Vegan S’mores

They aren’t a myth. Vegan S’mores are real, and they are DELICIOUS.

Since it was cold and rainy outside, I couldn’t make these over the grill. So I went to my old friend, the toaster oven! I just layered homemade graham crackers (thank you, Vegan Cookies!) with a delicious Chocolove chocolate bar, and Sweet & Sara marshmallows on top. Five minutes of broiling later, they had the perfect golden roasted color and the chocolate was soooo melty.

I think the graham crackers are what really made these special, since they have a really different taste and texture from the store-bought brands. I would say it was much more like the crust on a cheesecake, but less crumbly and buttery. I had wanted to purchase a dairy-free milk chocolate bar, but our local co-op was out of them, and I didn’t have a chance to stop anywhere else. I tend to like a milkier chocolate with s’mores–what about you?

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Three Cookbook Pie

It’s the pie that three separate cookbooks built!

I had a lot of organic apples that were just starting to get mushy, so I thought–oh! There’s a great recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance for roasted applesauce! I’ll make that!

Cut to me, unable to actually make the apple smoosh into sauce. I didn’t have a good food processor at the time, so I just froze my apple concoction with the hopes of someday making it into a pie. That day arrived!

Step two was defrosting, and mixing the apples with a can of drained tart cherries and about 1/4 cup sugar. After they boiled away on the stove for about 10 minutes, some of the liquids had thickened up and made a nice sugary syrup.

I used the pie crust recipe from Veganomicon–it turned out much better than my previous crusty attempts. I don’t even think I did it correctly (my dough was a little on the dry and stiff side), but it still rolled okay, and made a nice flaky crust.

And since I like my pies to have a crumble top, I whipped out Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar and halved the Blueberry Crumb Cookies recipe. It still made a little more crumb than most people like, but I’m a streusel girl, and I loved it!Now I kind of want to make a berry pie, with every berry I can get my hands on. I can’t wait for summer!

For recipes, of course, buy the books! Or at least check your local library.

Banana French Toast

This is the second time I’ve attempted this recipe from Vegan Brunch, the first time was a DISASTER. I used french bread from Target, it turned super mushy in the batter, and then stuck like crazy to my newly purchased cast iron skillet.

Fast forward to three weeks later, when I’m brave enough to try this again. And guess what? It turned out amazing! I went to the specialty grocery and bought high quality crusty Italian bread. I’ve really seasoned my skillet, so there was no sticking. And I had lots of blackberries that I purchased from Costco. Why does Costco have the best produce? It seems weird. But there you go, everything (except some apples I got out of season–bleh) is amazing.

I love the combination of banana, vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa that you get with this french toast. And I like that without the high fat and cholesterol milk and eggs, this recipe isn’t even high in fat. It doesn’t sit like a greasy rock in your stomach, and it isn’t too too sweet, even when you smother it in maple syrup. Yum.

Would it be wrong of me to add a little cayenne pepper?

Six Layer Dip & Pretzel Cookies

We were invited to an Easter party (yay!) so I got the chance to try out some of my newfangled vegan cooking skillz. Also, since it was a BBQ with hot dogs and hamburgers, I needed to make something for myself to eat that would be both a complete meal and not make it seem like I was avoiding their food.

My favorite moment? When a guy with his girlfriend showed up, and they all announced, “Oh, the vegetarian is here!” I ran in the house, pointed out my vegan food, and told him that he rocked.

I’m gonna go step by step on this so you don’t miss out on any delicious layers! First, though, you need to get out a 2.5 quart dish. If you had a classy glass one, it would look even better.

Layer 1–bring on the hummus!

For this layer, I used the recipe from Appetite for Reduction. I made the jalapeno & cilantro hummus following the directions exactly. Smooth onto the bottom of the dish.

Layer 2–beans! Beans! Beans!

This layer features the Unrefried Beans from Appetite for Reduction. So simple! So classy! So gassy.

Layer 3–WTH? More beans?

Yes! Now, we get to my part. MUWAHAHA! For this layer, I followed the spirit of the Unrefried beans, but instead used these ingredients (I changed all the spices, so just use what I have listed here):

  • Black beans instead of pinto
  • Shallot instead of onion
  • Smoked paprika (1/2 tsp)
  • Cumin (1/2 tsp)
  • Chili Powder (1/2 tsp)
  • Garlic Salt (1/2 tsp)
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 cup of corn

Then just make them the same way you did the previous layer.

Layer 4–the unexpected potato

Yep, potatoes. I know, that seems crazy right? They. Were. Awesome.

First, you want to dice three tiny (think fingerling) yukon gold potatoes really small. Toss them with 1 tsp of olive oil. Then, add the same mix of spices for the black bean layer, though you’ll probably want a tad more salt. Mix until well coated, then bake at 450 degrees for 20 mins, or until they are rather crispy on the outside and totally cooked.

Here they are before going into the oven:

Layer 5–Guacamame!

Did I spell that right? No matter. Just follow the directions in Appetite for Reduction. I leave out the tomato, because whatever I’m making is already so tomato-y that I don’t need it. Same here.

Layer 6–mmmm…salsa

And now I just use the salsa dressing recipe from Appetite for Reduction (I really need to think of a shorter way to write that without sounding like Rachael Ray). I used my food processor this time, because leaving the tomatoes in big chunks isn’t great for dip. It’ll smash your chip! I also took the vinegar down to one teaspoon.

Top it all off with two chopped up green onions, and it’ll look fantastic! Pleased the vegans and nonvegans, too. And the unethical ones.

Special Bonus time!

I also make the Pretzel-Apple-Peanut Cookies from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar. They were a pretty big hit! Mine came out kinda on the crunchy side, I’m not sure if that’s the way they should be. Lots of work, but great for a party when you want people to be surprised by what you’ve made.

For all the cookbooks mentioned here, just go to powells.com…shhh…I love them.

Chili Verde con Yummmmmm

And here’s another one of our fantastic dinners from Appetite for Reduction–Chili Verde con Papas.

Also, con EXTREMELY LARGE bunch of kale. I think it was triple a normal bunch. We actually had to pick kale out if it to make it less like a super hot salad. Oh well. It was still really tasty! Not all that spicy, plus the white beans really made it awesome. And, oh yeah, the potatoes. I looooove me some potatoes.

A Ticking Thyme Bomb

…or how I stopped reading directions and learned to love two tablespoons of dried thyme. Yep.

And what are those strange meteorite-like purple and green orbs perched on the side of the bowl? Sweet Potato Biscuits! I usually make them with the regular orange variety yam, but our market is currently offering delicious organic purple hawaiian sweet potatoes. How can I walk by those and not pick them up? I wasn’t expecting the green splotches, but I feel like I could bust these out again at Halloween. Stick an olive and a pretzel stick in there, and you’ve got yourself a one-eyed one-horned flying purple sweet potato biscuit.

My favorite part? My daughter looking at them when they popped out of the oven and yelling, “Eww mama! No eat!”

Back to the stew. The stew! Literally the last step of the recipe is to add two tablespoons of fresh thyme. Anyone who knows anything about cooking can tell you that dried herbs=stronger than fresh herbs. Unless your dried herbs are 1,000 years old. In which case they will taste like mummy’s balls.

So, yeah, look at me in a rush–two-year-old running around screaming, husband at a meeting, and I just see thyme on the recipe and toss it in. ARGH! We still ate it, he said it tasted good. But I guess I’ll have to start trusting that gut instinct when a measurement sounds crazy.

Recipes courtesy of Appetite for Reduction.

Homemade Falafel Salad

Oh, baby. I love falafel, especially the super-fried crispy kind I would always get from Daphne’s Greek when I lived in California. Yeah, that was healthy. Now that I can’t eat dairy, I can no longer smother it in feta (or spicy feta…oh my), or tzatziki sauce. Yes, I googled how to spell that. And now that I’m actually trying to eat healthy, I can’t really deep-fry it, either. Wow, that sucks.

But these falafels don’t! Suck, that is. Once again, from Appetite for Reduction, I bring you something delicious. Well, Isa does. I think that I might have made these a little dry, since I used chickpeas I cooked myself, and I went a little overboard. But my husband actually said, “I’ve never looked forward to eating a salad like this…but, that was delicious.” I used the Mediterranean Vinaigrette from Veganomicon to round this out, since I was out of hummus. How can anyone be out of hummus? But there I was.

I served homemade chapatis on the side, which I made obviously totally wrong. They tasted like total crap. As a matter of fact, I have 10 of them in my fridge right now, and I don’t know what to do with them. Bread crumbs?