Saturday, December 19, 2009

Another giveaway!

I really like giveaways. I never win, but they're fun and exciting. And this one sounds really tasty.
So if you're interested, go ahead and read this one
Sorry I haven't posted in a while. And it'll probably be a while more before my next one. I'm just busy with Christmas. I've hardly done any shopping yet...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Raw for the day

So it seems that I can't be raw for a day as often as I'd like, (Once a week) because I tend to want to make things that have a variety of vegetables, so I can really only be a raw foodist for a day within a week of going to the store, which I don't do every week. So it will be less often than I'd like, but it'll still happen when I can. Maybe I'll do more raw meals to make up for it, rather than whole days.

Anyway! This week, for breakfast I just had a huge pile of sliced strawberries. It was really good.

For lunch I made raw sushi. Filled with carrot, red bell pepper, and green onion. I was a little upset that all of my avocados weren't ripe. But oh well. Cucumber or sprouts would also be tasty in the sushi. I'll tell you about the pate below.
Raw sushi is definitely not as photogenic as regular sushi, but it sure tastes good!

For dinner I made some raw wraps. Filled with nut pate, green onion, basil, carrot, red bell pepper, and tomato. All wrapped up in collard greens. Cucumber, sprouts, and avocado would also be a nice addition.

For the nut pate, and the pate for the "rice" for the sushi, I soaked a cup of cashews, and half a cup of almonds for an hour. Then I put them in the food processor and chopped them up pretty fine. Then I took away about half, and with the remaining half in the food processor, I added lemon juice, basil, tamari, a tiny bit of garlic, water and a little onion, and blended it up. At first I was worried, because it seemed really heavy, and just too fatty for sushi, and I was worried it would go horribly as sushi rice, and was regretting I tried nuts rather than sunflower seeds. Once I actually made the sushi though, it was totally fine. Then with the other half of the blended nuts, I added tamari, basil, bell pepper, and onion. I then added some of that to the "Rice" pate because I needed more of that, and to give it a little more flavor.
The nut pate for the wraps was really, really good. The pate for the sushi was also good, but not especially great. Although using nuts worked, I think next time I'll use sunflower seeds.

I have so many posts to do! I should start posting like crazy. But I'll probably be too busy to, being Christmas time and all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Product review: Daiya vegan cheese

The other day I got a half pound bag of shredded Daiya vegan cheese. (The mozzarella kind)
I tried it uncooked, and it was pretty good. Similar to real cheese, but maybe a little tangier? But I've heard a lot about how awesome this cheese melts, so I had to make something with it.

I made quesadillas. One with just cheese so I could properly judge the cheese, and one with onions and kale to see how it went with other things.
Again, it was a little tangier than real cheese, but I still really liked it. It melted really well, and was stringy even, and I think I even fooled my dad for a second into thinking it was real cheese. I liked it on its own, but I think I liked the one with the onion and kale a little better.
Unfortunately, when it got a little cooler it started getting a little rubbery, but it was still good, and re-melted just fine.

Melted and stringy. I had fun pulling off the top of the quesadilla to see the cheese strings.

Then a few days later I tried it on mini pizzas. One plain so I could judge the cheese, and one with sun-dried tomato and onion. They were both great. Pretty much the same conclusion as with the quesadillas. And I left one for later, to see if it would be good as cold pizza. It didn't really, it was a little rubbery, but I microwaved it for a few seconds and it was delicious again.

Cheese strings!

I think I like this better than real cheese, it doesn't taste exactly the same, but it does taste similar, and it tastes GOOD. And it also doesn't taste over-processed and low-quality. (Yes, I'm snobby sometimes)
I still have a little left of my half pound bag after three mini pizzas, and three quesadillas. But I didn't add very much cheese.
Can't wait to try the cheddar! Next time I'll get a bigger bag and freeze some.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Miso soup

I was planning on doing a post today, but after the last one being so short, I decided to give you two short ones.
I was having lots of miso soup for a while, miso, garlic, ginger, wakame, tofu, green onions, and whatever else I felt I needed to add. Not so much anymore though, I'm all out of miso. And I didn't see any at the store today, but I was in a hurry. Two of the grocery stores I go to don't carry miso, but this third one did, so if they stop carrying it, I'm going to be annoyed.
But if you have some miso, you should make some miso soup, because it's really easy, warm, delicious, and nutritious.
Just boil some tofu, add in wakame (Seaweed used for soups), turn the heat off, and start dissolving your miso in it, and add your green onions, and whatever else you like. That's it.

Pumpkin-spice hot cocoa

This is actually from a week or two ago, but I just never posted it for some reason.
It's just some regular hot cocoa, whatever you like, with some pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves stirred in. It was very nice and comforting, and it's always nice to have a little variation if you're having lots of hot cocoa. (Which I am, because it's been below freezing for a few days, I think we broke a cold record today)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How to make vegan truffles

I am a vegan who loves chocolate. Especially truffles. And not low-quality milk chocolate, but maybe not too dark, either. And I can't really afford the 1-2 dollars a SINGLE vegan truffle generally costs.
So, what to do? Make your own! I do this fairly often, and they're better every time.

And also, a couple weeks ago I stumbled across this. I thought it was a great idea, but much too expensive. So why not make my own advent calendar?! I've already got the chocolate down pretty well.
So I contemplated what I would put the chocolates in so the days would be separate and I could have separate doors, worth different truffles for different days. And I eventually came up with plastic bead boxes! (Something like this. You should be able to find things like that for about five dollars at a craft store) Mine was clear plastic so I painted it with "Glossy red" spray paint on the outside to make it more festive, and so that you wouldn't be able to see inside the box. If you want you can decorate it more by painting on christmas trees, santa, whatever you like. Then measure the size of the separate pockets, and cut 24 pieces of paper to that size. (Preferably green paper!) Then write on one side of the papers a number, one to twenty-four. Set it aside while you make your chocolates!

First, you should probably choose what kinds you want to make. I made almond bars (Turned into almond clumps though... Whoops), peanut bars, peanut butter cups, almond butter cups (Well, I was going to, until I found my almond butter moldy...), coconut balls, chocolate covered candied ginger, orange truffles, lemon truffles, mint truffles, coffee truffles, pumpkin truffles, cinnamon chocolate, and chili chocolate.

I'll start with the truffles, since I was making a dozen different kinds, I didn't make many of each kind.
First you melt some chocolate. I used some high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips, and melted them in the microwave, but if you can remember to stir the chocolate often, you can do it on the stove, which you'll need to do later anyway.
Once you've got some melted, I took about a quarter cup of the melted chocolate for each flavor. For the pumpkin ones I just mixed the chocolate with pureed pumpkin to taste. Then let it cool while you make other flavors. Then for the coffee, make some espresso, and add that to your chocolate to taste. Maybe with a tsp or so of coconut milk. Let that cool. Meanwhile you can make your orange, lemon, and mint ones. Just have three small bowls with about a quarter cup each of melted chocolate, and add a tablespoon each of coconut milk and melted vegetable shortening or margarine. (I used shortening because I can't find unsalted margarine) Coconut oil might work too. To each bowl. Mix it in, then flavor them to taste with lemon extract, peppermint extract, and orange extract. Mix them up and let them cool. By now, or maybe a little before, your pumpkin filling should be not hard, but sort of doughy, and you should be able to roll it into small balls without making a mess, if it's still melty and messy, let it sit longer. Once it's good just roll it into small balls and put it on some wax paper, parchment, or foil. Repeat with all the flavors. Be sure to separate the flavors so you know which is which. I usually just put each flavor into it's own section on the foil, circle the section, and write what flavor it is in marker. Then put them in the fridge for a while, while you can clean up a little, and then start melting some chocolate in a pot on low. Preferably the smallest pot you have, so you can dip them without using a ton of chocolate.
Here are my little balls of filling.

Then I dip the top in the chocolate, grab it with chopsticks (With the dipped end on top) and swirl it around in the chocolate until coated, and put it back on the foil.

There are some. Then when you're done with that, if you want you could melt some dark chocolate and decorate them with swirls, zig-zags, etc.
Refrigerate, and viola!

Now here are the peanut bars. Put some peanuts on some foil, in a single layer, but tightly together. Then thinly drizzle the top with chocolate.

Once it's hardened, should look something like this on the other side! Do the same for the almond bars, or to make almond clumps mix chocolate and almonds together and lay them on some foil and let harden.
Chop then into bite-sized pieces.

Here's how I made peanut butter cups before. Probably a similar concept for almond butter cups, maybe with more powdered sugar or cornstarch.

For the coconut balls, just mix some dried coconut flakes and chocolate, let cool a little, and shape into balls.

For the ginger, just dip some crystalized ginger in some chocolate, and let cool.

For the cinnamon chocolate, mix cinnamon to taste with chocolate, and spread shin on some foil, and score it. Same deal for the chili chocolate, just with cayenne instead of cinnamon.

Here is the finished products. Half of them at least. I didn't get pictures of the rest for some reason. Just the truffles, coconut balls, and chocolate covered candied ginger.

On the back of the paper doors, I wrote certain December events. Birthdays mostly, and also what kind of chocolate treat they got that day. I taped them to each little pocket and filled them with the chocolates.
Here they are in the box! This container only had twenty pockets rather than twenty-four, so two doors were double-doors. and I wasn't able to give it to my friend until the third, so I just skipped those days.

Then I taped the doors closed. Here it is! when you fold down the door to get to the chocolate, the other side of he door tells you what kind it is. (As shown on the first day, with a pumpkin truffle!)

I made two for my friends, and since I only had two boxes, I just have chocolates, rather than an advent calendar. I'm happy, and so are those two friends.

Hope you enjoyed! Now go make some chocolates! And feel free to make whatever chocolate creations you like, not just what I made. Let me know what you come up with! I tried a green tea truffle once, I liked it, no one else seemed to though! But remember, truffles don't always come out perfect, it does take practice, but don't fret, you'll get the hang of it!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Vegan feast

Okay, I'm finally posting about the vegan feast. The feast is in celebration of my, and two other friend's vegan anniversary. This is our second year.

We had ten people, I think. Four vegans, two pescatarians, three omnivores, and a LOT of food.

And I actually didn't take any pictures there... But, I have a couple pictures from before and after....

I made some roasted veggies, this is them before baking. They're in a nice autumny marinade. It's made of balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, plenty of sage, thyme, oregano, cinnamon and olive oil. It might make a nice autumny balsamic salad dressing...
The roasting veggies in question are yams, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, zucchini, onion, and red bell pepper.

I also brought some stuffed acorn squash. (Yes, this is the same photo I used before)

Some mushroom gravy. (Same photo again)

And a pumpkin cheesecake! The whole thing was devoured.

Other foods were mushroom soup, onion bread, chocolate bread, two Tofurkeys, stuffing (Which was actually really good! I usually don't like bread stuffing because it's usually like bread glop, but this wasn't at all gloppy, and really good!), mashed potatoes, homemade zucchini and onion pickles, (Which were good, but were a frightening yellow color. I think they used a bit of turmeric), pumpkin cookies, pecan pie, apple pie, and that is probably it. Oh my goodness there was a lot of food.