May 25

curried apricot couscous

Happy Friday! I made us all some couscous! But first…

I know you guys are probably sick of hearing me talk about those Maple Sweet Potato Pecan Burgers by now, but I want to send out a special thanks to Jill, The Veggie Queen, for letting me ramble on and on about veggie burgers on her blog and in her newsletter. Jill is so nice and she knows her veggies like I know my frosting. She’s a veggie QUEEN, people! I highly recommend clicking over to check out her site. There are recipes and videos! You’ll be all like “Oh man! I gotta have me some Middle Eastern Chickpea Soup with Spinach now now now!”

In the spirit of veggies and healthy meals, I thought this would be a great time to make this couscous recipe that I’ve had my eye on for a while.

You can serve this dish immediately, but I find that it’s best when served cold or at room temperature as a side dish, preferably under an umbrella at a picnic on the beach. And at this beach, the sun shines bright but my pale skin never burns, orange popsicles and vegan soft serve are free, Claude Giroux and Miikka Kiprusoff are there playing footvolley and everyone is welcome to bring their cats along so they can scratch around in the sand, bask in the sun and pretend not to care about anything going on around them.

Curried Apricot Couscous
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Serves 4
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread or another vegan butter substitute
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous

Saute the onions and Earth Balance in a saucepan until the onions begin to soften, around 3 minutes.


Add in the broth, apricots and curry powder and bring to a boil.


Once the broth begins to boil, remove from heat immediately and stir in the uncooked couscous.


Cover the saucepan and let it stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm or chill in an airtight container and serve cold.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

May 21

chocolate maple oatmeal skillet cookie

It’s weird to talk about hot dogs when we’re supposed to be talking about skillet cookies, but I just can’t stop thinking about these fake hot dogs that Moose and I picked up at Perelandra yesterday.

I’m super picky when it comes to fake meats. I never enjoyed the taste of meat, so if a fake meat product tastes too much like real meat, I freak out.

Source

Field Roast hot dogs don’t taste like hot dogs. They just taste awesome. They are like a crispy stick of deliciousness that are similar to a hot dog in appearance but far better in taste and texture. Saute them in a pan. Throw some veggie chili, mustard, ketchup, onion and Daiya cheddar on top. You’ll be so happy.

We only had hamburger buns. It kind of looked like a turtle. Still delicious.

These Field Roast Frankfurters  aren’t a new product, but I’d never tried them, so surely some of you have yet to try them too? Pick some up for your Memorial Day cookout to go with your veggie burgers and potato salad! Then invite me over, okay?

Okay, let’s switch topics to DESSERT! I love cookies, I really do. The problem is that I don’t have a lot of patience. I’m always in awe of those of you who can make perfect little cookies in pretty shapes with icing designs. I love to eat pretty cookies. But if I’m the one making the cookies, you better believe they’re going to come out looking like mismatched chunks. They might taste great, but they’ll look sloppy because I won’t be able to find enough patience to make them uniform and pretty.

That’s why I love skillet cookies. It’s still a cookie, but it’s gigantic and all you have to do is spread it out in a pan. Slice it up like a pie and plop it on a plate. Done.

This skillet cookie was special to me because it was my first time using maple sugar.

If maple sugar isn’t your thing, you can replace the maple sugar for refined sugar (or half brown and half refined) and your cookie will still be awesome.

Chocolate Maple Oatmeal Skillet Cookie
Recipe adapted from Mississippi Kitchen
Serves 8-10

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, or another vegan butter substitute, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups toasted pecans
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, or another vegan butter substitute
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup soy creamer
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Plus:
vanilla non-dairy ice cream (optional)

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, stir together the flax meal and water.

 

Set aside.

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.

 

In a separate bowl, mix together the Earth Balance, brown sugar, maple sugar and vanilla extract on low-medium speed until combined.

 

Add the flax “egg” to the sugar mixture and continue to mix on low-medium speed. Slowly add in the flour mixture, oats and pecans.

 

Fold in the chocolate chips.

 

Spread the cookie batter into a cast iron skillet

 

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top of the cookie turns golden brown.

 

Remove from the oven and allow the cookie to cool in the skillet for 10 minutes.

 

While the cookie cools, make the sauce by first melting the Earth Balance in a small sauce pan.

 

Add in the brown sugar, soy creamer, sea salt and vanilla extract.

 

Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

 

Allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and let the sauce cool until you are ready to serve the cookie.

Slice the cookie as you would a pie, top with ice cream and pour the sauce over the top.

 

I used So Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla Bean ice cream

 

YUM!

 

May 16

peanut butter fudge

The Spring ’12 issue of Chickpea is here and it’s super pretty!

Look at this!

And this!

And that!

YAY!

If you didn’t get a chance to pre-order a copy, you can still order a single copy or an annual subscription by clicking here.

It’s beautiful and inspiring. It makes me smile.

And now…drumroll please… This is Hanna’s TTV debut!

Hanna is my kitty witty baby bear. We met in 2003, but she stayed in Kentucky to live with my parents when I moved to Brooklyn a couple years later.

Hanna’s namesake is a former dance student of mine who was probably six years old at the time kitten Hanna joined our family. I saw the human Hanna at my cousin’s graduation the other day. She’s so grown up now and totally kicking butt in high school. She’s beautiful and smart and confident. Just like feline Hanna.

Such special gals with a great name and equally huge spots in my heart.

I’m getting to the fudge talk, I really am. Here we go…

A couple Sundays ago, in Kentucky, I made these chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting for my Mom, Dad and Moose (human Moose, that is. There is also a puppy Moose, but that’s a story for a future rambling post).

I’d never made peanut butter frosting before (I don’t know how that’s possible, but it is) and I was so pleased with the result that I tried to whip up another batch for Moose and I when we came home.

It was a frosting disaster. But it made excellent accidental fudge.

Peanut Butter Fudge
Serves 18 (depending on the size of your pieces)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, softened
2/3 cup natural peanut butter, room temperature
1/3 cup vanilla soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups vegan confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

  1. Using a hand mixer, mix together the Earth Balance, peanut butter, soy milk and vanilla extract until fully combined.
  2. Slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar and continue to mix.
  3. If you feel like your mixer is angry with you about mixing the fudge as it becomes thicker and thicker, turn the mixer off and use your hands to knead it like dough. At this point you probably want to just take a big bite of it because we’re pretty much done here and it’s so good, there’s no need to wait.
  4. Spread the fudge into a 9×13″ pan and refrigerate for about an hour so it can set.
  5. Slice the fudge into pieces and enjoy!

This makes really soft, delicious fudge. I loved it so much that after the first bite, I immediately wrapped up half of it and instructed Moose to take it to work. Of course, I then went back and pulled a few more pieces out of the container before he managed to leave the apartment with it.

 

May 11

a random recipe roundup

The activity in our tiny kitchen over the past two weeks has been minimal.

Let me rephrase that.

There has been an abundance of activity in our tiny kitchen over the past two weeks. Court Kitty has sank his teeth into every bag and plastic container he can find. Harrison has taken at least a dozen naps on the table and a handful in the wok. Sebastian has rolled around on top of an orange bell pepper like it’s his soulmate before becoming indifferent and leaving in search of his own tail to chase.

But there has been almost no activity that could be called cooking or baking. Twice I have slapped a veggie burger between two buns. I’ve poured take-out into a couple of bowls. I may have peeled a banana or two. I dirtied one spoon when I ate soy ice cream out of the container. I ate a bag of raisins while perched next to the sink. I pretended to be busy moving dishes around when I was really trying to avoid watching the final minutes of a final hockey game.

So I thought this would be a great week to share some of my favorite past recipes with you fine folks. Next week we’ll whip up something new together. But this week, how about we look back at cupcakes, fries and other tasty treats?

Butter Pecan Cupcakes. I crave you all the time.

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips. Are you for real? Yes, yes you are.

Baked Salt and Vinegar Potato Wedges. These babies turned out to be a hit even though there was zero frosting involved.

Bourbon Peach Cobbler. Sweet heaven.

Baked Broccoli Burgers. Get your veg on.

Citrus Granola Parfait. Health is wealth, kids.

Orange Shortbread Cookies. I had a hard time not eating all the candied peel before mixing it into the dough.

Hazelnut Chocolate Cupcakes. Swirly goodness.

Peanut Butter Popcorn Cake. From me to you.

Sloppy Joe Sliders. Make a mess and then eat it.

Chipotle Cashew Cheese. Don’t be scared.

Maple Peanut Butter French Toast. Just a normal breakfast, right?

And finally…

Apricot Lemon Cupcakes. Fruit and frosting.

May 02

bourbon caramel popcorn

This Bourbon Caramel Popcorn was inspired by my love for my home state (in addition to my love for snacks) and is my recipe post for the month of May over at One Green Planet. Even if you don’t like popcorn and chocolate (what are you? a monster?) my post also includes a handy dandy list of vegan-friendly Kentucky bourbons.

This popcorn is as addictive as kitteh snuggles.

Don’t you just want to stick your face in the middle of all that floof and take a nice a long nap?

Me too.

But instead, Moose and I are hopping a plane to the Bluegrass State tonight, where I’ll trade in my rain boots for flip flops and watch my cousin graduate high school. He was the first baby that I ever held on purpose, meaning that I opened my arms and eagerly embraced him rather than fleeing the moment someone shoved him in my general direction. And now he’s an adult. Oh man.

 

Bourbon Caramel Popcorn
Recipe adapted from Foodie Reflections
Yields 6 cups of popcorn
Printable recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup vegan refined sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter substitute (I used Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 6 cups of popped popcorn
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the refined sugar and cold water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a slow simmer. Allow the sugar to simmer for 12 minutes without stirring.

As the sugar simmers, split a vanilla bean in two and scrape out the seeds (skip this step if you choose to use vanilla paste or extract instead of beans).

Remove the sugar from the heat and stir in the vegan butter substitute, bourbon, vanilla beans (or paste or extract) and pinch of sea salt.

Allow the sugar mixture to cool for 2-3 minutes.

In the meantime, stir together the popcorn, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Add in the sugar mixture and stir until the popcorn is fully coated. Be careful, the sugar mixture will still be warm.

Spread the popcorn evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once. Keep an eye on the popcorn, you want it to be crisp but not burnt.

Remove the popcorn from the oven and melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.

Drizzle the chocolate over top of the popcorn.

Place the popcorn in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets.

Remove the popcorn from the fridge, break into pieces and enjoy!