Monthly Archives: February 2012

Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs

Hey everyone! I just posted our very first ‘Dinner and a Movie’ under my new heading titled  “Dinner and a Movie”.  For our first dinner and a movie night, we chose to make Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs to go along with Disney’s Lady & the Tramp! Click here!!!

Remember to check back under ‘Dinner & a Movie’ occasionally to see if there’s a new post up! I will always be featuring kid-friendly flicks.  I hope you enjoy our new tradition as much as I know we will! 🙂

Peanut Butter Pancakes

People are often prone to thinking that vegans have a hard time getting their protein, when in fact, I don’t seem to find this the issue at all.  It is easy to eat plenty of protein (and iron as well) on a vegan diet. Tofu is a great source of protein, as are nuts, seeds, peanut butter, beans, soymilk, and LOTS more… There is a list of vegan protein examples (and lots more about vegan nutrition) here  if you want to check it out.

Basically to ensure you and your kids get all your needed nutrients, just eat a wide variety of foods… sneak nuts, fruits, nutritional yeast & ground flax on as toppings… & have everyone (including yourself) try new foods for fun! This is one thing being a mom has quickly taught me – kids learn best by watching your example!  If the kids are always seeing mom give new foods a try and eating her veggies with gusto, they will want to follow (most of the time)! And if you are still not confident on meeting your nutritional requirements, have everyone take a multi-vitamin to cover all the bases! My favorite vegan kids multi-vitamins are made by Gummi King and Nature’s Plus Animal Parade.

This easy pancake recipe is a great source of protein and is also fast & delicious… Using soymilk, peanut butter, chopped nuts, ground flax & fresh bananas, no kid can turn down this yummy breakfast and no mother can deny the nutritional goodness!  My kids really liked these!

Oh, one more thing, please do these pancakes justice and use real peanut butter – when I say real, I mean natural.  Don’t use Jif or Peter Pan or super processed peanut butter that is full of oil and sugar.  Look for a peanut butter where the ingredients look closest to this : peanuts, salt.  (P.S. I feel the same way about maple syrup – you GOTTA use pure maple syrup!)

Vegan Peanut Butter Pancakes

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 “egg” (I like to use 2 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water, whisked)
  • 1 1/4 cup soymilk
  • < 1/4 cup water (add if needed to thin batter a little)
  • topping: sliced bananas, chopped peanuts or walnuts

In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  In a separate small bowl, whisk the flax egg together, then add the peanut butter, oil, soymilk, and a bit of water if necessary.  Mix wet into dry by whisking until no clumps remain.  Pour batter by using a 1/4 cup measure onto a hot skillet.  Flip when bubbly.  Top with bananas, nuts and pure maple syrup.  Devour.

(One more thing – If you want to be bad – make that very bad – try adding one more thing –  chocolate chips – and you will turn this nutritional breakfast practically into a dessert! Anyone for a Vegan Reeses-Pieces Pancake?!)

Moroccan Beef Stew – made vegan

Most recipes are really easy to veganize and it is getting easier and easier with all the faux meats you can find these days. This recipe calls for 1 1/4 lb beef, but I’m sure you could also easily use seitan if you wanted to avoid soy.  In this recipe (which I adapted from a recipe titled the same in the January 2012 O magazine),  I used 2 packs of Gardein beef tips (9 oz each).   I was really surprised at how fast this soup came together.  I think maybe I may stir in some spinach next time.

Vegan Moroccan Beef Stew

    • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
    • 2 packs of Gardein beef tips
    • 2 tsp salt, divided
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped well
    • 1 large carrot, chopped (I sliced mine into thin medallions)
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp sweet paprika
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 6 cups beef or chicken broth ( I used 6 cups of water + 2 veg bouillon cubes and 1/2 block of a “no-chicken” broth cube)
    • 2 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • < 1 cup dried spaghetti, broken into 1″ pieces (I used tri-color corkscrew spirals instead for added nutrients and color)
    • 6 Tbsp chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional – i did not use this)
    • 1 large lemon, cut into 6 wedges, for garnish (optional)

1) Make your broth, if not using pre-made broth, and set aside. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large pot over med-high heat.  Add beef, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned, about 10 minutes.

Gardein's vegan beef tips

2) Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil, garlic, carrot, onion, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until vegetables are softened, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and ginger and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cover until beef is tender* (*the original recipe says to cook for 45 minutes so that the beef cooks, but I found with the faux beef that mine was good in less than half that time!)  Go ahead and toss in those chickpeas now and let them get cooked with the soup to avoid them tasting raw.

3) Add the noodles, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and continue to cook, covered until the noodles are al dente, 10-15 minutes.

To serve, season to taste with salt and pepper, then ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro (if using) and lemon wedges on the side.

Serves 6. Can be frozen up to 8 weeks (though if you plan on freezing, I would recommend omitting the noodles until you are re-heating it).

Those faux beef tips are tasty and freakishly beef like. I thought this soup was very satisfying, though next time I use these faux beef tips, I’m gonna try a more traditional “beef” stew and dumplings recipe… one that would require a creamier sauce (rather than a broth) and a thicker stew with peas and potatoes.  That being said, I really enjoyed this soup.

Vegan Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

Well, Valentines Day is tomorrow.  You know, when someone puts their time and energy into making a homemade meal, there is nothing that could be better or more loving, at least in my opinion. I would much rather enjoy a delicious homemade meal for Valentines Day in the privacy of my own home than to sit in a crowded restaurant with (often) over-priced food.  Maybe that’s just me, but there is something extremely sexy about a man (or woman) cooking in the kitchen for their loved one.

Valentines Day is also one of those occasions where you may want to consume a small (or large) amount of wine – I would like to use Sir Paul McCartney as my example here, when he sings, “I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I gotta have a belly full of wine”… well, who wants to stop ole Paul from saying that?! And what better a day than Valentines to say or hear those words ‘i love you’… without also hearing an “Uh oh, my dear – we are being pulled over”!  Yes, Valentines Day is a great opportunity to stay home and have a nice candle-lit home cooked meal… and to indulge a bit 😉

So, one of my favorite meals EVER is lasagna. There is nothing in the world like a good lasagna.  There are many things to love about lasagna.  I love how versatile lasagna is.  I love how yummy it is.  I love how you have leftovers.  I love that my kids love it.  I love how you can basically make it out of whatever veggies you have in the fridge.

When I make lasagna, I usually stick to the basics… onion, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash.  Combine those with some noodles, a good sauce (homemade is best, but sometimes you gotta go with the jar), and a good ricotta recipe and you will find yourself content.  Make that very content.

Now I would like to share with you my delicious homemade ricotta recipe.  It is SO easy, and SO good, you better just prepare yourself!

~ TOFU RICOTTA ~

This is my original delicious tofu ricotta recipe.  This is enough for one lasagna. Simply blend until desired consistency in the food processor – be sure to pulse in the basil last so your ricotta wont turn green!

  • 1 block extra firm tofu (drained)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup Vegan Gourmet mozzarella cheese, shredded (you will need one entire block to have enough to shred some on top)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (pulse in last)

ricotta necessities (minus basil and tofu)

blending up the ricotta in my food processor

Heres how much basil I used - please note that this amount of basil is for two lasagnas.

TO MAKE (ONE) LASAGNA:

You will need:

  • at least one jar of sauce
  • lasagna noodles (1-2 boxes)
  • veggies of choice (my last lasagna contained: 1 onion/ 1 cup chopped mushrooms/ 2 zucchini & 1 squash, quartered/ 2 cups packed spinach).

Start by cooking your lasagna noodles al dente.  I like to saute my veggies about 5 minutes to soften them up, then I just stir them right into my ricotta to save a step for easy lasagna stacking. Assemble lasagna as shown below in a 13 x 9″ pan and bake for an hour, covered, at 350.  Sometimes I like to broil it uncovered for 2-3 minutes at the end, just to get the top cheese meltier.

(That last step of broiling is unnecessary if you use Daiya cheese, though I LOVE the flavor of the Vegan Gourmet so much, I have actually never tried to make lasagna using Daiya, though I bet it would be just as fabulous. You maybe would need two bags though, since it comes pre-shredded.)

  • shredded cheese on top
  • sauce
  • noodles
  • sauce
  • ricotta/veggies
  • noodles
  • sauce
  • ricotta/veggies
  • noodles
  • layer of sauce on bottom of pan

These are my favorite noodles

dont forget to wash your veggies!

I like to lightly saute all the veggies

Here I am, building up the layers...

Here is one of them about to go in the oven... I would've liked to have a bit more cheese on top but I ran out!

Voila! This slice for my daughter came out beautifully!

I like to eat mine with some good buttered bread on the side! You gotta have bread to wipe up all that extra yummy sauce and ricotta that falls out!

Our family was part of a “food tree” where we signed up to bring a home cooked meal to a friend who just had a baby, hence the two lasagnas.  If you ever have the opportunity to participate in one, sign up!  It feels so good to help people! And you parents (especially you new parents) know how good a nice meal can be when you don’t have to throw it together yourself while the baby is napping!  (And just so you know, they said the lasagna we brought them was “the bomb”!)

Muppet Party Over Here, HAAAAY!

We decided to join our kids birthday parties this year so we could have one giant muppetational celebrational party!  My family and the Muppets go WAY back, so I have been super excited about this 🙂 My daughter just turned 4 on Jan 22 and my son is turning 2 on Feb 14. Their birthdays are pretty close, they basically have the same friends, & they are still so young, I figured I could get away with combining parties… just this once!

Happy Birthday!

MY MUPPETATIONAL CRAFTS

I found all kinds of cool crafts to print out on card stock on this Disney website.  It is FULL of cute ideas for having a muppet party!  I was even contemplating making my own Beaker pinata, but time just caught up with me and I didn’t get around to it!

"These are so cool, Mom!"

Here are the muppet stick-puppets I made… By “made”,  I mean I downloaded them, printed them, cut them out and laminated them and then cut them out again! As you can see, they came in two different sizes – small (which went into the goody bags) and large.  It was really easy, but tedious. They are great though – you can do so many things with them… play like a puppet show, tape them to the windows, stick them in a plant… I keep thinking of more ways to use them!

Here are the little ones, going through my laminater!

And here are the big ones, which are taped to jumbo pop sticks. Check out the pic above with my girl for a better size reference.

Click on this great link to check out how to make these stick-puppets and more muppet party crafts.  These muppet “pookaloos” are too cute, in my opinion.

Once these were laminated, they were very versatile!

I even printed some out on special magnetic paper for my kids for some playtime at the refrigerator!

I also printed out and laminated these animal door hangers for everyone too! I downloaded these off the Disney site shown above.  (Yes, I own a laminater, and I would recommend having one!  You’d be surprised at all the stuff you find lying around that is good to have laminated!)

And of coarse, I had to make cards for the food… Just look up images of muppet characters online and you will find plenty of choices!  Just cut and paste carefully on some card stock and… ta-da!

MY MUPPETATIONAL FOOD

It sure was fun trying to think of funny muppety food for the party 🙂  I copied some of the food-labeling ideas off of other muppet party sites and then veganized things to my liking.  I actually made up 2 new recipes that are my new favorites! I really wanted to make muppet cake pops but I have never worked with fondant and most of the cake-pop dips have some milk product in them.  Luckily I found these cute little muppet rings to use as cupcake toppers on Ebay and got a whole set of 24 for only $7! (I also bought the muppet mugs you see, the muppet plates, balloons, and probably everything else you ask “where did she get THAT?!” Answer = Ebay!)

I found these awesome sigma collectible cups on Ebay for a STEAL! I even got Rowlf (not pictured)!

Kermit & Piggy’s Chocolate Death Cupcakes with Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting – need I say more! (Read more about these cupcakes in my last post ‘Mama’s Sugar Cookies and more for the vegan sweet tooth’.)

These toppers were little rings!

Kermits Rainbow Connection Fruit Skewers – since its February and some fruit is out of season, it took a little looking around to get the organic fruit we wanted for these, but we managed just fine! 🙂 Recipe: Buy, wash, skew and serve!

Mmmm! Fresh fruit rules!

Scooters Back-Stage Snacks – basic hummus & veggies, chips & salsa (My hummus recipe is the first one on my blog. The salsa was store-bought.)

Chips, veggies, salsa & hummus... party staples

Rowlf’s Favorite Treats  (a.k.a. muppet sugar cookies) – I scored this set of cookie cutters on Ebay and used my moms awesome sugar cookie recipe, which she veganized for me (Thanks mama! This recipe appears in my last post!)

my muppet cookie cutters

The best sugar cookies ever - even Rowlf agrees!

Waldorf & Statler’s Raw Vegan Waldorf Salad – I took the traditional Waldorf salad and gave it a healthy spin by omitting the vegan mayo base (since it would be sitting out on the table anyway) and using a different kind of “dressing”.  I got the idea for this one after looking on a raw foods website. (I also decided not to serve it on lettuce for the party… too complicated.)  The recipe is at the end of this blog. It was SO good!!  And of coarse, I had to come up with a witty card for this one!

I forgot to take off the lid for this picture - DOH!

Dr. Teeth’s Secret Stash (of candy) – This was a great way to get help rid of our leftover candy!

Electric Mayhem-osas – yep, we made a pitcher of mimosas for the adults to enjoy!

Dr Bunsen Honeydew & Beeker’s Latest Creation – their latest creation, in this case, was a fresh batch of apple-orange-carrot-ginger juice, made by my Brevelle juicer! Mmmmmmm!  Recipe: buy, wash, chop, juice, drink!

Please excuse my plastic wrap!

Animals Drumsticks – These were just simple bread sticks for quick munching!

Fozzie Bear’s “Bear-y Good Snacks” – these were cinnamon and chocolate teddy grahams.  I had to have something I didn’t make myself!  I discovered that these were vegan by looking at this website, which I check frequently for easy store-bought vegan goodies.

Usually I eat Annie's bunny grahams, but these were perfect for a quick find for Fozzie.

Camilla & Gonzo’s GarGONZO Bean Salad – This bean salad is sooo good, healthy and quick to whip up!  Even though it was a kids party, I tried to have as many healthy foods as I could. This was my first time making this and it worked beautifully.  It was delicious!   Think bruchetta without the bread, & add chickpeas.  This was one of the first things gone! The recipe is at the end of this blog 🙂

Sorry for the bad pic! At least you can see the cute card 😉 This was before I stirred it - it was a party favorite!

MY MUPPETATIONAL GIFT BAGS

We made our own recyclable party sacks by carving a Kermit stamp out of a potato and we used finger paint to stamp each bag!

our Kermit potato stamps

Here they are before I added the red mouths

Inside each one we had muppet coloring pages, bubble stuff, mini muppet stick-puppets, an animal door-hanger, a pack of muppet bandz bracelets & muppet stickers in each bag for the kids.

Here are SOME of our Muppet dolls & puppets!!

My sister made this awesome Muppet throw she found at JoAnne Fabrics! She also made the picture board thingy on the left! What are those called?!

Muppet t-shirts were mandatory.

Who isn't happy with a mouthful of frosting and a Miss Piggy ring?!

Muppet puppets RULE!

...And so do Fraggle puppets!

Now THAT'S a smile!

Even MY friends came to the party... with their kids, of coarse!! I still can't believe that me and my high school girlfriends are all mamas! Apologies to those not pictured. (That's me in the Animal T-shirt.)

It was truly a terrific muppetational celebrational party!

~

 THE RECIPES:

~

Camilla & Gonzo’s  GarGONZO Bean Salad

  • 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 Roma (or any kind of small) tomatoes
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced basil

In a bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Whisk well, then add the beans.  Toss.  Place tomatoes in a serving bowl (I used a nice glass tupperware with a lid) and add onion & basil.  Sprinkle with a wee bit more salt and pepper if desired.  Top with the bean mixture.  Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.  Toss before serving.

Waldorf & Statler’s Raw “Waldorf” Salad

  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp amber agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups diced apple
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • > 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • halved grapes (optional – I didn’t add these, but i meant to!)
  • lettuce to serve on (optional – again, I didn’t use lettuce because I thought it was just great as is!)

Mix the orange juice, agave and lemon juice.  Add the rest of ingredients.  Stir together and chill or simply serve straight away! DEVOUR!!!!!!

 (If you wanted to make this more “traditional”, you could leave out the orange juice and add 1/3 cup vegan mayo and maybe a splash of water, if necessary? Never done it, but I’m just sayin’…)

Both of these recipes above are also gluten-free 🙂

Mamas Sugar Cookies… and more for the vegan sweet tooth

Like I said, this is my mama’s sugar cookie recipe, so I have to give her the credit for this one 🙂  My mom is a great cook and I remember decorating & eating her regular old-fashioned sugar cookies at Christmas when I was a kid for many years (before I was vegan).  This recipe is just as I remember them tasting and has convinced me yet again that there is NOTHING that can’t be made vegan!  This recipe would also make great sugar cookie hearts for Valentines 😉

Yes, my sugar cookies are shaped like Muppets!

Your Vegan Neighbor’s Mama’s Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup earth balance (2 sticks)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • egg substitute: 2 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling

Mix powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla extract, almond extract and the flax egg in the mixer.  Mix remaining ingredients except for the granulated sugar.  Add all to mixer and combine well. Divide dough into thirds (I think I’m going to divide it into fourths next time because really cold dough is SO much easier to work with) and shape into discs, wrapping each portion in wax paper (or saran wrap) and refrigerate at least 2 hours*.

 Heat oven to 375.  Grease a cookie sheet lightly (I just lined my with parchment paper). Roll out one portion of dough to about 1/4″ thickness. Cut into shapes, place on cookie sheet and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake 7-9 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden and cool on a wire rack. Devour!
 

My awesome Muppet cookie cutters!

I discovered that the secret to using cutters like this is having REALLY cold dough!

Cutting the cookies...

Ready to bake!

(* When the dough is cold, it is MUCH easier to roll out and cut without getting sticky – esp if you are using cookie cutters that are NOT open-backed, like my muppet ones – or else the dough sticks and is more difficult to get out of the cutter. I tried flouring my cutter and sprinkling flour on the dough before realizing that if the dough was just COLDER it seemed to solve the problem. I even combined all my dough scraps and threw them in the freezer for a few minutes before re-rolling & cutting again.)

Mmmmm…

The cupcake recipe I usually use is the basic vanilla or chocolate cupcake from the book’ Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World’ by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. I always rave about this book for good reason and you can buy it right here.  However, the last cupcakes I made for my kids muppet party, I used the “chocolate vegan death cake” recipe from the cookbook of my favorite Athens restaurant, the Grit, and cooked it into cupcakes instead.  Worked like a charm 😉  By the way, the Grit has their own cookbook for sale, which is vegetarian (with many vegan recipes) and highly recommended.  Get yours here.

Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

This frosting recipe is from the cupcake cookbook mentioned above.  I use it for everything!  This basic vegan frosting recipe is a must-have.  It can be spread or piped. It makes a lot (about 4 cups) so if you are planning on spreading it, you can definitely halve the recipe. I always say this, but you GOTTA get this book! It’s full of the most magnificent cupcakes ever!

You can also add 1 cup of crushed Newman o cookies to the frosting, which is a tip they recommend for the cookies and creme cupcakes, which are scrumptious!!! 

  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (earth balance)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted if clumpy (powdered sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup soy milk or soy creamer (i have used Silk regular soy milk and Silk almond milk – both worked wonderfully)

Beat the shortening & margarine together until well combined and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat about 3 more minutes.  Add the vanilla and soy milk, beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy. (Personally, I always whip it for at least 7… and don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the mixer occasionally!)

Keep it in the fridge and pull it out a few minutes before you want to use it 🙂

 

Whipping up the frosting...

 
And here they are looking totally yummy on the cupcake tower! 

Please be sure to check out my next  post ALL about our Muppet party!   It includes two appetizer recipes and also lots of cool muppet crafts & stuff.  (I should have it up later today!)

Baby Shower Love

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a few days 😦 My sisters baby shower was at my house this past Sunday, of which we had been preparing for for several days beforehand! To those of you who are not familiar with hosting a party, that means lots of extra cleaning and food & decoration planning/preparing/etc. My sister is gluten free (and mostly soy free) so we were getting pretty creative with our food ideas. I snapped all the pictures of the food before the guests came.  Last week, my family was hitting our freezer and fridge pretty hard to make some room and we ordered take out twice to make things easier on ourselves! Phew!  I am feeling very happy and relieved – now if I can just relax for a few days until my kids MUPPET BIRTHDAY BLOWOUT this coming Sunday! 🙂

Yes, Sunday’s baby shower was a smashing success, if I may say so! The shower theme was woodland animals… owls, foxes, etc.  So we had all kinds of cute munchies and eats.  Check out all the awesome stuff we all made!

This is the "tree of advice" where we all clipped cards written with our own motherly words of wisdom. My mother made each and every one of the little leaf clips!

homemade baked corn tortilla "owl" chips

Thanks to my oldest sister, the martha stewart of our family... She made a bunch of these beautiful tissue-paper pompoms (which I am keeping up until after the next party and then recycling them).

My sister also made these incredibly cute “mushrooms” made of tomato and mozzerella (not vegan)…

The tomato and mozzeralla "mushrooms" (not vegan) were so adorable!

AND these super cute chocolate covered cherry mice.   I really need to find a way to get a hersheys kiss mold so I can make these vegan at some point. They were amazing.

These chocolate-covered cherry mice were a hit! If only they made vegan hershey's kisses!

My mom whipped up three kinds of sugar cookies (regular, vegan, and gluten free) shaped as owls, moose, bears, rabbits, etc. They were really cute too… and absolutely delicious!  I am waiting for her to send me her vegan recipe so I can make some muppet sugar cookies for my kids party next week!

Of coarse, we had chips & salsa, hummus & veggies, and a mixed organic fruit bowl… the usual party staples…  I must also brag that we also used all recycled paper products and compostable silverware… This was a seriously green party 🙂

In this next picture, you can see my deviled v’eggs (tofu “egg” salad inside of silken tofu squares)… and in front of them, are the “pinecone” crackers (brown rice crackers with tofutti cream cheese and slivered almonds).

I also made a big pitcher of fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice  with my juicer.  You cant beat freshly juiced juice!  Mmmmmm!!  It was gone so fast I didn’t even get a picture because the pitcher was practically empty!

And of coarse, no party is complete without cupcakes.  These were the “Chocolate Freedom Cupcakes with Vegan (soyfree) Buttercream Frosting”.  I used the gluten-free chocolate cupcake recipe from the cookbook “vegan cupcakes rule the world”.  They were awesome!! They were made by using a blend of different gluten-free flours – quinoa, white rice and tapioca.  If you dont have this cupcake cookbook, I consider it a must-have.  Buy it.  Now.

Chocolate vegan (& gluten free) cupcakes with soy-free vanilla vegan buttercream frosting. And of coarse, the cute stick was made by my sister Martha - I mean Jenny 😉

Of coarse, we had to thank our guests for coming with a thank you basket full of goodies!  Our thanks consisted of a Larabar raw food bar (or in some cases, a Luna bar), an organic (vegan) lollipop, a homemade laminated owl bookmark, a pack of flowers (to plant in the container itself come spring), & a packet of green tea and a packet of chamomile tea.  I had actually made birdseed ornaments to hang outside, but they didnt make the cut.  Better luck with those next time!

Several of the recipes seen here are already on my blog (v’egg salad & hummus) and some are simple and just easy to throw together (like the tomato/mozzarella shrooms for the non-vegans or the pinecone crackers) and some are soon to come (like vegan sugar cookies & cupcakes).

One of my friend’s just had a baby, so we are helping them out by making them a vegan lasagna for dinner one night next week, so I will be sharing my vegan lasagna and tofu ricotta recipe in the next few days too.

Make sure not to miss my upcoming blog about my kid’s muppet party! There will be lots of funny muppety snacks and crafts!