29 May 2010

Bleed for me, sweet berries.

Oh lordy, I love berries. I actually have a confession. I hate(d) raspberries...until today. I had only ever eaten them from chain supermarkets. The poor things were fed chemicals and transported between countries. Today I learned that I do not hate a fresh, locally grown raspberry, but I do prefer fresh strawberries. Oh, holy foodgasm.

Anyhow. Today, tonight rather, you are getting a quick update post before my vacation. I will hopefully have pictures and updates of food loveliness from my adventures.

In the last week I have had the wonderful fortune of taking shopping trips to Earth Fare, the Asian market, ANNNND the farmer's market and tomorrow on my trip I am getting to go to Trader Joe's. Can we say food geek? Oh my, I am such a nerd.

This...will be lots of pictures. and a special green surprise at the end.

Asian FOOD!
The best (and cheapest) tofu I have ever had at home.

Lychees, Lychee soda, and Rambutan stuffed with pineapple
Mochi and Hello Kitty candy. :D
A mango that was rotten by the time I cut it. :(
Chopsticks, Sushi roller, nori, and wasabi. LOVE

Earth Fare bulk:
(L-R) oat bran, quinoa, hemp/flax granola, nutritional yeast
Bulk in their new homes.
Oat Bran in oatmeal. Oh my gosh, so creamy. Try it if you haven't.
Berries and bread from the farmer's market.
I got a soy candle, too. It smells JUST like my favorite perfume, Pink Sugar. (oops...you can see my Hello Kitty obsession in the background....just a taste, actually.)

Alright, I TOLLLD you I had a big batch of little green friends for you all:
Awwww. Look how cute.

I made green cookies on purpose. I used the same ingredients and added green food coloring. Win.

I also made some normal-colored cinnamon raisin, almond ones. Compare:

The Green Cookie cocktail:
1/3c sunflower seed butter
2tbsp canola oil
1c sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1/3c almond milk
1c flour
1c rolled oats
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2c chocolate chips
1/2c butterscotch chips
425 degrees for 8 minutes per batch

25 May 2010

Gollum Grub!

Now, I promised all my original recipes would be named with literary references. Here is the second, there are certainly more to come. This. is. GOLLUM GRUB!!!! (Instead of Sparta? Yes..)

Have you ever had what is often called a magic square? I was first introduced to these by the name 7-layer brownie when I was very very young at a local cafe that no longer exists. When I got a little older I had to learn to make them myself and I realized that most people call them magic squares or magic bars. These things are sinful. Well, I revamped the original recipe and made the entire thing salty/sweet themed instead of simply sweet, sweet, SWEET. Sometimes they make my throat feel funny, they are so sweet.
Why is this called Gollum Grub?
Look at it. It just reminds me of little Smeagol. Gollum would eat that. Your mother would eat that. Not that your mother is a writhing creature with bad grammar, I am only saying everyone will love this. Take it to a party. Take it to a LOTR movie marathon. (Just gave myself a party idea...) I wish I could have a LOTR reading marathon...

These are not vegan but I am including notes so that if one pleases, they may make them vegan.

1/2c Light Smart Balance
1 1/2c chocolate graham crackers (the Honey Maid ones are not vegan, they have honey in them, other than that they are. Oreo cookies sans cream or other hard chocolate cookies will be perfect.)
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk (Veganize)
1c chocolate chips (Buy vegan.)
1c peanut butter cups (Buy vegan or make your own.)
2/3c crushed pretzels
2/3c flaked coconut
1/2c chopped peanuts
1/2c chopped pecans

Alright, now you have your vegan tips and I will go on.

For the crust I used Cat's Cookies from Trader Joe's. We don't have one around where I live but in February I went down to the nearest TJ's and picked up a big ol' bucket of these cat-shaped cookies. I would be blatantly lying to you if I said I did not buy these cookies because they are shaped like cats. That is exactly why I bought them. You may find that I love cats just as much as I love prose. Formula for cat lady? ohhhh yes. These are vegan unless the Internet lied to me. I'm pretty sure I read the label when I bought them and saw that they were. The TJ's Chocolate Graham Toucan cookies are vegan.
Now I said this trip took place in February...that was a while ago wasn't it? yes, yes it was and that is exactly why the remaining cookies were stale. Stale is not a problem here and I hate wasting food, so I put it to good use.

Now that I am done blabbing about vegan cookies, the recipe:
Preheat oven to 325 F

Line a 9x13in glass baking dish with aluminum foil. Please do this. You will thank me.

Line your kitties in a row or lay your cookie crumbles down. Gollum eats kitties. Well, he eats rabbits...raw.
I filled the gaps with crushed Cat's and pretzels.
Now melt up your Smart Balance or other butter-like substance and pourrrr it over the crumbles. Now aren't we decadent?
Crush up your pretzels and mix with the coconut, set aside.
Measure out your chocolate chips....
and your nuts. Chop the pb cups into little pieces. (You may want to freeze these a few minutes after chopping for cleaner handling.)
Pour half of your sweetened condensed milk or substitute over the crust.
Now, this is a layering game.
Make another layer. Pour on more sweetened condensed milk.
Layer some more.
I like to reserve some coconut and such to sprinkle on the top. It gets toasty and yummmm.
Now, if you are like me and like to decorate things, make yourself a little design with extra pretzels. I put a dab of the milk at the center of the "X" to keep it from rolling.

Bake it! 25 minutes
It will be ll melt-y and horribly sinful. Seriously, I'm pretty sure eating this will give you hairy palms but that shouldn't deter you.
Now, let it cool completely. Over night cooling may be best if you have impatient hands. You may cut these into squares or diamonds but if you do, individually wrap them or serve immediately. The syrupy-ness will ooze out and make them all stick to each other in a horrid mess.

This dish is seriously precious.ss.s...sss....ss. to me. ;)

22 May 2010

Green P[eat]s

Green P[eat]s....like Greenpeace or Green Peas? Kinda sounds like "repeats"...hmm..which one??? AHHHHH! your choice. :) Either way, this is a very Green Day. Alright, alright, I'm done..for now.

To start things off, I'll explain this picture up at the top. I am participating in Chocolate-Covered Katie's "Hug a Fat" event. Do I have enough links in this post so far? I think I really could use a couple more. sheesh McGeesh.
Moving on. My favorite healthy fat is, hands down, the avocado. This buttery smooth, beautifully green vegetable (or fruit...whatever) makes me smile...and devour slices at a time. Oh, don't worry. It's good for you!
Oh, wait for it...just...ohhhh yeah, wait for it.
EATED! (Note the green nail polish. That was not planned.)
In a salad! So, so green my foods are. <<(Passive tense, consider revising.) I'd rather not. I would like to simply point out that it is passive and remain publicly a geek.A juicy green pear. mmmm.

Before I get to today's recipe, I would like to present something to you all. (I like to pretend I have readers. It's like lining your stuffed animals up in a little army and preparing them for battle. Not that I still do that or anything....) I present to you:
The green cookie.

"Is that mold?"

No, as a matter of fact these are fresh cookies. So what in the hell is wrong with them? I'm not quite sure. These are the Toadstools made with SunButter and Almond Milk rather than almond butter and soy milk. I decided to test it out since I suggested the usage of SunButter. Well, they came out of the oven yellow and turned green on the inside with green spots on the outside. From what I can tell, the green comes from specks of sunflowers (I used the chunky kind). These are still delicious and moist just like the other ones...but they look plain freaky. I was even asked if they were "special" cookies. No, just vegan. So...I am going to add green food coloring next time. This way, they will look intentionally green and I can make them for St. Patrick's day, Christmas, Springtime, you name it.

Alright, now we can move on from my green foods and freaky cookies. A green recipe is in your future, my friends. Want to make your very own Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus? Keep reading, kiddos.

You will need 1/3c pretty, pretty fresh green cilantro.
One Jalapeno, I used jarred because our fresh ones are not all grown up yet. You may want to take a taste first. I popped one in my mouth and oh my goodness I almost put way too much in the hummus.
One 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed. Wait...something is wrong.
Oh, there we go. ;)

Also on board will be:
1/4c or more of olive oil
1 clove chopped garlic
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp salt

Microwave your rinsed chickpeas for about 40 seconds to soften them.
Then, in a food processor, mince your garlic.
Add the lime juice, salt, and chickpeas
Beat it up. Beat. It. Up.
Oh yeah, that's it.

Now, add in your olive oil and make it all nice and silky smooth. Don't be afraid to add more if you need to.
Add in your cilantro and jalapeno and pulse a few times.

Yummy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

16 May 2010

Sunday is for Cleaning out the Kitchen

So, when I stumbled into the kitchen this morning all sleepy-eyed, I saw this:
and I said, "EEP! I must eat them NOW!" So I hurriedly put half of one into my morning oatmeal and realized I still had 1 1/2 ripe bananas that needed using.
What do I do? I pull out my go-to vegan banana muffin recipe. Ripe bananas are a good excuse for muffins.
I halved the recipe because that is the amount of nanners I needed to use up. Since I made the rash decision of eating half of one in my breakfast I also had to use a half of one of these beautiful babies:
This is what bananas should look like.

The inventory:
4 ripe bananas
1/2 c maple syrup (I use sugar free)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease up a tin for 12 muffins. Then take your bananas in a bowl and mash 'em up with a fork. Make this baby food lookin' mish mash.

Mix in the oil, syrup, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Add the flour, baking soda, and the baking powder.

Fill up your muffin tins. You can fill these up pretty much to the rim but don't go over. They do grow but they are good at understanding personal space.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. They will be slightly browned but not as much as a dairy muffin so don't overcook. Let them cool for a bit until you can easily pop them out of the tin and store in an airtight container.

Those bananas were not the only things in my kitchen that needed using up. I made bread earlier this week and we had a stump left that was ever so slightly stale. I decided to cut it up and make croutons while my oven was still hot.
You will need:
Margarine or oil
Garlic powder or minced
Whatever else you like
Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Cut off the crust of your bread, slice and cube it.
-In a skillet, melt about three tablespoons of Smart Balance per every five slices of bread.
-Add about two teaspoons of garlic powder or one of minced garlic and turn off the heat.
-Cover the bread cubes in mixture and then pour about one teaspoon of each seasoning into a large freezer bag.
-Mix everything in the bag. Pour the bread cubes out on an ungreased cookie sheet.
-Pop in the oven for about 35-40 minutes.
-Let them cool on the cookie sheet before transferring to an airtight container.