Monday, September 26, 2011

T-Rex Dinosaur at the Bulk Barn

My soon-to-be 4 year old grandson woke up from his nap and the first think he said was:  I dreamed I  had a T-Rex Dinosaur Cake for my birthday - Is it my birthday yet? I'm not surprised he dreams of dinosaurs - he's consumed with them this summer. He does dinosaur roars at the local parks and what amuses me is that all the dads know exactly what he is :O)  So if he's dreaming of a dino cake is there any way we could not put one together?  I think not!  So I quickly started googling!  And of course Wilton has a T-Rex form cake pan suitable for the preschoolers.  Thank goodness.  An even bigger thank goodness is that the Bulk Barn outlet at south common will rent you the cake pan for a mere $1.99 per day (plus $20.00 refundable deposit).  I can't see that we'll want to make it more than once or maybe twice?  In any case $1.99 is a bargain and it won't be collecting dust on the back shelf somewhere for years and years.

I really like Bulk Barn - they have lots of gluten free products available plus natura soy milk for one of the best prices I've seen anywhere. And if you're into cupcakes (and you might have guessed that I am) they have all kinds of cupcake liners and special little packages to gift your cupcakes in. They also sell the 3-in-1 cake carrier for $3.00 less than Wal-mart.  Now that's a good deal! Check out the link above as their website is extensive and informative. There's also a printable coupon for $3 this week that you can use on a $10 or more purchase from now until October 6th.

Bulk Barn
2077 98 St NW
(780) 461-4454

Friday, September 23, 2011

Espresso Cupcakes

These are a-m-a-z-i-n-g especially if you love espresso and amaretto.  We used a combination of a couple of different recipes plus a few ideas of our own.  This was a joint effort in the kitchen between me and my DD. We had a lot of fun making and sampling it! If anyone is urgently requiring the recipe please e-mail me -- if not I'll be posting it later.  If you're out at Padmanadi this weekend ask for a slice of Maya's vegan Lemon-Blueberry Bundt Cake - if there is any left to be had that is!  We were there Thursday night and indulged in it and it was d-i-v-i-n-e!

Here's a website worth checking out -- the Veg Coach tells you how to eat Vegan on $4 a day! Also check out the Vegetarians of Alberta and Earth's General Store websites for a whole slew of events for the month of October!

October 1st (Saturday)
Kick-off the month of fun at Earth’s General Store (9605 82 Ave) on International World Vegetarian Day!  Join us at noon for a vegan barbecue. Stay for the musicians until 4pm.  Local vegan vendors will be showcasing their products and there will be a Used Book Sale with proceeds going to VVoA.  Donate your used books! Drop off any book at Earth’s General Store the Friday night before or when you come out to enjoy World Vegetarian Day.

Coconut Lentil Soup (Crockpot Recipe)

We put this on before we left the house and when we came home the wonderful aroma of this full-bodied soup welcomed us. What a treat to come home to. Super simple and super delicious.  Break out the crockpot and give this one a whirl. For a lower fat version use 1/2 soy milk and 1/2 coconut milk.  Coconut milk has enough flavor to allow you to cut it with the soy milk without any problem.  Do remember to wash your lentils very very well.  They seem to need it -- ours seemed very "dusty" for lack of a better word.


1 cup red lentils, washed very well
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
14 ounce can tomatoes
2 carrots, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk

Soften onion and garlic in olive oil. Wash your lentils and wash them some more! Add all the rest of the ingredients except for the coconut milk. Put into your crockpot (about 3-4 quart size) and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 8-10 hours. Add your coconut milk at end of desired cooking time and let it bubble for another 15-20 minutes until heat through. Makes about 6 - 1 cup servings.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Salted Caramel Vanilla Cupcakes

So here's what I was up to today!  Could not resist trying out the recipe that I found on the Toronto Vegetarian Association website last night whilst browsing.  I have had the pleasure to meet the fabulous Sherry Vanstone and have been lucky enough to partake of her delicious vanilla cupcakes recently (Maya's wedding May 2011) and so was quite sure these would be delectable.  And thousands agree as she entered this recipe last year and she won first place for Best Vegan Cupcake and Best in Show. Recipe can be found under the TVA website and is called The Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off Booklet of Recipes.  These cupcakes are out of this world delicious.  Tasted even better the next day if that's possible (it was)!  The caramel sauce had integrated deeply into the cupcake and all I can say is "get off the computer and go and make these"!  I can see why Sherry won first place with this outstanding combo of flavors.

Veggie Prairie Girl Ramblings
My first batch of cupcakes I made exactly as per the recipe.  For the second batch I had to use 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup soy milk because I didn't have a full cup of soy milk left in the house.  I had made a batch previous with only soy milk and for some reason the batch with coconut milk rose nicer.  Could be because coconut milk was room temp and soy milk was cold?  Or because of the coconut milk? This brand contained coconut milk, water and citric acid for ingredients.  Perhaps citric acid helped them rise a little more?  I'll have to do another comparison making two batches before I come to a conclusion on the "rising" issue. Perhaps my vinegar might have been flawed in the first batch and perhaps that was responsible for them being a little lower - there's always variables whenever things don't turn out exactly as anticipated.  I was using organic vinegar and it seemed there was a lot of sediment on the bottom -- perhaps I should have shook it before measuring out the required amount. However regardless of my "rising issues" the taste was perfection. 

Notice the indentations in top of cupcakes -- I wasn't sure how to pool the caramel nicely so instead I took the end of wooden spoon and just jabbed each cupcake. Maybe I was little over enthusiastic with the depth of the indentation. Because I would drip in the caramel and it would just keep disappearing and disappearing. Fortunatley for me the disappearing act proved to be a good thing  -- it was super delicious next day as the caramel had soaked throughout middle of cupcake.  Next time I'll do the same (because it WAS good!) then seal the top with a dab of icing and then make a little puddle.  I also need to buy some coarse salt to sprinkle on top because all I had was fine sea salt and it didn't do the trick. I baked my cupcakes for 16 minutes at 350.  Made 9 regular sized cupcakes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Green and Gold Community Garden Produce

What does $20.00 buy? An amazing array of super fresh healthy vegetables for your family and a hand-up for African women. The Green and Gold Community Garden offers us the chance to think/act local and think/act global. After reading about it in the Edmonton Journal I headed out to the university research farm on Tuesday evening and was quite pleased to be able to avail myself of some garden fresh produce and to support the women of Rawanda.  A win-win situation all the way around. A big round of applause to all the volunteers who work the garden and allow us the opportunity to make some nutritious meals and be happy that 100% of all the monies paid for the produce are donated to the Tubahumurize Association, in Rwanda.

Tubahumurize is a not-for-profit organization that supports socially and economically marginalized women through counselling, vocational training, health education, and employment opportunities. In 2010, the garden’s second summer of operation, they raised $21,587.00 from donations for the garden produce.  The garden is open to the public on Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 11-1 p.m.  Check the link above for further details. You can put yourself on their e-mail list and they'll update you twice a week as to what vegetables are available.

P.S. Last night there were a few bundles of various colored "marigold/mum/daisy" type flowers that were selling for $4 a bundle.  Somebody said they were called "straw" flowers (quite dry to the touch yet firm). Very cute - very prairie-style flower arrangement :O)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Perfect Vegan Peanut Butter Cookie

The perfect vegan peanut butter cookie compliments of  Betty Crocker circa 1975 and vegan ingredients circa 2011! Paired with a glass of delicious chilled original flavor soy milk for the ultimate classic snack.  If you have never tried Muscovado brown sugar (Cuisine Camino) it's definitely worth seeking out. Bonus - this is a super duper easy recipe. No need to even dirty a mixer - a strong arm and wooden spoon will suffice.  You'll have them in the oven in 5 minutes or less!

1/2 cup Whipped Organic Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup  Kraft Smooth Peanut Butter
1/2 cup organic white sugar
1/2 cup Muscovado Brown Sugar
1/4 cup soft tofu (sunrise blue label)

1-1/4 cup unbleached organic white flour (Western family)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon organic baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix the first 5 ingredients together. Add the 4 dry ingredients. Roll into balls (2 tbsp each). Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Crisscross with fork. Bake for 10 minutes at 375.  Let sit for a few minutes on your baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Took a dozen of these to Kinsmen Park with us yesterday and we enjoyed them very much under the beautiful blue alberta skies! The happy sounds of squeals and giggles echoed all over the park - the loudest of which I swear came from my precious grandson Nico. He finally agreed (more or less) to leave at 8 p.m. after 5  hours of pure joyful play.

Cuisine Camino Tip for using Muscovado Brown Sugar:
Caramelize it and use it as you would use icing to write on a cake: Make the caramelized mix, write your text on a parchment paper, keep it at room temperature and that´s it!

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