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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Fantastic Vegan Cake Pops

What structure does melanin travel along in the melonocyte of a nevi? That was the ridiculous question on a friends test that inspired this cake. The answer is a microtubule. The cake is suppose to look like a mictrotubule. Cake pops were easier to do than icing a cake this way I figured. They took a few days to make but they were really easy to put together.

I started off making two chocolate cakes using this amazing recipe. I use this chocolate cake recipe all the time. It makes one level so I double the recipe to make two. Apparently this is called a "depression cake" because it did not require expensive ingredients like eggs and milk so it was used during the depression. It also happens to be vegan so its perfect. If has no weird ingredients.

What you need: 
2 vegan cakes
vegan icing, this can be store bought
dairy free dark chocolate About 4 bars with
tooth picks or lollipop sticks
Optional: sprinkles

What to do:

Day 1
Step 1: Make the cakes as per the linked recipe.
Step 2: Break the cakes up in a large bowl. Don't use a potato masher as pictured, hands work the best.
Step 3: Add 2 large dollops of vegan icing. I used about 1/2 a cup in total. Mix the icing in well with your hands until the cake dough holds together. Add a bit more if needed but keep in mind that too much icing will cause the pops to be too loose and fall apart.
Step 4: Use a meat baller to form cake dough into balls. A meat baller keeps them all the same size.
Step 5: Freeze the balls overnight. Ensure they are not touching each other. I separated the layers with aluminum foil so I could stack them and fit them all in the freezer.

Day 2
Step 6: Break up 1 to 1.5 vegan dark chocolate bars in a mug and microwave for 30 seconds. Mix and microwave for 20-30 seconds again, Continue to mix and microwave until the chocolate is smooth.
Step 7: Put a lollipop stick or tooth pick in each cake ball. Dip the cake pop in the chocolate and allow the chocolate to drip off. You may need to remelt or melt more chocolate from time to time until the balls are all coated. I brushed chocolate onto some and dipped them in sprinkles to save chocolate. I placed the pops directly on the foil but you could keep them inverted so the chocolate stays perfect looking by placing the sticks in a short glass.
Step 8: Freeze overnight.

Day 3
You can arrange your cake pops in some special way using tooth picks or just enjoy the way they are :)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cooking for a Crowd: A Whole Lot of Food for a Whole Lot of People

We had a superbowl party this year. I'm not into all this sports stuff like my husband is but I enjoy the planning and cooking and showing off part. I would be a poor blogger if I wasn't a bit of a show off. So here is our awesome feast complete with recipes in case you wan to make your own. Everything pictured is vegan except the hot dogs, it was my husbands party and he wanted a meat thing. Everything was also nut free

The Main Attraction: The Chili

I don't know where I got this recipe from as I have had it a very long time. It's evolved a bit from the original so I am going to post it here. This is a big recipe, it fed 15 people and there were left overs so be warned.

What You Need:

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large can of tomato juice
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 vegetable bullion cube
  • 3 diced potatoes 
  • 1 chopped onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 pepper chopped
  • 2-4 tbsp of chili powder (start with 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
What To Do: 
  1. Put everything in a really big pot. Start with 2 tbps of chili powder, you can add more later if it is not spicy enough. Make sure the bullion cube dissolves, it is sometimes easier to add this after the whole mix is boiling. Bring to boil on high heat then simmer until everything is cooked. This can take an hour or two. The lentils should be tender and the onions translucent. Add more chili powder at the end if necessary. 
  2. You can make this the day before and let the flavors mingle in the fridge overnight. Then you simply warm it up the next day and it is extra good. 
  3. Serve with bread or nachos or both. 

Spiced Toasted Pita Chips

Pictured to the left of the chili.These are from the Oh She Glows Cookbook on page 91. I could not find the recipe on her website but I did find it here. I multiplied the recipe by 3 to make enough pita chips for the party. I modified the recipe slightly. I mixed the spices with the oil, brushed the mix on to the top and bottom of each pita then stacked them up and cut the whole lot into wedges. That is a lot easier than brushing each piece individually.

Serve with Salsa, Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

Easy Guacamole

What You Need:

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 lime or 2 tbsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
What To Do:
  1. Remove the avocado flesh from the skin and pit. Place it in a bowl. 
  2. Squeeze juice from a lime into the bowl catching the seeds or just add 2 tbsp of lime juice. Mash avocado and lime juice together with a potato masher. 
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste, Mix in cilantro. 

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo is amazing. It is pictured above between the guac and the pita chips. It is best to make it the night before to let the flavours mingle over night. Leaving the onion in the acidic lime juice will dull it's sharpness.

What You Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 a sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, diced really small. If you don't like it hot, remove the seeds. 
  • 4 tbsp lime juice (or 2 limes worth of juice)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
What To Do: 
  1. Mix everything in a bowl or container. Leave in the fridge covered overnight. Serve cold the next day. 

The Cakes

I have been using this cake recipe forever. It is fantastic, economical and can be found here. A friend of mine figured out that the recipe is one used during the depression when eggs and dairy were hard to come by. The recipe makes only one layer so I double it up to make two. I bought the icing from the grocery store because there was too much to do to make it from scratch.

To make a football shaped cake, you just have to cut a sliver out of the middle and push the two sides together. I iced the sliver to make a second cake.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Marvelously Comforting and Creamy Mushroom Soup

This is a great soup for the winter and it has been extra wintery this week with the ice storm and then the snow this week. Both husband and child approved. I don't think it is filling enough to count as an entire meal on it's own but pairs well with a fresh bred or grainy toast. Makes a little more than 2 servings.

What You Need:

  • a pack of cremini mushrooms, sliced or chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 a sweet onion, minced or chopped all small like
  • 1 vegetable bullion cube with no monosodium glutamate, check the ingredients :) 
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  • 2 cups of soy milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste
  • optional: 1 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp of water

    What To Do:
    1. Add olive oil, mushrooms and onion to a regular sized pot on medium heat. Fry while stirring until the mushrooms look cooked and the onion translucent, taking care not to burn the onion.
    2. Add bay leaf and thyme. Add bullion cube, and squish it up with the back of the spoon to help it dissolve when the water is added. Add the flour and stir the whole thing well. 
    3. Add soy milk and water, bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. If the soup thickens to your liking, you are done. If not, mix the cornstarch with the water then add to the soup while stirring to thicken it up. Enjoy your awesome soup :)

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Easy Vegan Fried Rice with Hoisin Smothered Soy Balls

    I needed something easy and healthy that would fill our tummies. This one is a bit soy heavy, there are soy nuggets and tofu involved, but why not load up on protein once in a while. There are lots of veggies to balance it out. My husband really liked the hoisin smothered soy nuggets. It's a great recipe to use up left over rice which we always seem to have kicking around. Soy chunks are cheap and full of protein so I have been looking for a chance to experiment with them. I am averse to dishes so I just used the one wok but you can fry the rice and the soy chunks in separate pans if  you like.

    What You Need:

    • About 1 cup of Dried Defatted Soy Chunks, soaked for 15 minutes and squeezed out. 
    • 5 sliced mushrooms, cremini was used here
    • 1 sliced zucchini
    • 1 cup of snap peas, tips and strings removed
    • 1/2 a package (about 200 grams) firm tofu, mashed with a potato masher
    • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
    • 2 tbsp tamari or real soy sauce (MSG free)
    • 1-2 tbsp hoisin sauce
    • cooking oil as needed
    What To Do: 
    1. Add some oil to the wok and set it on medium heat. Fry the soy chunks until golden then transfer to a bowl and set aside. 
    2. Add a bit more oil to the wok then add the peas, mushroom, tofu and zucchini. Fry on medium to high heat until the tofu begins to dry out and the veggies cook a bit. Then add the rice and soy sauce and continue to cook until the vegetables are cooked to your liking and everything is well mixed together. Transfer fried rice to plates. 
    3. Add soy chunks back to frying pan to warm up, add hoisin sauce to taste and stir well. Serve on the side of the rice and enjoy.  

    Sunday, January 15, 2017

    Berry Banana-Nut Bowl of Science

    I got a rather expensive salad at a restaurant. The description was amazing but it turned out to be mostly leaves and I was starving so I throw together dessert when I got home. This turned out to be really good and also really healthy. It's mostly fruit and fruit is great. Lots of vitamins and antioxidants in them. Chocolate and coconut whipped cream are good for my happiness so that's always helpful. This turned out pretty decadent and it was the result of just adding everything I could think of that I had on hand.

    All that is in it is...
    1. Frozen Berries- microwaved for a minute

    2. Sliced Banana

     3. Chocolate Shavings

     4. Sliced Almonds

     5. Coconut Whipped Cream, More Chocolate Shavings, Strawberry

     I got chocolate shavings everywhere but it was worth it.

    Monday, January 9, 2017

    Cremini Mushroom Caps Stuffed with Garlic Cilantro Pesto.

    This recipe packs a flavor punch. It's pretty easy to put together and since my son loves mushrooms he actually eats this too.

    What you need:
    2/3 cup hulled sunflower seeds
    3 cloves of garlic
    1/3 cup cilantro leaves washed, stems removed
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
    1 tomato, roughly chopped
    1 large container of Cremini mushrooms

    What to do:
    1. Turn on oven to 450 degrees. Place the sunflower seed in a food processor and run until the seeds become a powdery meal.
    2. Add garlic cloves and run food processor until the garlic is combined and the mix looks like a more course meal.
    3. Turn off machine, add cilantro, lemon juice, soy sauce and tomato. Process until the ingredients are well mixed.
    4. Wash mushrooms and remove the stems. Fill each mushroom with the pesto and place in an oven safe baking dish. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes watching closely for the last 5 minutes. I sample one of the larger mushrooms to make sure that the pesto is fully cooked (my son gets upset if the garlic is too spicy).
    5. That's it. Enjoy. If there is left over pesto, you can use it in wraps or sandwiches.