Winner, Winner!!!

Hello! This will be a mighty short post. It’s finally time to announce the winner of the My Sweet Vegan giveaway… Commenter #14!!! That’s Jes from the Cupcake Punk blog!!!! Congratulations Jes!!! I will contact you via e-mail so that we can arrange shipping of your new book. Thanks to everybody who entered the contest. I enjoyed reading about your favorite baked treats and I am excited to check out all the recipe links!!!

Happy New Year!

Year-End Giveaway!!!!

Hey everybody, what’s up?! This year is quickly coming to a close and I’m still back a few months trying to reach the present… My holiday cookie baking intentions are simmering somewhere in outer space (well, except for a few batches I managed to whip up last weekend). I mentioned in a previous post that I would be reviewing My Sweet Vegan by the lovely Hannah Kaminsky and this post is dedicated to that decadently yummy book.

Lately I have been trying to reduce my sugar intake so this review was a test of my will power against sweets. Don’t misunderstand, I do love treats, but my body responds much differently than my taste buds. Anyways, Hannah’s book is impressive from the start. An extensive ingredient guide will familiarize you with items you may not know much about. There is a color photograph accompanying each recipe (taken by Hannah herself!) so you know how the final treat should look. The recipes range from muffins, scones, cakes, pies, tarts, crumbles, and even parfaits!!! There is definitely a recipe for everybody (and a food allergy index at the back of the book to help you choose appropriately) and every season. I have made a handful of wonderful recipes from My Sweet Vegan: Whoopie Pies, Rootbeer Float Cupcakes, Power Hungry Granola, and Orange Hazelnut Biscotti. Several recipes are marked for future baking binges: Strawberry Spirals, Sweet & Simple French Toast, and Dried Fruit Focaccia. While the ingredients for the recipes can be expensive to purchase and are not always in your pantry, it is fun to whip up some seriously indulgent desserts once in awhile. I keep my copy on hand for special occasions and have found that you can make them a bit healthier by substituting different flours, milks, sweeteners, etc. But, it is a dessert book, so don’t expect low fat recipes!!! Treat yourself, friends, family, and co-workers!!!! Yes indeed.

Orange Hazelnut Biscotti – pretty addictive and perfectly enhanced with orange zest and juice. Have some with a cup of tea, why don’t you?

And here comes the best part – I am giving away one copy of My Sweet Vegan to a lucky reader (thanks to Alisa from Go Dairy Free for providing the copy)!!!!! Woohoo! I meant to have the giveaway earlier so I could mail the book out before the holidays, but we bake all year, so I guess it doesn’t matter much, right? Good! To enter the drawing, just leave a comment telling me your favorite baked treat (recipe links would be awesome!!!). I will happily ship overseas so don’t let that stop you from trying to win!!! I will choose a winner on Wednesday, December 30th. Hurry up already and leave a comment!!!! Get excited to bake up some seriously sweet treats!!!! Good luck!

I hope everybody enjoys the remainder of 2009. I am partial to even numbers, so I am mighty happy about the approach of 2010. Best wishes to each of you in 2010.

A Book Review

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Alisa Marie Fleming from the Go Dairy Free website and asked to review a few books, My Sweet Vegan by Hannah Kaminsky and Go Dairy Free by Alisa herself. What a wonderfully generous opportunity, right?! When the books arrived in my mailbox, I immediately cozied up on the futon with a blanket and started reading. I had the pleasure of meeting Hannah when she was in Portland in 2008 for a book signing event at Herbivore. She was so sweet and made treats for everybody to enjoy, including some yummy whoopie pies! Since I already own a copy of My Sweet Vegan, I will be having a giveaway soon (everybody can enter too!!!). But first I want to review Go Dairy Free.

Go Dairy Free is an incredible resource for vegans, vegetarians, and any individuals wanting (or needing) to reduce/eliminate dairy from their diet. The book begins with an introduction about dairy (what it is, why we don’t need it, allergies, etc) and ends with an abundance of wonderful recipes! In between are chapters about eating dairy-free away from home, grocery shopping, and dairy alternatives. There are plenty of tips, links, and recommendations for both online and offline reading resources too. This book is so well organized!!! I marked about a zillion recipes to make! Time is seriously disappearing in my life but I still found enough to make a few recipes (well actually, Tim made the second one, but still…):

Light Apricot Scones – Oh my goodness, these are delicious!! I made them twice, once for Tim and I to enjoy and once for a vegan bake sale. They are so simple, quick, and addictive.

Sesame Soba Noodles – Insanely quick, healthy, and so very tasty. If you are pressed for time this is the perfect recipe for lunch or dinner. It’s also a great meal for adaptability, you can add veggies, tofu, tempeh, other seeds… Whatever your lil’ non-dairy heart desires!!!

I have marked plenty more recipes to try from Go Dairy Free: Oatmeal Blender Waffles, Peanut Buttery African Stew, Sunflower Seed Cheese, Cashew Gravy, and Portobello-Ricotta Ravioli just to name a few!!! Yummy sounding stuff, right?

I have been enjoying Go Dairy Free so much that it keeps moving from my cookbook shelf to my bedroom to my living room and back to the cookbook shelf… Repeat, repeat, repeat. If you don’t own a copy of Go Dairy Free, you should. It is so packed full of tips, and I love tips!!!

I hope to have a review of My Sweet Vegan posted before the end of the week. Keep your eyes peeled because I will be giving away a copy (thanks Alisa!!) to one lucky reader. It would make a super gift for the holidays (or for yourself of course!).

Keep cozy in the cold if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, or cool in the heat if you live in the Southern Hemisphere. Go have some tea and a scone.

Chili for Chilly Nights

Do you have your copy of 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen & Joni Marie Newman yet? You don’t? Well you should probably hurry up and get one because all those recipes will be mighty sad if you don’t make them soon. For example, if the weather has you huddled under blankets or planted next to a space heater, you could warm up your insides with a bowl of Cranberry Chili and a side of Sweet Skillet Cornbread:

Or, maybe you are addicted to tahini like I am, and also happen to love chocolate? Well then you should probably make the Chocolate Tahini Quick Bread:

Or maybe you are a cookie addict? Well then, you should without a doubt make the Caraque Pastries (which kind of resemble boobies, but don’t let that deter you):

Or, maybe you are terribly sluggish in the morning and you drag yourself from one room to the next seeking some revitalization? Well goodness, I’d suggest whipping up a batch of Energy Bars!!!

Or, maybe you just want to make sammies for lunch and need some bread? How about the Dijon Thyme Bread?

Or, maybe you just want to cozy up with a good book and read? Well then you better get a copy of 500 Vegan Recipes because it’s a dandy fine novel. Hurry up already before Santa (or your respective holiday-themed dude) gets the last one.

Giveaway Winner!!!

Oooooops! I meant to post the winner of my Xagave giveaway earlier today but time was consumed too quickly. Anyways, the winner is commenter #17, Claryn, from the Hell Yeah It’s Vegan blog. Congratulations! Here is what Claryn had to say about her favorite use for agave:

“I like to use agave nectar in candy — particularly macadamia caramel clusters (drizzled with dark chocolate), which I’ve blogged about before. Yum!”

There are so many wonderful recipes on Claryn’s blog – you should take a peek and see for yourself. I will contact you via e-mail Claryn so that we can arrange shipping of your prize!! And, for everybody else, if you are interested in purchasing some Xagave, head over to their website and you can get free shipping by typing TAHINITOO into the payment information page!! How grand is that?! Now we can all have a little extra sweetness in our lives. Big thanks to Robyn at BetterBody Foods & Nutrition for her generosity.

Oh, and speaking of sweetness, I have been busy testing recipes for Celine and Joni’s second (!!!!!) cookbook, The Complete Guide to Vegan Substitutions. Here is a photo of a delicious Cranberry Banana Cake that disappeared pretty quickly after Tim found it in the kitchen:

It’s like banana bread in cake form, studded with tart cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate chips.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!!