Entries Tagged as 'celebration'

VV Turns 2 /// Spicy Double Chocolate Cookies with Cappuccino Frosting

Posted on: August 17, 2013

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Yay – today Vegetarian Venture’s has officially been around (and active!) for two years! It seems both unreal and yet two years doesn’t seem that long. I can’t remember my life without this creative outlet and can’t imagine what I did with all my time before baking, cooking, photography, styling, and playing with food?

The world as I know it has changed drastically since 2011. Two years ago, this guy didn’t exist:

tuko

And I didn’t live in our blue house with this guy:

qtRR

Two years ago I was going to school part time and working at a local co-op grocery store. The co-op had this wonderful shelf in the fridge called the ‘chump shelf’ and was filled with any sort of unsellable item that were up for grabs – day old baguettes (perfect for french toast), pints of berries with one moldy piece, two day old tabbouleh (everyone know it’s better after it’s aged a bit), blemished organic produce, bulk bags of grains that people bagged up and then decided against buying, etc. As a student trying to live cheapily and still obsessed with food, this was the most amazing shelf for me. I would come home beaming every night with bags full of free food and feed my entire house full of college roommates. The food I brought would often times be a weird mix of ingredients and that was what sparked searching through recipes and blogs and eventually starting VV to document my adventures.

Two years later and I do not still work at the co-op (but still live right down the street from it and shop their almost everyday), have graduated college, and don’t have a house full of roommate to feed. I do, however, still love blogging and spend most of my free time cooking for my boyfriend / boxer.

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Heart Shaped Polenta Crostini with Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese

Posted on: February 8, 2013

Heart Shaped Crostini with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

I’m not very into doing ‘holiday themed posts’…or…. maybe I’m just not good at them? ‘Ms. Bah! Humbug!’ over here. I’ve done a few Thanksgiving recipe suggestions and a Christmas post here and there but as for anything else? Meh, not really. St. Patrick’s Day? When is that again? Labor Day? Too busy playing at the lake to worry about the internet. 4th of July? I’ll be the girl preppin’ tofu with a beer in hand by the grill (and not a laptop in sight). It’s just never been my thing to make a recipe based on it’s color scheme (hello red, white, and blue… fruit salad?!), shape (4 leaf clover cut outs aren’t even that cute! What is that…a pot leaf?), or any other gimmicky food trend. Buuuut…on that note, here I am with a Valentine’s day post. Why? I honestly don’t know. When pink everything started showing up on my Pinterest feed a few weeks ago, I was totally appalled. ‘Oh noooo. Heart and pink everything? No way. Nah uh.’

But then I kind of started getting obsessed with the idea. I started imagining all my food in heart shapes… the marshmallows in my hot cocoa, the setian cutlet I served for dinner. And then the pink and red hallucinations started coming… pink colored orange juice and red oatmeal. I finally came to terms with the fact that this was my mind subconsciously telling me ‘You are taking on this Valentine’s Day challenge and you will come up with something clever to try’. Okay okay okay. So I opened up my pantry and this is what came out…

But, wait..before we go any farther, I should warn you that I’m a bit bitter when it comes to Valentine’s Day. I have a boyfriend…a boyfriend I’ve had for the past 3 Valentine’s days which is…I guess cool and all. BUT there are so many fun ‘single ladies’ activities that go down on February 14th that I cannot help but feel a bit left out. Last year I lived with 4 single girls and they decided to throw a ‘Single Ladies Party’. Guess who was the only one NOT invited? Yup, that’s me. And you know what? If I was invited then I would have made these. Because these are the perfect little bites for a party and they are cute and themed and oh so delicious. Those girls’ lose, obviously. Anddd…if anyone feels like inviting me to their Vday celebration this year, I will leave my boyfriend at home and come baring a tray full of these.

Just sayin’. It might be fun. And you won’t be disappointed by these little bites. Or my company. Hopefully.

 

Heart Shaped Crostini with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

 

Heart Shaped Polenta Crostini with Roasted Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

  • 1 tube of prepared polenta
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ~1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sage, chopped
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • Salt / Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together the tomatoes, 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil, and a little salt / pepper. Put on a cookie sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on how soft you like your tomatoes).

Cut the polenta into 15 slices and use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the heart shapes. Set aside the leftover plenta for another use (goes perfect under eggs).

In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, and milk (you may have to add more milk depending on how stiff the mixture still is. You want it to be thin enough to spread). Set aside.

In a large skillet, Heat olive oil over medium. Add the polenta hearts and cook until browned (time will depend on how hot your skillet it). Flip over and let brown on the other side.

Remove from heat and place on a tray. Top each polenta heart with goat cheese mixture, sage, a little more pepper, and one roasted cherry.

Serve warm and to all your lonely friends [or loving couples].

Heart Shaped Polenta Bites

 

 

 

Song Pairing:

Peppermint Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread

Posted on: December 11, 2012

We put our tree up the Saturday after Thanksgiving but my Christmas spirit didn’t really kick in until I whipped up these cookies. There is something so calming about waking up on a sunny, snowy day and hiding from the cold in your warm kitchen with the lingering smell of butter cookies. We haven’t had any snow yet here but the weather was certainly chilly enough for me to stay inside and bake this past weekend.

We had a few friends over on Sunday night to watch ‘Christmas Vacation’ and I made these cookies to go with it. Nothing like a Christmas comedy and overloading on sugar to get you ready for the holidays! The movie put me in the spirit and I am now ready to Christmas shop, wrap gifts, and drink peppermint lattes. Hmmm… if only my family would tell me what they want already….

 

 

Peppermint Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies

  • 2 sticks of butter (1 cup), divided & at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 box of peppermint candy canes, unwrapped and crushed
  • 8 ounces of white chocolate

Start by browning half (one stick) of the butter. Place butter in a small saucepan over low heat and let cook until small brown flakes form. Stir often so the bubbles don’t bubble over the pan or so that it doesn’t burn. Once the butter has browned, immediately pour it into a glass cup and let cool completely.

Beat together the butter (browned and regular) and the brown sugar. Next, add in the flour and salt and continue to beat until a thick ball of dough forms. Wrap dough (with parchment, wax paper, etc) and let chill for at least 30 minutes (this will help keep the dough together).

Once chilled, transfer dough to a floured surface and roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter or the top of a round glass to cut out circular shapes. Transfer to a greased cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the cookies in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes while the oven preheats (this will help the cookies keep their shape). Cook cookies for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown around edged. Let cool completely.

Crush the peppermint candy canes anyway you see fit. I put mine in a ziploc bag and went to town using a meat tenderizer (also known as the kitchen hammer!) until they were in tiny pieces.

Melt the white chocolate in either your microwave or over a double boiler. I don’t have a microwave so I used the double boiler method which consisted using one saucepan inside the other and letting water simmer under the first pot while I constantly stirred the white chocolate over it until melted (this was a terrible explanation. If it is your first time using a double boiler, use this as a reference). Once melted, dip half the cookie into the chocolate and then roll in the peppermint chunks. Place on wax paper (this prevents sticking) and repeat with the rest of the cookies. Let cookies chill in fridge for 15 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.

Enjoy with a peppermint latte or some eggnog and baileys!

Tuko Turns 1 // Homemade Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

Posted on: November 20, 2012

Woah, time has really flown fast since I posted about Tuko turning 6 months. Since then, we’ve moved into a new house, I graduated from college, and Wyatt started a new full time job. Also, I should mention that Tuko has doubled (if not tripled) in size since then. And he just keeps growing!

For his birthday, we got him a cute little American Apparel sweater and made him some homemade dog biscuits. Spoiled little thing.

 

 

These dog biscuits are packed full of pumpkin and peanut butter. Peanut butter is his favorite…in fact he thinks it is exclusively his food. I cannot pull the stuff out of the cabinet without him pawing at me to get a spoonful (again, spoiled little thing).

 

 

Homemade Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

adapted slightly from A Beautiful Mess
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup orangic peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until a thick dough forms. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Once the dough has chilled, roll out onto a floured surface (roll the dough to about a 1/2 inch thick) and use cookie cutters to make desired shape. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes or until the treats are golden on top.

Shower your dog with warm treats and then store the rest in an airtight container for up to a week.

Vegan Blueberry and Peach Cobbler Cake

Posted on: July 6, 2012

I am feeling a bit off because I am writing you from my favorite coffee shop, Soma, instead of my usual spot; this is because we are officially moved into our new home and are currently without internet. But really, it is okay because Soma littered with inspiration: from its Iced Chaikovsky (Chai + Coffee), maps paper mached all over the walls, and TV fish tanks- it is nothing short of a creative mecca.

Speaking of our new home being without thing…this is officially day 6 of my new life without a microwave. It has been going very well so far. Wyatt and I have decided to try to “untrain” ourselves from nuking thing in the microwave (see why here) and instead turn to the oven/on the stove top to warm things up. Wyatt was not happy about his coffee going cold the other morning (ohhh, the drawbacks of using a french press) but if that ends up being our biggest problem then I think we shall survive.

Oh, Yes! And back to the recipe! I decided to try this cobbler cake instead of a regular cobbler because we were having people over for a grill out and my thought was that it would be way easier for guests to just grab a square instead of messing with scooping a cobbler into bowls and getting spoons and what not. It was a huge success! The stuff was REALLY REALLY delicious. If possible, I think it may have been even better the next day because the humidity is so high in the Midwest right now that it made the cake moist enough to melt in your mouth. Ah, heaven!

And totally feel free to mix in whatever fruit you’d like or have on hand. I adapted this from ButterMeUpBrooklyn and she didn’t even specify a fruit to use.

Blueberry and Peach Cobbler Cake

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 Tablespoons earth balance, cut into chunks
  • dash of vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberries (I used fresh but I am sure you can use frozen as well)
  • 1 peach, pitted and cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and lemon juice. Set aside and let it curdle (you are making vegan buttermilk right now!) for about 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinmamon, and nutmeg together. Toss in the Earth Balance and use your fingers to work into the dry ingredients. Next, fold in the fruit. And finally, fold in the buttermilk just until everything is combined (you don’t want to over mix!).

Pour into your prepared pan and bake for about 3o minutes or until you can stick a tooth pick in the center and it comes out clean. Sprinkle the top with the brown sugar.

Let cool and then slice into squares.

Serve to all your friends and watch at how excited they are about your new twist on cobbler!

Giant Chocolate Cookie Cake

Posted on: January 13, 2012

So it’s my roommate’s birthday tomorrow and she’s had this big party planned for weeks. My other roommate and I had this big cookie cake planned to make her until she informed us Monday that she has a chocolate cake picked out that she wants made (she’s a bit of an over planner, if you can’t tell) and since it’s her birthday we have to make what she wants. Soooo we decided to make her this cookie one yesterday as a sort of pre-game to tomorrow (a little overboard of us, I know) but either way we wanted it and her birthday sounded like the perfect excuse to make it.


Giant Chocolate Cookie Cake

For the Cookie:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

For the Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 cups confectioner sugar
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese package, softened
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two pie dishes with wax paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together. Then add the eggs and vanilla. Next, blend in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Mix until well combined.

Divide the dough into two and press into prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.

To prepare the frosting, beat the butter and confectioners sugar until well incorporated. Next, add the cream cheese and melted chocolate chips. Mix until it becomes a light, fluffy texture.

Spread half the frosting on top of one of the cookies and then top with the other cookie. Spread the rest of the frosting on top and decorate with sprinkles/m&ms/butterscotch chips/chocolate chips/swedish fish/skittles/anything colorful you can find in your kitchen.


But be careful because you could even devour half of it before giving it to the birthday girl!



Ella Baby lovin’ her cookie

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