Hi pies! :)
How was your weekend? Are you on winter break yet? Friday was my last day of school so now I'm free for the next 2 weeks! After a week of tests, it was truly a relief. However, I know that midterms are coming up in the near future. But not to worry, I'm enjoying freedom while it lasts!
This weekend has been absolutely amazing for me. Yesterday especially I felt a wonderful release of stress and was completely overwhelmed by the holiday spirit. Just simply spending time with my grandmother and uncle meant so much to me. I don't think I've smiled and laughed that much in a while! It almost feels like I already celebrated Christmas because for me, the holidays are all about love (whether that be for family, friends, or complete strangers).
I think what really kicked things off was making a traditional Bouche de Noel with my grandmother on Thursday night. My French teacher asked me if I would make one for my class and agreed to give me bonus points for my effort. Unfortunately, because of the snow day, our French party and test date had to be changed so I ended up making it the same night that I had to study for my huge test! Clearly this created a lot of stress for me. I absolutely love baking (it is my source of relaxation along with yoga), but it is hard when you are under a lot of pressure. Oh, and did I mention I had to use the recipe my teacher gave me which included three ingredients that are almost foreign to me now (eggs, butter, and milk)? I am so grateful my grandmother was willing to help!
All I had to say at the end of the night was that vegan baking is much more fun. Sorry, but whipping egg whites and yolks seperately while making sure not to harm their delicate structure is just not worth it. (Nor is the poor little baby chick that was denied life just so that I could make a cake, but I won't get into that. Note: I believe that everyone has a right to eat whatever they like. I personally choose not to consume animal products but I do not look down upon those who do.) At least I still remember how to separate eggs...
The cake came out really well, and I loved seeing the delight my grandmother had upon making a treat that is traditional in our culture (we're part french). Making a vegan Bouche de Noel is definitely on my list, but until then, I will just keep on baking vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls to keep my family fueled.
Considering they are already all gone, I don't think my family has a problem with that.
There is just something so interesting about finding the right substitutions and ingredients that will make any vegan food pop. I guess that's why vegan baking is just more fun!
Lately I've been experimenting with single-serve vegan chocolate protein muffins. When they were in the oven, they rose nicely.
Sadly, though, they soon collapsed.
The structure can be kind of difficult, but I think it's really the taste the taste that matters. I absolutely adored how fudg-y they were!
If there is chocolate in Heaven, I imagine it will be something like this (if the chocolate seekers are looking for chocolate with some wholesome nutrition, that is). I love vegan baking! Do I really need to say it again?
And don't even get me started on vegan cooking. My meals this past week were absolutely fantastic! I kept lunch pretty simple by making a big batch of Snobby Joes from Veganomicon so that I could focus on studying for my tests. However, dinner was another story. Two highlights from the week were straight out of my Terry Walters cookbooks. I could go on and on about how much I love Terry's work, but I'll just let the photos do the talking.
First up was Sesame Miso Tofu with Asian Greens. Of course I had to be a rebel and change the recipe by swapping chickpeas (which I marinaded and roasted) for tofu.
Other than that little change (one change---that's rare for me!), I stuck to the recipe in Clean Start. I'm glad I did because Terry definitely has the flavor combinations down.
Oh boy, the leftover sesame-miso marinade was so delicious! It is so versatile, too. I think I might even make a batch to keep on hand for other things.
Next I made Sweet Potato and Parsnip Pancakes from Clean Food (except I opted for baking instead of frying).
I would tell you all about them, but honestly, I'm speechless. I already have plans to make these again this week.
Make. These. Now. Seriously.
And of course, Terry Walters hit the nail on the head for me with Clean Food's Tree of Life Stir-Fry. Its mixture of my some of my favorite vegetables (seriously, I eat broccoli and cauliflower at least once a day!) had me from the start. The subtly sweet sauce really brought all of the flavors together and made for a wonderful meal. I always feel so energized after eating fresh foods like this! (Note: I added chickpeas to the mix for a little extra texture, flavor, and protein.)
Do you enjoy cooking/baking with special requirements in mind (e.g. vegan, gluten-free, high-protien, low-sugar, etc.)? Vegan preparation is a given, but I'm always up for other challenges, too! And do you like to follow recipes or change a bunch of things? I tried to stick to Terry's recipes, but I like to make recipes my own, too. Usually I will draw ideas from lots of different sources and then add my own spin. Sometimes it's the best thing I've ever tasted, and other times, it's a complete flop. It took awhile for my kitchen intuition to develop, but hey, you win some, you lose some.
Have a lovely day!