Uncategorized · What's Cooking

Love and Unrest

Unless you live in a cave underground, I’m sure you all know what’s been happening lately. The murder of George Floyd. The protests. The riots. All over the world people are fighting for equality and against racism and police brutality. There is so much heaviness, sadness, and anger that I just don’t know what to say. Every time I read another headline in the news I can’t help but ask myself “How did we get here? How did we let it get this bad?” While I don’t consider myself racist by any means, it’s hard not to feel guilty for all the injustice that has happened in this country for hundreds of years now.

It is not okay.

I’ve been doing my own part in helping to spread awareness of the issue, donating money, and speaking out whenever I can. You don’t have to be in the middle of the protests to take part in the action. (If you aren’t sure how, click here for some ideas.) It’s been mentally draining, to say the least, because no matter what I do it feels like it will never be enough.

I took the day off work on Friday to get some things done at home and to try to relax. As I often do during stressful times, I decided to bake something. I had some frozen berries hanging around in the freezer, so I pulled them out and decided to make scones. The recipe I used came from The Curious Chickpea. It’s a simple, yet reliable one. The only differences I made to the recipe was that I used both raspberries and blueberries and created a beet glaze to drizzle over the top. The flavor of the beet powder didn’t come through too much, but it did add a beautiful color to the finished product.

Baking always gives me a sense of peace and happiness, which is why it is one of my favorite hobbies. Every time I step into the kitchen to bake something I pour a lot of love into whatever I’m making. I know plenty of you can relate.

Can you imagine what kind of world we could live in, how much better off we would be, if we all poured that same love and energy into supporting others?

#blacklivesmatter

Dessert · What's Cooking

Fudgy Wudgy Vegan Brownies

Have you ever taken a bite of a dessert and thought “Wow, this is way too chocolatey and ooey gooey?”

Yeah, neither have I.

Earlier this week I came across a recipe that Hannah from the Bittersweet blog shared on her Instagram. It was a recipe for brownies that use aquafaba. If you are new to veganism or have somehow just missed the memo: aquafaba is the magical juice that you get from a can of chickpeas. (Yes, that stuff you normally strain out and dump down the drain. Stop doing that, alright?) Aquafaba has some similar properties to egg whites and can be whipped up like meringue or folded directly into batters to create all kinds of desserts that are normally difficult to veganize. I’ve even seen some people using it to create mayonnaise, but I haven’t personally tried that one yet. This was my first time using aquafaba in brownies before and I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

If Fuzzy Wuzzy had a brother named Fudgy Wudgy, he would love these brownies.

What are some of your other favorite uses for aquafaba? Even more importantly, are you a fudgy or cakey brownie person?

What's Cooking

A Day of Happy Food

Life is extra chaotic for some people right now as they try to juggle the stress of working from home and trying to take care of kids. For some, it’s stressful because they’ve lost their jobs and are feeling super depressed. Wherever we fall on the spectrum, I think you’ll agree that we all need to take more time to do nice things for ourselves. Earlier this week I decided that I needed to have another “happy foods” day as a nice, fun little way to treat myself. (You may have seen me do this on Instagram a few times now.)

What is “happy foods” day, you ask? It’s simple: You spend the whole day eating and preparing foods that make you super happy. Because why not? We all deserve a little happiness and what better way to bring a smile to your face than to eat meals we enjoy?

My day started like most others, with a huge mug of green tea and a creamy bowl of oatmeal topped with fruit, nut butter, and a little dark chocolate. Oats are one of my favorite things to eat (any time, not just at breakfast), so I always try to start my day with a big bowl of this healthy, happy deliciousness.

Lunch was a quinoa-veggie bowl from my favorite local deli. It was packed with layers and layer of quinoa, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, tofu, greens, and eggplant “bacon.” This is one of my favorite things to order when I go there because everything is so fresh and flavorful. (Plus, they give you enough for like 2 meals.)

As an afternoon snack I decided to play with my new NutriBullet and try a recipe I found on Pinterest for vegan Snickers bars. I had to modify the recipe a bit and ended up making mini candy bites instead of full bars. It was a messy project that I probably won’t repeat, but I was still happy with how they turned out.

For dinner, I made noodles…again. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been hitting the noodles pretty hard these last few weeks. (Carbs = love) A staple of mine is to make soba noodles and toss them with tofu and veggies cooked in a spicy Korean sauce. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s always comforting.

Overall, it was a pretty nice day. There were plenty of things outside of my control, but at least I had a full belly and a few reasons to smile.

Do you guys ever have “happy foods” days? If so, what does the day look like for you?

Dessert · Recipes · What's Cooking

Cookieception (aka Vegan Cookie Dough Balls)

Now that I’m working mostly from home I am finding myself wandering to the kitchen to graze more than usual. I mean, it’s just too easy when your home office (and by office, I mean couch) is literally 15 feet away from the refrigerator. And you know what? It’s fine. We’re all living through a stressful time right now. There’s no point in beating myself up over something like too many snacks, especially considering how much I love snacks. 🙂

I’ve been doing my best to keep a good balance in my diet lately. It’s fine to crave and eat junk food, but I know that if I just sit around eating Oreos all day that I’m probably not going to feel great. That’s where all the healthy snack and dessert recipes that I’ve been hoarding for years on Pinterest have come in handy.

Several versions of vegan cookie dough ball recipes have shown up in my feed lately, meaning that some great higher power is telling me that I need to eat raw cookie dough. (Which I did a few days ago…not the healthy version, like this recipe, either. Just straight up cookie dough out of the freezer. Don’t judge me.) This afternoon I decided to play around a bit and make a “healthier” cookie dough recipe that I can snack on throughout the week. I used the recipe posted recently on Sweet Simple Vegan for my starting point, with some tweaks here and there. Instead of using all nut butter, I actually used a mix of peanut butter and Biscoff spread to give it more of a cookie-like taste. (Since I used a cookie spread inside a cookie dough recipe, is that cookieception?) The spreads I used were thicker than a lot of nut butters, so I had to adjust the amounts of some of the other ingredients I used. For a first time attempt I am super happy with the way these turned out.

Now…how do I actually make them last until the end of the week? 😛

Cookieception Balls (aka Vegan Cookie Dough Balls)

3-4 TBSP maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like things)

2 TBSP peanut butter

2 TBSP Biscoff spread

1 tsp melted coconut oil

1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup oat flour

1/4 tsp maca powder (optional)

1/4 tsp salt

Water, as needed (I used about 1 TBSP)

Chocolate chips (About 1.5 – 2 TBSP. Just measure it with your heart.)

  • Combine maple syrup, peanut butter, Biscoff, coconut oil and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk until wet ingredients are well combined.
  • Add oat flour, maca (if using), and salt to the wet ingredients. Stir until well combined and a soft dough begins to form. If your dough is thick, you may want to knead the flour in by hand to get it well incorporated. Add water, a little at a time, to moisten dough if it’s too dry or crumbly.
  • Stir/knead in chocolate chips.
  • Roll into small balls (I got 10) and place on parchment paper.
  • Pop in the fridge for at least half an hour to chill. (Keep store in the fridge, if you don’t eat them all in one sitting.)

What's Cooking

Eating During the Time of Quarantine

Hello, friends! Thanks for checking out my blog and my first post. Originally, when I decided to create this blog, my first post was going to be about my journey back to veganism and a more eco-friendly lifestyle. But, we can talk more about all of that later, I guess. It feels somewhat inconsequential to talk about any major lifestyle changes at the moment, given everything going on in the world with COVID-19. For now, let’s just talk about some of the things I’ve been whipping up in the kitchen during quarantine.

I was cooking quite a bit before COVID hit, but I’ll admit that I ordered takeout food at least 2-3 times a week, usually on days I didn’t pack anything for lunch. Being the busy people that we are, I’m sure a lot of you were in the same boat. When we had to start staying home, I half expected myself to get sick of cooking pretty quickly. “At least I can still order food to-go or get food delivered to the house,” I thought. Surprisingly, I’ve only ordered takeout a handful of times in the last 5-6 weeks. Every weekend Boyfriend and I try to pick a local restaurant that we like and support them by ordering takeout. My daily tea/coffee runs have diminished to once a week, which has probably been an even bigger adjustment for me than cooking all my meals at home. I’m finding that I don’t even mind it that much. Staying in has forced me to be more creative, not only because ingredients are limited, but so I don’t run out of ideas and end up eating the same thing day after day.

I’ve been trying out lots of recipes from my favorite food bloggers, YouTubers, and cookbooks. Lately, I’ve been really into cooking Korean-inspired meals, as Korean food is one of my favorites.

There’s also been plenty of baking happening, as well. I bake a lot as it is, but considering everything that’s been going on, I’ve ramped things up. (Anyone else stress baking like crazy?) There have been cookies, breads, cakes, cobblers, and candies appearing on my counter at least three times a week…which is why I’ll be calling my quarantine memoir, Land of a Thousand Carbs.

What kinds of things have you all been making lately? Are you sick of cooking yet?