Aug 27

fudgy pudding cake

Harrison was very reluctant to hand over the recipe for this Fudgy Pudding Cake. He stomped his paw and told me that because he’d put in a solid 11 minutes of playing with (aka tormenting) his brothers, he deserved to nap on his notebook of choice.

But I told him that I had promised cake for all, and cake we shall have!

I came across this recipe over at The Kitchn, and after picking my jaw up off the floor and doing a happy dance to celebrate this sugary addition to my life, I pulled myself together and preheated the oven. Who wants warm chocolate cake with a surprise pool of chocolate pudding at the bottom?

Fudgy Pudding Cake
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn
Serves 8
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup vegan refined sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread or another vegan substitute, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup brewed coffee, cold

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder and sea salt.

Stir together the almond milk, melted Earth Balance and vanilla extract

and add it to the flour mixture.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter into a 9″ x 9″ cake pan.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining refined sugar, brown sugar and cocoa powder.

Pour the sugar mixture over top of the cake batter and shake the pan to distribute evenly.


Pour the cold coffee on top of the cake. Do not stir it in.

Place the pan in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes. It’s done when the top of the cake is shiny and dry.

Remove from the oven and let the cake cool for 15 minutes before serving. Trust me, it will still be super warm when you dig in.

I like mine topped with dairy-free vanilla ice cream and stirred into a cake soup.

Aug 23

a summer thanksgiving

Hi. This is going to be one of those rambling posts and there’s no food to be found this time. I logged in to write a post about cake today, but I ended up speaking from the heart and, shockingly, my heart just wasn’t set on cake at the moment. I promise there will be cake soon. I found a recipe on The Kitchn for a cake with pudding on the bottom and I was all like yes, please! But that’s for another day. Today I just want to be vulnerable for a second.

For the most part, I’m a pretty happy person. I dance out my sour feelings (literally, most of the time to really dumb music) and I shake things off quickly. I have become pretty good at saying what is bothering me and then, because odds are it’s totally beyond my control, letting it go.

One time someone wrote to me through this blog and told me that they wished I were dead because I am vegan.

It’s okay. Don’t freak out.

They then told me that they wished they could murder me and all other vegans.

I laughed it off and deleted the comment. I knew that they were probably just a troll. Even if they truly meant it, well, all the better reason to delete them forever because I don’t have room in my life for hate. It’s not welcome here. But that particular message sticks with me, though probably not for the reason you’re thinking.

I often wonder about that person and I wish that I could snap my fingers and remove that hate from their bellies. Life would be so much easier for them without the burden of carrying all that anger around. Even if they really were a troll and didn’t truly mean it, they must have been dealing with something crappy enough to make them think that trolling blogs and sending out hurtful messages would somehow make them feel better. I feel sorry for that person. I hope that I never, ever find myself walking around with that kind of black cloud hanging over me.

I feel like I’ve been carrying around a lot of negativity these past few days. Nothing anywhere near what this person is feeling. I’m talking about silly, petty things. Things that aren’t even worth mentioning. But even though they’re not worth mentioning, they’re still there. I sometimes find myself in a spiral that’s difficult to break. I think a negative thought and then I immediately get mad at myself for being negative. So there I am, aiming negativity at myself for emitting negativity in the first place, and it circles around again and again and again. Every single one of my negative thoughts have been regarding situations beyond my control. Silly, little things that mean absolutely nothing and that I won’t even remember a couple months from now. One or two have been aimed at individuals, and those are the ones that I’m most ashamed of. I try very hard every single day to be kind to those around me. You never know what someone is dealing with at home, at work or in their hearts. You never know what burdens someone else is carrying around, and being rude or judgmental can only bring more harm.

The reason that I’m sending these words out here into internet land is because I bet there are things bothering you, too. Big or small, I bet you’re haunted by a negative thought or two. I hope that you aren’t, but we’re all human. Things seep into our minds and into our veins and the negativity, regardless of where it stems from or who it’s aimed at, it digs into us and it latches on.

I hope that you’ll join me right now by letting go of any negative thoughts you’ve had today. If you’re like me, you’ll also want to forgive yourself for being so negative in the first place. It happened. It’s over. And finally, say some things that you are thankful for. You don’t have to say them to me. Just say them in your mind, that’s good enough. It doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list, either. Just a few things that, in this very moment, you are thankful for. Let’s focus on the positive. Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving in August.

  • I am thankful that I have a family who loves and supports me every single moment of my life. Not once have I ever had to question their love for me. If any of my younger cousins are reading this, I hope that they’ll take this message and some positivity into their hearts. I can’t wait to see them next month.
  • I am thankful that I have, by marriage, adopted even more family members who bring me nothing but happiness and love.
  • I am thankful that I have not just one, but a handful of dear friends that I cherish and trust with my entire being.
  • I am thankful for everyone who drops by this blog to read about whatever things I happen to be covering in chocolate that day. I am thankful that I have tons and tons of heartfelt, positive messages to cancel out that one, hateful note.
  • Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for all the luxuries and gifts that I take for granted every day, including my health, my little apartment, my access to clean water and all the food I could ever hope for, and my safety.

I feel so much better.

Who wants cake? There will be cake. I promise.

 

Aug 16

kettle cookies

We celebrated Court Kitty’s 4th birthday recently.

When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he answered in his usual chatty cat way, with a mumble, followed by two full meows, topped off with a purr/growl that could only be interpreted as, “I want you to shrug off all of your responsibilities and take a nice, long nap with me.”

Yesterday, when Harrison turned 8 years old, I asked him the same question.

He answered by staring blankly at me, letting out a heavy sigh and then giving himself a bath.

I interpreted this as, “I want you to eat cookies all day long.”

Those sweet kitties. They’re always so considerate of my needs. And one in particular is always so judgmental of my dessert intake…

 

I saw a tub of Kettle Cookies at Trader Joe’s the other day and I haven’t been able to get them out of my head. I’m not even sure what’s in the TJ’s version, other than the obvious bits of kettle corn, but I imagined that they would taste like brown sugar. Insert a veganized version of Joy the Baker’s Brown Sugar Cookies, mash those babies up into sweet dough balls full of kettle corn, and we have ourselves a winner, folks.

Kettle Cookies

Adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes 24 cookies
Printable recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups vegan dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped kettle corn

 

In a small bowl or cup, stir together the ground flax and water.

Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, mix the Earth Balance and dark brown sugar together on low-medium speed.

Stir in the flax/water mixture, vanilla extract and soy milk.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until fully combined.

Stir the chopped kettle corn pieces into the dough.


Cover the bowl and place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

After 30 minutes, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll the dough into equal size balls, using roughly 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie. Place the dough balls on the baking sheet and press them down gently.


Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Aug 12

veggie tortilla roll-ups

Remember when I said that I hate summer in NYC? Well, there’s one part of summer here that I absolutely love. This is a subway station during evening rush hour last week.

 

Totally empty! And you better believe I got  a seat on that train and every other train that I’ve taken home over the past two weeks. It seems that all the subway regulars are off school and off work and out of town.

One more great thing about summer?

Cold dinners.

Not that I’ve ever needed an excuse to eat cold meals in the evenings, but for those of you who don’t consider a pint of ice cream a sensible meal, there are other solutions to beat the heat.

Wraps are everywhere in blogland right now, and I recently fell in love with this roll-up from The Pioneer Woman. I cut down the amount of cream cheese and added cannellini beans to make up the rest of the spread. Then we just throw in some veggies, roll it, chill it and we’re set. Save some for lunch, too. It’s great the next day.

 

Veggie Tortilla Roll-ups
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 2-3
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese substitute (I used Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese)
  • 3/4 cup cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • sprinkle of salt
  • sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 large tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s Habanero Lime Flour Tortillas)
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

 

Combine the vegan cream cheese and cannellini beans in a food processor.

You can also crush the beans with a fork and stir to combine if you don’t have a food processor or if you’re like me and really hate cleaning the thing.

In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese/bean mixture, scallions, dried basil, salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Spread the mixture in a thin layer over the tortillas, making sure to spread it all the way to the edges.

Place the sliced carrot, arugula, sliced bell pepper and sliced avocado on each tortilla.

I use a peeler to slice off thin layers of the carrot but you can also use a knife, mandoline, etc.

Roll each tortilla as tightly as possible, then wrap in plastic wrap.

Place the tortillas in the refrigerator for one hour.

Remove from the refrigerator, slice and enjoy.

 

Aug 06

peanut butter coconut icebox pie

This icebox pie was my BFF all last week. It was right by my side no matter what I did, just like a best friend should be.

We watched E! News together. We rolled our eyes at reruns of True Blood (take it down a notch, Sookie). We talked to my grandma on the phone. I shared a little bit of it with Moose but, as usual, he wimped out after just one piece. I stuck with it, though. Friends should never turn their backs/stomachs on their best friend. All remaining bites were right there with me until, in the middle of some show about guys driving around rural America and pretending like they just happened to stumble upon a house full of treasures that they coincidentally also want to purchase, I turned to my best friend, and it was gone. All gone. All gobbled up. And now I must pay for the time spent with last week’s friend by focusing all of this week’s attention on my new pals, Mr. Steamed Veggies and Miss Pilates Workout Videos.

And maybe a little bit of Sleepy Stir-Fried Kitty on the side

 

 

Peanut Butter Coconut Icebox Pie
Recipe adapted from Southern Living
Serves 8
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1 10 oz box of Cinnamon Teddy Graham crumbs OR 2 cups of other vegan graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
  • 1 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup vegan cream cheese substitute
  • 1 cup all natural peanut butter, already stirred and refrigerated
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large banana, sliced

Chill the coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight (or for several days, until you’re ready to use it).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use a food processor to turn your cute little graham bears

into graham crumbs.


If your peanuts aren’t already chopped and you don’t want to use a knife, throw those in the food processor, as well.


Stir together the graham crumbs, 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts and melted vegan butter.


Use your fingers to spread the mixture into a greased pie tin.


Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool completely before moving on to the next step.


Remove one can of your chilled coconut milk from the refrigerator and open it up.


Scoop out the firm layer that has solidified in the can and place in a bowl.


When you reach the liquid that should be about 3/4 of the way down, stop scooping. Reserve the liquid for another use (smoothies, anyone?). Whip the coconut milk solids, either by hand or hand mixer, until the milk turns into whipped cream, 3-5 minutes.

Melt 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips in the microwave until just melted and stir in with 1/2 cup of the whipped cream.


Spread the chocolate mixture over the pie crust.


Arrange the sliced banana on top of the chocolate.


In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar and vanilla until fully combined.


Mix in the remaining 1 cup or so of whipped cream and pour the peanut butter layer over top of the bananas.


Cover and refrigerate the pie for 8 hours (or overnight).

After the pie has been chilled, remove the other can of the coconut milk from the refrigerator and repeat the whipped cream-making process.

Spread the whipped cream over top of the pie.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of peanuts over top of the whipped cream.

Microwave the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and drizzle the melted chocolate on top of everything.

Slice and enjoy!

Aug 02

strawberry pecan stuffed french toast

Happy August, friends! August is usually my least favorite month of the year here in NYC due to the heat, humidity and sweat/urine/trash fumes that have been growing stronger and stronger in the subway stations over summer. But I’m here to tell you that it’s totally different this year and now I just can’t get enough of August and all that it brings to my daily commute and attempts to do anything whatsoever outdoors!

I’m lying. It’s gross. I feel like I’ve been bathing in sweat for the past six weeks. But at least I have french toast.

This Strawberry Pecan Stuffed French Toast is my recipe for the month of August at One Green Planet. It’s dipped and stuffed and cooked to a crisp. Click it, make some breakfast for dinner and then bring it over to my place and we’ll watch Olympic gymnastics under the air conditioner, okay?