Weekend Adventures and Misadventures

I’m thinking of posting a weekend recap each Sunday evening. I tend to do the most fun stuff, cooking-wise, over the weekend, and it’s always really fun to share! Let me know what you think. Now, here’s what I was up to for the past couple of days:

Practically the first thing I did on Saturday morning was go to the farmers market with my mom. It was so fun to finally get there and buy some produce, because since being in Ada, we’ve gone a couple of times, but until now, they were always sold out by the time we got there.

IMG_1774[1]

We were lucky enough to get tons of beautiful vegetables. PLUS: pecans! I’m so excited that we got pecans at the farmers market!

Then, later that morning, I made homemade almond milk.

IMG_1788[1]

I used the recipe in Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s book The Thirty Day Vegan Challenge. Speaking of which, I cannot recommend that book enough! It’s such an amazing resource on the hows and whys of veganism. Anyway, though, I made a half-batch of the almond milk. I always find the process so fun; I love blending the nuts and water and squeezing the milk out with my nut milk bag! <— totally one of those kitchen tools that sounds super unnecessary but kind of makes your whole life.

For some reason, though, the almond milk tasted amazing when it was fresh, but a day later, it just doesn’t taste that good. I’m a little disappointed. Because of that, I think that so far, cashew milk has been my favorite plant milk to make at home.

IMG_1799[1] IMG_1796[1]

So in love with the color of that quilt. And the trees ❤

Then, this morning, I made the Secretly Healthy Brownies (made with coconut flour) from Chocolate Covered Katie’s cookbook. I intended to bring them to our bake sale at school tomorrow, but would you believe it? They just did not work at all! They fall apart all over the place and have a gritty texture. I have to say, the recipes I’ve tried on Katie Higgins’ blog ,Chocolate Covered Katie, have been consistently very good, but I’ve had mixed results with her cookbook recipes. It’s honestly rather strange. Has anybody else made the Secretly Healthy Brownies from her cookbook? Did they work any better for you?

IMG_1805[1]

^^ That’s what happens when you try to pick one up! They collapse 😦

Tomorrow I have school, so I’d better get to bed. I’ll be back later this week!

Vegan Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Hi guys! I made some yummy chocolate-covered pretzels today and I wanted to share. They are easy and fast, and the recipe makes a small batch for portion control so you don’t have to spend an hour dipping individual pretzels into melted chocolate! 🙂

IMG_1747[1]

I’m not about to pretend that these pretzels are an original idea; they aren’t! But, I made them myself, they’re delicious, and I’m excited to share the recipe with you. Also, they make a small batch, which I love, because although my family and I enjoy sweets, we don’t usually eat a ton of them. So a small batch is just right!

Vegan Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Ingredients:

1 tbsp almonds (raw or roasted)

1 tbsp hemp hearts

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand and Ghiradelli semi-sweet)

1 tsp coconut oil

3/4 cup pretzels

Process:

Chop up the almonds into pieces as small as you can make them. For me, that wasn’t very small. Set them into a small dish. Put the hemp hearts into another small dish. Put your chocolate into a double boiler and set heat on medium-low. You don’t want the heat too high, because that will burn your chocolate. Stir occasionally as it melts. When it is melted and smooth, use a fork to drop a pretzel into the chocolate and thoroughly coat. Pick the pretzel up again, tap it against the rim of the double boiler to shake off excess chocolate, and lay it on a sheet of wax paper. Sprinkle lightly with almonds, hemp hearts, or both, or leave it plain! Repeat until all the pretzels and chocolate have been used. This recipe should pretty well use up both. Pop the chocolate-covered pretzels on the wax paper into the freezer and let set for 20-30 minutes. Remove from freezer and enjoy!

IMG_1743[1]

IMG_1744[1]

IMG_1746[1]

IMG_1750[1]

Notes:

  • I recommend coating your pretzels in chocolate, setting them onto a sheet of wax paper, and then sprinkling them in your topping. I do not recommend dropping the whole chocolate-covered pretzel in the topping to coat it, because that will overload the pretzel, and the topping in the container will become messy and lumpy!
  • Don’t worry about the pretzels freezing when they are in the freezer; that time only allows the chocolate to set, and the pretzels themselves don’t even come close to freezing.
  • I loved the hemp seeds in this! They don’t add too much flavor… rather, they just make the pretzels more substantial and chewy, as well as adding some protein and healthy fats.
  • Of course, feel free to use whatever toppings you desire! I’m kicking myself for not using coconut. Some possibilities are chopped candied ginger, more chocolate chips, sprinkles, chopped peanuts or any other nut, chia seeds, flaxmeal, rice crispies… the list goes on!

IMG_1758[1]

Isn’t that pink beautiful? My mom knit that washcloth a long time ago, and it’s been used for many, many dish-washing sessions… though I don’t think it’s been used for too many chocolate-covered pretzel photoshoots! And do you see our dog in the chair in this photo?

My Weekend

Hi guys! I just had SUCH a busy weekend, complete with plenty of baking and cooking exploits (and homework… but you probably aren’t too interested in that!). “Baking exploits”… heh heh heh. I don’t know why that phrase tickles me but it does. Moving on…

First up on the list of what I baked this weekend, we have my little brother’s favorite cookies! They are the Sinless Peanut Butter Cookies, from the Chocolate Covered Katie Cookbook, and he loves them for breakfast. I like to halve the recipe and make them double size. I whipped up a quick batch on Saturday morning so he could have them for breakfast.

IMG_1682[1]IMG_1683[1]

These are amazing! So light and fluffy, but definitely still chewy and yummy. After that, I made some Southwestern Tofu Burgers from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s cookbook The Vegan Table. They are super popular at my house!

IMG_1699[1]

Later on, I assisted my mom in making frosting for a chocolate cake she had baked earlier in the day, using a chocolate cake recipe from The Vegan Table. BUT WAIT! There’s more to the story than that. She started the frosting, but my brother Elliot called and wanted to talk to her. So I offered to take over. I used my handy Cuisinart immersion blender to whip it up, and it was beautifully smooth… perfect for a nice creamy layer of frosting. So I spread it on the cake and made it look pretty. Then, and only then, did I taste a little frosting. And then I realized this: my mom had not put in any sugar. I assumed she did, but she did not. And here was this cake, frosted with very bitter chocolate-peanut butter frosting! This was not my proudest moment. Thankfully, the cake was sturdy, so it could handle having the frosting scraped off, then being put on a new plate, being sponged off with a paper towel, and re-frosted with SWEET frosting! Thank goodness; I would have felt really bad, ruining my mom’s nice chocolate cake!

IMG_1698[1]

That wraps up Saturday. Then today, Sunday, I baked and frosted two dozen chocolate cupcakes, for a bake sale at school tomorrow. It took a long time, because I made vegan buttercream frosting that took a bit of effort, then piped it on with my fancy piping tip. I love the end result, though! They don’t look professional or anything, but they do look appetizing. This is exactly what I hoped for when I volunteered to make vegan cupcakes for school. I don’t think I’m the only one to feel a little pressure in that sort of situation, when most people have never had a vegan cupcake in their life before! I mean, I don’t want their first vegan cupcake experience to be gummy. I want it to exceed expectations! And hopefully, these cupcakes will. Just following the words of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and planting seeds wherever I go 🙂

IMG_1716[1]IMG_1725[1]

And, finally? I made more hummus. I know, I know. Even I was tired of the kitchen at that point. But for real, having hummus I like is important to me, and I might not have time tomorrow to make some! So I made a quick batch of my Smokey Sweet Potato Hummus. I didn’t take a picture, though.

This was such a busy weekend! I also finished a big project for school and practiced a lot for Honors Choir auditions. And, I got to take this sweet dog for a walk (it was only like 80 degrees here! In Oklahoma! In August! This deserves exclamation points!).

IMG_1689[1]IMG_1728[1]

I’ll talk to you all later!

Chocolate Covered Katie Pumpkin Bread

Hi guys! I thought I’d drop in and show you the lovely pumpkin bread that I baked today. It’s from the Chocolate Covered Katie Cookbook (which, by the way, I love) and turned out really nicely. Better start from the beginning with photos, though, and show you my…. messy kitchen! 😀

IMG_1655[1]

Such joy. Oh, messy kitchen, I missed you all week when I was too busy doing my homework to bake.

Measuring ingredients…

IMG_1670[1]

And then we have the batter, all mixed up and ready to bake.

IMG_1669[1]

Forty minutes and some cooling time later, you get this pretty picture!

IMG_1674[1]

And, just in case you were wondering, here’s the texture as best I can capture it in a photo:

IMG_1676[1]

It turned out really well, especially for a fat-free bread. I would definitely recommend it, as well as Katie’s whole blog. She’s somebody who inspired me to try blogging, and I’m very grateful to her for that. So on that note, I will be back soon! Thanks for reading!

Smokey Sweet Potato Hummus + Hummus Tips

Hello! I’m so happy to be writing another blog post, especially one about my favorite food to make and eat: HUMMUS!

IMG_1643[1]

I make a lot of hummus (and eat a lot of hummus… like, in every meal #noshame), and over time, I’ve picked up a few tricks on how to make my ideal hummus. Of course, this is my favorite hummus; it may not be your favorite hummus, though I am inclined to think you’ll like it! Also, it’s not exactly traditional. But, tradition aside, I seriously adore this hummus! And so, here is a quick run-down of the little things that make awesome homemade hummus:

  1. Heat up your chickpeas and the liquid from the can together before processing your hummus. This softens the canned chickpeas, making a smoother finished product.
  2. If you don’t want to use oil in your hummus, and for what it’s worth, I never do, reserve the liquid from the can. Then, when the rest of your ingredients are blended, add the liquid as you wish to thin out the hummus. The liquid from the can loosens up the hummus in a pleasing way without making it watery. However, I only do this when I’m using organic canned chickpeas.
  3. Make your hummus a bit looser than you would like it to be! This is because once you refrigerate your hummus, it will thicken up. So, to prevent  pasty hummus (unless you want that… you do you), make it a little looser at the start.
  4. Cooked vegetables can be great in hummus. However, in my experience, it’s way more worthwhile to actually bake them than to microwave them. I’ve made sweet potato hummus with microwaved sweet potato before, and it had next to no flavor! Since then, I’ve made a point of baking my sweet potatoes. Trust me, it’s so much better!

Smoky Sweet Potato Hummus

inspired by Choosing Raw’s Sweet Potato Hummus

Ingredients:

1 can organic chickpeas, un-rinsed, with can liquid reserved

1/4 cup roasted tahini

juice of one medium lemon

flesh of 1 baked sweet potato of average size

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 cup reserved can liquid

IMG_1630[1]

Method:

Place chickpeas and can liquid into a small pot and heat over medium-low. Allow to simmer for at least five minutes. I usually let it simmer while I prepare the rest of the ingredients. Juice the lemon and put into a food processor. Add the tahini, sweet potato flesh, salt, smoked paprika, and chickpeas. Process until all ingredients are incorporated, scraping down sides as needed. Add the hot can liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, and blend until the consistency is smooth and just looser than desired. Taste at this point; it’s absolutely dreamy when it’s warm! And adjust seasonings as necessary, though I found it to be just perfect.

IMG_1641[1]

 IMG_1643[1]And there you have it: my favorite hummus. If you make this recipe or use my suggestions, it would make me so happy to hear from you! Talk to you later 🙂

Dad’s Kale Creation

My dad really enjoys his kale (hi, Dad!). He likes to eat in in salads, stir-fries, and pasta dishes, and when he made this beauty a few weeks ago, I had to take a picture to share it with you! And guess what? This is the first time kale has been featured on The Kale Storm! That’s what I like to call a momentous occasion 🙂

Here it is:

IMG_1523[1]  IMG_1522[1]

This was a few weeks ago, so we’re not positive exactly what he put in there, but we know it had rotini noodles, kale, homemade tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. Also, note the little white dog in the corner of the second photo!

I’ll be back soon, with another post on green smoothies!