Vegan Meal Ideas 3/23/14

This weekend was one of those crazy “nesting” weekends where you just want to bake and clean and organize. It could also be my response to all of the March Madness going on — SO MUCH BASKETBALL! I’m staying up until after midnight only to see my bracket fall to pieces… I guess that’s the beauty of March Madness.

So in the midst of all the games, I had some fun in the kitchen. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Coconut Oil Honey Almond Granola

2.  Homemade Salsa

  • http://www.kimshealthyeats.com/fresh-homemade-salsa/
  • We tried this in the Vitamix. I may or may not have started on too high of a setting and created some V8 juice with the first batch 🙂 That batch got turned into black bean and salsa soup, which was delicious!

3. Ancho Lentil Tacos

4. Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

PB brownie bites

Hopefully these brownie bites and delicious recipes from awesome bloggers will help get you through all the basketball. My absolute favorite part of the games happened earlier today when Kansas lost. This poor young boy kept being put on TV because he was crying so hard over Kansas’ defeat. Your moment of TV stardom will forever be known for your tears. Every boy’s dream. It was pretty hilarious though and got me through the realization that I picked Kansas to win it all.

Happy basketball watching and vegan cooking!

Until next time,

Anna

Chocolate Cake Vegan Style

Don’t worry. You can be a vegan and still eat amazing chocolate cake. I’m doing it right now.

Pops turned 60 this month and I got to make the cake for his surprise party…full of non-vegans. In this scenario there is a whole lot of pressure to prove that vegan cake is just as good as non-vegan cake. Let’s just say I got a lot of positive feedback and in the words of my foodie sister @KitchenCanvasRD, the cake was “decadent.”

So how did this cake come together? With a lot of trial and error! The result: amazing cake.

I pulled together 3 different recipes to make this cake. I hope you like it!

For the cake portion and the glaze I used these recipes from Instructables.com. Here’s my recommendations for the recipe:

1. Bake the cake at 340 degrees for 30 minutes. I made the cake two different times and it was more moist when I took it out while it was still a little gooey on the toothpick.

2. I used my round cake pans and stacked up each cake to make a 3 level cake instead of leaving the cake in the pan. This means that I tripled the cake recipe.

3. To get the cakes out of the pan easily, grease your cake pan, then cut out a circle of wax paper for the bottom of the pan before you put in the batter. After you flip your cake out onto the cooling rack, remove the paper.

Vegan Cake

For the filling I used the frosting recipe from VegWeb and sprinkled vegan chocolate chips in between the layers. Yum. For the vegan milk in this recipe I used coconut. Any kind would work though.

So I initially wanted to just make the glaze from the Instructables website. However, it’s a glaze, not a frosting. I did make the glaze and poured it over the cake before I frosted it with chocolate frosting. I think it added a lot of moisture and goodness. It’s totally optional, but I think it is worth the 10 minutes it takes to make. Plus, you can steal a spoonful and then it’s totally worth it. Am I right?

The frosting I ended up using over my glaze is actually a variation from the Crisco recipe here. The ingredients I used are:

  • 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of the chocolate glaze in the Instructables recipe (add a spoonful at a time until the desired taste)

1. Put the chocolate chips in the microwave until softened, stirring every 30 seconds (total time is about 1 min and a half)

2. Combine all other ingredients with the chocolate chips and mix until smooth.

Piece of cake

I seriously thought about the leftover piece of cake I had in my fridge multiple times at work today… and while I was running at the gym. Counterproductive? Yes.

To top it all off I grated some dark chocolate on top. This cake takes a while due to having to make 3 different frostings, but I think it was worth it.

I hope you try it and wow yourself with vegan cake!

Until next time,

Anna

Vegan Meal Idea 2/9/14

Cauliflower. Puree it into a cream sauce. Chop it into “rice.” Turn it into a pizza crust. Roast it into bite sized goodness. What a great vegetable.

I am a great planner at work. I love managing schedules, making sure projects are moving forward, and thinking through next steps. When it comes to what’s for dinner, I may or may not be lacking in the planning department. I literally start thinking about dinner on my drive home from work.

So of course, I bought a head of cauliflower with no plan for it. If you follow me on Pinterest you can see about 7 pins in a row of recipe ideas with cauliflower– all pinned post-purchase.

Cauliflower

When I stumbled upon this recipe from Cookin Canuck, I knew I had found a winner.

**Note- I did end up cooking the cauliflower for about 8 extra minutes, but otherwise followed the recipe**

Southwestern Roasted Cauliflower. It was the perfect menu addition for today’s dinner. So if you are anything like me and don’t know what Monday’s dinner looks like, here’s an idea for you

Appetizer: Steamed edamame

Side: Southwestern Roasted Cauliflower. Recipe

Main: Quinoa Corn Chowder.  Recipe

Dessert: A square of dairy free dark chocolate (a “staple” dessert in my house)

cauliflower 2

Happy eating.

Now back to watching the Olympics. Go team USA!

Until next time,

Anna

Fun Fishing Game for Kids

Happy New Year! This year I had so much fun making games and toys for my niece and nephew. If you have a little one in your life, I highly recommend creating something for him or her. It might bomb, but it might be awesome and a great memorable gift.

For my nephew I decided to go for a fishing game! All you need are some kids socks, magnets, a washer, cotton balls or squares, some kind of twine/yarn/ribbon, a dowel rod, and some paint!

fish one

Here’s the rundown for the fish:

1. Paint eyes and a mouth on a little kids sock with fabric paint.

2. After the paint is dry, stuff the sock with cotton balls or squares.

3. Wrap a magnet in a cotton square and shove into the tip of the sock. (Wrapping it makes it easier for the fish to be released from the “hook” during the game)

4. Use a sturdy string/yarn to tie the sock closed. You want to make sure it is really tied well so the kids can’t get to the magnet.

5. I covered the string with ribbon to make it look prettier. (Optional)

PicMonkey Collage fishh

For the Rod:

1. Cut a dowel rod to about 2 ft long and drill a hole through the top end to put string through (or have your husband or dad help with this!)

2. Paint the rod with spray paint, acrylic paint, or whatever you have on hand. I decorated it with fabric paint and that stuck.

3. String a 18 inch (approximately) thread (sturdy string) through the hole and tie securely onto the rod.

5. Tie a washer on the opposite end of the thread.

fish 6 dowel

Giving this gift was a blast. My nephew was able to catch a fish, which was super adorable, and then proceeded to go “fly fishing,” whipping the rod around. We all ran for our lives as the washer and thread flew through the air! I think this gift might have been a few months premature, but I think he’ll have fun with it in a few months.

fishies!I hope this inspires you to venture into the world of crafting! Remember to watch the kids when they play with this- adult supervision is a good idea 😉

Until next time,

Anna

Perfect Saturday Morning Pancakes

Today is a day to mop the floors. Today is a day to actually sit down and read for a while. Today is a day to start thinking about what I want to get or make people for Christmas. Today is a day to organize a closet. Most of all, today is definitely a day for pancakes.

I grew up with the Saturday morning pancake ritual. Mom would be downstairs with Moody Radio on in the kitchen and the smell of her interesting pancake concoctions would fill the air. Sometimes there were buckwheat pancakes. Sometimes dad got his favorite Bisquick pancakes. Sometimes everything but the kitchen sink was in the pancakes. Whatever they looked or tasted like, there were going to be pancakes on Saturday morning.

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I quickly instituted pancakes into my family soon after I got married. I married a man who isn’t in love with “bread-y” things, so his love of the ritual took some time. Needless to say, we both love our weekend breakfast choice now. After becoming vegan, most pancake mixes were out of the picture as they contain milk products. I had to start experimenting with pancakes from scratch.

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I am happy to say that I finally found a GREAT vegan pancake recipe that I slightly altered from the famous Isa Chandra Moskowitz. You can check out her blog here. She makes amazing zucchini banana muffins as well. Love her.

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So here’s my fat-free version: (Adapted from Isa Does It, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs brown sugar

1 cup almond, soy, rice, or coconut milk (I use almond)

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs ground flax seed

1/2 cup water

3 Tbs applesauce (you can use canola oil if you don’t want a fat free version)

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

To do:

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the middle.

Mix the milk, flax, and vinegar vigorously with a fork for a minute, making a foamy mixture. Add that to the dry ingredients.

Stir in the water, applesauce, and vanilla. Don’t over mix the batter or use an electric mixer. Lumpy batter is okay.

Let the batter sit for 10 minutes for the magic of chemistry to happen.

Preheat your pan on a low setting (around 3).

Cook pancakes for around 2 minutes per side. A good way to tell when to flip is to look for bubbles in the batter or to sneak a quick peak at the underside of the edge of your pancake.

Feel free to liberally add chocolate chips, bananas, or whatever else you want to your batter while cooking.

**Note from experience of pancake making in college: S’more pancakes don’t work. Adding graham crackers to the batter makes for a pretty hard pancake. Not good.**

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Have a happy Saturday and enjoy the panks (as I like to call pancakes).

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And as my mother would say, “You just have to use real maple syrup. None of that fake stuff.”

Until next time,

Anna