Happens Every Year

October 29, 2011

Hi, everyone!

I apologize for not keeping my blog updated. Truth be told, I haven’t really done much for the holidays this year. I just moved to a new city, started a new school, and had about a billion other things to do. I just haven’t had the time. The most exciting food I’ve made for Halloween this year was some chocolate-covered pretzels with Halloween sprinkles, and I only did those last night : ( I’ve got plans to make some caramel apples this weekend, but nothing I haven’t made before.

It’s just been a very busy time for me. I hope to get this blog back on it’s feet by next year, with scheduled postings for most holidays. I would actually rather start a vegan holiday website with categories and links to holiday posts from all over the inter-webs, but I need to find someone who can help me with that first.

I hope everyone is well, and I hope you all have a very happy Halloween!

– Andrea

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.

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. 😀

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 😀 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

Five Months of Excuses!

April 5, 2011

It’s pretty ridiculous that I haven’t updated since Thanksgiving. I do have some decent excuses, though! Here’s a timeline:

First two weeks of December –  Finals
Last day of finals – Computer blew up
Late January – Got computer back, but started a new semester of school
February-March – I was lazy (not a good excuse)
March 30 – No signal between my monitor and my computer (last straw)
April 5: I decide to start posting again!

I actually didn’t even do anything for Valentine’s Day this year, and I didn’t really do anything special for New Year’s. I’m just a tiny bit upset I wasn’t able to post all of my Christmas junk, and I didn’t do anything at all for St. Patty’s or Mardi Gras.

But I’m going to stage a comeback with Easter! I’ll do some planning this weekend. I’m thinking brunch and a (plastic) Easter egg hunt. But I’ve thought that for the past few Easters and it hasn’t happened. So we’ll see!

I hope you’ve all been able to celebrate some fun holidays this year!

– Andrea

Thanksgiving 2010 – The Recipes

November 25, 2010

Today was my family Thanksgiving. I had leftovers, and my sister brought over some vegan food.  I finally got to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in it’s entirety for the first time in years. It was weird. I usually only get to watch snippets, but I just sat there and watched it. Well, with the pleasure of having a DVR, I did get to pause and fast forward through commercials and whatnot.. but still.

Individual pictures of T-Day food!



The Tofurky, obviously, came from a box. This box, actually:

Inside the box.

I didn’t use the gravy that came with the Tofurky. This is the box my boyfriend bought. We actually had two Tofurkys this year, and the one I had was just the Tofurky roast. Plus I don’t really like the gravy. I used the olive oil/soy sauce/sage baste that’s on the box for my roast.


Green Beans with Creamy Mushrooms and Shallots

This is why I will never make another green bean casserole. GOOD GRIEF, THIS WAS SO GOOD. I got the recipe out of the November issue of  Martha Stewart Living, and adapted it to be awesome:

Green Beans with Creamy Mushrooms and Shallots

1 3/4 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
3/4 cup vegetable or no-chicken broth
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 pkg baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
5 tablespoon vegan sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste

– Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch beans until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain.
– Using the same pot (all the water poured out, obv.), heat 1/2 tsp oil over medium heat. Cook shallots, stirring occasionally until tender and just starting to brown, 3-4 minutes. Transfer shallots to a small bowl.
– Whisk together stock and cornstarch. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in pot over high heat. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add shallots. Whisk in stock mixture. Cook until thick, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and 1/2 tsp salt. Season with black pepper. Toss in beans. Serve warm.


Mashed Sweet Potatoes

For the sweet potatoes, I washed and scrubbed the potatoes under running water and pierced the skin with a fork a few times each. I baked them at 425 degrees for about an hour, checking to see when each one was done (they were all about the same size, so it wasn’t much difference). You’ll know they’re ready when you can easily pierce the skin with a fork. After they were out of the oven and cooled, I peeled the skin off and placed the flesh into a large bowl along with a few tablespoons of margarine and brown and white sugar and mashed it all together. Doesn’t get much simpler than that!


Dressing Muffins

For the dressing/stuffing muffins, I made a basic cornbread recipe and allowed it to cool before crumbling it. I added chopped celery and green onion, sage, poultry seasoning, garlic salt, and a little black pepper. Then I moistened it with about 3 1/2 cups of vegetable broth. I piled the dressing in a muffin pan and topped it with little dabs of margarine and baked it for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees until the tops were golden brown. I allowed the dressing to cool before flipping the muffin pan over so that they would retain their shapes.


Macaroni and "Cheese"

I think I’ve posted the recipe I use for macaroni and cheese a few times already, so I won’t do that again.


Cranberry Sauce

For the cranberry sauce, I washed one bag of fresh cranberries and brought one cup of both water and sugar to a boil. Added the cranberries and cooked until they popped, stirring occasionally, and allowed the sauce to cool and thicken.

I freakin’ love cranberry sauce. I can eat it like pudding.


Deviled Tofu

The deviled tofu recipe I got from Mo Betta Vegan! I loooved the “yolk” bean mixture! Much better than any tofu filling I’ve tried. I did double the dill relish, because I love dill pickles.  I think the next time I make these, I’ll try adding some salt to the water/vinegar that the tofu is boiled in. That’s the only thing I think could really be improved upon, because it still just tasted like tofu. Definitely will do these again, though! They’re so darn cute!

I’ll post dessert recipes tomorrow!


Now onto my thankfulness.. I’m thankful for:

My boyfriend, my cats, my family when they’re not being annoying jerks, Disney, theme parks, Universal Studios, good movies, good movie soundtracks, getting to go to college, having less than a year left under my parent’s roof, and getting to eat so much awesome food.

Alright. It’s time to get in bed, because I’m doing some Chrimbus shopping in the morning (If you know what Chrimbus is, I like you :D) If anyone else is getting out, be careful!

I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings.

– Andrea

Thanksgiving 2010 – I Will Never Make Another Green Bean Casserole

November 24, 2010

Today was mine and my boyfriend’s vegan Thanksgiving. For the past three years, I’ve made my Thanksgiving meal the day before the holiday. Not only is it less stressful during the cooking process (in that my mom is cooking a completely separate meal the next day – too many cooks in the kitchen is an understatement), it leaves the actual holiday open to actually enjoy, and I get to eat leftovers. I’m also not stuck cleaning and washing dishes up until it’s time to leave for Black Friday shopping 😀 This year’s menu:

Homemade Gravy
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Dressing Muffins
Macaroni and “Cheese”
Deviled Tofu
Sticky Pumpkin Cake
Apple Cider

As usual, I didn’t deviate much from previous years. But there was one big thing I changed this year: The Green Bean Casserole. Well, I didn’t really change it, nor did I make up the recipe I used for my green beans this year. I actually made the one I’ve made the past few years for my boyfriend because he just kept talking about “tradition” when I told him about how I didn’t want to make a green bean casserole this year. I tried to explain to him that I’m still young, and that the food I make traditionally for each holiday is still up in the air. But he didn’t understand.. haha.

For now I’m just going to post pictures, because it’s my  bedtime and I’m tired. I’ll post pictures of everything individually tomorrow, along with recipes!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!

– Andrea

Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs!

November 18, 2010

I was getting really sad earlier because I couldn’t find my chocolate frog mold. But then I remembered a spell to help me out! So I grabbed my wand and said, “Accio chocolate frog mold!” and there it came, whizzing out from under my bed!

See? Harry Potter spells can be very useful in real life.

I made Chocolate Frogs!


I got Godric Gryffindor!

Oh, no! He's trying to escape!

Chocolate truffle center!

The magical Chocolate Frog box came from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. My sister got it for my mom as a souvenir, so just pay no attention to the “milk chocolate” labeling on the front.

I didn’t want solid chocolate frogs, so I thought I’d make a chocolate “truffle” center. I used a mixer to combine 1/4 C (v) cream cheese, 3/4 C confectioner’s sugar, 3/4 C chocolate chips (melted), and 1/2 TBSP vanilla extract.

It took about 1 C of chocolate chips to create the shells of eight frogs. I used a piping bag to pipe on the bottom and a spoon to spread it evenly. Like this:

I’d really like to make some chocolate frogs with raisins in the center. Chocolate-covered raisin frogs! That’d be awesome to take to the movies as a snack.

The chocolate frog mold I used can be found here!

I’m going to a Harry Potter “preview” party at a local science museum tonight and watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 on their IMAX screen at midnight! I hope all those kids keep their mouths shut during the movie… Well, along with everyone else 😀

– Andrea

Harry Potter-Themed Anniversary Dinner

November 16, 2010

So, as I said in my last post, Saturday was mine and my boyfriends six-year anniversary. With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One coming out on Friday, we decided to start re-watching all the movies. So I decided it would be a good night to make a Harry Potter-themed anniversary dinner! I didn’t want party-style food, so cupcakes and cookies and all the really “fun” Harry Potter foods were out. I wanted a real meal for our anniversary. So, this is what I came up with:

Herbology Salad with Liquid Luck Vinaigrette
Shepherd’s Pie
Sauteed Gillyweed
Golden Galleon Beets
Pumpkin Pasties

Butterbeer, which is a drink that regularly shows up in the books and movies, can be served either hot or cold. It is described as having a sort of butterscotch flavor to it. You can read more about it here. I wanted to actually make some Butterbeer, using cream soda and butterscotch flavoring, but I could find any 😦 We ended up just drinking cream soda, which I normally can’t stand. Amazing how calling it Butterbeer made it taste good 😀

Shepherd’s Pie is one of the many dishes served to the students at Howarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and is a traditional British food. I made mine with homemade seitan, peas, and carrots. The seitan was a beef-style seitan: 1 1/3 C vital wheat gluten + 1 C no-beef broth. I sliced it fairly thin before adding it to the cold broth and bringing it to a simmer. The simmering liquid was no-beef broth, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and whole black peppercorns. I simmered the seitan for about an hour and a half and allowed it to cool before cutting it into bite-sized pieces. I used one bag of frozen peas and carrots, and mixed everything together with 2 C of homemade gravy (2 C water, no-chicken and no-beef boullion, 2-3 TBSP cornstarch). The potato topping was Yukon gold potatoes boiled in salted water until soft and mashed with soymilk, margarine, and garlic powder. I then piped the mashed potatoes onto the pie the same way you would pipe icing onto a cake. The pie was baked for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees until everything was heated through.

It was bloody brilliant!


Herbology Salad with Liquid Luck Vinegarette

The Herbology Salad was inspired by the Herbology class at Hogwarts, taught by Professor Sprout. It had various greens, including spinach, arugula, and some pretty lettuce I bought at the harvest market that morning. I included red and yellow bell peppers, an orange tomato, and sliced cucumber. The Liquid Luck Vinegarette was inspired by the Felix Felicis potion, aka “Liquid Luck”. It was a agave-dijon vinegarette.


Gillyweed and Golden Galleon Beets

The Gillyweed (a magical plant that allows wizards to grow gills and webbed hands and feet) was sauteed kale. I sauteed it with salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes + a little sugar. The Golden Galleon Beets were named after galleons, a golden coin used in wizard currency. These were golden beets, peeled and sliced, then roasted at 425 degrees with olive oil, salt, and pepper, for about 10-15 minutes, turning every now and then.


Pumpkin Pasties

The Pumpkin Pasties are a popular dessert/snack in the world of Harry Potter. And I freakin’ love it when Cho Chang says, “Two pumpkin pasties, please.” SO CUTE. Anyway. I made the basic pie crust out of The Joy of Vegan Baking and made a filling with half a can of pumpkin puree, 2 TBSP flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and vanilla. I rolled the dough really thin, cut it into circles, added about 1-2 tsp of filling, and closed it up, using a fork to seal the edges and poking holes in to the top of the pastries. I chilled the pies before baking and added an “egg wash” that I made out of agave nectar and water. They were baked at 350 until the bottoms began to brown. Definitely best served warm!


Harry Potter Hot Cocoa

I also made us some hot cocoa to drink while we watched the movie and finished off the Pumpkin Pasties. Hot chocolate is mentioned quite a few times throughout the books, so I thought it was fitting. And I love Soyatoo whipped cream. It was a dollar off at Whole Foods last time I went, so I picked up two cans in preparation for the holidays! 😀

I so wanted to make Chocolate Frogs but I just didn’t have the time. I plan on making them sometime this week, though! I have the absolute most awesome chocolate mold for them! I can’t wait to make them!

I’d say it was very successful meal. We ended up only watching The Sorcerer’s Stone on Saturday. I watched The Chamber of Secrets last night. I just finished re-reading The Deathly Hallows, and me and my boyfriend plan on watching The Prisoner of Azkaban tomorrow! We’re on a Potter-frenzy, I tell you!

I am so excited for Thursday night! Long live Harry Potter!

– Andrea

Harvest and Holiday Market

November 14, 2010

Yesterday morning, I got out to pick up some veggies at the Pepper Place Harvest and Holiday Market. Yesterday also happened to be mine and my boyfriend’s six-year anniversary. And I was still kind of thinking of what to make for our anniversary dinner all the while I was shopping. I knew I wanted to make Harry Potter-themed food, since we had planned to start re-watching the first six movies last night. I knew I wanted Butterbeer, a shepherd’s pie, and pumpkin pasties. But, other than that, I was just going to find something while I was out.

I had been meaning to visit the market when it started last month – this is the first year since I’ve known about Pepper Place that they’ve extended it into the autumn and winter months. But yesterday was the first Saturday I managed to go. I had been craving kale so badly the past few weeks, so I was planning on getting that while I was there. I figured I could saute some and call it Gillyweed 😀 Then I found some beautiful beets. I’ve only had beets a handful of times, but I decided to pick some up because they were just too pretty to leave there. I also purchased a head of lettuce for a Herbology salad.

My market purchases.

Head of lettuce, two bags of kale.

Aren’t they beautiful?!

I got a bunch of golden beets, as well as a bunch of candy cane beets, I think they’re called. When I say I’ve had beets a handful of times, I mean I’ve had the regular, old, red beets. I’ve never had either of these varieties. So I was pretty excited about trying them! I’m going to have to find a recipe for the beet greens, because I’ve never cooked them before and these are just too pretty to let go to waste! I think I might just saute them with garlic, salt, and pepper.

Good grief, I love non-fussy food!

– Andrea