9.30.2011

Five Fabulous Friday things the T clan did this week!

This wasn't an exceptionally special week.

It was just an ordinary, fall week spent around the house.

Sometimes it's exactly what a family needs though. Time to defrazzle from the demands of life and time to enjoy each others company.

So when we have a lay-low weekend in the T household, we usually wind up doing these Five Fabulous things:

No. 1) We get a nice, relaxing start to the morning. Sure, we don't necessarily snooze in any longer, but instead of starting the day of rush, rush, rushing, we like to give ourselves a little extra time to enjoy the beginning of the day. We eat a nice breakfast, drink our coffee more slowly and we enjoy each others company (or sometimes, The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse's company). Didn't you know? Pearyn's favorite phrase now is "Mee Mouse," which clearly means Mickey Mouse.


No. 2) We bake. OK, that's a lie. I bake, Ryan eats what I bake and Pearyn makes a mess while I bake. When I want to hang around the house, I usually end up making some fluffy treat to enjoy while doing so. This week is was Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, did you get the chance to look at them yet, they'll have you drooling ...

No. 3) We have a family movie night. We get all snuggled up under blankets and we watch something that makes us all ooey and gooey on the inside. And then, when Pearyn goes to bed, mommy and daddy watches some kind of slasher movie to clear out that mushy-feeling from the movie before. Pear really gets into movie night, especially when it means hanging out in her sleeping-bag-esque couch.


No. 4) After bumming around the house for a few days, we do actually venture outside of our home. Whether it's running errands or going to the park, we make it a point to get our butts in gear and at least get a few things done. This week we spent a few hours at a neighborhood park. Pearyn is really starting to enjoy the slides and swings, which makes it more enjoyable for mom and dad too. Have you been on a swing yourself in a while? I forgot how much it makes your stomach flip flop! I highly recommend it!


No. 5) We hang out with grandma and grandpa. Family is extremely important to me, so we're frequent visitors with my parents, my aunts, my cousins, really anyone if we consider you family. We have coffee Saturdays with all the women folk and weened trips to my parent's house. Needless to say, Pearyn's favorite people on the planet might be grandma and grandpa (other than mommy and daddy of course).


All and all it was a phenomenal week ... which is great because we've got an incredibly busy one ahead of us. I'll be working longer hours and the husband will be away at a convention for work AND we'll be packing for our one-week getaway in Hilton Head! (We're not rich, Ry won something at work and we're taking full advantage of it!)

This hand-holding phase never gets old <3

9.29.2011

Vegan pumpkin whoopie pies

I have a secret.

Four days ago I signed up about to take part in VeganMofo, and since then I've been holding out. (No, not sexually, I'm totally easy in that department). You'll notice I've gone nearly a week without a recipe. It's not because I've handed in my muffin pan or basting brush, it's actually because I'm saving up the goodies for all those October posts I'm going to owe you.

But in the spirit of fall (and honestly, because they're too damn good to not make RIGHT NOW), I'm going to let my secret for my super sweet pumpkin whoopie pies out.

Be forewarned. These bad boys are not for the faint of heart. They are seriously decadent and seriously bad for you if eaten in large quantities. You can thank me after you've gained the five pounds.


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
(makes 24 mini 'pies')
 'Pie' ingredients: 
2 sticks of butter (Yeah, we're not easing in, we're jumping right into indulgent town)
2 cups brown sugar
3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup applesauce
2 flaxseed 'eggs' (2 TBS ground flaxseed and 3 TBS warm water, LET IT SIT for 10 mins)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 TBS pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling ingredients:
1/2 stick butter (seriously, MORE butter?)
8 ounces cream cheese (we use Tofutti)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (you may need a little over 3, it really depends on the weather). Add until the texture is spot on.
2 tsps vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, applesauce, flaxseed eggs and pumpkin puree. Add pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and fold in regular flour. Your batter will be a little fluffy and bumpy.


Next, using an ice scream scoop, deep spoon or regular spoon (they just won't be quite as circular), drop little blobs onto a cookie sheet (I put a thin layer of greased aluminum foil for ease of removal). You want something about an inch and a half in diameter (or the size of a circle formed when you touch your thumb to your middle finger). Kind of like this:


Actually, exactly like that.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until springy when you push on them.

Let them cool. For at least an hour.

While they're cooling, mix together your icing. Using a hand mixer, blend 1/2 stick of softened butter, 8 ounces softened creamed cheese, extract and powdered sugar. Refrigerate anything not used.

Slap some icing on each side of the whoopie pie and marry them! Don't do it too ahead of time though, as you could run into some sliding issues. 

Share, because they're entirely too rich to enjoy on your own.

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9.23.2011

Five Fabulous Friday methods to get with the Fall

Yesterday was the official end of summer (although in my world I had declared it over weeks ago). 

You know what that means ...

it's fall! My absolute favorite time of the year.

With it's cozy temperatures (exempt from the summer's brutal heat and the winter's cold shoulder), scrumptious food and super cute crafts, this is BY FAR the best season of them all. 

Last week I provided you with five fun things to do with a pumpkin, so this Fabulous Friday list includes tips to help you usher in my favorite season, in true Chubby Vegan Mom fashion. 

No. 1) Bake something delicious. Whether it's pumpkin-inspired muffins or cupcakes, or maybe something completely non pumpkin flavored, just bake something. There is nothing more fall than throwing together some flour, sugar and egg replacer and baking it into something decadent.

No. 2) Cozy up on the couch with a good book, magazine or Nook and just read. Open the doors and let the crisp fall air in, curl up with a blanket and a bunch of pillows and just be content. Can't stand reading? Then grab your laptop or tablet and curl up with that. 


No. 3) Enjoy some fall fashion. Wear long sleeves, but bare your legs; or show off your biceps while you wear a pair of skinny jeans; or just throw on a hoodie and walk around the house in complete comfort. Regardless of what fashion statement you want to make, Fall awards you the opportunity to create some awesome combos from your summer, spring and winter wardrobes.


No. 4) Make a fun fall craft. After seeing a friend's homemade wreath on Facebook (completely stylish and adorable), I've decided I'm going to try my hand at making one myself. It's really simple, just type in "fall crafts" to Google and pick whatever seems interesting to you. Or complete both this step and step one and bake in a jar and give it to friends. 

No. 5) Buy a pumpkin. Buy a big one, medium or mini one, white, green or orange, it doesn't matter. Nothing will get you in the fall spirit like having some pumpkins around the house. Paint on them, bake with them or carve them, just get some and do something to them!

9.22.2011

Impress your friends with risotto-stuffed peppers

I love stuffing vegetables.

Whether it's cabbage rolls (OK, I really don't like stuffing them), bell peppers, tomatoes or zucchinis, I can't help but dream up super rich and decadent things to put inside a simple vegetable.

Not to mention that magical thing that happens when you bake a vegetable.

These risotto-stuffed peppers take a tiny bit of work, but they come out looking like something you'd order at a semi fancy-schmancy vegan restaurant, which is totally worth the effort.

I promise you'll be making these again and again and again.


Cheesy White Bean Risotto Stuffed Peppers with Lemon Cilantro Butter
(Makes 12 peppers)
Ingredients:
6 longish peppers, I used sweet red and Hungarian
1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 bunch of cilantro
1 onion, diced
1 15 oz can cannellini beans
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 bag of mozzarella Daiya cheese
A handful of minced garlic (or to taste).
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp lemon extract
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Parsley to taste
Oil for cooking

Directions:
Cook rice if you haven't already. Add 1/2 bunch of cilantro to rice.
In a skillet on low-medium heat, saute the beans, diced onion and garlic for 15 minutes.
Place bean mixture and cream cheese in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Add the bean cheese mixture, cooked rice and Daiya cheese into a pot and heat on low until the Daiya melts.
Preheat oven to 375.
Set mixture aside.
Cut peppers in half  (long ways) so that each side forms a boat (one that you could put stuffing into).
Line them up in an oil coated baking dish and spoon the white bean risotto mixture into each "boat."
Bake for 30 minutes.
Take out and let sit for 10 minutes.
While the peppers are cooling, melt 1/2 cup butter, the rest of the cilantro (diced finely) and the lemon extract into a pot. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
Drizzle butter over peppers.

Enjoy!

I'm inventing a new day of the week; it's called Momday

Yup, you heard me.

I don't care if I don't have the power to declare a new day, I have a feeling it's going to catch on. I don't even have a preference when it comes in the week, it can follow Monday or proceed Friday and I wouldn't care. 

All I want is one day for me. 

As any other mom will attest, when you're a parent you don't really get a day off. (Even my husband only gets about four hours a week to escape from the land of our mini-me into the world of overgrown men beating each other up over a ball). 

Being a mom is an absolutely beautiful thing; I wouldn't trade Pearyn for all the cruelty-free cupcakes in the world. 

But it's also one of the most emotionally exhausting job you'll ever do. And it is just that - a job. You have to wake up and go to bed far earlier than you'd like and you don't really get a say-so in the matter. You're feelings and concerns don't matter any more, it's what's 'good for the group.' 

I've talked about it before, how easy and dangerous it is to only identify yourself as a mommy once you become one. It's a battle I fight nearly every day, trying to find a way to balance the Chubby Vegan Mom part of me with the Amanda I used to be. Surely I wasn't obsessed with the consistency of a tiny human being's poop when I was in college, right?

I probably sound like I'm whining, which, I kind of sort of am. You can cue the world's tiniest violin playing the saddest song just for me, get me some more (vegan) cheese for my whine and let me wash it down with a tall glass of shut-the-hell up. I've got to get this off my chest already. 

This week has been draining. 

Pearyn hasn't been napping - at all - which would be fine if she was a semi-tolerable human to be around without a nap, but she's not. At all. And the dishes seem to never go away (I know, I'm seriously to the point where I'm whining about dishes, it annoys me too). My meal plans for the week are so ridiculously uninspired (Indian food from a box anyone?) I think a box of cereal would be more interesting and I'm tired of spending my days off grocery shopping and cleaning.

I'm trying to finish my first-ever kids book and while I am somewhat confident in my ability to write blogs, columns and 30-page thesis' on the effects of dysfunctional sexual relationships on Virginia Woolf's writing, I can't help but feel incredibly ill-equipped to write an early reader. I want to do it and I'm going to, good vegan children's books are few and far between, but the perfectionist in me is not looking forward to the criticism, to the imperfections. 

AND I found a smashed up cookie, old almond milk single-serving carton, nasty carrot, broken crayon, a flip flop and spit up (that has to be at least 8 months old because Pearyn quit spitting up at least 8 months ago) under a couch cushion. 

Ew. 

I'm surrounded by amazingly strong women in my life (some mothers, some wives, newlyweds and one particular 20-something divorcee) and I can't help but be in awe of their positive outlook on life and their faith. 

And hope. 

I need me some of that.

How DO they do it?

I know tomorrow will be a better day, only five hours stands between me and my best friend's birthday, coffee Saturday with the women in my family and the weekend.

So I guess I'll go ahead and retract all my whining now; it's not that bad to be me. 

Well, except for the eight-month-old spit up under my couch cushion. That still sucks (and stinks for that matter). 

Even my 16-month-old daughter has grown tired of my whining. 

9.18.2011

Vegan naan ... so good you'll have 'naan' left

This blog title is overdosing on corny.

But it's so true.

I made six pieces and we gobbled it up even though we weren't even hungry, just because it was THAT good.

The best part about it? It's the most low-maintenance recipe and method for making vegan naan that I've come by.

Now if that's not reason enough to at least give this recipe a whirl, then I don't know it.



So good you'll have 'Naan' left
(Makes 6)
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp tumeric
1/2 cup vegan "buttermilk" (1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 TBS lemon juice, let it sit for 10 minutes)
1/2 cup vegan sour cream (we used Tofutti because it rocks)
1/4 cup oil
Minced garlic (a few spoonfuls will do)
Vegan butter (optional)
(You'll be adding handfuls of flour as you go, to help with rolling it out, etc)

Directions:
Mix together vegan "buttermilk" and set aside.
Throw together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
Add in sour cream, oil and garlic.
Mix in "buttermilk."
Fold together ingredients until dough is semi stretchy.
Knead for 5-10 minutes.
Place on the stove with a towel over the bowl for one hour.
Break dough into six baseball-sized dough balls, then on a floured surface roll one ball out and flatten into a long oval. We made ours about 1/6 inch thick, and I'd recommend keeping it on the thinner side. It helps with the cooking.
In a skillet, cook a thin layer of oil on medium heat. Place flattened, dough oval into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until bubbly and light brown on sides.
Place on plate to cool slightly, brush with melted butter lightly on both sides.

Enjoy with your favorite dip!

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Spinach artichoke dip that could fool your nonvegan mama

It's been four incredibly long years since I've had any form of spinach artichoke dip.

So I've been toying with a few recipes, but was never brave enough to try them because I was afraid they'd disappoint.

Boy, did these not disappoint.

In fact, my taste buds were delighted with this recipe.

It's football season again, break out this bad boy and dazzle everyone else's taste buds, vegan and nonvegan alike.



Spinach artichoke dip
(Serves 4-6)
Ingredients:
1 16 oz bag of frozen spinach
1 14 oz can of artichokes
1 onion, diced
1 14 oz can of cannellini beans
1 tub vegan garlic and herb cream cheese (we used Tofutti because it rocks)
1/2 cup Vegenaise (do NOT skip this ingredient)
A couple spoonfuls of minced garlic
Bread crumbs
Vegan parm (or nutritional yeast will do)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400
In a skillet, cook spinach, artichokes, onion and beans (about 15 minutes, just don't burn it)
Blend beans and garlic in a food processor, then mix in vegenaise and cream cheese.
Mix ingredients from skillet and top with bread crumbs and vegan parm.
Bake covered for 20 minutes and then uncovered for 15 minutes.
Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Need something to eat it on? I recommend some kick-butt naan!

9.17.2011

Aren't we all on the same team?

Sometimes, it kind of feels like the vegan population is comprised of catty, hormonal teenage girls.

Now don't get me wrong; while a good 80% of the vegan community is filled with talented, open-minded and overall incredible human beings, there's that pesky 20% that ruins the fun for everyone.

You know which ones I'm talking about.

I think a large part of the vegan variety is that most individuals who follow this sort of lifestyle have three things in common: we've got a pretty defined moral perspective, we're often very crafty and we know we're right.

And while all of these traits are positive in their own way, if you veer off even slightly sometimes you wind up with someone who's more forceful than moral, more malicious than crafty and not confident, but arrogant.

Otherwise known as: a teenage girl.

For the most part, we're a supportive group. We're quick to lend a newbie a few pointers on how to get cakes to rise without eggs, we're always up for sharing recipes and we love talking about how much better we are than everyone else (haha, just kidding about that last one)!

Most of us, are semi-regular human beings who are just trying to live as cruelty-free a life as we possibly can. Some of us live in small-town atmospheres where even soy milk is hard to come by, while others live in booming metropolitans and have our pick of any vegan cupcake imaginable.

But we all have one thing in common; we're trying to do the least amount of harm we can to animals. We speak for them because they cannot. Whether we've been walking this road for 15 years or 15 days, we're all trying to accomplish the same goal, so can't we just get along already?

After reading this crazy vegan-attacking-vegans blog post yesterday, I can't help but think maybe we need to form a union. And the weird part? It was written like two years ago, but some vegan tweep of mine tweeted about it a few days ago.

Basically it was one of those vegan blog posts about how most of us vegans aren't doing a good enough job. Apparently, vegan cheese is just as inhumane as regular, straight from the cow cheese. Why, you may ask? Because apparently some of the ingredients are usually gathered from wildlife habitats (like trees, plants, etc), so by milling those things we are being cruel to animals. (Or something along those lines).

I can honestly understand the logic to an extent. It's like this limbo we vegans face, how do we be vegan in a completely nonvegan world? Most grocery stores, are not 100% vegan, in fact, I know of none in the state of Ohio that are. Even the tiny, personal food markets around here have organic, free range dairy and grass-fed beef. And the employees? They might be anything from omnivore, to flexitarian, to vegan. And what about our clothes? I highly doubt the clothing I'm wearing was made by a vegan shipped to a vegan store and then sold to me by a vegan. And my house that I live in? Probably not 100% vegan either. And unless you're able to ride a bike everywhere, I'm going to venture to say that while our automobile may be as leather-free as we can make it, but the company we bought it from probably sells cars with leather in them.

See what I mean? It's like a vicious cycle.

A debate later ensues in the comments about veganism, environmentalism and how apparently unless something is fair trade it's not vegan either, because apparently we're counting human beings as part of our 'do no harm' oath we took when we became vegan.

Look, here's the deal with this vegan thing here. It's not technically about being skinny, healthy or environmental. If we're talking just veganism, it's about doing as little harm to sentient beings as humanly possible. Are a lot of our recipes healthy by default? Sure. Is the vegan way a little more green? Definitely. But to start picking on other vegans for not being green enough or for using too much sugar, mock meat or fake cheese is just nitpicking.

I'm not trying to pick on the writer, maybe she was just having a bad day and needed to vent. Trust me, I get that.  But while I can empathize with her, I certainly can't agree.

Maybe if we spent less time bickering with each other and declaring who's the "most vegan," we'd have more time to spread our compassionate message with more people.

Maybe, just maybe, we could show a little compassion to our fellow vegans? Even the fake meat eating, fake cheese eating, car driving variety?

9.16.2011

Five Fabulous Friday things to do with a pumpkin!

With the summer temps taking a hike (for the last few days anyway) and the crisp, much cooler air wafting in through the open windows and doors, I've officially declared it "Fall" in my household.

You know what this means?

I spent nearly two-thirds of my day off yesterday baking all sorts of pumpkin goods. We also rang in the fall with an autumn-inspired quiche, unfortunately though, it didn't have pumpkin in it.

So what better way to ring in my favorite holiday than to dedicate this Fab Five Friday to it's official fruit - the pumpkin!

No. 1) Start your day off with a homemade pumpkin spice late (a vegan one, not that overpriced, condensed-milk-containing Starbucks version. Don't have an espresso machine? Me either! Just follow this super quick and easy recipe to add a little fluff to your hot stuff!

No. 2) Make a craft. Whether you want to paint the pumpkin with your kids, carve it or halve it and make a cute flower-floating center piece out of it, just buy one and let your imagination flow! The options are endless. Make pumpkin soup and serve it in the pumpkin! Do a vegan fondue with pumpkin bread and serve it straight from the source. Have I mentioned what excellent bowls pumpkins make?

No. 3) Make these delicious cupcakes and top with some cream cheese glaze. Then, get artsy and decorate how you see fit! I preferred the Jackson Pollock route of just splotching some color on top of my cakes! Plus, your kids will be fighting over who gets to lick the beaters!


No. 4) Make these super delicious pumpkin cream cheese muffins with brown sugar and hazelnut streusel topping! Sure, that name may be a mouthful, but it's totally worth it for a mouthful of these super sweet, super sugary, super fall treats.

No. 5) Roast the seeds. Are you a pumpkin-seed-roasting virgin? No worries! This snack is basically painless to make and really hits the spot when you're in the mood for something crunch but not sure what. And you can always test out new "sauces" and "seasonings" to throw together. My favorite is the Asian-fusion roasted pumpkin seeds.

Just mix together 1 TBS of teriyaki sauce, 1 TBS of sesame oil,1 tsp wasabi powder and salt to taste. Preheat your oven to 375, clean and dry all the seeds from a medium to large sized pumpkin. Dress the seeds with the asian-esque sauce (make sure all the seeds are coated) and then spread out on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, "fluffling" the seeds halfway.

You can thank me for that little gem later.

Your new staple cupcake

The first vegan cupcake I ever attempted was a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting.

And lucky for me (my husband, family and coworkers at the time), they came out flawlessly.

To this day, I'll say out of a good 50 batches of pumpkin cupcakes, I've only botched maybe 2-3 batches.

That's pretty good if you ask me.

And because of they're kick-butt flavor and texture, I'm telling you right now these will be your new staple cupcake -- for the fall anyway.



Pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
(Makes 24 regular-sized cupcakes)
Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (lets sneak a little goodness in here!)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 TBS pumpkin pie spice
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 flaxseed "eggs" (2 TBS ground flaxseed and 3 TBS water, LET IT SIT for 10 min)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree

Cream cheese glaze:
8 ounces vegan cream cheese (we dig Tofutti)
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (you want it a bit runnier than regular frosting, but still thick)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix your flaxseed "egg" mixture.
Mix together cupcake dry ingredients.
Fold wet ingredients into dry.
Blend with a hand mixer for 2 minutes.
Batter should be a little fluffier than regular cake batter.
Fill cupcake wrappers in muffin tin 1/2 full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

While the cupcakes are baking, blend together the icing ingredients and set in the fridge so it can stiffen some.

Let cupcakes cool and then drop on some glaze.

Share with friends, family and lucky coworkers!

Vegan pumpkin cream cheese muffins with streusel topping

I'm not a big fan of breakfast.

I know, I know, it's the "most important meal of the day" and all that jazz, but this is a battle I've been fighting since I was a tiny child.

My mother said she'd bribe me before school with doughnuts, muffins and ice cream cones, but even the sweet tooth in me wanted nothing to do with breakfast.

It's not that breakfast foods aren't delicious, I'll tear up a bowl of vegan sausage, biscuits and gravy any day. And when I was pregnant with Pearyn, there was a three-month span where the only thing I wanted to eat was pancakes and slushies.

I just don't have the stomach for food so early in the morning (probably because I'm not really a morning person either).

But these muffins, I actually contemplated eating one of these this morning because they were THAT good and they had THAT much sugar in them. It's not that I'm recommending them for breakfast every day, but if you'd like a special treat, these are the muffins for you! I'll admit it now, they were a tiny bit high maintenance, but definitely worth the fuss.



Pumpkin cream cheese muffins with streusel topping
(Makes 24 regular-sized muffins)
Muffin ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps baking soda

1 TBS cinnamon (or to your taste)
2 TBS pumpkin pie spice  (or to your taste)
2 cups white sugar
2/3 cups brown sugar

3 flaxseed eggs (3 TBS flaxseed 5 TBS water, let it sit for 10 mins)
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/3 cup water
1 cup almond milk
1 TBS vanilla extract

Cream cheese filling:
10 ounces vegan cream cheese (we're big fans of Tofutti in this family!)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract

Streusel topping:
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar (yes, MORE sugar)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
Nuts (optional, I like using hazelnuts because I feel they're an under-rated nut, but you can use walnuts or pecans as well)

Directions:
Mix together the cream cheese filling ingredients with a hand mixer.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease some muffin tins!
Blend together the streusel ingredients. Now this part is annoying. I've never attempted a streusel topping, so when I looked up ways to blend it they said to cut the butter by hand with a fork. This was stupid. Either that or I am, because I just ended up with a cookie-dough-like blob. I started over and popped the ingredients into my Ninja (blender/processor thing) and hit "chop" like 4 times and it came out much more of a crumbly texture. Be forewarned, this part is a pain in the butt and is more than worth it).
Blend your flaxseed egg mixture and set aside.
Mix together all the dry muffin ingredients and then add the wet ingredients. Mix well, about 50-75 stirs.
Fill muffin cups half-full with batter.
Take your fabulous cream cheese filling and place a fair-sized blob in the middle of the muffin batter (it will spread during baking and cover your pumpkin muffin in gooey artisticness.
Sprinkle streusel topping and nuts on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Share with friends, because really, NO ONE needs this much sugar in the morning.

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9.08.2011

That chewy, chunky chocolate chip cookie you've been looking for

I am a baker of all sorts.

I like cakes, cupcakes, pies, muffins, heck, I'm even a sucker for pain-in-the-butt cinnamon rolls.

But cookies, we have what might be considered a tumultuous relationship.

Cookies are so finicky. If you don't have the exact ratio of sugar to butter to flour, well, your cookies are going to be a hot mess. They'll end up too sandy or too cakey or too dry. I am not a lover of recipes, I like to use my hands and estimate. So it's not really surprising that the majority of my cookies don't come out right.

But these chewy, chunky chocolate chip cookies, they are there for me no matter how many times I rebel against their stern measurements. In fact, they'll probably earn a spot in my cookie hall of fame.



Chewy chunky chocolate chip cookies
(Makes 20-26)
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 flaxseed "eggs" (2 TBS flaxseed, 3 TBS water, mix and let it sit for 10 minutes. LET IT SIT).
1 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp molasses
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (I dig Enjoy Life)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix flaxseed "eggs" and let sit for 10 minutes.
Blend dry ingredients (except sugar) in a smallish bowl.
In a large bowl, whisk softened (not melted) butter, vanilla extract, molasses, flaxseed "eggs" and sugar until thoroughly mixed.
Fold dry ingredients into buttery sugar mixture.
Roll into slightly-bigger-than-one-inch balls and place two inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Take out and let them settle for about 10 minutes.

Enjoy with a tall glass of almond milk.

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Vegan stuffed muffins worth the muffin top

I am a fan of all things baking. Back in my nonvegan days, most of my baking came from either a premixed box or off the back of a Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag. And in the event I actually tried to bake something from scratch, it usually consisted of all purpose flour and a ridiculous amount of eggs.

So the first time I made this super awesome oat bran raspberry preserve muffin was a serious stretch for me. Not only does it not have any milk, eggs or all purpose flour in it, but it's got oat and wheat bran, wheat flour and flaxseeds serve as an egg replacer. This is a crunchy mom's dream muffin.

Needless to say, I've made these bad boys at least a dozen times and they've come out MORE than perfect every single time. Make them for yourself, make them for your kids, make them for your friends or heck, just make them and freeze them for some time down the road when you're going to need a kick-ass muffin.




Oat bran raspberry preserve muffins (with crunchy hazelnut topping)
(Makes 24 muffins or 48 minis!)
Ingredients:
2 cups oat bran
1 cup wheat bran
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
2 "flaxseed" eggs (2 TBS flaxseed plus 3 TBS water)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/3 cup canola oil
Jar of raspberry preserves (or whatever preserve your heart desires)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix your flaxseed "eggs" and let them sit for 10 minutes. (Don't ignore this step, do it. You'll be amazed at how much it thickens in 10 minutes. DO IT.)
Mix all the dry ingredients together.
Add almond milk, canola oil, vanilla extract and flaxseed "eggs."
Mixture will be similar to a thin oatmeal.
Now here's the important part:
Drop the mixture into a greased muffin tin, only fill the cup about 1/4 full.
Scoop about 1-2 tsp of preserve onto the mixture, kind of like this picture below (the amount of preserve will differ depending on whether you're making regular muffins or mini muffins):


Now, drop some more muffin mixture on top, making sure that the preserve is covered. 
The muffin tin should be about 2/3 full once you're finished. Top with a sprinkle of hazelnuts and chunky sugar crystals.
For regular-sized muffins bake 15-20 minutes.
For mini muffins bake 10-12 minutes.


Spicy vegan 'sausage,' kale and white bean soup

It's so official.

I'm moving to Alaska or maybe even Russia - I don't really care where, as long as it's cold and there's an operating stove.

Today, I rekindled my love affair with soup.

I know, you're thinking "big deal Chubby Vegan Mom, I eat soup all the flipping time."

And I'm all "yeah, but I'm not talking about Campbells here, I'm talking made-from-scratch, chopped up the ingredients with my own hand and stirred in my own pot, soup."

After a few days of fall-like weather, I've found myself craving all things autumn, from soup to pumpkin cheesecake muffins.

So finally today I did it. I threw together a few ingredients and made a batch of soup I've been dreaming up in my head for the last few weeks.

(Chubby Vegan Mom is not responsible for your developing a desire to move somewhere way colder because this soup is that good).



Spicy 'sausage,' kale and white bean soup
(Serves A WHOLE bunch)
Ingredients:
1 32oz container of vegetable broth
32 oz of water (you'll just fill the veggie broth container up with water)
1 bunch of kale
1 tube of Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage
1/2 bunch of carrots coined
1 sweet onion diced
15 oz can of diced tomatoes
15 oz can white beans
A handful of minced garlic (or to taste, I didn't measure this amount out)
A handful of pepper (or to taste, I didn't measure this amount out)
2 TBS crushed red pepper
2 TBS onion powder

Directions:
Take a big old pot and pour the veggie broth and water into it, then cook on medium heat.
Cut up all your veggies (carrots, onions) and rip your kale (I like to use the curly kind and I just rip the leafy part off of the stem) and throw them into the pot.
Add beans and diced tomatoes.
Add garlic, pepper, crushed red pepper and onion powder.
Reduce to simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
Tear Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage into small chunks and toss them into the big old pot of soup.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Enjoy (preferably with multi-grain rolls!)

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9.07.2011

Apparently my daughter is a 'trend'

According to the Huffington Post, my darling vegan daughter Pearyn is a trend.

Pear is going to start a cloth-diaper fashion trend next.
Oh, I feel so special and a tiny bit used.

They recently published an article detailing the latest craze to hit families, from celebutants to Average Joes. 

The vegan lifestyle, of course.

We're on our way to taking over the world, seeing as how we now make up a whopping one percent of the world's population now. (Insert cheers, high fives and fist bumps here).

All joking aside, the article was actually an interesting read. It tackled all those pesky questions like what pregnant vegans eat, crave and whether or not it's possible to raise a human being on a vegan diet.

FYI - we're vegans for crying out loud, not the tooth fairy - we're here, we're real, we exist and we can, have and will continue to thrive on a plant-based diet. And if you don't want to believe me, take a gander at the  ADA's stance on vegan diets during infancy and then get back with me. Still a hater? Go find some other blogger to bother, you know, one who hasn't heard the whole "People Eating Tasty Animals" bit before.

And speaking of cravings, I'm not going to even try to speak for every vegan pregnant lady. We're all different, we all crave and need different things throughout pregnancy and I'm not criticizing anyone who didn't stick to a strictly vegan diet during their pregnancy or ever followed one to begin with. In return, I'll ask that you don't bash me for not only adhering to my vegan pregnancy, but having a perfectly healthy and flourising one. Deal?

This Chubby Vegan Mom isn't here to argue about whether or not a diet including meat and dairy is healthy during pregnancy. Seeing as how there are a bajillion completely healthy, meat-eating adults out there, I'm going to venture to say that there is a healthy and responsible way to include meat and dairy in a diet. What this Chubby Vegan Mom IS here to argue about, is the fact that it's completely possible to raise a healthy, normal human being on a plant-based only diet.

I'm tired of getting an earful of crap when people find out I'm raising a vegan daughter. I'm tired of being told  I'm going to kill my child if I don't feed her chicken nuggets. I'm tired of getting death stares for giving my daughter almond milk and butter rather than cows milk. I'm tired of know-it-all parents telling me what's good for MY child. I'm tired of people accusing me of malnourishing, depriving and trying to kill my child. And most of all, I'm tired of questioning everything I put into Pearyn's mouth because everyone else does.

I am a mother. I carried this beautiful, amazing little person inside my body for almost 10 months. I have stretch marks, I got kicked in the ribs endlessly for three months, couldn't eat bread without getting heartburn, labored for 18 hours, got rows of stitches where no person should have to, dealt with a body that looked like it came from a crime scene for nearly two months, woke up every two hours and nursed said child with my own damn body. There isn't one area of my life - emotionally, physically - or my actual body, that this tiny creature hasn't ravaged in her arrival

Now, do you really think I went through all of that, an entire process that took nearly a year and a half, to just starve her once she got here?

Think again. I contemplate every last nutrient that enters my daughters body. I count calories (to make sure enough are coming from fats), pair fruits, veggies and grains to form complete proteins and monitor every little crumb that enters her body. And the worst part about all these psycho, mommy dearest, am I killing my child doubts? I'm not even doing this to appease myself, I'm doing it because so many people think it can't be done.

I'm tired of hearing it. I'm tired of letting the same people who feed their kids diets high in processed meats and sugary dairy drinks cloud my vision of raising a compassionate and cruelty-free family. Mainly, I'm tired of being told that "it's not possible to raise a healthy child on a vegan diet."

Still don't think I can do it?

Stick around, you might be surprised.

9.06.2011

Chubby Vegan Crab Cakes by Chubby Vegan Dad

Something magical happened while we were at the health food store the other day.

We were strolling through the frozen aisle, perusing for the latest and greatest vegan convenience food, when we came across the line of Match Meats.

And lucky for us, Match Meats had something we'd been in search of forever, mock "crab" meat.

My husband, being the hasn't-had-seafood-in-12-years vegan he is, didn't even think twice about spending the $9 for the frozen treat.

And boy, am I glad he didn't.

Here it is, crab cakes to serve to any eater - omnivore and herbivore alike.


Chubby Vegan Crab Cakes
(Serves 4)
Ingredients:
1 package of Match Meat Crab
1 2/3 cups mashed potatoes (we prepare ours with a little bit of butter, sour cream, salt and pepper)
1/2 cup sweet onion diced
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Italian parsley
1/2 cup lemon zest & juice
1 TBS Old Bay seasoning
Panko bread crumbs (to coat the outside of the crab cake)
4 diced up carrots
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
Canola oil (for cooking)

Directions:
Thaw crab ahead of time and fold together all the ingredients except the oil and panko bread crumbs.
Form patties and dredge in panko bread crumbs.
Cook in hot oil on medium heat for two-three minutes each side.
Lay on plate covered with napkins.
Serve with your favorite fish-esque sauce!

9.05.2011

Strawberry shortcake: redefined

Labor Day weekend was an absolute blast. (Well, aside from the occasional family-style bickering because there were at most times six adults, three great danes, one three and a half year old and two 16 month olds hanging out under one roof.

To celebrate the Mizzou clan coming for a long weekend visit, one of my aunts had a big family cookout at her place.

Everyone in the family volunteered to bring something, so naturally, I wanted to bring cupcakes.

But I've been craving strawberry shortcake for the entire summer, so what better way to see summer out and welcome fall than with a cupcake-version of the dessert I was craving?

These turned out flawlessly. I even got my strawberry-hating husband to not only eat one, but two.



Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
(Makes 18)
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 "eggs" I used my trusty Ener-G egg replacer
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter (I know, but it's SO worth it)
1 1/4 cup Tofutti sour cream
A package of strawberries
1 cup strawberry "goo" (you can by it in tubs and packages at the store)
1 container Mimicreme Healthy Top whipped cream (SO worth the $5)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350
Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add butter, sour cream and vanilla extract. Whip using a hand blender (even better if you have the whisk-type attachments). The batter is really fluffy and creamy.

Put liners in muffin pans and fill 2/3 full. Bake for 15 minutes.
In a food processor or blender, take 10 strawberries and 1 cup of strawberry goo. Blend and set aside.

Once cupcakes are done and cooled, use a fancy tool or simply your finger to make a small hole in the center of the cupcake.

Using a bakers bag (or a zip lock bag with the tip cut off) fill the center of the cupcakes with the mixture from the food processor. (It's possible depending on the size of your strawberries that you may need more, make it as you need it).

Next, prepare whipped cream as the carton suggests, but add leftover strawberry mixture to the whipped topping (it gives it a pretty pink color!)
Use a bakers or zip lock bag to swirl icing on top, or just a knife if you're not concerned with appearances.

Take and show off to EVERYONE!

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