Archive for Cream Cheese

A great start

I cannot help but find cereal one of the most boring ways to start the day. It just seems too cold and impersonal. I never feel energized or ready to conquer the day after eating a bowl – usually just still hungry and unmoved (the only exception being Wegman’s Maple Pecan cereal – that stuff is great). A whole grain bagel with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and a baked apple? Yes, please!

Delicious!

The bagel is a Thomas’ hearty grain 100% whole wheat bagel (because white bread is gross). They are extremely delicious, have 10 grams of protein, and are mildly sweet. There’s also no high fructose corn syrup in them, which I love. I have been making a conscious effort to try and avoid foods which contain it. The baked apple however, is the star of breakfast. The Lexington Coop having AMAZING Crispin apples made it the perfect time to make this.

Baked Apple Breakfast:

  • 1 medium – large Crispin apple
  • 1 1/2 tbsp frozen blueberries
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/16 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 4-5 dried banana chips
  • brown sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Then, remove the apple core and hollow the inside of the apple out, leaving around 1/2 inch from the bottom (I ate some of the tasty insides…).  I did it by hand, without a corer, and it can be done! Mix the frozen blueberries with the rolled oats, and then add the banana chips. Coat this mixture with cinnamon, and place inside the hollow apple.  Once the apple is on/in the baking pan, pour your maple syrup over it. If you wish, add a very shallow layer of water to the pan, and this way when juices escape from the apple, you can pour the tasty water over it once it is done cooking in the oven, which should take around 30-40 minutes. Of course, if you are so inclined and do not have hatred for microwaves, these can be placed in a covered bowl and zapped for about 3 to 5 minutes.

The baked apple was so delicious! The rolled oats were somewhat nontraditional, but added a nice chew to the apple. The lack of butter and sugar make it a better breakfast choice than sugar-laden cereals or prepackaged oatmeal. The banana chips softened a lot from both the maple syrup and the moisture from the frozen blueberries, adding yet another level of flavor to the apple. I think the blueberries, banana and apple went together extremely well. The bottom of the apple was so soft and coated in the fruit juice and maple syrup, how could you not love it?

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And of course…

Red Velvet Cupcakes. Is it me or do they just seem to be every where lately? Popular little things, they are. It seems like you can’t watch an episode of Cupcake Wars (or any other cupcake show, for that matter) without someone turning to them. It makes sense though – they taste amazing and they are pretty easy on the eyes (you always eat cupcakes with your eyes first!). They are a classic, and I used to make them all the time in my non-vegan days, so of course I wanted the challenge of making them vegan and still have them taste just as good. I was further motivated by the boyfriend telling me how he wasn’t sure if he ever had a red velvet cupcake or not.  That, and Tofutti, was all the motivation I needed (as if I need more motivation to bake)!

After sorting through recipes, I found one that sounded close to the non-vegan version but also sounded like it would make a moist cupcake that wasn’t overly sugary. Of course, I changed a few things, as I always seem to do that when baking.

This is the recipe, adapted from http://www.food.com/recipe/red-velvet-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting-vegan-412578:

Cake: (to make just over a dozen cupcakes)

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp red food coloring
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I used Earth Balance), at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, and then started by adding the vinegar to the soy milk to let it curdle while mixing other ingredients. Then, I added the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt. Coming back to the soy milk, I then added the food coloring, oil, vanilla extract and ground almonds. I mixed wet and dry together just until there were no lumps left in the batter. I then filled the cupcake tins and let them bake for about 20 minutes (my oven seems to take a couple minutes longer to bake things than normal though).

Gorgeously red!

While the cupcakes were cooking I made the frosting by first creaming together the Earth Balance and cream cheese, and then the sugar and vanilla. The key here is to have the cream cheese and margarine soft but not too warm, just enough to the ingredients will mix but not start to get runny. This is also why it’s important to make sure the cupcakes have cooled ALL THE WAY before frosting them. As you can see, I was a little hasty (and without my frosting kit) in frosting them, so the cream cheese melted a little on the cupcakes. Although tempting to throw them in the refrigerator, that would only dry the cupcakes themselves out.

The finished product!

I promise you they taste just as good as their non-vegan versions! I wanted to chain eat them all day long, and so did the boyfriend. I would cut one in half and try to convince myself to save the other for later, but it never worked. There was leftover frosting though… if only I had some pastry shells laying around or something. Sadly, I was forced to just feed it to myself right out of the bowl….

In summary, they are gorgeous and I can’t imagine anyone not loving them.

Also, I know there is a lot of debate going on right now about the use of Earth Balance since it contains palm oil. Earth Balance has claimed that their palm oil comes from renewable sources and is not a detriment to the environment. When baking, nothing seems to work quite as well as Earth Balance, so I will continue using it!