So in the past couple of days I have not baked as much as I thought I would, though I still have some things planned which I will (I hope) get to today. But I have baked some goodies. Thankfully, I have also cooked some real meals so that we're not just constantly snacking on the sweet stuff!
First up, Double Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies from Vive Le Vegan! I made these as a gift for Bob's grandmother, who was kind enough to take us to lunch at the all-vegetarian Bluebird Cafe earlier this week (where I had one of the best veggie burgers I've ever tasted). If you have never tried these cookies, I really suggest that you do it soon, because they are so delicious. All the chocolate makes them taste really special. And I definitely recommend that you add the optional almond extract, if you can. I will be making another batch of these today--my parents would definitely appreciate this cookie, and I want to have plenty of goodies to share with them when we leave Friday to visit them.
Also on the baking front, I made Fatfree Vegan's recipe for Cherry-Walnut Banana Bread. This recipe is actually kind of special to me because it is the first recipe that I ever made that was purposefully vegan--I tried it waaay back in the spring, when I was just becoming vegan-curious (as I like to say), and Bob and I were just amazed at how tasty it was. A couple of days ago, when I realized I had three nearly black bananas sitting on the counter, I remembered that this recipe required three overripe bananas, and I needed no other reason to make this bread again. The bites of dried cherry are so sweet (even if you search high and low and get unsweetened dried cherries, as I did)--a nice contrast with the body of the bread, which is sweet but not overly sweet. The only thing I wish is that I had miniature loaf pans to bake these in--what a cute presentation for gift baskets! As it is, I will have to just share it in slices. Still not a bad arrangement.
As for more holiday baking, here is what I have planned.
1) Another batch of the Double Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies.
2) A batch of my favorite gingerbread cookies.
3) Some chocolate peppermint cookies that I found here (scroll down).
4) Some truffles akin to those that Urban Vegan posted about--if I can find a suitable recipe. These will be a gift for Bob's aunt. (Please, Bob's aunt, don't be reading this right now!)
5) This is ambitious, but if I have time I would really like to make a gingerbread loaf. I have not decided on a recipe to use yet.
Wow, even just thinking about all those sweets makes me crave nutritious food! Here is what I have made:
Lasagna that was based on another Fatfree Vegan recipe. I like to start with her recipe and then just do what I want with it. For example, I usually add a bit of lemon juice to the tofu "ricotta" mixture to give it a little tang. Also, in this particular instance I left the mushrooms out because I just don't often keep fresh mushrooms on hand unless I have something in mind for them already. I use whole wheat lasagna noodles--and the first time I made this, I was certainly a little skeptical about not cooking the noodles beforehand, but they truly do cook up just fine while the lasagna is in the oven. I sprinkled the top with Italian herbs and a couple tablespoons of Dragonfly's Bulk, Dry Uncheese Mix (which I always seem to have on hand).
I made my own sauce for the lasagna, just by first sautéeing a chopped onion and 3 cloves minced garlic in just a touch of olive oil (a teaspoon?), then adding 2 cans (the 29-ounce size) of crushed tomatoes and about 1 1/2 tablespoons of herbs--I used an Italian seasoning blend that contains basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and granulated garlic. We had steamed broccoli to accompany the lasagna, and it was a great meal--a good thing too, since the two of us get about four servings each from a pan of lasagna!
Lastly, a very simple, staple meal that is almost not blogworthy, but I will share it anyway. Bob grew up eating beans and rice very often, and he loves it. In fact, I recently asked him if there was anything he would like for me to cook that I don't really cook that often, and he immediately said he wanted more beans and rice--not even soups and stews and chili, just beans and rice.
That is fine with me--I love beans and rice too, and it is definitely a cheap way to eat. So last night we had pinto beans, brown rice, and garlicky kale for dinner. We both prefer black beans, but I had these pinto beans that needed a use. They just went into the crockpot for about eight hours, along with an onion, 3 cloves of garlic, some cayenne pepper, red chili flakes, sea salt, dried basil, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and lots of water. This made plenty to freeze as well, and I will certainly freeze a lot of it, since we're leaving Friday and will not be home until after Christmas.
I have been enjoying all of your blogs recently! I know everyone is busy this time of year, and I hope that you are all enjoying yourselves and your families. That's all for now--have a blessed day!