Somehow my youngest just turned 3 years old the the other day. Everything about his birthday had to involve dinosaurs. From the decorations, the presents, his clothes and even his cake. He is ridiculously and adorably obsessed. He really wanted his party to take place at the local Dinosaur Park, yes there really is one, but we will do that trip on a later date. His party took place on our deck for about 10 minutes and then due to torrential rain we moved it into our basement.
He went back and forth on what type of cake he wanted. First it was just vanilla. Then chocolate. Then both and at last a dinosaur cake. I went with “both and dinosaur cake. I made a basic 2 layer chocolate cake using a recipe from the cookbook: Have Your Cake and Vegan Too by Kris Holechek from the nomnomnom blog. The frosting I threw together myself. Just the usual Earth Balance, powdered sugar, vanilla..etc..frosting. After frosting the cake I plopped on his favorite dinosaur and made a quick banner to make it a touch more festive.
The cake itself was amazing. So moist and incredibly delicious. I took a risk by making a recipe I never made before and it paid off. A week later some non vegan guests were still raving about this cake! This is my new go to chocolate cake recipe and it should be yours as well.
Most importantly the birthday boy was so happy with it. There was a dinosaur on it! So thrilling to a 3 year old! My birthday is coming up next and I will be making my own cake. This one! Maybe with a dinosaur on it.
Vegan Heritage Press was kind enough to send me a copy of Robin Robertson’s book Nut Butter Universe. I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t expecting much from this book just by the title alone. I think like a lot of people I’ve talked to I just had images of only nut butter recipes in my head. Let me tell you that I was pleasantly surprised when I read through this book. It’s definitely not just nut butter recipes! Its chapter after chapter of amazing sounding recipes along with a few beautiful photographs of some of the dishes. After reading through all the recipes and making notes on which ones I wanted to try I ended up with more then 10 recipes on that list! I didn’t know where to start but I narrowed it down to 2 recipes to try over this past weekend and the rest will have to wait until later this week.
Double Dare Peanut Butter Cake
One of the first recipes that stood out for me was the Double Dare Peanut Butter Cake. I am a peanut butter fiend and this recipe promised a peanut butter cake AND a peanut butter frosting. I had my 2 year old son help with the cake batter while my daughter was in school. When she came home from school I had her help me with the frosting. Both kids had a lot of fun in the kitchen that day and I was happy to have them help.
The cake batter is very thick. Its not pourable like other cake recipes but it baked just fine. The frosting recipe was incredibly easy to make. You dump everything into a food processor, blend and refrigerate for an hour so it can set up a bit. While my daughter and I were frosting the cake the directions said it was optional to top with chocolate curls. We only had chocolate chips and they weren’t very nice looking due to the hot weather. I decided to make a quick ganache by melting the chips with a touch of almond milk and swirl it into the peanut butter frosting. I put some of the extra frosting into a pasty bag and piped some stars all along the edge of the cake. My daughter wanted the big star in the middle and I think it was a brilliant decorating decision on her part.
We ate the cake after dinner with my parents. It received rave reviews! My daughter want’s it to be her birthday cake. My husband ate 2 pieces. He doesn’t usually like cakes. My parents have offered to taste test the cake again tonight. My husbands cousin wants me to make it for her BBQ this Saturday. I will definitely be making this cake over and over again!
Apple Almond Butter Pancakes
These pancakes were made for a Sunday morning treat. Easy to make and delicious. Apples and almond butter a favorite combo of mine and I knew these pancakes would be great. I did alter some of the pancakes for my daughter who was screaming about me putting apples in them. Before I added the apples to the batter I poured 3 pancakes onto the griddle and added chocolate chips into them minus the apples. She happily devoured them. The rest of us ate them with the apples added. My favorite thing about them and most of the recipes in this book is the added protein the nut butters add to each dish. I liked that my children ate these and got something more then they would have if I just made traditional pancakes. We will be making these a lot come apple season this fall.
I am so happy I gave this book a chance. I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to try all of the other recipes I bookmarked.
Last week my friend Dianne aka VeggieGirl headed into NYC to attend a book signing for Chloe Coscarelli’s new vegan dessert book. It was held at the Natural Gourmet. It was weird sitting in the same room that I took my cooking exams in when I was a student in their Chef’s Training Program. The small space was packed. We were lucky to get a seat right up front. Chloe came in. Answered some questions. Gave away a few gift bags (I WON ONE OF THEM!) and then signed some books. We got to nibble on some recipes from her new book. The donut was my favorite! I can’t wait to get to my hands dirty baking from this new book. Everything looks wonderful.
Thai Chicken Wrap, Butterfinger Shake
Before the book signing we went straight to Terri, which is a few blocks away from the school. Dianne and I both chose the Thai Chicken Wrap which is made with vegan chicken, mixed peppers and a peanut sauce. The peanut sauce was really good but had a slow burn to it. It didn’t notice it until you were halfway done. I kinda like when that happens. Dianne was smart and bought a pressed juice to drink. I was crazy and ordered my favorite Butterfinger Shake. I ended up tossing it on the way to the signing. It was too cold out to be drinking a milkshake! I’ll just wait until it warms up again before ordering one again.
Tickets to a show!
On Friday I had tickets to see Eddie Izzard in NYC. VeggieGirl and VeggieGuy were going and my husband and I were suppose to go. Peter ended up staying home with the kids because of the rare occasion that we didn’t have family members available to watch the kids. I ended up bringing my sister with me which worked out for the best anyway since she is a much bigger Eddie Izzard fan then my husband is. It was a tiny theater and it was amazing. This is the 3rd time I’ve seen him and the 1st in such a small setting. It was definitely the best show of his I’ve been to.
Braised Tempeh in a Lemon, Thyme and Caper Sauce
I received a review copy of Dreena Burton’s newest cookbook Let Them Eat Vegan a few weeks ago. Upon my first quick “flip through” of the book I knew that this was going to be a great cookbook. When I did my official look through of the book, when the kids were in bed, I immediately started bookmarking recipes. A LOT OF RECIPES! It got so bad, in a good way, that I didn’t even know where to start and what to make first. I finally settled on the recipe for Braised Tempeh in a Lemon, Thyme and Caper Sauce. I love love love the combo of lemon, thyme and capers and I wanted to include more Tempeh in our diets for variety so this became the obvious choice to start with. First thing…this recipe alone is worth the price of this book. It was so easy to make. Its a great way to have a fancy type dinner in the middle or your busy work week. I was able to make this while my 10 month old was getting into all sorts of trouble in the kitchen cabinets, then I was able to spend some time at the park with my husband and daughter and then we came home and had this delicious meal! Restaurant style food at home. Its wonderful! I served it with some white rice and sauteed spinach. Three of us loved the recipe: myself, my husband and 10 month old Miles. One of us did not: my daughter Reno..but that was to be expected. Tempeh is something she’s has never eaten before so I cooked her up some Gardein Crispy Tenders and she ate the rice and spinach that accompanied our meal.
Three’s Company Pie
Dessert! This must be one of the easiest pies’s I’ve ever made. It reminded me of my favorite Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Banana Smoothie that I make Reno and I for breakfast sometimes..minus the spinach we add to the drink. Much like my smoothie recipe you blend peanut butter, banana’s, cocoa powder with melted chocolate chips and a few other ingredients, pour it into a pie shell and then bake it. Topped off with slice banana, peanuts and some cocoa powder. Its amazing. I wish I had taken a picture of what the inside of the pie looked like. It was beautiful. Really. I brought the pie over to my Mother in laws for Sunday dessert and it was a hit. I will definitely be making this again.
So I’m basically in love with this book. In my opinion it is Dreena’s best book yet and I can’t wait to cook from it again. I have a lot of recipes that I want to try from it!
Chinese Sticky Rice with Seitan Sausage Crumbles
I have been having so much fun testing recipes for Terry Hope Romero’s next cookbook. Everything has been amazing so far. I can’t wait for the book to come out.
My favorite recipe that I’ve tested so far has been the Chinese Sticky Rice with Seitan Sausage Crumbles, which is really 2 recipes in one. I made the Seitan Crumbles one day and the Sticky Rice the next. The Seitan Sausage Crumbles on their own were addicting. I was happy that the Sticky Rice recipe only called for about 1/2 a recipe of the Crumbles because I think I ate about 1/2 a recipe of crumbles before I even started making the rice recipe. I can taste them now while typing this all out. Good thing I’m making the recipe again this weekend at Peter’s request. I think he liked this recipe even more then I did.
Seitan, Almond and Sesame Tagine
Meat and Potatoes, vegan and Moroccan style! This tagine is the perfect winter meal. I wouldn’t mind being stuck in my house all weekend due to a blizzard with a big pot of this tagine waiting to be eaten. It was the perfect combination of savory and sweet that I love in a meal.
Coriander Seitan Cutlets
I made this tester recipe to use in the Tagine above. I love spiced seitan recipes, which is why I use a lot of cumin in my own. The use of coriander in this recipe is perfect. As usual, when these were finished cooking, Reno and I promptly ate one of the cutlets as is. Reno declared them to be “delicious!”.
Again…I can’t wait for this cookbook to be released to the world. Its going to be amazing!