Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Did you know that it snows in Colorado?

Blizzard beginnings, from my bedroom window

Just when I thought spring had finally sprung here in Denver, we were hit by a blizzard. Being a native Floridian, blizzards have always seemed something of a myth to me, simply a hyperbolic way to describe, you know, a bunch of snow. Turns out they really exist, and once my husband made it back from work after being sent home early and braving the interstate, we had a cozy day lazing about with our dog and watching the snow pile up outside.

Two days later and just in time for the weekend, the roads were clear and the sun was out, so we went with some friends to have amazing vegan pho at Pho Duy.

Between the sun and nice, hot bowls of pho, we were sufficiently thawed to take a spur-of-the-moment detour for some ice cream at Sweet Action, a new ice cream parlor on Broadway. (I'm still incredulous of the fact that I now live somewhere where I don't have to drive an hour to get decent vegan food at a restaurant, much less be able to impulsively stop for ice cream at an ice cream shop.) All of their ice cream is homemade and they always have a couple of vegan flavors, as well as honkin' vegan ice cream sandwiches in their freezer.
Vegan ice cream sammich and a cup of coffee, with coconut lemongrass ice cream hiding out in the background

I have always generally tried to cook healthful meals based around whole foods, but I've been focusing on this even more lately in an effort to combat all of the less-than-wholesome foods we've been eating out. (Pizza, milkshakes, and seitan buffalo wings, anyone?) On the baking front, I'm toying with a few recipes but none are quite ready to be revealed to the masses*.

*My three readers

I'll leave you with some recent testers from Isa and Terry's upcoming Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.
Naked figs, chopped and ready to be made into...

Soft Whole Wheat Fig Bars (these put any store-bought fig bar to shame)

Big Fat Rice Krispy Squares - just like your mom used to make for your class in elementary school. Except, you know, without the ground up cow bones.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Banana Butterscotch Bars (or something)

So I haven't quite gotten the name worked out, but these fudgy 'nana bars boast just the right amount of sweetness and spice and are topped with a generous sprinkle of butterscotch chips. Perfect with a cup of coffee and not terribly bad for your health, either. Here in Denver I can obtain virtually every vegan baking chip imaginable at East Side Kosher Deli, but if you're not lucky enough to have access to the elusive joy that is vegan butterscotch chips, you can substitute chocolate chips or just omit them altogether.

1 overripe banana, mashed well
1/4 c applesauce
1/4 c non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp canola oil
1/4 c + 2 tbsp brown sugar
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp vegan butterscotch chips (chocolate or white chocolate will also do, but b-scotch is the best, yo)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, add the wet ingredients and sugar to the mashed banana, and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and combine. Spread into a lightly-oiled 8x8 inch pan and sprinkle with the chips. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until they pass the toothpick test. Don't over bake lest your bars become dry and cakey rather than moist and fudgy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

C is for Cookie (and Cake...and...Cale?)

Grapefruit icebox cookies from the the cookie test kitchen.

It's that time again, wherein I inundate you with some of the latest goodies from Isa and Terry's upcoming vegan cookie book.
Carrot raisin spice chewies, made into sandwiches with Better than Cream Cheese frosting

More Swedish chocolate Balls, as they were quite the hit in Shawn's office.

Espresso fudge brownies - best brownies ever. Yeah, I said it.

Since what this post obviously needs is more sweets, here's the birthday cake I recently made for my friend Abbie:
Vanilla Kittee cake brushed with coffee, frosted and filled with coffee buttercream and bittersweet chocolate ganache. Thanks to Mel for the inspiration.

The requisite money shot

And, because I actually do eat real food despite what one may infer from the content of this blog, here are some greens with beans and polenta, plus some tomatoes and wine and garlic and other stuff that I can't really remember:
I could live off of kale and polenta, and I kind of do.