Saturday, December 10, 2011

Vegans Take the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

As I posted previously, I took part in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year. The idea is to bake 3 dozen cookies and send them to 3 assigned food bloggers. In return, you get a dozen cookies each from 3 other food bloggers, secret Santa style. 

I sent Cranberry Almond Cookies to food bloggers at The Yummy Year Project, Rosewater and Thyme, and Healthy Kitschy Vegan. I hope they were enjoyed and there will be a post of that recipe coming up.

Now, on to the cookies that I was lucky enough to receive. Unfortunately one of my secret cookie santas never sent a batch so I only have two to show you today. Fortunately, they were so good that it makes up for the missing batch!

The first batch to arrive was Biscoff No Bake cookies from Tanya at Vegan Faith. They so thoughtfully came in a cute holiday tin.

The second batch to arrive was from Rachel at My Naturally Frugal Family. Rachel was so excited that she forgot to add information about the cookies, or herself! Luckily she found me here and posted all of her (and the cookie) info in a comment on the Thanksgiving post. (I will update this when everyone posts their recipes.) 

I hope that everyone who participated enjoyed all of their cookies! 

Update: Today I received a package from the post office mailed on December 3rd! Bad post office. The lovely Marly from Namely Marly sent the most adorable confetti cookies. They were delicious, pretty and cute all rolled into one sprinkly cookie. They also came in a very pretty box. Thank you Marly!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fall Favorites: Cranberry Almond Cookies

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011 

As a vegan participating in a non-vegan cookie swap, I wasn't sure what to expect. It seems that there were (just) enough vegans who participated that we were able to have a vegan "section" of the swap. I decided to make the first recipe I ever created on my own, Cranberry Almond Cookies. One of my friends once said of them, "They taste like Fall". I have two versions of this cookie, one is a lower fat version and the other makes incredibly chewy delicious cookies. Since my cookie recipients were sure to be getting three dozen cookies in total, I opted for the lower fat version which tastes a little more cakey than the chewy cookies. I'm also hoping that they shipped well. A little side note, if you're ever happen to be looking for a cookie to go with red wine, these are the ones.

Sooo, I forgot to take a picture of my cookies before I sent them. I hope that The Yummy Year Project, to whom I sent one of the batches, doesn't mind my pilfering her picture of my cookies. Plus she took a great picture!

Cranberry Almond Cookies (makes 12-18 cookies)
1/2 cup DARK brown sugar (or light brown sugar and added molasses)
1/4 cup Granulated sugar
3/4 cup All purpose flour
1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
For the lower fat version: Use 5-6 Tbsp oil (I use Canola) and 4-5 Tbsp Apple Sauce. There should be 10 Tbsp of liquid in total.

For the full fat chewy version: Use 10 Tbsp oil (again, I use Canola)
1/3 cup of Dried Cranberries
1/4 cup of Slivered Almonds

- Combine and mix all of the dry ingredients. *If you're making the chewy version of the cookie you may want to dissolve the sugar in the oil first.
- Create a well and add in liquid ingredients.
- Mix well.
- Fold in the dried cranberries and slivered almonds.
- Bake on a cookie sheet, on parchment paper, at 300-325 degrees Fahrenheit
* For the lower fat cookies bake for 14-17 minutes. For the chewy cookies bake for 10-13 minutes.

Thanksgiving 2011

I'm a little late on the Thanksgiving post. I was not even going to bother but apparently some super awesome people read this blog and actually asked to see it. This year I didn't make anything original although I did create a pumpkin pecan pie that was way too rich by taking pieces of different recipes. Some people liked it, some people didn't.

I did manage to make a few things that were so successful that I never even got any pictures. You can check out fantastic pictures of those on the blogs linked here. Those would be C'est La Vegan's Goat Cheese which I added liquid smoke to and Killer Bunnies, Inc's Cashew Truffles. The cashew truffles included Raspberry (added raspberry jam), plain chocolate, and Rocky Road (added Dandies Marshmallows and rolled in chopped peanuts).  For the main course I made Field Roast Celebration Roast with C'est La Vegan's "Poultry" gravy. So now that I'm looking at this, I see that most of what I made for Thanksgiving was not photographed. I'm such a slacker. Here's what I made that was photographed (click on the pics for a better look):

Vegan Dad's Pumpkin Pull-Apart Rolls
Vegan Dad is one of my absolute favorite vegan blogs. Last year I made his apple cider tofu for Thanksgiving and it was amazing.

 And these are the pumpkin rolls on my pretty new dishes...


I took The PPK's Pumkin Cheesecake recipe and substituted Vanilla Wafers for graham crackers and Bryanna's Vegan Pumpkin Pie as sub for the Cheesecake. So mainly I just used the Pecan topping from the PPK on Bryanna's pumpkin pie. It didn't go over well with some people. It was really rich, a little to much so for myself but some people seemed to like it.

And by special request from my sister, Raw Food for Real People's Raspberry Cacao Cheezecake.

 People tested, cat approved (actually cat rejected). I think she just wanted to be on the internets.

  Until next year...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baked Ziti

I have just been so neglectful of my little blog. I could make excuses about how busy life has been but really, I eat every day so how can I make excuses? I made some awesome foods for Thanksgiving so expect some new posts coming soon. Now onto the ziti!

I grew up in a town with a very large Italian population, so suffice it to say that going out for Italian food was a common occurrence in my childhood. I really missed stuffed shells until I found Rising Moon and ravioli until I found SoyBoy. I never found a store bought baked ziti so I had to find a way to make my own. Ok well I don't eat any of those very often but it is a special treat when I get some good old Italian pasta dishes.

This dish isn't necessarily fast but it's pretty easy. I make a big batch of vegan ricotta and use it for different dishes over the next 1 1/2-2 weeks.  That is probably the most time consuming item to make, aside from bake time.

For 2-4 Servings of Baked Ziti:

1 1/2-2 cups (dry) of cooked ziti pasta
8 oz Tomato Sauce (store bought or homemade)
6-8 oz Vegan Ricotta (see recipe below)
4 oz Daiya Mozzarella Cheese (or any brand that you like)
2 Tbsp Vegan Parmesan Cheese (1 part ground sesame seeds, 1 part nutritional yeast)

*Preheat your oven to 375F.
*Cook the pasta as directed on the package. Drain well and place in a medium mixing bowl. add in the tomato sauce, vegan ricotta, and vegan mozzarella. Mix well using a rubber spatula.
*Lightly grease/spray a baking dish and place the mixture into the dish.
*Sprinkle the vegan parmesan on top and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Vegan Ricotta 
1/2 cup Raw Cashews (soaked for a minimum of 2 hours to overnight)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (slightly less if bottled)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 lb of Firm Tofu (I like the texture of Nasoya Light Firm Tofu for this recipe)
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp salt

*In a food processor add the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Blend until creamy.
*Add remaining ingredients to food processor and blend until creamy again.
How easy is that?!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011

The 1st Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is being hosted by Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. Join me vegans!

(I will have to find my camera battery charger soon)

Any votes on what kinds of cookies I should bake for my lucky recipients?


Update: Oh boy, I got my matches and these people are real food bloggers. They have amazing websites, really. Fingers crossed that I can hang with the big boys so to speak.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I couldn't leave you with that ugly picture of tofu scramble so I'm giving you Surprise Cookies. I'm hardly a fan of Martha Stewart but she has some good recipes and tips. I saw a posting of this one and had to make it, particularly because I wanted to use my Sweet & Sara vanilla marshmallows for something fun before I ate them all. I had to act fast. Without further ado, I give you Surprise Cookies!

A little about marshmallows. I think most people know that they are not vegetarian due to the gelatin in marshmallows. If you want to find out what gelatin is really made of, click the link. Otherwise just take my word for it that they are not vegetarian.

Candy, including marshmallows, are among them most difficult foodstuffs to make. Therefore, I highly recommend using store bought marshmallows. There are two brands that I am aware of. Sweet and Sara marshmallows taste more like big, dense, homemade marshmallows and they are local so they are easier for me to get. Dandies are fantastic marshmallows that taste like the mini-marshmallows that you ate as a kid.

For the Surprise Cookies, I used Sweet and Sara marshmallows. Martha's recipe calls for cutting a large marshmallow in half so I cut the large Sweet and Sara marshmallows in half. If I make these again, I may try for a whole marshmallow because I think you lose that taste a little bit with half. Of course I'll update the post when I do because I know you are all just hanging on the edge of your seat waiting.

Really, these could not be easier to make.

A couple of tips:
*I used direct substitutions for butter, eggs, and milk using Earth Balance, Ener-G Egg Replacer, and Soy Milk.
*Keep the marshmallows at room temperature before baking.
*If your frosting topping is runny, add in more confectioners sugar to stiffen it up.



My Food Isn't Pretty

I haven't been posting much because what I've been eating, although healthy and easy to make, isn't necessarily pretty to look at. Case in point...

Tofu Scramble with an Avocado & Sun-dried Tomato Spread
(also store bought veggie sausage which I think I've had twice in my life)

 Also you don't want to see pictures of a salad, that I eat everyday, consisting of lettuce, carrots, tofu chunks, and dried cranberries.

Have no fear, I have a backlog of desserts and fun things to post. Plus, it's fall! My favorite time of the year to cook and bake.