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Holy lengthy title, Batman!  Bear with me, this post is going to be somewhat longer too, but for convenience’s sake, I’m not going to divide it up.  I’ll try not to go on long-winded rants, and just show off lots of pictures of food.

Oh, and just in case I’m showing this site off tonight to a class at the university, I thought I’d say hi, ECMP 355!!

First on the long list: sushi.  I went to the grocery store, and lo and behold, there were fresh shiitake mushrooms!!!  I have worked with dry before, and while they taste fine, the smell of them makes me nauseous.  However, the smell of the fresh ones was entirely different, and so beautiful!  I opened the bag, and this warm, earthy, rich smell floated up to meet me as I sniffed hesitantly.  The whole time I chopped these, I was drooling.

Shiitake

So, one of the rolls was a combination of crumbled extra firm tofu, sesame seeds, and diced-up fresh shiitake mushrooms, which I cooked together until the mushrooms shrunk, and then added a sauce made of tamari soy, freshly grated ginger, and sesame oil.  I cooked off the sauce, and then used this as a filling.  My other rolls were carrot, lettuce, and bean sprout; and avocado and cucumber.  Served with a side of edamame beans.

Sushi Rolls

Now for the cookies.  Actually no picture, here.  Just an alteration of another Kid’s Company’s Coming recipe into something friendlier/less sugar-laden.  I feel comfortable posting this recipe even though it started from a cookbook because I’ve changed it so much.  Seriously, I did this with half the sugar they called for, and a little bit of dates, and could have probably still have removed more of the sugar, as they were very sweet.  Actually, please go ahead and mess around with the sugar-to-dates ratio, and share how they turn out.  While you’re at it, why not experiment with taking out some of the oil in this recipe too (I left it in this time for a treat), especially if you’re using lots of dates.  I made these to brought these to class (and yes, we still bring cookies to class in university), because if you keep the cookies small, this batch makes lots.

Fiddle Diddles, or Haystacks, Minus the Sugar-Induced Coma

– 1/2 cup Earth Balance Butter Substitute

– 1 cup or less Natural cane sugar (check out this site, this brand is both affordable and vegan, except for the honey products!)

– approx. 1/3 cup chopped dates

– 1/2 cup soy milk or some sorta nut milk (use unsweetened, there’s already enough sugar here)

– 6 tbsp cocoa powder

– 3 cups quick cooking rolled oats (not the instant ones)

– 1 cup medium shredded, unsweetened coconut

– pinch o’ salt

– 1tsp vanilla extract

Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat to melt butter, and to soften the dates so that they can be stirred in.  Mash dates into mixture well.  The book says to bring it to a boil, but I don’t think it’s overly important, here, as long as everything’s melted and blended.

Add everything else, mix well, and drop small rounded spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.  Cool, possibly in the fridge or freezer.  Should make around 40 cookies (I think I had thrity-something, wich isn’t too far off).

Also working out an awesome bread recipe, but that’s gonna have to wait.  It needs a little work.

Finally, we’ve come to my lunch today.  I had no school, so I had time to raid the fridge.  This isn’t the fanciest recipe in the world (like most of my fridge-raid hashes), but it sure did turn out good.  I don’t know what to call it, though.  It’s got some Thai influences, but isn’t really, truly Thai, or even necessarily Asian for that matter.  And if I call it a quesadilla, I’m afraid every person in Mexico may spontaneously shudder (what with the lack of cheese, or cheese substitute).  Anyway, whatever it is, it was mighty tasty, and filled with more coconut!  If you’re feeling special, toast the coconut first, along with some sesame seeds.

Sesame-Coconut Quesadilla-like Thingy

Nikki’s Lunch Thing that’s Kinda Like a Coconut-Sesame Thai Quesadilla

Sorry, I’m going to make you use your best judgement for the quantities, here.

– a tortilla

– sauce ( large spoonful of tahini, some soy sauce, spritz of lime juice, a little rice wine vinegar, and freshly grated ginger, mixed together well.)

– about 1/5 block of extra firm tofu, crumbled

– soy sauce

– handful chopped fresh garlic chives

– grated carrot

– bean sprouts

– a little shredded, unsweetened coconut

(an epic view of the ingredients)

Epic Lunch

Spread sauce on tortilla (use extra for dipping later, if you like, but don’t overdo the sauce inside the tortilla, or you’ll have a mess).  Fry tofu crumbles in nonstick pan (or regular pan with a little oil) until they begin to turn golden, then add a little soy sauce to flavour and add colour.  Cook off soy sauce (should only take a few seconds), and add to one half of the tortilla shell.  Pile on top of that the rest of the ingredients.  Fold over other half of shell, and place on a tray in toaster oven, heating until just warmed and lightly crispy (about five min, I think).  Don’t over-cook, or the sprouts will be iffy, and you’ll burn the shell.  This can be done in a microwave, but results will be sub-par.  In fact, if you have no toaster oven, I recommend wrapping this up and cooking it in a frying pan briefly.  Otherwise, if you’ve folded it in half and toasted it, cut it into quarters before eating.

So, definitely blogging when I should be sleeping again, so bear with me if my English falls apart.  Truth be told, I’m actually thinking about what to eat for breakfast already.  I love breakfast.  Likely more than any other meal.  I believe that breakfast should be the snazziest meal of the day, as it really is what carries you through said day.  I mean, you eat supper, and then go to bed not too many hours later, whether your body has used up whatever you put into it or not.  You eat breakfast, and you’ve got a whole day ahead of you to put all those lovely nutrients to work.  Point being- fill up on good stuff at breakfast.  Your body will thank you, and you’ll find that breakfast foods are just really fun, simple and enjoyable.

It’s actually SarahWynne’s fault you’re getting this post by the way, as she reminded me how awesome breakfast is, and that I really haven’t talked about it here.  Maybe that’s because a lot of my breakfast foods don’t really merit recipes.  I mean, I’m not going to write out a recipe for each smoothie I make, or what I put on my toast this morning, but these foods are still awesome in their own simple way.

However, I did make some pretty awesome pancakes the other day, and feel the need to share.  The first time I tried making pancakes using flax as an egg replacer, I used a really bad on-line recipe that resulted in these scary, strangely-textured things that I could barely eat.  However, I didn’t give up, and waltzed over to the Kid’s Company’s Coming cookbook, and tweaked their recipe until I had some pretty awesome pancakes.  The flax still does change the texture slightly, but not as bad as in that first batch.  I just find that since this batter is a little thick, you have to cook each pancake a little longer than you’re used to to get good results.  If you feel like it, try adding more liquid, but I would recommend keeping these proportions for nice, thick pancakes.  I did half this recipe, and ate it all by myself, with a side of fruit and soy milk, I believe.

Pinapple Coconut Pancakes

Pineapple-Coconut Pancakes

– substitute for two eggs ( I used two tablespoons of ground flax and six tablespoons of water)

– 1 cup coconut milk

– 2 tbsp cooking oil

– 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

– 1 tbsp (or less) unrefined sugar

– 1 tbsp baking powder

– 1/4 tsp salt

– about 1/2 cup or so crushed pineapple (smaller than pineapple tidbits, and fresh would be great if available)

– maybe a little unsweetened, shredded coconut, if you like.  I can’t remember if I used any or not (looking at my picture, I think I did).  My muffins and my pancakes are blending together in my brain.  Why would anyone sweeten dried coconut anyways, it’s soooo good on it’s own?

1.) Mix the flax and water, and let it sit in a large bowl on the side for a minute.

2.) Mix the flax ‘egg,’ coconut milk, cooking oil, and pineapple

3.) In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (including the shredded coconut, if you’re adding any, being sure not to get carried away and make your pancakes too dry).  Then, make a well in the dried ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and mix until just moistened (like when making muffins!).  The flax seed should have made it a little thicker than traditional pancake batter, but I like this, as it adds thickness to the pancakes.  Like I said previously, you’ll just have to cook them a little longer.

4.) Heat a frying pan or electric skillet until water droplets bounce off it’s surface, adding some non-stick canola oil spray if your pan isn’t non-stick.  Scoop into pan, possibly helping each pancake spread out a bit.  Cook until you see some bubbles, and each side is very golden.

URGENT PANCAKE UPDATE!!!!  I have actually switched to making my pancakes with fruit as the egg substitute, to much fluffier results.  Try a banana mashed together well with 1 tsp of baking soda to replace the two eggs.  Today, I actually made these with an equivalent amount of mashed pear and baking soda, halved the oil, used soymilk instead of coconut milk, replaced the pineapple with shredded coconut, and replaced the 1/4 cup of the flour with cocoa powder.  Also, to be perfectly honest, I made a half batch.  These were the absolute best pancakes I’ve ever tasted.  It was like eating fluffy chocolate cake for breakfast, yet I knew it had way less sugar and oil than cake, and no refined white flour.  Absolutely amazing.

Now, you’re probably wondering why this post is called “Bicycles and Breakfast.”  Well, I’ve been very amused by taking pictures of bikes lately, and I just noticed that my little Flickr widget is showing a few of those pictures.  Here’s one of my own bike to study while you eat your pancakes.

IMG_1528

P.S.- I decided not to be stupid, and went to sleep.  Therefore, this post was completed when I was less exhausted, and is a little more coherent than it would have been otherwise.  However, just thought I would share with you a little of how my brain works when I’m tired; last night, I figured that it would be hilarious if I intentionally changed the spelling of ‘pancakes’ to ‘pankaces’, just to confuse people.  And sorry for the lack of posts lately.  I did write one last week that I haven’t posted yet, because I ran into a bit of a snag with it.  Anywho, more food soon!

So, the vegan bloggers were having all the fun, and therefore, I have decided to play too.  Well, OK, I had begun gathering info to start a vegan food blog about a month ago, and dallied before starting it because I wasn’t sure what image to put in the header.  Anyway, I need to get down some of this foodie goodness before my brain explodes, so I’ll set aside my attention to layout details for a minute, and talk about vegan ice “cream” .

Sundae

My house lacks in an ice cream maker, which until recently, I had thought meant that I was limited to store-bought soy ice cream.  This rather disappointed me, as I enjoy finding the most complicated way to do something simple, such as having a cold snack.  Then, I chanced upon this recipe in the Vegetarian Times for peanut butter and coconut ice cream made using a blender instead of an ice cream maker (the link for this recipe shall follow once it’s up on the Vegetarian Times website).  You freeze this concoction in an ice cube tray, blend up the frozen ice cubes, and then re-freeze it once more.

Now, I used almond butter, because that’s what I had on hand.  That, and I adore almonds.  In fact, I would recommend almond ice “cream” over peanut butter ice “cream” any day.  The use of coconut milk was ingenious.  It made the whole thing so rich and coconutty delicious (hey Kiekaisu, I guess I’ve tried the whole coconut-almond combination before, but but you still have to make me a coconut-almond soy latte!).  I also substituted soy milk for the soy creamer they called for, and my recipe still turned out, and tasted great.  I’ve never even seen soy creamer in my small city before, but it’s not like I’ve been looking for it.  It sound scary and over-processed.

This method of ice “cream” making seemed to work pretty well.  I think I was a little impatient with the first freezing, and should have let the ice “cream” cubes freeze a little longer in order to incorporate a little more air into the whole mixture.  When I wanted to eat it, I had to thaw it for a few minutes first, and then it scooped just fine, however I think this was due to the aforementioned mistake.  Even so, it was still incredibly delicious, and I was inspired to dress it up all pretty with some melted dark chocolate and a fresh cherry (gosh, maraschino cherries are disturbing!).

From this, I’m hoping to develop a vegan green tea ice “cream” recipe, probably using matcha powder, and sticking with the coconut milk, as it sounds like a nice compliment to green tea.  I’ll let you know if I succeed before the summer’s over.

I suppose I should close by apologising for the abnoxious use of quotation marks, but those of you who know me away from the internet understand why I did that…