Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Delicious (Vegan) Mess... Or Take 5 Chocolate "Bars"

Sometimes you do things and they just doesn't work out as planned. These things could be big life choices or daily activities but today I am talking about food. Specifically, these "candy bars." Thankfully they turned out deliciously though their appearance is less than *ahem* pretty. My main fault was creating them in ridged muffin tins without spraying them with oil and/or covering with parchment paper. Just make sure you do what I didn't do... or use chocolate bar molds. Either way, it will taste delicious but it may or may not look beautiful/resemble a chocolate bar in any which way. 

Oooey Goooey Goodness

Take 5 Candy Bars
Adapted from Desserts with Benefits

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips 
1/4 cup Roasted, Unsalted Peanuts
1/2 cup coconut milk caramel (link to Namely Marly's excellent and easy recipe)
2 tablespoons all-Natural Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Pretzels (we used squared ones)

Melt the chocolate and spoon into 5 cupcake tin sections (or chocolate bar moulds if you have!). Tilt the pan around so that the chocolate reaches all around the mold to cover the walls of the hollow.
Sprinkle each cavity of tin with peanuts and refrigerate for approx. 30 minutes, or until firm.
Dollop caramel into each cavity, dollop the peanut butter over the caramel, then press the pretzels into the peanut butter.
Spoon the rest of the chocolate over the pretzels in each cavity and refrigerate until completely firm.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vegan Mac and Cheeze

Who doesn't love the comfort that mac and cheese provides? This version packs in veggies - sweet potato specifically - to create a creamy, cheese-like sauce of deliciousness to pour over macaroni or any other fun shape of pasta. The roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes were a delicious addition to this rendition of mac and cheeze, sort of like a deconstructed ketchup (oh, how fancy). 

Don't forget the freshly cracked black pepper! +10 fancy points.

Alternatively, throw some Tofurky Sausage in a pan for even more protein and yumminess! +10 tasty points

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheeze
Adapted from Produce on Parade
Serves 4

1 medium sweet potato, chopped
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp. Sea salt
1/2 Tbsp. tamari sauce
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. Dijon or yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. Chili pepper flakes
1 small garlic clove
Package of desired pasta 


Roasted cherry tomatoes
Tufurky/Wheat Meat Sausage 

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta.
Bring a medium pot of water to boil, place steaming basket inside, and add chopped sweet potatoes. Cover, turn to medium-low and let steam for 10 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients into a blender and whirl on high until the mixture is smooth. When the sweet potatoes are done steaming, add them to blender with other ingredients and blend on high again until smooth. Add water as needed to thin, if too thick. Add to pasta and enjoy! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Vegan TVP Sandwich with Homemade BBQ Sauce & Coleslaw

Sloppy Joes are quickly becoming a favorite in our kitchen. We just made a Jerk version with seitan and are probably going to try a lentil version next! This is one of the easiest meals for summertime and can be made even easier with the use of store-bought BBQ sauce (but for a low-sugar, natural option, make your own as we did below). 

The coleslaw was a simple mix of veganaise, agave, vinegar and pepper. Nothing fancy but the perfect addition to the sandwich which gave it a pulled pork-esque vibe (the Pulled Unpork Sandwich at The Hogtown Vegan uses TVP and coleslaw, which was the inspiration for this sammy).

Homemade BBQ Sauce
Adapted from Oh She Glows

Yield: 2 & 1/4 cups
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium-sized sweet onion, chopped finely
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
28-oz crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup black strap molasses
1/3 cup white vinegar + 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or just use more white vinegar)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp yellow mustard 

1. In a large saucepan, sautée the onion in oil on medium heat for about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sautée for another minute.
2. Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the mustard and cook for about 30 minutes uncovered over low heat. Stir occasionally and make sure not to burn it.
3. Add the mustard and taste for sweetness/sourness. Add more sugar, salt, vinegar, etc if you think it’s necessary to achieve your desired flavour. Cook for another few minutes.
4. Optional: You may puree the sauce in a blender, but it isn't necessary.

Put it all together: Mix 1.5 cups TVP with 2 cups BBQ sauce or until the mixture is the right consistency for sandwiches. Cook about 15 minutes on stove top and serve on buns with homemade vegan coleslaw. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Vegan Sweet Potato Bean Burgers with Mango Carrot Slaw

Frozen veggie burgers used to be our go-to option when we felt like a burger. After discovering so many incredible vegan burger recipes online, eating those frozen patties doesn't feel good anymore. This recipe is perfect for when you're feeling lazy and almost about to grab a frozen burger. They come together quickly and taste deliciously! 

The mango carrot slaw put the burgers over the top in terms of fanciness and tastiness. The sweetness of the sweet potato is brought out with the sweetness of the mango in the slaw. The crunch of the slaw acts nicely with the delicious mushy inside of the burger (yes, mushiness is a desired quality in my burgers!). 

These are the perfect summer meal in summation. You can serve on a bun or bed of greens. Yay!

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers
Recipe by Kathy, Happy. Healthy. Life.makes 7-8 large patties

2 cans cannellini white beans, drained
1 large sweet potato, baked/peeled/mashed (about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp tahini
2 tsp maple or agave syrup
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup wheat flour
a few dashes cayenne, black pepper and a scoop of nutritional yeast
salt to taste, if needed
plentiful Panko crumbs
safflower oil for pan

1. Bake sweet potato. Peel, place in large mixing bowl.
2. Add drained beans to mixing bowl. Mash beans and potato together.
3. Mash in seasoning, flour and any additional seasoning. Your mixture will be quite soft and moist. But you should be able to form a patty. Add more flour or a scoop of breadcrumbs - or dry rice to thicken the mixture if needed.
4. Heat 1 Tbsp safflower oil in a pan over high heat.
5. Form a patty from mixture and coat in Panko crumbs. Thick coating. Then drop the patty in the pan. Repeat until the pan is filled. Cook until browned on both sides. You could also bake. If baking, use less Panko.
6. Transfer cooked patties to paper towel. Cool for a few minutes.
7. Serve on toasted bun with lots of toppings.

Mango Carrot Slaw
Inspired by Vegan Richa 

1 Ripe Mango
2 Carrot
Cabbage coleslaw mix (bagged)

Grate/thinly slice mango and carrot and mix with cabbage coleslaw mix.
Add Vegenaise and mix. Add a generous pinch of salt, vinegar, agave, black pepper. 
Mix well, taste and adjust, and keep ready.

Assemble burgers with any other additional toppings you want (lettuce, avocado, tomato, etc.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Seitan Jerk Sloppy Joes

I'm looking at these picture right now and am seriously craving this sandwich. Ohmigawd it was soo good!

I always figured making your own seitan would be an extremely labour intensive process but it wasn't difficult at all. We did have a brief moment of panic when we accidentally picked up tempura dipping sauce instead of soy sauce and only realized this once we had added it (this is what happens when you're preoccupied with finding the soy sauce with the lowest sodium). I guess it wasn't brief but rather an extended period of worry that only subsided when everything appeared to be coming together correctly.

Did this sandwich taste sweeter just because of that? No, I definitely don't think that was it.

The sauce was soooo flavourful. It was sweet, it was salty, it had garlic....everything you want and need in a sloppy joe.

Homemade Seitan

1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup cold vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated on a microplane grater

For the simmering broth: 
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce

Fill a stock pot with the water, broth and soy sauce, cover and bring to a boil.
In the mean time, in a large bowl mix together gluten and yeast.  In a smaller bowl mix together broth, soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Pour the wet into the dry and combine with a wooden spoon until most of the moisture has absorbed and partially clumped up with the dry ingredients. Use your hands and knead for about 3 minutes, until it’s an elastic dough. Divide into 3 equal pieces with a knife and then knead those pieces in your hand just to stretch them out a bit. Let rest until the broth has come to a full boil.
Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the gluten pieces and partially cover pot so that steam can escape. Let simmer for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. Turn the heat off and take the lid off, let sit for 15 minutes.
Remove from broth and place in a strainer until it is cool enough to handle. Slice and use as desired.

Jerk Sloppy Joes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced medium
1 pound seitan, chopped into bite sized pieces 
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Several dashes fresh black pepper
14 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Saute onion in one tablespoon coconut oil and a pinch of salt, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the seitan and cook for about 10 minutes, until nicely browned, stirring often. Push the seitan and onions to one side of the pan so that you have space to quickly saute the garlic and ginger. Put the remaining teaspoon of coconut oil in the pan and toss in the garlic and ginger, stirring as it sizzles, for about 15 seconds. Then mix it up with the seitan and onions.
Add thyme, paprika, salt, allspice, red pepper flakes, cinnamon and black pepper and toss to coat everything and cook the spices a bit.
Add the tomatoes, and cook for about 10 more minutes, tossing often. Lastly, mix in the maple syrup, lime juice and mustard. Let cook for a minute or so, then taste for salt and seasonings, and serve.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What's Vegan and Vanilla All Over?

These delicious cupcakes, of course!

Sometimes there's nothing better than a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. I am normally
a chocolate cake kinda grrrl but every once and a while the wind changes and I want vanilla.

These cupcakes are great. They have a nice vanilla flavour, nothing too powerful, and the icing frosting doesn't taste overly sweet. Does anyone else mix up when to use frosting or icing? I'm not too fussy about that stuff, though. Okay... There is quite a lot of icing sugar in the frosting but the recipe makes a heck of a lot! We still have leftovers.

Many of our cupcakes didn't make the cut, photography wise, as Caitlin didn't appreciate my experimentation with wavy frosting but this one looks pretty swell. And tastes great too!

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes with Fluffy Buttercream Frosting
Recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

For the cupcakes:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.
Beat together the almond milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla extract in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain. 
Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.
For the vanilla butter cream frosting:
½ cup nonhydrogenated shortening
½ cup nonhydrogenated margarine
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
Beat the shortening and margarine together until well-combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and soy milk and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Shake

I'm a big smoothie person. Meaning every time I see an amazing looking smoothie I want to make it.

The making of smoothies, however, happens much less often than I would like.

Coincidentally when we saw this smoothie the other day we got right out of our chairs and hopped to it.

Hopefully this is a new trend. 

This recipe calls for chocolate covered bananas but we didn't bother with that. 

Instead we went crazy with the PB :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake

2 bananas, frozen
1/2 cup frozen strawberries or frozen watermelon (this adds iciness)
1 heaping Tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened..)
1/2 cup almond milk, (sweet vanilla-date flavor, or substitute another vegan milk)**
2-3 pinches cinnamon
1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter (for blender)
1 1/2 Tbsp peanut or almond butter to swirl in as you pour your shake (softened - microwave a few seconds to make drizzle-able if needed)
optional: 1 scoop of your fave protein powder
**Add a few splashes more liquid if needed to blend (depends on what blender you are using)

For the shake, simply add all the ingredients to your blender and start blending. To serve, drizzle softened nut butter in between the layers of chocolate shake and over top. Garnish with a frozen banana. You will have plenty of leftover dipped chocolate bananas, store them in the freezer.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rhapsodic Bakery in Orlando, Florida

After our trip to Ethos we cruised on over (more like happened upon) Rhapsodic Bakery. We had actually wanted to try the goods here a few years ago when we went to Florida but never managed to find it. Well we found it this time and although we were ecstatic to have happened upon it, it did not live up to our expectations.

We tried a Chocolate Ginger Cupcake that didn't taste fresh or baked with love. I think someone with a broken heart made this cupcake.

The cupcake was dense and very dry. The ginger wasn't a pleasant addition, it was pungent and too spicy, overpowering the chocolate. Not worth the $3 price tag!

We only tried this one cupcake but if it is any indication of the rest of their baked goods then Rhapsodic Bakery is not worth the money.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ethos Vegan Kitchen in Orlando, Florida

Ethos Vegan Kitchen in Orlando, Florida (or more specifically Winter Park), is AWESOME. I'm so used to scouring the menu at a regular restaurant for something without meat or cheese that it is so satisfying to have a whole menu of options. And when there are plenty of vegan pasta options this dough-head is more than content.

We first learned of Ethos from Cadry's Kitchen. I was overcome with desire after seeing her pictures of the food. Everything looked so delicious that when we decided to take a little trip down south we knew we would have to hit up Ethos.

Without further ado....the food! 

Garlic Knots
These garlic knots were perfect. Crispy, crunchy exterior with a soft, delectable interior. 

Healthy Trio
Olive Tapenade, Tomato-Mango Salsa, and Hummus with bread, veggies, and tortilla chips
Oh! This may have been the best hummus I've ever eaten and I may have eaten most of it myself :)

Pumpkin Seed Pesto Penne Pasta
Ethos menu description: Penne pasta sautéed in a creamy pesto sauce and tossed with tomatoes, squash and zucchini. Sprinkled with roasted pumpkin seeds. 

This is a comforting and hearty dish while also having a delicate flavour profile. One of the best pastas Caitlin has eaten.

Laina's Special Pasta
Ethos menu descriptionPenne pasta and your choice of seitan or chickun (I chose the seitan) sautéed with onion, garlic, carrots, broccoli and peas in a white wine lemon butter sauce. 

The peas in this one were great little bursts of sweetness while the butter sauce definitely caused an umami tango with my taste buds.  Can you see how I'm totally beside myself with anticipation and trying to restrain myself from digging in before the photo is snapped. 

Pecan Encrusted Eggplant
Ethos menu description: A slice of eggplant encrusted with pecans, sautéed and finished with red wine sauce. Served with mashed potatoes and gravy and today's vegetable. 

The red wine sauce was absolutely scrumptious and the asparagus was beautifully cooked. This is a very rich, hearty meal - you need an empty stomach for this one! 

If we hadn't been staying so far away we would have frequented Ethos almost every day! There's lots to choose from on the menu but we picked some winners for sure. We love you Ethos! And Winter Park, you're not too shabby yourself ;)

Ethos Vegan Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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