After dinner Wednesday I was sitting on the couch thinking to myself, "I want to make cupcakes
. But I also want to make bread
. And, hey, I have some super ripe bananas
, too. I should make banana bread as well." But that sounded like way too much work for a weeknight (I think you'll agree) and as I sat and pondered which of these things I would like more, Chris mentioned that the growler she had filled with beer
from the Drafthouse wasn't getting used enough and would soon go flat, something more awesome and even more wonderful sounding sprang into my mind.
I've never seen beer and bananas combined, but the idea sounded amazing to me that night. And I already had purchased vegan cream cheese to make frosting for cupcakes. So far, this all sounded intriguing, but there was another element I felt it needed. After a few moments, I sat upright on the sofa, turned to Chris and exclaimed, "beer banana sheet cake with whisky cream cheese frosting!"
And in a flash, I was kitchen bound. Not a minute too soon, either, as I didn't find myself enjoying a piece until 9:30 that night. Phew!
I based this recipe on the one for Best-Ever Banana Bread found in my cookbook, Vegan Glass Jar Goodies
, which includes nine other fantastic and tasty recipes for vegan baked goods and other delicacies which can be prepared by oneself or given to others as gifts, in jars of course. I decreased the liquid in my original recipe somewhat and added 1/2 cup of Chris's beer. The frosting made just enough, and I'm so pleased with it I might use the recipe for any and every other type of cake I make in the future. I love me some whisky. Neither flavor is overwhelming. I would say, it tastes very similar to their original versions- just BETTER. I think you should try it out and see what you think. So, here you go.
Beer Banana Sheet Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cups turbinado sugar
2 very ripe mashed bananas
1/4 cup soymilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup beer
Walnut or pecan pieces, optional
In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the soymilk, vegetable oil, and beer and whisk together. Add the dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon. Pour the batter into a lightly oiled 8x8 baking dish and place in a 350 degree preheated oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Don't frost the cake if warm!
Vegan Whisky Cream Cheese Frosting
3 tablespoons plain vegan cream cheese
1 tablespoon vegan butter
2 tablespoons whisky
1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar
Add the cream cheese substitute and vegan butter to a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30-45 seconds until they begin to soften, then whisk until smooth and creamy. Add the whisky and mix again. Slowly add your powdered sugar, sifting as you do, to ensure your frosting is not clumpy. Mix with a handheld mixer until sugar is incorporated. If desired, you can microwave the whisky with the cream cheese sub and butter, to bake off some of the alcoholic content. Pour the frosting onto the center of the cooled cake and then smooth over the top with a silicon or rubber spatula. Cut into pieces and enjoy!
Makes 12 square sized servings.
Other bits and pieces
Aside from cooking with booze more often, I've been spending a lot of free time researching new cuisines and techniques and formulating an attack plan for future posts. I intend to launch a YouTube channel at the end of the month
and will be broadening my blog's subject matter to include more than just original recipes. I'm really looking forward to it! As for personal stuff, Chris and I will be two of the thousands of people at the Paul McCartney
concert this Wednesday (so excited!) and will be visiting her family
next weekend over the Memorial Day weekend. We also had an adventure with a stray cat this month. If you follow me on Instagram
you'll have seen the photos of "Porchy" before. After befriending her at the beginning of May, we became pretty friendly and after petting her for a bit it occurred to us that she was pregnant. After a couple of weeks, we found her a foster family
and are hoping for all the best for her and her kittens. She was a very sweet girl and it was heartbreaking for me to give her to someone else
. I think about her often and truly wish she finds a better life than what she had before.
As usual, thanks for reading! <3
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I love quinoa. It's low in calories and high in protein, is easy to make, and is also extremely versatile. I used to make a soup back in high school using quinoa, vegetable broth, tomatoes, and Tofurky sausage. I loved it. I've since lost the recipe. This is my attempt to recreate it.
2 small to medium shallots, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups quinoa
16 oz. can diced tomatoes with chipotle peppers
1 Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cube
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup tomato sauce
2 Tofurky sun-dried tomato sausagesDIRECTIONS
Saute the onion and green pepper in a small amount of oil in a large pot until tender. Rinse the dry quinoa in a mesh strainer, a little bit at a time, and then add it and the tomatoes, water, and bouillon to the pot. Increase the heat and add your spices and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice your sausage into rounds (or into half moon shapes) and fry in a bit of oil until brown on each side.
When the quinoa is cooked and the chili has thickened, add the sausage pieces and stir.
Makes 6-8 servings.
Cornbread Focaccia Bread
Here's a bonus recipe for you! This cornbread focaccia was wonderful. We ended up finishing it before we finished the chili...
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 cup olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup masa harina corn flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
A pinch of crushed red pepper
Add the yeast to the warm water and let stand for 10 minutes. Add the oil and sugar. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add the watery yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough becomes thick. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead for five minutes.
Roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 9-12 inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Lightly poke a spiral of small holes in the dough, not very deep, evenly around the round. Brush with some olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown! Cut into 8 wedges and enjoy.
Want to try something else?
When I first learned how easy it is to make, I used to bake focaccia all the time. I've been thinking a lot about my expenses lately and how much I would LOVE to make most of my bread at home. It would save tons of money (as I am a bread fiend). While I was pondering this, it occurred to me that focaccia might make a great crust for pizza! And on Tuesday night, that's exactly what I tried out.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, focaccia is a very simple but incredibly tasty bread that requires very little time to rise and can be made with only kneading once. It makes a great accompaniment to pasta dishes when cut into pieces and is even wonderful as breakfast with a bit of vegan butter spread on top of a warm slice. It is also extremely versatile and can be made with herbs and spices baked into it. You could even probably find some at your local grocery store bakery covered in asiago cheese and olives.
But let's not do that. Instead, try this recipe I adapted from Vegetarian Soups For All the Seasons
and use it to make a pizza crust. Top with your favorite vegan cheese(s) and vegetables. We used marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, hothouse tomato slices, and mozzarella Daiya cheese. It was heaven.
1 package of active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (around 110 degrees)
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1/8 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 shakes red pepper flakes
Freshly ground salt
Olive oil, for brushing the top
Add the yeast to the warm water and let sit for five minutes. Add the oil and sugar to the yeast mixture and let sit while you mix your dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and red pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the wet ingredients and mix with your spoon until the dough starts to stick. Then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until combined. Knead for an additional five minutes. If the dough remains sticky, add more flour a little bit at a time.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper. Flatten and smooth with a rolling pin into a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough, still on the paper, to a cookie or baking sheet. Let the round rise in a warm place for 40 minutes. I boiled 4 cups of water and poured it into a glass baking dish, put the dish in the oven on the bottom rack, and put the cookie sheet with the dough on the middle rack. It seemed to work really well as in times past I have made focaccias that rose very little. This one got nice and puffy and fantastic.
When the rising time is up, remove the two dishes from the oven and switch it on to 400 degrees. Brush the round with a very small amount of olive oil and season with freshly ground salt. Add a thin layer of cheese, your toppings, and sprinkle with a little bit more cheese. If your toppings are on the wetter side, I recommend removing excess liquid by pressing them between paper towels. I did this with both the tomatoes and artichoke hearts. I did NOT want a soggy dough. And I didn't get one! Ha-ha!
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the edges of the crust are golden and your cheese is considerably melty!
Makes 8 slices, approximately 4 servings.
We've come a long way, baby! When I first went vegan, I couldn't get vegan cheese in the grocery store. And when I could finally get my hands on some, I thought it tasted gross on top of the fact that it didn't melt. Thankfully, this is no longer the case! Companies like Daiya
and Galaxy Foods
have several flavors of vegan cheese respectively, and they all taste pretty good! Talk about making being vegan easier. Now we can have our pizza
and be vegan
A few weeks ago, I received an email from Hodgson Mill
about entering their Build A Better Pizza competition
. The premise was pretty simple; create a recipe for pizza crust using at least 50% whole wheat flour, share your recipe with the world, and submit it to Hodgson Mill to maybe win some prizes. In exchange for my participation, I received a box of flours, cornmeal, and yeast that I could use to create my recipe as well as an offer for a gift pack
of Hodgson Mill goodies for a lucky reader. In fact, the portion I received for the competition was enough for me to make several pizzas. A part of me wanted very much to make several crusts and pick my favorite, but considering that my time is precious and my partner is trying to lose weight, I decided to stick with the fabulous crust I made on my first try. And, sticking to my Vegan Mofo theme, it's EASY! Woo hoo!
Whole wheat flour is better for you than "all-purpose" in a number of ways. It's slightly lower in calories, higher in fiber, and higher in calcium. When I saw the contest required the crust consist of 50% whole wheat flour, I was concerned my crust would end up being really dense or crunchy. It was actually very light and moist. I hope you like it.
Rustic Whole Wheat Garlic & Herb Pizza
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 package Hodgson Mill active dry yeast
1 cup Hodgson Mill whole wheat flour
1 cup Hodgson Mill all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Hodgson Mill cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced
Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Red onion, diced
Sliced black olives
Daiya vegan mozzerella DIRECTIONS
Warm the water in the microwave for 30 seconds. Check the temperature with a thermometer to make sure it's between 105 and 120 degrees. Add the sugar to the water, stir, and then add the active dry yeast. Let bubble and brew for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the remaining dough ingredients. Pour the yeast mixture into the center of the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until it begins to clump. Then finish mixing and knead your dough for about five minutes, making sure that all of the floury goodness gets absorbed into the giant ball of dough!
Split the dough into two equally sized portions and roll into smooth balls. Let each ball of dough rise in a lightly oiled bowl covered with a towel and set in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour. You may not see much of a difference in the size of the dough, but the texture changes considerably.
While your dough is rising, prepare your "sauce." Combine the olive oil and sliced garlic in a small bowl. This will allow the garlic oil and flavor to seep into the olive oil. Mmm!
When it's ready, roll one ball of dough flat using a rolling pin and on top of a large piece of parchment paper. Brush the pizza crust lightly with olive oil from your infusion, then add half of the cloves to the crust. Sprinkle lightly with cheese, add the listed toppings as you see fit, and then add a bit more cheese. If you haven't tried vegan cheese before, you don't need to use as much as you would with "real" cheese. This is my opinion, but I feel like the flavor is stronger and it melts in a more consistent way. Less cheese works better, in my experience.
Place your parchment paper with pizza on top directly on the middle rack of your preheated, 400 degree oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the edges of your crust are brown. If desired, broil for a minute or two in order to give the top of your pizza that nice crisp bite. Let cool for a few moments before cutting and serving. Less cheese will stick to your pizza cutter (and therefore more cheese winds up in your stomach!). Then bake your second pizza.
This recipe makes 2 medium pizzas, enough for three to four people with modest appetites or suitable for two people who really like to eat!
I was really impressed with both the texture and flavor of my crust. And the toppings I chose are simply my favorites. If you'd like to try making the crust with different toppings and sauce, I'm sure the result will be just as delicious.
Keep an eye out for when the competition goes live! I'll be needing your votes to help me win. And don't forget to enter to win your own box of Hodgson Mill goodies. For a look at the prizes, check out the giveaway post here.
I hope you try out this recipe. You just might discover that making pizza from scratch isn't all that challenging. It's a great way to be healthier AND save money. Whose to complain about that?
Thanks for reading!
If you like this one you'll like these, too!
I spent many, many hours in the kitchen yesterday. I started with dehydrating some apples. From there, I moved on to attempting to make three different things, none of which turned out very good. It was awful; never have I had so many failures in one day. I made spiced nuts and green chai tea mix, which are recipes I'm developing for my next book
, Vegan Gifts In A Jar.
The nuts were just about as flavorful as they were without anything on them at all and my green tea leaves ended up being infused with jasmine, which overpowered all of the other flavors in the chai. Ick! After that, I attempted to make a recipe for a gluten-free flatbread with which to eat burgers that evening. I didn't have all the right ingredients and, without genuine surprise, I ended up with crumbs instead of bread.
But after that, things improved a little. I made quinoa veggie burgers- nothing special, but definitely edible. Too time consuming to recommend you make them, though, and, like I said, they really weren't all that great. I think I'll be sticking with bean based burgers from here on out. Definitely easier to make, and tastier, too. And I have a couple of extra cans of chickpeas in the pantry already! Woo hoo!
The one and only fantastic
success of the day were the gluten-free biscuits I made to go with our burger patties. I found the recipe on Whole New Mom. Both Chris and I were pleased with the results- the biscuits were flavorful and they did not crumble like so many other types of gluten-free baked goods. We didn't try slicing them in half, but I imagine it just might work if I tried... We used them like
buns (see above) if you were to have an open-faced burger or sandwich. They were easy to make, too. So, without further ado, here's the recipe.Adapted from Whole New Mom's "Quick Drop Biscuits."INGREDIENTS
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour
1 cup corn flour (I used masa harina)
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
6 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oilDIRECTIONS
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil two cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
Add the 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar to a glass measuring cup. On top of the vinegar, fill to the 2 cup line with soymilk. Let curdle, then add the 3 tablespoons oil. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl because you could have pockets of flours still hiding down there!
Separate the dough into 8 dollops onto the cookie sheets and shape into thick, round biscuits. Alternatively, you can make smaller biscuits. I like to call the ones I made "meal sized" (they'd be great with butter or jam for breakfast!).
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Check with a toothpick to ensure they've baked through.
Makes 8 large biscuits or up to 20 small ones.
There they are, in the distance.... Hahaha.
In other news, my new camera seems to be taking a tour of the midwest. Its estimated delivery date is the 24th. I don't know if you can see it from the pictures above, but I'm having more and more trouble with my current SLR. I've also been contemplating pushing my self-imposed publishing deadlines for Vegan Gifts In A Jar and Vegan Cake Truffles back 1 or 2 months considering all of the difficulty I've been having with recipe development. I don't want to, but I would rather present a great product than and okay one that suffered due to time constraints. I guess we'll see...
Thanks for reading!
Oh! How about dessert?
Last week, I decided to go all out for dinner. Earlier in the day, I made vegan chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Then I made a gluten-free vegan focaccia bread to accompany our lentil soup entree for the evening. Unfortunately, I didn't pay as close attention to what I was throwing into the standing mixer as I should have... But I got the original inspiration for the recipe from this website
I'm pretty sure I didn't change it too
much, but I know I used some oat flour instead of all rice flour. I also used baking powder instead of xanthan gum. I ended up adding apple cider vinegar instead of agave (I was out). And the final result was really, really good. A lot better than I expected.
In the days since it came out of the oven, though, the cider has overpowered the rest of the bread's flavors. I'll be experimenting with making gluten-free focaccia more in the future, and I'll be sure to keep better notes on what I did when I do! But look how pretty....
I couldn't stop taking pictures of it!!
If you need a gluten-free vegan recipe for focaccia in the meantime, definitely check out Manifest Vegan's version
like I did.