When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

Day 13, 14, and the start of 15 September 15, 2014

Day 13

Just an FYI I REALLY like Morning Star Grillers Vegan Burgers. I just find the flavor on them to be exactly when I am looking for when I want a burger.  I have been topping them with Vegan Mayo and Sautéed Garlic Mushrooms. Now I just need to find a good Vegan white cheese and I will be good.  I also find that I prefer Trader Joe’s Soy Yogurt over other name brands because it doesn’t have a very strong soy taste like other do.  I am not really a fan of the soy flavor. I am cool with it in coffee drinks or a latte but as a yogurt or in baked goods, I just use a different non-dairy milk (rice or almond).

So, my husband left for a conference on day 13 and I had to just wing something for dinner. I had been eyeing the Nachos in Isa Does It, but then I forgot to buy chips. I decided to make the girls some baked French Fries with their dinner and decided I was going to make myself some chili cheese fries.  I have already bought a can of Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Chili, and I checked the ingredients and it was free and clear of any animal ingredients.


100_4025I got out Isa Does It and proceeded to make the Queso Blanco, which is featured on a good number of pages.  I had every thing on hand, which is surprising because I usually don’t have jalapeños.  But it is the end of summer and our pepper plants are still producing like mad, so I have A LOT of jalapeños.  I was very surprised how quick every thing came together. I didn’t have time to soak my cashews, but I did notice in the ABCs to soaking that if you had a high powered blended that you didn’t need to soak.


I put everything together and was surprised just how good the Queso Blanco is.  I don’t think I need to ever have nacho cheese sauce again because I have the perfect substitute. It isn’t even a substitute it is too good.  Now I need to find some chips and I will be in dipping heaven.  Maureen also enjoyed my chili cheese fries because she crawled into my lap while I was eating it and I proceeded to feed her the beans out of the chili.

Day 14

Very uneventful.

But I did make Puffy Pancakes again for the girls. I almost killed myself when I forgot to add the sugar, so I had to dump it back into the bowl, add the sugar and mix, and then put it back in the pancake pen.  All the while, Emma was asking when the pancakes were going to be ready.

Day 15

Is going great.

I made the Blueberry Bran Muffins (Isa Does It) again and then I also made the Banana-Nut Muffins (Isa Does It).  I had a few bananas about to go bad and I figured the muffins were the next best thing. Everyone loves banana bread, so I knew they would like these.  While in the middle of making them I discovered that I was out of pecans, so I made Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins.  I just used 1 cup walnuts and 1/2 chocolate chips.  I was indulging while I was writing my blog posts and I am finally getting my first cup of coffee for the day.

Some miracle happened and both girls are asleep. It is more than likely because I was woken up at 5:30 am to Emma crying that she needed changed because she peed her diaper.  After changing her, and reading her the story she requested I crawled back in bed only to be woken up an hour later to her asking if she can sleep with me.  Why not, daddy isn’t here and the two dogs don’t hog too much of the bed.  Then I had to wake Maureen up early because Emma goes to “school” on Mondays.  So, Mommy is sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee, and enjoying her Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins.



Days 11 and 12 VEGAN!!!

Day 11

I went ALL out for dinner.

I made Chickpea Cutlets with Sweet Vidalia Onion Sauce (Veganomicon), Caulipots (Appetite for Reduction), and Green Beans with Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions.  For dessert we had…




Boom, mind exploded.

I have made the Chickpea Cutlets before and remembered really liking them.  I decided to do the Sweet Onion Sauce with them because I always have onions on hand.  For the sauce I did think it wasn’t saucy enough so I added Vegetable Stock to it for more liquid and then I thickened it up with a slurry of flour and vegetable stock. When I was making dinner I was trying to have everything ready when Mike got home, so I actually made the sauce all the way thru (except for thickening it) and had the cutlets formed and ready to sauté up.  I also made the Caulipots (Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes) a bit early because I knew they would stay warm.


I also made small plates up for each of the girls, Maureen (1 years old) tried every thing on her plate and seemed to enjoy it. Emma was passed out on the couch because she had a big day with her Grandma. But Emma did wake up to have some Green Pie, and declared that she loved the pie and it was the best pie ever. Mike actually liked everything, and ate it all.  He also suggested that I make the Caulipots for Christmas because he really liked those.

Day 12 

I made the Blueberry Maple Bran Muffins (Isa Does It) for breakfast and the whole family gobbled them up.  I did omit the maple extract because I couldn’t find any.  So I guess I should say, I made Blueberry Bran Muffins.  Both girls loved them and I really couldn’t get enough of them. Someone should have probably slapped my hand a few times when I went over and grabbed another one to eat.  Emma actually had two muffins and Maureen threw a mini fit until we have her bits of her own muffin.  She the proceeded to eat the rest of one of Emma’s muffins.


Eating vegan has been going very well, but as you will see from my posts it has been pie and baking. So it hasn’t been very healthy, but it has been yummy.  I am still keeping up with my 5k training so I haven’t been worrying about it and I haven’t gained weight either.


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.


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.


Daring Bakers: Quick Bread February 28, 2012

Filed under: Quick Breads,The Daring Bakers' — pastrybrush @ 12:28 am
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The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lis stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

As it happens, I actually made my go to Banana Walnut Bread recipe just a couple of days ago. So this worked out perfectly 🙂

Mike had randomly hinted last week that banana bread would be yummy, especially since there were two very ripe bananas hanging out on the counter. One day when Mike was at work, I put Emma in her highchair and went about throwing all the ingredients for the bread together.

The greatest thing about quick breads is that they are quick 🙂

I didn’t want to have to wait all day for the bread to bake up. Well sometimes one hour feels like all day when you are hungry and just want one piece. So I decided to scoop these into a standard size muffin pan, made 11 muffins, and sprinkled them with a little sugar and baked them for 20 minutes.

Banana Bread
Source: Better Homes and Gardens: New Cook Book page 114

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp because I love cinnamon)
1 egg
1 cup mashed bananas (3 medium)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel (aka lemon zest)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 8x4x2 inch loaf pan; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients; set aside.
2. In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar, cooking oil, and lemon peel. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir until just moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts.
3. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degree F oven for 50 to 55 minutes or till a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove loaf from pan, cool on rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 1 loaf (16 servings).



Tuesdays With Dorie/Vegan MoFo: Vegan Apple Nut Muffin Cake October 4, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Cake,Quick Breads,Tuesdays With Dorie,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 11:10 pm
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This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Katrina of Baking and Boys.  She picked Dorie’s Apple Nut Muffin Cake which is located on page 37 in Baking:From My Home to Yours.  Since this month is Vegan MoFo aka Vegan Month of Food, all of my post for October will be Vegan.  If I am given a recipe that is not vegan than I will make it vegan to abide by the rules, which I did for this recipe.

I am also going to be posting more this month because I have realized I have been neglecting my blog.  It will surprise you to know that I have already baked/cooked up a few vegan things already and now I just need to find time to sneak away from the baby to type them up 🙂

This cake turned out wonderful.  No one would be able to tell that it was vegan.  It was very moist because of the apples and the texture reminded me of a banana walnut cake without the banana flavor.  I would definitely make this again.  The changes to the recipe that I made were very easy, and actually made for a healthier version of the cake since I used vegetable oil instead of butter.  I took a few hints from the Ladies over at Post Punk Kitchen via Vegan with a Vengeance to make this recipe Vegan and it was perfect.

You can find the original recipe on Katrina’s blog, Baking and Boys.

Below is the vegan version that turned out FANTASTIC!!!

Vegan Apple Nut Muffin Cake

1/2 cup rice milk

1/2 cup apple juice

1 tbsp ground Flax Seed mixed with 3 tbsp water

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pecan extract (I didn’t want to dig the almond extract out)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1  3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

1 medium apple, peeled, cored and cut into small dice

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup dried figs, diced (I was out of raisins so I opted for figs)

Getting ready:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Use an 8-inch square silicone pan, or oil an 8-inch square baking pan.  Put the pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the rice milk, cider, ground flax seed with water, vanilla and pecan extracts, oil, and vinegar.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and salt to combine thoroughly.  Toss in the brown sugar, making sure there aren’t any lumps by running it through your fingers, then add the oats and whisk the dry ingredients a few more times to mix.  Switch to a large rubber spatula and stir in the liquid ingredients, stirring just until everything is moistened—as with muffins, less mixing is better than more.  Gently stir in the apple, nuts and figs, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for a couple of minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and unmolding the cake; invert and cool until warm, or to room temperature.


Catching up with Tuesdays with Dorie July 5, 2011

By now you have probably realized why I have been Missing in Action.  I had a little baby nugget, who is currently strapped to my chest as I write this.  I am still in complete awe of her, and that Mike and I made her.  It seems so surreal 🙂

The past 5 weeks I have actually made all but one of the Tuesdays With Dorie recipes, I just haven’t had time to post them.  Especially since I wasn’t suppose to be walking upstairs, which is where the computer is.  Now that I am better and I don’t hurt as much, I can actually make it up the stairs without cringing in pain 🙂

First up, for the week of June 7th Cindy of Everyday Insanity chose Dorie’s Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake, which is located on page 36 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.  I actually completely forgot that I didn’t post this recipe until I went to download the pictures of everything else that I had baked.  Now how could I have forgotten this recipe.  It was FANTASTIC.  The cake reminded me of the Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffin Mix that you get at the store.  My mom use to always make those blueberry muffins and we would have them with dinner or for breakfast straight out of the oven with butter on them.  I now have a recipe that I can use instead of buying the mix 🙂

For the week of June 21st Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet chose Dorie’s Date-Nut Loaf, which is located on page 228 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.  This recipe was this first thing that I made when I started to feel better.  I guess you could say that baking was the sign that I was getting back to my normal self.  Do you know how hard it is to not do the things you want to do because your body will hate you the next day?  Well it isn’t fun, and I paid for it a few times

Back to the food 🙂  I am really not a Date person, but I really liked this loaf.  It was perfect slightly warm out of the oven.  While my parents were in town helping with Emma, they actually helped Mike and I eat this loaf.  It actually went pretty quick since we were eating it for breakfast.  Unfortunately, it went so quick that I never had the opportunity to take a picture of the loaf.  But it was pretty, and it was studded with walnuts and dates…very yummy and very easy to make.

For the week of June 28th, Spike of Spike Bakes chose Dorie’s  Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Cookies, which are located on page 160.  These cookies were very easy to make, scoop and bake.  I ended up forgetting to put in the cinnamon, which actually worked in my favor because they tasted wonderful.  I don’t think they would have been as good with the cinnamon.  The flavor of the cookies reminded me of a chocolate chip cookie sans chocolate chips.  The soft hint of chocolate in the cookies was perfect and the texture was nice and cakey with a slight crunch on the outside.

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles.  She picked Dorie’s Chocolate Chunk Muffins which are located on pages 18-19 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.  These muffins just came out of the oven and they look absolutely perfect.  Growing up my parents use to by giant muffins in bulk and freeze them.  My favorite was eating the Chocolate Chunk Muffins straight out of the freezer with a spoon.

Don’t ask.  It was just something that I would do, and it was an excuse to have dessert for breakfast or anytime for that matter 🙂 These muffins reminded me of my childhood, but they just need a little bit more chocolate chips in them.  I think I am currently on a chocolate kick because I can’t get enough of it, yummy.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Oatmeal Breakfast Bread August 17, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Quick Breads,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 8:38 pm

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Natalie of Oven Love

She picked Dorie’s Oatmeal Breakfast Bread, which is located on page 44 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.

I had actually planned to make this when I was back home in Texas this past week, but that didn’t happen.  I went back home for 6 days so that I could see my parents and go to my 10 year High School Reunion.  The reunion was cool.  I had really only kept in close contact with a few people, so it was nice to see what everyone else was up to.  But now in days, things like Facebook make it easier to keep tabs on people.   It was weird because there are a lot of people that still live in the area, and didn’t even come to the reunion.  But I guess since I haven’t lived in TX for the past 10 years it was more of a big deal for me to go and see my friends.  After seeing everyone it made me realize how much I missed having certain people in my life.  I guess I should bite the bullet and try my best to keep in contact with my friends 🙂

Before I left Texas, I ended up opening my memory books and stuff from my Senior year and looking at what everyone wrote.  It was nice to know that I made a difference in certain people’s lives at the time.  Most of the comments made me smile, but some made me sad for friends that have since passed away.  I guess you could say it was bittersweet.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled baking program….Oatmeal Breakfast Bread!!!!

I ended up making a full recipes, and baking it in a large muffin pan.  I used half golden raisins and half dried apricots.  I have yet to taste these, but they sure did smell great when they were baking.  Once the sun comes out in the morning, I will take a picture and the dig into a muffin…so verdict will come in a few hours 🙂

UPDATE:  Sorry it took a week, but I have been extremely tired lately and the rainy weather made it difficult to take pictures, especially since I like to take them outside (better lighting).  This bread was great.  I loved how moist and soft it was and then addition of apricots and raisins gave it a nice sweetness.  The addition of cloves and cinnamon reminded me of the fall, and these were perfect with a cup of fresh coffee 🙂