Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from "Batdog" Baker and L2!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Perfect Oatmeal Cookies

I have a tendency to get excited about very little things, a good cup of coffee, tea or glass of wine, making dinner, going for a walk with my 'boys', etc.  Baking cookies is no exception, I love it.  When I stumble upon a new cookie recipe, by the end of the week I've most likely made it.  

The newest cookie that I have tried is from Isa's book,  Veganomicon.  Veganomicon is sucha helpful cook book for chefs, cooks and bakers of all levels.  Not only does it have amazing recipes for different events but has tips n' tricks to make meals even tastier.  I lent my copy to my Mom, who's been to culinary school.  After reading and cooking some recipes she told me she bought her own copy!  That says a lot!  Like I said, it can appeal to anyone at any point in their culinary adventure.  

I made the oatmeal cookies from Veganomicon, they are to pretty frickin' awesome.  Most of the time you'll hear me "ooh-ing and ahhh-ing" over chocolate, peanut butter, ice cream; things that are not-so-healthy.  So, it seems odd that I'm reviewing and raving about oatmeal cookies.  I admit, they have grown on me over the years.  

I highly recommend using a little scoop to measure out the dough.  It makes the perfect sized, uniformed cookies!  

Perfect oatmeal raisin cookies! 
When it comes to sweets and baked goods, my usual mentality is "If you're going to go, go all out."  This is slowly shifting as I become more aware of my body and experiment with healthier options that will still satisfy my sweet tooth.  This recipe will cure your cookie craving and not let you feel that guilty about it.  Bake these puppies off and accompany them with a glass of soy milk!  Yumm.  

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In case you flop...

I am trying to master a peanut brittle recipe before the winter holidays.  My first attempt this week was a miserable flop.  I think what I need to make it work is a lil' bit o' patience and and candy thermometer.  I have a tendency to prematurely take things out when the should still bake, cook or boil...  It has gotten out of hand.  But, I'm getting better!  

Anyway, my first batch of peanut brittle left me with a whole cookie sheet of peanut butter sugary goo.  I don't think I let the PB, sugar and agave congeal in the heat long enough.  Either way, it flopped and was too good to through away, right?  So, I made cupcakes and used the peanut butter goo as a filling!  I had so much of it, I even made a pan of brownies to bring into the girls at work.  One girl stopped me and said "You made those brownies?  They're good.  You bitch."  I took it as a complement!  I am defiantly a cookin' bitch, watch out!

There isn't a real recipe, but maybe a recipe for shy or new bakers...  When things flop, embrace it and make... Cupcakes!  Or whatever you want...  I've made so many things that taste disgusting, look gosh-darn awful and somethings that never leave the pan - probably because it was burnt into it...  Not only do they make for funny stories (later, of course) to tell family and friends but it helps build culinary character!  Things cannot always be perfect, change is the only constant!  Be rigid and get mad, or giggle and learn that your boyfriends oven might say 350 degrees when it really is 400.  Learn and bake accordingly!  

Some of the PB exploded out of the cupcakes...  but delicious!  

So, back to the brownies and cupcakes.  They tasted awesome.  For the cupcakes, I used Isa's chocolate cupcake recipe from VCTOTW and just scooped some PB goo in between the batter.  Same thing for the brownie recipe.  It made my flop a tad bit sweeter.  Expect some blogs about real PB brittle soon! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apples and a Crisp

Apples and pumpkins are two of my favorite things about fall.  I adore heading out to an orchard and picking my own.  It is so much fun to head home, mull cider and make pie!  I have yet to make a pie this season, but I did throw together an amazing apple crisp over the weekend.

We went to a different apple orchard this year and scored on some delicious Honey Gold, Macintosh and Cortland apples.  It was such a beautiful fall day when we went, too.  We take Baker every year.  He has no interest in apples, but likes to sniff around at everything.  Fun family time! 

This traditional crisp will make your house smell amazing, like fall!  I highly recommend sharing the crisp, otherwise, you'll eat it...all.  You've been warned!  

Apple Crisp
4 apples- sliced very thin
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon 
2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
a pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Core and slice the apples.  Place apples in a bowl, dust cinnamon and maple syrup over it and mix.  In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients together, and add the oil and applesauce, mix into a crumbly mixture.  I have tried using just apple sauce instead of oil and it has turned out just fine.  Put apples into a pie pan and dust the crumble topping over it.  Put into the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until the topping browns.  Enjoy with some soy ice cream! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Temphe Rubies

I've always associated ruben sandwiches with business men and office workers. Until recently, I'd immediately think of the Stein Lounge in downtown Green Bay. It was a local gathering spot for business men, alcoholics and people who loved to house some greasy rubens. A great place to hold a meeting with a client, of course! They were known around town and especially among the 9-5ers downtown to have pretty dank ruben sandwich. Even when I was an omni, that I had ever had one, but now, I'm addicted.

Earlier this fall I went with one of my girlfriends to the French Meadow Bakery in Uptown, Minneapolis for lunch. They have a temphe ruben on their menu that is to die for. I have since then been dreaming of it. My dreaming has ceased! Being the talented vegan chef I am, I made one up at home that's even better! Okay, I'm going a little far... But it is still flippin' delicious! Now when someone mentions ruben sandwiches, I think 'Heck yeah!'

This is waayyyy healthier than any original ruben. It might not be a raw vegetable wrap, but when it's 12:30 on a Wednesday and you need a lil' salty motivation to get you through the rest of the day, it's your best bet!

Temphe Rubies
Temphe or tofu
chipotle mayo
two slices of bread

Temphe Marinde
1/2 c lite soy sauce
1/4 c water
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 tsp spicy brown mustard
dashes of pepper

Slice temphe to your liking. Whisk everything together in a pan and place temphe strips in the pan to marinade, 'bout an hour or so. While they are marinading, preheat the oven to 375. Place in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, until liquid has evaporated.

Chipotle Mayo
This is so easy, I shouldn't even write it down! Enough for one sandwich.
1 to 1 ratio
1 tbsp vegan mayo
1 tsp chipotle powder
For a lil' more of a kick, I added a couple dashes of cayenne, too.

Take sauerkraut into a fry pan and warm up. Once it's to the temperature that you like, remove from heat. Assemble sandwich and toast in the pan. Be sure to add a lil' Earth Balance on either side of the bread so it doesn't burn!

If you're a busy business lady or not, eat this! It's flippin' delicious and satisfying. Plus, if you're freaking about about H1N1, sauerkraut is known for its powerful fermented photychemicals that help boost the immune system. One super tasty-superfood that can help fight off the flu and colds!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Verdict...

My last post talked a little bit about Teese Vegan Cheese.  Since then I've had some time to cook with it an experience it in a couple dishes.  On Sunday night to aid in my procrastination, I made pizza.  

Observing how sugar effects my body, I've started to experiment with more gluten-free option.  I opted to make a wheat- free crust with brown rice and oat flowers.  It was a little crumbly, but tasted just fine.  If anyone has any gluten-free tips, let me know!  

Now back to my pizza with Teese!  I thought it was just okay...  Nothing I'll go out of my way to buy again.  I think that my palate has changed so much in the past two years and have really grown accustom to not eating it.  The Teese on my pizza just tasted like a salty filler...  Maybe I need a different flavor, I don't know.  I do know that after this culinary adventure, I can say I don't really miss cheese...  I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and no I don't miss eating cheese.  It is so much easier to fill up on whole foods and not miss cheese in certain dishes.  I'll continue taking my pizzas without cheese, loading them with delicious vegetables and herbs instead. 

Try it and like it or don't like it.  As long as you like what you like, it's fine by me!  

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Flashback to a 'Toastier' Time

So this Saturday morning in Minneapolis, there was snow on the ground!  What's up with that mutha' nature?  I love seasons changing and could never live in a climate that is warm all year, but I like to be a little prepared...  I don't even have a winter coat yet.  It is on my list of things to buy before it gets too cold, along with some saran wrap for the windows!  

Our house is poorly insulated.  This morning when I woke up, I made sure to exhale through my mouth to see if I could see my breath.  No luck, yet...  We're waiting until we can't stand it to turn the heat on.  I'm tuffin' up-- the long johns are coming out with other warmables.  I don't care if I look like the Michelin man, I am determined to be warm!  Layer upon layer, I know another reliable way to warm up - get your heads outta' the gutter!  C'mon this is a food blog.  I'm talking about turning on the stove or oven!  The first frost or snowfall puts me in the mood to bake cookies, bread and make soup.  This will last until spring...  So get ready for a lot of soup, comfort foods, baked goodies an probably some bitching about my waistline.  You can expect that in January, for sure.  

I've been hankering a hearty soup and sandwich all week and finally this afternoon, I got it!  I whipped up some tortilla soup and made a 'toastie'.  My dad would always call grilled cheese, toasted cheese sandwiches.  My oldest sister and I still giggle together wondering why the heck he calls grilled cheese, toasted cheese.  So gourmet of him!   Now, any warm sandwich I call a "toastie".  

Up close of my Toastie

I'm not one for fake cheeses.  When I first changed my diet I played around with multiple different soy and rice based cheeses not finding anything that tasted worth its dollar, so I gave up!  I love a lil' nutritional yeast on my pizza or mixed in with some pasta but I never go out of my way to purchase fake cheese...  

Multiple people have recommended Teese to me, but I had never purchased it until today.  On sale, I thought, "Heck, you've been craving a toasted cheese sandwich, try it!"  It was pretty good, as good as a soy cheese can be.  I'm looking forward to trying it out a little more, maybe I'll make some pizza tonight.  Anyway, it made for a lovely tomato basil "Toastie" that accompinied my tortilla soup.  

Warm up and put your... oven mitts on!  

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Rainy Saturday Treat!

I absolutely adore Lindsay's blog, Happy Herbivore.  Her recipes are simple and healthy, two things I really appreciate!  Her blog is informative, fun and sometimes she'll even post pictures of her adorable pugs.  I love that!  I highly recommend her blog for healthy vegan recipes and tips.  

Cinnamon roll with Raisins

Over the weekend, which was cold and rainy I opted to warm up the house with a batch  of her whole-wheat cinnamon rolls. This recipe defiantly satisfied the hungry bellies of non-vegans!  I felt good making, eating and sharing them, especially knowing how healthy they were - compared to the alternative, of course!  They are cinnamon rolls, not kale & broccoli rolls!

cinnamon rolls before icing

with icing - yumm.

Look no further for a Cinnabon in the airport or mall and make these lil' guys!  They're delicious and delightful to eat with a great cup o' joe on a rainy Saturday morning.