Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Can't believe there's only one card left on the Advent Garland. We've enjoyed having a couple of extra days with Daddy at home. (That's Ryan, to you.)

Tonight, for supper, I made Pizza Bagel Wreaths. My sister Cary sent me this link for the idea.

For tomorrow, Ryan has requested cheeze fondue, and we'll eat up our veggie tree tradition, as well.


I hope that everyone has a wonderful December 25th, whether you celebrate the holiday of Christmas or not! Those of you who do celebrate Christmas, may it be very merry. I hope you all feel very blessed today and every day. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Cookies Round 1

This weekend, my 18-member immediate family (parents, siblings, etc.) got together to celebrate Christmas. My Mom worked hard making different versions of lasagna, manicotti, and ravioli, etc. that would suit the wide-range needs of her particular clan (vegetarians, vegans, vegetable-fearing, etc.). I contributed the desserts above.

Veggies and Tofu Lasagna with Squash & Spinach

part of my plate with manicotti and lasagna

I tried a new recipe for Chocolate Macadamia Meltaways. I call them a success!

Since this Taste of Home non-vegan recipe is posted online anyway, I can give you my veganized version:

Chocolate Macadamia Meltaways

1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
1/4 cup organic powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups organic white flour
3 1/2 oz. macadamia nuts, finely chopped

1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
additional powdered sugar

Cream Earth Balance and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour and mix well. Stir in nuts. Dough will be stiff; set aside.

For filling, in a microwave, melt chocolate chips; stir. Stir in nuts; cool slightly. Drop by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto parchment or wax paper-covered pan or plate. Put in fridge for 30 minutes or until hardened.

Shape dough around chocolate mounds; completely cover. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees. (Recipe says 12-14 minutes. I think the key to good cookies is not overcooking, so I probably set my timer to 9 minutes first to see if they're already browning.) Roll warm cookies in additional powdered sugar. 

I made my very-important-for-the-holidays Vegan Buckeyes. I always use a recipe from Kids' Christmas Cookbook, but it is similar to other buckeyes recipes online, such as this one. However, the recipe I use has a higher ratio of peanut butter to sugar and Earth Balance to others I've seen, which makes them a little healthier, I suppose. I think all you need to do is mix in enough powdered sugar to make the peanut butter roll into balls, freeze the balls, then dip them in melted chocolate chips, then let them harden again in the fridge or freezer.

I haven't figured out how to make my buckeyes prettier without the toothpick (for dipping) hole. And I actually prefer mine completely covered in chocolate (since I believe chocolate is better than peanut butter) so most of them were made that way.

Thumbprint Cookies

This recipe can be found at thekitchn. We had enjoyed the batch my sister made for us last year, and I needed a non-chocolate dessert. I used three different fruit spreads: 365 Fruits of the Forest, Organic Peach, and Organic Sicilian Orange.

Magic Cookie Bars

I veganize a recipe my mom used when we were growing up. I still use the recipe card written in my childhood handwriting. It's fairly similar to this one. I can't imagine too many desserts better than Magic Cookie Bars.


Enjoying a relaxing day in pj's! I was feeling very slow (pregnant) and very swollen last week, but this week I've been feeling a lot better. It has been a very nice December for us, so far. I will try to post one more time before Christmas, but I hope all of you who celebrate are enjoying this time. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gingerbread House Pancakes

One of our Advent Activities this week was reading Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett and making gingerbread house pancakes. I've had the mold for many years, so it is a tradition to use sometime around Christmas.

This is part of the Advent Garland I made. Everyday the kids rush downstairs to unclip the next Christmas activity for the day.

Mimic Creme Healthy Top, maple syrup, and melted fruit spread

kiwi, strawberries, walnuts, chocolate chips, bananas, blueberries, organic wheat squares cereal, raisins

I can't always get my pancakes to turn out as well when I use the molds, but they taste the same. Part of my problem was that I didn't have any nonstick cooking spray, and the olive oil in my Misto wasn't working as well.

We ended up with all sorts of gingerbread houses.

The tongue sticking out means serious concentration.

Nutritional Information three flavors

We were pretty impressed with the Mimic Creme, which is made primarily from coconut oil and nuts. It definitely has a different taste than Soyatoo or Rice Whip. The package is pretty firm out of the fridge, then it whips up very thick. Ryan says he prefers it to the other canned varieties. I don't know if I have a preference. But I do like that it doesn't "melt" like the canned whips. I haven't seen this at our stores, but I picked it up on a recent trip to Missouri.

The kids also had some Creme in their hot chocolate the next day (along with crushed candy canes). Bonus for them was that it even snowed in Arkansas (but melted off by noon, of course) this week!