Thin Mints, Pocket Pies, and Cheezy Hot dog Pizza.. Oh my!

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I was hesitant to even bother posting anything because it seems that all I ever make are sweet treats. Quite the contrary, but it’s always dark by the time I make my savory meals, and there are never any left overs to take pictures of the following day (that’s a good thing though, right?). I promise that I am going to make a point of it to get some snaps of savory dishes that I make – the blog is feeling very one-sided and boring without a few here!

This weekend is going to be the Oscar’s, and a few friends are coming over to watch the show with us. Us girls have already begun planning our menu, and let’s be honest here… we’re a bit more excited for the snacks than we are about the actual program. Actually, for the past few weekends we have all been gathering together to make new and yummy dishes. The Oscar’s just happen to give us a new excuse to eat snacks for dinner, rather than create a traditional well-balanced meal!

Last weekend we made buffalo cauliflower pizza, Mac&Cheeze with little hot dogs also atop a pizza crust, thin mints, and pocket cherry pies. Unfortunately, I have no stellar pictures of the pies or the pizza dishes (they were taken in terrible lighting with my iPhone), but I did salvage a couple of the thin mints to have a proper photo-shoot the next day!

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 There was even some left over cherry pie filling that I saved, and I had intended on putting on top of pancakes. This was before it occurred to me last night before I fell asleep that it might be kind of amazing on top of some oatmeal (I often think of food before falling asleep, strange I know). It turned out being even better than I imagined.

 Tonight we are having alfredo with penne and a broccoli/spinach mixture folded in. For dessert we’re going to use up those little crumbly unsightly peppermint cookies to create a homemade chocolately mint blizzard. I will report back with my findings 😉

Happy Fasnacht Day!

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If anyone is reading, hellooooo (said in my best Jerry Seinfeld belly button speech, of course)!
My pancakes last week were pretty disappointing.. I’m not sure if they would be worth mentioning. I took a few sad-looking pictures, and they were a bit off-putting. They tasted yummy, but the pictures didn’t really do them justice, and I figured I would wait to post anything until they looked as appetizing as they tasted. The topping this time around was peaches and “cream” so, you have that to look forward to reading about once I finally get it down!

A friend of mine and I have been quite busy with our vegan cooking adventures. We made Eggplant Parmesans from the Oh She Glows blog over the weekend, and they were the best I have ever tasted! Don’t you hate when you get a vegetable doused in so much oil you feel guilty for eating a normally super healthy veggie? I know I do, and her eggplant parm was baked to a crispy perfection. The week before that we made Super Bowl treats with her recipe of baked onion rings that were also quite num nums. I whipped together my own batch of buffalo dip (John was having withdrawals from Buffalo Chicken dip that used to be a weekly splurge), and a veganized taco dip. We were so antsy to get eating that neither my friend or I remembered to take pictures of the deliciousness… It’s all right though, I told her and the boys that it just means we will have to make it all over again to eat! No one could contest to that 😉

This same friend was having a craving for fasnachts yesterday (Fat Tuesday). I grew up in California, and I moved to the East coast a couple of years ago. Prior to moving here I had never celebrated Fat Tuesday or heard of anything called a Fasnacht. John made it very clear during our first year of dating that fasnachts were very important in securing your good luck throughout the year and ever since there have been fasnachts to be eaten during this time of the year. Last year was a mess trying to create a sugar free adaptation…and when my friend requested a vegan version this year I knew I would not be bested by anything called a “fasnacht” ever again! I went on a mission to find a recipe, and you wouldn’t believe how challenging it was to find one. I ended up modifying a plain ol’ fasnacht recipe because it seemed easy enough to convert it over to a vegan version. Thankfully, I was right and they turned out wonderful! They are so simple to make and very delicious, I highly recommend giving it a try 🙂 If you bake them they are not all that bad for you at all!

 Vegan Fasnachts
*Adapted from here: Original Fasnacht Recipe
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soymilk (I used Edensoy, but I will be testing unsweetened almond milk out next week)
2 packets of yeast (I Used Hodgson Mills rapid rise)
1/4 cup + a sprinkle for the milk/yeast mixture dry sweetener (I Used coconut palm sugar)
1/2 cup warm mashed potato
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Chocolate Glaze
1/2 Cup non-dairy chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil

For the fasnachts:
1.) Sprinkle yeast over warm non-dairy milk, add a pinch of sugar and set aside for 5 minutes allowing yeast to grow.
2.) Combine flour, potatoes, salt and sugar. Add the milk/yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Mix by hand or with the dough hook attachment of your mixture for 3 minutes. (I used my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with the dough hook, and it worked perfectly!).
3.) Turn the dough out on a floured bowl and knead for a for minutes until the dough is elastic and no longer sticky.
4.) Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick and cut the donuts. You can cut a square donut (traditional) or use a glass and cut one donut and use a shot glass to cut the hole. (I used my pizza cutter, and I made 16 smaller rectangle-shaped fasnachts).
5.) Place the cut donuts on a floured cookie sheet, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30-40 minutes.
6.) Heat a half inch of oil in a large skillet or electric fry pan. (heat to about 360 degrees). Slide donuts in and fry for about 2 minutes, turn and finish cooking until golden brown. This was a little tricky for me.. I think since I made my fasnachts a bit smaller than the original recipe instructed I only needed to cook mine for about a minute and a half total in the oil. As you can see below, my first batch were a little too dark.. tasty none the less!
7.) Remove donuts to rack to drain and cool slightly. Toss with powdered sugar or glaze with the following recipe.
*Alternatively, you can bake these! I did an experiment of baking 6 of these delicious puffs of dough, and John actually preferred them the healthier way (wow!). To bake them I pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees, placed them on a lined cookie sheet, and let them bake until they were brown on top (this was about 12 minutes for me). 

For the chocolate glaze:
1.) Begin to melt the chocolate chips and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
2.) Once about 2/3 of the chocolate is melted turn off the heat, and continue to stir until all of the chocolate is melted.
3.) Dip your fasnachts into the chocolate glaze top side down and then allow to rest for as long as you can manage!Image

Spelt Pancakes

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During our Engine 2 Challenge the meal plan called for Pancakes 3 out of the 4 Sundays. No complaints here! And to my surprise, no complaints from John either 🙂 We’re finished with the “challenge” meal plan now, but seeing that John did get results from participating in it he has been much more agreeable to following along with my new vegan diet.

Over the course of the last month we both looked forward to Sunday morning breakfasts because of the fluffy pillows of yumminess that awaited us each week-end (Sorry, too much Downton Abbey for me!). I don’t see why simply because we’ve finished following the Engine 2 meal plan that we can’t keep pancakes in our schedules on Sundays. I figured why not keep this ritual going and discover what new scrumptious pancake recipes we can come up every weekend!

The first week we made the suggested spelt pancakes, but we didn’t have strawberries so I substituted in dried cranberries with walnuts as a topping. The second week I didn’t think John would go for the lemon pancakes (I never knew John was such a picky eater until working my butt off to create vegan recipes that he wouldn’t complain about…) so, I just threw some non-dairy chocolate chips into the regular E2 spelt pancake recipe. The third week John asked me to add blueberries to the batter.. he has been very particular about each of the E2 recipes, and I was excited to tell him that the “real” E2 recipe called for blueberries!  Surprisingly, he loved it, and we had them for the last two weeks of the challenge in a row. This past weekend John suggested creating a topping with the blueberries, rather than mixing them into the batter itself. As delicious as all of the new vegan E2 recipes have been, I was pretty bored following most of them to the “T”, and I was up for a little bit of a challenge. I created a blueberry compote that was ah-may-zing! It was very simple and very delicious. I can tell you with confidence that it was good because John himself approved of it.

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The first picture is of my fancy pants pancakes. The other two are plain pancakes with a silly spatula we got as a neat Christmas present 🙂

Spelt Pancakes (Found Here: E2 Spelt Pancakes.)
*I always make half a recipe, and it’s enough for John and I to save half for freezing/heating up as a weekday treat! This makes 6 thick puffy pancakes, but if you prefer thinner pancakes add about 1/4-1/2 cup more non-dairy milk, which will get you 8. 
1 cup Oat Flour
1 cup Spelt Flour
2 tbsp Flax Meal
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

 Blueberry Compote
1 cup frozen blueberries
3 tbsp water
1 tsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp sweetener of your choice (I used coconut sugar)

For the pancakes:
1. Whisk the flours, baking powder, flax meal, and salt together in a large bowl.
Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. (I usually just toss the wet ingredients directly into the well with combining in a separate bowl.. I hate dirty dishes!!)
2. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir the batter just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened: it will seem very thin, but it will thicken.
3. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes (spelt flour takes a little longer to absorb liquids). If you can’t wait, your pancakes won’t be as crisp.
4. After the batter has rested, fold in blueberries.
5. Heat a dry skillet until a drop of water dances on its surface. Spraying the skillet once should allow for three batches of pancakes.
6. Ladle a large scoop of batter into the pan. Several pancakes can be cooked at once if you’re using a large skillet.
7. Cook until the batter begins to bubble and the bottom of the pancake is golden.
8. Flip and cook on the other side until both sides are golden (about a minute or 2).

For the Compote:
1. Add the blueberries to a small saucepan with the water and sprinkle in the sugar. Wait a bit for it to heat up a little — depending on your stove it could take up to a minute or so (I have a terrible stove…).
2. Once it’s a little warm sprinkle in the arrowroot, stir, and allow the mixture to bubble. Once it bubbles the compote will thicken.
3. Keep stirring so the compote doesn’t burn, and then turn the heat down to low to keep warm for your pancakes!

Cowboy Cookies

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Sooo.. this isn’t exactly a recipe that I adapted into a Vegan version, but they are delicious none the less!

My boyfriend, John, was diagnosed as diabetic last year, and he has been quite unhappy with all of the new medical bills that came with it ever since. We have a couple of friends who told us about the Engine 2 diet and instructed us to check out the Forks Over Knives
documentary. John doesn’t like anything requiring much muss or fuss, but I watched the documentary, and I began eating a plant-based diet right away. I convinced him to follow the E2 28 day challenge (found on their website: Here) so that we could test if it would indeed lower his blood sugar. In result of this I hadn’t been too awfully adventurous in my cooking. I simply followed the meal plan, and I didn’t deviate from it in order for his blood sugar readings to be the most accurate. The good news is that his blood sugar levels have dropped by 60 points! He is quite the busy guy, and it’s tough to exercise much. We recently got him a new pair of running shoes, and we’re convinced that with this new style of eating combined with exercise will keep his blood sugar in check 🙂

Anyways, the point of this little story was to explain why this new blog has been so action-less since the holidays. This 28-day challenge is winding down, and I have a ton of ideas rattling around in my head for recipes I want to “veganize”.

These cookies are the first recipe in a long time that I played around with. There is actually a vegan bakery relatively close to where we live, but the owner isn’t all that friendly and that makes it tough for me to want to continue shopping there. I love supporting local businesses, but not so much when they act like a snot =/ Well, went off topic again, but the inspiration for these cookies was this local vegan bakery. Even when I wasn’t eating a vegan diet I loved the “Cowboy Cookies” that this bakery offered. The bakery is located right next to my old orthodontist’s office, and I would get a few every month! As the years went on, the owner became more entitled, preachy, and a lot less friendly and this seemed like the perfect time to create my own. I’ve finally done it, and here is the recipe for anyone else to enjoy!

 Vegan Cowboy Cookies
Adapted from “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar”

Wet Ingredients
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup almond butter
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or any other non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla

 Dry Ingredients
1 1/3 cups oat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup dry sweetener (I used coconut sugar)
1tbsp flaxmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

 Mix Ins
1/2 – 1 cup oats (I used 1 cup)
1/4 cup chopped pecans (toasted)*
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup semi-sweet or any other non-dairy chocolate chips (I used the mini Enjoy Life brand)

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1.) Combine the almond butter, applesauce, and sugar until combined. Then toss in the vanilla, almond milk, and flax meal.

2.) Add the oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt then mix. Once combined add the whole-wheat pastry flour and mix until combined.

3.) Add the oats, chocolate chips, toasted pecans, and coconut flakes.

4.) Once combined spoon cookies using a tablespoon or cookie scooper and place onto a foil/parchment/silpat covered cookie sheet. Press the tops of the cookies down just a smidge so that they resemble the shape of cookies. You could also roll the cookies into a ball then smoosh down into a puck-shape if you want them to appear more fancy. I made half of my batch using that method, but I liked the more rustic look of just throwing them down onto the sheet — it made them more rugged like a real cowboy!

5.) Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on how crispy you like your cookies. If there are left overs just place them in an airtight container for a couple of days or even in the freezer for about a month. Good luck with that though.. mine never seem to last through the night!

*Note: To toast the pecans I placed them on a baking sheet for 8 minutes with the oven at 300 degrees.

I hope that someone out there finds this, and they get to enjoy these yummy morsels!

-Miche

Vegan Fruitcake Cookies

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Hello world! Is there anyone out there? I’m not sure if anyone will ever read this, but I decided to put it out here into the world-wide-web just in case. Since Thanksgiving I have eaten a vegan plant-based diet, and learning to cook what feels like completely from scratch. It was pretty intimidating in the beginning, and I was afraid that this meant my all-time favorite annual Christmas activity (baking Christmas cookies!) would come to an end this year. After reading many blogs and trying out a few recipes (with success!) I have been slowly regaining my confidence in these new skills following vegan cooking methods/substitutions. I decided that the one culinary goal I was going to set for myself this holiday season was to “veganize” my favorite Christmas cookie: a recipe for Fruitcake Cookies by Ina Garten. After experimenting a bit during this week leading up to Christmas I came out with a winner that I honestly cannot spot the difference between the two! This new version is just as yummy, healthier, and follows my new diet. Mission accomplished, and I plan to keep setting goals of “veganizing” all of my old favorite non-vegan dishes. If there is anyone that happened to stumble upon my little post, hello! Please try out this recipe and tell me if you enjoyed it as much as I do:)

Fruitcake Cookies:
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Fruitcake Cookies

Ingredients:
8 dried figs
4 ounces raisins
1 ounce dried cherries
1 ounces dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 ounces chopped pecans
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick non-dairy butter (I used an Earth Balance buttery stick)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup sugar (I used an organic coconut palm sugar)
1/3 cup light brown sugar or turbinado sugar
1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seed + 3 tbsp water)
1 1/3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
Directions:
Remove the tough stems of the figs with scissors or a small knife and coarsely chop the figs. In a medium bowl, combine the figs, raisins, cherries, apricots, maple syrup, sherry, lemon juice, pecans, and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.

The next day…

Get your chia-egg ready so it can get gooey while you prep the rest of the ingredients!

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or old-fashioned elbow grease), cream the non-dairy butter,cloves, sugar, and brown/turbinado sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the chia-egg and mix until incorporated. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt just until combined. Don’t over mix! Add the fruits and nuts, including any liquid in the bowl.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto a 12 by 18-inch piece of parchment or waxed paper. Roll the dough into a log, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inch thick, making an 18-inch-long roll. Refrigerate the dough for several hours, or until firm (when I’m impatient I put it into the freezer for a little over an hour, hehe)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on ungreased sheet pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden. I was able to get 28 cookies from this!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season:)

-Miche