Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan MoFo- Halloweenie

School has been eating my brain the last few days, so blogging has been on the back burner for me.  I have, however, been creating loads of delicious fall foods through all the craziness.  In honor of my favorite holiday, here are a few Halloween-ish things we have been eating...

This was a Peanut Butter-Pumpkin Soup I cooked up with canned pumpkin, smooth peanut butter, onion, turmeric, paprika, chili pepper flakes, vegetable broth, roasted red peppers, and lemon juice.  It was garnished with tofutti sour cream, roasted peanuts, roasted red pepper and chopped green onion.  It was smooth, mildly spicy and peanut buttery.

Saturday afternoon, Olivia and I made peanut butter carmel apples with Isa Chandra Moskowitz's recipe.  We coated honey crisp apples in the carmel and covered them in chocolate chips and chopped cashews.  They were a delicious, gourmet treat!

Tonight, is not only Halloween, but it's also my sister, Heather, and brother-in-law, Gerard's birthdays. (yes they are married and share the same birthday, on Halloween!  Crazy right?)  Anyhow, Halloween is a HUGE holiday with my family.  So, I decided to try to make a delicious halloween treat for everyone, and what says halloween more, than candy corn?  I tweeked a recipe my Mom gave me for candy corn cakes and made them vegan-style.  I couldn't be more pleased with how they turned out.  They were a mild orange flavored pound cake with a super "buttery" creamy frosting.   I had to pat myself on the back for this one! Yum!

We always get all dressed up for halloween, so this year I was  a fictional character that lives in my brain, Super Vegan... Tofu Girl!  Jared and I had a blast celebrating birthdays and Halloween all in one night with my family!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegan MoFo- Urban Vegan

Saturday afternoon Jared and I went out for lunch with my sister Teresa and her wife Sarah.  Sarah wanted to check out the Urban Vegan (1605 W. Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60613), and I know how delicious it is, so we decided to eat there

Jared ordered the "Pepper Steak" Wrap with soy cheese.  

Sarah got the Soy Chicken Wrap with "Bacon".

Teresa and I both ordered the Orange Chicken.  

I tried a bite each of the sandwiches and was mighty impressed. Both were quite tasty.  We all agreed that they did a good job making the bacon tasted just like bacon.  It was unbelievable!  The Orange Chicken was perfect!  It was crispy and sweet and served along side of steamed brown rice that balanced out the flavors perfectly.  I really like this little spot, it is quickly becoming one of my favorites in the neighborhood! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vegan MoFo- Lasagna and Carrot Cake

Last night my soon-to-be sister-in-law Nicole was passing through Chicago, so she stopped in to eat dinner with Jared and I.  Since fall has fully arrived, I decided to make Spinach Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach out of Appetite for Reduction for dinner with Carrot Cake out of The Candle Cafe Cookbook for dessert.  

This lasagna is a healthier version of the cheesy version I had as a kid.  The "ricotta" was made out of tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, black pepper and roasted cauliflower. It was layered with marinara sauce, noodles, fresh spinach, "ricotta" and topped  with chopped black olives.

I recently was gifted with a second spring form pan, so, a layer cake was definitely in order.  This carrot cake had fresh carrot and pineapple inside of it.  I frosted it was Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting out of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World  since its the best cream cheese frosting ever.

This was easily the best lasagna recipe I've ever made.  The roasted cauliflower gave it a great texture and flavor.  None of us could believe that was a low-fat healthy recipe! The three of us almost polished off the entire pan. 

The carrot cake was to die for!  The raisins were plump and juicy and the cake was perfectly moist.  Combined with the cream cheese frosting, we were in heaven!  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MoFo Day 19-Chocolate Cream Strawberries

We had loads of left over Chocolate Drizzle and Sweet Cashew Cream left over from breakfast on Sunday, so for dessert, I sliced up some strawberries and drizzled the chocolate and the cream on top.  

It was the quickest, yummiest homemade dessert ever made!  Chocolate, cream, sweet strawberries... need I say more?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegan MoFo- Native Foods Experience

Today, Jared and I celebrated our 7th Monthaversary.  Yes, we are huge nerds and celebrate our falling in love every month!  Tonight, he took me to Native Foods Cafe
(1484 North Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60622) since I've been talking about wanting to try this new vegan restaurant for the past few weeks.

 This place was super cute.  You place your order in the front and fill up your own drinks in the back.  They have free refills!  How many vegan places do that?  We tried all 3 of the house made beverages. They had native iced tea, lavender lemonade, and watermelon fresca. The tea tasted like cough syrup, the fresca tasted like watermelon juice and the lemonade tasted like.... well, delicious lemonade!  I think that I will be sticking with the lemonade when I dine here in the future. 

Jared and I adore cheese fries and often day dream of vegan cheese fries, so we were super excited about trying the chili cheese fries that they had on the menu.  I'm disappointed to report that these were... okay...  I think I was expecting a more junk foody taste.  The cheese is house made and although delicious, it wouldn't have been my choice to top of chili cheese fries.  I would have rather had a hot melty cheese that pulled the chili and fries all together. 

I ordered the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger.  This giant sandwich had thinly sliced Native Original Seitan, melted cheddar, caramelized onions, and crispy Native Bacon on a bun slathered with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, romaine, carrots, onions, and tomato.  In case you were wondering, yes, it is  topped with crunchy battered and fried dill pickle chips! Oh My God, YUM!  This burger made our trip to Native Foods totally worth every penny.  It was the biggest burger ever, Jared had to eat half of it for me.

Jared got the Portobello and Sausage Burger.  This sandwich had grilled portobellos, homemade Native Sausage Seitan, caramelized onions, pomodoro, sweet roasted garlic, creamy pumpkin seed pesto and mayo. I tried some of his and really liked it, and although Jared liked it as well, he thought that my burger was way tastier.

We cleaned our plates!  I'm glad we got to celebrate 7 months together over fun vegan cuisine.  We will definitely be coming back to try different items off their extensive menu!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vegan MoFo- Makin' Pickles

A couple weeks ago my Mom asked me if I wanted to come over to make pickles. I hadn't made pickles with her since I was a kid, so Jared and I hurried over.

When we got there my Mom already had sterilized jars and the sweet pickle juice cooking on the stove and it smelled delicious!

We jumped in by cleaning a sink full of small cucumbers....

and slicing them into pickles sized slices.....

then we put them in the jars.....

poured the pickle juice over them.....

and tightened the lids.

Then it was time to seal the jars.

That's right, it's my Mom! She was all set up for this project.  (Isn't she adorable) The huge pot even had a rack inside to set the jars on over the boiling hot water.

Next she immersed the jars into the water. 

They were done in 10 minutes!

The hardest part was having to wait 2 weeks to sample these little guys.

Boy, was it worth the wait.  Sweet pickles are easily one of my favorite foods, and these are by far, the best sweet pickles I have ever eaten.  I'm going to have to slowly sneak as many jars of them as I can out of my parents house and into mine!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vegan MoFo- Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Pancakes

This morning my niece Olivia and nephew Ethan came over VERY early to hang out with us for the day.  Since we were up before 10 am it was the perfect excuse to make and extravagant breakfast.  I figured if I wanted to impress my niece and nephew, chocolate needed to be in involved, so I made Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Vegan With a Vengeance, Chocolate Drizzle and Sweet Cashew Cream from Vegan Brunch and a batch of oven baked potatoes. 

The cashew cream needed to rest in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up, so I made that first.  It was an easy recipe made of soaked cashews, almond milk, agave and vanilla extract. After that I tossed the potatoes in the oven with loads of onions, olive oil, coarse salt and pepper.  

With the potatoes in the oven, it was time to make the chocolate sauce which was made of almond milk, chocolate chips and vanilla extract.  Last but not least Olivia and I made the pancakes.  

We all cleaned our plates!  Olivia said, "These pancakes are...YUM!"  and after a little encouragement we even got her to reluctantly try the potatoes. To our surprise and hers she said, "wait... I actually really like these!"

Ethan skipped the potatoes and sauces and had his pancakes with maple syrup.  He gobbled them up so we could tell he liked them even though his preteen attitude forced him to say, "Eh... they, were alright..."
Jared and I both thought that everything was delicious!  Sharing breakfast with two of our favorite littles makes rising early totally worthwhile!