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Best breakfast ever? Why yes!

Mmmm…. I’m actually still licking my fingers from these right now (my computer is getting filthier with each passing day, but it’s all from baking so I really don’t mind). I used the Vcon maple brown sugar pinwheels recipe as a base, but realized I didn’t have maple OR ground cardamom on hand so I turned them into your basic cinnamon-pecan-raisin sticky buns. With the orange left in though, of course. I think I’m adoring everything orange these days. Personally I think I overbaked them a little and it could have used more fat to cut the sweet, but everyone else was going crazy and offering to kiss the ground I walk on (for what? kneading a bit of dough? oh silly), which is a testament to the power of cinnamon buns. Maybe we should just bake cinnamon buns to solve all conflicts. Or some other pat answer to life’s confuzzlements. At the very least we could make kitchens smell nicer all over the world. Righto.

And hoboy… out of the two iced baked things I’ve made recently these are soooooo my favourite. As in, I would actually make them again (and again and again). It’s the Swell Vegan sweet potato tester scones! The scones alone are perfect – just sweet enough to savour slowly with tea, but the optional caramel glaze is pretty much THE caramel goop recipe I’ve been looking for! Sent these to another level. A level of mouthgasm. (and almost virtuous! Because scones are healthier than cookies! Because I say so!)

(that is, unless you use lots of Earth Balance, which is really quite nice. :)

So it’s been a while… I feel a little overwhelmed by food photos and at least 300 unread entries on my blogroll… but hey, I’m back at school on Thursday and with school comes avoidant tendencies, boredom, and a need to gaze at other people’s food successes/experiments/disasters/what-have-you with rapt attention. I think that’s why I’m opening the first of my re-cap posts with that excellent tangle of stir fry up there. It’s not like, blog-worthy in any classic sense of the word, it involved a lot of green thai curry paste and normal normal stuff… but it was the best stir fry I’ve made so far! And I got to use my mung bean flat noodles (which looked shockingly like glass and tasted like hyper-jello in a very good way). And I threw the whole thai theme in a blender by using lentil sprouts, but anyway, this was excellent. And all a-tangle, which is how I feel right now. (also, for the record I got my fall/winter marks back and I got straight As!!!). A-tangle I say! So on with the foods before my mind ties me in noodley-knots, tee hee…

I should probably just label the simple stuff — here’s some VwaV chocolate pudding with vastly reduced sugar and added pureed strawberries and banana. I err… don’t recommend these adjustments so much. Still hit the chocolate craving, but it wasn’t really pudding in any decadent sense, ah well.

French lentil soup from the Vcon, with a kale & maple-mustard salad. VERY good, all of it. I could eat sweetly dressed kale every day of the week and tarragon-y lentils = Win.

Sopa de Chayote! Alas, my second chayote (or Mirliton) wasn’t quite enough to justify using it in a full-on cool recipe like Kittee’s stuffed squash, I did manage to find a recipe for this easy soup that might beat out gazpacho as my favourite chilled hot-weather repast. Go make this! It actually showcases the oh-so subtle flavour of the chayote, which also lends it this quirky green colour. Mexican dinner party starter soup? Uhhhh…. yes.

Vcon strawberry-plum crisp — amazingly more than the sum of it’s parts. The fruit turns into what I imagine vegetarian vampires would want to nosh – gloopy, crimson, sweet and tart, and also the aniseseed in the crust made me extra happy. I always forget how much I like baked strawberries what with all my raw eating, but this reminded me of the whole “strawberry-bomb” phenomena. Like how they get all warm and explodey when they’re cooked. Hee, anyway…

*drumrollllllll*

Best cookies ever. (okay, best CHOCOLATE cookies ever). Thank you Vcon, the chocolate chocolate chip walnut cookies have pretty much been renamed Supernova Desirious Nexi-Yums in my mind, which is a silly name to be sure, but almost manages to convey what a job they did on my knees when I bit one warm from the oven (those knees wobbled. a lot). I made them for my painting class, then thought better of it, and saved them for my friends and I to gush over at leisure. (oh, and I made the chocolate-orange version… mmmmmmmorange!).

More food to come! Swell Vegan tester scones and redcurrant cupcakes and lots of things in mini-form and egads, well, a lot. Next post soon!

This pie ended too soon (*tear*). It kinda jumped into people’s mouths going “zomg i am zesty and zingy and made of pure summer and you could probably eat 4 pieces and still feel awesome cause i am soooo light!”

Do pies talk? If any could, I’d let my birthday pie talk (ok yes yes it’s very late but THAT’S OKAY because it’s key lime and there’s cashew coconut cream involved. And mango/kiwi on top. And graham coconut crumb crust! I should thank Bryanna for her cheese-less recipe, which is awesome and even stood up to my substituting plain old cornstarch for the required agar (just chill chill chill that thing out). Man… I probably had a quarter of this in one sitting and I just felt all smiley and fresh. That is some quality in a dessert! (also DO check out her whipped topping recipe on the same page, it will blow your mind)

I’ll be resuming regular posting and (this is the important part) checking up on all your blogs in a bit, I’m just really enjoying the 2 weeks I get off school before I have to go back for summer classes in the beginning of May. There’s so much food I have to post still! And I still haven’t decided what kind of cupcakes I’m going to make this afternoon — I’m thinking brooklyn brownie or orange with redcurrant frosting… or even plain vanilla with mad sprinkles. Any thoughts?

I love end of term. I love the delirium, and the not-sleeping, and the out-and-out stress of it all. No, actually I hate all those things, but I DO love how productive I get in all other areas that aren’t school. I made a bunny! It’s for my sister, and I’m seriously considering starting an Etsy shop (even though that would mean getting a – *shudder* – credit card). I could see myself sewing on summer afternoons on a regular basis, plus I’d get to make adorable things all the time. Also, supplemental income – always nice. (she’s wearing an apron which makes her OK for a food blog, btw ;)

Onto the white beans! What better than Vcon pasta fazooool to throw together in less than 15 minutes so I can pretend my priorities lie with paper-writing and not in the kitchen? Nothing, it’s totally the best thing! I liked this a lot, though the inclusion of beans in anything pretty much guarantees I’ll be nuts for it. And I totally stand by eating this on spaghetti, it ups the challenge factor, and you can’t slurp tiny pastas as far as I know. (at least, not with the modicum of neanderthal grace I allow myself when I’m snarfing noodles alone, ha!)

And yummy lunch today was Vcon hot-sauce glazed tofu, baked sweet potato and really really cheater baked beans (white beans + bbq sauce). More than enough fuel to proofread. And not get distracted by Harvest Moon. With any luck! Course, I am stuffed and groggy now and could use some time attempting to woo the bartender’s daughter, hee hee. I’m so responsible. :)

(as for the tofu, it was spooky – I could almost sense the tempeh in the store calling out for this marinade, insisting that tofu was way better suited to more delicate things. I only vaguely recall what tempeh even tastes/feels like, but I’m pretty sure it would rock so much more than the ‘fu here. That said I was practically sipping the leftover glaze!)

Oh my gosh, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I have been cooking! Notably I made a turtle cake for my friend’s 24th. A turtle turtle cake, if you will. He’s so cute… swimming in generous puddles of buttery caramel sauce. It was almost a shame to cut into him to get at the deep chocolate innards. Almost.

I started with the Vcon deep chocolate bundt cake, mostly in the interest of conquering the book – in all honesty I don’t think the coffee really meshed with the rest of the cake components, but I also oopsed and used my regular crappy brand instead of brewing up my stash of GOOD coffee that I keep around just for cakes. I am d’oh.

Luckily toasted pecans and caramel sauce (ohhhhh that sauce!) go an incredibly long way towards nummifying everything they come into contact with. Generous layer and then onto…

My FAVOURITE icing in the whole world. I got it off vegweb, but I’ve seen identical versions over the internet, and holy all that is holy, it is good. Think rich, choco-fudgey, creamy, not too sweet. Also low in fat, and not like eating a bowl of shortening (*ahem* buttercream I’m looking at you). Add an extra shake of salt and it’s pure heaven.

(especially dolloped all over a pound of strawberries and eaten as dinner which I did not do, gosh no, certainly didn’t!)

The finished product? Gooey, addictive, got pretty much destroyed by three people, if that says anything. Also, it had wings and is thus a Koopa Cake for extra nerd points. :)

The other day I found these chayote squashes for 25 cents, can you believe it? And at a mega-supermarket no less (I was making excuses to walk really far ’cause the sun was sooooo beautiful that day, and hey, they have a good selection of extracts in the baking aisle).

Anyway, I had no idea what they were, but I did a brief search-up and they’re totally a mexican thing, so I made probably the least-brainer I could have, just tossing them with coarse salt, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and red chile flakes. Lovely refreshing, actually. They taste a little bit like a bland cucumber-melon and I don’t think I’d go nuts trying to find them again, but hey, one less mystery on the list.

And more Vcon recipes cause I’m predictable like that. They are both to die for, because the Vcon is predictable like that. This is the pineapple cashew quinoa stirfry, mega yum. If pineapple-y grain-based stir fries had a bare knuckle fight in that square foot of free space in my kitchen I’d probably leave my bets with the pineapple couscous curry I made a while back, but that’s not to say they both wouldn’t both fight valiantly with their ways of deliciousness and copious use of sweet sweet juice. I’d also even say this tastes better out of the microwave the next day, but I might just be weird like that.

I’m not one for adult food, really. I made the Vcon tomato couscous with capers and rustic white beans and at first didn’t really… know what to do with it? But then something happened, something wise in me turned off my computer, headed to the fire escape with a glass of leftover white wine and a trashy novel and all of a sudden I was “some single woman shooing her cat away from the subtle flavas of leek”, instead of “some kid blogging, rocking, reading AND playing video games while shovelling back stirfry”. I dunno, it’s a subtle difference. And I was sad to see the last of it go.

Yum! Amazing! Could I gush more? I should! I was fortunate enough to be a tester for the very talented A-K of the Swell Vegan blog, and I’ve just fallen in love with her Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers with Millet and Leeks! They’re so delicious, with a sweet note of almond butter, some spicy mexi-kick, a nice meaty bite and very easy to make. I usually douse my burgers in nayo and ketchup, but not this time! Condiments like that t’would be sacrilege in this case, as they’re plenty flavourful enough on their own (though her suggestion of guacamole would be verrrrry nice, I’m thinking). They firm up nice, too!

Aren’t they pretty? There was much (much) finger licking going on during forming of these things. I can’t wait to get on the scone recipe….

And yesterday I wanted lentil soup but also not to work very hard, so I made the vcon Ancho Lentil Soup. Which was good, but I kinda wish it were spicier, or the ancho flavour more pronounced (and I used a huge one). Or even had vegetables in it of any kind? The pineapples were a fun touch, though.

Aaaaand, I promised myself a bar of Terra Nostra Rice Milk Chocolate on Zombie Jesus Day but got sidetracked by florentine’d tofu and other foods that AREN’T CHOCOLATE (insane, I know). So I fixed that and bought a bar, and woah! This is some special milky-mouth-melt action! I think dark is still my absolute favourite, but it’s an utter treat to reach into the chocolate drawer (yes, I have one of those – usually 2 or 3 bars open at any given time… for emergencies!) and pull out milk chocolate. *grin*