Monday, February 21, 2011

Birthday Bonanza!

I know I am behind here, but I do have a lot of great stuff to post.  Let's just get going.

Today is my birthday.  To celebrate, my husband and I let my son go to play with his friends for the day and we went out to lunch and did a little shopping. Food shopping. At Wegmans.  Just for the good stuff since the big weekly shop was already completed, we were just there for an early lunch and fun items.  For lunch, we ate at the cold and hot bars, which have excellent vegan options. I got a beautiful hot tofu dish with hot & sour sauce, fresh brown rice, veggie lo mein, steamed Chinese veggies and an Italian bean salad, all were excellent.  My husband got vegan red lentil stew with a rosemary focaccia roll and roasted Brussels sprouts.  To drink, we both had Vita Coco, 100% coconut water.  A little strange if you ask us, but tolerable.

Then, on to my present.  I wanted to make these home made, vegan protein power bars and needed the Amazing Greens drink powder I actually needed the Amazing Meal, but Wegmans didn't have it so I just got the drink powder.  I also got a container of Wegmans brand, Non-GMO, Organic Soy protein powder.  Yeah, baby!  Birthday present time. I also picked up some organic celery to make chickpea "mock tuna" salad for our late lunch (recipe to follow as well).  I had all the rest of the ingredients and a soaked (but still needing to be cooked) pot of organic chickpeas at home.

The recipe I used for the vegan protein bars belongs to Hannah Kaminsky, the BitterSweet blogger and she is a talent.  I highly recommend her blog and have her cookbooks on my amazon wish list!  I added about two tablespoons of roughly chopped freeze dried raspberries since I happened to have an open bag, and that worked as a nice, tart addition to the sweet flavors in the bar.  Here they are, they are a very dark green and appetizing (to me, anyway).  They were delicious! My toddler ate them as well.

I love the dark green color with the bits of raspberry showing through.  Totally a do-again.

Next up was the Chickpea "Mock Tuna" Salad.  I LOVE this salad and it is from one of the first blogs I checked out on advice from a friend (Thanks, Nancy, I remember!).  She is a little irreverent, but we know that is all in the good fun of making delish vegan vittles.  This is the mock tuna salad I always talk about.  I don't use the kelp powder (only because I don't have it) but I don't think it's necessary.  In addition to the chopped celery, I add one small chopped carrot and probably about 1/4 cup minced onion.  I don't put pickles IN it but I serve them on the side.  You know, you make it just however you like your regular tuna salad.  This is a GREAT recipe to try nutritional yeast because it calls for so little, but it works amazing magic along with the soy sauce (I use organic Tamari, as I prefer its taste to regular soy sauce) to make chickpeas taste like tuna.  It REALLY does.  I make mine in the food processor (all ingredients except the onion, celery and carrot) to get the chickpeas all shreddy and tuna-like.  Then I turn it out into a bowl and add the veggies and some extra mayo (if needed) and some extra salt and pepper, if needed.  I also like it with garlic powder (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp).  This is what we ate for our late lunch.

Now if that don't look like deli tuna salad, I don't know what does.  Oh, deli tuna salad :-).  But this is so much healthier for you, cruelty free and tastes better, too.  SUPER yum.

And, unfortunately, spring has decided to give us a pass for this week.  I know I mentioned something about amazing hot chocolate a few weeks ago, then it got all springy and I forgot about it.  Winter has returned for the moment, so, I'll give it to you as you might need it!  Here it is, with permission from The Urban Vegan, (I would also recommend buying her book, it is a STEAL on amazon!).  Dynise also has an excellent blog.  Survived on these for the last few weeks while my son decided to try dropping his 2-3 hour afternoon nap :-).

Here is the recipe:

1 cup full fat soy milk (I used Original Silk in the refrigerated section)
3 tablespoons best quality chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (at least 60%)
1 tsp vanilla (I use Penzey's vanilla)
1/2 to 1 tsp agave syrup (I use light, organic agave)

Heat everything in a small stainless steel pan over gentle heat and stir until chocolate is melted and milk is hot, just starting to steam, but not boiling.  I use a little whisk to stir it well while it s melting.  It is really delish.  I also found I could use two tablespoons of chocolate and it was still really good (and about 70-80 fewer calories and 4-6 fewer grams of fat, depending on the brand of chocolate).  With three, though, it is stupendous.

Hoping we don't need too many more of these (though any excuse to drink them is a good excuse).  Common' spring, we're rootin' for ya'!

And for National Carrot Cake Day, I participated by making the Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Creme Cheese frosting by Annie Shannon.  Meet the Shannons is veganizing the Betty Crocker Cookbook, and they are right on target.  It was FANTASTIC.  Here is the link to the blog post containing the recipe

They were ASTOUNDING and their (vegan, of course) creme cheese icing will be my go-to recipe from now on (but I reduce the amount of sugar a bit).  Check out the comments to see which ingredient I balked at, but then, I became a believer.  Whoah.

Have a great week guys, stay warm, eat some great food.

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