Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooky Carrot cupcakes

Happy Halloween everyone! =)

In order to celebrate Halloween and getting my sweet tooth fix on, I had to bake another round of cupcakes today! No, it's not containing pumpkin this time.. but carrots! :D 

I turned to Isa Chandra's wonderful Vegan Cupcakes take over the world
and found the perfect recipe!
Since I grated a bit too many carrots, I doubled the recipe and just altered a few ingredients a bit.
I only got 18 cupcakes out of everything though, not as one would think 24.. Maybe the cupcakes are supposed to be smaller than I make mine.. either way, they taste great! Moist and fluffy!

Instead of re-posting the recipe, I can simply tell you that a Google search led me to this site Carrot Cake Cupcakes  (in case you don't have the book -which I'd really recommend to get! ;-) ).

The frosting was leftover from the cookies last week. Look here =)
It worked perfectly and the kids were happy to see more Halloween-ish colors, of course!

The eyeballs weren't vegan but used for my son's sake, so me and my girl just picked ours off and gave them to him! ;-) [Weren't so many left anyway! *lol*]

Modifications to the original recipe:

~* Spooky Carrot Cupcakes *~
 18 servings

*2 c of carrots (instead of 1c )
*1/2 c soft Silken tofu instead of soy yogurt
*a bit less than 1/3 c of coconut oil (instead of vegetable oil)
*1 c vegan sugar [2/3 white, 1/3 brown]
*1 1/4 c all purpose flour, unbleached

The rest stays unmodified! ;-)


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another cupcake, another pumpkin! :)

I've made these cupcakes twice already and can't believe I've missed to blog about them!!! They are soo good, you'll love them!
They're Isa Chandra's Pumpkin Pie Brownie recipe, just adapted into cupcakes. =)

 Now have a look at how they turned out and tell me you're not drooling! *lol*


After! ;-)

I couldn't tell you the nutritional value right now, I have to do the math..
But I'd say if you have 2 (you can't stand on one leg! *lol*) you'll be fine!
It's a fairly healthy treat compared to what else is out there for Halloween!

Guten Appetit! =)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hurry up Alfredo!

Two blog posts in a row today, wow, I know! *lol*
It's actually bed time for me here in Italy, but before I catch my 'beauty sleep', I just have to post about another awesome success of tonight's dinner!!!
Other online vegan friends have told me so much about that 'Hurry up Alfredo' sauce already, but due to the lack of cashews, I was never able to make it!..
...Until today since my shipment from finally came in! *yay*
I immediately got to work... and what can I say!? It tasted phenomenal!!! [Very much approved and raved about by the Hubby, which is always a great sign!]

Credits go to Vegan Yum Yum
A big "Thank you!"

If you'd like the recipe, just click on the link to VYY's site and you'll see it!
I know, it'll for sure be a staple in our house from now on! =)

Guten Appetit & gute Nacht! :)

Dinner rolls with a twist

 I absolutely love bread in any form! (Carbs in general actually; pasta, pizza, potatoes.. bring it on! *lol*) There's nothing better than the smell and taste of a fresh baked bread or roll. ;-) 

In my vegetarian days I found a recipe for dinner rolls that were absolutely delicious! (Well.. I probably wouldn't think so now anymore due to the heavy butter taste.. But aside from that they were nice and fluffy and just yummy!) 
Since having become a vegan I never attempted to make them again but was thinking I should try one day!..
Sure enough, Vegan Dad already came up with an awesome recipe which I had to try ASAP! (He's got tons of other great recipes!!!) 

I cut the amount in half as I didn't need so many rolls but left the original recipe intact otherwise. They tasted amazing!!! Soft and fluffy... seriously, who needs eggs and butter!?

If you'd like the recipe, please just follow my link by clicking on 'Vegan Dad'! =)

Credits go to Vegan Dad
[Clearly my rolls aren't as beautiful looking as his *blush*, but the taste was great none the less!]


Waiting for a treat! =)
-And yes, believe it or not, Tommy [on the right] actually eats bread, rolls, chickpeas and any other kind of bean! He's not a normal cat! *lol*

Monday, October 24, 2011

Skinny Pumpkin Oatmeal Squares

After having tried Lee's Pumpkin Peanut butter Oatmeal Squares almost as soon as she posted the recipe, I had it in my mind to play with the recipe a bit. I absolutely love them!!
But I admit, I wanted to cut the calories & fat per square down a bit as 1 is never enough for me (what a glutton I am, I know! *lol*) but 2 would be too much with almost 500 calories! 
Yes, I know, if I'd keep it to just 1 square it would be fine as a snack or quick breakfast on the go.. But I wanted to alter it a bit none the less, for those days where I want to eat 2 and don't have to feel guilty! ;) so here it goes:

~* Skinny Pumpkin Oatmeal Squares *~ 
Makes 12 smaller squares

*1 c pumpkin puree
*1 c almond milk (or any other plant milk)
*2 c oats 
*1 Tbsp coconut oil 
*1/2 c sugar (brown)
*1 tsp vanilla extract
*1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
*1/2 c dark chocolate chips [optional]

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C)
Line a 8x8 [or 9x9] square cake pan with wax paper and spray with oil.
Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl until everything is mixed well.
Pour into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. 
Let it cool before slicing it.

Nutritional info
per square (1 out of 12)104 calories, 2.4 g fat, 1.2 sat fat, 23 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 2 g protein

If only cutting it into 9 squares: 139 calories, 3.3 g fat, 
1.6 sat fat, 30 g carbs, 2.7 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 2.6 g protein

 Guten Appetit! =)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thai dinner and cookies

No, those 2 things don't go together in one meal!  But I made them in one day and both were a great success!!!
Actually, I know, I'm long overdue with posting another recipe, so here goes a little overload! ;-)

With Halloween coming up next week, I felt it was time to make some festive cookies -much to the delight of my two kids! *lol*
I've been using this recipe for vegan sugar cookies for a few years now, long before I even became a 'fullgrown' vegan and it never disappointed!
It's from 'Vegan Family Favorites' by Erin Pavlina, another great vegan cookbook!

I've modified the recipe a bit since I actually love using coconut oil in baked goods (I get the 54 oz Nutiva organic extra virgin coconut oil) and it looks as follows.

~* Modified Vegan Sugar Cookies *~


*3/4 c coconut oil 
*3/4 c sugar
*Egg replacer for 2 eggs (flax seeds or Ener-G)
*1/4 tsp vanilla extract
*2 1/2 c flour
*1 tsp salt
*1 tsp baking powder

*2-3 Tbsp soy, almond or any plant milk
*Dash of salt
*1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*1 1/2-2 c powdered sugar
*3 Tbsp coconut oil or vegan butter [I've done frostings without this and it worked just as well!]
*Add coloring if you wish


1) Mix oil and sugar in a mixing bowl, add vanilla and egg replacer
2) Sift flour and baking powder, add the salt
3) Gently mix dry ingredients with the wet ones until it forms a soft dough
4)Cover with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge between 2-4 hrs or even over night. [You might have to take it out a bit in advance before wanting to make the cookies as the dough will be hard as a brick!]
5) Preheat oven to 350 F degrees (180 C)
6) Roll out dough to desired thickness and use cookie cutters to form shapes
7) Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for ~8-10 minutes. Let them cook on a rack.

Once the cookies are cooled, beat the frosting ingredients; adding the milk until it's reached the desired consistency.
Spread it on the cooled cookies, adding sprinkles or other deco, 
done! =)

Fresh out of the oven :)

I didn't take pics of the frosted cookies as they honestly didn't look soo pretty anymore after my kids got their hands on with decorating them in purple and orange frosting *lol*, but the taste was good and they had fun, that's all that matters, right? =)


Next I have to post about my great Thai dinner, which was a first for me!
Believe it or not, I never ate out in a Thai restaurant before! (I was once in Thailand as a child, but honestly can't remember and doubt at that age I ate anything else but hamburgers and fries..*blush*)
I was always intrigued when I read about Peanut Noodles so I finally grabbed a package of Phillipine 'Pancit' noodles and created a dish!

 ~* Spicy Peanut Noodles with Smoky Tofu *~


*1 Package of Pancit noodles
*1/2 c Peanut butter
*1 Tbsp sesame oil
*1 Tbsp soy sauce
*2 Tbsp lime juice
*2-3 Tbsp chili garlic sauce 

*1 Package firm tofu, drained & pressed [I had mine frozen and then defrosted]
*1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
*2 Tbsp sugar
*2 Tbsp soy sauce
*1/4 tsp liquid smoke
*1 Tbsp nutritional yeast


1)Soak Pancit noodles for 5-10 minutes in a bowl of cold water.
2) Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan, add the soaked noodles, fry for a few minutes
3) Prepare the peanut butter sauce with the sesame oil, lime juice and garlic chili sauce.
4) Once the noodles are fried, toss with the spicy peanut butter sauce.

For the tofu:
1) Preheat oven to 425 F (~220 C) degrees 
2) Cut the tofu in strips length-wise so that you have slim 'cutlets'
3) Mix the lemon juice, sugar, soy sauce, liquid smoke and nutritional yeast together and brush each 'cutlet' from both sides carefully
4) Place on a baking sheet covered with a nonstick mat [I assume parchment paper would work as well] and bake for ~20 minutes, then flip them and bake for another 10 minutes.
The cutlets should be brown but not burned, obviously.

The tofu absorbed a lot of the marinade, so it might be advisable to actually double the recipe! 
I'll have to play around with it and see how I can create some form of 'glaze'.. (If you know how, please share your secret with me!!! :) ) Over all it was really tasty and I look forward to having it on my sandwich tomorrow, together with some eggplant that I roasted today as well!

I served the tofu together with the Pancit noodles as well as some sugar snap peas and my husband wouldn't stop raving about it! :D

No pics of the entire dish, the family was too fast and hungry! =)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The 3 C's... Chocolate Chip Cookies!

It's about time I'm blogging about this recipe!
I've made it the other day for the first time and my entire family raved about it!
Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies!? Actually, that's another thing I really only started to familiar with once my husband introduced me to it! In Germany we have tons of other cookies, but I don't think the chocolate chip ones are famous.. at least not when I lived there (I grew up in many other countries and have been living abroad now for so long, I sometimes can't really remember!).

Anyway, after having splurged on quite a few (one could also say a lot.. depending if you count several shipments from Amazon all together! *lol*) new vegan cookbooks, I had to try one in particular when I had a major sweet tooth going on!
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's chocolate chip cookies from 
'The Joy of Vegan Baking'
I alternated the recipe a bit and got 2 dozen cookies out of it instead of only 1 dozen. (They're still big!)

~* Colleen's Chocolate Chip Cookies *~
Yield: 2 dozen

*4 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer [I used 2 Tbsp flax seeds, 1 Tbsp cornstarch + 6 Tbsp water]
*1 cup vegan butter [I used 3/4 c coconut oil]
*3/4 c white sugar [I cut it down to 1/2 c]
*3/4 c firmly packed brown or light brown sugar[cut down to 1/2c]
*2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
*1 tsp baking soda
*1-2 c nondairy semisweet chocolate chips [1 c for me]
*1 c chopped nuts, optional [I had none]

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C for 15 minutes. If using a non stick pan greasing is not necessary, otherwise use parchment paper to line the cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the vegan butter [or coco oil], granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.
  3. In a food processor/blender whip together the egg replacer powder and water together [same goes if you use flax seeds], until it’s thick and creamy. Add this mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, combine thoroughly.
  4. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the wet mixture until it begins to form a dough.
  6. When it is almost thoroughly combined stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
  7. I greased a tablespoon to scoop the dough and drop it easily onto the baking sheet.
  8. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. [Mine took a little longer]
  9. Let stand for 2 minutes on the baking sheet itself. Then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely before storing


Guten Appetit! =)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pumpkin Curry with Red Lentils

A few other vegans from a group on Goodreads, Vegan_Cooking_Cookbooks & I have come up with the idea to have a little cooking challenge, all of us using one main ingredient, for which the pumpkin was chosen.
I will add the links to the other members' blogs later on as well, so you can see more pumpkin dishes! ;-) 

I've never cooked savory foods with pumpkin, so I was intrigued to come up with a dish!
After spending a while online and surfing through a couple of recipes, I found one that looked just perfect!  ;-) I absolutely love my other Chickpea Curry, so the idea of making a curry with pumpkin sounded perfect! 

I don't know what this pumpkin is called exactly, but after my kids were so disgusted by its look with all the 'pimples', it's now called a "Pimply Pumpkin" in our household *lol*

Pumpkin Curry with Red Lentils

*1 small pumpkin 
*3-4 carrots, diced
*1 onion, diced
*~1 tsp of minced garlic or 1 clove of fresh garlic
*1 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
*1 c red lentils
*~3-5 c vegetable broth (or water)
*1 can of (lite) Coconut milk
*1 Tbsp curry powder
*Salt, pepper, celery salt to taste

Step 1) Rub pumpkin with olive oil and some kosher salt and put in the oven at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for ~20 mins or until an inserted knife comes out easily
Step 2) While the pumpkin is in the oven, dice the onion and add to a heated pan [I used my pressure cooker] with the EVOO until they look glassy (~5 min). Add the garlic and let it cook for another minute.
Step 3) Add the diced carrot together with the curry powder to the onion-garlic mix, maybe a splash of water, and mix around. Let the mix cook for another minute or so.
Step 4) Add the red lentils and broth (you might need more then 3 cups possibly), close the lid of your pan [or in my case pressure cooker] and let everything cook until lentils and the carrots are done. [For the pressure cooker it only takes a few minutes, ~5]
Step 5) Once everything is cooked, add the coconut milk (I scoop the top part off and use it in order to get the thick part), taste and voila! :)
Serve with Couscous or Basmati rice (I prefer the latter but we didn't have any anymore so I used couscous).

Guten Appetit! =)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vino Italiano and other impressions

I accompanied my 1st grader on a class trip today to a vinyard/farm, so this post won't contain any recipes but just a few pictures I wanted to share. :)
The kids got to stomp some grapes themselves, which they had a lot of fun doing, of course.

I didn't ask if the wine from the vinyard is actually vegan...
To be honest, I didn't want to stick out more than I felt I already did (a bit) after having mentioned to a few other moms that I'm vegan...[On a positive note though, the reaction I got was quite positive!]
I won't go into the farm part, containing chickens, geese and a few goats.. Let's just say they didn't look very happy...


This actually made me laugh; only in Italy do you get to see that kind of
food pyramid! *lol*
[The kids got each a piece of plastic food that they were asked to put in the proper category, which a few still mixed up, as you can see. ;-) ]

Loooove the colors!!!
It's like a little piece of foliage that we otherwise don't get here in Sicily!

My kind of food! ;-)

And just in case you wonder, what it is in the round 'windows'...

To my question, why they are there: "It's art!"
Ok then... ;-)


I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures!
The next blog post will be about my cooked food, including recipes again! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Comfort food!

What's the first dish that comes to your mind when you hear 'Comfort food'?
Mine is Mac 'n Cheese, hands down! Which is funny, considering I never even heard of it until 11 years ago when I met my husband and he introduced me to it! (Back then it was the Kraft box kind.. and I couldn't understand how anyone could like this chemically tasting stuff! *lol*) 
Since then we have moved away from the box kind, thankfully, and after having had the vegetarian version many times [until I became vegan], I now finally dared to venture out and find vegan recipes for my Nr.1 Comfort food! =)

I've tried quite a few and probably will always be up for testing out new/other ones, but Susan Voisin (another great woman known to most of us in the vegan world, from Fat Free Vegan) has got me hooked on her recipe!!!

I added just a little bit more vegan margarine for my personal taste, together with a good whirl of fresh black pepper and veggie salt.
I could eat this easily 3x per week! ;-)

Thank you, Susan, for sharing this recipe with the rest of us!


Wanna tell me what's your comfort food? I'm all ears, especially if it's vegan! :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hillbilly Banana Bread and home made rice milk

I know, I've been slacking a bit in posting dishes and recipes daily... 
My apologies! 
Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will")  happened to be going on for us these past days, so needless to say, I wasn't in the best mood to take pics of food or even talk about food..
Which is actually kinda sad as I've made (for the '100th' time) a real yummy Curry that tasted sooo good and I wish would have taken the time to get a snapshot at least!.. Oh well.. I'm sure we'll have it again soon!

For today I'm posting a quick recipe for home made rice milk as well as a veganized version of a banana bread found on Hillbilly Housewife  

It's called My best banana bread
My veganization:

*I've cut down the sugar to 2/3 
*Instead of margarine or corn oil I used coconut oil.
* I just used ~1/2 c water with a splash of lemon juice due to not having any OJ
* I added my last soy yogurt [which needed to be eaten anyway] since I only had 2 ripe bananas
* Also I had to use 'Valencia Orange zests' ~1 Tbsp for this mix as there was no orange in sight here. 
*I used whole wheat for the entire amount of 2.5 c of flour
The results.. I couldn't taste anything orange-y at all, so most likely it would have been best using real OJ and maybe a teeny tiny bit more sugar.. I'll try it with the OJ alone first though.

It's not the best pic, but you get the idea.

As for the Rice milk it's really very simple but might not be everyone's taste!
(Personally I'm not a big fan of it either, but my Hubby and daughter like it. My son doesn't even wanna try it! *lol*)

How to make your own rice milk:
Cook rice in the pot (I'm on a Basmati kick lately), when it's ready to pour the rice in a strainer, collect the water!
Let it cool down, pour through a smaller strainer (there's a little gelatinous glob forming in the cooled down 'milk' for whatever reason..), add a bit of sugar (or not), vanilla flavoring (again, or not) and voila.
Your own home made rice milk! ;-)  

An award!? For me?

You can't even imagine my surprise and joy when I read a comment from
 The Vegan Tummy who announced, that I have been chosen for an award, called the 'Liebster Award'! 
Thank you so much!!! xo I truly feel honored!!!

"Liebster" is German and means 'dearest' or 'beloved' but it can also mean 'favorite'. =)
The idea behind this award is to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers and show some support.

The rules of winning this award are as follows:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

3. Post the award on your blog.

4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!

Again a big 'Thank you' to The Vegan Tummy ! Please make sure to visit her great blog! You won't regret it! :)

And now to my 5 picks:

These are all wonderful blogs, check them out for yourself! =)


Sunday, October 9, 2011

More pumpkin, please!

After having 'scored' 5 cans (those were the last ones and I admit, I had the slight panic we might never get any again for this year, so I had to be a 'hamster' and get them all! *lol*) of canned pumpkin yesterday at the shop on base, I had to do something with pumpkin, 
naturally! ;-)

And since I still had the big sweet tooth, cookies came to mind!
Being a big fan of Isa's work (I think, we all know whom I'm talking about! For those, who are not familiar with her, I mean Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of many vegan amazing cookbooks) I had to try her recipe posted on PPK
for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies!

The result: They taste amazing!!!
Thank you, Isa, again for such an awesome recipe!!! =)


And though it's not cooking related, this is how Mt. Etna looked like yesterday while I was baking the cookies and had a look out of our window. (Well, actually I have to get out of the house and step onto the sidewalk, but still..)
It looked cooler in real life.. the dark smoke colliding with the white clouds.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vegan Cheesecake

Alright guys and girls,  who ever might be reading my blog, thanks for your patience after yesterday's post with my announcement of making a vegan cheesecake!
I'm happy to present you the results...

Hubby's comment was "It has potential" *lol* while the biggest shocker for me was that not only my daughter liking it (she loves food in general most of the time) but my son who is the pickiest of picky eaters!!! He asked for a second piece later in the day!!! =)

Ok, without further ado, here's the recipe:

~* Vegan Cheesecake *~

*Graham cracker ready-made 9" pie crust or make your own
*1 1/2 boxes of packed (Mori-Nu) firm silken tofu
*1/2 c soy milk [I only had almond milk]
*1/2 c sugar (vegan, obviously)
*1 Tbsp vanilla extract
*2 Tbsp lemon juice
*1 tsp lemon zest (I had none but should have!)
*2 Tbsp flour
*1/4 c maple syrup (I only had table syrup *blush*)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
2) In a blender combine all ingredients 
Blend until smooth and pour into pie crust
3) Bake for ~30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, 
refrigerate until chilled.

! Some notes of advice ! 
I only had 1 pck of firm silken tofu and the other one was soft. It did work so-so ok, but I'm sure with both packs being the firm ones, it'd have been a little less runny!
I'm not sure if the use of soy or any other plant milk makes a difference, but I'm sure using table syrup instead of the 'real deal' does!
I also only used 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and had no zest.. but I think a bit more lemon juice + zest would have improved the flavor!
I added some canned cherries just to 'spice up' the picture a bit..otherwise it's not my 'cup of tea', personally.

Being a cheesecake lover of both, the German as well as of the American version, I'm pretty happy with the outcome of my 1st try! ;-)

Bon Appetit!