Saturday, January 10, 2015

Gnocchi + Seared Brussels Sprouts & Tarragon Cream

I love Brussels sprouts.  I have been making recipe after recipe with them and still never tire of them.  So when I found this recipe I decided... let's do this!

The original recipe from Isa Does It was for Sweet Potato Gnocchi... I unfortunately do not have great luck in making my own gnocchi.  I am more than willing to try it again but last night I just didn't feel like it.  I purchase some pre-made gnocchi and it was great... but it wasn't made from sweet potatoes.

I am assuming that the dish would be amazing with the correct gnocchi... as for me it was just ok.  I don't remember having made anything with tarragon (an herb I don't have or have ever had in my garden) so I was unaware of its flavor.  After stripping it from the leaves there was a strong licorice smell... and I love licorice.  As for this dish... it was not my favorite and I am on the fence as to whether or not I will make it again.

My husband loved it and was more than happy to eat it.  I have loved just about every dish from this book and want to try this again, with the correct gnocchi!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Vegan Holiday Cooking

I love being a part of the Blogging for Books program.  I have been reviewing mostly Christian books and love them.  But when they opened it up for other kinds of books I got really excited.  Especially when I came across a book called Vegan Holiday Cooking... and it was the Holidays.

This book covers just about every Holiday from Superbowl to Passover to Christmas.  I loved reading through these pages and seeing all the possibilities.  I started Christmas Eve with the Chopped Vegetable Salad (which was for Superbowl).  This is a great go to salad.  The dressing is full of flavor and it fooled my omnivore guests.  This salad can be mixed up with every topping you desire.  I served it like a buffet and let everyone choose their topping.  I was the only one who opted for the marinated Tofu Feta (which I figured would happen) and it was amazing.  I love this salad and will make it again.

For Christmas Day I brought the Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad to share with a group of hard core meat eaters.  And they loved it.  They great thing about this salad was the ingredients were easy to see and nothing that people don't already eat.  It was easy and simple and made for great leftovers.  Overall this is going in my rotation.

The last recipe I have tried (and certainly not the last) was the Vegetable Dumplings from the Lunar New Year section.  It was fun having my husband in the kitchen for this one.  We decided that our New Year's Eve would be a Chinese food theme... these fit perfectly.  They were a little difficult to assemble and I need to figure out how to cook them without them falling apart.  But the ones that held their own were yummy and delicious.  I even have some in the freezer for later this week.

Overall this is a great cookbook to add to my growing collection.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone, vegan or not.  It is fun to see all the possibilities that this cookbook can offer...

Christmas Tradition

Last year I started the tradition of making a homemade sweet bread for breakfast on Christmas morning.  Unlike my mom I didn't make my kids wait until the dough was done rising and the darn thing was done baking before presents could be opened.  Instead I made the cinnamon rolls and put them in the oven.  Once we were done opening presents the cinnamon rolls were done and everyone was happy...

And yet I wasn't.  In 2013 I made the cinnamon rolls from Happy Herbivore.  And my oldest decided to call them my famous cinnamon rolls.  I remembered them being yummy and delicious.  So I went back to them for 2014.  But they didn't turn out the same.  I was sad and it seemed to leave us all wanting more.  Every recipe I have tried from the Happy Herbivore I have loved... but I wanted ooey gooey buttery cinnamon rolls.  I didn't want whole-wheat fat-free.  If you want that type you can find it here.  I wanted to indulge on Christmas morning.

So I searched for a vegan cinnamon roll recipe to try.  And try it I did.  Yesterday my oldest son and I headed for the kitchen.  While he was more moral support than actual support, we still had fun.  These cinnamon rolls don't really use that much butter (well the vegan kind) but they are just what I wanted.  My youngest stated they taste like a churro... which is great for a 4 year old.  My husband loved them... basically my whole family did.

We have found a new favorite... while I want to make this exclusively on Christmas morning... it just might be made a few times throughout the year.

You can find the recipe on the Minimalist Baker website.

Happy New Year!!

As each new year starts we all say, I can't believe it is 2015 (or insert every other year of your life).  But this new year marks my first full year of being plant-based!  I am so thrilled that I made it through and determined to be without any animals products this year.

It is hard.  Hard making foods for a family that is omnivores.  Hard eating dinners with family members who, while they try to understand, just don't understand why you won't have a bite.  I never tried for perfection but each day that I fell I picked myself back up and tried again.

I had the occasional slice of cheese pizza at Costco (cheese is still hard for me) and I had the occasional sushi roll (my husband and my favorite place for date nights).  But that is ok.  It is ok at keep working toward a goal.  It is ok to stumble.  We just keeping trying each and everyday.

I don't make New Years Resolutions anymore.  I, like everyone else, tend to fail at them within the first week.  I don't want to set that kind of tone for the year.  I joined a gym in October is last year and so I don't have to worry about that.  I am vegan (plant-based) so my diet is pretty healthy.  My main goal is to take each day, stumble or not and try my best.

If you are starting down the plant-based/vegan road this year then I applaud you.  I applaud you for taking your health and diet (not the kind to loose weight but as in the food you eat).  I applaud you for putting compassion towards earthlings first.  While I am a plant-based/vegan for health reasons, I love love love that my eating to live does not include the suffering of animals.

Join me as I again try to make my blog and communication a daily, if not weekly practice.