Chocolate Ganache Cake

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, so I made him this Chocolate Ganache Cake from “Sweet Vegan.” Two layers of chocolate cake are surrounded by a rich chocolate buttercream and a silky layer of ganache is draped over the top. Need I say more?

Banana Everything Cookies (Modified)

I’ve created a monster. A cookie monster, that is (sorry, I couldn’t resist). My husband has been on a cookie-baking mission ever since he baked his very first batch of cookies during the holidays last year. This latest batch of cookies came from “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.” These Banana Everything Cookies contain everything from the original recipe minus the walnuts because we didn’t have any on-hand. Because of that, I wasn’t expecting them to be as good as they were, but, man, they were delicious. We devoured the entire batch in less than 48 hours, which is sad, I know.

On a side note, I apologize for the bad pictures. My kitchen has a ton of windows, but they are all shaded. It’s also been very rainy and gloomy lately, so I’m missing my natural light. So that, combined with my lack of photography skills, equals blurry, badly lit pictures.

Anyway, I’m scheduled to pick up my third CSA bounty tomorrow. I hope to put up a post on it soon.

New Pantry Products

Let me just say: I would rather spend my money on food than anything else. I say this as I sit here in old yoga pants and a t-shirt that desperately need to be replaced. But I was browsing Whole Foods yesterday during my weekly grocery run when I spotted two products that I’ve been wanting to try: Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter. Now, neither are very cheap. The coconut butter set me back nearly $14. The chocolate hazelnut butter retails for almost $10, but I decided to go with the 99-cent packet for my first try.

Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Prior to becoming vegan, I was a big fan of Nutella — a chocolate hazelnut spread that is very popular in Europe. My husband and I binged on crepes stuffed with the spread while in Paris (my mouth is watering just thinking about it!). I had read about Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter in VegNews, and I was curious to see if it tasted anything like Nutella.

Upon my first try, I was a bit disappointed. The spread is kind of grainy, like most natural nut butters, and not as smooth as Nutella. Also, it tastes a lot like peanut butter, which brings me to a confession: I’m not a big fan of peanut butter. I know, blasphemy, right? Who doesn’t like peanut butter? Well, I don’t hate it, but it’s certainly not one of my favorite foods. Believe me, life as a vegan would be a lot easier if I did like it.

After a second spoonful, I definitely got the flavor of the hazelnuts, but it wasn’t as chocolate-y as I would have liked. That being said, I’m glad I stuck with the cheap packet rather than spend $10 on a full jar. Obviously, since I’m not a big fan of peanut butter, I’m probably not the best person to offer a review. So, if you’re a fan of peanut butter, I say, go ahead and give it a try.

Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter

I’ve been wanting to incorporate some raw foods into our diet, but I wasn’t sure where to start. I read a review of this Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter on Vegan Crunk, and was intrigued. So when I spotted it on the shelf at Whole Foods, I decided to splurge and give it a shot. Coconut butter is high in saturated fat, but the fat is supposed to contain healthy triglycerides that can actually reduce cholesterol and heart disease. It also contains lauric acid, which is supposed to boost immunity and destroy harmful bacteria and viruses.

This isn’t going to be much of a review, because, well, I don’t really know what to do with it yet. I’ve heard that it’s good by itself. I’ve also heard that it’s good for desserts. So, if you have any suggestions for using the coconut butter, I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, I’m going to try to find a good recipe to showcase this new ingredient. I’ll be sure to post it on here as soon as I make it.