Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Cherry Oat Bars

Yummy mini chocolate cherry oat bars that will cause a little addiction!
My first oatmeal bars.
After they were out of the oven and a few were devoured (one or two, maybe three, lost count) with a glass of cold almond milk, I felt like a greedy chocoholic Santa hovering over complimentary warm plates of delicious homemade treats, taking everything under the sun that's vegan. Haha!
I truly loved these.
Even ate the bowl batter which tells a whole lot.

1 cup Hodgson Mills Multi Grain Cereal With Milled Flaxseed & Soy
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ripened banana
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
9 pitted cherries
1 teaspoon maple syrup
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet.

Stir all dry ingredients together.
Blend banana and applesauce and add to dry mixture.
The mix should be a thick, even consistency. Not too dry. Not too moist.
Pit and drop in the cherries. Stir and mash cherries into the mixture. Then lastly maple syrup and salt.
Spread evenly onto parchment paper or a greased cookie sheet.
20-25 minutes later, ready to be squared away!
Cut them into any shapes & don't cry if a bar or two goes missing in action.
Oh my goodness!
I screamed to the top of the heavens after the first bite.
Chewy, moist, thin, and chocolaty, these chocolate cherry oat bars are so delightful and not too overly sweet even though I did sprinkle an additional bit of turbinado sugar on top which gave the bars that scone like crunch. With those warm, juicy cherry surprising the taste buds and that pleasant oatmeal texture, it's very easy to grab another bar from the pan. After all, they are small and oil free!
Of course I already made plans to make these again, maybe turn them into thick, mouthwatering brownies, and have considered adding various ingredients including walnuts or pecans, shredded coconut, dates, and other dried fruits, and yes, peanut butter- chocolate's soulmate.
The possibilities are utterly endless.
Anywho, back to eating just one more bar for the night....

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Story Of The Unfortunate Vegetable "Omelet"

Fallen apart, open faced "omelet" topped with avocado, a pumpkin maple muffin from Thistle at 2nd Street Market, and a chocolate banana smoothie.
I have been getting away with the lack of using oils for weeks now and have been very enthused about keeping up the tradition. Besides, olive and coconut oils have been so beneficial for exterior purpose- making my skin and hair look radiant when mixed with raw shea and cocoa butters! :D
So this past Saturday, the first of September actually, thought I could continue celebrating "oil free" accomplishment by attempting a tofu omelet.
Insert music of doom.
Da da da dum.

Vegetable "Omelet" Ingredients
1/2 package tofu (though I used extra firm, looks like it's highly recommended to use Mori-nu Lite Silken)
3 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper

1 cup cooked brown rice
2 cups spinach
1 cup cooked drained chickpeas
2 diced Roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 ripened avocado (does anyone really eat only half?)
salt and pepper to taste

There goes the batter in the medium heat nonstick pan, looking smooth. Looking fine. 
Yet 7 minutes later, the mean spatula made it fall apart upon flipping. I singlehandedly salvaged disaster by placing my filling on top. Thus, making it an open faced "omelet."
In the end, a bit cohesive and a little messy, but certainly not scrambled, the opened faced "omelet" is topped with brown rice, Roma tomatoes, spinach, chickpeas, and sliced avocado. 
Tasted creamy and smooth, but I would have much preferred a more firmer texture. 
Though not of the desired consistency, it was a yummy, fulfilling breakfast/brunch dish and I probably would make it again because by that last savory bite, stomach too stuffed for that pumpkin muffin, I finally decided to fall in love.
That happens often in these test kitchen experiments.
One minute, I'm sad and gloomy over my plate and the next, I wished not to have been so harsh when leftover crumbs are staring at me.
Still, wished I read this blog post here first: Low Fat Vegan Silken Tofu Omelet
Definitely a pivotal aide for my next "omelet" attempt and happily enough, her recipe doesn't call for any oil either! :D

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vegan Banana Bread Pudding

Mmmhmmmm bread pudding on another rainy evening.
Hot bread drowning in bananas, almond milk, maple syrup, & spices?
Sign me and a plate up ASAP!

Vegan Banana Bread Pudding Ingredients

2 ripened bananas
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoon cinnamon (+ additional for sprinkling)
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
8 slices bread, pieced and chunky (I used wheat here)
turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dry, fresh bread waiting to be smothered in goodness.
Mix all the ingredients sans bread in a blender.
Pour over the bread chunks.
Let the bread have a relaxing soak in the pleasurable yummy drench for 5-10 good minutes.
Then it's off into the hot oven!
40 minutes later, all puffed and ready to be devoured. Slowly.
Topped with a bit of creamy chocolate avocado sauce and extra banana slices is the stuff dreams are made of!
Sometimes food can be an incredibly sensuous experience when indulged on nights calling for romance novels and teddy bear snuggle hour.
Was that too much information?
Well, anyway, the bread pudding a moist and delightfully custard-y dessert with that rich banana flavor (though it needs more) and light sweet crunch that the turbinado sugar provides, was perfect with that raw chocolate avocado sauce. Though I craved pecans like nobody's business, I liked it.
After so comforting leftover dinner, this was a very pleasing conclusion. :)

That black bean burger piled high with creamy cauliflower cheese sauce, juicy Roma tomatoes, ketchup, & crisp spinach. Yeah baby!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Happy Labor Day Black Bean Burger & Mashed Potato Plate

Happy Labor Day!
Yay! It's a holiday!
A great way to celebrate this nice September Monday of kicking off your heels with no school and no work is by having a casual meal that is good inside or out. Today's dinner is inspired by intimate grill out parties that often featured nothing for me to eat and these friends never knew what to "cook" besides an opened can of baked beans or mixed vegetables.
Seriously, I'm not joking.
When all those grilled portabellas are gone in minutes flat, what's a little vegan to eat?
A black bean burger and mashed potatoes. Yum.
But due to raining and lack of sunshine no grilling to be had.

Simple Chunky Mashed Potatoes

8 little potatoes sliced in half
6 cups water

After bringing water to a boil add potatoes and more water if potatoes are not fully underneath.

Cut up and boil red skinned potatoes for about 50 minutes or until they are soft and tender.
Mash into a bowl with a spoon or a masher, adding a bit of salt and pepper along the way.
Black Bean Burgers Ingredients

1 can, rinsed and drained reduced sodium black beans
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Drain black beans.
Using this as my oat component because it was on clearance for $1.14. Cooking on a thrifty budget here, haha!
Stir ingredients together and blend for a few.
Fry the patties in balsamic vinegar. Turn in 5-7 minutes.
Dinner is served with Roma tomatoes and Pop Eye's best friend- spinach! And yes, there's piping hot cauliflower "cheese" sauce on top of the chunky mashed potatoes.
Close up of the big black bean burger.
The burger was good, but a little too grainy. Next time, adding more black beans, Roma tomato, and yellow corn in the mix, maybe some diced carrots to bring out a juicier flavor to the patty. And hot sauce! Yes, definitely need hot sauce on my bad boy.
Mashed potatoes- a whole other story entirely.
I shamefully admit to having seconds of the chunky red skinned madness coated in that delicious, rich sauce that would bring any vegetarian closer to the vegan side of life. Leaving the potatoes unpeeled was certainly a wise decision! Now this is one of the few skins that I find mighty tasty.... ;)
A very good holiday meal if I must say so.
Hoping everyone has a lovely time spent with family and friends!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Acorn Squash Stuffed With Maple Brown Rice And Green Peas

Sweet and savory meet inside of warm squash for a delightful early autumn dinner.

Lovely autumn is nearly upon us.
With the times of color changing leaves that create crisp madness underneath shoe heels, the warm, cooler weather, and a certain upcoming birthday, those are just some of the many reasons why this short, poetically beautiful period is my favorite season.
So at 2nd Street, I picked up a wonderful little acorn squash at 69 cents a pound and thought to try my hand at baking and complimenting the creamy "buttery" mass of yumminess with a delicious flavorful stuffing.

Acorn Squash Stuffed With Maple Brown Rice And Green Peas Ingredients

1 acorn squash

Maple Brown Rice And Green Pea Stuffing

1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup green peas
2 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and stare dreamily at the beautiful gold green gourd about to be eaten.
Chop in half. Scoop out seeds and membrane. Bake for 30 minutes.
As the acorn squash bakes, prepare the stuffing by sauteing all in a balsamic vinegar skillet.
After they have baked for thirty minutes, fill the acorn squash with stuffing, being sure to mix in some sides of the squash. Bake for an additional thirty minutes.
Tops of rice are browned and acorn squash is noticeably softened.
Topped with a helpful dose of avocado and Italian seasoning.
A soft, hotly moist interior that tasted similar to yams, the acorn squash was simply astounding and utterly rich. The decadent stuffing absolutely heaven, the maple syrup light but providing a well cherished sweet note in the background with the cinnamon and ginger and the green peas and avocado showcasing the savory flair.
Save for the rice being too crispy at the top (may add crushed walnuts or pecans next time!), it was a comforting, homey dish that provided dreams of falling joyously into leaves and making silly leaf angels.
It was that good.