Mashed Cauliflower

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was very lovely, so nice to spend time with my new family.  I thought I would post some of the recipes I made. I am going to break it into four posts to make it easier.

Here is the recipe for mashed cauliflower. It has a lot less carbs than potatoes. Now, I am not going to lie…I did not have high expectations. Mashed Potatoes is one of my favorite foods and I thought nothing could replace it. But this was fantastic! It is just as good, if not better. And it was so easy.

Mashed Cauliflower
1 medium head of  cauliflower
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Wash the cauliflower head and dry.

Remove the florets from the base stem.

Fill a large pot with water and add the florets.

Place the pot on the stove over high heat on the stove. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, uncover and add a bit of salt. Cook until the cauliflower is tender.

Drain well and return to the pot.

Add the remaining ingredients and mash everything together well.  Try to get the cauliflower as smooth as you can.

Now your mashed cauliflower is ready to serve! I topped mine with vegan gravy but any traditional mashed potato toppings would work great too.

Cinnamon Rolls

Guess what classic American product is vegan? Bisquick! Now, I don’t bake sweets often and I don’t use box mixes often, but I wanted cinnamon rolls this morning (and Michael was pretty happy when I woke him up and said I was making them). Of course I made a healthier version not loaded with all the sugar and butter. I just altered the biscuit recipe on the Bisquick box. They are easy to make and a nice treat once in awhile.

This recipe makes 6-8 rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls
2 and 1/4 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup soy milk
1 tbs agave
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs sugar
1/4 cup powder sugar
Soy milk

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the Bisquick, soy milk, and agave. Once it becomes a ball of dough, place on a floured surface.

Knead just until it comes together.

Roll into a 1/2 thick rectangle.

In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar.

Spread the cinnamon and sugar mixture evenly on top of the dough rectangle.

Carefully, starting with the end closest to you, roll the dough over into a tube.

Cut into 6 to 8 equal pieces and place on the baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until slightly golden.

In another small bowl, add the powdered sugar and just enough soy milk to make a runny icing.

Drizzle the icing onto the rolls while they are still warm.

A lovely treat for lovely lazy Sunday morning.

Sugar Cookies

I am sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. If you follow me on twitter, you know that I was in a car accident. I am fine, just a concussion and whiplash, but sadly my car was totaled. What pisses me off the most was I was not doing anything bad—not speeding, playing with my phone, or goofing around at all. The car just started spinning out of control and I crashed. That aside, it could have been a lot worse so I am glad that I only have minor injuries. But, crashing your car the weekend before finals does not leave a lot of time to cook yummy food, so please forgive my absence.

Baking with a neck brace, so sexy. Thanks to my
 wonderful friend Joely for the apron, I smiled for the
 first time all week when I opened my package.
I wanna help mama.

Anyways, it’s only a few days before Christmas so it’s cookie time! I love decorating cookies with my family, I’ve done it since I was a little girl and plan on doing it every christmas to come. I decided to decorate cookies anyways this year even though I am by myself, it would not be christmas without them! Plus I was not totally alone, Penny tried to jump on the table 3 times while I was decorating them.

I planned on making cookies from scratch, but after spending 4 days in muscle relaxer coma on the couch,  I did not feel like doing all that work. So, I decided to go with a package mix. Like I said before, proceeded foods should be eaten in moderation and very rarely. A few cookies for the holidays is fine. I am keeping a couple for myself and taking the rest to work for everyone to share.

I used the Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix. I substituted vegan shortening for the butter and soy milk for the egg. Although it does not say to do so on the package, I refrigerated the dough over night like normal sugar cookie dough. This really makes rolling out and cutting the dough easier. However, I needed a lot of flour to prevent the dough from sticking. This is a common complaint I found on the reviews for this mix. The cookies tasted good in the end, but the dough puff up more than I would have liked. Overall, if you want cheap and easy sugar cookies, this mix is just fine. But it’s nothing special, homemade from scratch are better.

I made a double batch so I used two packages. Half this recipe for a single batch.

Sorry I did not take pictures of the whole process, I made the dough last night when I got off work and was I too tired.

Sugar Cookies
2 packages of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
2 stick of vegan shortening (I used Earth Balance), softened
1/2 cup soy milk

In a large bowl,  mix together all the ingredients until. Make sure all the shortening is worked in and there are no lumps.

Spray some plastic wrap with cooking spray. Form the dough into a ball and cover with the plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

On a clean, well floured surface, divided the chill dough into quarters. Work with one quarter at a time and put the rest back in the fridge.

Roll the dough to desired thickness and cut out your cookies with festive cookies cutters.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. The edges will be slightly golden and the inside still white.

Let them cool on the baking sheet for a minute then remove and let them cool completely.

Then decorate them as desired. I used sparkle gel icing and basic Christmas sprinkles.

Every year I make a Shaun White sugar cookie because he is my favorite snowboarder.

Shaun White cookie!

I also made a bloody car crash victim person, because that’s just the kind of girl I am 🙂

Car crash cookie. There was no blood in my
 accident but that is not as fun to decorate.

I am feeling better so I should be back to my normal blogging soon. Look out for my Thai feast Christmas Eve dinner….

Thanksgiving 2011: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I saved my favorite Thanksgiving dish for last. I LOVE mashed potatoes. When I was a teenager I used to eat a bowl of instant mashed potatoes for lunch most days. I am happy to say I have grown out of those unhealthy days and I don’t eat mash potatoes that often anymore. But, they are still one of my favorite foods. Creamy, buttery, and fluffy—what’s not to love? And, I thought garlic would make them special for holiday.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
4 Russet potatoes
1 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbs more vegan butter
1/2 cup rice milk (soy milk works fine too) 
Salt and pepper, to taste
Wash, peal, and quartered the potatoes. 
Place the potatoes in the pot you plan the boiling them in. Covered the potatoes with cold water. Let them soak for at least 15 minutes. This allows the starch to leach out so they mash better. 

Place a lid on the pot, place it on the burner, and bring it to a boil. 
While that comes to a boiling, the 1 tbs of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once it melts, add the minced garlic. Cook until golden, but careful not to burn it. 
Once it’s ready, remove from heat and set aside. 
Check the potatoes once they have boiled for a few minutes, they will be ready when a fork can be easily inserted all the through a quarter with no resistance. Once they are ready, remove from heat and drain. 
Return the potatoes back to the pot, add the garlic, the other 1/2 tbs of butter, and rice milk. Mash the potatoes until smooth and all the ingredients are incorporated. 
Now you have a big bowl of potato heaven! I hope you love this as much as I did. 

Thanksgiving 2011: Green Beans with Caramelized Onions

Green bean casserole was one of my favorite Thanksgiving sidedishes before I went vegan. But do you have any idea how many calories, sodium, and preservatives a traditional recipe can have? Even if you make it with all vegan ingredients like vegan sour cream and soup mixes, it still a lot of proceeded foods. I still wanted the taste of green beans and onions, but not all the junk. So I decided to keep it simple, caramelized onions and pan roasted green beans, cooked in just a little bit of vegan butter. This makes two servings.

Green Beans with Caramelized Onions
1 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 medium onion, sliced into half rings
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
2 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup green beans, washed and the ends cut off
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the vegan butter.

Add the onions and cook until the they are golden and caramelized. Turn the heat down as needed and be careful not to burn them. Be patient and don’t crank the heat in frustration if it takes awhile.

When the onions are just about done, add the ginger and garlic. Cook until the garlic is slightly golden and the ginger softens. Again be careful not to burn anything.

Add the green beans, and seasoning to taste. Cook until the green beans soften and start to brown.

It may take some time, but this recipe is simple and healthy. I loved the pop of green on my Thanksgiving plate. The ginger is what totally makes this dish.

Thanksgiving 2011: Seitan Roast

I saw the recipe on VegWeb for a Holiday Seitan Roast awhile ago and thought it sounded interesting. I love seitan, as evident in my two other posts about it, so I decided this year I would give the roast a try. But I deviated a from the recipe quite a bit. I boiled the roasts (the recipes makes two small loaves) first because I like the texture of boiled then baked seitan. Overall, I REALLY loved this dish. It was easy to make, flavorful and juicy. It even sops up gravy well. I am definitely be making this again sometime.

Seitan Roast
Broth:
5 cups vegetable stock
1 tbs soy sauce
1/4 an onion, cut into chunks
1 carrot, cut into chunks
A small pinch of salt and pepper 
Dough:
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup vegetable broth 
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp house seasoning
A small pinch of salt and pepper 
Baste:
2 carrots, quartered 
1 small onion, quartered and sliced divided

2 cups vegetable broth (you can use the broth you boiled the seitan in)
2 tbs low sodium soy sauce 
1 tsp cumin
1 tbs Italian seasoning

In a large pot, add all the ingredients for the broth together and set aside. Do not turn the burner on yet. 

In a large bowl, add the vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast and mix together lightly. 

Add the remanning ingredients and stir until it is too thick for a spoon.

Knead the dough the rest of the way until it comes together and is smooth. This should only take a minute or two so don’t over knead. 


Divided in half and form into small loaves. 

Put the loaves into the broth, turn on the heat, and bring to a boil. Make sure to cover with a lid. 

Once it starts to boil, reduce to a simmer and keep the lid on. Boil for about 30 minutes total. 

While that boils, pre heat the oven to 350 and spray a baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine the all baste ingredients except the carrots and onion.

Remove the loaves from the broth and place them in the baking pan. Spread the quartered carrots and onions around the loaves and cover with half the baste.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the broth is absorbed. Cover with the remaining baste and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Plate, slice, and serve. I topped mine with some mushroom gravy. I think I will make this again for Christmas. 

Holiday Cream of Wheat

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with joy and are surrounded by those you love. I would like to take a moment to share what I am thankful for:

My amazing family who always supports and loves me.
My sorority sisters who still are my rock 2 years after graduation.
The privilege of higher education.
The aloha spirit of Hawaii.
All my readers and subscribers.
My darling litte kitty Penny who makes me smile everyday with her love and antics.

Took forever to get her to sit still and face the camera!

I will be posting the recipes for my dinner tomorrow, but I thought I would share a lovely idea for a holiday breakfast.

Like most babies, my mom fed me farina, more commonly known as Cream of Wheat. She says I loved it so much that I would practically fall out of my highchair in excitement the minute I saw the box. And to this day, it makes me so happy when I eat it. I have no idea why, guess it just brings back childhood memories. I saw a box of Cream of Wheat on sale at the grocery store and couldn’t resist. I normally eat oatmeal for breakfast because of all its health benefits, but I figured if I can’t have my family for the holidays, I can something that conjures up happy memories.

While I was heading to the registers, something else caught my eye: Rice Nog. It’s pretty much a spiced up version of Rice Dream’s Vanilla Rice Milk. I’ve only had egg nog once before I went vegan, and to be honest, I liked the flavor but it was too rich for me. I was curious if a non-dairy version with way less fat would be better, so I bought a carton. I poured a small glass of it the next morning and was pleased. The flavor is perfect, and creamy without being overly rich. My only complaint is that it isn’t thick like egg nog, but that probably because of the lower fat content.

Then I realized it would be perfect in farina because it is already spiced and sweetened. I added some raisins for added fiber and I made myself a lovely little holiday treat. This makes one serving, but can easily be multiplied.

Holiday Cream of Wheat
1 and 1/4 cup Rice Nog
3 tbs quick cook Cream of Wheat
Pinch of salt (optional)
1/8 cup raisins (1/4 is a serving, but I find that is too many raisins)
Nutmeg, to garnish

In small pan, bring the Rice Nog to a boil.

Add the Cream of Wheat, whisking continuously for a minute to prevent lumps.

Let it cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often to prevent lumps.

Once the farina is cooked and it has thicken to desired consistency, remove from heat and add the raisins.

Serve in a bowl and garnish with a touch of nutmeg.

A big bowl of holiday happiness!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Foodbuzz selected me for another free coupon giveaway! This time I got two coupons from Duncan Hines and one from Comstock-Wilderness.  I have been wanting to make a pumpkin spice cake for awhile so I was very happy to get the coupons. I used the coupons to get a box of Duncan Hines Spice Cake, a can of  Buttercream Frosting, and a can of Comstock Apple Pie Filling. Surprisingly, they are all vegan! But, they are processed food, which should always be eaten in moderation. Like Cookie Monster says, sweets should be a sometimes food. Processed foods should never be the main staple of your diet. That being said, there are things you can do to box mixes to make them healthier. Just preparing them vegan alone cuts out all the cholesterol. Rather than oil, I used apple sauce. And for more nutrition, I added pumpkin puree.  For the frosting, I blended the Apple Pie Filling so it was a bit smoother, then added it to the frosting.

These cupcakes combine classic holiday flavors into a small little treat. Could even make a wonderful Thanksgiving dessert.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
1 box of Duncan Hines Spice Cake
1 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup rice milk (soy is fine too)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 can of Duncan Hines Buttercream Frosting
1 can of Comstock Apple Pie Filling

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add the cake mix, apple sauce, and rice milk. Mix together well.

Add the pumpkin puree and baking soda, then beat together for 2 minutes.

Fill the cupcake tin 3/4 of the way full and bake for for 18-21 minutes.

The cupcakes are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Once ready, let them cool in the tin for a bit, then remove and let them cool completely before frosting.

While those cool, puree the apple pie filling until smooth.

In a small bowl, mix together the puree and the butter cream frosting. If it’s too runny, add some powdered sugar to tighten it up. Refrigerate until the cupcakes are ready to be frost.

Finally, frost the cupcakes anyway you like. I really suck at decorating. If I was in Oregon, I would have begged my mom to decorate them for me. But, I did garnish with a little nutmeg and raw sugar for fun. 

The applesauce and pumpkin puree make the cupcakes so moist, definitely what I have been craving. Thank you Foodbuzz, Duncan Hines and Comstock-Wilderness! I am bringing this cupcakes to a friend’s house, I hope she and her roommates like them.

Bloody Sangria

My friend had a Halloween party last night and I wanted something fun to drink. I was searching for Halloween cocktails while watching Semi-Homeade Cooking with Sandra Lee. She made Sassy Sangria and decided to make a blood-red sangria. I didn’t originally plan posting this, but it was so delicious I felt the need to share.

Sangria is a wine-based punch that originated in Spain and Portugal. It consists of mixture of wine, brandy, seltzer/ginger ale, and fruit pieces. Brandy is not something I normally drink so I added a bit of tequila instead. Also, Walmart did not have ginger ale for some reason, so I used Sprite instead. I normally don’t drink soda at all, but once in a while it’s okay to have a bit extra sugar.


Bloody Sangria
1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
4 oz tequila
1 orange, sliced
2 limes, sliced
1/2 liter of Sprite

Pour the wine into a large pitcher.

Add the tequila.

Drop in to the orange and lime slices.

Chill in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight if you have the time.

Before serving, add the Spite.

If you want it “bloodier,” you can add some grenadine and some fake spider.

I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween! Keep an eye on your keiki (Hawaiian for kid) and please don’t drink and drive. Also, please keep your pets indoors if possible. There are sick people who torment cats for fun or witchcraft.

I was one happy bunny. 

Jack-O-Latern and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

I love Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday. Like I said in my Halloween Taco Rice Bowl post, I am named after Elizabeth Montgomery’s character Samantha from the TV show Bewitched, so this holiday is pretty much made for me. If I could get away with it, I’d still go trick-o-treating (and don’t pretend like majority you wouldn’t too!) As fun as dressing up and getting free candy was as a kid, my favorite part was actually carving pumpkins. It was good quality time I got to spend with my family while having fun and being creative. Those are some of my most cherished childhood memories. What kid doesn’t love to get messy and throw pumpkins guts at their brother? And, there was always the delicious toasted pumpkins seeds afterwards too. I haven’t carved a pumpkin in several years sadly. Now that I am not living in the dorms anymore, I decided it was time to carve and toast seeds again.  I also decided that I would spiced up my seeds this year, ya know be a little more adult. I divided my seeds in two in order to make some savory and some sweet.

You don’t have to carve your pumpkin like I did, you can just cut it in half length wise and scoop out the seeds. But what fun is that?

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
1 large, ripe pumpkin
Oil or cooking spray
Savory Seasoning
1 tsp curry
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic salt  powder
Sweet Seasoning
1 tsp cinnamon
1tsp ginger
1 tsp black strap molasses

Setting up to carve on my balcony. 

First thing, carve your pumpkin. Since this can be get messy, I decided to do this on my balcony. You will need two bowls, a big knife, a smaller pairing knife, a spoon or ice cream scoop, and a dish towel to wipe your hands.

Draw the desired design on your pumpkin while it’s still whole.

Cut a circle around the stem, clean off the gunk and set aside.

Ew, slimy.

Scoop out the membranes, but separate out the seeds. The little tiny ones can be discard though.

Carve the design. I am not the best artist, but I like mine cock-eyed and crooked-toothed. I named him Igor.

Meet Igor. 

Clean up the edges and put the stem back on.

Put your beautiful pumpkin on display for everyone to enjoy.

Now for the seeds….

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Rinse the seeds very well and get all the gunk off.

Dry them well too.

You can either oil or spray a baking sheet. Oil can give the seeds a bit more flavor but adds more calories. I just spray mine.
Spread the seeds into a single layer.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once they are lightly golden, they are done.

Combine all the savory seasonings a bowl and add the seeds while still hot. Toss together to coat.

Combine all the sweet seasonings in another bowl and add the seeds while still hot. Toss together to coat.

Now you have a lovely jack-o-latern and delicious pumpkin seeds.

But, there is more a simple pumpkin can yield. Those slimy, nasty membranes can be added to a compost pile to give nutrients to your garden (assuming you have one). The pieces you cut out can be roasted in the oven and make a tasty addition to your dinner.

Baked tofu, pesto smashed potatoes and a side of roast pumpkin