Link Love

I have a terrible habit…

I open a ZILLION tabs on my computer.

And I try to limit it to one window… using Google Chrome so I can still see all of the tabs. But then, Stephen comes along & doesn’t want to mess with my messy tabby window & opens a new window. I can blame him, right? : ) And then I open a zillion more tabs. I’m not going to lie to you… I have 6 windows open & multiple tabs in each.

Now here’s the thing… almost all of the tabs are RECIPES I WANT TO TRY.

So this post is all about Recipe Link Love so I can close some of those tabs!!

Some of these recipes are old… from searches of foodgawker for “tofu” or “lemon.”

Some of these recipes are new… from blogs I stalk all the time or something I stumbled on.

Either way, I want to try them all!!!

“Mini Artisan Bread Rolls” from While He Was Out

Which would taste warm & yummy dipped in this…

“Potato Leek Soup” from Scandi Foodie

Which would be an excellent first course to this…

“Spicy Sausage with Red Beans & Rice” from This Can’t be Vegan

Which would taste wonderful with a side of…

“Sweet Corn Cake” from Healthy Happy Life

Which could be desert all by itself or followed by some decadence with…

“Brioche” from Have Cake, Will Travel

Now, here’s my other terrible habit…

I’ll probably only try like 1 out of 6 of these recipes.

And the tabs will stay open until I have a sudden “clean up” mood OR my laptop spontaneously restarts itself OR the browser freezes and I have to “force quit.”

Cheers to bad habits!!

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Irish Cream & Cupcakes

This post comes days late!!! Sorry I missed the Saint Patrick’s Day fun. But hey, you can still celebrate.

This vegan Irish Cream is out. of. this. world. I think I like it even better than the dairy version. Ha, and I only made it because I’d been dying to make Vegan Irish Cream Cupcakes. Without chocolate.

They, like the Irish Cream itself, turned out incredible. My dad raved about them. He said “these cupcakes are the best ever.” And when mom told him to stop eating them, he said “I can’t! They’re the best cupcakes in the world, ever.” LOL. He also asked if they were vegan and I said yes, and he said wow! Hahaha. It is a good memory. I didn’t even get mad when he threw away my quinoa stew this morning because I’d left it out through the night (I like the flavors to develop out of the fridge).

Then, later tonight my mom AND Emily were going wild about them. I mean, I thought my lemon coconut cake was good but apparently these are heavenly. And they’re gone. Or their might be one left. But that’s saying something since there were only 4 people eating them and they’ve been around just over 24 hours. Don’t judge… I’m not sure anyone could eat just one.

Vegan Irish Cream

  • 1 Can Thai Coconut Milk
  • 2 1/2 Cups Regular Unsweetened Coconut Milk (So Delicious)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Instant Espresso
  • 2 Tbsp Chocolate Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Tsp Almond Extract
  • 3/4 to 1 Cup Irish Whiskey (or to taste, I like mine weak)
  • Pinch of Salt

Cook all of the coconut milk & sugar over medium heat until lightly boiling. Let simmer until thickened. About 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the pot. You don’t want to cook your coconut milk down too much or it will be more like sweetened condensed coconut milk then thick coconut milk. You just want it slightly thickened.

Once the coconut milk has thickened, remove from heat and let cool.

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Adjust whiskey to preference.

Then, Make Cupcakes!!!

Irish Cream Cupcakes

Makes Approximately 12 Cupcakes.

Cupcakes:

  • 1 Cup + 2 TBSP Vegan Irish Cream
  • 1 Tsp Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Veg Oil
  • 1 Egg (I used EnerG Egg Replacer)
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1 2/3 Cup Cake Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder

Glaze:

  • 1/4 Cup Irish Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar

Frosting:

  • 1/4 Cup Vegan Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Shortening
  • 1 Tbsp Instant Espresso + 1 Tbsp Water
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Drop Almond Extract
  • Approx. 3 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp Irish Cream

Prepare muffin tin(s) with 12 cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350F.

To make cupcakes, combine Irish Cream & Vinegar and let sit for a minute until the cream begins to look slightly “curdled.”

Add oil, EnerG Egg (or flax egg), sugar & vanilla. Combine thoroughly with wooden spoon or whisk.

Add cake flour, salt & baking powder. Combine thoroughly until there are no flour chunks & batter is smooth. I’m too lazy to sift my flour and it’s never helped me anyway.

Pour batter into cupcake liners about 3/4 full.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Mine took 24 minutes but all ovens are different. Done when the tops of the cupcakes spring back to the touch.

To make the glaze, combine Irish cream & sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let boil gently until glaze has thickened to coat wooden spoon. Let cool slightly.

While Cupcakes & Glaze are still warm (not hot), poke the tops of cupcakes with a fork. I poke them about 5 times each, but whatever suits you. Dip tops of cupcakes into saucepan to coat. Be careful, this can get messy. Try not to get the glaze on the cupcake wrapper.

To make frosting, beat the butter & shortening together until smooth & fluffy. Alternate between adding powdered sugar & wet ingredients (espresso, irish cream, vanilla, almond) until icing is creamy but thick. Feel free to use REAL espresso. I used the instant because not only was it much quicker but also because every time I try to use our espresso maker is leaks everywhere. I figured out the trick once but I must say… I don’t, for the life of me, remember what the heck it was.

To frost, (if you don’t have a piping bag) cut a small hole in the corner of a ziplock bag and insert a frosting tip if you have one. If you don’t, you can use the hole as your tip. Fold top of the bag over a glass and fill with icing. Lock ziplock bag and begin frosting desired amount.

Or you can always just use the old fashioned way and smear the frosting on top with a knife. That’s my usual go-to.

Check out the one cupcake below where the frosting looks like it’s about to droop off the edge. Yeah, it’s not… that’s just my natural frosting skills exemplified for all to see. It looks like it’s melting. Haha.

These cupcakes really are delicious! Enjoy!

Pico De Gallo Slaw

Just over a week ago I received very exciting news!!! The exclamation points let you know how exciting :)

I received an acceptance letter from American University’s School of International Service. Starting in the fall I will be a graduate student working toward an M.A. in Global Environmental Policy!

I finally have some direction and that feels incredible. One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books sums it up, “But absolute freedom can be as paralyzing as confinement when you don’t know what you want” (Around the Bloc by Stephanie Elizondo Griest). I finally know what I want!

Interestingly, American was the only school to which I applied (Penn State was the only school to which I applied for undergrad). Thank the universe I was accepted (to both).

I visited campus the day I was accepted (I didn’t get my acceptance email until that evening) and have already started looking at apartments, short-term study abroad opportunities, thinking about part-time jobs (Whole Foods?), and internships in the city. Each class is only once a week, and the average graduate student course load is 9 credits (3 classes) so I may only be on campus 2 days a week.

Anyway, onto the food! I eat tacos at least once a week, if not more. I love them. Usually they’re filled with black beans, some combination of veggies, and some kind of salsa, and/or guacamole. Last night, Stephen made some amazing tofu tacos and the tofu actually turned out perfect! Almost restaurant style!! Oh dear, they were so good I’m drooling just thinking about them.

And I learned a new trick after some internet searching… thank you, Vegan Yum Yum. The tofu should be DRY FRIED. It leeches out more moisture so the tofu becomes more spongy & chewy while simultaneously giving it a crisper outer texture. After dry frying the tofu, he added Olive Oil, Jalapeño, Onion, and Bell Pepper & sautéed it all together with some Chili Powder, Cumin & Salt. I fried the tortillas a bit to make them warm & pliable. Then we added the slaw I had made around lunch & topped it off with some green leaf lettuce. Oh, and we never forget the Tapatío. They were seriously delicious. I will probably never get around to posting a taco recipe because not only are tacos easy to make, I am FAR more interested in eating them IMMEDIATELY than I am in setting up a picture of my favorite food while it begs to be consumed. Maybe, one day.

Pico De Gallo Slaw

  • 1 Cup Green Cabbage, Shredded
  • 2 Medium Sized Tomatoes, Diced
  • 1/4 of a Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 Large Clove of Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Jalapeño, Minced
  • Juice of One Lime (or to taste)
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin (or to taste)
  • Dash of Chipotle Powder, for smokiness
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Tsp Brown Sugar, Agave, or Honey
  • Cilantro (optional)

The addition of the cabbage actually came about because I didn’t have cilantro and diced tomato, onion & garlic just wasn’t going to cut it. The Mexican restaurant in Kutztown, La Cocina Mexicana, always serves their salsa with shredded cabbage and it’s dynamite. Thus, this slaw was born. Both the jalapeño & chipotle add a bit of spice to adjust to your preference.

In a medium/large bowl combine cabbage, tomatoes, onion, jalapeño and garlic. Toss together. Squeeze in lime juice. Add cumin & chipotle. Toss & taste. You may decide not to add sweetener or salt. I liked a little of both. Definitely be careful with the sweetener though. I accidentally added a touch too much the first time I made it.

If you have cilantro, absolutely add it. Let the slaw marinade in the refrigerator while you make the rest of your tacos. The flavor will enhance as it sits.

The slaw is fresh, bright, and adds a bit of crunch to your taco. It’s really wonderful and you could dress it up however you like.

Echo Hill <3

If you’ve read any of my older posts you know I’m obsessed with a Mennonite owned Dry Goods store in a small town called Fleetwood, PA. Echo Hill may just be one of my favorite places on Earth. When Stephen’s mom suggested he take me there my first time in Kutztown, I was crazy excited. Their pantry was filled with bags of dried apple rings, plump raisins, pumpkin seeds, almonds, trail mix, etc. I thought of all the health food stores I’d been in, as well as the “Amish” Market at home and was excited to buy me some nuts.

When we pulled up I was a little surprised. What a small building standing all by itself. And pretty small on the inside too. Not quite what I was expecting. There are only about 5 aisles. BUT THEN as I explored, I discovered they had just about everything my little heart could ever want. Every single nook is filled with beautiful and wondrous items. And they offer most of their products in organic varieties. They have an aisle of flours & grains, an aisle of pastas, rice & legumes, an aisle of dried fruits & nuts (which includes trail mixes), and an aisle of spices & sauces/milks/juices/oils. They also have an aisle of candy & snack foods that I only wander into for Stephen’s gummy candies. Then along the front wall they have a plethora of honey, jams, sweeteners, & varieties of baking morsels. Along the back wall they have homemade granola, healthful cereals, natural toiletries (ie Toms Deodorant), and vitamin & mineral supplements. They also have a deli counter & a refrigerator/freezer section with various gluten-free products, vegan substitutes, and more traditional meats & cheeses. Above the freezer section they have a whole shelf of Ball Jars & the like. There is also the free-standing rack between the freezers and the standing area to form a line that has many health bars, breads, random stuff. On the other side of the standing room they have a huge assortment of teas, both loose & bagged from a variety of brands.

You’ve got the simple AP flour, bread flour, and whole wheat flour (which all come in organic), and then you have some sprouted spelt flour, brown rice flour, garbanzo flour, soy flour, white bean flour, lentil flour, seriously I don’t even remember all the varieties because I’ve never purchased the ones I’ve never seen in a recipe. And I look at recipes everyday, often most of the day. They also have everything a little vegan girl (or boy) might have seen in a couple of recipes once and never thought they’d buy. They have agar agar flakes & powder, ener-g egg replacer, a variety of different coconut oils, date sugar, stevia, every other sweetener known to man. They have every nut you could ever want, salted, unsalted, roasted, raw, whole, or as a meal (ie almond meal). They have a grain that I’ve never heard of called Freekeh. They have black barley, and regular barley, the best prices on vanilla beans, every dried fruit, every legume, every spice. And they find stuff if they don’t have it and you want it! I told them I was looking for Agar Agar powder last summer when they only had the flakes, the gentleman made a note of it & the next time I was in the store they had the powder!

They also have the zillion things I haven’t mentioned because the list could go on & on & on & on like the song that never ends, it just goes on and on, my friend.

My most recent purchases were:

  • Organic, Unsweetened, Unsulfured Shredded Coconut
  • Organic Garbanzo/Chickpea/Gram Flour
  • Organic Soy Flour
  • EnerG Egg Replacer
  • Agar Agar Powder
  • Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • Dried Goji Berries!
  • Numi Jasmine Green Tea
  • Organic English Walnuts
  • Dried Currants (I prefer them to raisins)

I bought the coconut specifically for Pre‘s Coconut Macaroons I just made.

I bought the walnuts because I plan to make some Jam Thumbprint Cookies, inspired by the Feasting Freds.

I bought the soy flour for some muffin recipes, the gram flour for some Indian recipes, the currants for some scones, the EnerG because it’s in so many vegan baked goods, the goji berries because I’ve never had them, and the jasmine green tea because I love it :)

I don’t know what I’m going to use the Agar Agar for… Any suggestions, friends?

I’ll be posting some of these recipes soon!

Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate

I made a recipe on my To-Make List!!! And boy oh boy was it fantabulous. Pre‘s Raw Macaroons are divine. And the ingredient list is too. These vegan, raw coconut macaroons are like a sophisticated, grown-up Mounds candy bar except so much better & much healthier. I followed Pre’s recipe almost to a T (well I halved it to a T), using slightly more coconut oil & semi-sweet (still vegan) chocolate. Seriously, they were even better than I imagined. They melt in your mouth. Oh, and I also bought dried nettle leaves to make tea after a recommendation on her blog. I think I might love her.

I used organic, unsweetened, unsulfured, shredded coconut. Shredded coconut is much smaller than the longer pieces that you usually see when you buy sweetened coconut & they’re crisper because they’re drier. Sweetened coconut is usually coated in corn syrup, which makes it sweeter, moister, plumper and ultimately less healthy. Combined with coconut oil & maple syrup, the crispy unsweetened flakes are the way to go.

I also used organic extra virgin coconut oil, which can be quite expensive! According to www.live-the-organic-life.com virgin & extra virgin coconut oil are pretty much the same thing, with no industry standard processing. However, virgin coconut oil (VCO) is much different from refined coconut oil (RBD). According to the website, refined coconut oil is of a lower quality, undergoes greater processing, and will clog the pores if used for external use (ie moisturizer). RBD stands for refined, bleached, and deodorized so the oil also loses much of its smell (which I supposed could be handy if you don’t want everything you make to taste like coconut). I think I’ll still choose virgin. Virgin coconut is physically extracted with no chemical processing and the oil remains unrefined in a more natural form. It smells wonderfully delicious.

Pre’s recipe can be found here. I highly recommend it!

I obviously haven’t mastered chocolate drizzling. And mine kind of look like chocolate covered bananas! Lol. I bet they’d be delicious with almonds, hazelnuts, or more chocolate hidden inside. Maybe some kind of raspberry filling? Oh, they’re perfect the way they are too. Enjoy!

German Red Cabbage

One of my favorite restaurants is a family owned German place called Old Stein Inn. They have a wonderful beer selection & the food is incredible. And I’ve definitely talked about it before on the blog. But did I mention I studied abroad in Germany when I was a sophomore in college? Or 3 Springs ago, however you want to look at it. I can’t wait until I can finally go back!

I studied abroad in an amazing, very sustainable city called Freiburg in the state of Baden-Württemberg. It’s in the very Southwest of the country, about 30 minutes from the French border. There are a handful of universities so there is a very large student population and the progressive climate that comes with higher education is a huge part of the city. They have an incredible recycling program, several arts & cultural centers, and a diverse population (which means diverse food choices… great for your friendly neighborhood vegetarian). There’s this ridiculously delicious Italian restaurant called Bella Italia. The prices are so cheap that their margarita pizza is €2.50. I’m drooling just remembering the cucumber salad & broccoli pizza and it’s been 3 years. Anyway, despite the great selection of culinary choices, German food obviously has a special place.

This German Red Cabbage is warm & tangy with a bit of spice. It’s perfect for the brisk March that’s not as bitter as January, but not summer dress season either. It pairs wonderfully with potatoes prepared any style (mashed or pancakes?), sauerkraut, sautéed veggies, a green salad, applesauce. Feel free to follow it with some cold German beer… my favorites are Franziskaner hefeweissen & Paulaner. Or with a nice glass of hot cider. Did I mention it’s super easy because you just throw it in a crock pot?

German Red Cabbage

  • 1 Medium Red Cabbage
  • 1 Small Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Small Apples, in 1/8ths or thinner
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Amber Ale (I used Paulaner Oktoberfest)
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/8 Tsp Fresh Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 Tsp Allspice
  • 1/8 Tsp Cinnamon

Add all ingredients to crock pot & set to low. Should take about 4 hours to achieve complete tenderness.

You may also use a large sauté pan over low heat for quicker results but the results with the crock pot will probably be more flavorful.

Enjoy!

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins!

I can’t get enough lemon! I think it’s because citrus (although in season in winter) is very Spring. Lemons, limes, grapefruit… all so glorious. And right now we all know we can’t wait for Spring. I love the sunshine & the longer days & the tulips & the daffodils! And did I mention the sunshine? Tuesday March 20, 2012 is the first day of Spring this year! I think we should all throw Spring parties & make lemon poppyseed muffins! : )

Last night was my second “gentle” yoga class. I swear, it is not gentle. I can feel last night in my arms, my shoulders, my back, my booty, and my legs. And I love it. The instructor is really great and I’m definitely the youngest person in the class but everyone has a great sense of humor. I also can’t wait to do some yoga outside since the weather is getting nicer everyday.

In other news, Stephen’s Spring Break start this weekend so he’s coming back down to Annapolis tomorrow. We’re going to spend some time in DC & make lots of yummy food before heading up to Kutztown on Thursday (which means I get to visit Echo Hill, my favorite!). I’m excited! The weather here is supposed to be in the 50s all week and mostly sunny.

Anyway, I felt like giving myself a reward (lemon poppyseed muffins) for all my workouts this week & I wanted to make a treat for Stephen… he loves muffins. I’m so excited about them I think they deserve an exclamation point! I’ve been wanting to make yummy vegan muffins for weeks now. And today it’s 64F outside! Lemon Poppyseed is perfect. Even though it rained the last two days, I still feel like we’ve had so much sunshine lately. And today is just gorgeous. These muffins are perfect for today. They’re perfectly light & moist & flavorful. I’ve had two and I’m desperately trying to resist eating a third.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins!

Makes 12 Muffins

  • 1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp Vegan Butter (melted)
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable/Canola Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Soy (or Almond) Milk
  • 1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
  • Zest of 2 Lemons
  • 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 1/4 Cups AP Flour
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Poppyseeds

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with 12 muffin papers.

Combine melted butter, vegetable/canola oil, milk, lemon juice & lemon zest. Stir to thoroughly combine. Add sugar & maple syrup & stir again! Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt and stir until batter is smooth. It will be a very light batter. (at least for me! I’m used to making bran-muffins). Add the poppyseeds and stir to combine.

Pour batter evenly amongst 12 muffin papers, about 3/4 full. I used a 1/4 cup to measure.

Half way through baking increase temperature to 375F. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes.

Let cool (or not) and enjoy with butter, vegan lemon curd, hot tea, or a cold glass of (coconut) milk! :)

And don’t forget to enjoy the sunshine!