Saturday, April 23, 2011

Countdown to VegFest is on! Plus Some Grub...

Who is super pumped for VegFest on May 1st? Me! Me! Me! It's been almost a month since my Cupcake Party and I can't WAIT for the day that I can enter my creation. When they indicated that a preliminary round would not be necessary, I was so happy...not just because I felt that there weren't hundreds of competitors, but also because 6:30pm (the slated time of the potluck where said round would take place) is the equivalent of hell in this house. It would have been disaster. Anyways, I was so smug until I got an e-mail from the organizers indicating that there would be a preliminary round after all the day of the contest! Yikes! Must remain positive...I just am trying to write a big long post about my trials and tribulations with the major mystery ingredient of my cuppie...although I fear that come May 2nd I'll forget everything...

Similar to this post - I haven't had a chance to get on the PC and when I do to write up a post, I look at the pics and for the life of me, cannot remember what stuff is. Like this - I stared and stared and FINALLY realized it's one of my new fave dishes! From 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson Chinese Noodles with Black Bean Sauce. I think that's the title and am too far away from the cookbook right now. I toss in some edamame for added protein. So yummy! I added tri-colour chopped peppers since I have them for Ash to add like 'sprinkles' (likely due to my recent cupcake obsession).

This next treat was a mild disappointment...I came across one of Isa's blogposts from eons ago about a Raw Cheezecake. For forever, I have tried to mimic a childhood recipe from a kid's Better Home and Gardens cookbook - something like Be My Valentine Pie. It was made with gross Jello and soft ice cream in a cookie crumb shell. I liked it as a kid, and have tried re-creating it with vegan Jello and ice cream, but with no such luck. Reading the ingredients I was hopeful. But the darn thing just didn't set - I had read through the comments and it seemed like it either turned out great or not, and I so hoped I would be in the success group :( I even omitted adding water to combat my fear! But alas, it was a soggy mess. I had to keep it in the freezer. I will definitely try this again during strawberry picking season as the berries will be more plentiful then and I won't feel so badly for using up a ton of expensive raw cashews on top of it.

But this recipe of Isa's was a hit! Pasta De Los Angeles or something like that...with the black beans and cilantro and salsa-like sauce, it reminded me of the sweet potato and black bean enchiladas from Vegan Planet but just with pasta instead. Yum!

Always looking for snack stuff, I was drawn to a recipe on my PC Toasted O's cereal box for Honey Butter Crunch. Now the name alone is totally not suitable for vegans but it's pretty easy to make subs:

1/2 cup melted Earth Balance
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups toasted o's
1 bag plain microwave popcorn, popped
1 cup almonds

Mix wet ingredients. Add dry and stir. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes.

Not sure if I should have reduced the agave a little or upped the oven temp or cook longer, but this stuff was soggy but good. I don't think I'll make it again since you have to wait way too long for your snack. I prefer popping corn, then pouring melted coconut oil and chocolate chips on top and enjoying right then and there. Maybe I'll just add some almonds for a healthy boost to make me feel better!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Hail Seitan!

So I started off all GF-y. I felt especially inspired one day and decided to make Chef Chloe's Avocado Pesto Pasta. I had my little helper, Ashley, all pumped as she held all of the ingredients. So then I went to cut into a nice soft avocado. Surprise! All rotten :( Those damn avocados are so unreliable - they either never soften, or go from unripe to rotten and skip being all nice and creamy. Anyways, I was slightly bitter but went on and subbed some tofu to add the silky texture. Then, I had some frozen basil cubes - I went to add them in and noticed they were all dried up and gross. So in went some dried basil! I didn't have pinenuts so I subbed with ground almonds. I have to say that with all of my substitutions, it wasn't the most awesome dinner. Ah well. I took this pic:

Ash, my little budding photographer 3-year-old, now takes pics of her food just like mom - we just need to work on the food styling:

I did however redeem myself with Isa's Upside Down Shepherd's Pie from Appetite for Reduction. Rather stupidly, I got all ready to bake this puppy, until I re-read the recipe about four times, then saw the title and realized that I didn't have to bake this up - I nearly did a jig since I didn't feel like baking it up and having to wait eons to eat dinner (the small things in life these days make me so happy!). I had three full portions (thereby not really serving as a real 'reduction' recipe unfortunately - I have no self control), and even Ash gobbled this up. It was so freakin' good!

Well, that was the end of the gluten free trial. Kyson will soon be seeing an allergist, so I'm hoping I'll get more clarification as to whether my avoiding gluten is doing any good or harm. For now, I'm just too hungry still nursing every two hours that I can't take it! That and I tried making a GF pizza dough that even the smell had me gagging. I caved and made my usual recipe. But the real turning point came after making Vegan Dad's Veggie Lunch Meat. Good lord - somehow I missed the whole Seitan O' Greatness craze a few years back but I'm glad I found this - I will never go back to paying $3.49 for a package of Tofurky slices again when this makes up tons! It sliced so well. Ash said it was delicious! I'm going to try making one with maple syrup next time to punch up the sweetness.