Monday, March 19, 2012

Long time no post!

It's been quite a few days since my last post, and I have been cooking up some goodies lately now that I'm on Spring break. My mom's birthday was last week so when I came home I made a vegan Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Chocolate Cake - delish! That mousse is honestly one of the best I've ever tasted, and is going to be my go-to mousse recipe from now on. It may seem a little too liquidy at first but firms right up in the fridge. I can't wait to make these in my fancy little martini glasses.

We went out for lunch yesterday at a new, extremely empty restaurant, in which I had a black bean burger. It was very tasty, and the waitress said that it was vegan, but anytime you let someone else cook for you, you run the risk of eating some animal product. Normally I don't care about this but it all goes into how easy it is to live the vegan lifestyle, and I've found that it really isn't that easy unless you cook for yourself.

Anyway, this morning I cooked up some Scrambled Tofu, leaving out the nasty nutritional yeast. It was awesome! I can't wait to make it again with some chopped tomatoes and peppers. I liked the taste of it more than regular eggs, to be honest. The seasoning was great.

I do have a little confession to make though: Thursday was my and my boyfriend's 4 year anniversary, so I decided that for ONE meal in 40 days I could eat non-vegan. And I did. I stuffed my face with buttery, cheesy lobster mac and cheese, crab cakes, salmon, shrimp, and scallops. I was kind of wondering how my body would react to that much seafood after a few weeks of eating just plain plant products but I was fine. Okay, I had leftovers for lunch the next day, too.

As I mentioned I am now on Spring Break, which means I will have to try to survive an entire week being vegan with my family. From what I've gathered, we're only going to all eat vegan food if I cook everything. My mom is interested in trying new vegan foods but I don't think my dad or sister are too into it, although they've given me rave reviews for everything I've cooked so far. Like tonight, I made Portobello burgers, and they were SO GOOD! We put tomatoes and avocados on top. Mom and I even split a second burger. I baked some sweet potato fries, too, which made a slightly soggy but tasty addition to the meal. I'll take soggy sweet potato fries over regular ones any day! I think I'd even take a portobello burger over a regular patty, too!

Well that's about it for now. My 8 month old cat is desperately trying to sleep on the desk in front of me but keeps getting woken up by all the noises around the house. Not sure why he prefers a cold, hard surface over the comfy chair in the corner! Alas. Buenas noche!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Tomorrow is my 4-year anniversary with my boyfriend and we have a lovely evening planned of going out for a fancy-dancy dinner. I've had a package of Mori-Nu soft silken tofu in the fridge, so this is the perfect occasion to whip up a fancy Vegan Chocolate Mousse for dessert. I found this delicious recipe, which actually makes at least 4 servings, if not more since this stuff is pretty rich. The best part of all is that this is super easy to make!

1 package of soft silken tofu 
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Blend tofu (preferably at room temperature) in food processor, blender, or with hand mixer until just smooth.

In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips with a tablespoon or two of water over low heat. Stir constantly.
Add maple syrup and vanilla to melted chocolate and combine.
Blend with tofu until creamy.
Pour into very small serving dishes or glasses, cover with saran wrap and put in fridge- this stuff is rich!!

Vegan Zucchini Mini-Loaves

I just wanted an excuse to use my mini-loaf pan :) This recipe is sooo good! They come kind of dense but very moist, which makes it good for breakfast because it keeps you full. I highly recommend it!

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x5 inch loaf pan or an 8-section mini-loaf pan. Sift and whisk together the flour, flax seeds, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and arrowroot in a medium bowl until evenly blended; set aside.

Whisk together the applesauce, white sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture and shredded zucchini until moistened. Spread the batter in the large loaf pan or divide the batter evenly into the 8 mini-loaf sections.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 70 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

More boring updates

Well things are going okay for the most part in regards to my diet. I had some creamer in my coffee this morning but I was in a public place and didn't have any other options. My foods are getting more and more boring and I'm pretty sick of soy and coconut milk. I feel like I eat a lot of Mexican or Indian foods. I really just want some good old mac and cheese, or some grilled fish. Plus I've had a lot of tofu lately and the texture is getting a little ugh. Thankfully my favorite Chinese place made my General Tso's Tofu vegan which was awesome, but just not the same.

I did make Applesauce Bread yesterday, which is pretty good. I simply just put 1 cup of applesauce in place of the three bananas the recipe usually calls for, substituted 1 cup of all purpose flour for whole wheat flour, and added 1 tablespoon ground flax meal. Next time I'm thinking I will actually fold some apple chunks into the bread - num!

This Thursday is my 4th anniversary with my boyfriend so we're planning on going somewhere nice. Hopefully the place we go has vegan options but I really want some seafood or cheese or actual chocolate! Gah.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Bricks

To be completely honest, I was trying to make a banana bread version of Isa Chandra’s Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf. I just received my mini-loaf pan in the mail so I was all excited to have cute little loaves. I also just bought vegan chocolate chips so I was pumped to try those out, too.

Well, it turned out that I forgot to add the baking soda, which resulted in little chocolate banana bricks. They taste just fine, and this recipe is actually a little healthier since it contains whole wheat flour. These are heavy little bricks but tasty and make for a good snack or dessert :)

1/4 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 small, ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure chocolate extract

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a mini-loaf pan. Also, boil some water in a tea kettle (no need to measure yet.)
Put applesauce, canola oil and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, spices, and salt.
Measure out 1/3 cup boiling water and pour into the bowl with the chocolate mixture, mixing quickly to make a smooth chocolate sauce. Add banana, sugar and chocolate extract and mix well.
Dump about half of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and gently stir just to incorporate, then measure out 1 tablespoon of boiling water and stir again. Now add the rest of the flour mixture and another tablespoon of boiling water and stir just until smooth. Take care not to overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Separate the batter into the mini-loaf cups. It will be good and thick. You can smooth the top out with a spatula.
Bake for about 20 minutes. Stick a steak knife into the center of a loaf to check for doneness. A little bit of wetness is okay since it could be from a chocolate chip, but the knife should come out mostly dry.
Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert pan and place loaf on a cooling rack to cool most of the way.Yum!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Uncreative updates

I am now two full weeks into being vegan and have to say I'm enjoying it. I've eaten more delicious food than I normally do and have boosted my creativity in the kitchen. I've even lost 5 pounds which is really saying something considering I do nothing but sit on my butt all day. I'm going to keep track of my weight and see how much more I lose by the end of Lent.

Last night I went to the Riverwest Co-op with my roommate and got some more vegan goodies. One of them was boxed vegan Mac and Cheese - I'm going to make it tomorrow night and toss in some veggies. Hopefully it doesn't taste like crap like my homemade stuff did. At the co-op I also got a Teese Cheese quesadilla. I'm not sure how I feel about the Teese - it has an egg white texture and a fake mozzarella flavor. It was just... off. I couldn't really eat the whole thing. My roommate got a Tempeh Reuben sandwich - I wasn't too excited about that either. I was happy to find some silken tofu, which can be used for frostings and mousse :)

Tonight for dinner I had Bangkok Curry again... I was starving by the time I left campus and did not have energy to make dinner. Noodles & Co. to the rescue!

I think that's about it for now. Buena noche!