Thursday, May 20, 2010

Orange Cranberry Muffins

This afternoon my roommate and I were sitting on the couch browsing through cookbooks and foodie magazines. Whenever I do this I get an incredible urge to bake something. However, I was having trouble finding a recipe that I already had all the ingredients for. In the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook I found a recipe for Lemon Cranberry Muffins. At first I was disappointed, because I didn't have any lemons. But just as I was about the flip the page, I realized what I did have was oranges. So, here is my slight variation on some delicious, vegan muffins.

Orange Cranberry Muffins:
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting muffin tops
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400. Line a muffin tin or spray muffin tin with nonstick baking spray (recipes makes 12 muffins). Place cranberries and water in a small saucepan and heat until simmering. Simmer for three minutes, then turn off the heat. Let them stand until ready to use. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cornstarch, and zest. In a separate bowl combine the almond milk, orange juice, canola oil, and the vanilla. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry until almost combined. Strain the cranberries and then fold into the matter, mix until just combined. Fill muffin tins with batter. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool and eat!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Best Green Beans

I know that green beans aren't the most exciting vegetable. I don't know what it says about me, but green beans are in my top five favorite vegetables. This recipe is so simple it's hardly even a recipe, but because it's one of my favorites, I had to share it with you.

The Best Green Beans:
  • 1 pound green beans, rinsed and the ends snapped off
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh herbs of your choice, minced (I used rosemary and parsley)
Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring to a boil. Drop in the green beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until tender. Once tender, strain the green beans and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cooled, in a medium saute pan, heat the oil. Put in the green beans and garlic. Saute for five minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Serve with a side of whole wheat couscous. Enjoy a light and satisfying lunch!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ginger Sandwich Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting

I received the inspiration for these cookies while munching on some Newman's Own Ginger O's. They're kind of like oreos, except ginger and organic. Pretty amazing. So I thought I'd go ahead and make a homemade, vegan version (The Newman's Own Ginger O's are vegan). While searching on the internet for ginger cookie recipes I found a great candidate for veganization, a Paula Deen recipe. So, here we go.

Ginger Cookies:
  • 3/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • Equivalent 1 egg Ener-G Egg Replacer
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer at low speed, cream the margarine and sugar. Add the Egg Replacer and molasses and beat until incorporated. Sift together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredient into the wet. Mix until incorporated. Roll the dough into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Roll the balls in the extra sugar. Place 1/2 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Flatten the balls slightly with your finger tips. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 4 oz. vegan cream cheese, softened (I used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond milk (Soy or rice would also be fine)
Beat together the ingredients until smooth. If too thin, add a little extra cream cheese and sugar. If too thick, add a little extra milk.

When the cookies are cooled, create sandwiches by spreading the frosting in the middle. Devour them. Yum.

A few tips:
  • For me, the dough was super sticky, so I rolled the dough into balls with a spoon and then rolled them in sugar.
  • If you don't have vegan margarine, go ahead and use vegetable shortening, that's what the original recipe called for.
  • Make sure to let the cookies cool before frosting, or it'll be extremely messy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Let me tell you my food philosophy. To put it simply, good food is good food. So no, I'm not a vegan (maybe a vegan flirt) but when my roommate first made me her vegan mac and cheese, I could care less that it was vegan. Why? Because it was good food, plain and simple. I've made her recipe several times, but a few nights ago a little light bulb went off in my head when I was trying to figure out what to do with some extra sweet potatoes I had. I had heard of moms sneaking butternut squash into their child's mac and cheese to give them their daily dose of veggies. I decided to try it with sweet potato. And let me tell you, it turned out fabulously. For Sammi's original recipe, go here. Here is my twist.

Vegan Mac and Cheese:

  • 1 box whole wheat penne, cooked
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, plus a little extra
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Either reserve your pasta water, or begin boiling a fresh pot. Preheat the oven to 350. In a large saute pan, melt the margarine over medium heat. Once melted, begin whisking in the flour. *WHISK don't stir* or the texture and consistency will be wrong. Once the mixture is thick, begin adding the boiling water a little at a time. You might not need all the water. Add the water until the sauce in the consistency of gravy. Whisk in the mashed sweet potatoes. Then mix in the salt, garlic, nutmeg, and nutritional yeast. Toss the pasta with the sauce and transfer to a casserole dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and extra nutritional yeast on the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!