Cookie Giveaway to Celebrate 100 Likes on Facebook!

Well, I have finally gotten to 100 likes on Facebook!

Actually, it’s been a couple weeks since this happened, but life and concerts have been going full steam ahead with little reprieve.

So, to celebrate, I have decided to have a cookie giveaway: three people will get a dozen cookies from my kitchen!

Here are your options.

If you want to try one of the cookies I’ve posted here, you can choose from these:
Brown Sugar and Apple Butter Cookies (except it’ll be pear butter, because I have no apple butter at the moment)
Gingerbread People (or cats, or foxes, or hearts, or teapots)
Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie Wannabes
Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies

I’m also open to making the following cookies out of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Kitchen Sink Chocolate Biscotti (you’ll choose 3 add-ins out of whatever I have on hand at the moment! :-))
Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles
Cowgirl Cookies (cranberries, cocoanut, and walnuts are in these)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

A few notes:

1. I cannot do gluten-free cookies because I cannot guarantee that anything in my kitchen is really gluten free. So if you’re celiac or otherwise sensitive to gluten this is, unfortunately, not the giveaway for you.

2. Regarding other allergies besides gluten: you will need to let me know if you have sensitivities to, say, soy or almonds or peanuts so I can substitute other things in their place. There will be no eggs, dairy, or honey in any of the cookies I make for this giveaway.

So, how to enter! Just leave a comment on this post telling me something about cookies, which cookie you’d choose if you win, or perhaps a happy cookie memory!

I will close this giveaway in one week, on October 31, and pick names out of a hat. And then I’ll contact the three winners within a couple days. If you do not respond within 24 hours with your contact info, I will then choose another winner.

Categories: giveaway | 13 Comments

Hollywood Squares, or Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Hollywood Squares

As some of you know, I’ve been unable to consume peanut butter (or peanut anything) for roughly… *counts*… one year and seven months, because I was nursing Lou Who and she would get a Terrible Rash from my peanut consumption. Being an inveterate adorer of Snickers, pb&j, and Thai food, this has left a gaping hole in my life. But, you know, I’ve coped. I’ve actually coped pretty well, considering that I don’t like almond butter very much. And, thankfully, I could still have chocolate! Peanuts really are one of the easier allergens to deal with, and I’m very thankful it was that and not gluten.

So, one of the things I haven’t made for a Very Long Time is Hollywood Squares, which is a recipe a friend gave me when we were 12 or 13 and it’s basically like having a 13×9 Reese’s Peanut Butter cup in the palm of your hungry little hand. I made these many times for my coworkers back about 7 years ago and saw them vanish before my very eyes. I myself am *cough* capable of eating more of them at a time than I care to admit.

I have no doubt you could make these with sunbutter, almond butter, cashew butter, or any sort of nut butter, but I knew it simply wouldn’t be the same, so I’ve waited and waited to post this here.

Note: It’s helpful to have all your peanut butter layer ingredients ready in bowls so you can add them in quickly.

Note #2: It is VERY important to add the ingredients in the peanut butter layer in the order they are listed. Most recipes don’t care, but trust me, this one does. If you do them out of order, you’ll wind up with a lumpy mess. A tasty lumpy mess, mind, but probably not one that would make your co-workers compliment you on your Mad Attractive Food Skilz.

Note #3: If you cut the recipe in half, it’s perfect for 12 regular muffin cups (smash the peanut layer into muffin papers and then spread the chocolate on top).

And without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Peanut Butter Layer
1/2 c melted vegan margarine
2 c creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix 1/2 c melted margarine well with the peanut butter, powdered sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Spread in the bottom of 13×9 pan.

Chocolate Layer
4 T vegan margarine
12 oz bag of chocolate chips

Melt together the 4 T margarine with the bag of chocolate chippies. Pour and spread chocolate mixture on top of peanut butter mixture. Chill. Cut into squares.

^^Bonus: a really lame video of me eating one of these babies a few minutes ago.

Categories: dairy-free, dessert, gluten-free, Lou Who, recipes, vegan | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Chicken Rice

One of the things I ate a lot as a child was that very yellow Lipton chicken rice. I remember having a curious love-hate relationship with it. It was good, and it was pretty, and yet I got sick of it so quickly. Maybe it was too salty for me. Boxed and packaged food usually is.

GooGoo wanted a picture of her food.

GooGoo wanted a picture of her food. I don’t know why she had the grumpface on.

But, I decided it would be fun to try to recreate this in vegan form. So, keep reading for the recipe.

***

Today’s musical selection has nothing to do with chickens, rice, or Lipton. It is, however, nostalgic for me, and that is reason enough.

***

In a heavy-bottomed pan, stir together:
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 clove crushed garlic
2 T oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 T chicken seasoning
1/8 – 1/4 tsp turmeric

Turn on heat and cook rice for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, to toast rice.

When the oil is beginning to absorb, add:
3 1/3 cups water

Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook about 35 minutes. Turn off burner. Let stand 10 minutes before removing lid and fluffing with fork.

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Categories: dairy-free, gluten-free, lunch, nut-free, recipes, side dish, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Spanish Rice

The first five rice recipes I have to share are rice basics, in a variety of flavours. Some of them will get re-used later on in my ricefest in other dishes, but all can be stand-alone side dishes as well. You will notice that all of them are based on the Brasilian rice method, which is why I shared that first.

***

In keeping with today’s Spanish theme, here’s a fine exhibition of tremolo on harp:

***

In a heavy-bottomed pan, stir together:
1 1/2 cups brown rice (I use plain long grain brown, but jasmine and basmati work fine too)
1 large clove crushed garlic
2 T oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tsp cumin seed
1 T taco seasoning
2 small tomatoes, chopped (or 1/2 cup canned tomatoes, drained)
1 tsp onion powder

Turn on heat and cook all of the above for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, to toast rice.

When the oil is beginning to absorb, add:
3 3/4 cups chicken broth (I stirred 4tsp chicken seasoning with 3 3/4 cups water)

Bring to boil, cover tightly, and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes. Then let sit covered 10 minutes (do not remove from heat). Fluff with a fork and serve.

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Categories: gluten-free, nut-free, recipes, side dish, soy-free, vegan | Tags: | Leave a comment

Garden Pasta

We have green beans coming on, and I wanted to think of something to do with them besides, ya know, just steaming them. (Not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with just steaming them.)

So here is what I did.

I cooked 1 pound of shell pasta and rinsed it and set it aside.

In my food processor, I ground up:

1 heaping cup green onions
1/4 lb seitan/gluten
1 handful of fresh basil leaves (16 leaves, if you want an exact count)

Then I steamed 3/4 pound of fresh green beans whilst I chopped 2 cups fresh tomatoes.

Then I drained the beans and dumped all of the above components into a big pan, stirred in a little salt and oil and warmed it through.

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It was simply delightful and delicious, although neither Lou Who nor GooGoo would touch the green beans.

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Categories: dairy-free, garden, lunch, nut-free, pasta, recipes, side dish, vegan, vegetables | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Basic Brasilian Rice

I was going to take part in Vegan MoFo again this year. I signed up. My theme was going to be Music and Rice, and it was going to be super awesome.

But then I had a reality check. I’m preparing a concert with some friends that we’re intending to have ready by mid-September. I simply don’t have time to commit to MoFo with having to get that much music practise in!

So, I had to un-sign-up. Waaaaaaa. HOWEVER, I’m still planning to do my theme, just not all in one month. And I’m going to start now.

***

Among the various treasures preserved from my childhood is a cassette tape on which I’ve written in ballpoint pen: PIANO AND RICE.

Music and I go way back. This tape is a gem, created by my friend Edda and I, on which are some pieces she played from her piano lesson book and a fair number of brilliant original compositions such as “Mother and Me”, “Thunder and Lightning”, and “The Swan”, all of which were made up on the fly whilst our mothers, oblivious to the genius they had managed to gift the world, quietly had a garage sale out front.

Consider the lyrics to “The Swan:”

Gracefully she swims along
Down the Yahtzee river.
Along came a toad and ate her up,
Swimming down the river.
Along came a toad and ate her up,
Swimming down the river.
OH NO! Oh. No.

So, in honour of this ridiculous piece of nostalgia from my childhood, I have a dual, and perhaps wacky, theme this year involving two of my favourite things: music and rice. I will not limit this music to piano, because while I like piano, it’s not my favourite thing in the world any more.

So, to kick things off, here is some Bach, brilliantly executed on two harps, because Bach. And harps.

And why, you may ask, is the tape titled “Piano and Rice”? Well, the end of the tape is a recording I had running one evening when I was hungry for rice, and so it is a real-time chronicle of the making of a pot of rice for yours truly. I was probably 10 or 11. My dad sings a hit song called “Achy Breaky Rice” and one of the tracks is called “Atom Bombs and a Butt Imprint”.

Yes. I had an interesting childhood.

***

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I already used this picture in another post, but hey, rice is rice, and kind of boring to look at on its own.

SO ANYWAY. RICE IS KIND OF AWESOME. I’m kicking things off with my go-to rice recipe. It is super simple – just a few extra steps from regular rice cooking – but tastes like a million bucks, and I can’t really go back to plain old rice anymore! GooGoo and Lou Who both love it, even though GooGoo claims, “I don’t like gar-wick.”

This recipe is adapted from Matthew Locricchio’s The 2nd International Cookbook for Kids (this is *not* a vegan cookbook, but worth it for this recipe alone in my opinion!). My changes: reduce the oil, change the water/rice proportions, and use brown rice. And I’ve tripled it – the original calls for 1 cup of rice, but we go through so much rice in our house that it would be just dumb to not cook enough to last a few days all at once.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, stir together:
3 cups brown rice (I use plain long grain brown, but jasmine and basmati work fine too)
3 T crushed garlic (3 large cloves)
1/4 c oil
2 1/4 tsp salt

Turn on heat and cook rice for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, to toast rice.

When the oil is beginning to absorb, add:
6 2/3 cups water

Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover pot, and allow to simmer 30-45 minutes. Don’t lift the lid until it looks like the water is almost absorbed.

When the water is absorbed (you will know because there will be steam holes in the rice that are no longer bubbling), turn off the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and serve.

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Categories: gluten-free, nut-free, recipes, side dish, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Corn Bread

When I first met Mr Pine Nut, he was more or less constantly engaged in a determined effort to make Really Good Cornbread. Except he didn’t want to use a recipe.

I tried to convince him that Baking is a Science, and Requires Accurate Measurements, but he wouldn’t believe me.

So we had quite a few pans of rather heavy cornbread together, unless I was cooking, in which case I used the recipe on the cornmeal bag, like my mother had always done. It came out okay, though it never seemed to be as nice as when my mom made it.

Eventually I got the recipe my mother-in-law had used when working in a retirement centre kitchen, and I’ve used it ever since with good success and very few adaptations (the original called for eggs, so that was my main change). It always comes out perfectly, except when I try to use flax eggs in it. Flax eggs do NOT work in this recipe. I don’t know why. I’ve tried a number of times and with varying amounts of water. So I stick with the Ener-G egg replacer for this one.

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The amount in black give you for either a pie pan or 9×9″ square pan. The amount in red gives you a 13×9″ pan batch.

Corn Bread
1 c (2 c) corn meal (sometimes I use a blend of corn flour and corn meal)
1/2 c (1 c) wheat flour
1/2 c (1 c) white flour
2 T (1/4 c) sugar
1/2 T (1 T) baking powder
1/2 tsp (1 tsp) salt
1/2 T (1 T) Ener-G egg replacer
2 T (1/4 c) water
1/3 c (2/3 c) oil (can do half applesauce)
1 c (2 c) non-dairy milk (any will work, and water will do in a pinch)
1/2 c (1 c) frozen corn (optional)

Now here are the SuperComplicated(tm) instructions!

In bowl #1, combine all dry ingredients.

In bowl #2, combine all wet ingredients.

Transfer contents of bowl #1 to bowl #2 and stir just until combined.

Pour into a sprayed pan and bake at 350. The 8×8″ will take roughly 20-25 minutes, and the 13×9 at least 30 minutes.

The toothpick test works this way for this recipe: at the end of your baking time, if it comes out clean, let it go another couple of minutes.

You can also do this in a cast-iron skillet with excellent results. I’ve been doing it that way a lot lately.

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Categories: bread, dairy-free, lunch, nut-free, recipes, side dish, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Cookbook Review: Everyday Vegan Eats

I haven’t done any cookbook reviews lately, partly because I haven’t tried enough from any one cookbook to do it justice! But, Cadry’s Kitchen is having a giveaway of Everyday Vegan Eats, by Zsu Dever, and since I tested for this cookbook, I have tried a goodly number of the recipes in it (mostly different ones from the ones Cadry spotlighted! So, here goes. (Sorry that all the pics are lousy iPod pics. For some reason I either didn’t take any with my good camera, or they are hiding really well!)

Savoury Broth Mix: I have a mock chicken seasoning I make regularly that’s good enough, but I really liked this one for something with a little more depth and punch to it. It’s a good one to have made up and ready to go.

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Salsa Fresca: I’m a huge fan of fresh salsa and I really liked this. I particularly liked that it calls for no vinegar, which doesn’t sit well with me! It uses lime juice instead and it’s very simple to throw together.

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Timeless Tomato Sauce: Delicious! It has a secret ingredient that I would never have thought to stick in tomato sauce, but it was a great addition.

Tender Soy Curls: I made these once during testing to use in one of the tester recipes but I’ve also made it since then as a substitute for ground turkey in chili. Honestly I’m not the biggest fan of soy curls, but they tasted fine.

Bacon Tofu: This is the simplest, tastiest tofu bacon recipe EVER. It calls for 3 ingredients besides the tofu and it was fantastic. This has become my standard bacon. (For the record, it doesn’t work so well with tempeh. I tried.)

Comforting Noodle Soup: The flavour of this was awesome and it was a big hit with our Friday night group (despite the fact that I left the noodles in waaaaayyy too long and they had soaked up most of the broth. Oops.) In fact, it sounds really yummy to me right now being sick. Maybe I’ll make some for lunch today!

Chipotle Chili: Very tasty! I made this to try on its own as well as incorporated into the Chili Mac recipe. I liked the Chili Mac best but both were good.

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Mama’s Hungarian Bean Soup: I loved this one!

German Potato Salad: I didn’t officially test this one but I did make it on my own anyway. It was fabulous hot or cold.

Seven-Layer Tex-Mex Salad: This was delicious and colourful. Our Friday night group liked it!

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Meatless Pies in Buttermilk Herb Biscuits: This was the recipe I made the Tender Soy Curls for. I really liked these. They were a little time-consuming but not in a difficult way, just required some planning ahead.

Hungarian March of the Grenadiers: This is a potato dish that was so delicious there are no words. It uses the Hungarian Paprika Potatoes (separate recipe) and mashes them and serves them with pasta. Potatoes + Pasta = Always a win.

Whole Grain Rice Pilaf: I loved this so much. It is definitely one of the best pilafs I’ve tried. So many just fall short.

Mediterranean Quinoa with Fresh Herbs: I really liked this. It’s supposed to be eaten warm, but I made it as a cold salad and it was very tasty that way too!

Refried Beans with Tomatoes: These were so simple and so yummy.

Classic-Style Benedict: I’ve never had Eggs Benedict, but this was a mighty tasty (if also mighty rich) dish. Not something I would make on a regular basis, but definitely a yummy treat.

Fudge Brownies: These called for mashed bananas. Not being a fan of bananas, I made them anyway because it was such a small amount of banana! Both I and my friend’s bananaphobe daughter could still taste the banana. I still ate them though she didn’t want anything more to do with them. The banana flavour does intensify the next day, at which point I didn’t want any more to do with them either. But, the texture was really nice and everyone else aside from us two really liked them!

Caramel Sauce: Another recipe I’ve made multiple times since testing! I’m still struggling to get it right, because there are so many variables with candy making. Too hot? Too long? Sometimes it comes out like toffee and one time I actually got it slightly saucy. Any way it comes out, it still tastes good! I’ve used it in cookies, vegan ice cream, and other things.

Chocolate Chip Cookies: These taste like cookies from childhood. My favourite chocolate chip recipe is from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, but if you’re going for a more traditional texture and flavour, you would definitely want these.

Carrot Cake: I didn’t officially test this one either but I have made it. It was very good!

Blueberry Scones: DELISH.

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Soft Pretzels: I made the sweet cinnamon variation and they were all eaten up very, very quickly!

Are you hungry yet? Head over to Cadry’s Kitchen to enter the giveaway!

Categories: Cookbook Review | 3 Comments

Six Years!

Mr Pine Nut was sick on our actual anniversary, so we had to postpone our celebrations. We were able to leave the girls with his mom on the 20th of April and head up to Portland for a stop at Native Foods and a jaunt through the Rose Garden. We almost never go out to eat. It’s just not a thing we’ve ever done! So it’s definitely a treat when we do actually go. There’s a new Native Foods opening in Clackamas, my old stomping grounds, but it wasn’t opened yet, so we went to the Tigard location.

As always, the dilemma of what to choose. The first time I went, I got the Chicken Run Ranch sandwich, and it was amazing. A few months ago when I went up there with some friends to see the Pittock Mansion I got the Oklahoma Bacon Burger and it was amazing. I didn’t know that breaded and fried dill pickles would be outstandingly good. But they are. (I don’t like pickles.) And I got the oatmeal creme pie for dessert. Yum.

This time, I decided to go for the Bangkok Curry Bowl.

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It was really, really tasty. The veggies were cooked on the crisp side, which made them a little harder to eat, but I liked it. It took the dirty sock edge off the flavour of the broccoli without really cooking it to mush. The tofu steak was really good and the curry sauce was just the right amount of spice. You can’t see it in the picture, but the tofu and veggies are on brown rice.

I also got a side of Chicken Wings that were delicious. I even actually used the dipping sauces with them. I have to admit, I’m not much of a sauce person. On the whole I like my meatlike substances and salads and French toast naked. And it was actually kind of good. (Though I did eat the majority of the wings sans sauce.)

Mr Pine Nut got the Baja Blackened Taco.

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He said it was very good. I snitched a bit of the tempeh because I was curious and it was the best tempeh I’ve ever had. He also got a side of sweet potato fries, which is about the only way he could keep me out of them, since I’m not a fan of sweet potatoes. At all. I tried a couple and they just made me want to gag.

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So he enjoyed his sweet potato fries in blissful peace while I took pictures of the local scenery.

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What a deal!!

Then it was off to the Rose Garden, where we wandered around and sat on benches and looked at all the things that weren’t blooming and a few things that were.

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And then we found this spot where we took a picture of me in October of 2007 and took another picture of me now.

Me in 2007

Me in 2007

Me in 2014. I know, I know, I totally failed at the pose! But I couldn't remember exactly how I did it.

Me in 2014. I know, I know, I totally failed at the pose! But I couldn’t remember exactly how I did it.

So, that’s that. What should I try next time I hit Native Foods?

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Categories: Mrs Pine Nut, restaurants | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Nonfire

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Aren’t those just bright and cheery?

So, Skittles are vegan, if you didn’t know that. No gelatin!

But this post isn’t about Skittles. It’s really about our nonfire. I would have posted about this a long time ago except that I’ve had all kinds of computer issues and then I couldn’t find my card reader to get photos off my camera. So forget that this happened almost two months ago.

As you may recall, last year we had a bonfire. This year, it was kind of wet, and we actually have a house fit to throw a party in, so I decided to have a nonfire instead. I mean, there was a fire in the woodstove, but that hardly counts aside from HEY, IT WAS WARM. And dry. And inside.

We invited a lot of people from church and elsewhere and had a lot of no-shows. All the people who ended up coming were from church. I’m not complaining! Except, yanno, as always, I had way too much food.

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It was March, so I went with a St Patrick’s Day kind of theme. So it was all GREEN and RAINBOWS and stuff. My Irish flag veggie tray was a thing of beauty… at least to me. We also had crackers, pretzels, hummus, guacamole, chips… and the star of the meal was the scalloped potatoes. I mean, what’s an Irish themed meal without potatoes?

As with my chickpea potpie, I faced the dilemma of needing it to be soy and nut free. Usually I use a cashew-based sauce. But I decided to try it with an oat milk based sauce, since that worked in the potpie. And it worked for the potatoes too! They were a hit and so delicious. Want the recipe? Well, here it is.

Soy and Nut Free Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

To make the oat milk:
Soak 1 c oats in 5 c water overnight. Add 1/16 tsp salt in the morning.

Blend for a couple minutes and then strain. This makes one quart of milk.

When you’re ready to make your potatoes:

Peel and slice 8 c potatoes. Boil in 3.5 c water until partially cooked (7-10 minutes). Drain potatoes and arrange in a sprayed 13×9 Pyrex-type pan, and set aside.

In a saucepan stir together:
6 T oil
1/2 c onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped

Sauté onion in the oil about 2 minutes. Add garlic.

Add:
6T unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp of a favourite dried seasoning (I used dill)
3 c oat milk
Stir dry ingredients in first, then add the milk very gradually, stirring thoroughly to prevent lumpage. Stir constantly over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat again.

Pour sauce over potatoes. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 25 more minutes.

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Aside from the food, we had good music, good visiting, and an entertaining escapade with some shrimp that mysteriously appeared in someone’s contribution of supposedly vegetarian Chinese takeout. Train Boy climbed high up in a fir tree and didn’t die. Yep, all in all a good evening.

It was very interesting because we had a different group of people than the usual group that comes to our bon-or-non-fires, so the dynamic was totally new. That was fascinating for me to observe. Is that weird?

And, in closing, here’s a picture of rainbow-hued chocolate chip cookies to brighten your day.

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Categories: dairy-free, dessert, entertaining, entrees, freezer meals, lunch, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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