When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

Vegan Crockpot Time September 29, 2013

Filed under: Curry,Main Courses,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 11:30 am
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A couple of weeks ago, I decided to make a bunch of Vegan meals in my Slowcooker. I have had this cookbook (The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World by Lynn Alley) for awhile and I have wanted to cook a few recipes out of it. I finally felt like the right time to try them out and Mike was willing to cooperate and try the recipes too. I ended up making Butternut Squash in Green Curry Sauce page 53, Potatoes and Peas in Red Curry Sauce page 48, and Lebanese Eggplant Stew page 105.

All of the recipes were very easy to make and the only prep was chopping up the vegetables. I think out of all of the recipes my favorite was the Potatoes and Peas in Red Curry Sauce. It was more substantial than the Butternut Squash in Green Curry Sauce. Don’t get me wrong the Green Curry was great, but it needed more vegetables than just the butternut squash. Next time I think I might add sliced onions and peppers. In reality you could just add your favorite vegetable, but be careful with the cooking time because you don’t want them to be falling apart.

The Lebanese Eggplant Stew is similar to a Ratatouille, but with different spices and more liquidy, hence Stew. I ended up subbing yellow squash for the zucchini because that is what I had on hand. Also, most of the vegetables that I used were from the Farmers Market (eggplant and squash) and our garden (2 types of green peppers). It turned out good, and all of the recipes were served either over rice or with rice.

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Vegan Rice Crispy Treats September 26, 2013

Filed under: Vegan — pastrybrush @ 3:00 pm
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These Crispy Rice Squares are in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar on page 143. I decided to make these because they look awesome and I wanted to introduce Emma to the magic of Crispy Rice Squares. Granted you don’t get the sticky mess that you do with non vegan ones, but I swear they tasted exactly like the version with marshmallows without the mess. We did have to either eat them over the sink or give Emma a bowl because they would fall apart. Thank goodness for dogs because Emma was leaving a trail of rice crispies and the dogs would just follow her and clean up. Emma really liked them and would ask for “treats” when she wanted one.

This recipe actually makes 9 large treats but I sliced them smaller and got 12 medium/small THICK treats. The recipe was actually really easy to make. The only problem was the time you had to wait until you could dig in 🙂

 

Vegan Coconut Yogurt and Granola September 24, 2013

Filed under: Breakfast,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 7:02 am
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My first shot at making Yogurt in our dehydrator and I am making Vegan Coconut Milk Yogurt. The process was actually very simple and I used multiple sources (Waking Up Vegan, Vegan Guinea Pig, Vegan Cookbook Aficionado, and Excalibur Dehydrator – NOT VEGAN, used to figure out how to use dehydrator) to come up with a recipe.

For the Coconut Milk in the recipe I ended up using the big carton in the refrigerated section at the grocery store, well it worked but it had no flavor. So I advise you to use the canned coconut milk that has the least amount of ingredients added to it. You will get a better flavor. Also, I might have to experiment with the amount of Agar Powder because I used 1.5 tsp and it was WAY too much. It thickened just a little too much, more like the consistence of a jello. I think next time I will use 1 tsp and see what happens.

The Granola recipe is actually one of my favorites and it is from Alton Brown. It is very simple, happens to be Vegan, and is VERY tasty.

Coconut Milk Yogurt

32 oz Coconut Milk (4 cups)
1.5 tsp agar powder (should have used 1 tsp)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup coconut milk yogurt w/ active cultures

Sterilize jars and lids that you will be storing the yogurt in.

In a large pot whisk the agar powder into 2 cups of coconut milk until dissolved.
Heat the pot of coconut milk over low to medium heat until the temperature reaches 180 to 190 F. Remove from the heat and cool to 115 F/46 C.
Add in 1 cup of yogurt and sugar to cooled milk.
Pour mixture into containers and cover. Incubate in the dehydrator at 115 F/46 C for 5 hours.
Do not disturb, bump, open door or move while yogurt is incubating. When finished, refrigerate. Before serving, add flavors or fresh fruit.

Granola
Source: Good Eats: The Early Years by Alton Brown, page 264

Ingredients
10 oz Rolled Oats
4.5 oz Slivered almonds
5 oz Raw Cashews
1.5 oz Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
3 oz Dark Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp Kosher Salt
3 oz Maple Syrup
2 oz Vegetable Oil (I used Coconut Oil – melted)
4 oz Raisins or other dried fruit (I omitted these)

1) Heat oven to 250 F.
2) Combine the oats, nuts, coconut, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
3) Measure the syrup and oil into a plunger cup. Add to the dry mixture and stir to combine.
4) Transfer the mixture to a half sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
5) Remove from the oven and transfer to a large bowl and cool for 30 minutes. Add the raisins and mix until evenly distributed. Store in an airtight container and enjoy for up to 2 weeks.

 

Vegan Banana Toffee Pudding Pie with Rad Whip September 23, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Pie,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 2:02 pm
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I have been making a lot of Vegan meals and desserts this past week. I just haven’t had the time to post about it.

I am going to start off with the sweet stuff first because who doesn’t want to eat dessert before dinner 🙂

I decided to make the Banana Toffee Pudding Pie (Banoffee Pie) topped with Rad Whip. These recipes can be found in Vegan Pie In The Sky on pages 114 and 199, respectively. This pie just intrigued me by the picture because it looked so good. Then came the “unicorn tear magic” of the Rad Whip.

For the recipe of the pie, the pre-baked crust was really straight forward using non-hydrogenated shortening as the fat. Which turned out a nice flakey crust with no weird aftertaste, which sometimes accompanies a crust made with Vegan Butter. The filling was also very easy. You cook down coconut milk and brown sugar until a dark caramel like consistency and then you add your thickening agent let thicken, and then your flavorings. You then layer your bananas and the toffee pudding, let cool, and top with Rad Whip.

Now the Rad Whip can be the tricky part. I didn’t have any problems until I had to whip it up the final time. I guess the “unicorn tear magic” wasn’t working for me that day, but let me start at the beginning of my Rad Whip adventure. First thing first, I would like to thank my husband for the AMAZING Vitamix blender he got me. This thing is crazy, to grind up the soaked cashews with coconut milk it only took 30-60 seconds and it wasn’t gritty at all. Yay, for not having to wait 5 minutes. Everything went very smoothly (pun intended). I streamed in the Almond Milk/Agar mixture, added flavorings, placed it COLD metal bowl in freezer and waited 30 minutes. When I took it out of the freezer it reminded me of a very firm set Jello or rubber. I knew it was going to take a bit for the first whipping, so I wasn’t too worried. It did come together but it didn’t beat up as much as I thought it would, but into the fridge it went to sit overnight. The next day I brought it out for the final whip. I started to whip it up and just noticed it wasn’t coming together, it started to look almost grainy but it wasn’t at all. I whipped it as much as a could, placed it in the fridge, and did some research.

I guess others have had problems with it not whipping up correctly. The advice was to check date on Agar powder, which I was good on because it was brand new. Next advice was maybe it wasn’t cold enough and to put back in fridge and try again, if that doesn’t work stream in another tablespoon of coconut oil and that should bring it together and help it whip up. I tried one more time to whip it up and it still looked almost like it was separating. I decided that I needed to re-emulsify the mixture, so in it went into the blender and it came together and emulsified again. Yay, no more grainy looking Rad Whip. Since the mixture wasn’t cold anymore, I placed it in the fridge for 2 hours to rest. I finally took it out to whip up and it worked for the most part. I decided to top the pie and be done with it.

The tasting has to have been the best part. I cut out a piece, sat down, and thoroughly enjoyed this pie. Mike also sat down and had a piece with me and also liked it. The next morning Emma gets up and asks for a piece of pie and proceeds to poke at it in the fridge. I didn’t think pie was a good idea for breakfast for her….for me it was a fantastic idea but I wasn’t about to eat pie in front of her. We eat our sweets when the girls are asleep 🙂

After Emma finished her breakfast, and then right before lunch she got a piece of pie. She proceeded to eat the Rad Whip off the top and say, “yum, yum.” She left half of the filling and crust and when I proceeded to finish her pie she asked for a few bites and the requested more. Which I couldn’t allow and just made her lunch. She proceeded to forget about the pie until the next day, which I didn’t cave in. It was the third day and last slice of pie is when I caved, and made Mike share his last piece of pie with Emma 🙂

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Basil Peach Pie September 16, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Pie,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 8:00 am
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The other weekend, we drove down to Atlanta, GA, to see my niece get baptized. On the drive down we saw a few places that you could get fresh peaches, and thought about stopping and getting some on the drive back. We ended up not stopping because when you are drive 9+ hours with a 2 year old and a 3 month old (at the time) and everyone is asleep, the last thing you want to do is stop. So my in-laws actually ended up bringing us some peaches back when they came home the next weekend.

We ended up with a full peck of very juicy and sweet freestone peaches. We were mostly just eating them and I used a few for smoothies. Emma really LOVED the peaches she would ask for one and the eat it like an apple. You couldn’t slice it up for her or she would get upset, and if you didn’t watch her she would keep grabbing peaches and take a bite out of each one.

I decided with the last few peaches I would make a pie. I used the recipe in Vegan Pie In The Sky. I ended up having WAY more than the 6 cups the recipe called for. I did use my deep dish pie pan, however, I didn’t increase the amount of flour or sugar in the filling. The pie was sweet enough, but it was a bit on the watery side so it needed the extra flour. Especially with how juicy the peaches were. I forgot that using flour makes the filling cloudy and I thought about using tapioca but figured I would just follow the recipe. Also, I am one of those people that likes cinnamon in my peach pie, but I didn’t know how cinnamon and basil would be together. Funny thing is the filling was so simple that it actually reminded me of the flavor of canned peaches.

The pie crust had me wary because it consisted of 8 tablespoons of Earth Balance Buttery Sticks and 8 tablespoons of non-hydrogenated shortening. It was mainly the Buttery Sticks because sometimes I really can taste the soy in the baked goods that I make with them. The crust actually turned out great and I actually didn’t notice the flavor of soy in the pie crust that much.

 

Smoothie Time Part 1 September 14, 2013

Filed under: Vegan — pastrybrush @ 1:40 pm
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My EARLY Christmas Present, Vitamix, actually came a lot earlier than we thought it would. I have already made a few things with it and I have to say that I love this machine. Granted it is loud and it does scare Emma (my 2 year old), but when it is done blending she claps and says, “Yay.” Surprisingly, it hasn’t woken anyone up from their naps yet. But I have been wary about using it too early in the morning because I am afraid that I will have one or both wake up and sometimes Mom just needs a little break in the morning before everyone is awake.

Back to smoothies, I made a Peach Mango Smoothie and didn’t add any sweetener. I think next time I make that one I will add some agave syrup to it. The recipe calls for either 2 dates or 1 tablespoon of honey, but honey is a NO NO so probably 1.5 teaspoons of agave should work. The first time I made the Peach Mango, I forgot I had mango and substituted in frozen raspberries and frozen bananas and did not include the ice.

When I made it the other day, I discovered that I had frozen mangos. So I made it again and this time I added a vegan protein powder to it. Which I will review later. Emma was really interested in my smoothie and because I didn’t want her to have any of the protein powder I made her her own smoothie of half a fresh peach and a frozen banana with a little bit of water. It probably made 2 cups and I only gave her half a cup at a time. When I got home from work, Mike told me that she ended up drinking the whole thing. I guess Mommy needs to start making some green smoothies to start getting more veggies into Emma.

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Banana Bread September 11, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Breakfast,Quick Breads,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 8:00 pm
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My daughter LOVES bananas for some reason she has trouble saying banana which I imagine most two year olds would. I finally figured out her name for bananas awhile back and it just strikes me as funny. She calls it a me me. I always try to say banana so that she will eventually try to use the word, but sometimes I slip up and say me me.

Every once in awhile she decides that bananas aren’t a snack she wants and then I forget we have them. Recently, I have probably made banana bread every other week. I actually had the idea to take a picture of the bread from the other week. Which probably doesn’t matter because it looks like I will be making banana bread again in a couple of days. Funny thing about the bread, the first day I make it she will be all about eating the banana bread and then the next day wants nothing to do with it. I guess that is the life of a two year old.

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I use the Lowfat Banana Bread recipe in Veganomicon and then I add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of walnuts to the recipe depending on how nutty I want to be that day. To make the bread pretty, I sprinkled sparkling/decorating sugar on top, sugar in the raw would work perfectly fine too.