach for my greens. The soup was very good, nicely seasoned with sage (an herb I don't use often enough) and garlic, and perfect topped with some seasoned croutons.

Now for the snacks! I love really really crunchy snacks. First the store bought variety.

These Go Raw Snax are very tasty and are nice to have with my salads for lunch. I usually have rice cakes, but these, as you can imagine, have way more flavor.

Best raw crackers I’ve found so far.

I like to have a bedtime snack. I can’t seem to manage more than six hours of sleep a night, so I need quality sleep. I’ve always heard that carbs before bed help you sleep better. This would explain my lifelong habit of having a bowl of cereal about an hour before bedtime. I usually chop up a whole apple, sprinkle on tons of cinnamon, then top with a little cereal and vanilla almond milk. My new favorite cereal is Yogi Crisps.

I imagine this is similar to the new granola clusters cereals I’ve seen. Yogi Crisps are delicious, wheat free, low calorie, and have a way cooler shape than clusters.

I buy cinnamon raisin flavor. There are no raisins in the package and for a while I thought they forgot to add them in. Then I read the ingredient list and saw that the raisins are pureed and added to the crisps – nice! This is a great cereal, even eaten straight out of the bag.

I did make myself one homemade treat. It’s another yummy Dreena recipe - Easy Pleasin’ Oat Bars. Of course I added in chocolate chips and cacao nibs.

These bars are easy to mix up, spread in the pan, and bake in just about 15 minutes.

I’ve been loving all of your MoFo posts. It’s hard to keep up but I’m doing my best!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Vive le Vegan with Some Twists

I love Dreena Burton’s recipes and all three of her cookbooks. I love them because they are healthy, low fat, low sugar, and many are gluten free – just my style when it comes to good food. Main dish recipes use ingredients I always have on hand and they are written flawlessly. Her treats are small in quantity and never sickeningly sweet or full of margarine. And her recipes ALWAYS turn out perfectly. I revisited Vive le Vegan! on Sunday to make some of my favorite recipes for dinner.

Let me preface by saying that I was hoping Chase would come over for dinner, but I ended up taking dinner to him, so the pictures are rather boring.

Dreena’s recipes are also easily adapted. Sunflower Lentil Pie is one of my favorites. Say you get distracted and burn your pot of the last of the lentils in your pantry (oops!). Luckily I had a fresh pot of homemade pinto beans, so I decided to make the pie with pintos instead of lentils. I gave it a Mexican twist by seasoning it with cumin, red pepper flakes, and cilantro. The Mexican twist was easily inspired by wanting the cool Avocado Sauce from Vive to accompany the pie, and just plain loving all foods Mexican.

Here’s my Mexican Sunflower Pinto Pie.

And here’s the Avocado Sauce. I added cilantro to it.

Please imagine a perfect slice of spicy pie drizzled with the creamy dreamy Avocado Sauce. Doesn’t that look good?!!!! Even though I didn’t cut the pie and have a piece when it was done, I can tell you that the “batter” was fabulous. And of course Chase will tell you he ate nearly half of it for dinner.

I also made some colorful veggies – sauteed purple cabbage, with many onions and colored peppers from the farm box. I kept seasoning it and trying to spice it just how I wanted but couldn’t get it quite to my liking. I finally decided to stir in some bottled Italian Dressing and then I was happy.

Chase was very impressed with his veggies and loved them just as much as the pie. So again, imagine a pretty purple mound of cabbage next to that slice of pie on a plate.

For treats I made my all time favorite easy Vive recipe that always hits the spot, and is not too sweet yet full of flavor – Banana Oat Bundles. My usual twist to this recipe is to add chocolate chips. This time I added chocolate chips AND cacao nibs and they were heavenly.

So ends my ode to Dreena. I know there are many fabulous new vegan cookbooks out now, which I look forward to purchasing and cooking from soon, but it’s nice to have the good ol’ standbys to fall back on anytime. Thank you, Dreena, for providing me with so many “go to” recipes!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Farm Fresh

My most recent CSA box contained the same produce I’ve gotten all summer.

Bell peppers and onions, rather puny again

Banana peppers


And a nice surprise – 2 pounds of fresh shelled blackeyed peas.

I also got more okra but I’m so sick of okra. It goobers up my knife, the cutting board, and the pan I cook it in, and I still just don’t enjoy it.

I also had some potatoes from a previous box and some local calabaza squash, which is similar to zucchini but always much cheaper at the store. Normally I just chop everything up and sauté it.

For this version, I decided to add in a nice sauce. I used Gee Whiz sauce from The Saucy Vegetarian, which thankfully tasted nothing like Cheese Whiz! I hadn’t made a good, noochy sauce in a long time and I really enjoyed it. It’s a no-cook sauce I just whizzed up in the miniprep.

I added the sauce to the cooked veggies and let it heat through. The blackeyed peas were simmered in a broth. I love fresh peas because they cook in just 20 minutes. Along with a side of fresh steamed broccoli, I had myself a quite delicious and very fresh dinner.

I also got some more Flying Saucer squash.

My Stuffed Flying Saucer Squash post was featured on two weekly “Best Of” blogs, so I’ll have to come up with another tasty way to prepare these. I wonder if they would make good chips. They would make nice flower shapes.

I’m sad I can’t participate in VeganMoFo this year. Work is just too busy. I will post as often as I can though to join at least in spirit. I was a MoFo’er the past two years, and last year I posted EVERY DAY! But I will just enjoy this year’s festivities from the sidelines and look forward to meeting new bloggers and reading about lots of great, healthy, vegan food. Have fun, MoFo’ers!