Archive of ‘event’ category

Easter Meal

Gluten Free-Vegan Carrot Cake is frosted! Just have to add Reno's handmade decorations :) #vegan #gluten free

Carrot Cake

This past weekend we celebrated Easter. For me, as a non religious person, it’s just another food holiday, which are my favorite! I love making new and special meals to share with family. After a backyard Plastic Easter Egg Hunt for the kids I got to work in the kitchen preparing 2 dishes to bring to my Mother In Laws house. 

First up was a Gluten Free/Soy Free/Nut Free-Vegan Carrot Cake. We have some allergies in our family (!) and as the only vegan in the family I wanted to make sure we had a dessert that everyone could eat. I’ve never made a full size Gluten Free cake before so I was a little nervous at how it would come out. As is my nature I tend to not test new recipes out before hand for holidays or events. Its a terrible habit but one that I’ve been able to get away with and managed to get away with again…phew! The cake was a huge success! It was full of hand shredded carrots and a ton of spices. The spiciness of the cake was everyone’s favorite part of it. It was loaded with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. 

To decorate the cake I made a peachy pink vegan buttercream that I spread out as smooth as possible and piped some little decorations around the edge of the cake. I found some unsweetened coconut in my baking cabinet and sprinkled that on top. 

Our gluten free-vegan carrot cake with Reno's decorations! #vegan

Just before serving the cake my daughter and I added some handmade decorations that she made for the cake earlier in the day to make it more festive. It was adorable. I highly recommend letting your kids help decorate a cake with some of their drawings taped to long wooden skewers. 

My husbands Aunt declared that this cake will be her new birthday cake. She loved it that much and I will be happy to make it for her again. 

Easter Dinner: Seitan and Mushroom Roulade, asparagus and roasted veg #vegan

Seitan and Mushroom Roulade

For the vegetarian main entree I made a Seitan and Mushroom Roulade. I only had half a plan for this part of the meal. I know I was going to saute onions, seitan, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and spices and then deglaze the pan with tamari and red wine and then do something with filo dough. First I was going to make individual “cigars”. Then I was going to make individual wrapped pockets. In the end I didn’t have time for anything “individual” and a roulade was just to thing to speed things up! I saved some of the seitan simmering broth and we used that as a jus sauce. It was a nice a festive main entree. 

On my plate next to the roulade were Thyme Infused Spring Vegetables and Asian Sauteed Asparagus, both made by my mother. I didn’t eat a lot because I was saving room for the cake! Which we served with Trader Joe’s Soy Vanilla Ice Cream. It was the perfect Holiday Meal. 

Isa Live at City Winery, NYC

I'm starving. #isa #citywinery #isacitywinerynyc #vegan

Menu

When I first heard about Isa Chandra Moskowitz going on a culinary tour I knew that I had to go. I immediately posted on facebook seeing who would go and of course my vegan bestie, Dianne,  jumped on board and snatched up 4 tickets for the two of us and our husbands. My husband was a bit skeptical about the whole thing. He didn’t really understand what would actually be happening and quite frankly neither did I. I just knew I wanted to see Isa speak and eat her food. 

We arrived early and with ease. NYC on Superbowl Sunday is a ghost town. It was great! It was fun to just sit and chat and people watch. Waiting to see people we know in real life or recognize from online. 

1st Course at Isa Live in NYC #isacitywinerynyc #vegan #isalive

First Course

When it was time for the whole evening to officially start our first course was brought out. It was a Caesar Salad with Brussels Sprouts it came with grilled tofu, tahini caper dressing and pine nuts. Our plates unfortunately didn’t get any of the pine nuts. Through instagram I can tell that a lot of people did get pine nuts so it was just a mishap for us..I guess? Besides the missing pine nuts it was a delicious salad! The tofu was perfect. Just perfect. We aren’t big tofu eaters, especially my husband, and he even liked it. He also doesn’t like Brussels Sprouts but by the magic of Isa he enjoyed these. 

Second Course: Tamales #isalive #vegan #citywinerynyc

Second Course

This was the course I was looking forward to the most. The Tamale! I love tamales. Love them. I happened to also really love this tamale. Made with a lentil chorizo and served with guacamole and mole rojo. The menu said it came with a coconut sour cream but like the pine nuts…we didn’t get it. Besides the missing sour cream, like the pine nuts above, it was a great dish. The tamale had a perfect texture and the filling wasn’t overpowering. The guacamole was fresh tasting and the mole rojo had a great cinnamon flavor to it that mixed well with everything else on the plate. I wish I could have eaten another one!

Third Course: Chickpeas and Dumplings #vegan #isalive #isacitywinery

Third Course

Chickpeas and Dumpling, a creamy chickpea stew. It was a great dish for a snowy night. So comforting and warm. I’ll eat anything that has a dumpling in it. The secret to this dish, as demonstrated by Isa cooking on stage, was adding cashew cream to the stew. A favorite trick of mine to use at home. Cashews make everything better in my opinion.

Fourth Course: chocolate mousse cupcake #vegan #isalive

Fourth Course 

Of course the perfect way to end a meal is with a chocolate cake…or Isa’s Chocolate Mousse Cupcake.  A chocolate cupcake, chocolate mousse on top, coconut whipped cream and raspberry sauce. It doesn’t get any better. I will say that I found the cake to be very salty BUT I liked it. I don’t know if that was a mistake in the kitchen or intentional but I really liked it that way and would eat it that way again, happily!

Isa was of course her charming and beautiful self onstage. Telling us about each course, showing us how she made some of the components, answering questions from the crowd about cooking, her new restaurant Modern Love and beauty tips like how she gets her eyeliner so perfect. 

It was such a lovely evening with great friends, good food and no traffic while driving back to NJ in the snow storm that was just beginning as we left! I would do it all over again! Yay Isa!

(not pictured was the Wine Tasting Menu that both Dianne and I ordered. 4 wines. 1 for each dish.) 

Soup Swap

Dianne's Spicy Dahl and Carrot Soup

Spicy Dahl and Carrot Soup by Dianne

The idea of a food swap has always been intriguing to me. Last year I even secured some food swap themed URL’s in hopes of starting one locally. While that hasn’t happened yet, on my end, two friends of mine have recently held swaps. The first was a vegan/gluten free food swap at my friend Jen’s house. I came home with many quinoa dishes, a delicious hummus, a black rice, mushroom and lemongrass dish and a walnut sauce. I contributed coconut chocolates. I have no photographic evidence of this event at all or of any of the food I took home! 

A few weeks later my friend Dianne held a Soup Swap on National Soup Swap Day. This day I do have photographic evidence of..but of just the soups…I didn’t take pictures of the amazing appetizers Dianne served at her swap. 

Chef AJs Red Lentil Chili

Chef AJ’s Spicy Red Lentil Chili by Jen

Everyone in attendance brought 4 quarts of soup in four 1 quart containers…mostly mason jars. Since only 4 of us were able to attend we were each able to bring home one of each soup. Lucky us! 

I made my Quinoa, White Bean and Vegetable Tomato Soup, I’ll be sharing the recipe for it this week! 

Dianne made a Spicy Dahl and Carrot Soup with little baggies of Spiced Pumpkin Seeds. 

Jen made Chef AJ’s Spicy Red Lentil Chili with instructions to add scallions, hot sauce, salsa..etc..on top. 

Last but not least The Food Duo made a White Bean and Escarole Soup. 

White Bean and Escarole Soup www.good-good-things.com

White Bean and Escarole Soup by The Food Duo

My husband and I have since consumed all of the soups and each and every one was fantastic. Its great having friends who know how to cook! I would gladly eat all of these soups again and again. 

I’m looking forward to the next food swap I attend! 

 

Thanksgiving Desserts!

::Dusting off the cobwebs here::

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love ALL THE FOODS and ALL THE DESSERTS! I overeat like I’m at an all you can eat vegan buffet brunch. I’m in tremendous pain afterwards. Its both worth it and not worth it but I put in the extra time at the YMCA the day before and after.

This year both of my families (mine and my husbands) were celebrating together at my mother-in-laws house. It was a tight squeeze…my sister and I sat at the kids table..it was fun. I made most of the desserts this year. I went in the opposite direction of what is usually made by my husbands grandmother.

Instead of an apple pie I made a Tart Tatin from Terry Hope Romero’s book Vegan Eats World. It was my first time making this so I was nervous. It starts with an olive oil crust that is pressed into a tart pan and then frozen before baking. Thank goodness it was a pressed crust. I was not in the mood to wrestle with a rolled out crust! The apples were peeled, quartered, and cooked down in a vegan butter and sugar sauce that turned into a caramel that was later hit with some booze at the end. The tart was a complete success. It is definitely going to be my go to apple “pie” dessert. I topped my slice off with some So Delicious CocoWhip. That stuff was delicious!

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Instead of a pumpkin pie I made Pumpkin Donuts! I decided to go Donut over Pie for the kids. They wouldn’t have eaten either so this gave them something else to choose from. I’ve had a donut pan for years now and have never used it. I think I alway’s assumed donuts would be too labor intensive but cake donuts are as easy as cupcakes. They were really moist and delicious. I topped them with a chocolate ganache and sprinkles. I’m currently baking another batch of them for a Thanksgiving Potluck at my friends house.

marshmallow lollypops www.good-good-things.com

The last dessert I made with my 7 year old daughter. We had chocolate ganache left over from the donuts so we dipped Sweet and Sara Marshmallows, which we stuck a lollypop stick into them first, into the chocolate and then dipped them into either coconut or sprinkles. These were super cute and everyone had fun eating them! A dessert for all ages. 

Hope your Thanksgiving was full of awesome people, food and desserts! 

 

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

Dinosaur Birthday CakeSomehow 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.

vegan chocolate cakeThe 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.

 

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