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41  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Homemade Fortune Cookies (No Eggs!) on: February 15, 2012 08:26:04 AM
Thanks!  I HATE getting a fortune that doesn't make any sense, so I figured I would just have to do my own if I wanted something good!   =P   
42  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Re: Tofu Pot Stickers on: February 15, 2012 08:21:15 AM
Definitely!  (And they really weren't as hard as I thought they would be!)  I will say that I was the one of two vegetarians at this party I was hosting, and I just failed to mention that they were tofu... nobody seemed to care, everyone had more than one!
43  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Pot Pie with Biscuit Style Crust (Lacto Vegetarian) on: February 14, 2012 08:12:01 AM
We got the first snow of the year a few nights ago, so what better time to make a delicious, hot, home made pot pie!  This wasn't my first go at a pot pie, but with the way I don't follow recipes well, it was completely different from any other I've ever done.  I will say that this one was my favorite!  (I think the best part, for me, was the biscuit style crust, it was buttery and flaky and oh so yummy!)





Crust:

-2 Cups Flour
-3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
-1/2 Teaspoon Salt
-6 Tablespoons Butter
-2/3 Cup Milk

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and cut in the butter.  Add the milk (all at once) mix and then knead into a dough.  Press just over half of the dough into the bottom of the pan.

Filling:

-1/3 Cup Butter
-1/3 Cup Flour
-Splash of Water
-1/2 Teaspoon Salt
-1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
-1 Cup Vegetable Broth
-2/3 Cup Milk
-1 Can Campell's Condensed Broccoli and Cheese Soup
-1/2 Block Extra Firm Tofu (mashed up)
-12oz Bag Frozen Mixed Vegetables (or any vegetables you feel like!)
-Seasoning:  Hing, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Nutmeg, Salt (to taste)

Melt the butter on medium heat in a sauce pan, add flour, salt, pepper and water.  Stir constantly until it is starting to bubble.  Then add the milk and vegetable broth and stir until combined.  Then add the can of condensed soup (do not add more liquid).  Stir until all of these ingredients are mixed well.  Add the tofu, vegetables and spices.  Cover and simmer on low until the vegetables are completely unfrozen.

Putting the Pie Together:

Pour the filling into the bottom crust that's already been pressed out.  On a floured surface, press out the rest of the crust and lay it on top of the filled pie and seal the edges.  (This is when I like to take the extra crust from the edges and make designs on top!)  Cut some small slits on top with a sharp knife.  Bake at about 400 degrees F for half an hour (or until the crust turns golden).
44  COOKING / Dessert / Homemade Fortune Cookies (No Eggs!) on: February 14, 2012 08:03:00 AM
For our Chinese New Year dinner, I decided to attempt fortune cookies... they were so good!  They were actually a little bit chewy because I made them too thick... but I really liked how they turned out.  We also went ahead and put little fun questions and dares in the cookies, instead of fortunes, because we thought it would be more exciting... and it was!



Recipe:

- Print and cut out fortunes on paper BEFORE you start to make the cookies.
- Ingredients:

    * 2 tablespoons cornstarch in 6 tablespoons water (to replace 2 large egg whites)
    * 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
    * 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    * 8 tablespoons flour
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt
    * 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
    * 3 teaspoons water

- Whisk together the egg replacer, vanilla extract and vegetable oil until it is frothy.  In a seperate bowl mix the flour, extra cornstarch, salt and sugar.  Stir the water into the flour mixture.  Combine both mixtures until a smooth batter is formed (it should be somewhat thick, but still pour easily).  Place a tablespoons of batter onto a greased cookie sheet (3 inches apart).  To spread out the cookies, tilt the baking sheet  back, forward and side to side until the batter is in 4 inch circles.  Bake at 300 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, until the outer 1/2 inch of cookie is golden brown (if they are done, they should easily be removed from the baking sheet with a spatula).  Here's the tricky part!  Very quickly remov the cookie with a spatula, flip it over in your hand, place the fotune in the middle, gently fold the cookie in half and fold it in half again by placing it inside a muffin tin where it will stay until it's cooled down enough to hold its shape.

You have to work very fast so that the cookies don't cool down while still on the baking sheet!  I recomend looking up other sites that have tips for making fortune cookies, so that you have a game plan before you start baking!  I like the tips on this website: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/desserts/tp/fortunecookies.htm... even if I didn't follow the part about wearing cotton gloves.  (They weren't kidding though when they said that the cookies would be hot!) 
45  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Tofu Pot Stickers on: February 14, 2012 07:54:32 AM
I've never made these before, but I figured it couldn't be too hard 'cuz I've made so many samosas in my life!  (I was smart enough to call my brother and his girlfriend over to help put them together in an assembly line fashion, since we were making them for a Chinese New Year party a while back.)  I think I also might have used a little too much oil (but who knows... I don't ever follow the measurements, lol) because they were a little greasy... but still delicious!



Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour
up to 1 1/4 cups cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Stir together the salt and flour.  Slowly stir in the cold water until a smooth dough is formed.  Knead the dough into a ball, cover and let it rest for half an hour (during this time make the filling).  Divide the dough into about 50 pieces and roll out circles about 3 inchs in diameter.  Place about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle, fold into a half moon shape and seal the edges.  (If folding and pinching doesn't work, use a little corn starch and water to "glue" the dough together.)

Filling:
         1/4 teaspoon salt
         1 block extra firm tofu, mashed
         1/2 cup water chestnuts, canned, finely chopped
         1/2 cup shredded carrots
         2 pinches hing
         1 tablespoon minced ginger
         1 tablespoon soy sauce
         1 teaspoon sesame oil
         Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together, cold, in a bowl.  Make sure the vegetables are cut up very small so that they do not poke holes in the wrappers.  Add any other seasoning to taste.

Once all of the pot stickers are put together, Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet (Don't add too much like I did!).  When the oil is hot, place the dumplings next to each other.  Cook on high until they are a very light golden brown on the bottom.  Without moving the dumplings, add 1/2 cup of water and cover.  Cook for about a minute, then uncover the skillet and finish cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed or evaporated.  (These cook very quickly, so don't leave the pan unattended or else you'll get burned bottoms!)

Serve with the brown side facing upwards. 
46  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Valentine's Theme Dinner (Lacto Vegetarian) on: February 14, 2012 07:49:25 AM
Ryan and I had our Valentine's Day last night and we decided to work together to make pizza, salad and cookies... all heart shaped!  It's super cheesy... I know... but I'm okay with that!


For  the pizza we went with spinach and cheese with a basic red sauce.  We just had to use the ingredients we had already (since this was a spontaneous meal), so I had to find a pizza crust recipe that didn't need yeast.



Crust:

Mix together 2 cups of flour 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2/3 cup of milk, and 6 tablespoons of olive oil.  Knead this into a dough and spread out on a baking pan.  (Use corn meal to "flour" the board you use to press out the shape, so it doesn't stick!)

Sauce:

Mix together 6oz of tomato paste, 1 cup of water and seasoning.  (We used oregano, basil, salt, pepper and hing.)  Bring this to a boil, and then simmer for about 10 minutes.

Put the pizza together with whatever topping you like (we had spinach and cheddar cheese) and bake at 400 degrees F until the crust is golden brown, and the cheese is all bubbly.


The salad is a mix of spinach and red leaf lettuce, some seasoned croutons (cut up smaller), strawberries (some sliced and set next to each other to make a heart shape) and a raspberry hazelnut vinaigrette from the store.  I thought it was tasty, but it could have done with some walnuts or something!



For dessert we made some simple chocolate cookies, and decorated them with some left over store bought icing we had, and chocolate chips.  They are pretty darn tasty, and they were fun to decorate together!




Cookies:
Cream 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup of butter.  Stir in 1/8 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, a small dollop of sour cream (to replace the 1/2 egg called for).  Then mix in 1 1/4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/8 a teaspoon of baking soda.  Press out to about 1/8 inch thick, and use cookie cutters to make whatever shapes you like.  (I got my cookie cutters from Walmart... they have a box of 101 plastic cookie cutters for like 10 dollars.)  Bake at 325 degrees F until the cookies are done.  (I definitely didn't pay attention to the clock, sorry... but they are basic cookies, so they will be pretty obvious when they are done!)


It was very sad though when it came time to slice up the pizza and we realized what we had to do!    =P

47  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Re: Why are you Vegetarian/Vegan? on: February 08, 2012 07:31:31 PM
I'm over 50 and was raised a vegetarian. One thing I realized as a teenager was that you could be a vegetarian and still live an unhealthful life. Ice cream is a vegetarian food (lacto-ovo), so are potato chips, french fries and candy bars, most desserts, etc. Not exercising can be just as damaging to your health as eating a lot of junk-food.
I'm still a vegetarian, but focus on eating healthy, rather than just vegetarian. In addition, I'm very conscious about exercise and also what I put in my mind as well as my body. It's a "whole person" thing, rather than just what I dump into my stomach.


This makes me think of my brother... just the first part!  He is also vegetarian, and won't eat fruits or vegetables!  (If you haven't figured it out, that just leaves him with carbs and dairy.)

Luckily when we were kids, we ate tons of Indian food, so he did eat veggies then... now its all mashed potatoes and mac-n- cheese.
48  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Superhero Cupcakes! on: January 24, 2012 06:22:57 AM
Thanks!  I'm just worried what to do for his next birthday cake!  He'll expect more!    Tongue
49  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Superhero Cupcakes! on: January 16, 2012 02:53:49 PM
Thanks for the compliments! 

This link has a good explanation of modeling chocolate:  http://www.chocolatecraftkits.com/modelingkit.php

(But don't buy the kit.  It's just chocolate and corn syrup, and it's super easy to make!)
50  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Superhero Cupcakes! on: January 15, 2012 09:44:32 AM
Yah!  He didn't want to eat them, but they were delicious!
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