Tag Archives: cooking

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

After my previous vegan baking fiasco, I thought that perhaps I should take baby steps: veganize a recipe I was already familiar with.

Growing up, baking chocolate chip cookies was a weekly event, as my mom always brought cookies to work on Fridays.  My brother and I would help measure and pour, and then were rewarded with a beater loaded with cookie dough.  We always used the Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe listed on the back of the chocolate chip bag, although we omitted the salt and nuts.

I knew how to make these cookies, and making it vegan-friendly only required three substitutions: egg replacer for two eggs (Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer), butter substitute (Earth Balance Buttery Sticks), and vegan chocolate chips.  So after a quick trip to Whole Foods, I was ready.

The dough was almost the exact same consistency as the non-vegan version, and the vegan chocolate chips were definitely as good as the Nestle ones I had previously used.

Because my grandparents were visiting, they served as my taste testers.  And the cookies passed with flying colors!

My first bite of my cookie disappointed me at first, as it wasn’t the cookie I had expected from my childhood.  Instead, it was its own unique texture, and while it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was still delicious.  I fell into the trap – I can’t, and shouldn’t, compare new, vegan foods to their non-vegan counterparts that I may have been used to.  It’s not fair.  In no way was my vegan cookie worse than the chocolate chip cookie I knew; I just had to remind myself that this cookie needs to stand alone, not be a “replacement” for a cookie that I no longer choose to eat.

Following in my mom’s footsteps, I brought a plate of cookies into work on show day, and a few fake fights broke out over them.  Everyone loved them, and some people even ate two or three of them.

Notes:

-The egg replacement called for two tablespoons of the replacement powder mixed with six tablespoons of water.  To be on the safe side, I mixed it in a separate container before adding it to dough. **As vegrything notes, for best results, mix the powder and water in a food processor.

-While the original recipe suggests 9-11 minutes as the cook time, I found that 9 minutes was sometimes too much.  I don’t know if this change is due to the substitutions, but I would aim for 8 minutes to avoid burning the cookies.

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Microwaves and Madras Lentils

I’m all about the instant meals.  I prefer meals that I can cook in one pot, or even better, on one plate in a microwave.  Today, I needed one of those meals.  Caught up in homework, I was too busy to realize that I was hungry.  And then the sucker punch of an empty stomach grabs my attention.

“Food,” my stomach whimpers.

I open my mini fridge/freezer combo and pull out a bag of frozen green beans.  Microwaving frozen vegetables is one of the easiest ways to make a healthy snack, and as a college student, I like that it’s space efficient and the food doesn’t go bad.  And while the bowl of green beans was delicious, my stomach insisted that it needed more food.

Cue Tasty Bite’s Madras Lentils, with a promise of “Ready in 90 Seconds” plastered on the front.  The lentil and bean mixture was a bit on the spicy side, but paired with a piece of bread, I wolfed it down.  I decided to then look at the package to see exactly why it was so good.

Thank you, Whole Foods.

The lentils take care of 40% of my daily “Dietary Fiber” and contain 14 grams of protein, although they are accompanied by 42% of my daily sodium intake.  I can’t say I was surprised by the amount of sodium – it was an instant meal after all.  Then I stopped myself and considered what else I would have eaten: ramen.  I do love my Top Ramen, but I’m careful to eat it sparingly.  Providing a whopping 76% of my daily sodium intake, along with a measly 16% of my dietary fiber, my ramen was no match for the Tasty Bite lentils.

Before going vegetarian, I would never have considered looking at Whole Foods for instant meals, or would have considered buying this type of a frozen meal.  This experience has again reminded me that, while my dietary preferences are still limited (something I’m working on), I appreciate the enlarged perspective I’ve gained about my food options.  A meal is no longer a piece of meat with some type of carb on the side, and, on a good day, some veggies.  Suddenly my meals are more dynamic and varied.  I’m excited to keep exploring, and I also can’t wait to bring all of these new meals back home to my family when I return for the summer.

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Keeping the Course

These past few days have been tough.  I started another television production job, so any healthy eating habits I had been carefully cultivating instantly melted at the sight of the craft services table, the area where the crew can eat snacks and food.  I don’t quite have the willpower yet to avoid the seduction of sugary snacks, so having them readily available is a problem.

I have been staying vegetarian though, and I’ve discovered these amazing Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burgers.  They take less than 20 minutes to cook in the oven, and more importantly, I can actually cook them without screwing up.  The patties are made of vegetables and soy, and I was initially surprised by how flavorful and crispy they were.  After twelve hours at work, I enjoyed coming home and feeling like I was eating something healthy.

To prepare myself for the upcoming semester, I bought PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook, which promises 275 recipes that only require a microwave.  Perfect for my communal kitchen situation back in the dorms.

Last night I attempted to make one of the recipes, the F-U Tacos.

It basically consists of tofu, taco seasoning, and refried beans.  Normally I prefer tacos in a soft shell, but since the tofu is already very soft, I chose hard shells, which was definitely the right choice.  The recipe took less than 10 minutes to make, and I have plenty left over.  I’m planning on making a batch when I return to school, so I can’t wait to hear what my roommates think of it.

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