Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Frohe Weihnachten!

Christmas is a time of celebration and joy! We will be traveling tomorrow to see family in Houston for the holidays, but we wanted to wish everyone a blessed season.

What are your favorite holiday foods? For dessert, we love homemade oatmeal cookies, spice cookies, or fudgy brownies. We also love warm squash dishes, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, and homemade breads.

What are your favorite Christmas Carols? Our absolute favorite is "O Holy Night". We also love "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day", "The Little Drummer Boy", "The First Noel", and "Carol of the Bells". The "Believe" song from Polor Express is good too!

What is your favorite tradition of Christmas time? Ours is hanging up all the ornaments and reminiscing over when, where, or from whom we received them. Some of our ornaments come from our travels such as from Germany, some come from family members, or some were our own creations when we would make crafts or paint ornaments as children.

What is your favorite moment during the holiday season? Ours of course is Christmas day, going to morning mass and celebration the birth of Christ, and then having the day to relax with family.

This year is quite different for us, because we now live in Oregon away from family. Our mom is making some vegan dishes and cookies for us to enjoy. We will see some of our family, but not everyone unfortunately. But it will be nice to go to morning mass with our mom, stepdad, and grandparents, and then just visiting with the 'whole gang'! We hope your Christmas is filled with peace and love!

P.S. We will still be in the Christmas spirit when we come back, and we definetely want to bake spice cookies, pumpkin pie, and have vegan egg nog!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Weather and Delicious Italian Dinners

Last Sunday was Oregon's official start of winter, even though it doesn't really start until the 21st. We've been having snow, snow/rain, and just yukky winter weather all week. We are quite sick of it, b/c not only can we not drive in it (our back tires are just skidding and we don't have enough traction) but we are badly in need of groceries and in need of getting our flat tire fixed!

So enough about our frustrations-

How about enjoyable meals to make you all warm and delightful inside?

We made Veganomicon's Meatball Bean Balls, but instead of using kidney beans, we used garbanzo beans. Of course we made some more changes, but they turned out delicious! (We used some wheat germ in place of some bread crumbs, we used less thyme, & we added nutritional yeast)So addicting to pop a ball in your mouth! We served them with spiral pasta and the best spaghetti sauce - Seeds of Change Tomato Basil.

We loved these bean balls so much, we made another batch, but with a curry flavor! We used 1 1/2 tsp curry mustard, 2 Tb wheat germ and 1/4 cup each of cornmeal and oats instead of the bread crumbs, more oregano and no thyme, and some lemon juice. These were delicious with curry mustard dressing and served with homemade biscuits, greens, and cranberry sauce. Other ideas we want to experiment with include black bean Mexican balls, falafels, and balsamic flavored balls.

Have a great weekend! LK

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Larabar and Heart Thrive Product Reviews

We love generous vegan companies!

We had the wonderful opportunity to receive a full box of Larabars, variety pack, all for free! Of course, Larabars are one of the most natural and nutritious snack bars we know of. No extracts, sugar, grains, protein added, etc...just pure fruit and nuts! What are all of your favorite flavors?
Although all of them are great, we especially enjoy key lime, cinnamon roll, pecan pie, and apple pie. I remember the first time we tried ginger we didn't care for it, but this recent time that we had it, it was actually very tasty - spiced with a zing. Their new coconut cream flavor is exactly what it says - richly coconuty. The peanut butter flavor we can't say if it is good, because we try to avoid peanuts, but for a peanut butter snack, this is the way to go. Not a usual PB cookie with processed unhealthy fats and sugar!

Another great company offering nutritious vegan snacks is Healthy Baking Co., which sells Suncakes and Heart Thrives. If you take a photo showing how much you love to eat Heart Thrives, you may have the opportunity to receive 2 dozen free bars if they decide to post your photo online. You can also get 6 free bars just from being a first time customer! Here's the photo we submitted: We love the Heart Thrives - it contains calcium for strong bones, fiber, and soy. Heart Thrives are wonderful because they can be eaten for breakfast, snack, or dessert in many ways. Try them slightly heated, straight from the freezer, with jam, with nut butter or coconut butter, toasted, crumbled in yogurt or ice cream, or sprinkled with some cinnamon! They aren't too sweet and they are incredibly filling.

Which flavors did we enjoy the most? This was a tough decision, but we chose Lemon Poppyseed, Raisin Spice, and Apple as our top three. The other great flavors include chocolate chip, date, apricot, and cranberry.

Hope everyone is safe and warm during this cold winter season! Go grab a Heart Thrive and/or Larabar, drink a cup of tea, open a good book, and just relax....
Best wishes, LK Sisters

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Coconut Cinnamon Roll Muffins

An easy, decadent, melt-in-your-mouth, sweet-n-spiced cinnamon roll muffin with a subtle coconut flare! These muffins are our own creation in order to make a cinnamon roll that would take less time and effort but would be soft and cinnamony!
Coconut Cinnamon Roll Muffins

muffin ingredients:
2 tsp baking powder
1-2 dashes each of allspice and nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup 10 grain flour or whole wheat flour (or other flour)

3/4 cup + 1 Tb kamut flour
1/3 cup succanat sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coconut extract

2 Tb oil
2 Tb coconut, macadamia, or cashew butter
3/4 cup soymilk

date filling:
6-8 fresh dates, chopped and pitted
1/2-3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut butter
extra coconut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix muffin dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and mix until just blended. Process date filling in a food processor until very smooth. Spread half of the batter into a mini muffin pan, then spread about half of the filling gently over the batter. Top with the rest of the muffin batter, sprinkle muffins with cinnamon, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes (make sure not to overbake in order to maintain a soft moist muffin). Cool slightly, and when ready to serve, top generously with the rest of the date filling and extra coconut butter. Enjoy for breakfast or as a treat!

Other variations: lemon, orange, pumpkin, fig, egg nog spice, apple...
The kamut flour is a finer grain flour that makes these muffins buttery soft! Triticalle flour would work well too. You don't have to use coconut butter either, but it makes a nice spread and a nice frosting. The best part is these have no margarine/butter, no yeast, no rolling and slicing, and no waiting for the dough to rise!