Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Camera!!!

My Christmas gift from Dave and Keaton this year was a Canon EOS!  I was completely surprised and it was so unexpected.  I guess they feel my food pic's aren't up to par. lol!  Anyways it was such a wonderful gift from them.  My in-laws got me a long distance lense.  I'm so so happy!  No more blurred photo's unless I want them to be.

Keaton's friend's mother made us some vegan treats this year.  What a pleasant surprise and very thoughtful they were to make these for us. 
Fudge (this was so good I had way to  much)
This will be my go to recipe for fudge.  I'll have to post the recipe later.
Spiced Pecans

This is a butternut squash lasagna that I had been wanting to make.  The recipe is taken from
 Giada De Laurentis but of course made vegan.  It was really good and really easy to make.  There were supposed to be more layers but there wasn't enough sauce or butternut squash.  Next time I will double those two things.  I didn't have enough basil so I added in some sage.  As for the vegan ingredients I used Earth Balance and daiya mozzerella.  I would make this for company in a heart beat.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun New Years Eve.  We are having some friends over for New Years and I hope the appetizers I have planned turn out. 

Until 2011!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have a very merry Chirstmas!

Warmest wishes to all of you!  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas spending time with family and friends. 

Our dinner menu has changed.  Dave ordered tamales and I made vegan ones the other night so our  menu now will be tamales, rice, beans, tortillas and a big salad.  For dessert I'm going to make a flan from VCON.  Of course there will be plenty of cookies and caramels to munch on.
Speaking of cookies I can't leave you without a recipe now can I?  If you love ginger, molasses and chocolate than these cookies are for you.  They are so soft and chewy....yum!  Keaton and I love these.  I've been making them for years now.  I found them on the Martha Stewart website years ago and the only ingredient change needed to make them vegan is to sub Earth Balance for the butter.  Cool eh?

Chewy Chocolate gGinger Cookies
by Martha Stewart

Makes 2 dozen

•7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
•1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
•1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
•1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1.Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate

•Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.

•In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

•In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.

•Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chewy Ginger Cookies, Rumnog Cookies and Caramels for Keaton's friends  families.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homemade Caramels

It's definitely the holidays.  Cold, rainy, beautiful lights, cinnamon, ginger and pine!   I hope everyone is well and staying nice and toasty warm.

So Christmas is a few days away.  Do you have your menu planned?  Dave is going to grill outside, since he is cooking animal meat for his side of the family.  My plans for the rest of the menu is to make a butternut squash lasagna, grilled stuffed portobello mushrooms, roasted root veggies, some kind of greens, rolls, and a green salad. Oh and today I'm going to try and make tamales.  Let's hope they turn out. Fingers crossed!

I made these packages full of goodies for Keaton's teachers this year. Rumnog cookies fromVCON that I highly recommend, caramels and mocha caramels.


Mocha Caramels

These were my first attempt at making caramels.   It does take some time to make these.  It takes about 55min or so to cook on the stove while you have to stir often.  Cutting and wrapping the caramels were the most time consuming but they are worth it.  

I was messing around with some extra caramel and made a pecan turtles.

Happy baking and candy making. Keep those ovens on to keep yourselves warm.  If you are in Australia then you might want to be sitting in a pool eating a popsicle. lol!

I'll be back with the results from my tamales before Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Back tracking and pineapple guava

Hi everybody!  I guess I really took a bit of a break from blogging after MoFo!  Not on purpose mind you, I've just been busy with Christmas stuff and all that.

Here is our Merlin kitty in between Keaton and his laptop.  He is such a lap cat and cuddler.
Have you ever heard of a pineapple guava?  These gems I spotted at the farm the other day.  We had the worker cut one open for us and said we could even eat the skins.  They taste better without the skins but they are edible.  These are  not a hybrid either, like we first thought.  They do have a pineapple taste to them.  Hmmm could be why they call them pineapple guava....duh!

Yum!  I love trying new foods.

Here's a tempeh salad sandwich on GF bread from Sami's Bakery.  I still can't get over how good this bread is.  I even took a couple of slices to the vegan gal who works at our local health food store to try. 

I'm going to start my baking and or candy making for gifts.  Last year I gave the teachers baked goods and they loved them.  Yummy posts soon to come.  What are you baking or cooking up for gifts this year?

Keep warm and toasty this weekend!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Last day of Vegan MoFo 2010! Frosty Stew and Peanut Butter Cookies

It's the end of the night of MoFo 2010! 
I'm pushing the time here because it's almost midnight. 
It's been fun and a bit stressful at the same time to try and blog everyday. I'm bummed that I had some hiccups regarding computer/internet issues during the month.  I really enjoyed visiting more blogs and seeing all of the talented vegan cooks and  bakers out there in blogland.  There are a plethera of recipes I want to make and I figure if I make all of them I'll never have to make another meal more than once! lol!   

 Thanks to all of you who have visited my blog and kept me going by your comments.  Until next year of Vegan MoFo...keep on bloggin'.

Here's a cookbook I bought when my son was born, 12 years ago.  I made most of his food...yes it took some time but I just felt better doing it.  I also wanted my son to have more of an open palate and to enjoy all kinds of foods or shall I say...flavors.  This is a vegetarian cookbook, I wasn't vegan back then, but my son loved the recipes.  I even enjoyed them too.  Which brings me to tell you why I'm talking about this book.  I remembered making a really good stew from this book(it's been years) so I decided to make it for Dave's birthday tonight.  It's called Frosty Stew and it has all kinds of root vegetables, dark ale(for depth) and bouquet garni for the herbs.  This would even be good with tempeh in it.
  Next time I will not chop the veggies up so much, I don't know what I was thinking, but it turned out really good.  I actually had other plans for this stew but it didn't work out so I'll save it for some other time.

A couple of weeks ago I received a copy of More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally by Fran Costigan
from the Book Publishing Company.  This is a great book for everyone to have.  Fran Costigan teaches at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC.  Looking through the book I found a recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies and they looked perfect.  They hardly have any additional fat in them besides the peanut butter.  Dave loves peanut butter cookies and well  I just don't ever make them so.....for his birthday I did.
 They turned out a bit crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Just perfect!  Now I have to try to find a GF version for Keaton.  Hmmm?

Enjoy your night!