Tag Archives: peanut butter

Sweet Treats

Just a little Friday afternoon pick-me-up!

If you live within a reasonable distance of any vegan donut and milkshake vendors, I highly suggest that you stop reading and promptly head over to such a place. If not, I hope my photos of these Pacific Northwest treats will suffice. :)

Sip. The infamous vegan milkshake cart that beckons weary grocery shoppers on their way in and out of Portland’s People’s Food Co-Op. There’s nothing cuter, really. My sister opted for the classic Cookies & Cream shake…

While I–somewhat predictably–got Chocolate Peanut Butter. Technically, it was chocolate coconut peanut butter because I decided Coconut Bliss ice cream was worth the extra $1.50. There’s something about an overflowing milkshake in a old-school diner glass that really tugs at your heartstrings, isn’t there? Or maybe that’s the peanut butter…

In my humble opinion, shakes > donuts, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a veritable kid in a candy shop when I stepped into Seattle’s Mighty-O Donuts. Actually, I was a 22-year-old in a donut shop; but my eyes lit up the same way, I swear. I think my sister could attest to the truth of that statement.

Not only is that a French Toast donut; it’s an organic French Toast donut that was thoroughly enjoyed alongside a wonderful soy latté on a cloudy Seattle day.

Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

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Happy Belated Earth Day!

Challah!

So, my procrastinatory nature won out, and I’m not making my Earth Day post until, well, now. Earth Day is very special to me not only for the reason it’s special to all of you, but also because it’s my veganversary–my 2-year veganversary to be exact! Yes, April 22nd, 2008, I ditched dead animals, dairy, and eggs (man, I wish eggs started with a “d”) for good, and I’ve never looked back except to turn and laugh at the disgusting omnivorous world I left behind.

Of course, being an Environmental Analysis major (on the verge of graduation!) I also love Earth Day for its own wonderful sake, and look forward to Pomona’s annual Organic Dinner, put on by students. The food is catered by Pitzer College’s student-run café, The Shakedown, and supplemented by produce from Pomona’s organic farm. Oh, and there’s also organic dates donated by a nearby California date farm!

This was the second year I’ve helped out with the 200-person dinner (setting up, serving, baking, etc.), and it’s been a blast both times. After much deliberation, Steph and I decided to bake the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pillows and Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and my old standby chocolate chippers–the Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vive Le Vegan!

Let me tell you, no matter how kick-ass of a baker you are, it is impossible–impossible, I say!–to make 400 plus cookies in under six hours if you only have one oven. Yes, you heard me right. Steph and I slaved over a hot oven from 9:00 pm to 3:30 am in order to bring Pomona students these stacks of organic vegan goodness!

It’s a good thing we did too, because we kind of ran out of food midway through the dinner (and to be honest the food we had this year was NOT as good as last year’s–overly salted teriyaki tofu in lieu of delicious tempeh curry). So, yeah, these cookies were kind of the saving grace of the dinner; and, if I don’t say so myself, they were pretty darn delicious and gorgeous to boot!

Be back soon with the rest of Nicole and I’s time in LA! :) This was just a scheduled interruption!

Deglutenized Peanut Butter Blondies

In Isa and Terry’s newest book, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (which you all own, of course, being the good little vegans that you are), we’re told in the introduction, “So here’s a news flash: any of the cookies in this book can be made gluten-free. Yeah, we said it.”

I’m a contracted student baker for the Motley, Scripps College’s student-run coffeehouse, and given the demand from a few of my gluten-intolerant friends on campus, I decided to put the above statement to the test. Of course, I chose to try it out on the Peanut Butter Blondies because they’re, well, peanut butter blondies.

Guess what? Isa and Terry weren’t lying! All I did was sub in Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Mix, adding in a couple extra tablespoons of flour like the book suggests you do if you’re going the gluten-free route, and I had myself a pan of beautiful, sticky sweet, fudgy peanut butter heaven. I’ve never made these with wheat flour, but I like them enough in their GF form that I don’t really feel the need to test the difference.

Of course, I added chocolate chips into the batter and nixed the peanuts on top because that just seemed like a good decision. I suppose you could do both, but I like the simplicity of a topping-less blondie.

Whether you’re going to make these as written, or gluten-free, I don’t care; just know both options are open, and more importantly, make them right now. :)

Granola Love

Welcome to my new self-hosted WordPress blog and happy late Valentine’s Day!

I made a couple batches of granola recently, one from The Candle Café Cookbook and one from 500 Vegan Recipes. Both were totally different kinds of granola, but delicious in their own right. :)

The Candle Café Granola was really interesting in that it used steel cut oats as well as regular rolled ones, which I’ve never done before. Plus, it called for coconut oil and maple syrup–the best fat and the best sweetener! This granola came out super crunchy, with no clumps whatsoever–almost like a cross between granola and muesli.

Unfortunately, I had barely any of the ingredients that it called for, so I subbed sesame seeds and pine nuts for the sunflower seeds and walnuts, dried orange cranberries and candied ginger instead of currants, and extra almonds for the coconut. Now that I think about it, I think my version is better. Much more exotic–it had a really exciting flavor that you couldn’t quite put your finger on!

Then I made a recipe I’ve been dying to try since Celine first posted it at Have Cake, Will Travel: PB&J Granola!

This was a much healthier, more subtly sweet granola made with rolled oats and brown rice flour (or at least I think I used brown rice flour–we forget to label our plastic bags of bulk bin flour sometimes…), with chunks of jam swirled in just before baking. I used strawberry of course! What is UP with those people who only eat grape PB&Js?!

Maybe I underbaked it, but this granola was super soft and chewy. It made GREAT clumps, so if clumpy granola is your thing, then please go buy this book (there are also four or five more phenomenal granola recipes in the book!).

Perfect with bananas and vanilla hemp milk!

The Ultimate Brownies

Um, for all of you who own The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes, Kris is not throwing around the word “best.” In other words, when she calls her recipe for super fudgy brownies “The Ultimate Brownies,” she means it. They are actually what you would want to eat on your ultimate–i.e. last–day on earth.

Yesterday was rainy and dull here in Claremont. I bet a lot of you are scoffing at my complaining about Southern California weather, but I think I can speak for all my fellow Sagehens (yeah, that’s our Pomona mascot…) when I say, we didn’t sign up for this! Anyways, due to said horrible weather, everyone in my suite–including yours truly–was a little grumpy. I decided to bake the most decadent brownies I could find to rectify the situation, and that’s where Kris’ recipe came in!

I used Kris’ peanut butter stripe mixture from her blog as well, and you can see that, I have the same Baker’s Edge brownie pan–so every brownie has at least two edges! I made half without peanut butter though because you never know if some of your friends are brownie purists. Personally, I think the PB only enhances these brownies. :)

I don’t know what kind of magic occurs when you mix the seemingly standard ingredients in this recipe together, but whatever it is, it makes the best brownies you’ve ever tasted. That’s what my best friend Ilana said, and brownies are her favorite food. This girl knows what she’s talking about. Plus, they were this good even when made with whole-wheat flour!

With that perfect flaky top, those lightly caramelized edges, and a texture that’s so chewy and fudgy you can’t even handle it, these brownies are too legit to quit.

If you want to win someone’s affections this Valentine’s Day, I think I’ve just shown you how to do it. And another hint: if I’d had any non-dairy vanilla ice cream, I might now be able to tell you that a brownie sundae would have been the only way to improve upon this perfection. Looks like I’m telling you anyways though–what can I say, I have intuition!

Cuckoo for Coconut Peanut Butter!

As you all know, peanut butter is kind of my thang. Although straight up PB will always be my favorite, I do have a soft spot for “special” peanut butter–as long as it’s free of weird additives and oils. I thought I’d pretty much explored the world of specialty peanut butter–and what a wonderful world it is!–with Peanut Butter & Co., Justin’s Nut Butters, and Naturally Nutty, but I found out I was wrong when Tropical Traditions’ Coconut Peanut Butter walked into my life.

Tropical Traditions provided me with a jar to sample, and I’m so grateful that they did. This product contains just what it should and nothing else: organic dried coconut and organic roasted valencia peanuts. That’s it.

Those two ingredients are all it takes to produce a butter that’s so sinfully salty-sweet, you’ll think you’re eating frosting.

So after eating half of the jar with a spoon over the course of a couple weeks, I started thinking about what foods it would go best with. Turns out, coconut peanut butter can pretty much be put on anything you’d put regular peanut butter on, with similar or better results. :)

Like sweet potatoes:

As you can see, coconut peanut butter is much runnier than regular peanut butter. It takes on that thin meltiness of coconut butter more than it does the thick spreadableness of peanut butter. When cooler than room temperature, it’s solid.

Okay, so this next one’s slightly more decadent than a sweet potato, but hey–those peanut butter Newman O’s were asking for it!

And finally, the ever-versatile oat bran. In this case, sweet potato oat bran, topped with coconut peanut butter, and–get ready–sweet potato coconut paste! The paste was from the care package that Jessie at Vegan Minded exchanged with my mom. I stole it from her, hehe. Thanks Jessie!

As you can see, Tropical Traditions Coconut Peanut Butter is a fantabulous product; whether you’re a PB lover like myself, or just want to add a unique and healthy product to your diet, you should pick up a jar for yourself!

Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Thanks for all the good luck wishes, everyone! Apparently, they were effective because I ran my half marathon in 1:57:21, a full 13.26 minutes faster than my first one in September. That’s basically a minute less per mile!

It was an awesome experience running a race in my hometown (well it started in Phoenix, but ended in my hometown, Tempe). Fun fact: the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll in Phoenix is the largest same day marathon/half marathon in the United States! This year, there were over 30,000 runners!

This race was also special because I was running for Team Tempe to help raise money for local charities. Of course running is highly personal and when it came down to it, I ran for me; but it was nice to help others in the process!

I’m really proud of my time since I was only able to train intensively for two and a half weeks. Out of the 1,144 in my division (F 18-24), I came in 154th!

I loved running the Disney one with my good friend, Chelsea, but it was also really nice having my parents there to greet me at the end (my dad took the photo).

Wonder what the perfect post-race vegan meal is?

Oats in a jar, of course! Well banana-vanilla-cinnamon-date oat bran in a PB jar to be exact. Normally, I can’t eat this much, but I was really hungry for obvious reasons. :) This baby really hit the spot.

Hot, gooey, lovely mess. Taken with my new Canon 60mm macro lens!

Is running 13.1 miles really that hard when you have this breakfast waiting for you at home?