Soft Pretzels

I have a problem.  When I get stressed about things... say final exams... I don't alleviate that stress by studying.  I alleviate it in the kitchen.  It's not even the eating I find comforting, but the cooking itself.  Back in high school I would mass-produce muffins and cupcakes during finals, and bring a giant basket handing them out to everyone I knew (and didn't know...) Seriously, I mean at least it's a productive method of coping, but in 7 hours when I am taking an exam over accounting data systems it probably won't feel quite as productive.  Really, though I think knowing how to make a killer soft pretzel will be far more useful in life than knowing anything about accounting data systems... psh what's an accounting data system anyways.


Copy Cat Lara Bars

School has driven me to this thing I shamefully call the granola bar, fruit leather, and vitamin water diet.  How it works is I eat a smoothie for breakfast, and throw a variety of granola bars and fruit snacks in my bag for my lunch and dinner the rest of the day.  This habit is problematic for a few reasons... namely I get hungry and cranky, my groceries get expensive, and let's face it granola bars and dried fruit don't quite complete the food pyramid (whatever the current pyramid is filled up with).  Half of my grocery bill is typically made up of Luna bars, Cliff bars, Lara Bars, etc (Have you eaten the caramel nut brownie Luna bars?? oh my goodness they are divine.  And yes I know they aren't actually that healthy...)  Now, I realize I can't quite duplicate Luna's caramel nut brownie bar with ease, but I can copy Lara Bars with only a few simple ingredients.  And since I can... I did :)

Vegan "Caramels"

Earlier this week I had a final presentation in my intellectual property class, and because my professor basically told us we would receive A's if we brought the class food, I brought food.  Not just any food, Spoon Fork Bacon's Baked Apple Pie Egg Rolls with vanilla bean whipped cream and caramel sauce.  Now, let's not focus on the fact that my presentation was on a local company using a variation of the Apple logo... because let's face it bringing apple pie was basically irrelevant to what I was talking about... the more important fact was they they were incredibly delicious, everyone loved them, and I got to sit and watch everyone rave about them and not eat any because they were full of dairy.  Curse my lactose intolerance.  Cue delicious, no sugar added, raw, vegan caramels-- I could seriously eat an entire batch of these babies.  I was skeptical, but I was proven wrong, incredibly, deliciously wrong.  Just try them.


Thai Panang Beef Curry

So, I could live on rice, Nutella, fruit, and cereal--and be incredibly happy.  I am however, dating a carnivore.  So while my idea of a perfect curry is loads of veggies and a light sauce, Mr. Meat is not as fond of water chestnuts, kale, and carrots.  Hence, a rich, flavorful curry with strictly meat.  Even with my preference for veggies, this was really, really tasty.


Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

There are a few food words that make me feel fancy: ganache, coulis, aioli, compote... I like'm.  And if I can toss them into the description of whatever I am making, I suddenly feel like a legitimate cook.  (I won't even venture to use the word chef, that's simply laughable.)  Pesto is one of these words.  For some reason pesto just sounds kinda fancy, you know?  And while I'm at it I'll toss my pesto on some bruschetta or capatavi or oriochette.  Or in english- this stuff tastes great smeared on some toast, or over a bowl of funny shaped noodles.  Personally, I enjoy mine with wheat rotini and sauteed veggies.


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Cookie" and "Chocolate"are two of my most frequently used labels... I clearly enjoy both.  The combination of the two is even better, especially if you use four varieties of chocolate chips, in ridiculous quantities.

I made the mistake of using a recipe that yields 60 to make only 30 or so, so each one of my cookies was a meal--an intoxicatingly chocolate, decadent, rich, delicious meal, best accompanied by a glass of [almond] milk.   


Mini Chocolate Donuts with Maple Glaze... and Bacon

There is a reason I set myself a curfew in the kitchen: No baking past 8:00pm.  These donuts are what happens when I break curfew.  Since just making donuts wasn't bad enough, I had to coat them in finger-licking good maple glaze... and top them off with bacon.  I nearly resorted to licking the drips of glaze off the counter (granted I may also occasionally eat marshmallow fluff by the spoonful so maybe I'm a bad measure of irresistability).  But in all seriousness, these little calorie bombs are tasty--the sweet maple and salty bacon unite dynamically, all atop a mini chocolate donut.  Perfection.

Oh yeah, and did I mention you get to cheat and use a cake mix? Mhmmmm!


Tempeh Nuggets

Tempeh Nuggets, sounds incredibly delectable no? 

Well, they were actually surprisingly delicious.  These babies were the result of my craving wings on the way home from learning to break dance tonight (yes... break dance...  It was AWESOME).  Rather then stopping for unhealthy fast food (I'm trying this thing called self-control), I decided I should make seitan nuggets when I got home instead, since I had a lub of seitan in the fridge.  I had my recipe all planned out, only to get home and discover I had tempeh, not seitan in my fridge. (It's all the same to me...)  Since I'm lazy and stubborn, I just went ahead and did the exact same thing I intended to do with my seitan to my tempeh.  Generally speaking, it is recommended to boil or steam your tempeh first, but let's face it, that's another dirty dish--so I didn't.  Even then, these little morsels were crunchy, pleasantly flavored, and an ideal transportation mechanism for barbeque sauce.  Success.


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