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baking, cooking, and other adventures

Tuesdays With Dorie: Granola Energy Bars January 13, 2015

This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is from Baking Chez Moi, it is the Granola Energy Bars.  This recipe came at a great time for me because I am actually trying to eat pretty healthy right now.  I did have to modify the recipe slightly because I wanted it to be vegan and then we had an incident with the Brown Rice Syrup.

I used the nuts and seeds that the recipe called for: pumpkin seeds raw, sunflower seeds raw and slivered almonds raw.  For the dried fruit I stuck with stuff that I like: dried cranberries and golden raisins, and used unsweetened coconut.  When I opened my Brown Rice Syrup it looked okay and then I smelled it and it smelled off.  I have a tendency to smell stuff to check to make sure it is okay.  Well when I looked closer, I noticed that there was small specks of mold growing in it.  I ended up throwing out the Brown Rice Syrup and I used Golden Syrup instead.  I also used coconut oil instead of the butter, hence vegan 🙂

The recipe actually came together really easy.  The hard part was waiting the 3 hours for it to cool in the pan before I could sample the bars.  Once they had cooled, I cut them, and sampled them. Then my youngest Bogarted my piece, like she usually does with food.  The granola bars and awesome.  I love the crunch and the slight sweetness.  I do eat them over the sink because they tend to make a mess, but a plate can also solve this problem.  I will definitely be making these again.



Day 29 and 30 & Tuesdays With Dorie: French Bread September 30, 2014

My days tend to run into each other, and I then I forget what is going on.

Currently, I am the only person in the household that has not succumbed to Hand, Foot, and Mouth.  Emma caught it at her second day of Mother’s Day Out and then proceeded to pass it around the house.  I am pretty sure that I haven’t gotten it because of my life in food service. I have been trained to wash my hands ALL the time, and surprisingly that is the one thing they say that will prevent you from getting it.

I would also like to confess that we went away for the weekend, without the kids and dogs, and I failed.

I have a new found respect for all vegans because now I know what you must struggle thru while traveling to find some place to eat with vegan options. Especially, when you are in the middle of the country.  I guess then you just plan ahead and bring snacks and meals with you.  I did not plan ahead and after sitting in a car for 5 hours and not having anything to eat since the night before (it was 1 pm by then), I caved.

I apologize now, sorry.

When I got home I went straight back to eating Vegan.  You know what, it was a good lesson to learn because I have figured out how to fuel my body.  Surprisingly, I really like the way I feel and my body looks when I am eating Vegan.  So, for the most part I will probably stick to a plant based diet/lifestyle.

Now, back to some yummy things that I made when I got back home.

Yesterday morning, I wanted something that reminded me of fall. Since we were up in the mountains it was cool and perfect, leaves weren’t falling yet.  I got back home and it was a bit humid, warmer, and just not pleasant.  I wanted something to remind me of the nice fall weather in the mountains.  So I made the Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch.  I tried to make them as pancakes for the girls, but they didn’t turn out right.  Granted, they still ate them but they were a little gummy.  Then I threw them in the waffle maker, I only have a Belgium Waffle Maker, and of course they wouldn’t crisp up.  So for these you definitely just want a regular waffle maker.  They did work nicely toasted in the toaster the next day.


Earlier this afternoon, I made the Chewy Coconut Date Bars from Isa Does It.  They turned out really good, but I think I needed to bake them just a bit longer.  They are currently individually wrapped in plastic and hanging out in the fridge.  I am sure these are going to end up being my breakfast for the next few days.  They would be perfect with a cup of coffee.  I am also planning to make the Chewy Peanut-Chocolate Chip Bars later this week.100_4112

Last but definitely not least is the French Bread that I made a couple of weeks back from Baking With Julia.  Oh, French Bread with your perfect ingredients of Water, Salt, Yeast, and Flour.  I alluded to my original problem and why I was a day late baking these, but lets revisit my quest for compressed yeast.

The last time that I bought compressed yeast was about a year ago, and I froze the left overs.  I knew that there was no way that the yeast was still alive, but I still had to wait 24 hours for it to defrost in the fridge before I could test it. Which involves sugar and a bit of water.  While I waited, I decided to take the girls with me to the last place I bought it.  I have both girls in tow, 1 year old and a 3 year old, of course I didn’t grab a cart so I am carrying one and holding the others hand. We get to where it would be and I see a sign for it, but no product.  I ask an employee, who brings another one over, and explain what I am looking for. He informs me that he has never seen it before, and I tell him that last time I saw it was a year ago.  So it looks like they don’t carry it anymore.

I did do some research and found a conversion factor to figure out how much active dry yeast I needed.  Which was 3 tsp (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast to the 0.6 oz compressed yeast. So, I just had to wait a day to figure out if the yeast was alive.  While I was waiting, I ended up with a day with no kids. How this happened, I have no idea.  I ended up swinging by a store I had never been to and talked to a nice gentleman that informed me that they didn’t carry it and he hasn’t seen it in any local grocery stores in awhile.  Oh well, I guess I will just go home and test the yeast….

it was DEAD.  Back to where I started with no compressed yeast and my conversion factor.  I guess I wasted 24 hours when I could have had the bread made and then entry posted on the blog.  Lesson learned…use what you have.

The bread turned out great, but my knives sucked for slashing the bread.  Even the REALLY sharp ones didn’t work well.  Guess I need a razor blade for next time 🙂


I am still planning to make some Boston Cream Donuts soon, so stay tuned for those, even though it won’t be Vegan MoFo anymore.


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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Vegan Days 18 – 20 September 21, 2014

Filed under: Breakfast,Vegan,Vegan MoFo — pastrybrush @ 12:57 pm
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Day 18

I am still living off of the Potato and Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo. It is going to last me a few more days 🙂

I did happen to go into the freezer and take out just ONE Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffin. Do you know how hard it is to only grab one. I was actually very surprised with my self control.

Earlier in the week I was suppose to make French Bread for Tuesdays with Dorie, but I was having some issues finding compressed yeast.  Well I never found it so I ended up making the bread today. I will post more about it on day 23, since rules state that I need to actually post on a Tuesday.  But let me just say, the bread is VEGAN and yummy.

Day 19

YAY, the husband is home. He actually came in late on Day 18, but to celebrate I made Sinfully Wholesome Waffles (Isa Does It) for breakfast.  They made everyone’s tummies very happy.


Side note because I like to put a buttered flavored product on my waffles, I have found that I really like the flavor of Earth Balances Soy Garden Buttery Spread.  Which is funny because I don’t really like the flavor of soy that much.  I stopped using soy milk in baked goods just because of that.  But I find that I prefer this spread over the Vegan Buttery Sticks and the Original Buttery Spread.  I guess you find things that surprise you every day.

Day 20

Mike turns to me and asks if I am making anything special for dinner, or have anything planned.  I have been exhausted the past few days and I think one of the girls got me sick.  So I have been stuck in that limbo phase of not being full blown sick, but you know it is coming and you are just fall down tired.  Needless to say, I spent most of the day asleep when I wasn’t entertaining the girls.

I turned to Mike and informed him that there were Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers (Vegan with a Vengeance)  in the freezer and that would just be fine with me.  So, we defrosted them a bit in the microwave and them slapped them into a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about 1 hour.  They turned out great and I was informed that if I wanted to make that again that I could.  It makes me feel good when I get approval on Vegan meals from the family, and I think Mike appreciates it that he is not doing the cooking.

I am finding being Vegan getting easier and easier each day. I really don’t crave non-vegan items.  But I am interested in trying the Vegan Pizza at Z-Pizza, so that might happen for my last week.

Oh, I will get to visit a Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant next week too.  So I am looking forward to trying some new things that I haven’t had 🙂

More than likely I am going to extend this vegan adventure into October and try to stick with it the best that I can.


Day 16 and 17 Vegan September 20, 2014

Filed under: Soup,Vegan,Vegan MoFo — pastrybrush @ 10:57 pm
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100_4056Day 16

I really need to stay away from all of those muffins that I baked. So I put them in the freezer.  I was hoping since they were out of sight it would help me not eat all of them in one day because they are REALLY good.

So far, so good 🙂

I ended up making myself the Pad Thai Salad from Appetite for Reduction. I did make some modification because I didn’t have any bean sprouts.  I ended up adding cucumbers and tomatoes to the salad and it was just the thing I needed to make me feel better about eating a few too many muffins yesterday.

For dinner I made the Potato and Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo from Viva Vegan.  I ended up changing a few things in the recipe so that I could bring out more flavor in the ingredients.  The original recipe said to add the onions, potatoes, garlic, herbs, and liquid and bring to a boil. Which I am assuming is traditional for this type of soup.  Well, I discarded tradition for a bit.  I sautéed the onion in 1 tablespoon of annatto oil until they were tender then added the garlic and cooked for a minute until fragrant.  Then I added in the herbs, potatoes, and vegetable stock. Brought it to a boil, let simmer for 25 minutes until the potatoes were done, mashed the potatoes a bit.  Added in a 1 pound bag of frozen kale from Trader Joe’s (more than the recipe called for, but it also uses fresh).  At the ended you adjust the seasonings and add some white wine vinegar to taste.  Cook up your vegan chorizo, I used Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, and sprinkled it on top of the soup.  I didn’t add any additional olive oil or annatto oil to the recipe.

I would like to take a bit to express my love for Trader Joe’s. 1) I really do love everything that I have tried there, and 2) the cashier praised the crap out of the Soy Chorizo and she was right.  It is FANTASTIC!!! Speaking as an omnivore, that might be my go to Chorizo because I don’t need the grease and the yucky feeling I get after eating the “real” stuff.

Back to the soup, I really loved it and I have been living off of it while my husband is at his conference.  I am definitely making that again.  Now I just need to go get more potatoes and make a trip to TJ’s for some Soy Chorizo 🙂

Day 17

Very uneventful, just eating leftovers, going to work, and doing my 5k training.


VeganMoFo has begun October 1, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Bread,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 3:02 pm
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And everyone was rejoicing!!!!!!!

Vegan Month of Food has returned like it does every October, and of course I am participating.

Word of caution for Vegans out there: I am an omnivore that likes to experiment with Vegan Cooking and Baking, so everything on my blog is not Vegan unless it is noted in the recipe/category/tag. With that being said, for the month of October my entries will all be Vegan, so no worries there.

I usually participate in Tuesdays With Dorie twice a month but this month I will only be posting recipes that are already Vegan or can be made Vegan easily. All other recipes, I will post once VeganMoFo has come to an end. Do not worry fellow TWDers, I am still baking along but out of respect for the Vegans that will be reading my blog I will not be posting non-vegan recipes.

With that being said, lets start with everyone’s favorite breakfast carb or at least it is some of the time….ENGLISH MUFFINS.

I guess my favorite breakfast carb is pancakes or waffles.

Who doesn’t love a waffle, but I will tackle that later in the month or maybe this week.

Back to English Muffins, I have actually always wanted to make my own English Muffins but every time I came across a recipe they always called for English Muffin rings and the recipes seemed long. In Vegan Brunch, the recipe was very straight forward, you didn’t need rings, and I actually had all of the ingredients on hand. When does that ever happen?

The English Muffins turned out perfect, and you couldn’t even tell they were Vegan. For breakfast, I like to toast mine up and top them with Blackberry Preserves. You can alway make little Vegan Pizzas for lunch by topping them with some tomato sauce and vegan cheese.

For the recipe just pick up Vegan Brunch, you won’t regret it because they are A LOT of great recipes in the book.



My 30th Birthday Cake Pie February 14, 2012

Filed under: Cake,Ganache,Pie,Pudding,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 1:00 am
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For my 30th birthday, I decided that instead of making the usual crazy decadent chocolate dessert (You know because it is Valentine’s Day, just saying, and everyone is a chocolate addict today) or the usual chocolate chip cookie cake that I have had for almost every birthday; I flipped through Vegan Pie In The Sky and made a decision.

Boston Cream Cake Pie

Yes, I said Cake Pie. Who doesn’t like a Boston Cream Cake? Then add Pie to the end and who could not resist it.

This cake pie consists of four layers: vanilla cookie crust, vanilla cream/pudding, vanilla cake, and chocolate ganache. It does take some time to make. I think it might have taken me 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. Which isn’t bad for a dessert. After making this, I knew it was for my birthday but I couldn’t resist trying it so we cut into it 2 days before my birthday. I couldn’t help it, it was calling to me.


I loved this dessert and Mike actually really liked it too. Which is saying something because he usually stays away from vegan desserts that I make because I tricked him into eating tofu one time when I made a vegan chocolate mousse pie 🙂 Probably one of the funniest things for me is when I told him there was tofu in it. Classic!!!

He knew there was tofu in the pie this time, so there was no tricking involved. I usual replace all the soy milk in dessert recipes for rice milk because of the strong flavor of the soy. However, this time I decided to stick with soy milk and it worked out great. Since the cake pie has a lot of strong individual flavors, they mask the taste of the soy perfectly.

It is very strange for me to say that I am 30 because I feel the same. Last year on my Birthday we found out we were having a little girl. Now my little girl is 8 months old. I know the time is going to pass by in the blink of an eye, and I am just trying to hold onto all the moments I have with my smiling monkey.

Happy Birthday to me!!!!!