Friday, December 28, 2007

Karyn's Cooked- First Time, Baby!

Yep- more desserts in this post! I guess I should say that you better be getting used to this since I do love me some sweet stuff! Oh well, I think pictures of cakes always look better than pictures of salads (not that they aren't gorgeous in their own right).

Well, yesterday was a totally awesome day for me! Since my little brother and sister had gone to the Hannah Montana concert a couple of weeks ago, along with doing some other things that I have not had the chance to, my parents wanted to do something special for me. My dad, being the super sweet guy he is, remembered a conversation he had with a vegan he met at his health club (how cool is that?) about a month ago. My dad mentioned that we went to the Chicago Diner for my birthday in November (and I loved it! My family actually really liked it, too). Anyways, the other man then mentioned that he thought that the Chicago Diner wasn't great (gasp!) and went on about how much he loved Karyn's Cooked in the city. dad offered to meet my mom and I for lunch there yesterday during his break from work. I also invited my Aunt Kathy, who brought her daughter, Isabel, since she's very health conscious and open to veg*n food. I didn't bother bringing my camera since I really just wanted to focus on having a special time with my family rather than the pictures, but I tried every dish that people ordered (how often can a vegan say that? I love it!), so I can review them and got pics of the many leftovers.

Okay, to start my dad ordered the combo basket appetizer with broccoli, tofu, and fries. I'm not a fan of fried food at all, but tried a piece of each and had to go back for more of the tofu and broccoli! They were light and crisp, but still soft on the inside and perfectly cooked. This came with a barbecue sauce and a garlic sauce, both of which where excellent! My favorite was the garlic sauce, and as I ate it I got worried for a second, out of instinct I suppose, because it didn't taste vegan at all! I feel as though this was shitty for my health, but then I remember that's it's fried in olive oil, which is full of good fats! As you can tell my the small amount of leftovers, everyone loved this dish. My little cousin, Isabel, along with he twin brother, happen to be the healthiest seven year olds to ever exist. It's amazing. She got a blueberry banana smoothie to drink, which I absolutely had to try. Oh man- that was good! Very smooth and creamy, yet not too sweet. Onto the main courses now!

This is my mom's grilled vegetable wrap. I had the second half for lunch today and it is very good! It was slightly soggy since it had been in the fridge for a day, so I'm sure the texture was nicer at the restaurant. The flavor of the sauce was really yummy and it was very health food-ish (not in a bad way though!). My mom liked it a lot, but she mentioned that she liked her grilled vegetable sandwich at the Chicago Diner better, but I don't really think you can compare the two, but more on that later.

I really wanted the jerk tofu wrap, but after reading other reviews online, I was afraid it would be far too spicy and I didn't want to miss out on any of the flavor. Instead, I got the "steak" wrap, which had lots of grilled onions and peppers, lettuce, and chipotle sauce. The seitan had a nice texture and "tasted like grill" according to my aunt. The sauce was slightly spicy and the onions and peppers provided a great sweetness. All of the wraps were served with some potato wedges (they're like a giant french fry!) and some coleslaw, which tasted like celery- just celery. The wrap itself was good, but next time I go I would love to try something else as well.

Both my aunt and dad got the falafel sandwich, which they liked but didn't think it was the best. However, this is probably because my dad is used to falafels from Old Jerusalem near his work, so this one was really different. Also, my dad and aunt both requested some extra tahini sauce since it wasn't served with very much a
nd, after trying a bite myself, I agree that the sauce was needed for some extra flavor. I loved it though, but then again, I've never tried a falafel before this so I don't have much to compare it to. My cousin just got the guacamole appetizer, served with tortilla chips, for her lunch since she is a tiny girl with a tiny stomach (well, sometimes). I'm assuming she liked it since she didn't complain at all.

Now, as soon as I walked into this place I KNEW I wanted dessert since the cakes and pies are displayed the second you enter. However, I was sooo full after lunch hat I had no room for any cake or pie! Oh no! But before I could even mention it, my dad told me I better go check out the display case to decide what I would bring home- yay :) I guess my dad knows my love of sweets all too well. I took Isabel with me as we inspected the desserts, and she even spotted some coconut cake she insisted on getting. As for myself, I couldn't decide if I wanted a slice of tiramisu cake, banana cake, raspberry cheesecake, sweet potato pie, chocolate silk pie, or lemon meringue pie! Taking this thought back with me to my seat, I began thinking about which option would give me the most satisfaction. I had no idea what to get! My mom asked me which ones looked good and, after I listed about everything they had to offer, she asked my dad if I could get a slice of cake and pie. He said: "Of course! When I told her to go pick somethings out, I meant two or three!" I cannot tell you how happy I was at that moment! I finally decided to get a slice of the tiramisu cake and lemon meringue pie to go and my cousin got a slice of coconut cake to take home as well. I'm sure her dad will be eating most of it, though!

Once I got home I unwrapped the desserts to check them out and take some pics:

Oh the pie- smooth, creamy lemon filling hidden under a cloud or light and airy "meringue" (okay, so it's more like whipped cream, but it's too good to complain!). Sure, I only had a bite after I took this picture just to taste it, but that bite was yummy! I know that whenever I do decide to eat it I will definitely be cutting this in half because it's one big slice. Or I could just find somebody to split it with me.....

Okay, so if that slice of pie was big, then this piece of tiramisu cake here is GINORMOUS. The pictures really don't show how truley large this cake is. After I cut it in half, my parents each had two large bites of it, and it still made me feel like I was in a sugar coma after eating just one of the halves! But oh man- this is decadent. The cake itself has a slight chocolate flavor, not as much as you would guess from looking at it, and the frosting has a really smooth, mellow coffee flavor. It really tastes like I remember tiramisu tasting; I haven't had it in years though. Either way, after my dad had a bite he said, "The food at Karyn's was you know, fine, but I would honestly go back just for the dessert!" Now that is impressive coming from my incredibly omnivorous dad!

So the real question is: is it better than the Chicago Diner? My answer: no. Now that does not mean that it is worse, I just have trouble comparing the two. Remember, I've only eaten at these two restaurants once, so take my reviews lightly. Karyn's atmosphere is very artsy, comfortable, but still classy. The service wasn't awful, but not very good either. Our lunch involved a lot of waiting and, by the time we wanted our check and desserts, we had to ask a waitress who wasn't even ours and never saw our waiter once we left. The food is obviously health food, but still delicious. I would say that the highlight of our meal was definitely the desserts, which did not at all taste healthy and were excellent. The Chicago Diner, on the other hand, has a really fun, friendly atmosphere that makes you just wanna sit back and talk as loud as you'd like. Both restaurants are very small, but the Chicago Diner is much smaller and crowded, which makes it cozy. The food is so yummy it tastes like it'd be awful for you, though I'm sure it's not, and it was so good I wanted to lick my plate. The menu is a little more varied and definitely has something for everybody, which I appreciate living in a family of omni's. Once again, the desserts were superb and very rich. So there you go, both places are excellent in their own ways; I know that my family would be a little more willing to eat a meal at the Diner as opposed to Karyn's, though would be okay with either and happy to grab dessert at both. Personally, I was very happy with both restaurants, and loved my meal at Karyn's not only for the restaurant itself, but for the thought behind it on my parent's part to try to do something special for me :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Basic Recipes

A post with no dessert! No, that doesn't mean I didn't have dessert today. I'm just posting some recipes I've made recently that are pretty basic, but delicious and excellent for a quick meal.

I made this the other night while my family was having leftovers from Xmas dinner. I love how quick this is, while still being super nutritious! I kinda made this up one night when I didn't have anything else to pack for my school lunch. I usually only have carrots and bell pepper on hand, but you can add any veggies that would work with this that you have on hand (I'm sure water chestnuts, snap peas, broccoli, and shiitake mushrooms would taste awesome).

Edamame Fried Rice:

1 c. uncooked brown rice

2 c. shelled frozen edamame (no need to thaw)
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 carrot, chopped fine
3 T. soy sauce
1 t. sesame oil
1/2 t. ginger

Cook rice according to package and fluff with a fork. Set aside. In a skillet, saute bell pepper, carrot, and garlic until soft. Add edamame and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the edamame begins to brown slightly. Add cooked rice and cook another 2 minutes. Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger in a small bowl. Pour over rice and edamame in skillet and stir to coat evenly. Serve hot and makes about 4 (large) servings.

I love love love black bean burgers! One day I really wanted to make some, but didn't have many ingredients on hand and didn't want to bother making rice or breadcrumbs to add to them, hence the birth of this recipe. I kinda just threw stuff together and it ended up being rally good. I love to add some sweet frozen (or fresh of course) corn to these after adding all the spices. If you wanna freeze these, I suggest making them thinner and crispier; I find those freeze the best. Just cook 'em in a saucepan or bake 'em, place on a lined cookie sheet, freeze overnight, and wrap in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.

Black Bean Burgers:

1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 small onion, diced
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 T. ketchup/tomato paste
1 t. dried cilantro
1 1/2 t. dried cumin
1 T. flax seeds

Saute onion and garlic until soft and slightly brown. Cool and set aside. In a large bowl, mash black beans but leave some whole beans for texture. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Form into 3 large burgers and 4 thinner ones. Cook in a slightly oil pan until crispy on outside, but soft inside. For a firmer burger, form very thin patties and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees (F), flipping halfway through.

'Tis the Season to be...Glutonous

First off, I hope everyone had a happy holiday filled with (as cheesy-or should I say noochy- as this sounds) good family, good friends, and good food!

Alright, I'm going to start with Xmas Eve and the day before that. My mom took me to Whole Foods to grab some last minute things for Xmas dinner, but I can never leave without grabbing something from the bakery section.

I'm very lucky in that my local Whole Foods carries desserts and baked goods from the Chicago Diner in the city. I usually grab either the Cookies and Cream Cake or the Chocolate Chip Cheesecake (those and the Carrot Cake are all that I've seen there), but as I saw the display of cookies and muffins, I knew I had to grab one instead! I got a peanut butter cookie (though it has some random spots of chocolate on it- weird....) and it was sooooooo good! Perfect texture and just enough peanut butter flavor. It's the kind of dessert you need with a glass of soymilk. I was only able to finish half of it, but that's ok. Now I got half stashed away for another time!

One of me and my mom's favorite holiday desserts is gingerbread cake with lemon sauce. I was thinking about the cupcakes in VCTOTW, but I just thought it wouldn't be right on Xmas Eve without the warm cake and gooey sauce, so I used the recipe from the Vegan Lunchbox blog. It was perfect. I had a recipe I used in my pregan days, but this one was almost identical except for the use of oil instead of butter and no eggs, plus this recipe came with an already vegan sauce recipe, so I just used it. It was just like I remember last year.

Onto the big day, now! Christmas for my family has absolutely no r
eligious meaning (as I explained earlier) but it is a celebration of being together and showing our appreciation for one another, so yes, we do all still get presents and set up the tree and everything. I actually got some GREAT gifts this year from "Santa" (this is the first year my little brother knows the sad). I got some CD's (Rise Against and 30 Seconds to Mars) that I had been wanting, some new converses, a Nightmare Before Xmas calender, Alba lotion and chap stick (all vegan), along with some other great stuff. However, two gifts were really special to me and very appropriate for this blog:

A panini press!! I have been making on my stove with a can of tomatoes weighing down a pan until now, but my daddy was very smart this year and bought me this. I'm soo happy and as soon as I opened it, my family began asking for paninis for lunch. Mine was one of my black bean burgers I had made and frozen the day before (more on that in my next post), some salsa, and Galaxy vegan mozzarella on whole wheat bread. Yum! I cannot wait to use this even more in the future and get some great pictures.

I also got...VEGANOMICON!!! I was shocked because I hadn't even mentioned to my mom that I wanted this. She must be psychic or something.....but I don't care! Well, actually she just knows that I love VWAV and VCTOTW, so as soon as she noticed that this was written by Isa and Terry, she grabbed it for me. By lunch time I had this thing bookmarked and written in and paper-clipped like crazy. I will definitely be using this very very very soon (by this weekend). When I went to my grandparents' house, my cousins from Wisconsin mailed my siblings and I our presents there, so we got to open them before dinner. Guess what I got from my cousins! Nope, you're all wrong!! I got another copy of Veganomicon! Hahaha. What are the odds, eh? That's fine, I'm just going to sell it online at Blue Rectangle for $10.64. Not quite the $27.50 I should be getting, but I can use it towards another cookbook.

Ok, onto the food. I'd say this year was a success food-wise, especially since this was my first vegan Xmas. I ended up making the Seitan Roast I planned, some green beans, maple-roasted potatoes and carrots, and Fatfree Vegan's Eggnog Cheesecake. Being the loser I am though, I only got pictures of the cheesecake :( I remember as I was removing the roast from the crockpot thinking "Take a picture, take a picture," but I somehow got distracted and the next thing I knew it was sliced up in bags in the freezer. It was so pretty, too
.......damn. And by the time dinner came at my Muma Sissy's house (my name for my mom's mom- when I was a baby I couldn't say "grandma" so I called her "Muma." Add on "Sissy" because that's what her brothers called her growing up and there you have it!), I was so hungry that I didn't even think to take a picture of my plate. Let me tell you, it was rather boring looking. I was counting on the green beans to brighten up my plate, but they were a little overcooked, so I had a big plate of blah-looking food. It was very delicious however, so I was happy. I did, however, get a kick-ass picture of this DELICIOUS cheesecake!! Notice how I just happened to position the cheesecake by the centerpiece in time for the picture? Hm.....

I followed the recipe ALMOST exactly (I rarely ever do). I just subbed the brandy or rum with about 1/2-1 t. rum extract. I also made a sort of last-resort crust, but honestly, it was the best crust I've ever made. I couldn't find any vegan graham crackers, so I used the Whole Foods brand of animal crackers that I crushed up, added some cinnamon, agave nectar, brown sugar, melted Earth Balance, and the tiniest bit of water and baked at 350 degress (F) for 10 minutes. While I was making the crust, I hated it with a passion because it did not want to get even along the sides, but it was so worth it. It was very crisp and crumbly, but still soft and complimented the filling's texture. Speaking of which, this cheesecake recipe is amazing. It has just the perfect eggnog-y flavor, a great texture, and is light and refreshing while still being creamy and decadent. I do suggest, however, making it the day before you plan on serving it. This really allows the flavors to blend together. This cheesecake was actually a huge hit with everyone. Half of it was eaten, which was more than the other four pies my grandma had combined! Granted, most people didn't eat dessert, but those who did loved my cheesecake and couldn't believe it was vegan! It made my Xmas just that much more special.

Well, that's all I have for now. I will post some more stuff tomorrow, along with some recipes of actual food, not just pure, yummy sugar.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

What is Wrong with People??

This make me sick beyond belief. I absolutely could not believe it as I read it and began to break down and cry. I never ever wish ill on others, but I can honestly say right now that I hope who ever killed this poor tiger suffers for it. I find this to be horrifying and it's another ones of those things where I cannot understand how a living being could be capable of doing this.

I do have photos but I absolutely cannot bring myself to post them today. Hopefully I'll get around to it tomorrow, but I am not concerning myself with that right now. I'm very sorry to bring you such depressing news right before the holidays and I do hope you have a good holidays-of-choice. Unfortunately, this is the truth in the world, so please just hope that these killers are brought to justice.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

(Almost) Winter Break!! :)

Okay- so it's officially in one more day, but i don't care. I can't wait for two nice, looooooooooooooong weeks of no school. Plus, it'll give me plenty of time to make some yummy food!
On another note, yes, I realize that I already ruined my "post-every-week" rule, but I was busy with a shitload of school work before break, so I have an excuse. However, last Saturday, I made some stuff and managed to actually get some photos, so here you go:

I saw this recipe on L.A. Kitchen for Roasted Tempeh with Creamy Dijon Sauce, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, and Sauteed Spinach (geez, that's a mouthful. Hahaha- silly pun...cause it's food and all.........that was bad). I didn't have any regular potatoes, so I used a sweet potato instead. It was good, but I think it would have been better with a plain white potato as the sweetness didn't really compliment the flavor of the spinach. But it did taste great with just the tempeh and sauce, so maybe I'll nix the spinach next time. Also, I didn't include horseradish because, after double-checking the ingredients of the jarred horseradish in my fridge which hasn't been used in months, I discovered that one of the ingredients is eggs. EGGS?!?!? I thought I must have grabbed the jar of the horseradish sauce instead, but nope, it was just regular horseradish. Does anybody else find this as odd as I do? Darn, I need new horseradish now......

I also made these brownies from Vivacious Vegan. These truly are GOOD. I didn't realize until I was eating these how long it has been, even before becoming a vegan, since I've had homemade brownies. It's probably been over two years!! How did this happen??? Thank goodness I made these as I don't think I could have gone much longer! I didn't add the nuts because I only had pecans and almonds, and anything other than walnuts doesn't seem right in brownies, but they were still awesome. The crackly top, the ooey-gooey melted chocolate chips..mmmmmm.... The brownies were slightly more cakey then I thought they'd be, but that may be my fault. I didn't have enough maple syrup so I just used sugar and added about 1/4 cup of extra soymilk, but the batter still seemed way to dry and playdoh-ish. So I added more soymilk until the batter was the "normal" consistency of brownie batter. This probably messed them up a bit, so I don't blame the recipe at all.

Here's my first home-made brownie in years right before it somehow got in my tummy (how on earth did that

Since I probably won't be posting again until after Xmas, I guess I'll share what I plan to make so far. Expect this to change within the next four days, though:
  • Either the Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake or Eggnog Cheesecake from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. I was leaning towards the pumpkin, but my family sort of over-ruled me and requested the eggnog cheesecake. I guess you'll just have to wait and see what I decide on!
  • This Crockpot Gluten Roast. I've never made seitan before, but I finally bought some vital wheat gluten last night, so I'm gonna try it! I figured this would be a good starter, since it's made in a crockpot and all. Also, I'm totally going to be obsessed with making big batches of EVERYTHING to freeze leftovers to stock up my freezer; it's my officially mission for the next two weeks. Seitan's good for freezing right? Hope so, cause I'll be freezing the leftovers for some good sammiches or stir fries (or just dinner when I'm lazy).
  • just some good ol' plain green beans. My grandma's making them with butter and toasted almond, but offered to take some out before adding them to the butter. Sure it'll be boring, but it's healthy and I like green beans.
  • maybe some cornbread muffins I made (and froze!) last week from the Chicago Diner cookbook I bought while I was there for my birthday in November. These were great and I even offered to bring some to my grandma's for everyone to have, but she said she already had way too much food. She felt bad to refuse, but I'm okay with it. I don't like that people think it's okay to have ridonculous (yes I meant to type that word) amounts of food laid out for everyone to attempt to eat when they no half of it will go uneaten, so I appreciate her decision. Besides- more for me to eat at home!
Well, I think that's all I have for now. I'll try to post as soon as possible with some great pics of the holidays!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's Officially the Holidays, I Guess....

Oh boy....I'm so not ready for the holidays...I guess it's probably because my school doesn't get out for winter break until 4 days before Xmas. It makes it kinda creep up on you. Besides, I never truly love the winter holidays. Maybe it's the stress of having so many people over, or just the fact that they have absolutely no religious meaning for me (being "agnostic" and all- I use that word loosely though because of its many different interpretations). The one and only holiday for me is and always will be HALLOWEEN! However, I do love the food that comes with this time of year.

Okay, enough of my lil rant. I know I promised you all some awesome dessert for tonight, so here it is! This is what I have been waiting to make for several weeks now:

Peppermint Soy Ice Cream!!!! After my mom bought some dairy peppermint ice cream, I knew I had to make this (since apparently no brands have made this....yet). I was kind of scared though, since my last attempt making ice cream (in my pregan days) was a COMPLETE disaster! But I'll go into that next time. For now, let me just forget about that and bask in my accomplishment!
I made it last night so it could firm up in the freezer, but let me tell you this stuff is awesome as soft-serve, too! My dad (the world's biggest omni) tried some, even though he knew it was non-dairy, and said he wanted more. I couldn't find an exact recipe for this online, but it was fairly easy to tweak using the Mint Chocolate Chip recipe from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise (can you tell I love this blog?). I also was unable to find arrowroot, so I just used cornstarch and changed the procedures a bit concerning that. So here's my adaptation:

2 c. plain soy creamer
1 1/4 c. plain or vanilla soymilk
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 t. peppermint extract
1/2 t. vanilla extract (omit if using vanilla soymilk)
about 5-7 drops of red coloring (optional but pretty)
1/4-1/2 c. crushed peppermint candies or candy canes (depends on how much crunch you like, I only used about 1/4 c.)

Mix 1/4 cup of soymilk with cornstarch and set aside.
In a saucepan, mix together the soy creamer, remaining soymilk and sugar. Bring to a boil and add cornstarch slurry. Boil for about 1 more minute. The mixture will start to thicken slightly, but not very much. This is okay! Remove it from the heat and stir in the extracts and rood coloring.
Let this cool, preferably in the fridge. I covered the top of this with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. I'm not just talking about covering the bowl that the liquid is in, press the plastic wrap onto the top of the mixture itself.
Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instruction. After churning, fold in crushed candies and freeze for several hours until solid (or eat now for soft-serve!). For me, this made about 2 pints (I think...)

This was so refreshing, even when it's 20 degrees out! I'll definitely be eating this throughout the holidays and maybe (probably) even throughout the rest of the winter....and spring....and summer....

Friday, December 7, 2007

Ah..... Leftovers, How I love Ye

Today didn't involve much actual cooking since I figured I better use up the many leftovers I have hiding out in basement fridge. However, it all still tasted great!

Yes, this is the Tofurkey leftover from Thanksgiving....I'm ashamed it's lasted so long, but I always seem to forget it's in my fridge. At least I remembered yesterday when I packed my lunch. Okay, so my friends think I'm insane for loving this, but everyone puts cranberry sauce on their Tofurkey sandwich right? Maybe their actually more disturbed by the Tofurkey part as opposed to the cranberries. I don't care though, this lunch still rocked as I absolutely love combining sweet and salty things. I tend to have either a carton of soy yogurt or one of those portable soymilk things everyday for lunch while I'm at school so, other than the sandwich, this is pretty standard.

These are actually just leftover from last night's dinner. I made stuffed shells using the Tofu Ricotta from VWAV (my love) and I was kind of nervous since I feel that, as a vegan, I need to go out of my way to impress people with the food that I make or else their idea of veganism will be tarnished forever. I tasted the "ricotta" before I stuffed the shells and expected it to taste kind of nasty since I figured it would get better once it cooked. As i tasted it I learned that I was SOOO wrong. That stuff is awesome, even when it's raw! I didn't tell anyone except my mom that it was made with tofu, so that my dad, brother, and sister would at least be willing to try it. Guess what? They all loved it! My dad went back for seconds and even said that he "actually quite likes it." Thanks go to Isa for another great (vegan) dinner that my family is looking forward to eating again!

Geez, I can't believe I'm posting without mentioning some sort of dessert, but all I had was a dark chocolate bar, so I'm not sure if that's too blog worthy. However, if all goes well, I'll have a sweet surprise for you all tomorrow! Guess we'll just have to see how it turns out.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Oh, how I love fall! Too bad it's winter here according to the weather... :( Oh well, I guess I'm ready for it. Today was sort of an unofficial "X-Mas" celebration for my family. You see, my Dad's side always has a big brunch about three weeks before Christmas, since we're usually not all together for the actual day. It's really fun, actually; my grandma takes pictures of each of family (for example, my Mom, Dad, brother, sister and I take one picture and all of my cousins take a picture with their parents) and then we get presents! Usually I don't want much around the holidays so my parents just kind of guess what I want, so I'm never super excited. This year I made my first X-Mas list and I was anxious all week! I got sooo many great gifts! Some that really stuck out were: a new winter coat (I kinda needed it...), some adorable mini-cake pans in the shape of ladybugs and butterflies, my own silicone rolling pin, and biscuit-cutters! I'm gonna have to do some serous baking these next couple weeks!

Anyways, onto the food!

Made some yummy pancakes this morning! These with a nice glass of vanilla soymilk and an apple make an AWESOME breakfast! I love to do this on weekends since, because of school, my breakfasts tend to be toast or cream of wheat/oatmeal. I sometimes like to make a normal-sized batch and freeze the leftovers, but I was in a hurry this morning, so i just used my regular recipe. I just mix 1/4 cup of flour (can be whole what, all-purpose, or a mix), 1/4 t. each of baking soda and powder, pinch of salt, 1 t. sugar, 1/4 t. vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of soymilk. I usually use whole what and add some cinnamon, but I just stuck with all-purpose this morning since I figured they'd be fluffier. As you can see, it didn't work- gr.... They were pretty tough and dense, so I guess I'm sticking with wholewheat flour from now on.

Lunch was nothing special today, but I made this delicious soup you see above for dinner. It's a vegan take on my Mom's sausage soup that she would always make on a cool night when I was a kid. I used some seitan in place of the sausage, added some carrot, celery, corn, water, tomato sauce, and spices. When there's only about 20 minutes left of cooking, I added some rice so it can cook in all of the yummy broth. Sorry, but I was so hungry I ate about half of the bowl before bothering to get my camera. This tastes delicious with some "buttered" bread or biscuits, but all I had was a piece of sourdough (not that I'm complaining.)

And finally, the dessert I had been looking forward to all day:

Pumpkin cake with caramel sauce!!! YUM. I absolutely love anything related to a squash/sweet potato, so I was excited to make this! Now, let me begin by saying that I almost never, EVER bake from a box, however, my mom found an all natural pumpkin cake mix at a local market as was so excited to buy it for me after seeing that it was vegan. I'm so glad she did, though. This cake was easy, delicious and moist. All I had to do was add a 15 oz. can of pumpkin and two egg replacers (I also added 1 T. of oil to make up for the fat that two eggs would have provided.) I served this with the caramel sauce from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise, which is SOOO good! Thankfully, about half of the cake and sauce was leftover, so I'll be having this again soon.

One last picture to leave you with (the money shot):

Saturday, December 1, 2007


I've been wanting to start a blog for a couple months now and, after becoming a vegan over two months ago, I finally have become a blogger! I'm a freshman in high school and became a vegetarian about 2 1/2 years ago. I know, the transition was kinda fast, but I'm so happy as a vegan and have never felt better!

I'm a total "foodie." I love to cook for myself, as well as my family (I usually cook dinner for them once a week) and I absolutely LOVE baking! I guess it all started when I was little and made my first batch of peppermint brownies, but who cares. Oh, and I can't forget the fact that I love to eat. Despite all this, I'm still obsessed with eating healthfully, with the exception of dessert which I MUST have every single night. But hey, dessert makes you happy, which must be good for you!

I tend to not follow recipes exactly, which often results in a completely different dish altogether and that's how a lot of my meals come together. My goal for this blog is to post at least once a week, but will probably post more often than that. I hope you all will enjoy this as much as I will!