Gluten-Free, Nut-Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies | VeganMoFo 2018 Day Fourteen

Week Two: Dietary & Lifestyle Restrictions
We love eating all the vegan food we can, but it’s good to learn how to cook for those who may have allergies or intolerances — and challenge ourselves in the process.

It’s been a tasty week in our household! Aside from all the yummy, oat-y treats we’ve been eating, we’ve had a few really tasty dinners. On Thursday night I roasted up some  roasted corn on the cob along with tofu marinated in this garlicky, herby delight. Served alongside some kale sautéed with cherry tomatoes from the garden, it all made for a healthy, veggie-forward, and immensely flavorful meal. A couple hours after eating, I decided that a delicious dinner like that one deserved to be followed up with dessert. It would be rude not to, right?

I didn’t want to spend too much time on a fussy, complicated treat, though. So I I turned to the queen of simple, relatively healthy, allergen-friendly vegan desserts: Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her healthy sugar cookies come together super quickly and make a perfect treat when you’re peckish at night, so I figured I should give her chocolate chip cookies a shot. I whizzed up some oats my VitaMix’s dry container to make flour; all the other ingredients are pantry staples.

The eagle-eyed among you (hah) will notice that my cookies look nothing like the ones on Katie’s website. There’s a good reason for that. For one, I didn’t quite pulverize the oats finely enough, so they didn’t quite become the texture of flour. (I actually enjoyed the slightly grainy texture!) More problematic was my failure to chill the dough for two hours. It was already 8 p.m. and I was craving sweets, so I forewent the full chill in favor of an abbreviated 15-minute fridging. That’s probably why they spread so much. They were still delicious.

Although these cookies don’t have the buttery richness you find in traditional choc chip cookies, they were still quite satisfying… a more than adequate follow-up to our tasty dinner. I think you could even replace the oil with vegan butter if you wanted a more traditional flavor. I’m happy to add these to my arsenal for a fuss-free, allergen-friendly vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Vegan Bake Sale for Japan!

Hey all! This weekend my Google Reader was filled with people excitedly talking about how much money they raised for Japan by hosting vegan bake sales. If you didn’t have a bake sale in your city, you can still help out! The ever-generous and compassionate Katie is hosting a blog-based vegan bake sale featuring dozens of scrumptious goodies. And it’s super simple to participate! All you have to do is:

1. Check out the bake sale.
2. Bid on an item by e-mailing Katie.
2a. Bid again, if necessary!
2b. Repeat step 2a until you WIN.
3. Make a donation to the Red Cross.
4. E-mail your receipt to Katie.
5. Receive baked goods in mail. Eat baked goods. Bask in the deliciousness of compassion!

Hooray!

Taste of the Tropics Breakfast Sundae

The Breakfast Sundae lovin’ continues! I made this baby a couple of weekends ago, and – dare I say it? – it might’ve been better than the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Breakfast Sundae I made for Katie‘s contest. Less flashy, perhaps, but wonderful in its own way. This sundae features mango, coconut, and a hint of nutmeg – a sweet, tropical blend that makes me want to take to the seas, find an island, and call it my own.

Unassuming, yet delicious.

Taste of the Tropics Oatmeal Sundae
Ingredients:
Breakfast grain of your choice (I used a mix of oatmeal and steel cut oats)
Liquid of your choice (I used almond milk + water)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch nutmeg
1 mango, diced
Coconut flakes to taste

Cook your grain of choice to your personal specifications, adding the vanilla and nutmeg as it cooks. After it’s cooked and cooled a bit, mix in half the mango and coconut flakes. If you have a Magic Bullet or the like, feel free to blend up your oatmeal with a little more liquid for maximum creaminess. Mix in the rest of the mango, top the whole mess with coconut, and prepare for your tastebuds to be taken to the tropics!

Sundae Oaty Sundae

(Better than a bloody Sunday, eh?)

In case you’ve been living under a blog-free rock for the past couple of weeks, you probably know that the Queen of All Things Oatmeal is hosting a Magic Bullet giveaway. Unlike many giveaways that simply require entrants to leave a comment for a chance to win, Katie’s weeding out the passive contest-enterers from those who are more committed to the cause of Winning Free Stuff – this time, hopeful participants need to make a Breakfast Sundae for a chance at winning. Having been a lucky winner of one of Katie’s past giveaways, maybe it’s a little selfish of me to enter this one, but hey – a Magic Bullet would make a fetching addition to my countertop.

So – in the spirit of all things oaty and delicious, I decided to make myself a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Breakfast Sundae this past, um, Sunday. I followed Katie’s basic recipe pretty much to a letter, including blending it up in a Magic Bullet. But wait! It’s not mine – it’s my roommate’s, and my experiences borrowing her Bullet have only increased my intense covetousness for one of my own. After all, sad as it is, she won’t be my roommate forever, and a girl’s gotta build up her own set of kitchen accoutrements, right? Anyway – the Bullet whipped my oatmeal to new heights of creamy deliciousness, and then I upped the ante by pouring some extra-liquidy chocolate butter over the top. Served up in a ceramic sundae bowl I painted recently, this treat certainly looked more like a dessert than a breakfast!

It seriously bothers me that the coffee cup isn't more to the left. :(

Chocolaty and decadent, this breakfast was almost *too* rich for me – in my dotage, I’ve become much more sensitive to super-sugary food. But as a one-in-a-while breakfast treat, I think I can handle it! And I bet this could be a real game-changer for anyone who’s traditionally ambivalent towards oatmeal.

And here’s one more picture for the road – check out the chocolate butter action!

Oh, my.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway, Katie!

Chocolate-Covered Baby Balls [Or, Multiple Weeks’ Worth of Food, Mostly Dessert]

Okay, I swear this post isn’t a chocoholic pedophile’s fantasy (I feel gross just saying that)! Hear me out and I’ll explain – it’ll be worth the wait, I promise!

Tonight I had the most satisfying, amaaazing, and simple dinner ever. My hungry belly loved this meal!

Hello, summer deliciousness!

I channeled Angela‘s hot-over-cold approach to dinner with this dish, and I was surprisingly delighted by the result. I sauteed a yellow zucchini, some spinach, chard, and spring onions and piled that on top of a bed of a cold Southwestern Black Bean, Corn, and Quinoa salad I whipped up a few nights ago. Paired with lots of raw sugar snap peas and hummus, this meal screamed “SUMMER!” to me, especially since the veggies came straight from my CSA share. My roommate and I have a half-share (every other week) from a local organic farm, and they deliver the boxes straight to our work. It’s pretty much the most convenient thing ever! I didn’t get a chance to photograph this week’s haul since my roomie picked up the share, but here’s last week’s deliciousness:

First share o' the year!

That box included arugula, broccoli, cilantro, garlic scapes, head lettuce, kohlrabi, radish, Red Russian kale, salad mix, spinach, and strawberries. Holy freshness, Batman!

Anyway, after tonight’s dinner, I desperately wanted something sweet to round out my fabulous meal. Too bad I didn’t have any chocolate-covered baby balls left!

Oh, my.

Yeah, I know that photo is grainy, ugly-colored, and badly composed, not to mention a little nauseating. But its subject is so damn delicious that I’m posting it anyway. A chocolate-covered baby ball, you see, is born when two awesome bloggers’ recipes collide; more specifically, when Averie’s No-Bake Vegan Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls take a dip in Katie’s Pseudo Magic Shell. This chocolate covered hunk o’ peanut butter is a totally Katie-inspired dessert, hence the “baby” in its name. :)

Unfortunately, though, I didn’t have any baby balls left for dessert tonight. Nor did I have its flattened cousin:

Mmmffff.

Yep, that’s essentially a homemade peanut butter cup comprised of the same ingredients as the baby balls. Freakin’ amazing. ‘Nough said.

So without baby balls or peanut butter cups ready for my sweet tooth, what could I eat for dessert tonight? Not these cupcakes, sadly:

Multicolored brethren.

I made these for my roomie’s birthday last week. Using some VCTOTW recipes as a base, I made Peanut Butter Cupcakes with chocolate frosting aaand Mint Chocolate Cupcakes with vanilla frosting. The vanilla frosting is dotted with – get this – accidentally!vegan mint chocolate chips I discovered at Woodman’s recently. Score!

Sadly, though, those cuppers are no more. I considered devouring the only fruit from today’s CSA share…

(Okay, this photo is from our first share, but whatever!)

…but decided to save them for tomorrow. Instead, I went with a perfect dessert for a hot day – banana soft serve, of course!

Very soft serve.

It was a little more soup than soft serve, but that didn’t detract from its cool deliciousness. I made Averie’s vanilla variation, and used maple syrup for a sweetener, and it was almost too sweet! Now that I’m the ripe old age of 23, I find myself much less able to tolerate eXtReMe sweetness. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing!

So – that’s pretty much a summary of the foodie happenings in my life lately. What’s the most delicious thing you’ve eaten recently?

Food Liberation and Cauliflower Mashification

You know what the greatest thing about families is? You can “liberate” anything from them, and they can’t get angry – you share (metaphorical) blood, so you just *have* to share everything else!

Nah, I jest – sharing is definitely a key part of being a family, but stealing ain’t cool (although my little sister seems to think that taking my clothes whenever she wants is totally okay). But when your family has something they underuse or don’t use at all, it’s totally fine to re-home that item, yeah? I got to do that when I was home for Easter weekend. What did I liberate, you ask?

Yeasty nutrition.

Nutritional yeast, obvs. That carton is about 4/5 full, and since my mom admitted she wouldn’t use it, we both agreed it’d be best for all involved if I liberated it from the dark confines of the pantry and took it on a permanent journey from Rhode Island to Wisconsin, where I’d be sure to give it the lovin’ it so deserves.

Yeah, I was definitely “that girl” at the airport, the one with a big ol’ carton of some weird hippie food in her carry-on. I’m just glad the good folks of the TSA didn’t decide to hand-search my bag, because at 5:30 in the morning, I certainly was not ready to explain what nutritional yeast is and why it’s awesome for vegans (or anybody, for that matter).

Awesome as nutritional yeast may be, I let my poor liberated acquisition languish in my own kitchen cupboard until last night. Then, after spending this past weekend at my best friend’s house, I came home to a nearly empty fridge. ButI did have half a cauliflower and a whole lotta nutritional yeast beggin’ to be used, so I knew something delicious was in my future – mmhmm, cheezy mashed cauliflower!

Mashed albino brains? ...yeah, I went there.

This was totally inspired by the ever-creative Miss Katie. Okay, “inspired by” may be a massive euphemism – I shamelessly stole her Monster-Mashed Cauliflower recipe and added a healthy scoop of yeasty goodness to give my mash even more savory flavor. Between the yeast, the whole-grain Dijon mustard, and the whole clove of minced raw garlic I added (I adore raw garlic!), this was a flavorful dish indeed. It could only have been better if my blender had been more inclined to, um, blend it, but instead I ended up doing most of my mashing with a fork. Whatever; it still tasted delicious.

Now, I totally would have made this recipe even if it didn’t earn me an extra six entries into Katie’s awesome shopping spree giveaway, but since it does, well, who am I to refuse? :)

Also – I am totally aware of the fact that nutritional yeast is commonly referred to as “nooch.” However, I kinda sorta hate that word, so… I don’t use it. Yes, I am a word snob. Suggestions for a less awful nickname and/or abbreviation, anyone? Or righteous indignation and defense of its usage, perhaps? Or, I dunno, general praise or hateration for nutritional yeast? Tell me what you’re thinkin’!

B-foods for B-fast

When I woke up this morning and saw Katie’s “There’s Chocolate in my Banana Brulee” post staring me in the face in my Google Reader, I knew I exactly what I was going to make for breakfast. I’ve made Brownie Batter Oats for breakfast in the past, and I always use the Melted Banana Trick in my oat bran, but today I took things to a whole new level. I didn’t have that Hershey’s Extra Dark cocoa last time I made my Brownie Batter Oats, but now I do, so today I totally rocked the house with this Dutch-processed delight. My recent discovery of Momma’s immersion blender (hallelujah!) allowed me to create a creamy confection that tantalized my taste buds and satisfied my Sunday morning hunger pangs.

B-foods for b-fast.

What a decadent breakfast, right? I used Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal in this bowl; it contains an impressive variety of healthy grains and fills my belly quite well. In fact, this morning’s bowl was so filling and so rich that I was barely able to finish the thick slice of Blueberry-Banana Bread I’d cut for myself! I followed this recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen, although I subbed regular sugar for agave nectar since I’m running low on agave. I also used a mix of unbleached AP flour and whole wheat flour as I don’t have any white whole wheat flour. The bread tastes wonderful and was a great way to use some of the blueberries we picked during the summer. I love having frozen blueberries available at a moment’s notice! Knowing that we picked them from a local farm just sweetens the deal. :)

Before I end, I just want to encourage everyone to check out my post about Project Feed Me. This is really important to me, and I’d love for you all to get involved! So please please please give it a read! Thanks, friends. You’re the bestest. :)

Breakfast, CCK Style

I love breakfast.

I know, who doesn’t, right? But all through high school and most of college, breakfast definitely didn’t get much love from me, except on the weekends when my dad might make a big batch of pancakes. I wasn’t much of a morning person, and in high school I was guilty of breaking my fast on whatever I could shove down my gob in the least amount of time, much to my disapproving mom’s chagrin. Actually, I usually brought my food to school and downed a bagel during my Academic Decathlon homeroom (nerd alert!) before classes started in earnest. In college, I rarely ate breakfast at all until last year, when I lived in a townhouse and had my own kitchen. Not having to get up, get dressed, and trek to the dining hall changed the way I approached breakfast, especially during the frigid Minnesota winter! I have grown to love and appreciate breakfast, and now I never skip it. From pancakes to potato-laden brekkie burritos, I love me my mornin’ eats.

I especially love all things oatmeal, and that’s one reason I’ve always had a soft spot for [Chocolate Covered] Katie and her blog, even back in the days when I was blogging over at Blogspot. Her oatmeal creations are inspired and inspirational! When you can have Brownie Batter for breakfast, who wouldn’t?! Especially when your breakfast creations look like this:

Brownie Batter Oat Bran for brekkie!

My unfortunate lack of an immersion blender means I can’t quite pull off her blended grains technique, but whatever, man – my Bob’s Red Mill oat bran tasted scrumptious enough without being blended! Plus, my Brownie Batter Oat Bran was super brain food for my daily GRE study session.

But I didn’t stop there. Oh no, my love for dessert-for-breakfast fueled me to greater heights of sweet breakfast euphoria when I made Snickerdoodle Oat Bran, a variation of Katie’sSnickerdoodle Hot Cereal!

Snickerdoodle yumminess!

Cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla gave this bowl a flavor totally reminiscent of the snickerdoodles I made a few days ago.

This morning, I ended my trifecta of CCK-inspired breakfasts by coming up with one of my own. I call it… Apple Pie Oat Bran! This “recipe” is super easy and involves one of my favorite ways of eating apples, even those banged-up, bruised, sad-looking ones that sit dolefully in your fruit bowl for days waiting to be used. I’m kind of guesstimating on the measurements here, because I really don’t measure much except my oat bran and milk.

Apple Pie for breakfast...

Apple Pie Oat Bran
Ingredients:
1 apple + cinnamon and sugar to taste
1 cup water or your favorite nondairy milk (I mix half water with half soy or almond milk)
1/3 cup oat bran (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

First, chop up your apple into small cubes and put ’em in a small bowl. Liberally douse the suckers with sugar and cinnamon and let the apples sit and macerate for a while until they become nice and juicy. Then start making your oat bran. Start heating your liquid of choice along with the vanilla, and once it’s boiling add the oat bran. Keep a bonny eye on your oa tbran, stirring fairly often, for one minute. Add about 3/4 of your macerated apple mixture and keep on cookin’ for another minute. Then turn off the heat, add the cinnamon and nutmeg, and remove your pot from the heat. Unless you’re impatient like me, you probably want to let your oat bran cool a for a couple of minutes before pouring it into a bowl, but once you’ve done that, top the oat bran with the rest of your apple mixture, give it all another sprinkle of cinnamon, and you’re good to go! (Also, feel free to sub oat bran with your breakfast cereal of choice.)

Oh, helpful tip – I like to keep a premade cinnamon sugar mixture in a repurposed spice jar so I have it ready at all times; it’s quite convenient. ;)

Now, while these breakfasts are completely worthy of a devotional post such as this one, I also have an ulterior motive in baring my love for dessert-like breakfasts to the world. Katie is
giving away a spiralizer, and she’s generously offering up six extra entries to anyone who blogs about one of her recipes. But even if you don’t have a blog, you can still enter by checking out her contest. Thanks, Katie!