Saturday, January 30, 2010

VEGAN BAKE SALE for Haiti results!!!

Vegan bake sale for Haiti in San Luis Obispo today 10-2.  In 4 hours we raised $258.76 to send to
 Partners in Health .  Not to shabby!  We had plenty of baked goods and someone brought some fresh out of the oven pretzels and small focaccia rounds.  YUM!!!   

This Maryann (left) me(right).
It was nice to finally meet some people from the vegan/vegetarian meetup group in San Luis Obispo, I just wish it wasn't 50min. away. 

When I e-mailed the idea for the bake sale to the group Judith(the gal in red) took no time to set the date and place to have it.  It was really nice to see so many baked goods when I arrived about 10:15, I got a bit lost.  There were different members that stopped by during the bake sale so I was able to meet a few more.  Everyone was so nice.  Oh one of the ladies I met works for the ASPCA.  How cool is that!  
Check out some of these awesome treats!  We had cupcakes, chocolate peanut butter bars, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, coconut muffins, pretzels, etc. 
Not only did I forget to take pictures of the goodies I baked I also forgot to bring my camera to the bake sale.  Luckily Judith had hers and posted the pic's on the meetup site.  So you see that cinnamon roll on the bottom left?  That's mine, yeppers I made cinnamon rolls and these were the first to sell out.  I got to tell you they turned out awesome.  I made the recipe from VCON.  I had to split a small end piece with my son, just to make sure they tasted good enough to sell and they did! hee hee hee.  
I also made these Carmel Pecan Bars I found on line the other day.  Next time I'll need to line the pan with parchment so they will come out of the pan easier.  I will also adjust the recipe to the pecan layer on the bottom layer a bit.  I also made orange and chocolate chip biscotti(biscotti is one of my favs).  
Maryann made these mini carob muffins.  Oh these were so yummy they tasted like chocolate. 
 It was nice to hear people say it was cool to see that all of the baked goods were vegan.  We got such a good response from everyone.  We didn't put a price on anything, we just said it was donation and I think it was a good thing we did that because people gave more.  It was also nice to  see younger people donate as well.  All in all I think it was a good turnout and people were able to see and taste that vegan treats taste just as good, or better, as the other stuff!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Breakfast, lunch & dinner, plus getting ready for Bake Sale for Haiti

I've been cooking but nothing too exciting.  I've also been holding off on baking due to all of the baking I'm going to be doing tomorrow.  Why do you ask?  The vegetarian/vegan meetup group of San Luis Obispo is getting together and we are having a bake sale for Haiti this Sat. the 30th, outside of Vons Grocery Store located on Broad St.  I figured we would get more help having it up their in SLO because most of the group is from that area.  I'm looking forward to meeting some of the people in the group to which I've not gotten a chance to as of yet.  Let's hope this is a success and I'll let everyone know how we did afterwards.

This morning I whipped up a tofu breakfast for my son do to being out of non-dairy milk, bagels, bread, (this was our last slice of bread), bananas, etc.  I have to get to the store today.  Since I had a short time to make this breakfast I thinly sliced up a sweet onion and potato, sauteed it in a pan with olive oil.  Then threw on some thyme and salt.  Set aside then in the same pan sauteed up some thinly sliced sprouted tofu and chard.  Next I added back the potatoes for a quick reheat and wallah!  A yummy filling breakfast.  Oh and 1 piece of toast! :)

You know that tempeh salad I made the other day and had it in a salad?  This is how I ate it the next day.  One toasted spelt english muffin(these muffins rock)!  Smeared on some avocado, lettuce, tempeh salad and topped with a pretty red roma tomato.   The tomato was pretty tasty so what I didn't put on the sandwich  I just ate.

Since it's been rather cold in the evenings I made some chilli since I haven't made it in a while.  This is a sweet potato chilli with kidney beans, cannelini and a little bit of black beans.  Chilli always hits the spot and makes me all warm inside. It always taste great the next day as well.  So I leave you this and will be back soon!
Oh, quite a while ago I had made some coconut cookies that I never posted or at least never posted the recipe.  What made me think of this is because I was just looking through some recipes and stumbled upon the coconut cookie recipe.  So I'll be posting about them next post!  Until then.  Have a great day!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Stir fried rice w/herbs de provence and recipe testing!!!

I love herbs de provence!  Instead of using asian flavors for a stir fried rice this recipe uses herbs de provence.  It so flippen good!  Again very quick to make.  I found the recipe once again at Vegetarian Times
and I added brocolli, of course any veggie you want to throw in would work.  I also used crumbled frozen tofu which was perfect for this.

So I've been doing some recipe testing, which kind of slacked do to the holidays, for the wonderful ladies who just released a cookbook last year called 500 Vegan Recipes and are working on another one.  The very talented Celine-Have Cake Will Travel and Joni Marie Newman- Just the food blog and author of Cozy Inside Cookbook.  It's quite fun and I'm so honored to help out with the recipe testing.   So the salad you see up above is an un-tuna salad(it's not yet named as of yet)consisting of tempeh and lots of goodness!  This is a great salad mix that would be great in a sandwich, on a bed of lettuce(like I did) or with crackers even.  I will definitley be making this again and again.

This here is a breakfast pumpkin muffin bar.  Lovely with coffee or tea in the morning.  It is just sweet enough and is gluten free!  My son loved this bar and I packed one per his request in his lunch until they were gone.  He's pretty excited that I get to test recipes out. lol! I have some more photo's of other recipes i've tried so far but my computer isn't letting me down load them right now.  So I'll share those later.   See ya next post!
Oh for all of you Californians, keep try we should have a break this weekend!!!  yipppeeee!

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'm calling this a potato frittata?

The rain has let up for now and my mother in law has left so it's back to posting.
After the holidays I still had quite a few potatoes left that I  didn't want to go to waste, don't freak out I made this meal a few days after Christmas, so I thought I would attempt a potato dish my mom used to make that she learned from my Romanian grandmother, whom I was never able to meet, she died before I was born. Wow, was that like the longest sentence ever?  The original recipe is made using layers of sliced potatoes, eggs, onion, salt and pepper, cooked in a big cast iron skillet than put into the oven to completely cook through.  A squirt of ketchup on the side and you are good to go!  I would spell out the name but I don't know how to and as it is I don't think I was ever able to prounounce it correctly.  Anyhoo!  I guess you could call it a type of fritatta but it's really thick and frittata's are not 2-2 1/2 inches thick.  Although if you have a smaller skillet it would turn out thicker.  Anyways I guess it's more like a potato casserole or something.  I give up!

So my version is using spinach in it and it is not as thick as my moms.  Next time I will add lots and lots more potatos for sure!  It still tasted yummy and you could not tell it was missing the eggs.
Here is my version of a potato frittata, vegan style.
olive oil
1 large sweet or white onion sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 large red potatoes, sliced
3/4 C. non dairy milk
19 oz. firm tofu
1/4 C. nutritional yeast
8 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and chopped
1 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325.  In a large cast iron skillet add olive oil and then sautee onions, garlic until soft.  Add in potato slices and 1/4 tsp salt. and cook until starting to brown.  Stir in chopped spinach until heated through, turn off heat.

In food processor blend tofu, nutritional yeast until smooth.  Next add nutritional yeast, milk and s & p to taste. Once blended through stir into potato mixture, smooth on top.  You can brush on some olive oil if you wish before you put into oven to brown on top. 

Bake for about 50 min. -1 hr until top is firm, slightly brown and cooked through.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Curry hits the spot!

With all of the Dal recipes i've been seeing lately and the curry cravings I've been having I decided to make a nice yellow lentil curry stew that I saw a few days back from Hannah at Bittersweet .  So I made a big pot of this, served my son and I a big bowl full, we sat down in front of the t.v. and watched the movie 9.  Have you seen it?  It was really good, different good, Tim Burton style.   We love Tim Burton movies.

This was extremely easy and quick to make.  It definitely hit the spot and made me all warm inside!

I made some brown rice on the side instead of adding it into the pot so I only used 4 cups of broth.  I didn't have any tomato sauce on hand so I diced up 2 tomatoes and cooked them with the onion, garlic mixture and I also used a bit of fresh ginger and some tumeric. Oh and no vinegar.  I can't wait for left overs tonight!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Heart healthy cookies & tempeh stew....

I found this cookie recipe on the Vegetarian Times website.  Of course I made some adjustments to it. lol!
It's nice not to have any added oils in it.  Just wholesome chewy goodness.  My son at first wasn't digging the carob but he was quickly back for more and really liked these alot!  Next time I will make them with chocolate.  These are completely gluten free when using gluten free oats. The recipe below has their version in parenthesis.

(Vegetarian Times)
adapted by dreaminitvegan

3 Tbs. applesauce (3 Tbs. canola oil)
2 cups walnuts
2 T. water
1/2 cup agave syrup 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (1 cup light brown sugar)
1T. molasses
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. oat flour plus 1/4 c. brown rice flour (1 ½ cups oat flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
(¼ tsp. ground cinnamon)
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 c. raisins
3/4 c. carob chips-just cuz I didn't have any chocolate chips available
(3 3.5-oz. bars bittersweet vegan chocolate, chopped, or 1½ cups vegan chocolate chips (12 oz.))


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.

2. Blend walnuts in food processor 30 seconds, or until ground into a fine meal. Add applesauce (canola oil), and blend 2 to 3 minutes more, or until mixture has the consistency of natural peanut butter, scraping down sides of food processor occasionally. Transfer to bowl.

3. (Whisk together brown sugar and ½ cup water in small saucepan, and bring mixture to a boil.) (Pour brown sugar mixture)  In mixing bowl add 2 T. water, agave syrup, sugar, ground walnut butter, vanilla extract, and stir until no lumps remain.

4. Whisk together oat flour, baking soda, salt, and (cinnamon) in separate bowl. Stir oat flour mixture into walnut mixture. Cool 10 minutes. Fold in oats, rasains and carob chips (chocolate chips).

5. Shape cookie dough into 2-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten cookies with bottom of drinking glass dipped in water. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies begin to brown and tops look dry. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

A nice warm stew with chunks of tempeh.  I have on loan from our library the Vegan Table Cookbook and I used the stew recipe as a basis for this one.  I changed up some of the herbs, added a sweet potato and some red wine to give it a heartier, richer taster.  Served with the drop biscuits from The Joy of Vegan Baking that are so quick and easy to make.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Birthday cake and sea animals...

My son just turned 12 on Saturday.  I can't believe he will be an official teenager next year. sob sob!
We surprised him with an overnight trip to Monterey, CA on Saturday.    We stopped in San Luis Obispo at the Big Sky Cafe for breakfast.  I had a really tasty mediterranean tofu scramble with potatoes.  My son had steel cut oats with cinnamon, brown sugar and soy milk. Before we left SLO we stopped to load up on some vegan chocolate at Sweet Earth Chocolates .  Our next stop was in San Simeon to take one of the tours at Hearst Castle.

The view is amazing from this huge place.  Check out this beautiful pool.  The employees get to enjoy the pool for one day at the end of summer.  Once we were done here we headed up to Pacific Grove, where we stayed the night.  We had dinner at a little Italian restaurant for the birthday boy and they brought out a gelato sorbet with a candle in it for his birthday dessert and everyone sang.  It was nice!!!

Below is the birthday cake I made for my son on Friday night.
This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe, it is super moist, from the Moosewood Cookbook.  I use apple sauce for half the oil. It is layered with chocolate mousse and a whipped chocolate ganache.

On Sunday we went to the Monterey Aquarium.
 The sea otters are too cute!  The otters they have are ones that they have rescued.  A few they released but ended up taking back because of their safety.  The older ones have been surrogates to the younger ones.  I'm not a big fan of having aquariums, my son had one quite a few years ago before I really understood that fish belong in the sea or lakes.  Just like birds belong in the open skies not in a small cage in our home just because we want them.  It is amazing to see up close these amazing creatures of the sea but at the same time it's sad that they are in such a small space.   I know some of the ocean life they have are rescued and they are doing research on how to save these creatures, learn more about them, teach people how to keep the ocean clean because of what it does to these wonderful sea creatures but at the same time there are those that don't really need to be there.
  There is a section of the Aquarium that is on  fishing nets and over fishing.  They show, shark, turtles and dolphins that are caught in these huge nets and how we can write letters to try and stop this type of fishing.  I noticed that instead of asking people to eat less of these fish they tell them what kind you should ask for when you go out to eat or when you purchase them at a market.  How many people really take to heart what they are seeing and reading here at the Aquarium?  There are all of these seafood restaurants surrounding the Aquarium that many of these people will go eat at after visiting it.  It's just kind of weird to me.  Anyways, like I said, it was amazing to see these cool looking creatures but we don't need to go back.

Our next trip up that way will be one spent hanging at the beach, bike riding and hiking some trails.  Can't wait until the weather is warmer!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yay for raw food!...Global Gardens- olive oil club

One of my goals this year is to try to make more raw food meals. Like raw lasagna, pasta, etc. I don't have a dehydrator yet, that's down the road. When you think of it though, just eating a salad, it's all uncooked, that fruit and those nuts, raw! I guess again it goes back to whole foods.
Also I think in the summer, at least for me, eating more raw foods will make more sense because of the heat, who likes feeling weighed down by a warm and heavy meal. blah!

I usually eat Kale cooked or juiced. At our local health food store, New Frontiers, they have a great deli area with some of the tastiest salads. I tried their raw kale salad and it was sweet and delicious! Now I'm hooked and tried to make one like theirs. I chopped up kale, added cranberries, raw sunflower seeds, carrot pulp, lemon zest. For the dressing I used a
Green Apple Ginger Golden Balsamic Vinegar(see down below for more info on this), agave and sesame seed oil, just a tad. Poured it over and wallah! A light, tangy-sweet salad with a crunch.
Served right along with my kale salad are some Carrot Falafals from Choosing Raw . Now they aren't like the authentic falafals but these are so good! I didn't make the tahini sauce because I didn't have time but I will be making these again and again. I used the oven set at 175 with the door open like Gina mentioned if you don't have a dehydrator.

Regarding the vinegar I mentioned up above. There is this great little olive oil place in Los Olivos, CA called Global Gardens. The olive trees are located throughout the local area. The owner and the employees are very warm, friendly and informative. They do olive oil and vinegar tastings, which is pretty cool! They also have an awesome walnut oil that is so rich and buttery and they have some great tasting spreads and dips. All of their products are pesticide free and mostly organic. You can also join their club and 4 times a year get a different bottle of olive oil, vinegar and a spread, spices, etc. Last time I received(picture above, cat not included) an olive oil, vinegar, a spice mixture and a trail mix using the spice mixture they sent. So if you are a cook it's a great club to join and try different olive oils and vinegars. The bottles everything comes in are also very nice looking. They make great gifts as well. Also if you join the club and happen to have any type of issue they are so quick to resolve the problem. Check out the website clicking here. Let me know if you try them out and what you think!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chocolate Chunk Cookies w/orange zest

I had a very nice New Years Eve with my husband, son and a good friend of ours who came to visit. We went and had a chinese dinner than came back and played ping pong, I didn't it was too cold in the gargage, and watched a movie until it was time to count the New Year in.

New Years day we went and saw Avatar in 3-D. What a great, great movie! The aliens looks so real! I would actually like to see it again without the 3-D and on IMAX to see what it's like. They need to change those 3-D glasses so they are more comfortable and have them wrap around more, like sport glasses. Maybe I should write a letter. :)

What are some of your favorite sweet combinations? One of mine is chocolate and orange, but only in a cookie. You see I can't eat oranges or drink orange juice because is plays havoc on my body, seriously. No need to go into details, it's just a real bad thing.
So the way I enjoy a bit of orange is, orange zest and chocolate!
If you are looking for a crunchy cookie, these are it!
Hope you like them.
Chocolate chunk cookies w/Orange Zest
3/4 C. pure maple syrup
1/2 C. canola oil (your choice)
2 T. organic sugar
2 tsp. molasses
2 T. brandy(optional)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
zest from 1 large orange
2 C. spelt flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks
Preheat oven to 350.
In a mixing bowl combine maple syrup, sugar, molasses, canola, vanilla, vinegar, orange zest and brandy. Beat with an electric mixer or whisk until throughly combined.
In a seperate bowl combine, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Gradually pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and just mix until thoroughly combined. Next stir in the chocolate. The dough will be on the softer, sticky side.
Drop Tablespoon size amounts onto cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 12-14 minutes.