Chocolate Valentine Love Crunchies

I used to never be much of a Valentine’s Day person. I’m still not, but I like the fact that it gives me a reason to make anything and everything covered in chocolate (like I really need a reason).

Chocolate Dipped Espresso Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from FineCooking.com

For the cookies:

1 cup Earth Balance – cold, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tbs finely ground espresso coffee beans.

For the dipping chocolate:

9 oz semi-sweet chocolate ( I use chocolate chips)

Line two baking sheets with parchment. Combine the butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer bowl (use the paddle attachment) or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the butter combines with the sugar but isn’t perfectly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour and ground espresso and mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently – add water and continue to blend until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes; don’t overmix.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Aim for a uniform thickness to ensure even baking. Using a heart or other shape cookie cutter, cut out shapes as close to one another as possible. Press the scraps together, roll them out, and cut out more cookies. If the dough becomes sticky, refrigerate it briefly. Arrange the cookies on two parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 minutes.

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 300° F. Bake the cookies until golden on the bottom and edges and pale to golden on top, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (After 15 minutes, swap the position of the baking sheets and rotate them 180 degrees for even baking.) If the cookies are done before 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 275° F for the remaining batches; if they take longer than 1 hour, increase the temperature to 325° F.

Set a sheet of parchment on a work surface. Put the chocolate and in a small heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate, stirring, until it’s smooth and warm; don’t let it get hot. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate. Set the cookies on the parchment and let the chocolate set up at room temperature, about 2 hours.

This is the company I have when I’m taking food photos.


Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Lemon…lemon lemon lemon lemon. It just rolls off the tongue. I woke up this morning wanting a muffin. There was none to be found, so I searched through my cookbooks and made muffins – lemon poppyseed muffins.

I never try to make my desserts healthy. Why? Because dessert is supposed to be fattening (well..to me at least hehe). It’s supposed to make you feel guilty for eating it and when you do, you get that “wow, this is amazing” feeling. Now I’m not saying to partake in fattening desserts all the time, but if you are – enjoy it. Don’t ever regret eating something covered in chocolate or buttercream (vegan of course). Sit and enjoy the moment…and smile.

So I made lemon muffins. With lemon glaze. It’s good. Very good. You’re going to want to make it too – just because. No, it’s not really healthy, but yes, it is yummy.

Lemon PoppySeed Muffins with Lemon Glaze

adapted from joythebaker.com

2/3 cups sugar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup soymilk

Egg Replacer the equivalent of 2 eggs (3 tsp egg replacer to 5 tbs of water – whisk until frothy)

1 tsp vanilla

8 tbs Earth Balance – melted

1/2 cup poppyseeds

2 tbs sugar (for muffin topping)

Lemon Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar whisked with 3 tbs of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Prepare standard muffin pan with liners – set aside.

In small bowl, whisk together the soymilk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for about 10 minutes.

In medium bowl combine sugar and lemon zest. With clean hands, grind the sugar and lemon zest together until fragant and well combined (this helps the oils come out of the zest and infuse the sugar). Whisk in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together egg replacer, soymilk mixture, vanilla, Earth Balance and lemon juice.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together. When it’s almost mixed, add the poppyseeds.

Drop evenly into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden.

Be sure to add lemon glaze only AFTER muffins have cooled completely.


Cinnamon-Sugar Biscotti

I’m feeling sorry for myself at the moment. Two reasons: I’ve been sick for over a week and I was turned down for a job I applied for. As far as being sick, I guess I couldn’t help it. What started as an annoying cold, turned into a viral infection and conjunctivitis of my right eye (yay!). Being sick is such a waste of time for me. There are so many more things I would rather be doing that wandering around the house aimlessly waiting to get better. Hopefully now that my doctor has me doped up on medication (and drinking lots of tea and soup), I won’t be sick for much longer.

As far as the job I applied for – well I was really, really hoping I got it. I applied to be a assistant baker/counter person at a new vegan bakery that was opening not too far from me. I was hoping this would be my escape from the doldrums of office work, but I guess not. To make myself feel better I bake. I get a lot of my ideas from sites such as epicurious.com. The baking is far from vegan so it’s my chance to make it so. I realized I didn’t have a lot of ingredients on hand to make anything major, so I typed in “cinnamon” to see what would pop up. Cinnamon muffins, cinnamon streusal, cinnamon biscotti. Hmm? Biscotti? Yes please.

So I made biscotti and it made me feel better. It pairs with tea perfectly as well. You really can’t go wrong with cinnamon and sugar. 🙂

Cinnamon-Sugar Biscotti

Recipe adapted from epicurious.com and joythebaker.com


For Biscotti

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

little less than 1/8 tsp of salt

1 cup sugar

6 tbs of Earth Balance – room temperature

2 1/2 tsp of egg replacer

6 tbs water

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

For Topping

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Set oven at 325 degrees. Take a large baking sheet and line it with parchment paper or a silpat and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In another small bowl, whisk together the egg replacer and water until frothy.

Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy – about 3 minutes or so. Beat in egg replacer then beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture all at once. The dough should be somewhere between moist and kind of stiff.

Divide the dough in two. Shape each half into a log (i like to flatten mine just a bit) and place each log onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar (don’t use all of it though – you’ll need it for later). Put into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet for even baking and then bake again for 25 minutes until it’s golden and somewhat firm to the touch (don’t be concerned if it’s not too firm, it will firm up when cooled).

Remove from the oven but do not shut the oven off. Let the biscotti logs cool on the baking sheet until you’re able to handle it without burning yourself. With a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2 inch wide slices. Place the slices cut side down on the baking sheet and sprinkle with more of the cinnamon sugar. Bake until a pale gold – about 10-15 minutes.

Let cool – pieces may seem soft when coming out of the oven at first.


Sacred tattoo, changing life…

I took this photo during a tattooing ritual at a friends house over the weekend. It’s also known as a “BTW” (Body Transformation Weekend). People gather in a sacred space and transfer energy to those that are getting tattooed. Many are for very specific reasons, such as a change they wish to happen in their life, moving forward. Some are dedications to loved ones lost.

This particular weekend was quite meaningful to me because three of my very close friends were getting tattooed all for various reasons. It helped me realize what it is I want to do with my life, with the creative energy I have inside that’s basically busting out at the seams. Yesterday, I officially applied to college. I’ll be going for Studio Art. I’m super nervous because it’s been a good 14 years since I’ve been in school, but I know this is the right decision.

Change can be wonderful 🙂

Mmmm…chili…

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I wish I had a picture to go along with this recipe – but I don’t. Honestly, this chili was so good that it was completely eaten almost immediately. I really should have saved some. Riz was completely in love with this dish. It’s one of those perfect cold evening foods.  Methinks this will be a new staple in the house.

Veggie Chili

1 cup of TVP granules
1 cup of water
3 tbs tamari
3 cloves of garlic – minced
1 small onion – chopped
2 tbs oil
2 – 14oz cans of stewed tomatoes
1 bottle of beer (alcoholic or non)
1-14oz can of tomato puree
1/2 cup water
3 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs dijon mustard
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 – 15 oz can pinto beans
1 – 15 oz can black beans
1 – 15 oz can red kidney beans
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 large zucchini – chopped

In a small saucepan, boil water – then add tvp and tamari. Take off of heat. Mix together to be sure the tamari is incorporated into the tvp. Set aside.

In a large pot, cook garlic and onion for about 30 seconds or so. Stir in stewed tomatoes, beer, water, tomato puree, chili powder, oregano, mustard, cumin, black pepper and salt. Stir together. Then stir in the beans. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the corn and zucchini. Return to boiling – reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 10 more minutes or until the veggies are tender. Add the tvp to chili. Serve over brown rice or with a dollop of dairy free sour cream.

Since I hate not having a picture in the post, I’ll post a picture of an Autumn staple. I found these mini pumpkins at the farmers market. I wanted to buy them all!
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VeganMOFO III

What a perfect way to start posting again! Things are finally cool and groovy  in the VVP’s household. Kitchen is all set up and quite wonderful I might add hehehe. I am VERY much looking forward to posting again! Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has in store as well.

Happy posting you VeganMOFO’s!

On Hiatus

I know I haven’t been posting much lately. I’ve been running around like a chicken without a head. It’s all for good things though. Riz and I will be moving from the Big City to a wooded, small area in Southern New Jersey. I’m very, very much looking forward to living in a house as opposed to an apartment. Tons of space and plenty for a garden! Best part? LARGE kitchen! YAAAY!

We’re moving at the end of August so I’ll be busy packing and repainting, etc. Look forward to posting again very soon!

Our New Home!!

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