Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vegan Valentine's Goodies: Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

Chocolate and raspberry is apparently a classic flavour combination but it isn't one I normally think of. It could have something to do with the fact that I prefer if fruits stay far away from my desserts, but I don't think that's it, entirely. Anyway, thanks to these cookies it'll be a combo I'll remember. 

A Combo to Remember. (sounds like a really bad romantic drama)

These cookies are wonderfully flavourful. Great chocolate flavour plus great raspberry flavour. The texture is the thing that really gets me, though. THESE are chewy cookies. We've tried a good many recipe that has claimed to produce chewy cookies but these cookies truly deliver. 

As much as I love the chewy texture and awesome flavour of these cookies, there's something lacking. I need something more. Like a chocolate chip or nut, perhaps? Hazelnuts? A few chopped hazelnuts might do the trick. Or dipping half of each cookie in melted chocolate and then in the chopped hazelnuts. Ahh that's it!

These cookies shout Valentine's Day to me, especially if you dressed 'em up all fancy-like. 

Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla 
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder or regular is fine
1 1/2 cups AP flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Mix jam, sugar, oil, and extracts together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry to the wet in 3 batches, mixing in between. Use your hands for the third batch. Roll tbsps of dough into balls then flatten between palms. They don't really spread so no need to place them too far apart. Bake for 10 mins. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 mins then transfer to cookie rack. 

Here's a non-mushy song about love that's great to dance along to or eat chocolate raspberry cookies to:

Fall in Love by Phantogram.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pasta e Fagioli - a Quick Weeknight Meal

This is a super simple and quick meal that tastes great. It has a nice tomato flavour and I'm sure using fresh tomatoes, not canned, would really amp it up. Really, you can't go wrong with this dish as long as you like tomatoes, pasta, and beans.

You can use any type of bean you like but we really like to use romano beans because they're so creamy. And it feels like we're adding even more of an Italian flair to the dish.

Eat it a bowl or a cup, either way it'll taste great!
Pasta e Fagioli

1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery 
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chili flakes
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine
cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup baby shell pasta
15 ounce can romano beans, drained and rinsed

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and onion, cook until translucent. Add garlic, celery, carrots, oregano, and chili flakes. Cook for 5 mins. De-glaze with wine then add the tomatoes, pepper, and salt. Use a potato masher or the like and mash the veggies making sure to break down the tomatoes. Bring to a boil then add your pasta, alternately you could boil the pasta separately then add it to the veggies. Finally, add the beans. Stir it about until the beans are heated through.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Citrus Shorties (Vegan Orange Shortbread)

Citrus is very important during this time of year. Gotta get in your vitamin C so you can stay healthy when it's nasty cold out. Saying that these cookies will help you from getting a cold is a stretch but they might just brighten your day.

The orange flavour is just perfect in these cookies. It's definitely apparent but it isn't overpowering. They're sweet little bursts of sunshine that would be great with an afternoon tea.

I personally find that these are best when they're still warm from the oven. That way they still have a little give to them. After that, they get quite firm but if you were to dip them in some tea they'd soften up once again and just be lovely.

I think cookies like these are much-needed during the winter months just to remind you that warmer, brighter days will be here again :)

Citrus Shorties
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, softened
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups AP flour
2 tbsp cornmeal
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Cream shortening and evaporated cane juice for 2 mins. Add in milk, zest, and vanilla. Mix in remaining ingredients until soft dough forms. Form tablespoons of dough into balls and flatten onto a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle a little coloured sugar on top.. Bake for 10 to 12 mins. Let cool for a few before transferring to cookie rack to fully cool.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Kale, Eggplant, and Chickpea Pasta

There's so much goodness going on in this one pasta dish it's insane. It's healthy and flavourful at the same time, like when does that ever happen? JUST KIDDING! It totally happens all the time. You just gotta look for the right ingredients. Like kale!

This might actually be one of the more decadent healthy dishes, maybe it's because of the croutons; I'll let you be the judge. I've never made homemade croutons before but we had stale bread hanging around and I felt like being fancy schmancy so I tossed 'em in some olive, placed them on a baking sheet, and tossed them in the oven at 400F. They were crunchy and golden and oh so tasty.

Kale, Eggplant, and Chickpea Pasta

3 small eggplants or 1 large eggplant
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil (I never actually measure oil so this is just approximate)
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tbsp water
3 medium sized shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup corn
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes or more
1 tsp salt
generous sprinkling of pepper
4 cups of kale, chopped relatively fine
1 standard box of pasta (bow ties are great)

Preheat the oven to 425F. Slice your eggplant in 1 1/4 inch thick rounds and place on a baking sheet. Cover each side generously with olive oil and place in the oven once it's preheated. Bake the eggplant for about 25 mins or until golden in colour (flip the eggplant around the halfway mark). When the eggplant is done chop it into bite sized pieces and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to the directions.
Combine raisins with water and heat in microwave for 30 secs to plump them up. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large pan. Once heated, add shallots and garlic. Cook until fragrant and translucent. Place chickpeas, corn, sun dried tomatoes, and chili flakes in the pan. Stir it around until the chickpeas and corn are warmed through. Add the raisins, kale, salt, and pepper. Cook until the kale is wilted then add the eggplant to the mix. Give everything a good mix about so that everything is well incorporated. 
Plate it up and serve with croutons, if you desire. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vegan Coconut Carrot Cake Oatmeal

I don't know what kind of winter you, dear reader, are having in your neck of the woods but it's TOO TOO TOO COLD here. Exposed skin will freeze in a matter of minutes... dangerously cold! So what does that mean for this food blog? Lots and lots of warming, comforting, hearty meals like this oatmeal! I can say, hands down, this is one of the best oatmeals I have ever made. It was all the things you want on a cold morning before you hit the road for an unpredictable and sometime treacherous commute (I have a new job so this waking-up-at-6am-and-commuting-thing is kind of new to me). If you do what I do, then you'll love this oatmeal because you can make it Sunday night and eat it all week long... Aahhh, the simple things.


Vegan Coconut Carrot Cake Oatmeal

1 cup steel-cut oats
1 cup finely grated carrot (taste the carrot beforehand to make sure it’s yummy)
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1½ cups unsweetened coconut beverage (I used Silk Coconut)
1½ cups water
¼ cup Sultana raisins
2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Add the oats, carrot, coconut, milk, water, raisins, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt to a medium saucepan over medium heat. 

2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. 

3. Simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes until the oatmeal is tender. 

4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

5. Serve with some coconut cream and shredded coconut and walnuts to make it pretty! 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

One Pot Meal - Leek and Potato Dumpling Cassoulet

I'm just going to come right out and say it: I LOVE biscuits!! Now, when you combine biscuits with one-pot meals then you have a real winner in my books. 

The leeks, carrots, and peas give this casserole a beautifully subtle sweetness while the navy beans and potatoes make it deliciously creamy. This is a hearty dish and perfect for wintertime. 
MMmmm just thinking about settling in on a cold night with this casserole - it's magic.

Biscuits are phenomenal, especially when paired with a delicious base like this one. You'll be completely satisfied after digging into this dish. It'll be on heavy rotation just like this song.

Leek and Potato Dumpling Casserole
adapted from Veganomicon 

2 yellow flesh potatoes, diced 1/2 inch
3 cups veggie broth
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and diced 1/2 inch
2 cloves of garlic, minced
freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed 

See Veganomicon.

If you don't have this cookbook, seriously, check it out because it has plenty of wonderful recipes.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Crispy Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Waffles! Good for breakfast or dessert or breakfast for dinner. We tend to serve our waffles at breakfast (how normative, I know). Anyway, these waffles are nice and light with a crispy exterior. The flavour is subtle but the addition of coffee and coffee extract gives these waffles a little different edge. 

Because these waffles are so light, I suggest serving them with some tofu bacon, fruit, and a glass of almond milk (or something like that) so you don't end up light-headed an hour later ;)

Pumpkin Spice Waffles 
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 2.5 Tbsp water)

1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp coffee extract, or vanilla1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup very strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 cups AP flour

DirectionsMix flax with water in a bowl and let stand until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add off the ingredients up until the milk and whisk together. Add in the milk and coffee and give it another stir. Lastly, mix in the flour until just combined.
Spritz your waffle iron, when preheated, with oil. Add about a quarter cup of batter to the iron but actually add whatever amount you're comfortable with, hehe. Wait until done and serve with your favourite waffle toppings. We like the traditional maple syrup or sometimes we like to double up on pumpkin and spread some of TJ's Pumpkin Butter on the waffles.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Vegan Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes

Mmmmm, jelly doughnuts. Pillowy dough with a sweet, fruity centre. 
Now jelly doughnut cupcakes, what's not to love?

Our jelly centres didn't end up in the centre so much as they ended up out in the open. 
Note to self: don't overstuff with jelly!
We didn't actually end up using jelly, either. Instead, we opted to use the raspberry jam that we already had in the fridge. It's always good to use what's on hand. So not so much jelly centred doughnut cupcakes but jam peek-a-boo doughnut cupcakes.   

These were one of Caitlin's favourite desserts and it's from one of our favourite new (to us) cookbooks: Veganomicon.
We've loved Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar so I do say it was about time that we picked up Veganomicon.

These cupcakes had a beautiful golden colour to them. They aren't pillowy like a typical jelly doughnut but chewy with that great doughnutty flavour that the nutmeg gives.

Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes
adapted from Veganomicon

1 cup unsweetened original almond milk (like Silk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar 
2 tbsp cornstarch 
1 1/2 cups AP flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp organic sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry jam 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine milk, vinegar, and cornstarch into a measuring cup; let stand. Spray cup cake pan with non-stick spray. 
In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Make a well in the centre. 
Stir the liquid mixture to dissolve corn starch, then add it to the dry ingredients. Add oil, evaporated cane juice, and vanilla. Stir until well combined. 
Fill cupcake pan with batter, each section only 3/4 full. Place a heaping tsp full of jam in the centre. If you're not going for the inside-out version like us (LOL) don't go too big on the heaping teaspoon. You don't have to push the jam down. 
Bake for 21-23 mins. Remove from oven and let cool. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Vegan Chili Cheese Fries

Please just take a look at those fries and appreciate their golden beauty.
Homemade fries are like no other!! I thought frozen store bought fries were just as good but wow was I wrong! I crave homemade fries daily now. We've made our own fries before but this time we got it right....
so right.

This dish was inspired by a local vegan restaurant Hogtown Vegan as well as by our Vegan Fries Supreme. When we shared a basket of chili cheese fries at Hogtown are minds were blown. It was so flavourful. And the fries? Amazing!! 
We knew this time we had to try our hand at making our own fries.

Vegan Chili Cheeze Fries
4 golden flesh potatoes 
3 green onions
4tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil 
sea salt and pepper 
1 can black beans
1/4 cup salsa
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoky paprika 
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder 
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 cup Daiya Pepper Jack cheese shreds
1/4 cup Tofutti Sour Cream (non-hydrogenated variety) 
2 tbsp Valentina sauce
1/2 lime worth of juice
Guacamole - store bought is okay or mash an avocado with a little bit of onion, salt, and pepper 

Preheat oven to 475 F. Scrub potatoes clean, we're keeping that skin on folks! Use the thick julienne option on a mandolin or cut into matchsticks manually. Put potatoes in a large pot and fill with water so that the potatoes are covered. Place over high heat and watch carefully because once the water starts boiling you'll want to remove them from the heat. Strain the potatoes and pat dry with a clean towel. When the potatoes are dry (or as good as they're going to get) put them in a large bowl or back in the pot (as long as it's dry) and coat with 4 tbsp of olive oil plus sea salt and pepper, to taste. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the potatoes in a thin layer - no overlapping allowed. Bake until golden and delicious looking, roughly 20-25 mins. 

While the potatoes are becoming fries, strain and rinse the black beans. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a pan over med-low heat, once it's hot add the beans. Add the salsa and spices and mash everything together.

Slice the green onion thinly. Mix the sour cream, Valentina sauce, and lime juice together in a small bowl. 

When the fries are done place them in an oven safe dish and sprinkle the cheeze over top. Place in the oven on broil until the cheese gets a bit melty - not too long so keep an eye on them.

Then build your chili cheeze fries with beans, guac, the sour cream sauce, and garnish with green onions. Add a squirt of lime juice as a finishing touch if you'd like :)

Dig in and enjoy!!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Oh So Soft Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Happy New Year Everyone! 2013 flew and it was our most successful year yet here at Kitchen Grrrls. We really just run this blog for the heck of it because we love food and it's fun to take pictures of the things we make. We truly appreciate your being here and look forward to another, even better year in 2014. 

It seems only right to start off the year with something sweet, comforting, and delicious so here are some fluffy and soft Cinnamon Rolls! After years of trying to make a successful roll, we finally did it with this recipe. It's funny because I have always been the type to crave making Cinnamon Rolls from time to time but now that I've made a successful batch I think the cravings have been put to rest. Maybe you know what I'm talking about or maybe I sound plain crazy. Either way, if you want some yummy rolls, then try these out.

You just want to pinch these rolls when they come out of the oven. And then douse them in the icing sugar glaze. Ah, so warm and soft! Perfect for a cold January day.

Oh So Soft Vegan Cinnamon Rolls 

1/4 cup margarine 
1/3 cup non-dairy milk 
1/2 cup lukewarm water (slightly warmer than your body temp.)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp arrowroot flour
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
2 3/4 cups unbleached AP flour
For the filling
6 tbsp vegan margarine 
3/4 cup brown sugar 
1 tbsp ground cinnamon (we like it cinnamon-y so use less if you're not as into it as we are)
For the glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp margarine
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp non-dairy milk or lemon juice

1. Warm milk and margarine in saucepan on stove top on low heat until most of the margarine is melted.
2. Remove from heat, pour into a large bowl and whisk together milk/margarine with lukewarm water and the yeast. Allow the mixture to sit to ensure that the yeast gets foamy. (If not, you'll have to do this step over as you need to make sure the yeast wasn't killed or not activated due to cold water).
3. Add the vanilla extract, salt, arrowroot, and cane sugar to the bowl and whisk together. Finally, add in the flour.
4. Kneed the mixture for a few minutes until a sticky dough forms. Do this with your hands! You want the dough sticky so it will be a little messy but that's the key to soft rolls!
5. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl sprayed with oil. Cover it with plastic wrap or a warm kitchen towel, and place the bowl somewhere warm and dry for 1 hour to rise.
6. To create the filling: Melt margarine in the microwave or stove top. In a separate little bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.
7. After the 1 hour is up and your dough has risen sufficiently, roll the dough out onto a floured surface into a 12x24 inch rectangle.
8. Brush with the margarine. Be sure to cover the entire surface area. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over.
9. Now it's time to get rolling! Working lengthwise, roll, roll, roll! Then, cut the roll into 12. Place the rolls in an oiled 9x13 inch baking dish.
10. The rolls need to rise a little more so place them somewhere warm and dry again for 30 to 45 minutes until almost doubled in size.
11. Preheat oven to 325F. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

12. Whilst baking, create the glaze: In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, margarine, and vanilla. Then add in the milk/juice until the desired consistency is reached. Spread over the rolls after they've been out of the oven for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

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