Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vegan Muffaletta... just can't get enough.

A true favorite in our household. Fun to eat and pretty to look at. I posted the recipe a while back but here are more pictures!! Check out the recipe and give it a try... I bet you'll like it!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok, I'm going to recite the recipe but with some changes, which make a difference in the outcome of the cookie :) Thank you Uncle Kelly for perfecting this recipe and sharing the changes!! Note: original recipe came from The Joy of Vegan Baking.
Need:
4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg replacer
6 tablespoons soy milk (I use vanilla but I think Kelly uses plain)
1 cup non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, softened - I use Earth Balance, as does Uncle Kelly :)
3/4 cup organic granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (use the real kind... I have used imitation before but REAL vanilla is soooo much better)
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups nondairy semi sweet chocolate chips (Joe's has some, which is what I usually use. Kelly gets some AMAZING chips at Rose's in Seattle)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional but so necessary, I think... unless you have allergies :))

Do:
Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a non stick cookie baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix together egg replacer and milk. Use a fork and whip it like you're mixing eggs, then use a spatula to get it all out :)

In a large bowl, (this is where I use my kitchenaid) cream the butter, gran. sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Add the egg replacer mix and thoroughly combine.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. This is key... seriously, gradually add it. When it is almost all combined, add the chocolate chips and nuts.

Kelly taught me to then put the batter in the fridge for a while so it stays cold. With the 'butter' being cold, the cookies will form better. Sometimes I don't preheat the oven until this stage... then the batter will have time in the fridge.

Drop in rounds on the cookie sheet and bake off for about 12 minutes... play with the time. The original recipe says 8 to 10 minutes which I have found is definitely not enough time. I think Kelly does something around 12 minutes too...

I mention Kelly a lot because as much as I use this recipe, and the cookies are amazing, mine still aren't as good as his!!

Once out of the oven, I let them cool on parchment paper on the counter, then you can enjoy!! Super good with Purely Decadent vegan ice cream :)
p.s. the recipe says this yields 1 dozen cookies but I usually get about 15 or 18 depending on how big (or small) I make them. Play with it... you can't really go wrong :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Decision? MADE!!!

I have been running for a long time now; it's something that I love and that I am passionate about. That being said, I do get bored sometimes! My New Year's resolution this 2010 was to sign up and run either a marathon or half marathon. As I made this resolution, I said to myself, I'll probably end up not doing it. What a way to start the New Year, right?? Well, my fantastical friend Miss Abby texted me randomly with a simple statement that she signed up for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in Seattle, WA. This immediately inspired me to get on the band wagon and ACTUALLY follow through with my resolution. That being said.... I did it; and now I'm a little scared. Part of me keeps telling myself I'm silly for being scared. I mean after all, my long Saturday runs are around 8 to 10 miles so it's not like I can't long distance run. I've been telling myself that if I run 10 normally I can push another three out of myself.... I can! Ok, if I keep telling myself that it will be true, right? That's what my husband always says :)
Stay tuned for more info!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back...

Now that we're back from Florida (so much fun), I'm on to our next adventure: Noodle Nose's 4th birthday party!! I'm working on his invitations which has been really fun! I have made a lot of invitations over the years and have always found enjoyment in it. So much in fact, that it has crossed my mind more than nine times to offer my services 'for real'. I say for real because I do make my own invites and I have made invites for a lot of friends and family; however I don't get paid :) I do it for the sheer enjoyment.

These are the first invites I have worked on since our wedding and being in the process is reminding me just how much I love it and have really missed it. That being said... the 'do it for real' though is again crossing my mind. Hey, why not? :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mushroom quesadillas... a new favorite!


So I may have mentioned that our family loves mexican food... desperately. I may have also mentioned that it's pretty much guaranteed that you will ALWAYS find two things in abundance in my kitchen: Onions and mushrooms. So I decided to make a yum-o 'adult' version quesadilla!

Need:
Whole wheat tortillas (I like the freshies at the Food Co-Op, but the carb smart ones at the regular store are good too.
Sweet onion, chopped
Shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced. (I see a lot of 'talk' about the stems... to use or not to use. I personally like them if they're chopped well; they are chewy and add substance. Choose what you would like to do :))
Cheese, grated (ok, so I don't eat cheese except on the rarest of occassions and when that happens it's normally only goat or sheep. You can use the Vegan Gourmet cheese too and make them vegan) Either way, this time I used sheep cheddar, which, as goat, has a distinctive flavor but I think it bodes well.
Cilantro
Avocado
Tofutti vegan sour cream
My salsa (or some other salsa, but anything else is guaranteed to NOT be as good as mine. Just being honest.) - I'd post the recipe but my husband would seriously kill me :)

Do:
Heat a bit of oil in a large pan. Add the onions and sautee for a couple minutes. Add mushrooms and cover so they 'sweat' and soften. Leave them be for about 5 minutes, stirring and checking, of course. Meanwhile, slice your avocado into thin slices and chop a little cilantro for the presentation. When your mix is done, turn off the stove and prepare a 'flat' pan or a grill pan with your first tortilla. Add a little cheese to one half, then add some to the tortilla, fold in half and toast that baby up. Of course, it goes without saying that once the first side is toasty, flip it and do the same with the other. Here's a little trick... I actually like to toast the side that has the cheese on it first, that way the cheese melts and when you flip it to grill the other side, the melty cheese gets mixed into the mushroom/onions, binding it all together. That's a bit anal, I know, but it works for me ;)

Serve:
Presentation is what it's all about. Slice it in quarters using a pizza cutter. Top with vegan sour cream, a few slices of avocado and some cilantro, chopped. Add to your plate, a little salsa and you are ready to enjoy.

This dish is super duper easy, hearty and of course, tasty!! You could serve it as an easy appetizer for a party, making everything ahead of time, or for lunch/dinner; they're very filling!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Captiva, ooh!

Noodle Nose and I are headed off to Captiva on an impromptu trip with Nan and Poppey. Their travel partners had a family emergency (God bless them) so Nana asked us to join them. Apparently Captiva is a 'sheller''s paradise... great for a 'close to four' year old! Other than that we will lay low, read books, do puzzles and watch movies. There are other things to do, I'm sure, that we will have fun with when we get there :)
Honey is off to Vegas for a business trip. Tonight, as I prepare for our separate trip, I am coming to the realization that I won't see my honey until next Thursday night!! Oh! I miss him already. I'll be sure to update on great things in Captiva once we're there!!

xoxo

41 Sports

My BFF, Miss Jamie Ann and moi have been doing boot camp for quite a few months. In October we joined a new (to us) bootcamp, 41 Sports. Holy guacamole!! I have had so much fun working out with my BFF at the bright and early hour of 5:15 am four days per week since October. Aside from that, this bootcamp kicks my booty! Which, as all you gals can imagine, is a good thing!
This week was quite the doozy... Monday equals a garden paver held over our heads while we run up a giant hill... ten times! and then that lovely paver was our friend while we did stairs :) Tuesday brought Taylor Hill and the stairs (ten times) for all you Hamsters... ouch! And today was the topper: Iowa Street stairs 21 times. I can't go tomorrow because Honey is out of town, but really, my body might be pretty much ok with that!!!

http://www.41sportsfitness.com/

Check it out!! Best thing ever :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Truffle Pizza .... the best ever!

Ok, so I'm basically in lurve with truffles. Anything truffle is something I love. I love truffle cheese, truffle paste, truffle salt, truffles... you get it.

So Sunday is typically 'pizza night' at our house; however we don't order out or pick up, I actually make the dough and construct the pizza. This way we know it's healthy and we know what we're getting. Noodle Nose usually gets some kind of 'cheese'/broccolli combination; if he's feeling really sassy we'll throw some smart dogs on there or even pineapple if Mama feels so inclined :)

Allan and I have a bit more particular tastes. Although Allan is basically a vacuum cleaner, hoovering anything I put in front of him, he does have his favorites. I always know that one of my 'random recipes', as they are so fondly referred to, is a hit when Allan says 'oh honey, this is gooood!! Write this one down!' (I hardly ever follow a recipe which is fun but makes for difficulty in attempting to replicate the recipe again on another day!) So I write it down. My point being, the following is yet another 'writer downer' according to my honey and me as well (another tough customer).

Truffle Pizza - oh so fantabulous!!

One recipe for pizza dough... see that recipe, it really is the BEST!!!

Toppings:
Truffle Paste (it's expensive but worth it! 'The Fungus Among Us" is the best!)
1 Onion, cut in 1/2 and sliced
Truffle sheep cheese
Truffle salt

Note: originally I wanted to add sautee'd shitake mushrooms to this recipe; however, honey didn't leave his 'engagement' until way late and I didn't want him to stop at the store and be even later. Henceforth, they would be a great addition, but not necessary :)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Onions: heat some oil in a pan and sautee the onions on high until caramelized. I did high heat for the first 10 min or so, then gradually reduced it. The onions don't need to be hot so you're ok turning it off when they're done.

Roll out dough fairly flat. I use a french rolling pin after I 'spread' it out with my hands a bit. Make sure you flour your surface. Personally, I like misshapen pizza; however, honey likes it round.

Spread truffle paste onto pizza dough
Dispurse caramelized onions evenly over top of the paste
Thinly slice bits of truffle cheese and lay on top (note: you do not need to shred the cheese. I suppose you could, but in the end, it looks a lot more 'fancy' to have thin squares layered atop)

Cook for about 12-15 min; keep an eye on it.

Pull it out of the oven and sprinkle some truffle salt on top

sooo good!!!

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