Monday, January 31, 2011

Vegan & Gluten Free Winter Stew

Official Taster and I just got home from a week in Hawaii. Yep, Hawaii. Yep, it was awesome. Yep, that's all of us I'm going to show you. But, on the plus side, there will be lots of pretty flower pictures in the future.

It was warm, it was sunny, there were sea breezes and surfers. Pretty perfect. You may now be understanding why posting was kind of thin last week. Sorry, Blogger, but I had better things to do! There were rain forests, waterfalls, beaches, volcanoes, mai tais, and luaus. We also ate and drank a lot, visited with family, saw a rainbow, napped, absorbed some Vitamin D (to make up for cloudy Seattle), read, slept in, and admired the ocean. It was an actual vacation.

So when we arrived back in Seattle, I wanted to cook. After a week of excesses I wanted healthy, delicious, and not over the top. Because we came back to cool, rainy weather, I wanted warm and filling. This stew type thinger seemed like a good solution, and it goes over rice or pasta, and I also made some bread to go along.

Apologies for the lack of photos, but the weather is not cooperating properly with my work schedule (it's only been good light when I'm unavailable for photography).

Vegan & Gluten Free Winter Stew
olive oil
1 extra large onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 vegan sausages, sliced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 C tomato sauce
1/2 C vegetable broth
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried Italian spices
bay leaf
salt to taste

In a medium or large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to become translucent. Add garlic, celery, carrots, and vegan sausages. Stir occasionally. When the vegetables start to soften, add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Let everything simmer until heated through and serve over rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or anything else you can think of. The stew will have more flavor the longer it sits in its own juices, so cooking it in the afternoon and waiting until dinner to serve it will impart more flavor.

As I've said over and over and over again, experiment with ingredients, flavors, spices, etc. and you can make the same general dish over and over again without it tasting the same.

Monday, January 24, 2011

DIY Wedding Cakes

Martha Stewart Weddings claims these beauties are DIYable for your (or someone else's) wedding. I think that might be true if you're already artsy, crafty, bakey, etc. However, as one of the recently engaged, I'm not so sure, even though I am already artsy, crafty, bakey, and kind of an overachiever. What do you think? Is it crazy for a bride to take on her own wedding cake?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Love Birthdays!

I really do! And so, in celebration of my own, I direct you to this collection from Martha Stewart. I would be happy to accept any of these (both pretty pictures and recipes abound). Also, because I heart Gourmet, I want to direct your attention to the Mile-High Chocolate Cake. What's not to love?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gluten Free Week at The Kitchn

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
 Last week, I told you about Vegan Week, so I'm really glad to see that The Kitchn is now having Gluten Free Week! Again, they are filling their blog with tips, recipes, discussions, and more fun posts about being gluten free and cooking gluten free. Be sure to check it out!

Pesto Tomato Risotto

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Project Help - Free Download

I love this headline.

No measly to-do list for this. Conquest or bust! Marta Writes created this free printable last year, but it being the beginning of a new year and the beginning of a weekend, it still feels relevant. 

Note the tagline.

How are you filling in the lines this weekend?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vegan Waffles

This is the nesting season. Once fall and the holidays are gone, this part of winter starts to feel like it's about hunkering down, staying warm, and getting by until spring. (Luckily for me, my birthday is next week, so there's another winter celebration to break up the short days. Not everyone gets this advantage)

So if you have a hard time in the mornings, aren't a morning person, hate waking up when it's dark, or don't really function for an hour after waking, making these waffles ahead and freezing them may be a good option for you. You can make a batch during your best time and have breakfast prepared for the week.

Basic Vegan Waffles
1 3/4 C soy milk
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 C flour
1/2 C rolled oats
3/4 C whole wheat
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp canola oil, butter, vegan butter, or another vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp Ener-g egg replacer
4 Tbsp water

Combine the soy milk and vinegar (or lemon juice) in a small non-reactive bowl and let stand. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the oil and vanilla, if using, and whisk to combine.

Brush the waffle iron with oil or use cooking spray and turn it on so it's heating. Add the soy milk and vinegar mixture your bowl and mix together lightly. Finally, whisk together the egg replacer and water until it's foamy and fold into the waffle batter.

Spread a bit of batter onto your waffle iron (it's going to depend on size. use your judgement. I trust it.); bake until the waffle is done (usually when the waffle iron stops steaming). Serve immediately or keep warm briefly in the oven (set at 200 degrees F).

You can also let your waffles cool completely on a wire rack (the wire rack it critical, otherwise they get soggy), freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and then transfer to zip top plastic bags and store in the freezer. To eat, simply pop them in the toaster and top as you like. I like mine with raspberry jam. Better tasting and better for you than the grocery store version! My iron made about a dozen waffles with this amount of batter.

Next time, I'll use regular whole wheat flour rather than white whole wheat and brown sugar instead of white. I think overall, the flavors will be nuttier and richer.

Instead of the egg replacer and water, use 2 eggs, and add them when you add the milk.

Any kind of vinegar or lemon juice will work to turn milk or non-dairy milk into butter milk. You can also just use 1 3/4 C butter milk and omit 1/4 C of flour.

You can also use all-purpose flour to make up the entire volume of flours and oats. Play around with substituting flours, but aim to keep about half the total as regular, all-purpose flour.  Also cinnamon and other spices, chopped or ground nuts, cheese, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc etc etc!

I need to re-spray my waffle iron between every batch, but I'm not sure if that holds true for all models. Mine is White-Westinghouse that came from the thrift store years ago.

I'm not sure if fresh fruit works in waffle makers. Does anyone know? To me, it seems like either a) it works beautifully a la pancakes or b) it makes a huge mess that takes to clean.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vegan Week at The Kitchn

Make sure you visit The Kitchn this week! They are having Vegan Week, so there are lots and lots and lots of interesting recipes, taste tests, tips, and more. So, go over, explore, learn, and cook something delicious!

Monday, January 10, 2011

And the winner is....

Bobbie! She thinks VeganOs not only sound delicious, but that they should be made into a breakfast cereal! Did you know there used to be an Oreo cereal? Bobbie, we'll be in touch.

But, in reality, you're all winners! From now through next Sunday, January 16, visit Short & Sweets, place items you wish to purchase in your cart, and enter 1STBLOGIVERSARY as a coupon code during checkout to receive 10% off your entire order!   That's right, a little thank you to all of you! Please note, the discount only applies to merchandise, not shipping.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Etsy Love - Paper

Flower Bloomers Cupcake Wrappers via iecreations
Some of you out there who are tuned into this sort of thing know that 1st Anniversary presents are traditionally paper, so I thought it would be fitting to showcase some lovely paper crafts from Etsy to continue the blogiversary celebration.  I love the simple classiness of these cupcake wrappers. They would certainly dress up any party!

3D Wall Butterflies via BugsLoft
I love these card stock beauties! I think they'd be a great addition to a girl's room or maybe above a desk.

Quilt Applique Collection via ArtGalleryRiverRd 
I almost always find quilt art eye-catching, and this lovely cut out is exceptional. This is hand cut, folks! No fancy laser cutting here.

Spring Time All Year via paperNplastic
Who doesn't love cherry blossoms? These bright flowers can defy the seasons and keep spring around eternally. 

Last, but not least, I want to remind you to enter my giveaway! It closes Saturday (that's tomorrow) at midnight. To enter, all you need to do is check out my Etsy store and leave a comment on the giveaway post. It's super easy, and the winner gets free fudge out of the deal. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sparkling Vegan Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Back in November, I found myself with a 50% off coupon and some Border's Bucks that needed to be spent. So I wandered around aimlessly for a while (I get kind of overwhelmed, like a kid in a candy store), until I spotted a small book with Gourmet's name on it. I'm a sucker for anything with their stamp since it was such a beautiful, well thought out magazine, and their recipes always work.

So, what was it? The Gourmet Cookie Book! The editors picked their favorite cookie recipe from each year of the magazine's existence, rephotographed and retested them all, and published them all in a beautiful collection.

Due to December in general and Etsy Christmas orders in particular, I wasn't able to bake anything from it. Then I saw this post over on Smitten Kitchen, and her batch of cookies turned out perfectly. Next, I decided that a) I wanted to bring something fun to a New Year's Eve party and b) I wanted to try something new. So I perused the book, and picked out these because they are mini, cute, and sparkly. I chose white, purple, and yellow sugars only because I liked the colors. (For one of my survey responders, purple is my favorite)  In fact, one party-goer commented that these were "the only purple food that actually looked appetizing," which I take as a major compliment!

One of the great things about these is you can totally customize the colors you roll the dough in to coordinate with whatever event you make these for. I'm thinking wedding favors, super bowl parties, or princess birthday parties (whichever is your cup of tea). Plus, they look like macaroons, which are oh-so-trendy right now. AND lemons are in season currently.

I also used a dozen of these mini delights as December's installment of A Year of Sweet Treats. The groom somehow missed them at the party, so they were brand new to him.

Sparkling Vegan Lemon Sandwich Cookies
adapted from The Gourmet Cookie Book, but barely

For Cookies:
2 sticks vegan butter, at room temperature
1/2 C confectioners' sugar
zest from half a lemon
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 C all-purpose flour
2/3 C cornstarch
white and colored sanding sugars

For Filling:
1 C confectioners' sugar
zest from half a lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1/2 stick vegan butter, at room temperature

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Beat together butter and confectioners' sugar until it's pale and fluffy, then add in zest and vanilla. With the mixer on low, add in flour and cornstarch, and beat just until a soft dough forms.

Put your colored sugars in different bowls. Roll a scant teaspoon of dough into a ball between your hands, and then drop it in the sugar and roll to coat. Place covered balls on baking sheet fairly close together, about 3/4 inch. Chill the sheet of cookies in the freezer for 5-10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to help preserve their shape when you bake them.

Bake until the cookie tops are slightly cracked but still pale, about 13 minutes. Leave the cookies on the parchment and transfer both to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough on fresh (cool) cookie sheets.

To make the filling, beat together all the filling ingredients in a small/medium bowl with an electric mixer. Transfer frosting to a zip top bag and snip a corner off, or use a disposable pastry bag. Pipe filling onto the flat side of one cookie and sandwich with a second cookie. Keep the sandwiched cookies chilled until ready to eat.

If you use regular butter, add 1/4 tsp of salt when you add the flour.

Depending on how fast your oven heats up, you might want to wait to preheat it until you're just about done rolling your first cookie sheet's worth of cookies.

p.s. Don't miss your chance to win some of my delicious vegan & gluten free fudge!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fun Facts: The First Year

In honor of One Year of Kate's Short and Sweets, here are some numbers you may or may not find as interesting as I do:

26 - the number of blog followers
48 - total facebook fans
129 - number of total posts
168 - total number of comments on those posts
12 - my average number of posts/month

4144 - number of pageviews
Most of those came from the US, but Canada, the UK, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, France, India, Malaysia, and Russia are also represented.

36 - number of posts tagged "new recipes"
11 - number tagged "chocolate"
9 - number tagged "cake"
3 - total posts tagged "pie"

3 - sets of measuring spoons I have
10 - number of kitchen towels I own and use. What? You think that's a lot?
10 - cups of flour used to make challah. That is a lot.
2 - number of layers in the picake Official Taster got for his birthday, unless you count pie and cake separately and come up with 4.
1400 - miles OT and I drove on our move from sunny Southern CA to rainy Seattle

4 - days you have left (including today) to enter to win a pound of fudge

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Produce Calendar - Free Printable

The Blogiversary continues! Today I'm sending you over to cottage-industrialist for this beautiful calendar Cameron designed and made available for download. She asks only for you to consider (and then follow thru) donating. 

I got a new printer for Christmas from Official Taster (trying to print all of the mailing labels I needed for my Etsy shop the Monday before Christmas at the post office made me go crazy. and paranoid. I was not imagining the angry people in line behind me at the automated postage machine as I went down my list.) 

This may be the very first thing I print!

p.s. Don't forget about the fudge giveaway I'm hosting! get your entry in!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fudge Giveaway!

I'm giving away fudge! I have two awesome milestones to celebrate! Obviously, I want to celebrate with you.

The first is my 1st Blogiversary, which we are celebrating all week :) The second big event was reaching 100 sales on Etsy! That milestone was a pound of chocolate fudge a lucky recipient got for Christmas. Now, I'm giving you the opportunity to taste some for yourself.

So, the details:

  • To enter, visit my Etsy shop and look around. When you're done, add a comment to this blog post telling me what your favorite item is. 
  • One winner will be chosen by a random number generator. I will ship 1 lb of vegan & gluten free chocolate fudge anywhere in the US. The giveaway will remain open for entry until this Saturday - January 8, 2010 - at 11:59pm Pacific Time.
  • Sorry, Mom and Dad, you can't win. Neither can Official Tester or his parents. Everyone ELSE gets to enter once.
Good luck!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Flowers

Happy New Year! This post opens with pineapples, traditionally a symbol of welcome, and, in this case, a fitting way to bring in the new year and a new year of posts from yours truly.

That's right- today is the one year anniversary of my first post. For those of you who've been loyal ever since, thank you! Those of you who are newer to Short & Sweets, you get no less of my gratitude. I still get excited every time I get a new follower or a new fan on facebook.

Sometimes, I admit, having the pressure to create posts can be irritating. But, for the most part, I really enjoy the chance to write, create, and push myself to come up with fun new recipes. I think having this stage actually forces me to be more creative and more willing to try new things.

I'm not really one for New Year's resolutions, but I do want to continue this, improve it, and, hopefully, gain new followers. So, I'm asking you, dear reader, to help me. Let me know what you like, what you don't, what you want to see more of, what you're tired of. Really, any thoughts are welcome. Please leave a comment below, and, as always, feel free to email or convo me via Etsy. You can also still take the handy, 10 second survey I whipped up last month.

Stay tuned for more blogiversary excitement throughout the week! Hint: there's a giveaway coming!

I wish you and yours all the best in 2011 and beyond. Have a happy and healthy New Year!
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