Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Vegan Peanut Butter Eggs!

April 24, 2011

Vegan Peanut Butter Eggs

2 ½ C chocolate chips
1 ½ C + 2 TBSP powdered sugar
½ C creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave for 30-45 second increments until chocolate has melted. Mix together other ingredients until a semi-stiff dough forms. Follow the chocolate mold instructions in my Cream-Filled Chocolate Egg Tutorial!

Makes about 16 peanut butter eggs.

Happy Easter!

- Andrea

Eggcellent Easter Brunch!

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Today I had an Easter brunch for my boyfriend, my sister, and my sister’s boyfriend.

Menu
Easter Egg Punch
Carrot-Pineapple Muffins
“Ham and Cheese” Quiche Tarts
“Rabbit Food” with a Creamy Dill Dip
Cantaloupe with Agave-Vanilla Soy Yogurt

I made all the time-consuming things yesterday – I even set up the table inside! So I didn’t have much work to do today. All I had to do this morning was make the quiche, cut up the fruit and vegetables, make the punch, and take the table outside. It was very un-hectic, and I finished everything 45 minutes ahead of schedule! Actually had time to get ready before everyone arrived and blow up some balloons. :-D

Easter Egg Punch
I came up with this after I drank some cranberry and orange juice my sister had mixed together. Seemed like a good combo for a brunch!

5-6 C ice
3 liters cranberry juice cocktail
1 12 fl oz container pineapple-orange concentrate, thawed
3 1/2 C orange juice
1 12 fl oz can ginger ale

Place ice in a large punch bowl, pour in other ingredients and stir!

Carrot-Pineapple Muffins

These are the Carrot-Pineapple Sunshine Muffins from Veganomicon and they are SO good! The only change I made was adding more cinnamon and less ginger due to personal preference. They really do taste like sunshine!

“Ham and Cheese” Quiche Tarts

This is a variation on Fat Free Vegan’s Mini Tofu Quiches. I doubled the recipe, made a few small changes, and used Martha’s Favorite Pie Crust for the tart shells. Doubling the recipe made enough for 10 1-inch tart shells, three 4-inch tart shells, and one 8-inch tart shell. I also want to note that I think pretty much everyone prefers the quiches without a crust – so don’t bother!

2 12.3-oz packages lite firm silken tofu
1/3 C + 2 Tbsp soymilk
1/4 C nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 6-oz package Yves Meatless Canadian Bacon
1 C shredded Daiya cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place all ingredients except the “ham” and “cheese” into a blender or food processor and process until smooth (it’s thick, so you may need to help it out a little). Pour tofu mixture into a large bowl and fold in the “ham” and “cheese”. Divide equally into either 50 1-inch tart shells, eight 4-inch tart shells, or two 8-inch tart shells. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the tart(s) comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes, remove from tart shells, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Rabbit Food with a Creamy Dill Dip
No recipe! Just carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes with a dip made out of Vegenaise, (v) sour cream, dried dill, parsley, salt, sugar, onion powder, freshly ground black pepper, and a little soymilk to thin it out.

Canteloupe with Agave-Vanilla Soy Yogurt
Just fresh cantaloupe with vanilla soy yogurt that was drizzled with a little agave nectar.

I thought it would be cute to make the punch bowl look like it was in a nest full of Easter eggs, so I got this little grapevine wreath from the thrift store and picked up a bag of plastic eggs to decorate it with. I think it turned out pretty darn cute!

   I hope everyone had a great day, however you celebrate!

- Andrea

Earth Day, 2011!

April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays. There’s not normally a lot of hub-bub surrounding it from the general population, but the hub-bub that is there makes me very happy. It’s so nice to have an entire day devoted to helping the environment. I think the biggest thing that made me excited about Earth Day when I was a kid was The Big Help on Nickelodeon.

Remember The Big Help? Where really cool people like Rosie O’Donnell and LL Cool J would try to convince kids to recycle and do good things in their communities? I remember this one animated commercial where a girl was brushing her teeth with the water running and outside the window you could see all the water in a pond disappear and a really sad-looking fish was left without any water. I never left the water running again after that! That poor fish. I always wanted to pick up trash on the side of the road and recycle like the kids in the commercials, but I guess my parents thought it was too much of a hassle. That’s why I make up for it now!

I try to recycle anything and everything I can, even if it means holding onto things for years until I can find a way to recycle them. I recycle paper, plastic, aluminum, tin, glass, lightbulbs, batteries, shoes, etc.. I can’t stand throwing something away if I know it can be recycled SOMEWHERE. Earth 911 is my favorite website for figuring out where to recycle odds and ends, and just finding tips to be more environmentally friendly.

Today me and my boyfriend went to our local metal recycling center (Recycle USA)  to take all of our cans. It was so much fun! Everyone had on Earth Day shirts, they had a radio station out front, and they even gave you a free lunch after you took your receipt up to the cashier! It was a bag of chips and a roast beef sandwich (I think). I ate the chips and let Jon take the sandwich to give to someone at work. Obviously, plant-based food is better for the environment, but it’s hard to complain when they’re trying to get people excited about recycling! It was just so fun seeing people get into the spirit of Earth Day.

After that I came home and started making my green/earth-inspired Earth Day lunch!

Worms in Dirt

I made Worms in Dirt using the chocolate pudding recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance and crushed Oreo cookies. I also made Candied Orange Peel to use for the worms!

For the Candied Orange Peel, you’ll need one orange (washed well), 3/4 C sugar (plus more for coating), and 1 1/2 C water.

- Cut the orange in half across the middle, then cut each half into an X to make four segments. Peel off the fruit and cut the peel into strips (don’t worry about the white part of the rind – the blanching will mellow it out).
– Bring a small pot of water to a boil and blanch the strips for five minutes. Drain and repeat and until you’ve blanched the strips a total of three times.
– After the third blanching, bring the 3/4 C sugar and 1 1/2 C water to a simmer. When all the sugar is dissolved, add the orange peel. Simmer for one hour.
– Before all the liquid is gone, use a slotted spoon to transfer the strips to a bowl of sugar. Toss to coat, place on a baking sheet to cool.

These worms are SO good!

Earth Day - Soup and Salad

For my “real” food, I made the Spring Vegetable Soup out of the May 2011 issue of Everyday Food and the Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing from Veganomicon (I just left out the chickpeas). I sort of went with a “green” theme, can you tell? I added in the blue bowl to represent the oceans, though :-D The soup was so-so, but I loooved the salad dressing and the portobello marinade for the salad. For the greens, I used 50% Romaine and 50% watercress. I have a slight obsession with watercress lately.

I also went to Publix today to pick up a few last-minute things, and they gave me one of these adorable keychains!

While I was there, I picked up two new reusable holiday bags! I swear, I love that they sell holiday-themed reusable grocery bags. I have black and orange jack-o-lantern bags for my Halloween grocery shopping, red and green “Happy Holidays” bags for my Christmas grocery shopping… And they also have them for Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving! I’m wondering if they have any for the 4th of July.. I’m definitely going to be looking out for those this year! I did notice they had Earth Day-specific bags while I was there today, but I think the regular, old green ones are just fine for that :)

Sunday I’m having my boyfriend, my sister, and I think my sister’s boyfriend over for an Easter brunch. I’ve wanted to do this for years so I’m really excited to finally do it! Not excited about all the school work I still have to do this weekend :-\ Yuck.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be back on Sunday!

- Andrea

Cream-filled Chocolate Egg Tutorial

April 19, 2009

In my pre-vegan days, I would always get so excited whenever I saw the first Cadbury egg display for the year. I craved them for months leading up to Easter. They were always my favorite spring holiday confection. The Easter Bunny obviously knew this because he’d always leave a few in my Easter basket.

Cadbury Creme Egg

Cadbury Creme Egg

The Cadbury Creme Egg, a staple Easter treat for many children, is made un-vegan by the use of milk chocolate and egg whites. This really sucks, obviously.

In an effort to make sure I don’t feel deprived during the holidays because of my dietary choices, I set out to make my own cream-filled chocolate eggs. Now, these don’t taste the same as the real thing. But they are, in fact, cream-filled chocolate eggs – and they’re just as unhealthy! And that certainly satisfies my craving for the original delectible treats. :)

Cream-filled Chocolate Eggs

Cream-filled Chocolate Eggs

Cream-Filled Chocolate Eggs

Tools Needed:

Plastic egg-shaped chocolate molds
Clean, never used, soft-bristle paintbrush
Three bowls (one microwaveable)
Piping bag with a tiny (and hard) tip
Extra piping bag or a squeeze bottle with a tiny tip

Ingredients Needed:
1 Bag vegan chocolate chips
Powdered sugar
Corn syrup and/or Agave nectar
Vegetable shortening
Vanilla extract
Yellow and Orange food coloring
Salt

First thing’s first: Make sure your chocolate molds are cleaned and completely  dry. Next, set up your bowls: One will be needed to melt your chocolate chips – so make sure it’s microwave safe. The other two will be used to mix your egg fillings – the egg “white” and the egg “yolk”. You’ll also need to clear a flat surface in your freezer big enough to set the mold down.

First you’ll be making your chocolate egg “shells”. Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-45 second increments, stiring between each one, until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted. Take a teaspoon or so of melted chocolate, and place in each of the cavities in the chocolate mold.

Amount of chocolate to put in each cavity.
Amount of chocolate to put in each cavity.

Using your new, clean paintbrush, swirl the chocolate in a circular motion up the sides of the cavities, until you reach the top. Wipe off any excess chocolate on the mold.

Painting on the chocolate.

Painting on the chocolate.

Once you’ve finished “painting” each of the cavities, hold the mold up to a bright light to make sure there aren’t any thin spots, such as this:

Thin spots in the chocolate - these will leak your filling

Thin spots in the chocolate - these will leak your filling

If you can see light shining through the chocolate, the shell is too thin and your filling will leak. Use a bit more chocolate to paint over any thin spots. Solid chocolate cavities will look like this when held up to a light:

Solid chocolate shells

Solid chocolate shells

Put your chocolate mold into the freezer so that the chocolate can harden and set while your make your fillings.

To make the egg “white”, mix about 3 C of the powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of either the corn syrup or agave nectar (your choice), a tablespoon or two of shortening, a drop of vanilla extract, and a pinch or two of salt. Add just enough water to form a thick, barely sticky paste.

Egg white consistency

Egg white consistency

To make the egg “yolk” combine the same ingredients, but thin the mixture out with extra water + corn syrup/agave and add a bit of yellow and orange food coloring to make your desired color. It doesn’t need to be too thin. Just thin enough so that it has a gooey consistency, like so:

Egg yolk consistency.

Egg yolk consistency.

Once your chocolate shells have hardened (it shouldn’t take but a few minutes), you can start filling them. Fill each chocolate shell about 3/4 of the way with the egg “white”. Next, Fill up a piping bag –  fitted with a tiny, metal tip – with your egg “yolk”. Since this mixture is pretty thin, be careful not to let it ooze out of the bag. Stick the tip of the bag in the center of each egg “white”, and pipe in just enough of the “yolk” until you see it start to come out of the “white”.

Filling the molds

Filling the molds

Stick your molds back into the freezer until the filling has hardened. Before you take the molds out of the freezer, go ahead and melt some more chocolate and place it into a piping bag fitted with a tiny tip, or with the corner snipped off ever so slightley. This will be very hot, so you may want to wear some gloves.

Frozen fillings, chocolate piping bag

Frozen fillings, chocolate piping bag

Starting at the edge of each cavity (making sure you’re conecting the new melted chocolate with the chocolate of the shell) , pipe the chocolate around the molds in a circular patern, until you cover the entire filling all the way to the center. Do this for each egg. Once you’ve done this, you can slap the molds down on the counter, so that the chocolate will fill in all the holes, or you can spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Make sure all edges are completely covered. Place the molds back into the freezer to set.

Finishing the eggs

Finishing the eggs

After about 15 minutes (or until you’re sure the eggs are completely hard), you can remove them from the freezer. To extract the eggs from the mold: using  the palm of your hand, slightly warm the round side of the each cavity to loosen the egg. Use your thumbs to apply a bit of pressure to push it out. They should come out easily. If not, slam the mold down on the counter. :D

And there you have it: The Cream-filled Chocolate Egg tutorial.

Easter, 2009

April 18, 2009

On Sunday, I made an Easter Bunny Day lunch for my boyfriend, my sister, and my sister’s boyfriend. This is the menu I decided on:

Easter Lunch

Easter Lunch

Seitan “Ham”
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Chives
Sauteed Green Beans with Shallots and Garlic
Glazed Carrots, Pre-made Rolls
Mock Mint Juleps
Cream-filled Chocolate Eggs

Easter Lunch - the sides

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Chives

The cheese sauce I used for the potatoes is basically the cheese sauce from this recipe, with a few alterations.

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Chives

3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 C margarine
1/2 C flour
3 1/2 C hot water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
Pinch turmeric
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 C nutritional yeast
Chives, for garnish

In a saucepan, melt the margarine over mediudm-low heat. Whisk in the flour until the mixture is smooth and well-combined. Stir in the hot water, salt, soy sauce, garlic powder, and turmeric. Whisk until all ingredients are incorportated and until mixture becomes thick and bubbly. Whisk in the oil and nutritional yeast, remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice potatoes into 1/8″ slices. Spray a medium-sized casserole dish with cooking spray, and arrange 1/3 of the potatoes (slightly overlapping the slices) in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle potaotes with salt and pepper, and cover with 1/3 of the cheese sauce. Repeat twice or until all potatoes are used, and cover with remaining cheese sauce.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake 30-45 minutes, or until a knife slides into the potaotes easily. Increase temperature to 425 degrees, remove foil from dish, and bake another 15-30 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped chives.

Green beans and carrots

Green beans and carrots

For the green beans, I used this recipe from MarthaStewart.com:

Sauteed Green Beans with Shallots and Garlic

2 tablespoons coarse salt
3 pounds green beans, ends trimmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped ( 1/2 cup)
4 garlic cloves, minced (2 tablespoons)

Fill a large bowl with ice water, and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add salt. Add half the beans, return to a boil, and cook until bright green and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, plunge beans into ice water to stop the cooking. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining green beans. (Blanched green beans can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)
For shallot-garlic green beans: Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Add green beans, raise heat to medium-high, and cook until heated through and beginning to brown in places, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt. Serve immediately.

For the carrots, I used the following recipe from the Everyday Food cookbook, Great Food Fast.

Glazed Carrots

9 carrots (1/2 lbs), quartered and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 TBSP sugar (I used a bit more, along with some agave nectar)
2 TBSP butter (used margarine)
1/2 tsp coarse salt
Fresh ground pepper

In a skillet, bring the carrots, sugar, butter (margarine), and 1/2 C water to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered, 6 minutes. Cook uncovered, over high heat, tossing often until tender, 3-4 minutes. Season with pepper.

Mock Mint Julep

Mock Mint Julep

Mock Mint Juleps

2 C cold water
1 1/2 C sugar
3/4 C lemon juice
6 mint sprigs
5 C ice cubes
2 1/2 C ginger ale, chilled
Lemon slices and additional mint, for garnish

In a bowl, combine the water, sugar, lemon juice, and mint – stir well. Let stand at least 45 minutes. Strain the mixture and discard the mint. Place ice cubes in two 2 qt. pictchers. Add half of the lemon mixture and half of the ginger ale to each. Pour into glasses and garnish with lemon and mint, if desired.

Recipe found here.

Agave and Dijon-Glazed Seitan Ham

For the seitan “ham”, I don’t really have an exact recipe. I just kind of wing it every time I make it. But, basically, I mix 1 1/4 C vital wheat gluten + 1/2 C nutritional yeast. Then I make about 2 C of a liquid mixture consisting of ketchup, water, liquid smoke, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and a bit of paprika. I mix the two together, forming one large or two small oval-shaped gluten “hams”.

Seitan, formed into hams

Seitan, formed into "hams"

I simmer this in a liquid consisting of all the above liquid ingredients + tomato juice for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, turning the “hams” every 20-30 minutes.

Seitan hams, simmering

Seitan hams, simmering

Seitan hams after simmering, pre-oven

Seitan hams after simmering, pre-oven

After simmering the gluten, I make a glaze with a 1:1 ratio of dijon mustard and agave nectar. I put the hams in a baking dish sprayed with cooking oil, and spoon the glaze over the top of each “ham”. I bake the “hams” at 325, occasionally spooning over more glaze, for about 30 minutes.

Seitan Ham - Baked, glazed, and ready to eat!

Seitan Ham - Baked, glazed, and ready to eat!

The “ham” is best served hot, with extra glaze spooned over the slices. I’ll try to get a real recipe worked out soon!

Easter Lunch - plate

Easter Lunch - plate

Up next, I’ll post a tutorial for the cream-filled chocolate eggs!


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