Vegan Food Happenings — Holiday Edition

Happy holidays! This season is flying by, isn’t it?

We’ve had a pretty low-key holiday season, which is fine by me. It’s been very low-key in the kitchen, too. We had grand plans of making an elaborate meal for Christmas Eve, but decided at the last minute to keep it very simple, which was nice. Here’s a quick breakdown of just a few of the dishes (mostly sweets) I made over the past week or so.

Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles (from “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar“)

These cookies have become a favorite in our household. They have a wonderful rich chocolate flavor, a crunchy outside texture and a chewy middle. A pinch of cayenne adds a touch of heat that is a nice surprise.

Caramel Pecan Bars (also from “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar”)

These bars are really easy to make and taste just like their pie cousin. So good.

Monkey Bread (from “Sweet Vegan“)

If Paula Deen were vegan, this would be her go-to recipe. You add butter to the dough, then you dunk each dough ball into melted butter and then you pour more melted butter on top once you’ve formed them in the pan. This was the first time I’ve made this recipe and I have to admit, I found the directions hard to follow, which I’ve also found to be true for a few other recipes I’ve made from this book. But despite my frustration with the recipe, it turned out beautifully and was delicious. It was the perfect breakfast for Christmas morning.

Great Smokey Mountain Cheeze (from “Vegan Diner“)

This spreadable cheese was so easy to make and was really, really good. The smoked paprika gave it a wonderful flavor that matched up really well with the sliced apple. I’ll definitely be making this again for a game night snack or for a light lunch of fruit and crackers.

Well, that’s all I have for now. I’m planning to make a few new dishes this week while I’m on vacation, so I will post those soon. I’m also planning to make a vegan brunch on New Year’s Day, and I’ll post that, too.

I hope everyone is well!

Raspberry Buttercream Cake

Last night, we celebrated my husband’s birthday a little early with a group of our closest friends. We had dinner at a really good Indian restaurant, Dakshin, that has vegan options. And for dessert, I made this Raspberry Buttercream Cake, which I modified from “Sweet Vegan.” It turned out wonderfully. The cake was dense, but not too heavy, and very moist. I ran out of buttercream icing and was only able to ice the middle layer and the top, but it turned out to be the perfect cake-to-icing ratio.

I hope everyone is doing well. I’ve got some vegan food projects on the horizon that are very exciting. Hopefully, I’ll have some news to share soon!

New Cookbooks: Sweet Vegan and Vegan Diner

While strolling around the neighborhood with my mom last weekend, we stopped into a local bookstore, Carmichael’s, to browse. As usual, my husband and I made our way over to the cookbook section where we grabbed “Sweet Vegan” by Emily Mainquist and “Vegan Diner” by Julie Hasson. We kept oohing and aahing over the delicious sweets and diner goodies. My mom came over and, in a friendly altercation of deciding who was going to buy the books, declared them to be an early birthday present and kindly bought them for me.

Anyway, I am so excited over both of these cookbooks. The pictures and recipes in “Sweet Vegan” speak for themselves, but I can’t wait to try the Peach Biscuits, Monkey Bread, Cinnamon Rolls and Raspberry Buttercream Cake to name a few.

Vegan Diner” feeds on my own dream of buying the Twig & Leaf, a local diner that’s kind of lost its luster lately, and resurrecting it as a vegan diner, complete with plate specials, homemade pies, an old-fashioned soda fountain and weekly viewings of “Twin Peaks,” complete with coffee and cherry pie. Of course, I’d keep the name, because how perfect is “Twig & Leaf” for a vegan restaurant? Sadly, it’s not for sale and, even if it was, who has that kind of money? But a girl can dream, can’t she?

But, I digress. “Vegan Diner” has tons of recipes that I can’t wait to try, including Quinoa Burgers, Crispy Chickpea Onion Rings, Not Your Mama’s Pot Roast with Roast Vegetables and lots more.

I’m excited to be trying completely new recipes. Don’t get me wrong, I think Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the queen of vegan food, and I love “Vegan Yum Yum,” but it’s nice to branch out and try some new flavors and techniques.

Hope all is well!