Hello August!!! Hello Monday!!! Hello Secret Recipe Club reveal day!!!! This month I was partnered with the incredible Andrea of Adventures in all things Food – which has got to be one of the best blog names EVER. Andrea’s blog has a bit of everything, from vegetarian goodies to desserts to crafts fit for the entire family. I’ve been a sweet kick lately so I went straight to her dessert section, trying to avoid eye contact with her peanut butter icing because OMGoodness chocolate donuts with PEANUT BUTTER – nom nom nom. However, in the end I was won over by her fall ready Apple Crisp. I’m normally a summer girl but I’m ready for cooler temperatures! Didn’t even make any changes to the recipe – it’s perfect already! While Andrea didn’t specify what type of apple, I went with Pink Ladies since they offer a great combination of sweet and tart. Plus they hold up well when it comes to baking.
I also went with old fashioned oats, tho quick oats would also work well. I just prefer a crisper crisp! For a vegan option, switch out the butter for earth balance or a similar spread – easy peasy. Since there are 5 Mondays in August – there will be another secret recipe club post at the end of the month so hope to see everyone then (if not sooner).
Vegan Sugar Cookies
Many moons ago, or about 5yrs ago, I found an incredible vegan sugar recipe. This past year I went to look for it again and could not locate it! So I decided to come up with my own recipe based on a “normal” sugar cookie recipe and what I know about vegan cookie. One of the biggest issues I’ve had with vegan baking is the missing butter taste as well as the not always awesome aftertaste some vegan “butters” offer. With that I decided to add a bit of cinnamon, not enough to cross into snickerdoodles territory but enough to add a bit of something to the recipe. I also added a touch of cream of tartar in order to counter the melting point of vegan “butter” and keep the cookies from spreading too much – another problem I commonly have. I wasn’t going for a super fluffy cookie but I didn’t want them to be as crispy as a rolled cookie.
These cookies were a huge holiday hit! Husband enjoyed them so much he had a hard time believing they were vegan, which is the ultimate compliment in his case. For a real treat, form the dough and then freeze in a plastic cookie “tin” and bake when you’re getting a craving for something sweet.
Welcome to JUNE’s edition of the secret recipe club! I know that lately my blog has been very neglected but it’s been for a very, very, very good reason. I mentioned a stomach bug last month but that wasn’t exactly the truth – the actual issue is something called hyperemsis gravidium. Many of you might already be familiar with this, either through personal experience or in following HRH Duchess of Cambridge. Basically, I’m (finally) pregnant!!!! Our last round of fertility treatment was successful and I’m now just over 14wks pregnant. The first 7 weeks were fantastic, free of symptoms and all of that, but then it hit will a force that I never could have expected and with that the diagnosis of HG and two trips to L&D for rehydration. This all resulted in a very neglected blog as I was living off of broth and rice but I’m now on some awesome medication and starting to get the energy to get back in the kitchen. Perfect timing for the SRC!!! This month I was partnered with Lisa of Cook Lisa Cook – a blog I’m familiar with thanks to previous SRC events. I picked out sooooo many incredible recipes from her blog including Mashed Cauliflower, Peach Cake, and Corn Souffle but in the end her simple and delicious sounding Apple Dumplings won the day. I couldn’t resist a recipe that featured apples AND croissant dough and I knew my husband and co-workers would have similar feelings.
I had to make one small change to the recipe, swapping out the nuts for some granola that way there would still be a bit of a crunch. As a bonus, if you use Pillsbury crescent rolls and sub the unsalted butter with Smart Balance the recipe is vegan 😀
I’ll be taking July off from the SRC, due to craziness with life right now I don’t want to risk not being able to give the right amount of attention to whatever blog I get. However, I will be participating in an awesome blog link-up over the next week so lots of delicious summer time recipes are on the way!!!
Pumpkin Streusel Muffin
The other weekend I hosted a few friends for a boozy brunch – followed by a Hunger Games Marathon. I needed something that was quick and easy, just in case the boozy part started before the brunch part. So I checked out a few of my favorite cookbooks in hopes of a spark, and it worked! While a coffee cake was out of the question, I decided I could easily adapt the recipe to work for over-sized muffin tins – and that they needed a bit of pumpkin. This is loosely based on the “quick coffee cake” recipe from Joy of Cooking, just without the egg and smaller amounts of milk plus pumpkin and vegan – so might be more accurate to say this is inspired by that recipe but whatever!
There were enjoyed with some fake bacon, turkey bacon, buttermilk pancakes, and lots of champagne based fruity drinks. Most likely will go all out next year when the final movie comes out, and might actually do something “on theme” at that point – but there is something to be said about random carbs and champagne.
When life makes you bananas – make a banana split! Or at least so said my boss last week after a way more stressful than it needed to be week. While I’m not much of a banana split kind of girl (milkshakes, all the way) I did get a bit stuck on the idea of using bananas. The next day a coworker gave me a perfectly brown banana that was perfect for mashing and doing something with – so I knew the universe, or at least my colleagues, were telling me I needed to do something with bananas. Since I was gifted the banana on a Friday it was in perfect shape for breakfast the next morning and after a quarter toss to decide between pancakes and waffles, I got to work! I used the base waffle recipe in my Joy of Cooking book, and just swapped out the eggs for the bananas.
Joe topped his with standard maple syrup while I went for some local Pear Butter, which worked perfectly with the cinnamon in the muffins. I know there are people out there who teased me for asking for a waffle maker on our wedding registry but I am so so so thankful that I did! There are few things as simple and basic as a good waffle – which is why I’m sending this over to /r/52weeksofcooking for their rustic challenge. It might not be the easiest thing to make on a camping trip, but a waffle in the morning with a cup of coffee (by which I mean Iced Caramel Latte) is pure heaven!
Poached Cinnamon Caramel Apples
Poaching is nothing to new to me, at least not anymore. Which is why when I first saw poaching as the theme for /52weeksofcooking I really wasn’t that worried. Until I tried to figure out something to poach that: 1) was vegetarian and 2) I hadn’t poached before. This eliminated a fair amount of things, so I started checking out my cook books to see if any of them could offer insight. In doing so I found more than a few recipes for poached pears, which I’m not a fan of, but realized I could use that same concept on apples. Unsure of how they would turn out I grabbed three varieties at the store: granny smith, honeycrisps, and pink ladies – figuring I would test them all and see what worked the best.
In the end the pink ladies won for me – the skin stayed crisp while the flesh was moist and delicious. Plus it still had the same tart/sweet contrast as the granny smiths, which become all soft. The honeycrisps were just a disaster, falling apart in the pan and having to be skimmed out…which was a total pain. I served the pink ladies over oatmeal (pictured), while the granny smiths topped a mini-dutch baby.
Vegan Rice Pudding
Welcome to 2014! I have high hopes for this year, as well as some lofty goals for myself. In blogging world I’m hoping to up my posting schedule – and with that plan recipes in advance so that events in “real life” don’t effect my blogging world. I had hoped to do this last year but as usual life got in the way, however I’m starting 2014 on the right foot with six posts mostly written and ready to go! My ultimate plan for this year is to have three posts a week with 52weeksofcooking posts every Thursday in an attempt to keep that organized. The first Monday of every month (starting in February) will still be Secret Recipe Club (!!!) with subsequent Mondays featuring other monthly blog challenges, including a return to Dom’s Random Recipes. With that plan I’m currently looking to join at least two more monthly link-ups, so let me know if you have any suggestions 😀 This will leave one weekly post to highlight whatever ingredient or cooking technique or new toy or restaurant that I’m currently enjoying – which is where today’s recipe falls.
Ever since Joe and I started dated we have rotated off the major holidays with our respective families, and this year we decided to take advantage of (finally) having a dining room and hosting both of our family around the winter holidays. First on the schedule was Joe’s family, for which I did an Italian dinner featuring a mix of old and new recipes. One of the bigger challenges for me was figuring out a simple and delicious vegan dessert that could either be done well in advance or using my slow cooker – since I knew my burners and oven would already be occupied. After tossing around a few ideas I decided to go with a Vegan Rice Pudding, which I could make in my slow cooker and then transfer to the fridge until it was time to serve.
This recipe was a HUGE hit! While I was more than a bit nervous about it, since I had never made rice pudding vegan or otherwise before – but it was fantastic. It was also delicious the next day when my SiL enjoyed the few remains as a post shopping snack. I can easily see this recipe becoming a staple, and enjoy trying different variations in the future.
I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store – new city, (hopefully) new job, and lots of new food!