Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Discovery!

We were really excited to find a couple new types of dairy free yogurt at our grocery store this week. Little Sprout #1 loves yogurt and eats it just about every day. I think it's great, but sometimes I wish there was a soy free option. She is not crazy about the coconut variety, but this new stuff we all loved! Brilliant! Yogurt made from almond milk, and sweetened with fruit juice - which I LOVE! I'm always so annoyed that I can't find a sugar free, nondairy yogurt. This tastes so good. We tried strawberry, blueberry, and cherry. All amazing. I was never a fan of soy yogurts myself, but this stuff, oh yum! It's really, really good. My only complaint is that it isn't organic, which I'll admit is a bummer - but maybe if enough people buy it and want an organic option they'll make one! I'm hopeful.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sweet Things

February is sweet things month at our house, what with Valentine's Day and both my brother's birthdays following each other. We have been eating much less sweet things in general, so we did go a little crazy last month, but I had to get it all out of my system. Plus, I never baked and decorated holiday cookies with my little sprout who loves to bake back in December. I felt guilty about it all January, so Valentine's Day was the perfect time to make it up to her.

We took the delightful little book called Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero out of our library and all our cookie type treats were made from it. I think I need to but this one to have on the shelf. I'd really use it, and I don't think they'll let me renew it again. I honestly loved everything we made.

For Valentine treats we made the much asked for Roll-And-Cut Sugar Cookies. I wasn't too sure about these at first. The dough seemed more like frosting to me and I couldn't imagine being able to cut it into shapes, but after it did it's time in the fridge it was just right. We made so many little hearts and quite a few big ones. We made the confectioner's icing and tinted it light pink. Then my little sprout had a blast decorating with various sprinkles and colored sugars. They were beautiful and delicious. They were the first vegan sugar cookie that did not disappoint me. This recipe alone would make me want the book, but we made so many more! We made the Chocolate-Bottom Macaroons, for the Little Sprout's Daddy. They were perfect. I never thought I'd eat a macaroon again! We made Big Fat Rice Squares, Little Sprout #1 loved these quite a bit. They don't use nut butter, which is unusual in a vegan crispy rice treat. We made the No-Bake Pecan Chocolates, which reminded me a lot of a praline, yum! And of course, we dipped strawberries in chocolate. Just once a year, and we gave away tons as Valentine gifts - so we didn't eat them all.

From this book we also made Little Sprout's uncle some peanut butter treats for birthday presents. He was the happy recipient of Peanut Butter Crisscrosses, which I cooked a bit too long and would like another shot at, Peanut Butter Blondies, these were so amazing. Very rich and totally peanut buttery and fuggy. And the best of all, Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows. I put these off for last because they sounded labor intensive to me, but they were really easy. It was like the inside of a peanut butter cup encased in a brownie, only a million times better. I have had dreams about these since making them and am very glad they went to their new home before I broke down and ate them all myself.

I finally made the Chocolate Chip Cookies yesterday. I've been searching for a really good vegan chocolate chip cookie for years. I need search no more. These were everything I've been longing for. Like toll house cookies, like cookies my mom made when I was a kid, like real, regular chocolate chip cookies you could give to anybody and not have them be able to tell they are vegan. But happily they are! However, these cookies were devoured by the 3 of us who eat cookies in just one afternoon, and so we really need to give this book back now, before more damage is done. Although I still want to try the Macadamia Ginger Crunch Drops, The Sweet Wine Biscuits With Sesame, the Magical Coconut Cookie Bars, the Linzertorte Thumbprint Cookies, Old Fashioned Pie-Plate Shortbread, and at least some of the amazing sounding biscotti . Little Sprout #1 wants to try the Ooh La Las, which look like an Oreo type cookie, but sound much better. And I still haven't delved into the chapter on wholesome cookies, which all looked wonderful too. Oh my. This book has everything I could ask for in a cookie book, and we loved it all. I now have some really good vegan cookies I can make when company comes over or we need a cookie type thing to bring somewhere.

And also, as we had a couple birthdays, I got out my cupcake book by the same ladies. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The world is such an awesome little book. Like the cookie book, everything I've made from it has been a hit. Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake is my go to recipe. I am always happy with it. I used it again this time, and I topped the little cakes with Peanut Butter cream and Rich Chocolate Ganache Topping.

So that was the February madness at our house. March is here, spring cleaning is upon us. I'll take this darling cookie book back to the library for someone else to have a turn playing with it and we will be making much healthier things around here, at least until the summer birthdays are upon us. Surely some cupcakes will be baked then. I am feeling a brunch kick coming on. I am currently fascinated with Isa's Vegan Brunch book. Yes, from the library too. I just love that my library has all these books that I want to own.  Libraries are one of the best things in the world, really, they are.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup white sugar
2/3 Cup canola oil
1/4 Cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tablespoon tapioca flour
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two large baking sheets
2. Combine sugars, oil, almond milk, and tapioca flour in a bowl. Use a strong fork and mix well for 2 minutes until mixture resembles smooth caramel. Mix in the vanilla
3. Add 1 Cup of flour, the baking soda, and the salt. Mix well. Mix in rest of the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. The dough will be a little stiff so use your hands to really work the chips in.
4. Roll the dough into balls the size of ping-pong balls. flatten them out in your hands and place on baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes. bake until just brown around the edges. Let cool for 5 minutes then cool on wire racks.