Plethora of Pie (Vegan MoFo #10)

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thief2002

Thief of Always was the first book I read that was written by Clive Barker, so it holds a special place in my heart (and personal library). It is an enchanting story of a regular ten-year-old boy, bored from school and a dull home life, being swept away to a magical place called the Holiday House where he can have fun all day long.

Harvey loves this new place and enjoys the special treatment. Mrs. Griffin, the House’s care taker, explains that this is a get-away for unique children like him. There are only two other kids there with him, Lulu and Wendell. Wendell is near Harvey’s age and gives him a big tour of the House and explains that every day is full of holidays. Every morning is spring (which usually consists of playing in the tree fort), followed by afternoon summertime (full of naps and exploring), fall in the evening (Halloween and trick-or-treating), and lastly Christmas (with any toys you desire magically appearing under the tree). Other than Mrs. Griffin, there are other strange adults there who don’t seem to be normal humans. But Harvey is willing to look past this oddity since the Holiday House is so wonderful.

Harvey would like to spend the rest of forever here, until things start becoming weird. Lulu, though never particularly friendly, starts acting oddly secretive. And when Mrs. Griffin and the other adults refuse to answer his questions, he becomes suspicious. Then any attempts to leave the House are thwarted by mysterious powers. Now all Harvey wants is his dull life back, but he might not survive another attempt at escaping the Holiday House.

Harvey set himself down at the kitchen table, and within sixty seconds Mrs. Griffin had set a dozen plates of food in front of him: hamburgers, hot dogs and fried chicken; mounds of buttered potatoes; apple, cherry and mud pies, ice cream and whipped cream; grapes, tangerines and a plate of fruits he couldn’t even name.” – Thief of Always (paperback) page 20

I always imagined Mrs. Griffin being the perfect grandmother prototype with her elderly age and love of cooking pies. I didn’t want to choose a more ordinary pie (like the aforementioned apple or cherry), so the recipe below is for a rich and creamy mud pie!

mudpie

Mud Pie

Ingredients:

2 cups chocolate pudding (homemade or Jell-O brand is accidentally vegan)

1 graham cracker crust (either store-bought or homemade)

1/2 cup Smuckers marshmallow topping (it’s accidentally vegan and is found in the ice cream topping area)

1 cup vegan cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons original soymilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup raw pecans

Directions:

Set oven to 375 degrees. Bake the graham cracker crust for 3-5 minutes, just enough to let it brown and bake together (especially for looser homemade recipes). After baking, set the crust aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the marshmallow topping, cream cheese, soymilk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.

Next layer the pudding and cream cheese mixture into the pie crust. Put down a layer of pudding, then cream cheese mix, rest of the pudding, then drizzle the last of the cream cheese on top. Sprinkle with pecans and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Then slice and serve! It’s quite messy, but very delicious.

Sandwiches, Scones, and Game of Thrones

The weather was extremely nice last week, so Peter and I had a picnic at the park. There we munched on these grilled pizza sandwiches (which had pizza hummus and Daiya inside) and cucumber slices dipped in Italian salad dressing.
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I made a batch of Mom’s Chili, which I ate with crackers. I skipped using canned beans though, and cooked up some dried black beans and red beans the day before in the slow cooker. Then I mixed them with the rest of the ingredients to make the chili.

???????????????????????????????The next day the leftover chili was turned into a “Frito pie”. With layered crushed Frito corn chips and chili then smothered in healthy cheese sauce.

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Tomato-rosemary scones from Vegan Brunch. I’ve actually never baked scones before, but these were extremely easy to make and very delicious. My favorite way to have these is warmed up with a pat of margarine in the middle.
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Soft tacos with Upton’s Naturals chorizo seitan, Daiya pepper jack, lettuce, and tomatoes. It was my first time trying the Upton’s seitan. I really liked the taste and texture of it, but the small amount of seitan per package for a fairly high price (at least at my local Earth Fare) was not worth it.
???????????????????????????????“Chicken” parmesan, made with soy-tan dream cutlets from 1,000 Vegan Recipes (which I breaded and pan-fried), with melted Daiya mozzarella, all on top of spaghetti in a creamy marinara sauce, and sprinkled with nutritional yeast.
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Lentil and veggie soup, which I mostly made because I needed to clean out my refrigerator’s produce drawer. It has lentils, onions, corn, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, peas, potatoes, and lima beans which were all cooked in a garlic tomato broth.

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For our three-year anniversary, Peter got me (along with a few other things) The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook. I’m a big fan of the television show and hope to begin reading the books soon, so I was super excited to have these recipes based on the series.

Our local gaming group is actually starting a GoT roleplaying campaign, so for our session I made Arya’s Apricot Tart to share. Except there are no fresh apricots available around here, so we settled for peaches. To veganize the recipe I subbed Earth Balance for butter, coconut milk for heavy cream, and I used this recipe for the crust. It turned out delicious with a flaky crust, juicy peaches, and buttery crumble topping. I can’t wait to try more recipes from the cookbook.

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Easter Treats and Eats

I hope everyone had a good Easter! My Easter was full of friends and good food, so I would count it a success.

The University of Montevallo’s Family and Consumer Sciences Student Group had an Easter-themed bake sale on Wednesday. For that I made pumpkin spice cake bunnies with cream cheez frosting.

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I also made cookie dough bites from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. These were a great hit and multiple people kept asking “There aren’t any eggs in these?!” Um, no. I’d prefer vegan cookies over a case of salmonella any day.
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For actual Easter day I had a lovely lunch with Peter and our friends Charlie and Sierra. Then afterwards we spent time playing board games and making Easter things.

For a festive look, I knitted this adorable bunny hat. I used Slip Slip Knit’s knitting chart for the bunnies.
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Instead of the traditional egg-dyeing, I went an animal friendly route and got some blank plastic toys from Hobby Lobby and decorated them with markers.

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For lunch we had a mish-mash of snacks.

I made some tea sandwiches with whole wheat bread, sliced cucumber, spicy sriracha bean dip, and Vegenaise.
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Avocado hummus with pita chips
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I used my go-to potato skins recipe, but got lazy and boiled the potatoes with the skins on and mashed them with the other ingredients (minus the onions and Tofutti cheese). They had all the taste of potato skins, but without the added effort of scooping out the filling.
???????????????????????????????And for dessert Sierra made this delicious spicy peach pie. Can you believe this is the first pie she’s ever made? I never would’ve guessed.

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Thanksgiving 2012

Even though it was a few weeks ago, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! I know we did. Below is our oh so formally set table:

Thanksgiving Table

We had sliced Tofurky roast.

Plated tofurkeyFirehouse cornbread, veganized by using soymilk, margarine, and an Ener-G egg.

Bisquick cornbread

Roasted balsamic zucchini and onionsroasted zucchini

Mashed potatoes
Mashed tatersGreen bean casserole

Green bean casseroleCampbell’s accidentally vegan mushroom gravy, for the mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce for the Tofurky.

Gravy and cranberryAnd lastly, a cinnamon pumpkin pie brought by our friend Kyle.

Cinnamon pumpkin pie

Fall is the Season of Blogging

Well  summer has come and gone, thank goodness! As much as I like having nothing to do, I have desperately missed school and Montevallo. And for some reason when I have nothing to do, I don’t blog either. It may seem strange, but when I’m back at school (even with homework and projects to do) I have much more drive to blog just for the fun of it.

But just because I didn’t write this summer doesn’t mean I didn’t photograph all of my good meals. Here’s what I enjoyed:

Super veggie salad with mixed lettuce, avocado, tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, a chopped Boca chick’n patty, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Baked tofu that had been dipped in a simple coating of flour/soymilk with tons of seasonings and topped with caramelized onions.

I realize this salad (can it really be called a salad if there’s no lettuce?) isn’t the prettiest dish around, but it sure was tasty. A tortilla bowl with beans, spiced veggie crumbles, nacho cheez (made with Daiya) and guacamole.

I also found out that the cardboard braces in the tortilla shell box make fantastic crowns! That is me modeling it below with my serious face on.
Summer is the perfect time for an ice-box pie. So I made this cherry cheez-cake pie. It’s just a simple homemade graham cracker crust layered with a mix of cream cheez, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar, then canned cherry pie filling. Super simple and fast, but really good.

Here’s yet another salad. This one has mixed lettuce, red onions, tomato, smoked tofu, and kalamata olive Greek dressing. I (sadly) can’t remember the name of the dressing brand, but I bought it at Earth Fare. It is by far the best salad dressing I’ve ever had, so if I can find the name I’ll be sure to share it here.

And this summer I also experienced something wondrous: I ate my first peanut butter cup since going vegan four and a half years ago. My traveled to Cullman, AL to visit my friend Seth and while we were there we found Justin’s organic peanut butter cups. They are less sweet than the traditional Reese’s Cups that I remember, but the dark chocolate and natural peanut butter were phenomenal together. Definitely worth the long wait to find something this good.

Finals Week Food

Once this week ends, it’s onward to home and freedom! This semester has not been hard at all though, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed the rest of my college experience is such a breeze (yeah, right). The cafeteria’s food is still pretty bad, but the other day they had two wonderful vegan things: peppery hummus and minestrone veggie soup. Below is the soup and the hummus piled on top of some lettuce, green olives, and tomatoes.

Even though the cafeteria is trying (slowly, but surely) to step up their game, I still feed myself two of my daily three meals. Which means I sometimes reach for the traditional college student staple, ramen noodles. Though I’m not willing to eat the super bad for you kind that is sold for 15 cents a package. I’m willing to pay the extra 35 cents and save my health. I eat Koyo garlic pepper ramen which is baked, made with organic ingredients, and has 190 calories and 1 gram of fat. That is fantastic in comparison to the 380 calories and 14 grams of fat found in Maruchan Top Ramen packages.

So I made the garlic pepper ramen below and topped with some Wild Wood baked teriakyi tofu for extra protein. This only took 5 minutes. So a meal that’s not too bad for you, filling, fast, and cheap. Sounds like me and Koyo ramen are going to be friends for the next four years to come.

I’m excited to be going back home for three weeks though. No more wearing flip-flops in the shower, waking up early, or having to carry all my cooking stuff down two floors to make a meal. Now I can make yummy junk, like this pizza pictured below that I made last weekend. It has roasted garlic marinara sauce, Daiya cheez,  Yves “beef” crumbles, mushrooms, and kalamata olives. Not very pretty, but very yummy.

Along with the pizza, I also baked some mini blueberry and cream cheez pies last weekend. I thought these up on a whim, and they only took about 30 minutes total to make and bake them. The reason they were so simple is because I used a few *gasp* pre-made ingredients. I know, I know, the whole speech about how making things by hand makes it healthier and better overall, but sometimes I just don’t feel like going through the trouble.

So the crust is from pre-made crescent rolls dough, folded neatly into a muffin tin. The filling is vegan cream cheez that has been blended with lemon juice, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar, then all that was topped of with blueberry pie filling. I folded the tops over the filling, baked them for 10 minutes, and voila! Delicious and adorable mini pies.

Speaking of adorable desserts, I made these sweet and simple reindeer cookies. I was inspired by a photo on Pinterest (my new addiction), and decided to make a batch to bring to the FCS Student Group Christmas party. They are just Nutter Butter cookies that has been coated in dark chocolate, then topped with pretzel antlers and frosting facial features.

And sadly, this last Wednesday was my final Food Prep class. The theme for the cooking lab was appetizers, so I brought a recipe for vegan crab cakes. At first, all the omnivores were skeptical because the recipe called for lots of “weird” ingredients like tempeh and Vegenaise, but once they tried a bite everyone was head over heels for this recipe. It was a bit time-consuming to make, though so very worth it. I’m saving the recipe and definitely going to make it again soon. This was a great dish to end this class with.

Post with the P’s – Pasta, Pizza, and Pie

Spring is in the air!… Well, no, not really. But registering for spring 2012 classes makes me feel like it’s right around the corner. Only about a week until we all go home for Thanksgiving break and then less than a month is left of this semester.  My eating habits have gotten better over the months though and I’m making more well-rounded meals instead of quick-fix foods.

                                                        For example, this lovely Mexican “lasagna” I made for myself and Peter the other night. It’s layers of tortillas filled with refried beans, Spanish rice, Rotel, seasoned Tofu Crumbles, and Daiya. Lots and lots of Daiya. I topped it with diced onion, tomato, bell pepper, and more cheez. Then after it finished baking I added sliced avocado and a bit of salsa on top on my slice. Yum.

Another delicious meal I threw together this week was “cheezy beef pasta”. Which was just pasta, a quickly made cheez sauce (Earth Balance, flour, plain soymilk, nutritional yeast, and seasoning salt), and a crumbled Gardein burger. Simple, but quite tasty.

Food Prep class has also had some good vegan food coming out of its labs. This week was pie lab and we got to make a cherry pie. To release steam we had to cut a hole in the crust, so I went the school spirit route and cut a M for Montevallo. It kinda leaked while baking, but still managed to taste great.

We also had a pizza lab, where the wonderful Dr. Mathisen got Daiya so we wouldn’t have a wimpy looking cheez-less pizza. Everyone was skeptical about how it would taste (except me, of course) and one girl even so far as to say the melted Daiya looked like “melted Crayola crayons” but everyone was eating their rude remarks when they got a mouthful of the pizza. It was delicious with its yeasty crust, homemade marinara sauce, and toppings of onion, bellpepper, and fresh basil.