Sunday, September 15, 2013

Easy Breakfast Feast Dishes/Easy-Peasy Appies

Hey guys! Have you ever been in a dilemma over what to prepare for your guests who are coming in half-an-hour -- not enough time to make cupcakes, the grocery store is closed on Sundays, and all of your treats are months old? Or panicked over what to make for your friend's super-picky aunt who is coming to brunch, when you didn't wake up in time to make a lavish breakfast? Well, worry no longer --here are some delicious treats and dishes that take between 5 minutes for small snacks and 45 minutes for large dishes.


Here's a labeled picture of the super-easy feast I made a few weekends ago when my grandparents were visiting. NONE of the side dishes took more than 15 minutes! The pancakes were very easy, and took less than an hour and a half (they usually take less than an hour but I had to make extra pancakes so it took a little longer). I'll include my usual recipe (serves 4-6 people) in my next post.

Alright, first up is the fruit salad. For this meal I went with mostly seasonal fruits (all but the apples) in oranges and yellows to complement the browns, reds and greens in the rest of the meal. The fruits I used here were peaches, red plums and gala apples. I just dice them into bite-sized pieces and throw them in a bowl (I always mix apples with lemon juice before putting them in the bowl to keep them from browning).

Next is the tomatoes. This dish is so delicious and looks much more complicated than it actually is. It's sure to receive complements from your guests! Simply slice vine tomatoes into 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices
-- heirloom tomatoes are best for this dish. I love heirloom tomatoes! Simply drizzle the tomato slices with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and top them with shredded basil (preferably local or home-grown), oregano flowers and salt and pepper to taste. I also added a sprinkle of dried basil to this dish, although it's completely optional.

Continuing with the theme of red fruits with green herbs, I also made some strawberries with oregano and balsamic vinegar. Slice your strawberries in half, then lengthwise into pieces a 1/4 inch thick. Toss them gently in a bowl with some balsamic vinegar and oregano leaves. Home-grown is definitely the best; get culinary oregano if you can because the flavor is much more potent. Unfortunately, our culinary oregano died out this year in a Vancouver drought and all we had was wild oregano. It's a marginal difference though. This dish was still fantastic. Remember to strip the leaves as close to the stem as you can, and just toss the stems into the compost.

The roasted pecans we just stuck in a pan in the oven along with some almonds. We usually do them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post, and hope it helped you!

Happy feasting!

Niki

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Vegan Double-Layer Lemon Cake

Hey guys! This post, like I promised, is about the double-layer cake I made for my brother's tenth birthday. It was a lemon cake with a lemon glaze and had lots of fresh raspberries for decoration. Red and yellow look so pretty together, and are my brother's favorite colors--and because lemon and raspberry go hand in hand.

Here's a picture of the entire cake. The glaze was very simple--only three ingredients--lemon juice (preferably fresh), lemon extract or zest, and confectioner's sugar (which is sugar and cornstarch). There's a recipe for simple lemon glaze in my previous post.
The cake itself is just a vanilla cake except I swapped the vanilla extract for lemon extract.
The glaze is not my ideal double-layer cake frosting of choice, but it's quick to make, doesn't require a blender, and dries fast.
As for decoration, all I used were the fresh raspberries and a white striped birthday candle. A nice addition to a cake like this would be lemon or raspberry sorbet, either store-bought or home-made. If you can't decide between the two, just serve both! Or you could use leftover raspberries to make a sauce and pour it while it's still warm over some lemon sorbet.

Here's a picture of a slice of the cake. As you can see, it's hard to distinguish the layers because the glaze is so thin. In the future, I'll make a thicker frosting or a lemon curd at least for the inside, between the layers.
In this picture you can also see how I put the raspberries on the glaze. Next time I use raspberries as a topping, I'll probably put more on the top because otherwise not everyone gets a raspberry (or the slices are super thick).
Anyway, stay tuned for the next blog post because I'll talk about some easy ways to turn a Saturday morning brunch into a feast!

Happy birthday, Aiden!

Niki


Monday, August 5, 2013

Make-Up Post--All About Cupcakes!

Hey guys!

It's been two months, I know, I've been horribly neglecting my blog. I've been kept busy with summer! But I have lots of new pics and recipes for you, so read on for some easy-peasy recipes and cool pictures! This post is all about cupcakes!


This was a super simple cupcake--it's actually just a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and a topping of wild strawberries! In my family's garden, we grow several types of fruit including wild strawberries so I just topped this cupcake with one of those!

Here are some other simple ways of decorating cupcakes if you don't have much time:



VANILLA/LEMON 

-top with vanilla or lemon glaze (1 tbsp lemon juice/vanilla almond milk, 1/2 tsp lemon/vanilla extract and 1 cup powdered sugar will make 1/2 cup of glaze. if it's too dry, add more lemon juice/milk 1/2 tsp at a time until you get the right consistency)

-add some fruit: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries (whole or sliced), cherry slices, or, my personal favorite, raspberries (or whatever else you have on hand)

-use whatever jam you have in the fridge: blackberry, strawberry, peach, apricot, strawberry-rhubarb and orange marmalade are all delicious and much healthier than glaze

-make a marmalade glaze: mix some marmalade with only enough water to dilute it slightly (the ratio of marmalade to water is about 4:1); heat over stove while stirring constantly until the mixture is bubbling, then take the glaze off the heat and glaze your cupcakes immediately (make this glaze once the cupcakes are cool)

-almond-lemon flowers--take 3-6 slices of almond and arrange them on the icing or glaze like the petals of a flower. use a piece of candied lemon peel as the flower center

-sprinkles/candle for a birthday cupcake

-if you're making cupcakes for an anniversary, birthday, or occasion such as mother's day, cut a stem-less strawberry into 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick slices and use the larger ones to top your cupcake. They'll look like little red hearts!



CHOCOLATE 

-Nutella (it isn't vegan but if you're ok with that, it's an easy chocolate icing)

-blackberry, peach, orange marmalade, strawberry or apricot jam are all good, or pretty much anything else you can think of!

-orange marmalade glaze (see recipe above)

-powdered-sugar glaze in whatever flavor you like, but use water instead of lemon juice or vanilla flavored milk if making the glaze in a flavor such as peppermint and use almond milk for almond flavor or orange juice for orange flavor

-fruit/berries

-chocolate chips or sprinkles on top of chocolate or other thick icing

-strawberry hearts (see above)



ORANGE

-almond-orange flowers--same as the almond-lemon flowers except with an orange peel as the center

-orange marmalade glaze

-orange powdered-sugar glaze

-blackberry jam, peach jam, or orange marmalade

-Nutella or other chocolate icing (remember, Nutella is NOT vegan)

-sprinkles or chocolate chips to top off chocolate icing

Get creative! There are many other ways to decorate your cupcakes. Have fun and decorate them to suit the occasion! REMEMBER: the number-one rule in baking, cupcake making especially, is HAVE FUN!! Rule number two is ENJOY YOUR CREATIONS!
The next post will be about my latest double-layer cake, so be sure to check that out!

Happy cupcake-making!

Niki

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Vegan Quiche!

Hey everybody! I'm sorry that I haven't posted anything for a while…but I've got a super-special secret to share with you guys!
Do any of you vegans out there really miss quiche? I know I do…so I've been experimenting a bit. I made a really good quiche, and I wanted to show you!
The secret is silken tofu blended together with tahini and almond milk. It's firm enough to stand on its own once it's been baked and the crust does hold it all together nicely. I added some other stuff, obviously; my other ingredients were:

-Sauteed onion in olive oil
-Diced frozen veggies (corn, carrots, green beans, etc)
-Sauteed spinach in olive oil
-Soy sauce (replaces tamari)
-Salt and pepper

I think that's it, but you could add all sorts of other stuff to it!
As for the crust, I made a 9-inch pie crust minus most of the sugar. However, the filling was made for a 10-inch pan so I ran out of crust. Since it (the crust) was too thin, it fell apart. So I did a patchwork thing that actually worked out really nicely--I rolled out 2-inch by 3-inch pieces (approximately; I didn't measure) and cut them at angles. It's really easy and works really well! The quiche was gone within two days of me making it.
The crust took a while because of all the issues, but I could make the crust again now that I know where I am going with it. Another option is to use these frozen ready-made vegan crusts that we found at Safeway. Or, as I saw on another chef's blog (www.girlmakesfood.com), you can cut tortillas and use that as a crust! (Or you could just not have one--that's the most unhealthy part of a quiche anyway)
So be sure to comment if you make a quiche like this one--if you send me your pictures of your vegan tofu-quiches at nikijch@gmail.com, I'll be sure to post those too!

Happy pie-making!

Niki

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Maple Walnut Cupcakes!

Just as a side fact, I also LOVE making cupcakes--so here's a photo of one of the cupcakes that I made yesterday. They're maple cupcakes with creamy maple frosting, piped, and sprinkled with chopped, toasted walnuts. I took this recipe from a book called "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World", a book widely known among vegan bakers. If you see the letters "VCTOTW" on a vegan baking website, it's almost certainly referring to this book! Here's a photo of my cupcake:
It was sooo delicious! A cupcake is all one needs to brighten someone's day!


Happy baking!


Niki


Crazy Sexy Kitchen--Awesome Idea Book/Cookbook!

Here's the book that I took the ideas for these two recipes from: Crazy Sexy Kitchen! I would recommend getting it if you're a new vegan and are having a hard time with the change. It includes recipes such as cashew macaroni-and-cheese (really realistic!), smoothies, and French toast with Amaretto crème, all one-hundred-percent vegan and super-super delicious!
I got the idea for both my cornmeal pancakes and tofu scramble from this book! I hope you have just as much fun with it as I do!

Happy experimenting!

Niki

Cornmeal Banana-Walnut Pancakes!

Hey everyone! So I've been testing some new recipes, especially some breakfast ones. I love making pancakes, and mixing a few other ingredients into them--this weekend (yesterday, to be exact) I put some cornmeal in and added banana and almonds for health and flavor bonus!
Here's a picture of these pancakes. Toppings: pure maple syrup (left) and home-made blackberry jam (right).

Happy eating!

Niki

Country Tofu Scramble!

One of the things I really miss from the dairy/eggs family is scrambled eggs on the weekend. So I experimented with a recipe from the cookbook "Crazy Sexy Kitchen", a recipe called "Country Tofu Scramble". It's one of the healthiest things you can eat--some not-so-secret-anymore ingredients are nutritional yeast, turmeric, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes--and it tastes great too, as long as you like tofu! Another not-so-secret secret is that I press the tofu before making it because it soaks up the flavors like a sponge, almost.
This version has spinach instead of broccoli. I prefer the broccoli--here's an interesting fact about this veggie: the stems (of all parts) are super-super food, and are perfect for sauteing  and juicing due to the fact that the stems contain a surprisingly sweet juice when blended or heated, and are chock full of incredible nutrients. The heads contain more flavor and are also super foods, so include those too!

Happy Sunday!

Niki

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Welcome to VeganTeen!

Hey everybody! I'm Niki, a 12-year-old vegan by choice, and I'm blogging to tell you about veganism, its benefits, and my experience. I'll post findings about vegan recipes or tricks/tips regularly, so that if you are vegan as well, you can be a part of my journey!

I've been vegan for nearly 3 years, and I was vegetarian for many years before that. So why did I give up meat and dairy? Well, there are many reasons. First of all, I became vegetarian because of my love for animals. I would go to the store and see meat on the shelves, but it didn't seem like animals to me. But if you've ever been to a seafood restaurant, you may have seen your dinner alive. This frightened me, because I realized that I was eating animals. So, I became vegetarian!

But vegan is different. Now, there are two kinds of vegan--the health-benefit vegan and the full-on vegan. The first type is me, so I don't eat meat, seafood, eggs or dairy--basically, I don't eat products that come from an animal or that are animals. But the full-blown vegan will not eat honey either, or wear leather or wool, etc. Anyway, there were two things that totally changed my perspective--first, a documentary called 'Food Inc.' It was a 'paradigm shift'--I realized how wrong it was to eat meat or seafood. Then I read an incredible book called 'The China Study'. Basically, I opened my eyes to the fact that we, as humans, are not meant to drink the milk of another animal's baby, or eat the eggs that are meant to hatch into a little creature, and I realized that not only is it unhealthy to eat these things, it also felt wrong to me. I've been vegan ever since.

Please note--the author of 'The China Study' is not vegan, he grew up on a dairy farm. But his book is the most convincing thing I've ever read in my entire short life.  You can read the intro free here:  
http://www.amazon.com/The-China-Study-Comprehensive-Implications/dp/1932100660/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364336206&sr=8-1&keywords=the+china+study#reader_1932100660

Anyway, I'm here to show you how to become vegan without giving up everything you love! It's amazing how much there is to eat that tastes good and is healthy at the same time! I get people asking me what I eat all the time. Well, come along with me on this journey, and you'll find out!

One more thing: I'm not trying to pressure you into becoming vegan, or even vegetarian. You don't even have to go full vegan--a bit of milk here, some meat there, or pescatarian (vegetarian except you eat seafood)--all three of these are good options! It can be really hard for some people. You don't even have to go full vegan--a bit of milk here, some meat there. I'm just sharing my experience and giving another perspective on something many people are offended by. You don't even have to go full vegan--a bit of milk here, some meat there, or pescatarian (vegetarian except you eat seafood)--all three of these are good options! But welcome to the amazing world of veganism! :0)

VeganTeen products and recipes are 100% vegan--but good enough to fool even an omnivore!
If you order from us, satisfaction guaranteed!

~ Niki