Tag Archives: sugar

Computer and Cake

I accidentally murdered my poor computer last week by knocking over an exceptionally tall glass of water.  I immediately placed it in an airtight container full of brown rice and left it for two days.  Amazingly, it turned on!  But I soon found out that, in spite of its brightly smiling screen, half of my logic board was destroyed, and water had caused corrosion in every part of my baby.

So I write this post from my newest darling, also called a $1199 setback.

***

On a happier note, I followed through and made my own Mosaicake from Veggiewitch’s site.  However, I didn’t use unbleached flour, since I was trying my best to make the cake from things I already had in the cupboard.

My mom and I each filled a cake pan with pastel-colored batter.

And thank goodness, they turned out pretty darn beautiful.

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My only issue is that the cakes turned out very dense, and I’m not exactly sure why.  Delicious, but not quite as light and fluffy as I was hoping.  But since this was my first time making any cake from scratch, let alone a vegan cake, I was very happy with the results.

***

The day after baking this cake, I killed my computer.  So this cake was the best way to console me.  7 pieces of it, to be exact.  Whoops.

The only solution for accidentally murdering your laptop.

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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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First Attempt at Baking – Snickerdoodles

In preparation for a family 4th of July party, I was supposed to make cookies.  Except that I had just cut out all animal products from my diet and hadn’t yet started exploring vegan baking.  For help, I turned to the Internet.  The party was mere hours away, so I wanted a recipe that wouldn’t require any additional shopping.  A Google search led me to Post Punk Kitchen’s Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodle recipe, which not only used ingredients I already had, but also featured a lovely how-to video.

Since this was my first dabbling in vegan baking, I worried about how the cookies would taste.  But when I popped the cookies out of the oven, they looked gorgeous; they crackled just like the cookies in the picture, and even glistened with a hint of sugar on top.

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Ready for some vegan goodness, I crunched into a cookie.  Yes, I tasted the chocolate, and it was generally sweet, but damn, the thing was spicy!  I’ve never been one for spiciness, though, so I solicited another opinion.

“Come try the cookies I made!” I yelled at my brother.  He examined the cookie, took a bite, and gave me his notes.

“Crunchy.”  Another bite.  Silence.  Another bite.

“They’re a bit spicy,” I offered.

“Too spicy,” he replied, disgust scrunching up his face.

“So we shouldn’t bring them tonight?”

“No.”

How quickly my hope for bringing wonderful vegan cookies – to lessen some of the scrutiny I would inevitably receive for my new diet – died.  I finished cooking the rest of the dough and was left with a whopping two plates of mediocre cookies.

***

I picked up a box of sugar-frosted cookies from Ralph’s that my mom loves on the way to the party for everyone else to enjoy, and with that I became determined to become a vegan baking queen.

 

As a side note, this is the only recipe I’ve ever tried from Post Punk Kitchen, and I’m looking forward to exploring other recipes their site has to offer.  However, in the future, I’ll look for recipes that don’t use cayenne pepper.  Their Just Chocolate Cake looks very promising.  Suggestions?

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No Sugar Challenge: Breakfast Issues and Tea

My no sugar challenge has been interesting so far.  I cut out all sugar beginning Monday, meaning no foods that have sugar, maltodextrin, HFCS, etc. in the ingredients.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, despite sleeping eight hours, I found myself tired all day, and even snappy on Tuesday, which is really strange for me.  It’s crazy to think that this could seriously be caused by taking out all sugar, but I can’t think of what else it could be (stress, perhaps?).

This week probably wasn’t the best week to eliminate all sugar considering how stressful it’s been.  On Monday morning, after waking up early to go for a rare morning run (I wanted to start this week off right!), I came back and tried my Regular flavor Quaker Instant Oatmeal, which basically contains oats, salt, and some caramel coloring.  And I was disgusted.  The oatmeal was the same warm texture as always, but it lacked all flavor.  I sadly ate the rest of it, and I slowly realized that this week was going to be a bit difficult.

Tuesday morning, I added cinnamon to my regular oatmeal, which gave it a bit of flavor, but I think I ended up using too much cinnamon – I had a hard time swallowing a few of the bites.  So the next day I caved – I used one packet of Regular flavored, and one packet of my delicious High Fiber Cinnamon Swirl.   The Cinnamon Swirl flavor may contain maltodextrin and sugar, but it also has 10g of fiber, while the Regular flavor only has 3 grams.  So in the future, I think I will compromise by mixing one of each packet, which is something I wouldn’t have tried before this experiment.

Herbal tea is the only thing keeping me strong.  Celestial Peppermint tea, Tazo Sweet Cinnamon tea, Sleepytime Chamomile, Black Tea, Green tea – all the tea!  I’ve been drinking a lot more of it just to keep a strong flavor in my mouth to distract me.  Why is not eating sugar so difficult??

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No Sugar – Oh Goodness.

Inspired by Wheat Grass & Sassafras’ post, I’ve decided to do a trial no-sugar period.  I gave myself plenty of advanced notice (I decided this two weeks ago), and I officially started Monday.  While my original intention for delaying my start date was so that I could eat whatever I wanted over spring break, as Wheat Grass & Sassafras pointed out, planning so far in advance has also given me time to prepare mentally – just being more aware of the sugar I’m eating.

Why am I doing this?

I’m happy with my weight and body, but I’m not happy with how unhealthy I sometimes still am.  Going vegetarian was a way to force me to eat more vegetables, and while I’ve been trying to limit my dessert intake to complement this healthier way of eating, I all too easily succumb to my sweet tooth.  I’ve tried taking pictures of my food to increase my awareness (only worked for a little bit), just telling myself “no” (the yelling of my cravings often drowned out the whisper of reason), and limiting the portion size of the dessert I ate.  None of these things have been truly successful, even in the short-term.

How does it work?

Any way I want it to, really.  My plan is to test out a no-sugar lifestyle for exactly two weeks, then ending with a cheat day when I can eat whatever the heck I want.  The plan is to use this day as a motivator for me not to eat sweets during the two weeks.  That final day I’ll also reflect on the sugar-fasting period – what did I like, what changed, how did I feel – and then decide from there what I learned, and how I can use that information to figure out what strategy would work best to keep me healthiest.

What are the rules of the game?

Sugar is in just about everything.  Sadly, it’s even in my favorite Quaker Instant Oatmeal that I love for breakfast.  And in my favorite Soy Gingerbread Chai Tea from our campus’ cafe.  Since I still often eat in our dining hall, “no sugar” will basically translate into no desserts while eating there.

Ultimately, this is a challenge to see if I can break my sugar addiction for two weeks.  It definitely will be interesting.

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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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