Vegan Sushi (say what?)

Yes.  Vegan sushi!  I don’t know about you, but sushi is one of the tastes that I miss the most since going vegan.  I used to have a “fudge day” once and a while and have it, but we discovered that Nick’s digestion and energy were affected in a negative way fairly immediately post consumption, and this curtailed “fudge day!”  Apparently I lucked out have, quite literally, the digestion of a goat as I never suffered any negative after effects. 

Veggie sushi already exists, but Nick isn’t a big fan of it.  I had a veggie tempura roll one time and I thought it was pretty good, but he doesn’t like “fried stuff” so shunned that, too.  Man, I was just outta luck on the sushi front!  After feeling bummed for just a bit, I got inspired!  I rolled up my sleeves and put my “can-do” attitude to work!

May I present to you Vegan Sushi.  That doesn’t suck!  🙂

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It has sweet potato oven fried tempura, tofu, carrots, avocado, and cucumber.  You could add sprouts or lettuces, too.

Now, if this is something you are interested it, a word to the wise.  Making sushi takes time and effort.  I am by no means an expert at this–in fact, I’d say my sushi abilities are crude at best.  But, it is a fun meal to make, and a fun meal to eat, and I’ve improved over time.  First, let’s start with the sushi rice.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Sushi Rice (needs to be Sushi Rice!)

1/2 Cup Water

1/4 Rice Vinegar

1/2 Tbs Vegetable Oil

2 Tbs White Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt

Directions:

Rinse your rice!  Yes, you must rinse it in a strainer of some kind until the water runs clear.  I like to put the rice in a large bowl and rinse it this way.  I *think* this gets some of the extra sticky starch off.  Like I said, I’m no expert here.  I’m just going by what I’ve read and messed around with.  Once rice is clean(?), put in a pot with the water, cover and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat, leave covered, and let cook until water is all absorbed; about 20 minutes or so. 

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While rice is cooking, prepare the stuff that actually makes all sushi-rice-yummy.  In a small sauce pan, put vinegar, oil, sugar, and salt.  Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Once the sushi rice is done, pour this liquid over it and mix until totally incorporated.  Don’t worry, the rice will hold it’s shape as the liquid gets absorbed in.  The rice shouldn’t turn into a sloppy, glop on you.

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Okay.  So there you go.  Phew!  Step one of sushi done!  Let the rice just cool, uncovered, and move on to making your sweet potato oven fried tempura! 

Ingredients:

1 Medium Sized Sweet Potato, Peeled & Sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips

1/4 Cup Plain Almond Milk

4-5 TBS White Flour

1/4 – 1/3 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

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Directions:

Roll the sweet potato strips in the flour, then milk, then coat with the panko bread crumbs.  Place on a well oiled tin foil sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Set aside for use in the vegan sushi.

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My little panko potato minions of goodness before they went into the oven!

….Okay.  You all still with me here?  Alright.  Now we are really getting somewhere!  We got the rice, we got one of the main fillings, well, now what?  Time to assemble your sushi station!

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To make the sushi, you will need:

3-4 Sheets of Nori Seaweed Paper

Prepped Sushi Rice

Prepped Sweet Potato Tempura

1/2 Package Savory Kind Tofu (optional)

1 Avocado

1/2 Cucumber, Peeled & Seeded

1 Carrot, Peeled

Directions:

Cut the tofu, avocado, carrot, and cucumber into nice thin slices.  You can use a kitchen towel, a sushi roller, or even a place mat to help you roll up your sushi.  For the purposes of this recipe, I’m going to pretend that you all have a sushi roller/mat thingy, okay?  So, place a sheet of seran wrap covering the entire surface area of your sushi mat.  Lay a piece of nori seaweed paper on it, then cover it with your sushi rice, making sure to really press the rice down, smoothly and evenly. 

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Next, start layering on your goodies!

 

 

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Next, take the edge of your seaweed paper and start to roll the whole thing up, nice and tight!  You want to be firm, but not so much that you squish the guts out of your roll.  😉

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Then, slice and serve!  Trick for you guys–use a really, really sharp knife.  And don’t press down too hard as you cut the roll.  Also?  Try not to handle them too much.  This is the stage where mine usually sort of fall apart a bit.  I was amazed that I got any good photos!

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Serve with wasabi & soy sauce. 

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See what I mean?  It isn’t the most elegant looking sushi ever, but with time and practice I think I can get better at this!  Keep in mind that this recipe will yield enough rice and fillings for 3-4 large rolls, which is more than enough for two people.  If you are cooking for more, double the recipe.  Side note:  the sweet potato oven fried tempura were so dang good all on their own!  They’d make a great side for sandwiches or sloppy joes or the like.

I hope you all give it a try and let me know how you make out.  It is a bit of a labor of love for this recipe, but I think that it cures the sushi cravings pretty nicely.  🙂  Cheers and here’s to vegan sushi!

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Sweet Potato Stuffed Spud

Hi guys!  Guess who is getting her fall on?  Yep.  That’d be me!  Who is going to be SO sick of autumn inspired foods come spring?  Yep!  That’d be me!  I invite you all to join me in OD-ing on festive, healthy, fall inspired food with this idea I’ve been kicking around for a few days now.

So you know how you can have a stuffed spud with sour cream, chives, bacon, etc. etc.?  Well, I was wondering, what if you did a sweet potato that was stuffed with stuff?  And what if it was more of a hearty, healthy meal?  I’m on a real sweet + savory kick right now and I thought the spud idea could be included in this flavor pairing!  Plus, I’m kinda in love with cooking dinner in one pot these days.  So, three birds, one stone!  Winning! 😉

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Introducing the Sweet Potato Stuffed Spud!  Get your taste buds ready.

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Ingredients:

1/2 Peeled and Chopped Apple (Preferable something firm, tart, and tangy, like a Granny Smith, Fuji, or Braeburn)

1/4 – 1/3 Cup Peeled and Chopped Squash (like butternut or acorn–I used delicata, the trendy squash these days! Chop into bits about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch)

2 Cloves Minced Garlic

1 Small Shallot, Minced

2 TBS Olive Oil (or oil your choice + a little extra for rubbing on potatoes)

1 Cup Cooked Lentils (I like to cheat, bad Jess! and use the pre-made ones from Trader Joes)

1/8 Cup Dried Cranberries and Raisins

1/2 Cup Veggie Stock

1/2 TBS Molasses

1/2 TBS Maple Syrup

1/2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 tsp Oregano & Dried Sage

Dash Nutmeg

1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 Large Sweet Potatoes or Yams, Washed Well & Dried

Optional:  Chopped walnuts/pecans

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Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rub your washed potatoes with oil until nicely coated.  Place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.  Pop in oven.  Depending on size, they will take upwards of an hour.  You can cut that time down if you want and up the temperature in the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large pot, drizzle olive oil and saute the shallot and garlic for about two minutes.  Add your chopped squash, a little salt and pepper, and cook over medium low heat until squash starts to soften; about five minutes.  Add veggie stock, molasses, vinegar, maple syrup, and spices.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in the lentils, cranberries, and raisin, and let come to a boil.  Lastly, add your apple, stir, and cover.  Turn heat down to a low simmer and let cook until apples and squash are soft, about twenty minutes.

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Sweet potatoes will be done when easily pierce through by a knife.

To plate, cut the sweet potato in half, then stuff with the lentil/apple/squash.  Top with nuts (walnuts are awesome!) and serve with a side salad.  Makes 2 totally stuffed sweet ‘taters!  Enjoy!

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Let me tell you, this meal was indeed the perfect blend of sweet and savory.  The sweet potato was creamy and when paired with the filling, became rich and took on an almost buttery quality.  All that was left were the empty skins.  The raisins and cranberries just added a happy, sweet note and balanced out the shallot/garlic combo.  Nick was skeptical about it, but tore into his dinner in rapid order, and was even vocal about how much he liked it!  All in all, I’m stuffed. 😉

Happy autumn eating y’all!

Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie

Happy Saturday, Everyone!  I hope you all are getting into something fun, relaxing, and generative!

Since autumn has starting showing up all around (though not in the weather today–it is hot and sunny! Poor us, I know!) I have been inspired to make hearty, warming dishes.  When I was a kid, my mom used to make Shepherd’s Pie and since going vegan, it has been something I have tried to recreate.  But, as you other vegans already know, it can get tricky replicating “meat” in a believable and satisfying way. ‘Course, I’m still new to this vegan thing and I know I have lots to learn!

Anyway, I’m very pleased with this recipe–pleased enough to share with you all. 🙂

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May I present for your eating pleasure, Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie!  When my mom made it, she would have the meat gravy under the mashed potatoes, then bake it.  I did not have the patience to do this last night, but I’m sure you could make it that way and bake it–or freeze and bake later when in a pinch for dinner.  This recipe is comprised of two parts–the gravy and the mashed potatoes.  The amounts of each ingredient are flexible, depending on your own person tastes, and I encourage you to play with it to get it just right.  Also, note that this made two large servings, so double the recipe if you want leftovers or have a family.

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Hearty “Meaty” Gravy

1-2 Tbs Olive Oil

1/2 Onion, Diced

3 Cloves Garlic

1/2 Cup Sliced Mushrooms (I like using crimini, but you could use whatever you have handy)

1/2 Package Lentils (I like these–a helpful little cheat when pressed for time!)

1/4 Walnuts

1 tsp Ground Sage

1 tsp Thyme

Small dash of Allspice

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 Cup Veggie Stock

1/4 – 1/2 Cup Beer (Yes, beer!  I used an IPA, but a porter, stout, or even just plain old Bud would work.  Beer has gluten, but I’m sure you could use gluten-free beer and make the dish gluten-free, too.)

Several Ladles of the potato starch water, as needed.  The principle here is the same when cooking pasta and you want a creamier sauce so you add a little bit of the pasta water into your sauce.

Directions:

Sautee the onions in the olive oil in a large pot.  Add some salt and pepper.  When onions are mostly translucent, add minced garlic.  Sautee for a minute more, then add sliced mushrooms.  Sautee and stir until the mushrooms start to wilt and release their juices.  Then add in the lentils, walnuts, seasonings, and liquids.  Cover and simmer for as long as you want.

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While this is going you can also have your mashed potatoes getting ready, too!

Vegan Mashed Potatoes (Easy-Peasey!)

3-4 Peeled Russet Potatoes, Chopped into roughly 2 inch x 2 inch hunks.

Unsweetened Almond Milk (or veggie stock, or other nondairy milk)

2-3 Tbs Earth Balance

Salt & Pepper (to taste.)

Directions:

In a large pot place chopped potatoes.  Cover in water plus extra for use in above recipe.  Place lid on pot, and boil until potatoes are soft when pierced through the center with a fork or knife.

Drain off water, add in earth balance, salt, pepper, and milk (add gradually until you get the right consistency) as you rough mash with a handheld mixer.  Once you feel you have enough liquid, turn on mixer to whip up the potatoes.

Then, you put the whole thing together!

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Enjoy!  It is a pretty easy meal to make. I always serve with steamed green beans as my mom used to put green beans in between the layer of gravy and potato.  You can also serve with peas if you are feeling a bit more English pub-fancy.  🙂

And in other news, I got my first non-family/friend backer on Kickstarter!  I’m stoked!  I changed a few things, such as my photo (too serious!) and addressed the most important features/benefits by putting them first and foremost.  It’s like selling real estate, y’all.  😉  Hope my new approach works!  Keep my project in your thoughts, guys!  It’s all about building that energy that attracts the right people.  🙂

Anyway, peace out.  I have to go clean bathrooms.  Have a super fun day and let me know if you try this recipe out!  I hope you do!  But not while cleaning bathrooms.  That would be unsanitary.

Friday? Heck Yes. Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions? Heck YES.

Everyone.  I have a most excellent recipe I’d like to share with you all to celebrate the weekly return of Friday and help usher in a fall-tastic weekend!

First, let me explain a bit about what inspired this recipe.

1. I wanted something yummy, vegan, and different to share on here!

2.  I wanted to experiment with the savory + sweet flavor combo.

3.  I wanted to create something fun and fall-tastic that could be a Thanksgiving side-dish contender.

Let me say, I achieved all these objectives.  Initially, my idea was to use butternut squash in place of the sweet potatoes.  But….when I went to grab my butternut squash….well, let’s just say it was long past the point of being edible.  Bummer.  But I was still tasting for this savory + sweet combo and grabbed my new bag of sweet potatoes and rocked it out.

Have you ever caramelized onions?  I haven’t.  But it sounded like a great start to the savory aspect to this dish.  For all of you out there that are like me and haven’t caramelized onions let me tell you this:  it. is. easy.  For this recipe I wanted to layer in the flavors, so I used coconut oil to saute the onions, and added a bit of maple syrup (instead of sugar) to get them nice and caramel-y.

Step One:  Slide/dice/chop up 1/2 an onion.

Step Two: Saute up in a pan with a Tablespoon or more coconut oil (you could use olive oil, too).

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Step Three:  Add a Tablespoon maple syrup, a dash of salt and some pepper.

Step Four:  Saute up over medium heat until the onions are soft and browned all over.

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I left my onions just a wee bit un-browned because I had big plans for them!  They were going to be a main highlight in my sweet potato dish!

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Sweet & Savory Sweet Potatoes w/ Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

4 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped into bite sized chunks

Caramelized Onions

1 TBS additional coconut oil

1 TBS additional maple syrup

Dash of nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground sage

salt & pepper

Instructions:

Put all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Toss to coat the sweet potatoes.  Place sweet potatoes in a tinfoil lined Pyrex and place in the oven.

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Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes (or until the sweet potato is soft and browned).  Toss at 15 minutes for optimal, even browning.

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I couldn’t stop eating this as evidenced by the slightly blurry photo here, that I stopped to take between mouthfuls of sweet potato bliss.  Between the caramelized onions and the baking sweet potatoes, the house smelled incredible.  Keep in mind that the amounts in this recipe are flexible and can be tailored based on your own personal tastes.  This recipe is pretty easy to make and I could see the leftovers being pureed up and turned into a savory tart filling.  ….That is, IF there are leftovers! 😉

Have a fabulous, fall-riffic Friday!  Try this recipe out and let me know if you are as delighted by the savory + sweet as I am!

Vegan Almond Joy Recipe Review + General Me Stuff

Hi guys!

Have you ever just had one of those moments where you are so grateful to just be alive?  Where the colors seem more vibrant, the sun feels like it’s hugging you, and you really feel connected to everything?  Sounds strange, but I had one of those moments today.  Everything was calm, beautiful, pure, and I was…present.  Not thinking about Kickstarter, or the business, or who I might need to get in touch with for a project; not thinking about my dog, or the piece of mail I forgot to send; no.  No thoughts. And no, I wasn’t on anything, either.  🙂

It was pretty awesome.  I’m honestly not even sure what triggered it–I guess I just got out of my car to have lunch with my dad today and was in that state of mind.  Anyway, lunch with dad was fun, and insightful, as per usual.  I was explaining to him that I struggle to be a hardass with our clients.  My preference is to be fair with everyone, and not see them from the place of, “What can I take you for?  What can I get out of you?” and rather, “What can I contribute here?  What can we create, together?”  I don’t like having to manipulate or play politics. I don’t like negotiations and I don’t like having to “sell” people on a design.  The longer I do this job, the more I realize everyone wants to play designer, but rarely anyone has taste, and because it’s all so subjective, people think their 2 cents matter when it really shouldn’t.  It just shouldn’t.  Trust the people you hire to deliver.  End rant.

My dad’s thoughts? “Well, that’s business.”

I’m seriously beginning to wonder if this business stuff is for me.  I feel I can’t trust anyone; that they are just working me (us) and I fall right into their trap. Every. Time.  Then I just get pissed off that we got taken advantage of, or could have negotiated a better price for our work.  I get anxious many times during the day when I have to “deal” with a client, over something simple.  I’m really beginning to think I really just suck at business and this has shaken my confidence to the core.  I can’t even make a simple email happen without considerable thought now.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer.  I just wish it were easier!  And that, to have the success I’d like to have, I don’t have to morph into a sneaky, raging a-hole.

Okay.  ….phew.  That’s a lot.  Let’s move on, shall we?

RECIPE TIME!  YES.  Best. Part. of. the. Day!

http://realfoodrealdeals.com/2013/09/21/almond-joy-truffles/

Found this totally yummy recipe for Vegan Almond Joy Truffles on a sweet little site called “Real Food.  Real Deals.” and I said, “Hell yeah, I wanna make THAT!”  So I did.  Photo!

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I give this recipe a solid 8.5 out of 10. (*note: reasons for point deductions have been clarified and the directions were not unclear.  I’m just an idiot, apparently. lol)

What I loved:

1.  5 ingredients.  (Winning!)

2.  Healthy ingredients.  (Woot.)

3.  Quick & Easy to make.  (Heck yeah.)

4.  Tasted great.  (Oh yeah, you know it!)

Why I deducted 1.5 points:

1.  Unclear directions.  Is the chocolate supposed to be melted?  The recipe doesn’t say.  I thought that for the sake of it be a truffle, the chocolate should be melted.  It’s only logical, right?  These kinds of things need to be clear for the idiots, like me.  I really dislike having to guess and potentially waste food.  If I had just added in the chocolate chips, not melted, it wouldn’t have turned out.  So, I’m sorry, but this whole chocolate issue cost ya one whole point, just for the stress on me and having to think.  I don’t want to have to think about a simple recipe.  No.  Do I LOOK like I want to think?  (If you could see my face, the clear answer would be, “No, you don’t want to think, Jessica.”)

*Update* So, you can just leave the chocolate unmelted.  The recipe is clear enough–I guess it just didn’t make sense in my little brain.  Hope you can forgive me, Real Deals Real Food!

2.  1/2 point was lost because these didn’t have the full, wow you in the mouth taste of a traditional, non-vegan almond joy.  They were good, don’t get me wrong!  And I fully suggest you all go out and make these!  Just be aware.  If you are thinking they are going to just like almond joys, don’t be fooled.  They are almond joy inspired.  But, that’s good enough for me!  I was just expecting it to be a little more similar to one of my favorite candies of all time.

3.  Last but not least, a little note.  I added just a touch of vanilla extract and a touch of almond extract.  It seemed like it was needed.  You don’t have to add it, and I don’t think it really made a difference in the price of rice in China, but it is something to consider if you agree with me on this point of view, which is: “If you are baking something, it should probably have vanilla in it, somehow.”

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These would make great little tea party treats or even dessert appetizers.  Um, I don’t know about this last photo.  Seemed like a good idea at the time!

Anyway, they are a nice little treat and I may have been to hard on ’em, so please know, I do give them a solid two thumbs up–make ’em.  They are pretty delightful–just make sure you melt your chocolate. 😉

Note:  Or don’t melt the chocolate.  🙂  As the original recipe intended.  But if you DO melt the chocolate, they come out dang tasty!

A Long-y but a Good-y

Guys.  Today’s post might get a little long.  I have two recipe reviews to share, a strange encounter (of the human kind), and other general ramblings and musings.

I’m going to jump right in with the recipe reviews!  Yay!

First Recipe Review:  Walnut Date Cookies

So, first up is a quick and easy walnut date cookie recipe that Poppy’s Patisserie shared yesterday.  I just about fell out of my chair when I saw it because I was craving something sweet, healthy-ish, and quick to make.  (Yay for instant gratification!)  The second I saw this recipe, I literally ran upstairs to the kitchen (from the office downstairs where I’ve been kickstarter campaigning) and made them.  YES.  Cookies fo’ life!

Here’s the link to Poppy’s post:

http://bunnykitchen.com/2013/09/23/fast-and-delicious-cookies/

And here’s the link to the original that includes the recipe for these tasty cookies:

http://kineticheart.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/fast-and-delicious-cookies/

Okay.  I *think* that takes care of any moral/ethical/legal issues with sharing & reviewing, right?  (If not, please let me know and I’ll fix it straight away, okay?)

Now for the photo!

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I’m going to give this recipe overall a solid 9.5 out of 10.  Extra points were awarded (in my opinion) for:

1.  The lack of white sugar & flour in the ingredient list (gluten-free, haaaay!)

2.  Ease to make (throw in a Quisenart, then bake).

3.  Limited ingredient list (that you are most likely to have in your pantry).

4.  Smelled GREAT while baking.

5.  Tasted GREAT while EATING.  Which, if you ask me, is THE most important little detail.  😉

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Chewy & melt-y are great qualities in a cookie, if you ask me!

Notes:  Now, I didn’t use medjool dates as the stores around here have been oddly OUT of them, so I’m not sure what kind I used.  I deducted 1/2 a point because the cookies were just a tad on the oily side and they could have been a little teensy tiny bit sweeter (my sweet tooth, I guess, is less of a tooth and more sized like a Mammoth tusk? ha!) but I’m think that perhaps the right kind of dates would make a difference here.  The only change I made was in the use of the chocolate chips.  The original recipe featured one lovely, large, chocolate chip, placed front and center on the cookies and I used a few small ones, just sprinkled on top.

I’m excited to use this recipe formula to make other nut + date cookie combos.  Next on my list will be to try this is almonds, as the original recipe creator, Kineticheart made mention of this in their post.

Overall, two thumbs up–great recipe, please try it!

Second Recipe Review – Buffalo Chickpea Mac ‘n’ Cheese

This recipe from a vegan blog I only just discovered called Vegan Yack Attack for Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Mac ‘n’ Cheese.  If you guessed that I discovered this recipe whilst trolling for something to make for dinner, you would be CORRECT!  Now, I’m going to tell you all that since going vegan, there have been a number of flavors/tastes I have been missing.  A good Mac N’ Cheese and buffalo sauced anything are on that list.  When I came across this recipe, it was like a little light went off; the angles trumpeted and the skies parted!  When I read the ingredient list I realized that this was something I could totally make, too!Here is the link to the original post:

http://veganyackattack.com/2013/09/19/buffalo-chickpea-mac-n-cheese/

I am going to tell you that I did make some modifications to this recipe.

1.  I made my own buffalo sauce as I didn’t have any.  Vegans beware, but the majority of buffalo sauce recipes I found had butter in them!  I never knew!

2.  I made my ranch recipe because it is easier and I can’t tell the difference between it and the non-vegan kind.

3.  I didn’t have any salad fixin’s (I had to hit the store and my fridge was running low!) so I made it without the lettuce.

4.  I used Daiya cheese shreds instead of “Cheddar Teese”.

PHOTO:

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I’m going to give this recipe a solid 9.5 out of 10.  I awarded it points for:

1.  Quick and easy to make.

2.  Even though my pantry and fridge was near empty, I had these ingredients, including the stuff to make the buffalo sauce!  Yay!

3.  Exciting and amazing flavor profile.  My taste buds were thrilled!

4.  Satisfying.  Totally satisfying.  The mac ‘n’ cheese was creamy and didn’t taste “vegan.”

5.  Felt great after eating this–if I had eaten a non-vegan version, I would have been lethargic and my tummy would have hurt.  No negative side effects after eating this, however!

I did deduct a half point here because it isn’t the healthiest thing in the world.  But honestly, if you can’t enjoy the food you eat, then what’s the point of cooking?  I especially loved the buffalo flavored roasted chickpeas with the hint of ranch on them.  They were crunchy and spicy and on their own would make a great snack. It is nice to be able to mix it up once in a while and make something that is a wee bit sinful, but still vegan!  Hey, I made cauliflower and broccoli to go with it, so that counts for something good, right?  😉  (Just ignore the vegan ranch I put on top of it!)

Overall, total recipe success on this one!  It is crave-worthy.  I’ll be making this again, soon!!

Notes:  Here is my vegan buffalo sauce recipe!

3 Tbs Vegan Butter

1/2 Cup Hot Sauce (I used Rooster Sauce aka Sriracha)

1/4 tsp Salt (taste to see if it needs)

1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 tsp White Vinegar

Several shakes of onion powder and garlic powder

If you like it SPICY you can add chili powder, but I felt it didn’t need any more spice, so I left it out.

Directions:  Melt vegan butter together with rest of ingredients.  Apply lavishly over anything that needs it.  🙂

Human Encounter Story

Okay,  I *think* I may have already mentioned this, but I basically needed to go to the store, because if you haven’t caught on, I was dang near out of everything! lol

While at Trader Joe’s, a woman who I’ve never seen or met before leans over to me and says, “That’s a pretty skirt!”  I say, “Thank you!” and proceed to reach for some Medjool dates, and say, “Oh my gosh, they finally have these back!”  She looks at the dates, then says, “What ARE those?  I mean, no one likes how those things look, they are so strange.”  I proceed to tell her that I use them in baking, often times as a sugar replacement.  She looks puzzled, then starts to tell me that what she really needs is some really nice, ripe fruit.  Her man loves fruit and all he has at home is a can of peaches.  But the prices at Trader Joe’s were too expensive, she says.  I say, “Well, the strawberries look good…” She then starts to wanders off to go see, and I say encouragingly, “Well, good luck finding great fruit for your guy!”  She then looks over the row of grapefruit and says to me, “Do you know that Jesus loves you?” I say, without skipping a beat, “Yes, I do!  Thank you! Do you know he loves you?”  She says, “Yes, I know he does!  I feel it every day.”  I reply, “Good, I’m so glad!”  Only then do I notice she has crosses on her earrings.  She smiled, wandered on, and so did I, pursuing avocados.

I’m not religious.  At. All.  I’m not eve sure where my words came from.  They flowed, naturally, and I didn’t even think about it.  Honestly, I’m not sure what I find more surprising, her random shout out to Jesus, or my response.  I found the encounter to be so odd I had to share on here.

I really enjoyed doing the recipe reviews as I struggle to sometimes to create new recipes on my own.  So, I think this might become a standard part of the blog!  I have my eye on making some vegan Almond Joy truffles… I can feel my Mammoth tush sized sweet tooth getting activated!  🙂

Pumpkin Spice Cookies + General Cheer!

Happy Fall, y’all! 

Today is the first official day of fall!  To celebrate and make sure I start the season right, I made some very tasty, fall inspired cookies!

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I also busted out my brand new pumpkin body lotion and fall-smelling candles to boot!  So now my house smells like a pumpkin and I do, too!  But back to the important stuff:  COOOOOOKIES!!!

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cookies (me want it.)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 Heaping tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg

1/4 tsp. Allspice

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (Lightly packed)

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Softened Earth Balance Baking Sticks

1 Cup Pumpkin

1 Ener-g Egg Replacer

1/2 Tbs. Vanilla

2 Tbs. Maple Syrup

 

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Uh-huh-uh-huh-uh-huh!  Flavor profile Pumpkin Bomb ‘Splosion! 🙂

Directions:

1.  Combine your dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 

2.  In a larger bowl, cream your “butter”.

3.  Beat in the sugars, ener-g, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Cream until light and fluffy.

4.  Add the pumpkin to your sugar/butter mix and combine.

5.  Slowly add your reserved dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, mixing until nicely combined.

6.  Using a spoon or small scoop, drop the cookie dough onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

7.  Bake for about 10 minutes (check the bottoms for done-ness).  If you made larger cookies than me, they will obviously take longer.  I’m trusting you all to know when the cookies are done.  🙂

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Notes:  These cookies taste very pumpkin-y and make your house smell AAAHHH-MAAAAAY-ZING!  They are better once they have cooled 100%, and it will be hard to wait!  You could easily roll them in a little cinnamon sugar before baking.  To me, it seemed like they needed a little….something.  The naked cookies were yummy, but they needed GLAZE.  Yes.  When in doubt add more sugar, right?  …right.  😉

Glaze (these amounts are approximate; I suggest futzing with the ratios to get the taste right for your taste buds)

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Almond Milk (or alternative milk option of your choice; doesn’t need to be vanilla either, it’s just what I had handy)

1 tsp Maple Syrup

8-10 Drops of Lemon Juice (this helps make it a bit less shockingly sweet)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Stir together until smooth.  Drizzle over cookies.

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These cookies will certainly help perk up a ho-hum day and fill your house with some fun, autumnal cheer!  They are pretty easy to make, too.  Nick said that these cookies would be good with raisins in ’em.  …I guess I could see that.  Me?  I just want to eat them!

I’m going to bring some with me tonight because we are headed to Santa Barbara to go see Son of Doo-doo and Heather!  Yay for game night!

Next order of business: Kickstarter!  I got my 7th backer today!  Huzzah!  Thank you to all my backers and to all of you who are helping to spread the word.  I am so grateful.  🙂  Keep up the good work and I might share some pumpkin cookies with you!

Oh, wait, you missed the Kickstarter link?  Here it is again!

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