Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sea Snax Product Review (Gluten Free)

When Vegcuts contacted me about reviewing Sea Snax's food, I was very excited. My kiddos eat snacks every afternoon, and it is fun to try new options. It is affectionately nicknamed mermaid food in our house.

The taste testing began, and resulted in two happy kids begging for more. My son ended up making a seaweed "sandwich" out of a bunch of sheets. He ate an entire package in one sitting.

Now before you go crying foul and excess for chowing down an entire package, check out the nutritional facts on this healthy treat. A package of the sheets is no more than 16 calories per container/serving, and 60 calories for a bag of sprinkles. At first I was concerned they'd be high in sodium, but no more than 3% of your daily recommended amount.

The best part is they contain minerals and vitamins which are nutritional for you. This includes B vitamins, calcium and iron.

My spouse's favorite was the :Chipotle" flavored. The boy liked the "Classic Olive" kind. The girl chose the "Seaweed Sprinkles," as the one she liked best. I loved the "Toasty Onion" seasoned one.

If you are looking for where you can find Sea Snax, check out their "Where to Buy" page summary. They also have a lot of fantastic vegan recipes on their site. You should give this tasty, "grab and go" snack a try. They are delicious!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Round-Up

Each Thanksgiving, our family extends an invitation for our family to participate in a vegan meal with us. Thus far, it has centered around the traditional type meal. Last year the Tofurky was a big hit, so it will be making an appearance again.

It was not always so revered, until I discovered a fool-proof way to cook it. This my friends, included an important ingredient:
We roasted our Tofurky in the oven, half-submersed in Imagine Vegetarian Wild Mushroom Gravy. In a 1.5 quart (1.5 L) glass round pyrex bowl, we emptied two packages of the gravy, pouring some over the top of the roast. Then we baked it for 30 minutes, completely flipped it over, and roasted another 30 minutes. We basted the Tofurky half-way through the second round of roasting.

Viola! No spongy, chewy texture here, just nice and juicy Tofurky! Seconds please...

Below are some of our tried and true recipes, which would be a delicious addition to any Thanksgiving meal. There are also a couple non-traditional ones like Irish Stew, Pecan Pie Truffles, and Tofu Fingers, but they'd make an excellent option for anyone looking for dishes that are "off the beaten path."

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Spice Bars with Biscoff Crust

Pumpkin spice is a flavor my family can't seem to get enough of this time of year.  When munching on a Biscoff cookie, it dawned on me that they'd make a perfect cookie crust for a fall bar or pie.

While it has been ruminating awhile, today I finally got around to making a recipe. It is pretty quick if you are using a food processor or Vitamix to make it. Just check out that delicious cookie crust!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Bar with Biscoff Cookie Crust

1 15 oz. can pumpkin purée
1 package of Silken Firm Tofu
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1Tbsp. Corn starch
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Biscoff Cookie Crust 

1 package of Biscoff Cookies
4 Tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Sticks

Preheat oven to 350. Put entire package of Biscoff cookies into the food processor, and grind until large chunks are gone. Add in melted/softened Earth Balance margarine and combine. Press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Mix tofu in food processor or Vitamix until creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well. Pour over crust in pan and spread evenly. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Pumpkin Shaped Bars: Use a pumpkin cookie cutter to make pumpkin shaped bars. To create a jack o'lantern, slice up chocolate into triangles and a mouth.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kitty Cat Halloween Cupcakes

My latest creation for our Vegkins Annual Halloween Party. I wanted to do something simple, but festive. The head of the cat was made using a 1M frosting tip, but you could replicate it by using a large sandwich bag and cutting a large hole in the corner utilizing a 'homemade'  frosting bag.

To make the eyes, I used vegan "M & Ms," but Skittles would work well too. The pupils were drawn on using an edible ink marker (Wilton makes these). The nose is simply lightly dyed pink vanilla frosting. The ears are chocolate wafer disks cut into quarters*. These were from Trader Joe's. Lastly, the whiskers and nose were made using vanilla frosting.

*Tip: In glass measuring cup boil water in the microwave. Put the knife in it for a few seconds before quartering the chocolate.

Chocolate Wacky Cake Recipe

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups cool water
2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together dry ingredients. Mix in wet ingredients, being careful to scrape the sides of the bowl. Only mix until well combined. Fill lined muffin/cupcake pan with liners and fill them 1/2 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely until frosting.

Makes 3 dozen cupcakes

Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 tsp. vanilla
4-6 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3-4 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the margarine, vanilla and shortening. Slowly mix in powdered sugar, cocoa powder and non-dairy milk, alternating between the two. Once mixed well, beat for about ten minutes until frosting is nice and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or soy milk to obtained desired texture.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vegan Wolf Pupcakes with Pecan Butter Frosting

Wolf pupcakes are what I made for my sister's baby shower. Why wolf pups you say? Her baby was nicknamed "Little Wolf," because both parents have a lot of hair. The theory was their baby would too. It turns out they were right, and my adorable little nephew Oscar was born with a full head of dark hair.

My sister really loves the pecan butter frosting recipe I created, as well as veganized "butter" cupcakes. There were also chocolate flavored cupcakes, utilizing the infamous chocolate crazy cake recipe.

The inspiration for the pupcakes came from ones I saw fashioned like dogs. I had to made a few adjustments to made it more like a wolf, such as a longer nose. It was not too complicated to put together, but it did take time. The bottom cupcake was frosted like a sunburst, starting at the middle. Then a mini-cupcake was attached sideways onto the large one using a toothpick.

The nose and ears are made from Dandy Marshmallows cut into noses and ears, which were also attached with toothpicks. I made the eyes from vegan white chocolate chips and mini chocolate chips attached together with a small bit of frosting. The nose was also a small chocolate chip attached with a bit of frosting.

To make the face, first attach the ears and nose with toothpicks. Then frost around ears and on the face. Lastly, attach the eyes and nose chocolate chips. Viola, you've got yourself a wolf pupcake. Enjoy!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Vegan Mofo 2012

Get ready, it's coming! I am using Mofo as my motivator to get off of my duff and get blogging again. There are a lot of ideas I've had brewing, and Mofo is giving me that nudge.

New to Vegan Mofo? Alas, I can give you the skinny on the details. Vegan Mofo stands for: vegan month of food. Essentially once a year from an entire month, bloggers from around the globe commit to a goal of publishing twenty posts about vegan food.

This will be my third year participating. If you are curious, feel free to check out my previous Mofo posts. I'm focusing on a few topics this year: quick and easy meals, lunch box ideas, Halloween/Fall themed recipes, and fresh from the garden.

Hundreds of bloggers have signed up. Go ahead and check out the blog roll, which includes ways to sort through them by category, language, country, state, and post punk kitchen mofos. Happy Mofoing!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mystery Machine Birthday Cake

My kids have become smitten with old school Scooby Doo cartoons. While I'm not a huge fan of television, it is one kid's show I don't mind watching, conjuring forth nostalgic glimpses of my childhood.

For my son's birthday he requested a Mystery Machine cake. The party was only a couple days after my birthday, so it worked out nicely. The less cake I've got around here, the better.

The cake was made using the marble cupcake recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I doubled it. In cake form, it made a dense cake perfect for stacking. I love putting the new mixer I won in a VegNews contest to good use!

Decorating the cake consisted of a layer of dairy-free butter cream frosting with fondant detailing. The vegan fondant I used was Satin Ice, which says right on the front page: 0g trans fats, 0mg cholesterol. Allergen information: Gluten free, dairy free, nut free. Contains no animal derived products (vegan). Certified kosher pareve. 

To top it off, we added figurines of the whole gang standing next to the Mystery Machine. I picked them up at Toys R' Us.

My husband helped with the detailing for the cake, and printed out versions of the mystery machine from all angles. Then he cut out and used them as a template for the rolled fondant.
  1. The cake was made using two 9 x 13 inch cakes. They were cut first length wise and the on the end to get the correct size. 
  2. I crumb coated the bottom layer of the first large piece of cake on it's own, making sure to cut out cake board slightly smaller than the cake. (we stacked it on a sturdy construction paper wrapped book to align the wheels properly).
  3. Add another onto the bottom one by piecing together the cut parts from the rest of the first cake.
  4. Next I put in dowel supports to hold up the two layers on the bottom.
  5. Cut the second cake and put it on its own cake board, cut to match its exact size.
  6. Add crumb coat and then last layer from the leftover pieces again, add crumb coat to it too.
  7. Stack the second cake on top of the first one. 
  8. I pushed a dowel through all layers, to hold both layers steady.
  9. Put the cake in the freezer for an hour.
  10. Remove and ice with blue colored frosting.
  11. Print off copies of the Mystery Machine to scale to create detailing. 
  12. Using a toothpick to trace the patterns on rolled out fondant.
  13. To attach fondant detailing onto the Mystery Machine, lightly wet the back of the fondant with water.
  14. The wheels we made using Oreos, piped frosting, and fondant flowers. 
That is the basic jist of making it. If you are interested and have questions, feel free to leave a comment or email about it.

My son thoroughly enjoyed his cake, as you can see below. Vegans can have their fancy cakes and eat them too!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Twin Cities Veg Fest

Coming up next month will be the first ever Twin Cities Veg Fest. I beyond excited about it! Every issue of VegNews, I peruse through the upcoming events, hoping and wishing for a local one. Now it is finally happening on July 14th from 10 AM to 5 PM at Coffman Memorial Union!

There is a huge list of exhibitors, you can check out on their site. Along with that, there will be vegan food samples! If you are curious and want to learn more about veganism, I highly recommend attending this event.

If you are anticipating Veg Fest as much as I am, you can help support it through Kickstarter. They are REALLY close to meeting their goal, so please pitch in if you can help out. If they don't reach the goal, then Kickstarter does not fund it.

Either way, you can be sure I'll be there. I'm helping out with the children's area, as well as visiting the exhibitor booths. Ethique Nouveau, our local vegan store, will be there too, as well as local business Bee Free Honee. Our family sampled their honee at Whole Foods, and are now hooked.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Vegan Food Swap: May

Hello, I haven't fallen off of the face of the planet. We've had a crazy past couple months with my neck disk issues and our Beagle Polly was diagnosed with a ruptured disk in her back. Her care required a lot of stay at home time/snuggling, which has kept us plenty busy.

I'm happy to report, she has been doing well thus far after being weened off of her pain meds. Anywho, onto the vegan food swap....

It is organized by Cat from The Verdant Life, and I have a huge thank you to send to her for setting it all up. What a fantastic idea!

This was my first month participating and it is fun to get a surprise package in the mail. Who wouldn't want that?? Mine came from Miranda from Royal Blue, who lives in the city where I was born ( I'm now living in the midwest). It is a small world after all.

Here is a picture of the loot:

Oolong tea, roasted seaweed sheets, and a gluten free baking mix.

The tea is absolutely delicious and my kids are seriously addicted to roasted seaweed. They wholeheartedly approved of this part of the surprise package!

My plan is to make some sort of vegan, gluten-free baked item using the tea and baking mix. We've got a birthday party coming up here soon, so it'll probably be next week. Glad to be back, and had a great time participating in the Vegan Food Swap!

Elisa from Elisa in Real Life, blogged about what I sent to her. Check it out!

If you are interested in participating, click here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

First and foremost, I need to give credit where it is due. My friend Melody's daughter, Iris, came up with the idea to add blueberries to cookies. It turned out to be a delectable dessert we'll definitely be making again.

For the recipe I used dried blueberries, but I am sure freeze dried, frozen or fresh would work well too. If you try out another kind, please let me know how it works out.

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 cup margarine (I use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
1/3 cup applesauce
2 /3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups oats
2/3 cup dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream together the margarine and sugar. Next add applesauce, vanilla, and baking soda and mix. Blend in the flour until well combined, and then mix in the oats and blueberries.

Spoon a tablespoon of cookie dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet (unless it is non-stick, then skip it). Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown around edges.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Calling All Bakers for the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

Yep, it is that time of year again. We are fast approaching the infamous Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. It is an excellent opportunity to show off your baking skills, and gorge yourself on delectable vegan junk food.

If you are located in the Twin Cities, please come on by the Animal Rights Coalition on Saturday April 21st from 10 AM to 4 pm. There is still plenty of time to plan to bake for the sale, just contact for more details.

If you are new to this annual extravaganza, let me fill you in on the nitty gritty details. It was first started in 2009 with the proceeds going toward various animal causes. Since its beginning year, a $100,000 has been raised for charity. That is some serious moola in bake sale land.

Check out the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale's web site for a list of participating sales around world. It runs from April 21st through the 29th.

If there isn't one near you, consider organizing one. The central site provides helpful tips on how to get started, what to bake, advertising, etc. Heck, it has even been covered by CNN and VegNews the past couple years.

You need not be an expert baker to participate. If you simply can't imagine producing baked goods, you certainly can come out to buy some. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Simple Spring Taco Pizza

First off, please excuse my prolonged absence. I have been dealing with some health issues. Since health comes first and foremost, I had to put this on hold. Luckily I think I've got all that business worked out now.

My family loves taco night, and I wanted to try a fun, new approach to spice things up a bit. One day this popped into my head, and now I finally got around to trying it out.

There really isn't a recipe required. It is just that simple. We used two frozen organic corn meal crusts, fat free refried black beans, and taco toppings. Ours had onions, tomatoes, and avocado. It would also be great to try it out with vegan cheese sprinkles, guacamole, and hot sauce.

Before adding the refried beans to the crust, bake crust in the oven until it is starting to brown (according to package directions). Remove from the oven and layer on the refried beans, then layer with toppings. Bake for 4-5 minutes on 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are feeling particularly ambitious, this homemade cornmeal crust would be a great place to start.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Double Chocolate Mini Bundt Cake with Fresh Raspberries

Today is a special day for our family. It was our firstborn son Oliver's birthday. We are blessed with two living children, but sadly he died six years ago on his due date. He was born still.

While it is a day which brings back memories of deep sorrow, today we focus on the precious gifts he bestowed upon us. Our family has learned to live each day to the fullest, appreciate each other, and treat others gently during trying times.

Since our children are little, they associate birthdays with cake, so each year we make one in Oliver's honor. We go to Westwood Nature Center to visit his memorial bench, and read stories from books our family has donated there. It is our way of acknowledging and remembering his life.

If you have children, be they furry or not, give them a kiss and hug today. Snuggle up and enjoy the moment. These times are the highlights of our days.

The cake was made using the wacky/crazy cake recipe. I haven't tried it with a full size bundt cake yet, but it worked well for four mini ones.

Double Chocolate Bundt Mini Cake

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups water
2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat pans with a layer of shortening sprinkled with flour or baking spray. Sift together dry ingredients. Add in wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.

Fill pan 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool ten minutes, and then flip out of the pan.

Chocolate Glaze

1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. chocolate soy/coconut/almond/hemp milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Whisk together ingredients until it has the consistency of thick syrup. If it is too runny, add another tablespoon of powdered sugar, and if too thick add a little more non-dairy milk. Drizzle over the cake and add fresh washed raspberries in the middle.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Raspberry Lemonade Smoothie for your Vegan Valentine

Our eldest can't get enough lemonade, and the youngest raspberries. I took both of them and put them together. They slurped it right up (literally they are still little).

You could add some flax meal or chia seeds to up the protein content of the smoothie if you so desire. This was our answer to sweet tooth dessert requests.

Raspberry Lemonade Smoothie

1 10 oz. bag of frozen organic raspberries
1/2 cup almond milk
1 6 oz. cup of vanilla yogurt
Juice of two meyer lemons
1-2 Tbsp. agave nectar (optional)

Why Meyer lemons? They are a bit sweeter and in season right now. During other times of the year it would be fine to substitute. Tomorrow I am making some vegan chocolates. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 6, 2012

And the Winners of Gardein Contest Are....

My husband kept asking if he could enter the giveaway, and while we'd both love to win, obviously that couldn't happen. He's got his eyes on some of their new products.

In the meantime, Gardein is having their own contest, and I highly recommend you go enter.

Yesterday we had a nice time chowing on chunkamole, Crisp Seven Grain Tenders, and spicy hummus. I had grand plans for making all this delicious food to share, but went and got sick the day before. I'll spare you the details and get down to the business at hand.

And the two lucky winner are (drum roll)................Rachael and Michele P.

They both won three free product coupons and a "Cheat on Meat" t-shirt. I've contacted them for their addresses, and unless I don't hear from them by Saturday, February 11th, the giveaway is officially closed. Otherwise I'll use my handy dandy random number generator to select a new winner.

Right now, Circle of Moms is running a top 25 Vegetarian and Vegan Mom Blogs. I'd be ever so grateful if you supported me there. There is no need to sign up for anything.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Vegan Valentine's Gift

What better way to show you care, than to prepare a special dessert or meal for your loved one(s). Over the past few years, I've always made different treats for my family. Strawberries are the perfect way to naturally color and better yet, flavor Valentine treats.

It's time to break out of the strawberry fixation, and move on to raspberries or something else pink/red. I've made truffles for vegan bake sales before. This year, I'll make them for my family and friends. That or a raspberry chocolate tart. Oh, it is hard to decide. We definitely don't need both around.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Vegan Super Bowl Foods

The Super Bowl is almost upon us. What better way to celebrate than a list of easy pre-prepared vegan food, and a list of recipes.

Easy Pre-prepared Vegan Food


5) Veggie Meatballs (Trader Joe's, Nate's Meatless Meatballs)

If you are willing to put a little more work into preparing your Super Bowl food, below is a list of delectable options. Or check VegWeb to search over 15,000 recipes.

List of Vegan Recipes for the Super Bowl