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.


Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Nut Butters July 15, 2010

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

I ended up choosing to make an un-toasted walnut butter because those are the nuts that I had on hand.  Granted, I didn’t blend them all them way because the description that Margie and Natashya gave for the Walnut butter was “Walnuts: form a very soft, oily, pourable butter in 1 or 2 minutes; the skins give walnut butter a slightly tannic and bitter flavor.” But I like my nut butters to be chunky so I was perfectly okay with this. (more…)


VeganMoFo: Pumpkin Pancake with POM-Ginger Cranberry Sauce October 7, 2009

100_2382I didn’t think these bad boys were going to happen because I wasn’t sure if cranberries were in season in my area yet.  But lo and behold while wandering through the grocery store I spotted  the fresh berries.  At that moment, I knew that I would be eating these the next morning.

As I sit here writing this entry, I am actually eating these fantastic pumpkin pancakes with POM-Ginger Cranberry Sauce.  The sauce goes perfectly with the pancakes.  It is like a celebration of fall in my mouth.  Pumpkin, spices, tart cranberries, and a hint of sweetness.  Perfect 🙂  Both of these recipes are from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz; however, I did tweak the Cranberry Sauce a little.

Since I recently received a case of Pomegranate juice from POM Wonderful, I decided to incorporate the juice into the cranberry sauce for a little bit more tartness.  I substituted half of the juice for the water and it worked out perfectly.  Also, I discovered I was out of fresh ginger so I used 1/2 tsp of ground ginger.

I never thought I was a fan of Pomegranate juice but once I tasted it it reminded me of a mixture of cranberry juice because of the tartness and grape juice because of the sweetness.  I guess I am a convert now.  An extra added bonus is that it can help lower LDL  (bad cholesterol), which I am currently trying to do at age 27.  Damn genetics and its fury little hands.

Back to the yumminess at hand.  If you don’t own Vegan Brunch, you need to get it now.  Especially since that is the only way you are going to find out how these pumpkin pancakes taste.  To give you some incentive I will provide you with my tweaked up version of the cranberry sauce.  Happy Eating 🙂

POM-Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Adapted from Ginger Cranberry Sauce in Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

2 cups fresh cranberries

3/4 cup 100% Pomegranate juice

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Mix together cranberries, juice, water, sugar, and ground ginger in a sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat a bit and let simmer for about 10 minutes.   Uncover and let simmer until mixture is reduced by about half, 10 minutes or so.  Remove from heat and let cool for at least half an hour and stir in maple syrup.  Serve warm.


Daring Cooks: Indian Dosas September 14, 2009

100_2312This months Daring Cooks Challenge is brought to you by Deby from The Healthy Vegan Kitchen.  She chose  Indian Dosas, the only rule we had to follow was to keep the recipe vegan (no animal products whatsoever).  If you read my blog you know that I dabble in vegan cooking and baking so this wasn’t too hard, and I actually had most of the ingredients on hand.

Or so I thought…..

I purchased all my ingredients last week and kept putting off making this because I kept getting home from work and being too tired.  Cut to Monday morning when I decided that I would make them for lunch for Mike and I.  I get all my ingredients out so that I can start chopping.  Then I realize that I don’t have any curry powder.  I swear I had some.  I guess I little gnome stole it.  Mike runs out and gets me some and then I start making the sauce and realize I am out of oregano.


There must be a family of gnomes running around my apartment stealing my spices and herbs.  Mike ends up getting that for me too, my savior 🙂

The recipe didn’t call for it but for the filling I sautéed the vegetables in 2 tbsp vegetable oil, and for the sauce I used 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to sauté the onion and garlic.  For the filling I ended up substituting one jalapeño for the hot banana peppers because I couldn’t find any.  Also, the filling ended up being a little THICK, so I added 1 cup of vegetable broth to thin in out a little.   I garnished the Indian Dosas with toasted coconut and slices of cucumber.

This were so tasty and I love them.  That actually reminded me of a bean burrito and the toasted sweetened coconut on top added a slight sweetness that was nice.  I really enjoyed making and eating these.  It actually didn’t take too long for the whole recipe to come together.  At most it took one hour from start to finish, chopping and everything.

I made these for lunch today, and I loved them.  I will post more about what I did to the recipe and my full opinion but for now the picture to prove I made them 🙂

Indian Dosas

Source: reFresh: Contemporary Vegan Recipes From the Award Winning Fresh Restaurants by Ruth Tal and Jennifer Houston

Dosa Pancakes
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed

Dosa Filling
1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated

Dosa Toppings
1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated
¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
¼ cucumber, sliced

Dosa Pancakes
1.Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
2.Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
3.Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.

Curried Garbanzo Filling
This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don’t be afraid to make a full batch.

5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced
2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground
1 TBSP (8gm) oregano
1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

1.Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.
2.Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

Coconut Curry Sauce
This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though. My picture of this sauce is one that I had made, had to freeze, then thaw to use. It tastes great, but the texture is a little runnier, not quite as thick as it was before freezing.

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced

1.Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
2.Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3.Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4.Let it simmer for half an hour.


The Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Gyoza aka Potstickers June 14, 2009

daring-bakersThis months Daring Cooks’ Challenge is brought to you by Jen from use real butter.  She chose Gyoza/Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers.  The rules for this challenge were that we had to make our own dough (no store bought wonton wrappers), make a filling, and chose a cooking method.  YAY!!!

I was so excited to make these because I love gyoza or whatever you want to call it and I have never made my own dough for them before.  For the filling I decided to stick with just the plain pork filling and for the cooking method I decided to do two: steaming and pan frying.  The dough was easy to make the only thing I needed to remember was to flour each round so that they don’t stick together.  I had this problem when I would roll/cut out all the rounds and stack them and when I started filling and I was on a roll 🙂 I would get to the bottom of the stack and the last 5 would be stuck to each other :/ Grrr (more…)


Tuesdays With Dorie: Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding April 21, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Sauces,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle.  She selected Dorie’s Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding located on pages 410-411 in Baking: From My Home to Yours. For this weeks recipe I decided that I would only make one-third of the recipe.  Of course I did this because bread pudding is my downfall, especially with raisins and a whiskey sauce 🙂

For this recipe I actually modified the recipe and the instructions a little.  I soaked the raisins in Cointreau for 30 minutes to an hour to give them a slight orange flavor and who doesn’t like oranges and chocolate together.  Also, any bread pudding that I have ever made I mixed everything together in a bowl and then let the bread soaked in it for 30 minutes.  After the thirty minutes the mixtures is then poured into a buttered casserole dish and baked without a water bath.

The final product actually turned out really good.  The bread pudding actually reminded me of the flavor of chocolate pudding.  I served it with whiskey sauce and whipped cream.

100_2104Whiskey Sauce

Source: Debra F. Weber, Your Guide to French Cuisine

8 tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup whiskey  I used 1/4 cup

Melt the butter over low heat.  When it is hot, but not colored, add the confectioners’ sugar and whisk constantly until thick.  When it is very thick and hot, remove from the heat and whisk in the beaten egg until emulsified, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in the bourbon and serve warm.