Sunday, February 04, 2007

Big Ol' Cooking Bonanza!!

Yesterday I recovered from a week of the food blahs (I've defeated the dreaded lentil soup!!)... and spent most of the day cooking. It was really fun.
I made vegetable broth, followed by a quadruple batch of "faux chicken" seitan from La Dolce Vegan. I really like those seitan recipes in LDV, they're easy to follow and I like their firm texture. So, I've got a few seitan dishes in mind for this week...

Then, I made two delicious recipes from "Real Food Daily," a great cookbook. I made "Butternut Squash & Corn Phyllo Rolls" and "Spinach Phyllo Triangles" using whole wheat phyllo. These were great recipes!! Not quick, but not difficult either. And, since I was in the mood, it was really fun to spend time assembling them.
I cooked them up for dinner and served them with salad, kale (just for me), and applesauce for dessert. The little phyllo guys were quite filling, so I ended up eating my kale at lunch today! The phyllo rolls and triangles were also both big recipes, so we've got lots in the freezer ready to cook up some time in the future. Ahhhh, a tasty meal, waiting on standby!

Next, I got busy with lots of baking! My aunt S came over so that we could make her birthday cake together. It was fun cooking together with her. We made a nice big chocolate sheet cake, using the Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe from Joy of Cooking. Also, we subbed half of the oil with applesauce, and the cake came out AMAZING! She was having a Vegetarian Mexican Feast birthday party, so I wanted to decorate the cake in a thematic way. I was inspired to decorate the cake like one of those beautiful embroidered Mexican blouses... so I did some internet searches... and it came out perfectly! So festive with all the colors...

Then, we made some cupcakes for my brother's superbowl party. S made the "Sexy Lowfat Vanilla Cupcakes" and I made the "Basic Chocolate Cupcakes" from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. This was my first time using this cookbook. I replaced half of the oil in the choc cupcakes with applesauce. Both batches turned out great! There were 11 of each flavor (some of the choccies didn't make it into this picture)

After they had cooled, I frosted half of them with the Chicago Bears team logo, and the other half with the Indianapolis Colts logo.
Finally, I made a batch of the Almond-Apricot Cupcakes from VCTOTW... wowie!!! These are soooo good!! I made these for the yoga book club meeting that I moderated today, but I tested one last night to make sure that they would be delicious (hee hee, I needed some sort of excuse!). Oooh, they are fabulous, it's a great combination of flavors, and I especially loved the almond meal in the cupcakes. Also, I'm not a big frosting person, so I liked these because of their simple fruit glaze and almond sprinkles. I will definitely make these again, and I think you should too! Aren't those red foil cupcake liners pretty?

Tonight's Vegetarian Mexican Feast was simply amazing! My aunt's friend from Mexico made some super delicious rice and beans, both of which were very delicious. The rice even had brocolli and cauliflower in it. Then, we cooked up some of the seitan I'd made yesterday after marinating it in some simple fajita marinade.

Here's a big batch of delicious roasted veggies: onions, zucchini, and bell peppers that my aunts S & L made. mmmmm...

And here's the whole buffet:
beans, rices, 3 kinds of salsa, guacamole, seitan fajitas, salad, roasted veggies, roasted butternut squash, corn tortillas...

And lastly, here's my tasty plate. It was so good that I was extra gluttonous, and returned for a thoroughly unneccesary second serving! hee hee. Mm! I'll be going to bed tonight with a happy belly ... how lucky I am!


  1. All of this food looks so yummy. The cake is beautiful! Did you freehand the design?

  2. Everything looks fantastic! The cuppers are so cute and that cake is simply amazing!

  3. That cake is absolutely marvelous! Wow!

  4. Grr- blogger is not letting me see your photos except for the last one, but I just wanted to comment because your descriptions sounded amazing! I want to see the themed cake decorations! And the superbowl cupcakes! And the recipes from the real food daily book!

    When you get cooking, you really get cooking! And, I totally have to agree with you- you can't give someone a batch of cupcakes without tasting at least one... you know, for safety... ;-)

  5. Oh my gosh!!!!!!!! WHAT A CAKE! :) You ought to teach cake decorating, you are a truly talented girl. The only thing you missed was writing Feliz Cumpleaños instead of Happy Birthday! :)

    And that mexican fiesta looks absolutely delicious. I cannot let my husband see it or else he will be knocking your door down tomorrow (not kidding.)!! :)

  6. goodness sakes girlfriend! I can't believe all of that good food! you were on a roll!
    yes, that cake is gorgeous!

  7. Wow, that cake rivals the mendi tart design for one of your best!!

    I also made the apricot-almond cupcakes this weekend, for the second time. We love those cupcakes. I think I have made about 10 of the cupcakes from VCTOTW so far, and all except one batch (which I made for a party, not for myself) were not of the frosting variety. I also like the peanut butter (with a choc. ganache icing), the chai (powdered sugar), and the cappuccino (silken tofu creme).

    I feel for you with the lentil soup experience. I have made some pretty dull lentil and split pea soups. Thanks to you unfortunate experience I remembered that I had made a lentil soup I really like, a modification of the lentil/rice/sausage (used Tofurkey Italian sausage)/spinach soup in the Whole Foods Market cookbook, which I made again yesterday. If you don't have that cookbook, I can send you the recipe. I also make the lentil soup in How it All Vegan during tomato season.

  8. My goodness, everything looks amazing! The first time I scrolled thru I thought the b'day cake was an embroidered pillow - amazing!

    I almost made those phyllo things from RFD this weekend. They are on my "must try" list.

    Your baking decorations are beautiful, and your mexican feast is right up this Texas girl's alley!

  9. Ok, came back in the hopes of seeing the cake for your aunt and WOAH! I don't regret it! I have a blouse just like that cake- you do beautiful work. I'm going to forward this image to a friend who teaches cake decorating, she'll get a kick out of it. =)

  10. Hi Mamafabun
    Yeah, I did the design freehand (but I was looking at a picture of a mexican blouse that I found on the internet, for inspiration). It was fun mixing so many different colors of frosting!

    Hi Tracy,
    thanks! It's fun making vegan lowfat cupcakes for a superbowl party... ha ha! No one suspected!

    Hi Nikki,
    thanks so much!!

    Hi Bazu,
    Oh, I'm glad you got to come back and see the pics... there are so many of them. How neat that you have a friend who does cake decorating!! I would love to learn more about fancy decorating... but then, I'm not so into the frosting, so I guess it's a bit of a dilemna. :)

    Hi Ruthie!
    yeah, I thought of doing Feliz Cumpleanos... but decided to stick with English. I did do the upside down exclamation mark though! You know that mexican feast was so delicious - afterwards my aunt L and I were talking about how cool it is that almost all our family celebration meals are all vegan nowadays. Right on!

    Hi MadeInAlaska!
    Nice to hear from you! I really enjoyed your "behind the apron" post. Yeah, I was on a serious kitchen roll!! ha ha

    Hi Jen,
    Thanks for the lentil soup condolensces I'd love a copy of that lentil soup recipe... it sounds like something I'd really like. I like those tofurky sausages. Also, I like your tips on other frosting-free cupcakes. I've been interesting in those peanut butter ones, and the cappucino ones too. Fun!

    Hi Diann,
    If you do make those little phyllo guys (both of which I recommend), definitely go light on the oil. I sprayed (instead of brushing) and I used about half of what she recommended, and it was still too much for our taste. I think you could just use a tiny bit of oil at the end to seal it, and it'd be great.

  11. That cake is so beautiful! Your decorating skills amaze me. Boy, I need to get my hands on that RFD cookbook - everything out of it looks delicious. And I love the idea of having a Mexican feast. I'm getting stuffed just thinking about all this food!

  12. Wow! This is intense. Adorable cake, of course, too. I've made those spinach phyllos from RFD as well- super yum.

  13. I want that cake! Gimmee!

  14. Hi Kati!
    Yeah, I definitely recommend the RFD book. I first ate there many years ago... and kept emailing them begging them to write a cookbook. So, I was super excited when they did!!

    Hi Jess,
    Oh that's cool that you've also made the spinach goodies from RFD. I thought they were delicious. Musty preferred the squash ones, but he's on a squash kick these days. I thought they were all fantastic.

    Hi Brooke,
    if there was any left, I'd be happy to share it with you!!


  15. Anonymous10:26 PM

    You are so talented and creative. That cake is so beautiful. And you have completely turned me on to the Almond-Apricot Cupcakes from VCTOTW. That's so funny - I completely stumbled over them and after reading your post, I looked them up. I think Isa mentions how they might get passed up for other more glamorous cuppers. Anyway, I'm making these for sure. I can't wait.

  16. Anonymous3:52 AM

    all the food looks good, but the cake looks amazing, what a beauty!


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