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Picture me saying  this as though I were a zombie. Only instead of “braiiiiiins…” you have…well, you get the idea. I’m pressed for time with finals but here are some pictures of food I’ve made recently. I also don’t have time to write down these recipes but if you email me, I will get them to you because I’m not a jerk.

001This was a truly heavenly dish I lovingly giggle about while calling it my world-famous “nut loaf.” Its main ingredients are bread crumbs, carrots, onions, and cashews with a delicious filling of pureed chestnuts. You bake it the way you would bake a banana bread, in a loaf pan. I also made a wonderfully creamy and rich veggie gravy. Throw some mashed potatoes on there and you’ve got one hearty meal even a lumberjack won’t bitch about.

068This was so delicious, words cannot even describe. I’ve never been a huge fan of mock meats but I don’t just want to eat a pile o’vegetables either. I made my own seitan using a modified version of the one in Veganomicon then sauteed it with some Mongolian stir-fry sauce and added a little extra crushed red pepper. I like spicy, maybe you’ve noticed. I served it on top of some Israeli couscous, which is larger than regular couscous. I just like saying couscous. Couscous, whee!! Ahem, the couscous was tossed with fresh basil, toasted walnuts, and lightly browned garlic. Mmmm…

067These were the most amazing treats. I am a huge lover of all things coffee-flavored so when I heard that Starbucks was coming out with their own line of instant coffee called VIA, all I could think was, “Hm, how can I put THAT in a cupcake?” For this, I basically made the chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and dissolved a packet of VIA in the soymilk/apple cider vinegar mixture. For added buzzed-up fun, I put one tablespoon of coffee grounds in the dry ingredients, too. Lucky for me, one of my BFFs works at a Starbucks in Nashville and I still had some of the coffee left over that she sent me for my birthday. Next, I made regular old buttercream but instead of using one or two tablespoons of regular soymilk to soak up some of that powdered sugar, I dissolved another packet of VIA into the soymilk. Heaven with a capital V. Seriously.

If you want to read about VIA cupcakes on a much cooler blog, go here. This is my friend’s site who made her own recipe a couple months back.

Coming soon: Undertaker cupcakes! Fun fact: The Undertaker and I share the same birthdate.

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Skinny Bitch

Okay, so the other day, I gave a pretty so-so review to the recipe book “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. ” I’m not going to retract my review because I will always stand by everything I say, no matter who it may annoy. However, I got my copy of “Skinny Bitch” (the book they wrote before the recipe book) today and I must say, I am impressed. They cited their sources for everything, one of their sources being a book I actually own, Diet For a New America by John Robbins.

The book is put into plain language that I can understand and relate to. They use four letter words all over the place, which I personally appreciate, and they tell it like it is, no holds barred. Hey, it is dead, decomposing, rotting flesh in your colon. Just because you call it steak, doesn’t mean it wasn’t at some point in time part of a cow’s ass. Now deal with it.

I think I called the recipe book irrelevant, or something like that. Not true. See now, if my dumb ass would have waited until I got the first book and read it before getting the accompanying recipe book, I would have had different things to say. First of all, these ladies just want you to be healthy as you can possibly be and stop eating animal products at all costs. If you aren’t a home cook and can’t even boil water, have no fear, their recipe book is easy enough for you to figure out. I got all snobby about it because I know how to cook, that’s all. They’re just letting idiots know that they can do something as simple as buying vegan meat and cheese to make sandwiches and every little bit helps. So, my apologies ladies.

I did indeed find a recipe in “Kitch” that is actually my current lunch favorite. Right next to that is my new favorite side dish. I jacked with them a little to make them what I like, so if you read the original recipe it will be slightly different. Enjoy!

Hummus, Tempeh, Cucmber Wrap (pg142)

1 Tbsp canola oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1 8 oz package tempeh, cut into strips

whole wheat tortillas

1 cup hummus * i used chipotle spiced from Tribe brand- it’s my fave and it adds a kick

1 cucumber, peeled and diced, or sliced into thin discs

1 bag triple washed baby spinach

Heat the canola oil then sautee the tempeh until it is brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip it over, then sprinkle the garlic powder and tamari on top of it and get ready for a stinky kitchen. Let it cook for a few more minutes, making sure not to burn the tempeh. Remove from heat. Then you just assemble the wraps. It goes a little something like this, in case you’re a moron and can’t figure it out- tortilla, hummus spread on that, tempeh next, then spinach and cukes. See how easy? and freaking delicious, too. I’m sure you could switch it up to suit your tastes. For instance, the original recipe called for vinaigrette dressing to pour over the top once everything was assembled but I forgot to buy it the first time I made these, then found that these little buggers didn’t need any more flavor. They were delicious without it. The original recipe also called for romaine leaves, but I find them to be of very little nutritive value so I went with spinach. They also used refined coconut oil as their oil of choice for frying and I did use it the first two times I made these, but I SWEAR i could taste the coconut, even though Robert said he couldn’t. So this last time, I passed on the coconut and went with canola. ( I put a link to Robert’s myspace page so you can all know who I’m talking about, since I tend to talk about him a lot. I talk about my husband a lot too, but he thinks myspace is gay, so he doesn’t have one.)

Peanut Noodles (adapted from a recipe in Wonder Time, July/Aug issue, 2008 )

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or you could use chunky here, and omit the need for half of the chopped peanuts later)

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup orange juice

1 clove garlic, pressed or chopped

1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp grated ginger (use fresh! there’s nothing like it! when you have leftover ginger root, put it in the freezer for later use)

1/4 cup hot water *i used some of the hot pasta water because it contains starch from the pasta that will help this yummy sauce cling to the noodles)

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

1 lb whole wheat, or some other healthy type of thin spaghetti noodles (brown rice spaghetti from Trader Joe’s works here)

1 English cucumber, peeled and diced (or you can use two regular cukes if you can’t find these or don’t care about the seeds)

Whisk together the first nine ingredients and toss with hot pasta. Toss in cucumbers. You won’t believe how the cold cucumber marries well with the warm pasta. The original recipe calls for chopped scallions and cilantro as garnish but I hate both of those, so there. Use if you want to, but I sure as hell won’t be kissing YOU later. Oh, the original recipe also wants you to serve this as a cold dish, but we all decided we liked it better warmed up. It wasn’t as sticky and thick in our mouths.

Together, these two dished were awesome. Lots of veggies, whole grain, and protein. Spectacular!

I’m working on expanding my soup repertoire, so next time, you may see some corn chowder or butternut squash soup. Until next time….


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Low Fat Cupcakes

By their very nature, I’m not sure if cupcakes were meant to be low fat. Most of them have twice as much frosting as a slice of cake, and that’s a-okay with me. When I eat sweets, I know how fattening they are, how bad for me, how, whatever the heck it is, it’s going right to my midsection, or perhaps my ass. I know this, you see, and it has yet to stop me from eating what I want, when I want it.

However, my cooking goddesses have come up with a low fat vanilla cupcake recipe that I immediately knew I had to try, and this is it. I tried to follow the recipe to the letter but decided I would do one better and remove the oil completely and up the applesauce a bit. I learned years ago from every female baker in my family and life that you can replace fat in your baking with a few different options, and the one that worked best for me was applesauce. However, I’m not so sure about this glaze. I kinda want frosting. No nagging please.

Oh, and before I get to the recipe, I saw The Happening last night. I liked it. A lot. Something else I need you to NOT nag me about. So far, I have loved all of M. Night Shyamalan’s movies. That includes The Village, mainly because I’d like to climb on top of Adrien Brody. I mean the movie was good and all but I could stare at that nose all day. If you put him in a movie where all he did was ride a bicycle for two hours, I’d pay to see it. Am I creepy? Possibly. But the movie was…relevant. Interesting. Thought-provoking. We talked about it the whole car ride home and here I am thinking and talking about it again. I know some people will see it and hate it, as my friend Marilee did, but she has bad taste in movies. She liked Freddie Got Fingered, for chrissake.

Anyways- the cupcakes. they were so-so, and it’s not because of the recipe that was given to me in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, it’s because I jacked with it. I didn’t have, nor could i find- plain soy yogurt, so I had to use strawberry soy yogurt. Mistake number one.

Then it became necessary to use sliced strawberries instead of the plump, juicy, delectable raspberries they have pictured. Dumb idea. I also decided to screw with their glaze a bit. I wasn’t happy with it being just a glaze so i tried to convert it by adding 2 tbsp of Smart Balance vegan light margarine into the mix along with a little more powdered sugar. God, what a nightmare of epic proportions!!

It wouldn’t stay still, it kept running over the sides of the cupcakes. So, here I’m thinking I’m going to get one up on these little buggers by putting chopped fresh strawberries on top hoping it will keep the glaze/weak frosting in place. WRONG-O. The sugar drew every gram of juice out of all the berries and it drizzled down over the sides and made a huge fricking mess on my counter. Blagh!!! To top it all off, i used these cheapass fricking wrappers i got from a friend for my birthday and upon removal, they also took HALF the cupcake with it!!!! Anger abounds!

This is what they look like up close. Pretty huh? Well, I had to throw out more than half of them because they made me want to gag heartily. The strawberries kept sliding off the tops of the cupcakes and getting lost on my shirt, stepped on by my toddler, and eaten, then thrown up, by my dog. I wanted to rub dirt into my own eyeballs as it surely must have been a more pleasurable experience than these cupcakes.

Suffice it to say, I will stick to the recipe. I will fall into line. I do it under protest, but I do it. I want my things to come out great, not tasting like play-doh. Here it is….

1/2 cup vanilla soy yogurt   * i had to use strawberry, it was all i could find

2/3 cup vanilla or plain soy milk

1/4 cup applesauce   * i upped this to 1/2

3 Tbsp canola oil  * i nixed this

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cup AP flour

2 Tbsp cornstarch

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Oven at 350. Mix wet. Mix dry. Mix together. Pour into lined muffin tin, then bake for 22-24 minutes. Let cool completely then make this glaze:

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 to 3 Tbsp soy milk

1/2 cup seedless spreadable fruit or other preserves

1 cup fresh berries, washed, patted dry, sliced if necessary

Mix confectioners sugar with 1 Tbsp of soy milk using a whisk. It will resemble a thick paste. Carefully drizzle in the rest of the soy milk a tsp at a time until the mixture resembles runny cake batter. If too watery, add more confectioners sugar a Tbsp at a time.

Spread the top of the cupcake with the a thin layer of spreadable fruit. Spoon a tiny circle of the icing into the center of the fruit spread, on top of it. Decorate with fresh fruit then drizzle more icing on top.

If only I had followed the directions. If only I had not been a cheap ass and just bought the damn raspberries already. I’m certain these would have been heaven. I really suck at baking sometimes.

Oh, and I just got Skinny Bitch in the mail. I heard it sucks so you’ll get  a full review on my next post, which will also include me cooking from, gasp, OTHER vegan cookbooks.

Until next time, please do good in your life…somehow.

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