Category Archives: Holiday foods

A Sweet Valentine’s Day Collection, Part 2

Here’s last year’s Valentines Post with new vegan options to make for your sweetie!

Remember making valentines in grade school?   Hearts made from doilies, pink and red construction paper, stickers, some Elmer’s glue and a bit of glitter.  Valentines are still fun to make–the paper kind and the chocolate, or decadent ice cream kind!  I’ve gathered up a yummy collection of recipes from Somethin’ Yummy for you to make for your valentines, including yourself.  ❤

Vegan Valentine Truffle-O-Rama

Serve these yummy vegan truffles frozen!

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Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie

Rich and silky.  A house favorite!

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate-y and spicy.  A lovely tender and yummy vegan cupcake for your sweetie.

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Vegan Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Almost brownie-like, let a few mini chocolate chips melt on top instead of frosting!

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Easy Chocolate Truffles.

Your valentines will love the rich, melty chocolate and the cute, cute toppings!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes, Poppers and Trifles

Such a classic flavor and the perfect color for Valentine’s Day!

cupcakes poppers trifles

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies (Gluten-free version, with instructions to adjust for regular flour.)

These melt-in-your-mouth cookies have a wee bit of pepper in the batter.  OMG, so, so yummy!

perched on coffee cup

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This rich, dense cake is simple to make and quite the “Ta-Da” dessert.

pwdered sugar

Decadent Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust

Chocolate bliss spiced up with ginger.

chocolate tart

Sweetheart Chocolate Waffles

A perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast, and super yum with ice cream in a Sweetheart Sundae!

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Chocolate-Covered Salted Caramels

A bit of effort, but so, so worth it!

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Carol’s Frozen Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Mosaic

A superbly yummy treat if chocolate just isn’t your Valentine’s Day desire.  Drizzled in raspberry liqueur for extra valentine-y-ness!

carols mosaic

Still not finding something to your liking?  Type dessert or cookie or cake in the search window for more sweet ideas!  Have a yummy Valentine’s Day!  Be my Valentine?!

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Filed under comfort food, dessert, food gifts, Holiday foods, recipe

Vegan Valentine Truffle-O-Rama

Truffles.  THE decadent candy.  Butter and sugar and flavors coming together in the perfect proportions to create a melt-in-your-mouth sinful candy experience.  But I’m vegan, I whined.  Will I need to turn my back on my dietary preferences and REALLY sin?  turns out, no!  Just in time for Valentines Day, a vegan truffle appeared in my Facebook feed, compliments of VegNews Magazine and the Healthy. Happy. Life. blog at lunchbox.com.  Cake Batter Truffles.  Who doesn’t love cake batter?!  A quick pantry check revealed everything I needed to make these exquisite little yummies.

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The original recipe said it made 9 truffles.  Seemed hardly worth the effort, and I was worried it wouldn’t be enough to process properly, so I doubled the recipe.  Then I decided that chocolate and espresso might make this even more of a party; why not make half of them mocha?!

ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 5 Tbsp liquid sweetener (I used agave)
  • 4 Tbsp non-dairy milk, warmed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a couple pinches of pink salt
  • sprinkles of your choice–1 tsp to fold into half, the rest to coat the truffles
  • 2 TBSP cocoa powder (optional–amount is enough to flavor half of this truffle batch)
  • 2 tsp espresso powder (optional–amount is enough to flavor half of this truffle batch)

Start by soaking your cashews in enough water to cover them by an inch.  At least a few hours, overnight is best.

When cashews have soaked, melt the coconut oil over low heat.

melt coconut oil

Combine cashews, coconut oil, agave, non-dairy milk, vanilla, and salt in a food processor.

everything in the processor

Process until silky smooth.

process until smooth

If making two flavors, divide into two seal-able containers that will fit into your freezer.

divide into containers

Fold in 1 tsp sprinkles in one container, fold in cocoa and espresso powder into the other.

sprinkles in one choc and espresso in the other

Most of the sprinkles melted into my cake batter-flavored half.  The resulting pink hue was not a problem as I wanted them for Valentines anyway.  Freeze until firm enough to form into balls, but not too stiff.  I found the mocha truffle half firmed up quicker and was much easier to work with.

stir to combine

When firm, work quickly to scoop the truffle mixes and form into balls.  (The heat of your hands will melt them a bit.)  Quickly roll in sprinkles and place in an oiled pan.  This pan will need to fit into your freezer as well.

scoop and roll in sprinkles

scoop choc and roll in sprinkles

Once again, freeze until firm.  The cake batter ones slumped a bit; not affecting their yumminess at all.  😉

birthday cake truffles

chocolate espresso truffles

Serve frozen.  Pack into cute little Valentine tins with mini-muffin liners if you choose.  I shop the after-Valentines sale for these sorts of things and stash them away for the following year.

Valentine your truffles

 

ready to pack in tins

 

 

Valentines

Use the tin’s lid to trace a heart-shape onto parchment paper.  Cut out inside your pencil line for a clean heart that will fit perfectly over the truffles, inside the lid.

parchment paper

Continue packing and then place tins and all back into your freezer to wait until Valentines Day.

packing another tinpacked and reaady for the freezer

Who wouldn’t want a cute little tin of vegan truffle-love for Valentines?!

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The cake batter truffles have a coconut-y flavor to them that would marry well with lots of other flavors besides mocha.  Let your imagination loose and think about what flavor YOUR sweetie might enjoy, and truffle on!  Get all creative with sprinkles as well–cocoa powder is classic for chocolate truffles, but what about toffee bits or chopped nuts or powdered sugar, or ….. ?!

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Filed under dairy-free, dessert, food gifts, Gluten-free, Holiday foods, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted Garlic and Walnut Chickpea Pate

Welcome to the party, elegant and tasty spread.  I’m lovin’ your roasty garlic flavor and your silky texture.  Won’t you join me over here by the crackers?

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This pate is hummus in black tie.  Approachable and friendly black tie.  Spread on a cracker, it’s right at home at a cocktail party or the party for the big game.  I found the recipe at the Amuse Your Bouche blog via the Finding Vegan Facebook page.  The original recipe makes a tiny amount, so I adjusted ingredients to make a whole can of chickpeas-worth, and reduced the amount of oil.  This larger amount still doesn’t last long-it’s that kind of yummy!  Here’s what you need to start your relationship with your new favorite party date.

ingredients

  • 1 entire head of garlic, roasted  (12-14 cloves, or more if you like garlic like we do!)
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts, plus a bit more to garnish
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained but NOT rinsed
  • 4 TBSP lemon juice
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, roast the garlic.  Heat oven to 375F.

Cut the top off a head of garlic, place it in a pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

cut top off garlic

place in pan with oil salt and pepper

(Save the little tops for another garlic recipe.)

save little tops

Roast for 25 minutes and remove to cool.  When cool enough to handle, pop the cloves out of their skins.

pop cloves out

Place roasted garlic cloves into a food processor along with the walnuts.

garlic and walnuts in processor

Process until you achieve a coarse crumb.

process to crumbs

Add the drained chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

add chickpeas salt pepper lemon and oil

Process until smooth.  Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.

puree til smooth

Place in a pretty bowl, garnish with chopped walnuts, set out some crackers and prepare to be enchanted.  Seduced, really.

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There is a LOT of garlic in this recipe, and it is definitely the top-note of the flavor.  However, since it’s roasted, it’s a mellow and earthy garlic.  Definitely yummy!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, Holiday foods, recipe, snack, vegan, Vegetarian

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

Why hello easy, delicious, make-ahead appetizer!  You’re the perfect crunch that’s not quite sweet, not quite savory and yet completely addictive.  I think I love you.

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Another recipe from the Holiday Appetizer Buffet in Vegan Holiday Kitchen, these pecans were coveted by party guests at this year’s New Year’s Eve party.  Holiday parties are super fun, but happen when you’re most busy and stressed.  This nice little appetizer is the first guest to invite.  🙂

ingredients

  • 1/3 cup agave or maple syrup (I used maple!)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300F.

Combine the maple syrup with cinnamon, chili powder, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

combine maple with spices

Stir in the pecans to coat them evenly.  (Ack!  What possessed me to think stirring with my whisk was a good idea?!  The pecans got all caught in there….Just use a spoon.  Really.)

add pecans

Spread coated pecans in a 9×9, aluminum foil-lined baking pan, or an aluminum pan if you have one.

spread in aluminum pan

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes, until pecans are nicely glazed and toasted.  (This is a departure from the original recipe which says to heat oven to 250F and bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10.  My location is considered high altitude, and the original temp and time didn’t result in a crunchy glaze for me.)

Let cool and break apart any clumps.  Serve in a pretty dish.

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I wasn’t sure I liked the ginger in these at first–I thought it was a bit too floral.  However, something about the spice combo makes these super addictive.  If you have any leftover after the party, store in an air-tight container and then count out how many you plan to eat as a snack.  Reseal the container.  If you don’t follow this advice, you may end up eating all that are left.  Not that I’d know. 😉

These would be super-delish garnishing a spring spinach and strawberry salad.  Yummmmmm!

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Filed under appetizer, Holiday foods, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

Hot Artichoke and White Bean Dip

Many years ago, a restaurant here in town served an appetizer called Sheep Dip.  I know, not the most appetizing name, but oh my what a delicious combination of hot, gooey deliciousness.  It had tons of cheese and spinach and artichokes.  Yum, yum, yummy!  We ordered it EVERY time we went there.  I have since given up dairy, so no more Sheep Dip for me.  Not that I don’t think about it sometimes.  And THEN!  I treated myself to a new cookbook for the holidays: Vegan Holiday Kitchen.  A beautiful book full of complete menus for every occasion, including a section on appetizers.  One of those recipes looked very, very much like my beloved Sheep Dip.  I just had to try it!  I’m sharing it with you because YES!  Very reminiscent of the original hot gooey deliciousness!

transfer to baking dish top w cheese

Serve it in a bread bowl, serve it in the baking dish, serve it with bread or crackers or crudites….perfect for a party, perfect for just you and your sweetie…or just you!

ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves (or arugula or watercress)
  • 2 TBSP fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella-style grated vegan cheese
  • paprika for topping

Preheat oven to 375F.

Saute onion and garlic in a bit of veggie or No-Chicken broth until the onion starts to caramelize.

saute onions garlic

Place the saute in a food processor along with the beans and cream cheese, process until smooth.

process sauted onions garlic beans cream cheese

Add artichoke hearts, spinach, dill, thyme, salt and pepper.

pulse spinach artichokes and seasonings

Pulse until evenly chopped, but not pureed.

just until evenly chopped

Place in a oven-safe dish, top with grated cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes.

transfer to baking dish top w cheese

Sprinkle top with paprika and serve hot or warm.

Have you noticed I don’t have a picture of the final gooey yuminess?  My guests were already here when I pulled it from the oven.  I was so amazed with it, I sprinkled the paprika, set it on my kitchen island with a flourish and completely forgot to take a picture!  It was delish.  Go make some and see for yourself!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, Food memories, Holiday foods, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

Tazza Toscano aka Those Filled Wonton Thingies

For this year’s New Year’s Eve party, I wanted to make appetizers and finger foods for everyone’s dietary preferences.  This one satisfies everyone but the gluten-free.  It was one I had completely forgotten about until I asked my son what food he’d like to have for the party.  He remembered these when I suggested a filled mushroom as a possibility.  “What were those things you made that one time?  The ones in the wonton wrappers?”  Oh!  The Filled Wonton Thingies!  I knew where to look for the recipe….I think.  Success!  I found the stapled sheets that contained the recipes from a wine tasting we had attended at a local winery and there they were, Tazza Toscana.  Crunchymeltyflavor-y bites of pure yum.  I made them vegan from a non-vegan recipe; easily adjusted to go vegan or not.  These disappeared quickly; devoured by vegans and non-vegans alike!

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They’re amazingly easy to put together.

ingredients

  • 1 lb sausage, breakfast or Italian, cooked and crumbled.  I used Gimme Lean Sausage-style.
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar.  I used Daiya.  (Be careful with non-dairy cheese. Not all of them are vegan.)
  • 1 1/2 cup grated montery jack.  I used Daiya pepper jack.
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers

Preheat oven to 375 F.

First, press wonton wrappers into 24 openings of mini muffin pans.  I discovered that the pestle from my small wooden mortar and pestle worked perfectly for this job.  Try to keep the wrapper as “open” as possible.

press wraps into tins

Bake the wraps for 5 minutes and remove to cooling racks.

bake wraps

Brown the sausage, breaking it up as you go.  I use a potato masher at the end to get a good crumbled texture.

brown sausage

Add cheeses, onions, pepper and ranch dressing to the cooked sausage and stir to combine.

add onion pepper cheese ranch

Divide the filling evenly between the 24 wrappers.  I had to “rob” some of the more generously filled ones to get enough for my 24.

fill and bake

Bake the filled wrappers for 10 minutes and transfer to a serving platter.  They are best served warm, right from the oven.

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Stand back.  Tazza Toscano are irresistible and will be immediately pounced upon by your party guests!  So yummy.  So easy.  I really should make these more often!

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Filed under appetizer, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, vegan

Celine’s Aebelskivers

Have I mentioned how great it is to have been brought up Norwegian?  My son, who is even less Norwegian than I am, is as pleased as I’ve always been to enjoy the special yumminess found in Scandinavian holiday treats.   Mom started it all.  She adored all things Scandinavian, baking all kinds of traditional holiday recipes, including these light little pillows of yumminess from Denmark, aebelskivers. yum1

Here it is almost Christmas, and I have piles of cookies and breads and candies and nuts to keep me happy for months, but still I felt compelled yesterday to add to my dragon’s horde and make aebelskivers.  Especially after reading that they freeze well and then reheat beautifully in the oven for a traditional Scandinavian Christmas breakfast.  Aebelskivers originally had bits of apple or applesauce inside–aebel means apple.  They are also made plain, like my Mom’s recipe, and served with applesauce or a berry jam on the side.  I like lingonberry–a Scandinavian cranberry-esque fruit.  Find lingonberry in your natural foods market or at IKEA.  Yup, IKEA.  You can also buy pre-made mixes from places like Williams Sonoma.  (Mom bough these for me.)  They are yummy, but are pretty much the same in prep time as scratch-made.

mixes

The manufacturer of my glass-top range says cast iron is a no-no because it could damage the glass.  I pouted for a year over this because I knew it meant no aebelskivers for me.  Traditional aebelskiver pans like mine are cast iron.

traditional aebelskiver pan

William Sonoma has a variety of electric and stove-top pans and accessories.  I wasn’t quite ready to spend sixty bucks plus shipping for a treat I generally make only once a year.  I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it and nearly ordered one when…

Cake pops became all the rage and electric cake pop makers began “popping” up all over.  They make little spherical cakes, and aebelskivers are spherical.  Could a cake pop maker be used for aebelskivers?!  Between a coupon and a sale at Bed Bath and Beyond, I procured a Babycakes cake pop maker for about $15 and set out to find out.  YES!  The abelskivers are smaller, but just as yummy.  Good news for those of you already in possession of a cake pop maker!

All you need are a cake pop maker and a few ingredients:

ingredients

  • 2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cardamom, optional
  • powdered sugar
  • applesauce or berry jam to serve

If you don’t keep buttermilk around, measure any milk (I used regular, unsweetened almond milk) and add the lemon juice to it and allow it to “curdle” a bit.

add lemon juice to milk

Meanwhile, separate the eggs, making sure the whites get into a clean glass or metal bowl for better whipping results.

separate eggs

Lightly beat the yolks and add the milk, sugar and salt.

egg yolks milk sugar and salt

Then add the flour, soda, and baking powder.  Add cardamom here if using.  I completely forgot the cardamom until I was nearly done baking the aebelskivers!  Sorry Mom!  I’ll put it in next time for sure!

add flour and soda and baking powder

Using an electric mixer, whip egg whites to a stiff peak.

beat whites to stiff peak

Gently fold in the whites in two batches.  This takes a while–be patient to maintain as much fluff as possible.  This fluff is what will make your aebelskivers so pillowy.

add half of whites

fold in second half

Spray the cake pop maker lightly with spray oil and wipe away any excess to avoid smoking up your kitchen as the appliance heats.  Yup.  Know this from experience.  Heat the cake pop maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then fill the wells brim-full with batter.  My cake pop maker has 1 tablespoon-sized wells which are conveniently filled with a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop!

fill wells full

Fill as quickly as you can and close the lid to bake.  I baked mine for 6 minutes.  Your cake pop maker may take more or less time.  If you use a regular aebelskiver pan, wait for the tops to get bubbly–like you do for pancakes–and then gently turn them over in their wells using a wooden skewer or knitting needle or little tools made specifically for this purpose.  If you’re feeling adventurous, fill the wells only 2/3 full and add a wee bit of applesauce or jelly before adding the last 1/3 of batter per well.  I use a 1/4 tsp measure to add jam for my tiny cake pop-sized aebelskivers.

close lid and bake

Use the little prong thingie that comes with a cake pop maker or a thin wooden skewer or knitting needle to remove your perfect little aebelskivers.  Place them on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Use a small sieve for this or purchase a powdered sugar shaker from a kitchen store–worth the money!  (Look around, I know mine wasn’t as pricey as the one linked to.)  They have lids, so powdered sugar can be stored in it, making it ready to use whenever you need it.

sprinkle with powdered sugar

This recipe makes 6 or 7 dozen one-inch aebelskivers.

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While a batch is baking, get out a pretty plate and some lingonberry jam and do a taste test.   Dip each pillowy bite in the jam and enjoy.

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Keep adding to your mountain of aebelskiver wonderfulness, sugaring each layer.

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If you plan to freeze your aebelskivers for later, let them cool completely before placing in a freezer bag.  The aebelskivers will freeze separately from one another, allowing you to take out only how many you want. Then when you’re ready, bake them in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.  Sugar them again and serve with applesauce or jam.  Oh, yum-yum-yummy!

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Christmas traditions always make the season cozy for me.  I find myself reaching back into the past to bring some of that childhood Christmas magic to my adulthood.  This year, I found a wee, tiny tinsel tree that reminded me of the big one my grandparents had.  I selected ornaments that are reminiscent of the time and lit it with battery-powered color-changing LED lights.  The sun made it sparkle yesterday.

tinsel tree1

tinsel tree 2

Back in the day, these tinsel trees were lit with a color wheel aimed at the tree.  The wheel turned, bathing the tree in a progression of colors–red, blue, yellow, and green–that were at their most wonderful at the juncture between colors.  It was like waves of color moving across and reflected by the tinsel.  Spectacular, and pure Christmas magic.  I hope your holidays bring you some of the magic from your childhood.  Merry Christmas!

 

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Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dessert, Food memories, Holiday foods, Norwegian Foods, recipe, snack