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baking, cooking, and other adventures

Vegan Day 21, 22, and 23 September 24, 2014

Day 21

We ended up having a Viva Vegan themed night.  Granted, I probably should have made more food but we have been feeling a bit under the weather so we didn’t want to eat too much anyways. I ended up making Arepas with Sexy Avocado Tempeh Filling and Coconut Tres Leches Cake.  Surprisingly, I really liked the Arepas.  I didn’t think I would because I am not that big of a fan of Tempeh but the recipe was actually really good and Mike also liked it.  The Coconut Tres Leches Cake was also a big hit.  I wasn’t too sure about the topping, but tasting everything together, it worked perfectly.  Mike actually liked it too, which is very surprising since he doesn’t like the texture of coconut.  He said that since I used shredded unsweetened that it was okay because the bits were small enough that it wasn’t off putting.  I have also witness him eat a couple of slices, so I know that he was telling me the truth. For the flavorings of the cake and topping, I played it safe and just used vanilla.

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Day 22

…was pretty uneventful.  I worked that night, so I just had leftovers of Stuffed Peppers.  I almost caved and had pizza when I got home, but I battled thru and grabbed an apple and some peanut butter for a snack.

Day 23

I have no witty banter or anything to leave you with today.  I have been sick for a few days and it is taking its toll on me.  I keep thinking I will be able to do my 5k training and then my body betrays me, so I am trying to get better.  Because of the sickness going around the house, I called Mike while he was at work and requested Pho.  The closest place is near Mike’s work which is 30 minutes from the house.  So he agreed to pick me up Vegetarian Pho, Vegetarian Spring Rolls and Eggrolls.  I did check the ingredients in everything and it all listed ingredients that were Vegan, no animal products here.  So that made me very happy.  Everything was very good, and actually helped me battle thru this insane cold.

My French Bread post will have to wait until next Tuesdays since I was unable to post this until Wednesday.

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Days 8-10 Vegan September 11, 2014

Filed under: Breakfast,Dinner,Vegan,Vegan MoFo — pastrybrush @ 3:23 pm
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Not too much has happened in the past few days.  I have made a few items and I am making a good amount of stuff tonight for dinner (Day 11), but I will post about that when it is complete.

Day 8

I made the Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna from Veganomicon and I add the Almasan on top.  It was very good and the husband actually like it.

Do you know how hard it is for me to get him to eat tofu?

VERY

I tricked him once in the form of a chocolate pie.  He really liked the pie, but he wasn’t too happy with me when I told him there was tofu in it after the fact.  HAHAHAHAHAHA (evil laugh).

The Almasan was AWESOME!!! I could totally imagine putting that on top of popcorn.

With regard to the lasagna I used a little less spinach because I was having some issues fitting everything into the baking dish.  I thought I was going to have a drip mess in the oven so I baked it on a sheet pan, but surprisingly it didn’t drip at all.  I was EXTREMELY surprised because that lasagna was essentially over the top of the rim of the baking dish.  I did add sautéed onions to the marinara sauce along with some fresh basil.  I think next time I am going to sauté the spinach up with some garlic and season it with salt and pepper.  I would also give that same treatment to the mushrooms (which I had 20 oz instead of 16oz).  Essentially giving everything layers of flavor so that it isn’t too bland.

Oh yeah, and I love garlic so you can never have too much.

Day 9

IMG_4796You know how you have those days where you just NEED some carbs.  You don’t just want it, you NEED it.  Well that was me on Day 9.  I knew that Mike (the husband) wasn’t going to eat Coconut French Toast (Isa Does It).  It has nothing to do with flavor, he is fine with that. He doesn’t like the texture of coconut.  Since the Coconut French Toast is dipped in batter and then unsweetened shredded coconut, I knew it was a no go for him.  I made half the recipe because I knew I couldn’t eat 6 pieces of bread.  I used my leftover Whole Wheat French Bread that I made last week, and it turned out fantastic.  At first I was skeptical because I always put sugar in my French Toast batter and this one doesn’t have any. I decided to go with it just to see what happens.  The French Toast was rich from cooking it in coconut oil, so I didn’t need to put the usual vegan butter on top.  I just drizzled it with a little bit of maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar and the sweetness was perfect.  I threw some frozen berries on the plate for some color.

I some how was able to do this with the girls playing in the other room.  But the peace didn’t last long when I heard Emma say, “Uh-oh” and then come into the kitchen looking for a cloth.  I walked into the living room and she had dropped her drink on the floor and it busted open.  So I had to clean that out of the carpet. Funny thing was my 1 year old came over to the carpet after I had cleaned it and tried to lick the floor like one of the dogs.

Crazy children 🙂

Day 10

Not too much has happened. My knees have been bothering me, and that is just because I am not a runner and I am training for a 5k.  I made it to the gym and I have gradually knocked off a minute from my average mile time in a week.  But trust me it isn’t close to being fast at all, progress is progress so I will take it. I haven’t been keeping up with the 21 day fix workouts this time around, but I have been sticking to my diet (lifestyle eating change).

I started making the Grasshopper Pie in Vegan Pie In The Sky so that we could have it for dessert on day 11 (today).  I am very excited for this pie, and I also thank my husband everyday that he bought me a Vitamix because it really helps with making pies and sauces with nuts (cashews).

Eating Vegan has been going very well, and I am surprised by the variety that I have been able to include in my diet.  My omnivore diet was not as varied.  I decided to step on the scale and just see if anything has happened because it has been hard for me to loose a couple of pounds lately.  I usually gain muscle and don’t lose weight at all or it is just slow going.  I always see results with regard to measurements just not on the scale.  So yeah, I lost 2 lbs in a week just changing to a Vegan diet.

 

Tuesdays WIth Dorie: Tropical Napoleons and Scallop and Pesto Purses May 20, 2014

Huh, I just wrote half of my entry and I saw WordPress auto saving and then some thing went wrong when I tried to add a picture and now my original post is nowhere to be seen.  Not very happy that I am spending my time trying to write this again, but I guess it happens.  It is really annoying since this is my only time to write when my youngest is taking a nap and my oldest is actually being quite.

Lets try this again.

This week I am going to be writing about last times recipe, Scallop and Pesto Purses, and this weeks recipe, Tropical Napoleons.  As usual, I made the Scallops on time but life and procrastination got in the way.

Now it is time to play catch-up.

The recipe for the week of May 6th was Scallop and Pesto Purses which is located on page 435 in Baking With Julia.  I almost missed doing this recipe, but I happened to be at the grocery store picking up ingredients so that I could make tea marinated shrimp. I proceeded to call Mike to get him to give me the run down on the recipe so that I could get everything that I needed. The entire time I was repeating the additional items that I needed to pick up, but the frozen food distracted me. Well lets be honest, the frozen desserts and ICE CREAM distracted me and I ended up not picking up the Phyllo and missed the scallions earlier in my trip. 

Opps.

I realized all of this when I got home, so I set out to wing it.  I had some puff pastry and homemade pesto in the freezer.  The initial ideas was the make purses with the puff pastry and fill them with the scallop, pesto and parmesan cheese. Well that idea got slightly changed when I realized how big the scallops were.  They were HUGE, incidentally I only bought 4 because they were expensive. I ended up making pockets instead of purses.  I baked them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes until the pastry puffed and browned. We ended up having this for dinner along with the tea marinated shrimp.  It was the perfect amount of food.  I am pretty sure we had some vegetables too, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.

ImageThis weeks Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was Tropical Napoleons, which is located on pages 393-394 in Baking With Julia.  I also made some slight modifications to the recipe so that I didn’t have to make a trip to the grocery store. We use fresh Strawberries that we had picked up at the Farmers Market, instead of a mix. I used shredded sweetened coconut instead of flaked. Finally, I didn’t have any heavy cream in the house, but I did have cans of coconut milk.  I remembered in all of the vegan baking that I have done that I had come across a recipe for Vegan Whipped Cream using chilled coconut milk.  The key to the whipped cream is to make sure you are NOT using lite coconut milk, then you place the can in the refrigerator for 6 hours or more.  You do this so that the milk separates, and you spoon out the solids (coconut cream) that rises to the top.  Take the coconut cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, and just beat it together like you would normally when making whipped cream. It ends up whipping to a medium soft peak, and can be used immediately in a recipe. It does firm up a little more after it is refrigerated, so I placed my in the fridge until I was ready to use it.

For the wafers/meringues in the recipe, I only made 1/3 of a recipe because I was afraid it would take too long to make a whole recipe worth and I didn’t have the time.  Hindsight, I should have made a full recipe because my 3 year old LOVED them and kept trying to steal them as snacks while I was making everything. She was actually looking for them this morning and then asked me if I ate them all. Surprisingly, I didn’t and they were just on top of the fridge where she couldn’t see them.  The Napoleons tasted very good and they are a nice light dessert for the summer.

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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.

 

Tuesdays With Dorie: Carrot Spice Muffins August 9, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Muffins,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 1:31 am
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The week of August 9th,  Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs.  She picked Dorie’s Carrot Spice Muffins, which is located on page 14 in Baking:From My Home to Yours.  I actually made these on time, and being a new mother has gotten in the way of me blogging on time for anything.  Emma has a pretty good schedule going and has for awhile, but I just haven’t gotten my schedule down.  Trying to accomplish things in a timely manner and not have Mike finishing it when he gets home from work is something that I am trying to work on.

These muffins were perfect.  They were moist, yummy, and very reminiscent of carrot cake but not as sweet.  I made these the week of Emma’s baptism, so they all actually got eaten and not by me 🙂  Well, I had a few, but then my parents and Mike helped.  Which I was surprised that Mike was willing to eat them because of his dislike toward coconut and nuts.  Everyone enjoyed them, even Mike 🙂

 

Tuesdays With Dorie: Apple-Coconut Family Cake December 15, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Cake,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 11:23 am
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This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Amber of Cobbler du Monde.  She picked Dorie’s Apple-Coconut Family Cake which is located on page 214 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Holy Crap!!! I am only a day late 🙂   I actually made this yesterday during the day and then Mike and I had it for dessert.  The construction of the whole dessert was very easy.  I was actually unable to find Golden Delicious Apples so I just used some Granny Smith Apple instead.  The surprising revelation about this cake is that Mike actually ate it 🙂  He has this whole coconut texture thing that I have explained many times before.  This time I actually used a different type of coconut.  I used unsweetened, finely shredding, dehydrated coconut.  So the texture is actually not as coarse 🙂

The cake was fantastic.  In the first bite you get a hint of rum, with a slight spice of cinnamon, and the crunch and sweetness from the apples just rounds out the flavor.

Now, to finish up yesterdays Daring Cooks’ Challenge, and start my annual Holiday Cookie Baking 🙂

 

Tuesdays With Dorie: Gingered Carrot Cookies August 3, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Cookies,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 11:58 pm
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This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie, coming right under the wire with 10 minutes to spare, was chosen by Natalia of gatti fili e farina.  She picked Dorie’s Gingered Carrot Cookies, which are located on page 162 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Yes, I know I procrastinated on this one.  I actually baked them this afternoon and took pictures.  Then I didn’t follow through with writing the post until the day was ALMOST over…opps.

These little nuggets of carrot cake goodness where very easy to make/bake.  Everything came together without any problems, and the only addition I made was a teaspoon of Ground Chinese Cassa Cinnamon.  I can’t help myself, I LOVE cinnamon especially, Penzy’s Cinnamon.  I don’t think I have told you the depths of my love for their cinnamon.  I think I have hinted at it a few times, but never fully explained it.  Since we moved I don’t live as close as I use to.  Lets put it this way back in December I drove an hour to get my fix of cinnamon and cocoa powder and ended up getting mugged walking back to my car.  I was lucky because I got mugged by one of the most polite muggers ever and she agreed to only take my cash ($3) and not my wallet with my ID and everything.  That was an interesting adventure for cinnamon and cocoa powder 🙂

Back to the cookies, I have to say that Dorie was right in saying that these cookies are reminiscent of carrot cake.  To make them taste just like carrot cake, all you have to do is add some cream cheese icing and it is go time.  I decided to leave my nuggets naked for the picture, but either way they are yummy just the same 🙂