Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Countdown to Thanksgiving--Part 4 (stuffing)


Haha, yes that was the best way I could come up with to start this entry.  Unfortunately stuffing mixes across the board tend to not be vegan, as they contain "chicken flavor".  Whole Foods makes a great Vegan stuffing mix though, (365 Everyday Value® Organic Vegan Stuffing) that, mixed together with a few extra ingredients, will make a fantastic vegan stuffing for you and your family to enjoy!

**Side note:  Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving food.  To know I wasn't going to be able to have my grandmother's stuffing whenever I came home to have Thanksgiving with my family... well lets just say "devastated" doesn't come close to how I felt.  This recipe, it's not my grandmother's but... I still chow down on it because it's VERY similar... Leftovers do not happen for me with this recipe.  (...Maybe I shouldn't have put that last part...)

1 bag 365 Everyday Value® Organic Vegan Stuffing
1/2 white or red onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into rounds
6 TBS + 1-2 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper
granulated garlic
onion powder
2 cups Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Base  

In a medium pan saute the onion, carrot, and celery in the 1-2 TBS of olive oil, with salt and pepper to taste.   

In a medium pot, bring the remaining oil and prepared bouillon to a boil remove from heat.  Add in stuffing mix and veggies.  Stirring until all stuffing has been coated with liquid, cover.  Allow to sit covered for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. 

Then DEVOUR!!!! nomnomnomnom!!! I'm ready for Thanksgiving already!!! BRING ON THE STUFFING!!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chocolate Boxes

You asked for it and it is FINALLY here!!! I apologize for the delay, I made these once about a year and a half ago and really had to rack my brain about what all went into these and what I did to make them!

These little desserts are SUPER SWEET so they would be great to make for a dinner party or even a wedding/bridal/baby shower where there are a lot of people (one box per person will be enough).  It's a time consuming dish but they can definitely be made ahead of time and filled just before serving.

There are some shortcuts you can take with this to save time: using raspberry preserves (or another type of fruit preserve), and/or using store bought whipped cream.  But I can't make any comments about how any of that would effect the outcome of this... It would probably still be tasty... Just not as tasty as my recipe :-)

Alright here we go, hopefully I can remember everything!

Chocolate Boxes with Raspberry Coulis and Coconut Whipped "Cream"

1 Box of Chocolate Cake mix (Duncan Hines Devil's Food is yummy)
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Ener-G Egg replacer for 3 Eggs

Prep according to the box in a 13x9 baking pan. Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes.

At this point you can leave it in the pan to cool completely or you can turn it out of the pan and let it cool completely.

When cooled completely, cut a half inch off of each side, creating a 12x8 rectangle of cake (makes for easier measuring when cutting slices into cubes for the boxes).

Cut cake into 2x2 in cubes.  Depending on how high you cake baked, you may want to cut it in half so it's 2-in wide x2-in long x 1-in high.

Coconut Whipped Cream:
1 can FULL FAT Coconut Milk (don't use lite coconut milk or this won't work)
1/4-1/2 tsp vanilla
2-3 TBS confectioner's sugar

Place the coconut milk in the fridge overnight.  Crucial!! This allows for the cream and liquid to separate and the cream to harden enough for this to work.  Put a bowl in the freezer 5 minutes before you're ready to whip so the cream stays cold!

Upon removing the can from the fridge, carefully turn the can over.  Open the can and pour out all the liquid. (either throw this away or use in another recipe) The cream at the bottom of the can is what you need to whip!

Spoon the cream into the cold bowl and whip with hand mixer until fluffy.  

Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla and whip again making sure it's evenly distributed.  

Cover and Chill until ready to use.

Chocolate Panels: 

2 bags of Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Melt the chocolate chips (I suggest over a double-boiler.. it just melts more evenly).  Spread an even, approximately 1/8 in thick, layer on a piece of parchment paper

Allow to harden in a cool room.  When the chocolate is just set, cut the chocolate into 2-inch squares,(see where I'm going with this?) place in the refrigerator until ready to use

Raspberry Coulis:

1 1/2 pints of fresh raspberries (can use about a bag of frozen raspberries if fresh ones aren't available)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 TBS lemon juice
1/2 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp cold water

Put the raspberries, sugar, water, and lemon juice into a small-med saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce to med low and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the berries are very soft (about 10 min).  

Sprinkle the cornstarch over 2 teaspoons cold water and stir to dissolve. Pour into the simmering raspberry mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh wire sieve into a medium bowl; discard the seeds. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Now that you've made all the components, here's how to assemble the boxes!

With a pastry brush, brush raspberry coulis onto the 4 sides around the cake, leaving the top and bottom without. 

Press a chocolate panel onto each side that has been brushed with coulis, allowing the chocolate panels to be flush with the cake at the bottom of the box. The top of the box will have an inch of panel "overhang".  When all four panels are intact, pour a thin layer of coulis in the "well".  Chill for at least 20 mins (this is where you can stop if you are making these ahead of time)

Top with about a  whipped cream, a drizzle of raspberry coulis (if you have leftovers) and a raspberry if you want.

I'm thinking about making these again now that I've finally remembered all my ingredients and the process... Maybe I'll do it for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  The boxes are so cute and everyone gets their own, like a little present!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Vegan Month Challenge!

Alright here we go! November 1 is World Vegan Day which kicks off Vegan Month too!  As we jump into Vegan Month, I have a couple of challenges for you... Try as many as you like and leave us a comment either here or on my Facebook page, let me know how you did!

  • If you are not vegan, I challenge you to try to eat vegan AT LEAST ONCE this month! Sounds like no biggie right?  Click around on here, find something that sounds yummy and try it! 
  • If you can accomplish that, you can try the next challenge: Eat Vegan for a whole week!

  • Not challenged enough? Then I challenge you to have a vegan meal with your non-vegan friends! Invite everyone over with the idea that you found this new recipe and want to get a couple opinions on it from everyone.  Suggestion: Don't tell them it's vegan.. Make it, watch everyone devour it, and then at the end of the meal tell them it was vegan... For whatever reason, people FREAK OUT when they know ahead of time that something is vegan.  If you tell them after they eat, you are more likely to get great reactions/comments about the meal.

  • First few seem it's too easy?  Why not try to eat vegan for 21 days of the month? Or even more extreme... Have a Vegan Thanksgiving! 

I'm on my own little mission to prove that eating vegan--even if you only do it a few times a month can get you a healthier body (you can see all the research on documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, Engine 2: Kitchen Rescue, Hungry for Change, or Food Matters) but it can also taste delicious!  

Challenge yourself and your friends! Share this blog post and lets see how many people will try to accomplish at least one of these challenges! :-)

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