9.14.2014

CHOPPED CHALLENGE: MEXICAN HOT LIPS CAKE


Vegan Mofo set forth a challenge for this weekend.  Using four ingredients that seem completely not connected in a recipe that will blow your mind.  Our ingredients were:  OOLONG black tea, plums, radishes and jalapeño peppers. My initial instinct was to create a spicy bean burger with pickled radishes and beets, with a plum ketchup.  I, in fact, did make this creation.  However, I went to go post my idea and realized someone had the same / similar idea.  Wah.  Wah.  So instead I got thinking Mexican.  I was going to then do a taco very similar to the burger.  But that was just me replacing the bun with a tortilla.  So I got thinking about Mexican desserts and decided to make a Mexican cake.  A chocolate cake with a hint of toasted jalapeño pepper seeds with a sweet and sour plum compote and sweet pickled radish for pretty factor.

THE CAKE

Ingredients:

10 -12 seeds of a jalapeño pepper toasted (over medium heat) 
1 cup of all purpose flour
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 chopped walnuts
2 tbsp of cocoa powder
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of water
2 tbsp of oil
vanilla to taste

Method

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 and butter an 8 inch square cake pan.
2.  In a skillet, toast the jalapeño seeds on medium heat.  You may decide to toast all the seeds and save what you don't use for a later time in a mason jar.
3.  Mix all the dry ingredients with the toasted seeds until well incorporated.
4.  Add the oil and water and vanilla and mix until "just mixed".
5.  Place in the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes.

THE PLUM, RADISH COMPOTE

Ingredients:

1 bag of oolong tea infused in boiling water
4 tbsp of earth balance
1 plum chopped
2 peaches chopped
1/4 cup of cranberries
1/4 tsp of minced radish
1/2 cup of apple sauce (mine was homemade from my apple tree)
1 chopped apple
1-2 tbsp of sugar to taste

Method

1.  Infuse one bag of oolong tea in boiling water and set aside.  
2.  Heat a pan on medium heat and melt the butter.
3.  Place all ingredients in the skillet and bring to a boil.
4.  Keep the boil for 5 minutes and then reduce to a low simmer.
5.  The compote should thicken after 15 minutes.
6.  Serve warm or chilled.

PICKLED RADISH GARNISH

Ingredients:

1 radish sliced thinly
1 small mason jar
2 tbsp of rice vinegar or omeboshi vinegar
2 tsp of sugar

Method

1.  Mix the vinegar and sugar.
2.  Place sliced radish in the jar and infuse for 1-2 hours.
3.  Place on dessert as desired.

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To assemble the dish I placed the mexican cake on the dish and covered it with a melted mix of chocolate chips and earth balance with a few jalapeño pepper seeds.  To the side I placed the compote with a generous amount of cookie dough ice cream (because I'm pregnant and I want to).  I garnished with a piece of dark chocolate, cacao dust and the pickled radish.  

Hope you enjoy!


( Proof that I purchased the ingredients )



(proof that Vegan MoFo makes the pregnancy pain go away) 





9.13.2014

CHARLOTTE'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL



















My poor little Babe.  This was to be the first day she would be away from her sisters and her Mama.  For six years I have homeschooled the babe but with a difficult pregnancy and a summer of her showing a desire for something different from me, we made the decision to put her in school.  This isn't any school.  It is a two floor schoolhouse in the country.  The children are taught together in one class from grades 1 to 8.  The teacher is wonderful.  The school is a community.  The parents are wonderful.  Not to say that other schools don't have this.  But for us, the three day school week was key.  It allows us to continue to spend time with our little babe.  She can feel comfortable in a small class with elder students that serve as leaders.  Her days are spent in nature.  Each child is supported and treated as an individual with unique interests and capabilities.  It is a warm cozy place for learning.

My Babe is very like me in so many ways.  She had been building the transition up in her head for a while.  We didn't want to surprise her.  So we thought it was best to concentrate on the positive aspects.  There was an orientation at the school and a cleaning day.  This proved beneficial.  She was able to play with classmates before entering the class.

But on that first day, she most definitely shed tears.  Me?  Not so much.  Okay, maybe a little when I read to her the card I made for her.  I'm quite confident that this was a great decision and although I will miss her, we have to do difficult things as parents and I've fully accepted that.  Our time away from each other is short but it is so great for our family unit and as individuals to explore things that are good for our soul.

It has been an adjustment.  The days are quieter.  Harriet finds herself yearning for her sister.  She is a little lonely.  Her best friend for her entire life is off exploring new things.  But now the time that she never had with me is more present.  She holds my hand more readily and asks shares more with me.  It is something I had been missing for three years.

Needless to say, after a two hour sit-in with Charbaloot on her first day, the Papa and I picked up an overjoyed Babe.  "Awesome" graced her lips numerous times.  Her face lit up.

NOTE:  Charlotte is at an age where she is definitely more aware and knows of the blog.  Any photos of her I post or any content that relates to her, I fully ask if she wants me to post them.  I would never want her to feel embarrassed or feel like I am sharing personal events that are unique to her and she would like to keep private.  I honour her as a person and respect her wishes.  She approved all photos for this post.

9.07.2014

BABY BUMP CRAVINGS: TATERS SMOTHERED IN GRAVY






So I made the Papa venture to the store to pick up a vegan mushroom gravy and packaged tater tots.  I am not the sweetest of fans and this pregnancy has mostly been a savoury one (Could it be a boy?).  It may be the last of such gluttony due to the fact that acid reflux has come on hard the past couple days.  But they were oh so good!  I'll be making some homemade stuff soon but as the Eldest Babe and I agree:  "AWESOME!!"

Happy MoFo!  And I'm still looking for pregnancy recipe ideas.  Get in my belly!

9.01.2014

A HIKE WITH DAD







VEGAN MOFO 2014: BABY BUMP CRAVINGS THEME







TODAY'S DISH:  Buffalo Cauliflower Wings with Ranch Sauce from Hot For Food

For the past 5 years I have participated in Vegan Mofo.  It is a month where bloggers write about everything vegan.  You don't have to be vegan but you blog vegan.  This year, being the preggo that I am, I decided to have the Baby Bump Cravings theme.  It is a great way for me to meet my cravings and participate.  I plan on making some recipes up and just wingy it.  I also plan on using inspiration from other vegan bloggers, recipe books and good old pinterest.


First up, I have been dying to try cauliflower wings.  Recently I came upon the Hot For Food blog.  It is run by Lauren Toyota, a Canadian MuchMusic VJ and her partner.  Her photos are stellar and just make me salivate.  When I saw this recipe I just had to try.  

I really did love the taste but I also made a few minor mistakes which I will improve upon next time.  First, I coated the cauliflower bites too much with the batter.  It didn't crisp as I would have liked.  Parchment paper is also a must.  I had a lot of burned spots on my baking dish.  

Lastly, with regards to the ranch sauce, I suggest soaking your cashews overnight rather than the minimum 3 hours for a creamy taste.  

All in all, it tasted amazing!

If you are interested in saying hello or have any questions please comment in my comments section.  I really enjoy talking about veganism and meeting new people in the online community.  

Happy MoFoing!