December 17, 2006

Pineapple Coffee Cake + Sloppy Lentils

During the week I made this Pineapple Coffee Cake from the Fatfree Vegan blog. I'd been eyeing that recipe ever since Susan first posted it - I love coffee cake, I love pineapple, and her picture of it is so lovely. Plus it's whole wheat and low in points. So I had high hopes for this... and it met every expectation. It's wonderful. Moist, sweet, light, crunchy on top. Just delicious. My picture doesn't do it justice at all. (I'm having some issues with finding a good place to take pictures lately, what with the lack of sunlight.) I'll definitely be making this on a regular basis.

And here we have the famous Sloppy/Disorderly Lentils. Believe it or not, this was my first time making them. I don't really know what took me so long, but now I wish I'd tried them before - they're awesome! And super easy to make. I basically followed the standard recipe, with just a few tweaks:

Sloppy Lentils

2 c water
1 c red lentils
1 1/2 c tomato sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
a few handfuls of spinach, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
generous pinch of basil
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the water, lentils, tomato sauce, and soy sauce/tamari in a pot. Bring to a boil. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This made 4 servings for me, and I worked it out to about 3 points per serving. It's mostly zero-point veggies, so really the only thing to count for is the lentils.

I am pretty much in love with these right now. I had leftovers for lunch but I still want to make them again for dinner tonight. Yum.

The only other noteworthy thing I've made recently is the Eggnog Muffins from La Dolce Vegan. I was so excited for them - I love nog! I love muffins! Hell yes. Unfortunately I didn't like them at all. They were very bland and unpleasant. I actually threw them away. They rose well and had a nice texture, though, so I think the problem lies not in the recipe but in my sweet tooth. Or rather, the fact that I don't just have a sweet tooth - I have a full set of 32. So they may be sweet enough for other people, but for me they didn't really taste like anything. Gross.

Labels: , , ,

December 07, 2006

Low-Fat Brownies

So I'm counting points at the moment, working on this whole weight loss thing. But I have a massive sweet tooth, and every so often (and by "every so often" I mean "every five minutes") I need to feed that urge. Preferably without blowing my diet in the process. Enter the low-fat baked good. A strange and elusive creature, often just an unpleasant cardboard knock-off of the original. Often, but not always. These brownies are exceptionally low in everything that's bad for you, but they still taste pretty good. I used this recipe, and followed it pretty much to a T. I think the only change I would make in the future would be to use a bit less salt. There was a bit of an odd saltiness to these that I've never noticed in a baked good before.

I will say straight up that these are not what I really think of as brownies. They're good, and they're seriously chocolatey and deceptively rich and I will likely make them again, but brownies? Eh. I'd say it's more like a really fudgey cake. So if you're in the mood for a real live brownie, try a different recipe. But if you want something dense and chocolatey that won't break the diet bank, give these a try.

They worked out to be 3 points per brownie as I made them. Not bad.

Labels: , , ,

December 05, 2006

Banana-Coconut-Date Oatmeal

Breakfast! Now that it's really starting to feel like winter around here (it's been in the 30's this week), it's time to ditch the cold cereal and break out the oatmeal. I got up miraculously early this morning and exercised, and by the time I was finished I was starving. I fought the temptation to just grab something and made this extremely satisfying oatmeal instead.

I'm sure everyone knows how to make oatmeal, so I'll just say that I simmered my oats in a mix of 1/2 cup very vanilla soymilk and 1/2 cup water, added cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla extract, and three chopped dates. After it was done, I mashed in a small banana and topped it with 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened coconut. I feel extremely dorky and anal-retentive for giving measurements like that, but I'm counting points at the moment so I'm measuring everything. This worked out to 6 points, and will keep me full for quite a while. It was also seriously delicious. Like a tropical party in my mouth. Yum.

My new food love of the moment is Silk very vanilla. So sweet, so good. I know it's all "Fortified for kids! Kids love it!," but I don't care. I use plain soymilk on cereal and stuff, but for drinking straight, in coffee or tea, and making oatmeal, very vanilla is where it's at. I want to make vanilla pudding with it, too. It would be vanilla overload. Just how I like it.

December 04, 2006

A Cupcake Question

No picture or new recipe in this one - just a question. A cupcake inquiry, if you will. Of course by now everyone has and loves Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I have it too. And I love me some cupcakes, so this book is like a little softcover slice of heaven.

In theory.

The problem I'm having is that every cupcake I've made from it so far has turned out... less than awesome. I know it's not the recipes, since I've seen everyone's cupcake posts and pictures, and they all look perfect. My problem is that they all sink. Every single one. And not just a little bit, either. We're talking crater cakes here. Actually, Jess and I made the gingerbread cupcakes, and they only sunk a little bit - but they didn't rise very much, either, so I think it's just that they're a different kind of cake. On my own I've tried the chai cupcakes and the sexy low-fat vanilla cupcakes, and both sunk like falsley-accused witches. Granted, that's only three kinds total, but at this point I'm wary of trying anymore. I actually threw both the chai and the vanilla ones away, and I do not generally condone throwing away cupcakes. It's akin to blasphemy. But they were both so sunken, and also oddly-textured. A bit spongey and gummy.

So what gives? I want these vegan cupcakes to take over my world, but so far? Not so much. And on the off chance that anyone responds to this (it seems I've been abandoned in my absence - not that I can blame you guys, seriously), my baking powder is newish (less than 6 months old), I always pre-heat my oven, I try not to over-mix, and other cupcake recipes still come out fine, so my oven is the same as it ever was. I will admit that I usually don't sift, but it's never caused trouble with other cakes. I'm stumped. Help!

December 03, 2006

Red Bean and Sweet Potato Curry + News

Okay, first off, don't die of shock. I am, in fact, posting something. It's been forever, I know. Almost two months. School has been crazy, and work... everything has been a little crazy, really. Life has become very confusing recently, on a personal level. I haven't been cooking anything new, and therefore I haven't felt like I had anything to blog about. Or the time in which to do it. But tonight I made a new recipe from Vegan Planet, and since I'm due for a break from painting anyway, I thought I'd post about it.

This is the Red Bean and Sweet Potato Curry from Vegan Planet, served atop a bed of whole wheat couscous. (Can I just take a moment to say how much I like couscous? So quick, so tasty.) It was really simple and pretty quick to make, and all of the ingredients are things I usually have on hand anyway. I followed the recipe's suggestion to puree 2 cups of it at the end to make for a thicker, saucier curry. I love saucy things.

I started doing Weight Watchers a few weeks ago, so if you're interested, this makes 4 servings and is 3 points per serving.

In other news, I have about 2 weeks of school left. This is, as they say, "crunch time." I really love my school, and for the most part I enjoy my projects, but this semester? Has been crazy busy. In the next two weeks I have at least 4 medium/large paintings, 8-12 small illustrations that will then need to be scanned, laid out in a book format, printed, and bound, and 5 complete inked and colored comic pages to finish, in addition to assorted other loose ends that need tying up. And on top of that, I need to prepare a portfolio for my mid-year Junior review. Gulp. If you could see me right now, I would be clutching my chest in fear and panic.

The best part is that next semester is going to be even busier. I signed myself up for 7 classes, as opposed to the 6 I have this time around. I think my brain may actually explode.

I'm hoping to have a few things to post before break starts (December 15th will be a glorious day), but if not then rest assured that I'll be back soon. Well, sooner than 2 months from now, anyway.