Friday, October 16, 2009

Vegan Carob Brownies Tonight!

Okay... So you try finding a Vegan Carob Brownie recipe that I can eat... Yeah... Not happening.

Vegan Chocolate Brownie? Sure. Vegan Carob with Deadly Whole Grains? Sure. Vegan Carob with Deadly Nuts? Vegan Carob with Applesauce? Yup. None of these work for me.

I found this recipe, but it, of course, called for chocolate. I've spent some time in the kitchen and think I know how to make substitutions that make Carob things better and I'm going to test that out tonight. Here's my proposed recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup carob powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Mix wet ingredients
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cold coffee
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, melted
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix up the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients together. If I have any vegan carob chips left over, I'll throw those into the mix, too.

Grease a 9x13 baking pan with Earth Balance and dust with Carob Powder.

Install Vegan Carob Brownie mix into baking pan and bake for 23 minutes.

Okay, I'm totally guessing on the time. I think somewhere between 20 and 35 minutes will do perfectly, but I have no idea. I'll have to wait and see... Just like you!)


As I am wont to do, I even read my instructions wrong! Goodness... No worries, though. Secret Vegan Carob Brownies now have 1/2 the sugar!

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar

Also, my banana wasn't a 1/2 cups worth! So, I added some coconut milk solids to make 1/2 cup.

Additionally, I couldn't find the vegan shortening, but I did find an extra tub of Earth Balance hidden in the back of the fridge, so I used that and melting it seemed kind of ridiculous, at the time. I don't know why... Perhaps because I would have had to measure it in the copper measuring cup-thing and then put it in glass and then put it in the microwave and then push buttons... Or, I could just put it in with the liquids. I chose the second option! :-)

Moreover, I couldn't be bothered to find the 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, so the vanilla was nearly a full 2 teaspoons...

Gosh! Secret Vegan!!!! If you can't follow a recipe, do you really expect others to?

In the oven baking now! How exciting!!!


Yummy and cake-y. :-) Needs more sugar. More brown sugar. Coconut milk works. No banana next time. Also, needs chopped up Vegan Carob Chips mixed into the batter. Additionally, needs Carob Powder to be mixed with something hot and melted, before adding to mixture. Then, should be made of Awesome.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Best Popcorn In The World...

When it comes to popcorn, I am a master. I make stove top popcorn with oil. It is not low-fat. It tastes really, really good.

You will need:
Popcorn (the kind that comes in a bag or a bottle),
Canola Oil
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

A large pot with a handle
A nice fitting lid
A stove
A Paper Bag, preferable with Handles
A nice big Popcorn Bowl
Paper towels

Go ahead and set everything up on the counters, so that it is all within reach. This process goes really fast and you will not have time to open a cupboard.

You shouldn't measure anything with official measuring devices. That is crazy and you will never learn to just throw stuff into the pot and make popcorn in 3 minutes or less on the stove.

So, put the pot on the stove. Turn the stove on high. I always use the gas range. I do not know how an electric range works. If you have an electric range, you should know how it works and make the appropriate changes.

Immediately, pour the Canola Oil in the bottom of the pot. Coat the bottom of the pot.

Shake in the popcorn kernals. Enough that there is nearly a full SINGLE layer of popcorn kernals on the bottom of the pan, but not super-crowded together. Do not crowd your kernals... You don't like to be crowded, right? It's the same for your kernals.

Make sure by shaking things around that the oil is coating your popcorn. You may need to add a little bit of oil. Don't drown your kernals. You don't like to drown, right? It's the same for your kernals. ;-)

Cover with the lid and stand there and wait patiently for the kernals to pop open and miracolousy, without the aid of a microwave, become popcorn.

Shake up your popcorn. The goal of the shaking is to make the kernals go to the bottom of the pot and leave the first popped kernals at the top. You do not have to shake constantly, but you can, if it makes you feel more in control.


Listen to your popcorn. It will tell you when it is done, by stopping to pop.

Immediately dump your entire pot of popcorn into a brown paper bag. Drizzle some olive oil on it---not too much---then shake the bag. Add some salt. Shake the bag. Add some freshly ground pepper----not a lot, it just makes the olive oil taste better.

Taste your popcorn. If it needs more oil/salt/pepper, add that. Then taste it again. Perfect? Good. Now, dump it into a big bowl or several bowls---whichever you prefer and eat it up. Yum. Serve with paper towels.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vegan, Nut-free, Chocolate-Free "Nutella" aka NOTella(!)

What? Is this some kind of joke? No. No, it's not... It just sounds silly. Like egg-less egg salad or pleather.

I'm allergic to chocolate and, usually, about once a month, this is the most terrible thing that has ever happened to me! Today was especially bad, because:
  1. it's my "moon time"
  2. I feel like a bloated bloaty bloat bag
  3. I had to go shopping
  4. for a bridesmaid dress
  5. I needed to bring my mom to help me
  6. who made me try on caftans and house tents and everything else she could find that would make me feel unattractive
  7. and who demanded See's candy as a reward
  8. I had to go into said See's candy, which has nothing in it that I could even pretend that I might be able to eat and
  9. someone mentioned Nutella, which not only has dairy, but also has nuts and chocolate, each of which would create an allergic reaction in me alone and
  10. had me obsessing for hours about how I could possibly eat it without hurting myself
Now, I'm pretty comfortable with switching out ingredients, but most of the recipes I found online started with nuts or seemed far more difficult than I, in my shaky weakened feminine state, could even contemplate...

But my google-fu was strong and I found an easy recipe!

The Goodbaker says
- Smooth nut butter of choice *
- good-quality dark chocolate chips

1) In a double-boiler or microwave-safe bowl, combine 2 parts chocolate chips and 3 parts nut butter.
2) Heat gently and stir until smooth. That’s it!

However, I can't eat nuts or chocolate *and* I read the recipe wrong!

So, I mixed 2 parts Sunbutter with 3 parts Vegan Carob Chips, which is the absolute opposite of what the Goodbaker said to do, but that's what happens when you read a recipe once and feel like you've got it down pat, because it's only two ingredients and how could you mess that up???

I heated the combo up in the microwave for 20 seconds, stirred it a bit, but it was still a little chunky, so I heated it up for another 15 seconds and that allowed me to stir it until it was smooth and...

Voila! Vegan, Nut-free, Chocolate-Free "Nutella"! aka one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever made.

I toasted up a vegan sourdough english muffin and I spread that NOTella(!) over the toasty tops and it was tasty.

I'm not thinking it would fool someone who's had nuts or chocolate any time recently, but it worked for me. Plus, it was super-easy!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy Vegan Ice Cream Days Ahead!

A dear friend bought me a Cuisinart ICE-20 Automatic 1-1/2-Quart Ice-Cream Maker from Amazon this morning. It should arrive in 2 days! I'll freeze the bowl for a day and we're looking at Carob Carob-Chip Coconut Ice Cream within 72 hours!!! Woo hoo!!!

This became a necessity, as I went to Scoops in Los Angeles, near City College, the other day and all of their vegan ice cream was full of chocolate and nuts. Sad Face. I had some good sorbet, but... Come on... What we all scream for is Ice Cream!!!

However, the really good part of that journey was walking across the street to have a beer at the restaurant that another patron of Scoops was talking up. I didn't want a beer, but a snack sounded good to me and, voila---Pure Luck!!! Vegan, vegan, vegan!!! I had a soup that was soooo good that I wanted to pour it all over my body and rub it in! I didn't, of course. I gobbled it up and put in a to-go order, so that I could take some home. Seriously, I could not say good-bye to this soup.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Tasty Salads

I make salads. I make good salads. I make tasty salads. Back in the old days, I made salads with poached eggs or cottage cheese or other things that would just about kill me now. Now, I make tasty vegan salads when I need a good meal on a hot day. There's usually a lot of chopping involved, because I like a lot of stuff in my salad, so it's not always quick, but I usually chop more than I need for *this* salad, so that I can have another one with less work tomorrow.

I don't actually have a recipe--it's more like a list.

Butter, Herb, Romaine, Whatever. I usually used the packaged stuff. I get two salads out of one bag. I like a lot of lettuce. Lately, butter lettuce has been a favorite.
The tastier the better. It's especially nice when the neighbor drops off tomatoes from her garden. I nearly always put chopped tomatoes in my salad.
I nearly always put avocado in my salad, because I love avocado so bad!
Lately, it's been sunflower seeds. I like 'em for the crunch and the salt. If you can eat nuts (I can't), you could choose a nut instead of a seed.
I almost always chop up an apple for my salad. It's good crunch. I will usually add another fruit, too. Nectarines and blueberries are current favorites. Chopped pineapple does great, as does mango. A special bonus with mango and pineapple or other juicy fruits is that you'll use less dressing.
I use scissors to cut up green onions for the salad or I'll chop up some red onions really finely.
Again with the scissors. I love to add fresh herbs to my salad. Especially cilantro. Cilantro is sooo good. Basil or dill or whatever you like would be great, too.
I like to add bell peppers. Grated Carrots rock. Of course, use anything you like. Some people like cucumbers, but not me. I do not like cucumbers.
Salad dressing:
I've not been making my own lately. I used to back when I could eat balsamic vinegar, but that's out... So, I've found a couple of vegan bottled choices. Goddess dressing is goodness dressing. I buy it for about $2 a bottle at Trader Joes. There's a poppy seed one that I like and can usually get at Safeway. I've printed out some recipes for vegan thousand island and vegan ranch, but I've not made them, yet.
A lot of people like croutons. Not me. I think that they generally taste like wood. A whole bunch of calories in exchange for eating wood? No, thanks!

I will usually serve this with some tasty baguette slices, but not always. My non-vegan Mom gets some fake crab or low-salt chopped deli turkey or chicken added to hers.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A sad day for vegan ice cream in my house...

My freezer pog/thing broke. The top broke off, spewing icky gray gritty stuff all over my kitchen and making the making of ice cream a thing of the past...


Hopefully, craigslist will help me out, again! It's so worth the sale price of an ice cream maker to never pay $6 a pint again!

Yummy Green Curry

This is my absolute favorite recipe. I picked it up from reading a whole bunch of green curry recipes and then fixing this and that until I liked it just fine. It's my go-to recipe when I have people over for dinner and it freezes great. Just freeze the rice separately.

Make some rice or, if you don't want rice, put on some water for some rice noodles (I do not know how rice noodles freeze as I never have any leftover!)

Rice or Rice Noodles
green onions
shredded carrots
lite soy sauce
sesame oil
siracha (surely spelled wrong)
coconut milk (if you're cooking for me, use the kind with no sulfites, please!)

Into a food processor goes:
2 bunches of basil with most of the stems removed
1 bunch of cilantro (I try to take out the big stems, but the little stems go in)
a couple of cloves of garlic
4 green onions (chop 'em into 4 inch pieces or something, just so the food processor will like them)
about a tablespoon or so of lite-salt soy sauce
a big ol' piece of tasty ginger, peeled and chopped large
some sesame oil
a small amount of siracha or, you know, however much you like

Blend it up and put it in a pan with just a little bit of olive oil.

Heat it up a bit and then add a can of tasty, sulfite-free coconut milk. You can use the low fat kind, but it tastes better when there's fat!

Then add the equivalent of a bag of baby carrots, shredded, and then cook that down, so that they are all tasty and soft. They should be disappearing into the sauce by the time you're done cooking.

Add as much spinach as you'll be able to stand. I love spinach. I usually add a whole bag.

Add in 4 sliced zucchini's. I cut them into 4 length-wise and then chop 'em up.

Serve over rice or rice noodles with wedges of lime---this is really important, even though it seems like, "How much of a difference could a squeeze of lime make?" Yeah... Lots. :-)

Oh! If you're looking for some tofu, this is great with some fried tofu in little cubes. At it at the end, nearly like a garnish, otherwise it gets soggy!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pseudo-Mexican Vegan Casserole

I'm not a big one for packaged, prepared foods, but it's hard to cook from scratch every day of the week. :-) This is easy and tasty.
  • some leftover cooked rice--maybe 2 cups or so?
  • 1 28-oz can red enchilada sauce (i use mild)
  • 1 12-oz can corn, drained
  • 1-2 4 oz cans diced green chiles (not drained)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (mostly kind of drained)
  • 1 can sliced black olives (drained)
  • 1/2 package firm tofu
  • 1 package Soy-rizo
  • 1 package vegan shredded faux-cheese
  • 1 diced avocado
  • Tofutti sour cream
  • Rectangular Glass Casserole Dish.
Preheat your oven to 350.

This is a whole lot of opening cans and layering stuff all up. It's a flurry of activity, followed by 45 minutes to an hour of whatever you'd like---having a glass of something, making a salad, completely ignoring the kitchen or, what I usually do, the dishes. LOL!

Prepare a tofu/Soyrizo mixture by squishing up the tofu, crumbling it, and mixing it up with the soyrizo (remove the casing!)---you can skip this step if you like to eat things that are spicier than I would like to eat. You can mix it up in a pan or in a bowl or whatever you'd like. I usually heat up the mixture, but I'm not so sure it's necessary!

Put the rice in the bottom of the casserole pan.
Put tofu/soyrizo mixture on top of that
Put 1/2 can of enchila sauce on top of that
Put nearly all of the faux-cheese on top of that
Put the tomatoes on top of that
Put the chiles on top of that
Put the corn on top of that
Put the olives on top of that
Put the rest of the enchilada sauce on top of that
Put the rest of the faux-cheese on top of that

Put it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. You'll know it's done when it smells good and is all bubbling and tempting you to eat it right now. Don't do it. Wait about 15 minutes for things to set up and cool down. Then serve with some diced avocados and Toffutti sour cream or, you know, whatever you'd like. A simple salad is usually good with this and gives you some freshness that this casserole isn't going to give you.

I freeze individual portions in sandwich bags for meals that I'm just not into preparing! They last a long time. Longer if I would do the whole two layers of plastic wrap and 2 layers of tinfoil, but I'm just too lazy to do that and I know I'll eat it up soon enough!

If you, unlike me, don't live with someone that is allergic to beans, some canned beans would probably be a tasty addition.

Sometimes, when I feel like I'd like some more crunchy, I will also put thin ribbons of flour tortillas on top before the cheese, but that's not necessary.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The ice cream rocked!

I should say, the Carob Carob-Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream rocked.

The Cherry Cheesecake Soy Ice Cream isn't too great... It's not completely inedible. It's just not awesome like the Carob one.

First, my cherries were bad by the time I got around to using them---darn the early in the week stomach ache, because I wanted to eat those cherries so bad. However, combining a stomach ache with cherries is not a good idea. So, I used frozen strawberries. Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream sounds pretty good, right? No, it has a slightly chemical like taste.

The soy milk does not, so I'm not sure what's up with that. Could it be the arrow root powder? It's kind of hard to do tests because each batch takes a while to make. Not the actual churning---that only takes 30 minutes---but it does taste better when it's spent some time in the freezer getting more solid. Both of them did that. I mean tasted better when they were more frozen.

Also, refrigerating the ice cream mixture before churning it seems to be key as well.

In other words, I ate too much seaweed tonight. I did what I'm not ever supposed to do and bought one of those plastic containers full of seaweed snack strips. It's taking all of my will power to not eat them all up right now. It would not be a good idea. Too much seaweed can cause problems for me... And I'm a crazy seaweed addict. Really. I should never buy it. It should never be in my house. I'm just going to have one more piece and then go to bed... LOL!

The next thing that I'm going to make is a Rice Pudding Ice Cream.

I'm also going to post some of my daily recipes and the ones that I usually make a lot of and store in the freezer. That's what's on the agenda!

Strawberry Cheesecake Soy Ice Cream

I'm really looking forward to finishing this ice cream. I used one of the recipes I found on the web and just made a few changes to make it my own.

I'd like to get some of the vegan graham cracker crust that I've heard of, crush it up, and add it into the ice cream, too.

I used arrowroot for my first time in this recipe and that was pretty exciting.

Oh! The Carob, Carob-Chip Cocont Ice Cream seriously rocks. So tasty. So very tasty. Plus, it totally satisfied my miserable chocolate craving!

In other meals, I had vegan cereal with vanilla soy milk for breakfast and I made faux-sushi from scratch tonight for dinner.

Things are looking up.

I'm not quite 100% vegan yet, but I've totally cut out dairy, eggs, and most meat, of course. I'm not sure that I'm going to completely phase out fish.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vegan Coconut Milk Carob Carob Chip Ice Cream

Today, I started to make a wonderful ice cream. I thought that I would finish it tonight. I did not. I was foiled by my own impatience...

I didn't freeze the freezer thing long enough and I didn't chill the ice cream mixture long enough. So, it didn't turn into ice cream. That was sad, but I just put the ice cream back in the fridge and the freezer thing back in the freezer and I will try again tomorrow.

I couldn't find a recipe for vegan carob ice cream, so I looked up enough recipes until I thought I had a handle on what was going on and made up my own.

2 cans Coconut Milk
1/3 cup Carob Powder
1 cup sugar

heat until sugar is melted. then add

2 tsp vanilla extract

put into ice cream maker and run for 25 minutes. At this point, mixture should have a soft serve consistency. (It did not and I will have to repeat this step tomorrow)

Add to ice cream mixture

2 tsp straight booze
1/4 cup chopped vegan carob chips

When incorporated, remove from ice cream maker. Place into air tight container and freeze. Or, you know, gobble it up.