Archive for the ‘Valentine's Day’ Category

Valentine’s Day 2010 – The Sweets!

February 16, 2010

Valentine’s Day isn’t complete without chocolate and dessert! So, of course, I made way more than I should have.

Chocolate Ganache Tart

I used this recipe, substituting 1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk for the heavy cream. I also added rosewater, since I saw a similar recipe for a chocolate tart with it  included. But that made the tart (which otherwise would have been awesome) taste like crap. I actually threw the rest away after me and Jon split half a slice. And I never throw things like that away. But there’s no way I was going to eat the rest. Oh well. Lesson learned! At least it looked pretty.

Pecan Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Jam

I used this recipe, substituting margarine for the butter, Ener-G egg replacer for the egg, and raspberry jam insted of the cherry. THESE ARE SO GOOD. I had to add a bit of water to the dough to make it roll-able, but otherwise this recipe is fantastic.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Cupcakes are from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Icing is of a store-bought, vegan variety because I didn’t feel like making any. I used cinnamon candies and Valentine DOTS to decorate the cupcakes. Wait, what?! Valentine DOTS?!

Yes. You heard read me right: Valentine DOTS!

I love the new DOTS holiday-themed gumdrops. Sadly, I missed the opportunity to purchase and review the Christmas ones. Hopefully they’ll bring them back this year! But these Valentine DOTS are fantastic. Cherry, Vanilla, and Passion Fruit. Do flavors get any better than that? I mean, honestly. And the boxes are just so adorable. I mean, these don’t have bat gumdrops with orange slices for mouths, but they’re still cute.

And, last but not least…

Homemade Chocolates

I just can’t justify spending ridiculous amounts of money on vegan chocolates + shipping when I can make my own at home. This year I decided just to make my favorite flavors + one new kind. Cordial cherries, peanut butter, cherry creme (all favorites), and orange creme (new). I really like the orange creme! I’ll definitely make them again. They’ll be great for Halloween, too!

And that’s it. Valentine’s Day 2010.

I’m not sure if I’ll be doing anything special for Saint Patrick’s Day or not. We’ll see! Either way, Happy Holidays!

– Andrea

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Valentine’s Day 2010 – The Dinner!

February 15, 2010
Valentine I made for Jon out of a Gil Elvgren pin-up.

I hope everyone had a good Valentine’s Day! I know I did. My boyfriend, Jon, came over early and we exchanged cards and gifts. He got me Mary Poppins on DVD, and I got him a Disney gift card for our trip to Walt Disney World in May.

After that, I let him take a nap while I started making our dinner. Jon loves Olive Garden, so I had that in mind when I was coming up with the menu.  Our dinner consisted of the following:

Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

I used this recipe for Simple Vegan Pesto, and it was so good. This was my first time having and making pesto, and I can tell you it won’t be the last! I used Orecchiette pasta, and I roasted asparagus, red bell peppers, and portabella mushrooms with a little salt and pepper to toss in before serving. SO good!

Minestrone Soup

I used a copycat recipe for Olive Garden’s Minestrone. It was pretty darn close! Plus this is cheaper and makes a whole lot more! The only change I made was only using one can of great northern beans, and maybe a bit more of all the herbs and spices. Jon really liked the soup, so I was happy.

Heart-Shaped Puff Pastry Pinwheels

These are puff pastry sheets filled with spinach, sundried tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, brushed with margarine, and spinkled with salt. Ok, actually mine didn’t have salt. But I meant for them to! I rolled up both of the sides to meet in the middle, sliced the sheets, and shaped them like hearts. I thought they were cute 😀

After dinner, we washed the dishes and then went upstairs to watch movies:

We watched Star Wars Episode I:  The Phantom Menace, and some of Dumb and Dumber. It was a fun night!

I have to get ready for work, but I’ll post the rest of the stuff I made tonight!

Up next: Valentine’s Day Sweets!

– Andrea

Valentine’s Day Heart Banner and Plans

February 9, 2010

Valentine's Day Heart Banner

Look what I just made! 🙂 I think it’s pretty. I just took two, different-sized, heart-shaped cookie cutters and stenciled them onto red cardstock. I then cut out the hearts and taped them onto some fishing line. I know it’s simple, but it’s just so cute. You could also alternate between red and pink, pink and white, pink and purple, red and white, purple and white, etc.. Red is my favorite color for Valentine’s Day, though. (It’s classic!) So I just used red.

Earlier this week, I decided on my menu for Valentine’s Day. Every year, I make Jon dinner and a bunch of sweets and we exchange cards and (sometimes) gifts. This year we’ll be doing the same thing. Here’s what I’m planning on making:

Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables
Minestrone Soup
Italian Salad
Heart-shaped Puff Pastry Pinwheels

Pink Cupcakes with Laced Chocolate Hearts
Chocolate Ganache and Rosewater Tart
Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling
Assorted Filled Chocolates

Those are my plans right now. I’m still gathering up recipes and looking at some other crafts. I need to get in my Valentine’s Day box and see what all I can use this year. I still need to decorate, since all I have up is that banner.

We also might go see  Casablanca  at the Alabama Theatre on Saturday, depending on when I get off work, and if we can make it in time.

– Andrea

Valentine’s Day 2009

February 15, 2009

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day to celebrate love! To read about the holiday’s history, click here.

I like Valentine’s Day. Of course, I only like Valentine’s Day because I have an awesome boyfriend to celebrate it with. I also enjoy themeing my food 🙂 And with those two loves combined, I tend to go a bit overboard for this particular holiday. This year’s menu consisted of:

Beef-style Seitan with Chocolate-Rosemary Wine Sauce
Valentine’s Day 2009

Beef-style Seitan with a Chocolate-Rosemary Wine Sauce
Blanched Asparagus with Vegan Hollandaise Sauce
Red Pepper and Portabella Risotto
Carrot-Ginger Soup

Vanilla Cupcakes with Pink Icing
Heart-shaped Chocolate Brownies
Heart-shaped Shortbread Cookies
Homemade Chocolates

Beef-style Seitan with Chocolate-Rosemary Wine Sauce
Beef-style Seitan with Chocolate-Rosemary Wine Sauce

Beef-style Seitan with Chocolate-Rosemary Wine Sauce

For the seitan I used this recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen. The seitan turned out fantastic: Soft, chewy, just absolutely wonderful. For the sauce, I used this recipe from the Food Network website. The sauce is amazing. Don’t get ride of the vegetables you use to make it – they taste fantastic!

Homemade Seitan

1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 cup very cold water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated on a microplane grater
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Simmering Broth
10 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce

In a large bowl, mix together Vital Wheat Gluten Flour and nutritional yeast flakes. In a seperate bowl, mix together reamining ingredients: water or veg broth, soy sauce. tomato paste, garlic, lemon zest.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine with a firm spatula, knead dough for about 3 minutes until a spongy, elastic dough is formed. Let dough rest for a couple of minutes and prepare your broth, but don’t start boiling it.

Now roll your dough into a log shape about 8 inches long and cut into 3 equal sized pieces. Place the pieces in the broth. It is important that the water/broth be very cold when you add the dough, it helps with the texture and ensures that it doesn’t fall apart. Partially cover the pot (leave a little space for steam to escape) and bring to a boil.

When the water has come to a boil set the heat to low and gently simmer for an hour, turning the peices every now and again.

Now you’ve got gluten. Let it cool in the simmering broth for at least a half an hour. It is best if it cools completely.

What you do next depends on the recipe you are using. If it calls for gluten use it as is. If you want to store some of it for later use put it in a sealable container covered in the simmering broth

Chocolate-Rosemary Wine Sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 cups dry red wine (I used red wine vinegar and vegetable broth))
2 cups low-sodium beef broth (I used no-beef broth)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, carrot and celery and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the wine and broth and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan. Stir in the cocoa and rosemary and season with salt and pepper.

Valentines Day 2009 - The sides
Valentine’s Day 2009 – The sides

Red Pepper and Portabella Risotto

*Will add soon!

 

Blanched Asparagus with Vegan Hollandaise Sauce

This hollandaise recipe is from the April 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine. It is SO good. Hold back on the cayenne if your boyfriend/girlfriend is sensitive to spice, like mine is.

1 bunch asparagus, stems trimmed
1/2 C silken tofu
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP nutritonal yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp turmeric
2 TBSP corn oil (I use vegetable oil)

Heat tofu on a plate in mircrowave for 30-45 seconds, or until warmed through. Transfer to food processor (or blender), and add lemon juice, nutritonal yeast, salt, cayenne, and turmeric. Pulse until smooth and well combined. With food processor (or blender) running, add oil in a steady steam to finish sauce.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Serve with hollandaise sauce.

Carrot-Ginger Soup
Carrot-Ginger Soup

Carrot-Ginger Soup

 This next veganized recipe is from Boma, a restaurant at the Animal Kingdom Lodge inside Walt Disney World. I add both fresh and powdered ginger to mine, which can spice it up a bit. So use a little less (like 1 TBSP of the fresh) for a milder (and absolutely awesome) taste. This recipe makes just enough for 2 large or 4 small servings.

1 1/4 C carrots, peeled, and chopped
1 C water
1/4 C sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 TSBP fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 C soymilk
1 1/2 TBSP margarine

Roux:
2 TBSP margarine
2 TBSP flour

In a medium-size pot, combine carrots, 1 C water, sugar, and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a smmer and cook until carrots are soft. Using a food processor or a blender, puree carrot mixture until smooth.

Rinse out pan, and use it to make the roux. Melt margarine over medium heat. Slowly add in the flour to make a paste. Cook until incorporated and add in the soymilk and the 1 1/2 TBSP margarine. Whisk together until margarine melts, and roux begins to thicken the soup. Once thick, add carrot puree and whisk until combined and heated through.

I usually make sweets a day or two before a holiday, since they’re the most time-consuming. This holiday was no exception.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Pink Icing
Vanilla Cupcakes with Pink Icing

Vanilla Cupcakes with Pink Icing

Cupcakes recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Icing was store-bought, dyed pink.

Heart-shaped Chocolate Brownies

Heart-shaped Chocolate Brownies

Heart-shaped Chocolate Brownies

This recipe was posted by iswari in the vegancooking community on Livejournal.com. It’s my favorite vegan brownie recipe so far! Instead of cutting into squares, I used a small, heart-shaped cookie cutter for mine.

1/2 C Earth Balance Buttery Spread, softened
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
4 tsp Ener-G egg replacer + 6 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C cocoa powder
1 1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 C vegan chocolate chips
3/4 C chopped pecans (optional)

Cream together the Earth Balance and sugars.
Add the egg replacer and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Add the baking powder, salt, cocoa powder and flour and beat until just combined. Stir in the nuts (if using) and chocolate chips.
Spread into a 9″ square pan (I greased the sides and lined the bottom with parchment). Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Heart-shaped Shortbread Cookies

Heart-shaped Shortbread Cookies

Heart-Shaped Shortbread Cookies

Another winning recipe from MarthaStewart.com.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (margarine)
3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil or pure vegetable shortening

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until combined. On slow speed, beat in flour and salt until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 2 hours, or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until 1/16-to-1/8 inch thick. Cut out hearts with a 2-inch heart cookie cutter. Transfer cookies to an ungreased baking sheet; chill for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 300 degrees with a rack in the center. Press the tines of a fork into each cookie to make designs. Bake until just beginning to brown around the edges, about 18 minutes. (Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.)

In the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Stir in the oil. Dip half or one third of each cookie into the chocolate mixture. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to dry, or place them on a piece of parchment paper in the freezer for 10 minutes. Serve

Homemade Chocolates

Homemade Chocolates

Homemade Chocolates

*Recipe coming soon!