Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There's Nothing in the Fridge...

On purpose! A couple of weeks ago with the loss of power for a couple of days our entire fridge and freezer had to be emptied. This not only forced me to clean every inch of the appliance but also got us thinking that we're throwing out too much food on a weekly basis. Vegetables that were meant for a stirfry, meat that didn't get grilled and condiments that really weren't a necessity. Life was getting ahead of us and we decided to slow down and really only buy what we need and use what we buy. That means dinners at home all week, lots of prep on the weekends and a list to organize it all - oh I love lists (actually I love crossing off items even more!)

It's been about 3 weeks and I can actually name all the items in both the fridge and freezer. There's lots of white space, and I love that. We're becoming more creative with what we have and wasting less. This challenge was prompted by a power loss and then fostered by September being Hunger Action Month. So take a step back, learn a little more and appreciate your next bite, whatever it might be.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Cupcake is Just a Cupcake?

Not all cupcakes are created equal - trust me. This comes from a very picky cupcake eater that mostly forgoes any cake because I assume it will be too buttery, too sugary and just too dense. However, this doesn't mean I don't try those that people "claim" are the best and test out recipe after recipe for friends' birthdays. Which is exactly how I found cupcake heaven.

There's a little secret with this recipe that I will save until the end because if I start with that news I know most of you won't try this recipe. But trust me if you're a chocolate lover and are looking for a moist airy and delicious cupcake this one is the best I've found. I know it's good when the birthday girl calls the next day to say she's craving one for breakfast.

I can't argue, who could resist one of these beauties???

And now the secret - these happen to be lovely little vegan cupcakes, however they are spot on for any chocolate lover. The frosting uses tofu, which I was skeptical about at first, but it's actually the perfect answer to fluffy, chocolaty frosting that isn't too sweet. Thanks to "Beantown Baker" for first posting!

Chocolate Cupcakes & Mousse Frosting - from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2.  Whisk the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside a few minutes to get good and curdled.
    Add the sugar, oil, vanilla, and almond extract to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy.
    In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat till no large lumps remain. 
  3. Pour into liners, filling three-quarters of the way.
  4.  Bake 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Chocolate mousse
1 (12.3 oz) pkg extra-firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup plain soy milk
2 Tbsp agave syrup or pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (12 oz) pkg semisweet chocolate chips
1 very ripe banana

  1. Crumble tofu into blender. Add milk, agave, and vanilla. Puree until smooth.
  2. Melt chocolate in double boiler. Allow to cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chocolate to the blender and blend until combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides a couple times.
  4. Transfer mousse to airtight container or a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Chill for an hour (or longer).

I think the end product is so pretty - let's take one last look....ahh beautiful.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's In Your Brown Bag Today

It's September 1st (boo to the cooler weather) and the start of our brown bag challenge (yeah!). I've been looking for a way, a reason, a hope to get back on my love of bringing homemade lunch. Sure we'll have some days of eating oatmeal, but I'm excited for the the extra push to get back to my creative lunch-making roots!

As many of you know and probably also experienced we've had a loss of power here in good ol' MA. This has meant for a lot of creative thinking this week and an extra challenge to start my brown-bagging escapade. No worries though I made a trip to Trader Joe's early this week and was able to keep some grocery essentials here in the work fridge.

So today is the start and I'm leading with a classic salad turned up - adding chive and lemon hummus, toasted almonds, cranberries and a little couscous on top. YUM - can't wait! Although September may have snuck up on you all, don't sweat it, just jump into the challenge with us tomorrow.

Here's to brown bag - although I think this weekend I'll treat myself to a more stylish lunch carrier!