Friday, March 25, 2011

Vegan Apple Streusel Muffins and Penne with Cheesy Sauce

Happy Friday!  This morning I woke up finally feeling caught up and refreshed after an especially intense work week.  Somehow, in the middle of all the work-related madness I managed to whip up another batch of cupcakes based on a VCTOTW recipe.  I popped these into the oven minutes before work called to tell me they needed me to come in for a few hours.  Luckily there was just enough baking time before I had to run out the door.  I used a basic spice cake recipe, added chopped apples, and topped with streusel.  They turned out more like a muffin than a cupcake.  Tasty. 
After working a 22 hour shift I came home to some delicious rice noodle shells with vegan alfredo sauce left-over from a dinner my sweet boyfriend made the night (or two) before.  I don't have a picture of it, but it was amazing!  The next night I was craving something similar so I made some whole wheat penne with vegan cheese sauce.  This was totally a throw-whatever-in-the-pot sort of dish.  I used some We Can't Say It's Cheese spread, nutritional yeast, almond milk, Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, and fresh ground black pepper.  Turned out yummy!

I know these first posts have been heavy on the comfort/cooked vegan foods, but I promise there will be more raw, fresh, and green stuff in the near future.  I'm just keeping it real, and this is what I happen to be eating lately. 

I'm so excited about this weekend.  Hopefully I'll be making my first trip to the Portland Farmer's Market.  Yay!  Really looking forward to getting familiar with the local vendors, visiting Divine Pi, Heidi Ho Organics and loading up on Kale and veggies. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Banana Cupcakes, Creamy Spinach Lasagna, and Kale Salad

I've really been into making cupcakes this winter.  My latest was a batch of banana cupcakes with maple rum frosting from VCTOTW.
The banana cake is a really good base recipe and it gave me lots of ideas for future cupcake creations.  The frosting wasn't as maple-y as I would have liked, so I'll make adjustments next time, but still... yum. 

After so much sweetness I had to make something savory.  I'd been dreaming up a creamy lasagna experiment that I decided to give a try.  The inspiration for this one was the spinach "ricotta" filling. 
This was a combo of silken tofu, miso, nutritional yeast, and spinach.  It turned out smooth and creamy, just the way I imagined it.
 The filling was marinara, fire roasted tomatoes, mushroom, Yves meatless ground, red wine, and fresh herbs.
 I layered the creamy spinach ricotta and mushroom marinara filling between lasagna noodles, then topped with Daiya vegan cheese
And, of course, I'm still working on eating more greens.  So, along with my every-day salads I made up some massaged kale salad.  This one featured my favorite, Italian kale (aka dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale, or Lacinato kale) with avocado, tahini, lemon juice, green onion, and a drizzle of white truffle oil. 

Hope everyone's week is off to a good start :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cheesecake, Greens, and Vitamin Code

In case you're wondering, I did get around to adding more greens to my meals this week.  But, let's start with DESSERT.  I got back to raw food dessert basics and made a plain old cheesecake from Sweet Gratitude. It had been a while since I made this one, and it turned out ok.  What can I say?  I'm accustomed to the fancier desserts now and this just seemed a little bleh.  However, it was quick, easy, and a great base for work-lunch desserts like:
Now that I think of it, I should have made some sort of berry sauce or chocolate sauce or both.  That would have take this cheesecake from bleh to yay!  Next time.
Ok, let's talk about greens.  As in, we broke up over the winter and I want (NEED) them back in my life now. For the record, I don't recommend forgetting about greens for 6 months.  But I did manage to have at least one salad every day for the past week.  
I ate them with sweet potatoes & tahini dressing.  Very good, I'm back on the salad wagon again.  This is a sure sign that things are warming up.
Another thing I've added to my diet is Vitamin Code for Women. Does anyone else take this? What do you think?  I've been wanting to try these for quite a while.  So far I've noticed that it gives me a little buzz when I take it.  I guess my body must be shocked by all the vitamins and minerals.  I'm going to take them for 30 days and see how I feel.  Then I'll decide if I'm going to continue or switch to a (cheaper) vegan multi-vitamin.  Feel free to chime in with your supplement experiences if you take them.  Also, I realize that a lot of folks prefer to get their vits from fresh food.  That would be ideal, but I have to be honest and say that my diet hasn't made it to that point yet and I want to make sure I'm getting everything I need. 

Happy Thursday!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Comfort Food: Shepherd's Pie & Lemon Rosemary Cupcakes

Now that it's warming up (slightly) I'm trying to increase the amount of fresh greens in my meals.  But that's not where this post is going.... I've had a hard time eating salads this cold winter and have indulged in plenty of warm vegan comfort foods.  Speaking of mega-comfort-food, yesterday I made a recipe that's turned into a real favorite the past few months, vegan Shepherd's Pie. And why stop there?  We had vegan Lemon Rosemary Cupcakes for dessert.  Today I'm eating a huge salad for dinner.  Balance, right?
The cupcakes are based on the Golden Vanilla Cupcake recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I added lemon zest, lemon juice & fresh rosemary to the cake batter, and frosted them with the Lemon Buttercream recipe from the same book.  So good & light & lemony!  This book is so awesome.  I've made several of the recipes and they've all turned out super yummy. 
The Shepherd's Pie is sort of a throw-together recipe that I change almost every time I make it based on what I have in my pantry. There are 3 components: filling, gravy, and mashed potatoes. Last night's version started with a filling of onion, garlic, lentils, Yves meatless ground, spinach, fresh herbs and peas.
Then comes the vegan gravy.  Yesterday's was made with veggie stock, miso, nutritional yeast, and some soy sauce.  It all gets mixed together & poured into a pie plate.
Then it gets topped with mashed potatoes and baked under the broiler until it's slightly browned on top.  Last night's potatoes were whipped up with green onion, garlic, soy creamer, earth balance spread, salt & pepper.
The pie tastes even better re-heated the next day.  Yay for left-overs!  And, yes I had a cupcake for breakfast this morning.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hello, Nice To See You Again

Sometimes you need a fresh start.  I had just moved from Seattle to Portland (yay!) in October when I started having some *technical* difficulties with my first blog, Yummy Raw Kitchen.  Feeling a little overwhelmed by the move and my new job, I chose to put the blog on hold for a while.  Then when the urge to make food and blog about it became too much to resist I decided to start with something completely new.  Hello, please meet Fresh Young Coconut, my new blog dedicated to yummy, fresh, animal free foods!  The main difference between Fresh Young Coconut & Yummy Raw Kitchen is that the Coconut will feature raw & cooked vegan dishes.  I like the idea of a little more variety!  Here are a few memories from Yummy Raw Kitchen....


I'm so excited to start obsessively taking pictures of all my food again.  And I've really missed my blog-world friends.  It's going to be fun catching up with everyone, as I haven't had much time for blog reading since I moved.  Portland has been awesome, though!  I'm super happy and moving here was the right decision.  Pixi is happy here, too.  She says, "meow!"
Thanks for stopping by!