Saturday, November 13, 2010


I have been gone much longer than I like. I really love blogging (and blog reading!), but sometimes other things just will not stop calling my name. Trust me, when those things include papers, studying for tests, and cleaning the house, you can be sure that my MIA-status is not of my own accord. Now the papers are turned in, the tests are taken (well, except for the ones next week, but let's not talk about that now...), and the house is sparkling (temporarily), I am hear and ready to chat it up. Now let them eat cake!

...Or banana soft serve?

After last Saturday's little debacle, I decided to be nice to my teeth by eating soft foods. I am quite the fan (understatement alert) of creamy and smooth kabocha, so if nothing else, I was happy that would be on the menu. Naturally, I could have just eaten that with coconut butter allllll day long. However, I controlled myself for the sake of my orange complexion, and instead I opted for another sweet and creamy treat: banana soft serve. First, I had it au natural with strawberries.

But then I did a little experimenting. I learned an important lesson: banana soft serve's amazingness exponentially increases with the addition of a warm, gooey vegan brownie (I absolutely adore the chocolate brownie bar made by Vegan Pure N R G in this).

I think it was better than an ice cream sundae (or ice cream wednesdae haha), vegan or not. Oh my. I have no words.

Oh, and my little secret? That would be this baby:

Pure Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Powder. It is a little pricy, but I can assure you, it is worth every penny (not to mention it is a great investment because a little goes a long way). Vanilla extract is mostly alcohol, but vanilla powder is nothing but ground vanilla beans. It smells heavenly, and the taste is almost unimaginable. I love adding it to things like oatmeal and banana soft serve to give it that little extra something.

But let's get real. I needed some veggies! Not to worry, I managed to get my mamoth-sized veggie quota filled with the help of lots of salads. A little extra steaming made for veggies that were kind to my mouth and yummy for my tummy.

Hello, Salad, old friend. I have neglected you far too much with the cold wether. But now that you are back, I know you will not be leaving any time soon.

My trick: use steamed or roasted vegetables on winter salads to make the foods warming as opposed to cooling. Choosing stimulating root veggies over more summer varieties works well, too. Eat with the seasons and your body will be better adjusted to the temperature.

I also love adding beans to salads. They are a great source of vegan protein and taste great! Don't believe me? Try making beans yourself (as opposed to eating them from a can). After deciding a few months ago to forgo canned beans, I have been cooking a lot of big batches from dried beans. In an attempt to do some fall cleaning, I am trying to use up some of my extra canned ones that I had on hand. There is no comparison! Taste and nutrition wise, dried beans win hands down!

Thanks to this lovely lady, I have had a hankering for fries lately.

...Tofu and veggie fries, that is! I used my Tofu Xpress to press my tofu, and it could not have gone better. I pressed it for only a few minutes (probably 5ish), but it still turned out extremely dense and chewy.

I simply cut my tofu and vegetables (red bell pepper, kabocha, and eggplant) into fry-like shapes, seasoning the tofu and eggplant (with paprika and garlic powder), and roasted them all at 400*F for 40 minutes (flipping halfway through).

When everything was done, I was extremely pleased, especially with the firmness of the tofu. Is it weird I almost mistook them for chicken nuggets? Not enough that I was grossed out (afterall, they did not taste like chicken---no thanks!) and could not eat them, but just enough to recognize the power of the awesome spice rub and almost miracle-working Tofu Xpress. Maybe it was more of a texture thing?

I loved this meal so much that I made it two nights in a row. For the second go-around, though, I added roasted purple cabbage to the mix. (Speaking of which, is it purple or red? I think it was called red cabbage, but it definitely looked purple to me!)

Roasting cabbage makes it so amazingly sweet and delicious. Many thanks to Sarena for inspiring me to try this. I have actually been eating it as a snack as of late because I enjoy it that much. Call me crazy, but I am serious about my veggies!

Another meal including my newly-found roasted cabbage love was this:

I served it along side vegan white bean cheeze (cheese/cheeze?) and other roasted vegetables.

I added a little water to the cheeze in order to make it more dip-able. When I warmed it up and sprinkled it with some BBQ seasoning (I could not find my smoked paprika), it was all hot and gooey. Yum!

From soft foods to salads to fries, I always seem to have a little trick up my sleeves. I think the ability to experiment and play in the kitchen is what makes cooking so much fun. And of course it is always fun to say that there is a secret ingredient or method to what we do. That is what makes grandma's cookies the best, right?

Do you have any tricks or "secrets" in cooking? 

Although vanilla powder, steaming vegetables for salads, and roasting have become standard in my kitchen, I think my favorite secret is adding love. Making food with love makes any food taste its best.

I cannot wait to show you what sweet treats have been baking in my oven this weekend. Have a lovely day!



  1. I'm so glad you liked the fries! I think I'm going to makes so 'fu for lunch today : )

    Can't wait to see what you've been baking up! I've been so into baking recently. Any excuse to turn on the oven and warm up the house - I'll take it!

  2. Life always seems to call me away from blogging too.. but I think that's a good thing! :)
    GENIUS idea to top banana softserve with a brownie. I bet that was heavenlyy!

  3. Hmm, I've been wondering if I should invest in the tofu xpress.