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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Almond Milk Vanilla Cupcakes

No, they're not vegan.

I used eggs.


Someday I'm going to work up the courage to bake a cake using apple sauce or flax meal... but that day is not quite here yet.

I did, however, substitute everything else in this classic yellow sheet cake recipe that was animal-based.  Including the milk and the butter!

Instead, I chose almond milk and canola oil.

So, it's just the eggs in there that came from an animal. 

Even the 'buttercream icing' is made with almond milk.  :)

Anyway, these were delicious.  I couldn't even taste the omission of butter or milk.

The wife didn't notice at all, and said they were amazing.

She took a half-dozen of them to work and her co-workers said the same thing.

So... yay for almond milk.

The icing was a little... runny, I guess would be the word... but only if you're used (like I am) to making buttercream icings out of,well, creamed butter.  :(

It still tasted great... and not like 'healthy great' but actually great.  

And yes, someday (perhaps soon) I will be posting about an entirely vegan cupcake... but not today!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tomato Lentil Soup

I really should eat (or is it drink?) more soup.
I often hear about how good they are... or rather, how good they can be.

Now, of course I'm not talking about the salt-lick-in-a-can kind.  Even the 'reduced sodium' versions of these are ridiculously bad.

I'm talking home-made soups.

They can be really healthy, hearty, and easy.  Especially now that I have a powerful blender.

Sure I've made soups before, every Christmas I make a large batch of turkey soup out of the leftover carcass, bones, and some of the dark meat of the feast's main attraction.  And I've made a few Asian-style soups, like ginger or hot and sour soups and the like... and I think I made a roasted red pepper soup...  Anyway, no one cares about all the soups I've made I guess... sorry.

My point, however labouriously drawn-out it might be, is that I would like to make more.


This week I turned some leftover vegan tomato sauce into a delicious and filling tomato lentil soup.

And very easily.

I opened up one of my jars of vegetable stock.

Mixed in the tomato sauce, and then added about a cup of fresh, dry (thoroughly rinsed, but uncooked, and even unsoaked,) brown lentils.

I did this in my slow cooker, so I after it was all mixed together, I literally just walked away for half the day.

While this concoction was entirely vegan, I couldn't resist slopping a dollop of fat-free greek yogurt on top.  And a fresh sprig of Italian Parsley for garnish.

Doesn't that look good?  I mean, the soup was also quite tart and acidic, so the cool yogurt was a nice add, but still, it looks attractive too!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Vegan Vegetable Stock

For the life of me, I could have sworn I had already talked about this vegetable stock I made last year.

But, after poring over all my previous posts, I couldn't find any mention of it.

I thought I've even mentioned the stock as having been used in other dishes too... but I guess not!

Oh well...

Last year I made some kick-ass vegan vegetable stock.  I specifically qualify it as vegan only because many vegetable stocks are actually not vegan.  Go figure.  I'm not sure why... I guess it just tastes better if you have some fat in there (whether from dairy, or meat, either way), which is a no-brainer... but it doesn't really need to be in there.

In fact, if you ever order 'vegetable soup' in a restaurant I would bet good money it's not vegan.

Anyway... I made some vegan stock out of a shit-tonne of vegetables.

Again, I could have sworn I took photos... but oh well...  I will try and remember what went in there, just gimme a sec...

OK, I know there was a lot of onion, and leek, there were a few shallots, a tonne of carrots, celery, a fair bit of potato peels, I think a small amount of garlic... uhhh... there was more... I seem to remember saving a lot of vegetable 'scraps' over the preceding weeks, including everything from green bean tips to asparagus ends...


Again, I could have sworn I took photos.

Anyway, even though I had a lot of 'scraps' and leftovers, I did still dedicate some good fresh veggies (namely the leek and onion) to the pot.  I was making a LOT of this stock, and I didn't want it to taste poorly simply because I was being stingy.

I chopped everything up into small(ish) cubes or chunks, and began (as I do with most everything) by sweating the onion (and in this case leeks) in some vegetable oil.  Normally this is quick and easy, but for this endeavour I had to sweat them in batches as there were so many.

Into my super large stock pot everything went and then the whole pot was topped up with water (clean, filtered, water)... 

I like a very, very, very concentrated stock, so I cooked this down for over a day.  It was almost two if I remember correctly.  It makes the house smell... but it's not a bad smell.

Anyway, I sterilized a dozen of my small mason jars, and then carefully canned the stock, and then boiled the sealed cans for another 8-10 minutes in boiling water, to finish them off.

Nothing alive in there anymore.

So... I've been using this stuff for everything from cooking quinoa to making soups, but I guess I've never mentioned it... oops.

I did, however, take a couple photos just now, months later, of the canned stock.  Better late than never I suppose...

I tried to get some light behind it, just to show how opaque and concentrated this stuff is!


Soooo much flavour!