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10.31.2011

Foodbuzz Tastemaker: Godiva Pumpkin Spiced Vegan Latte



Yes, for those that LIKE my page on Facebook, I mentioned that if the baby was not born last night that I would post my Plum Cake Tatin, but I am afraid I am going to have to wait. Let me tantalize you a little, OK? Oh wait, I might be already be doing that with this baby. LOL




A while ago Foodbuzz sent me two bags of Godiva Coffee's latest seasonal flavors, Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark – available nationally, for a limited time only! These flavors are inspired by Godiva's most popular chocolates and crafted with high quality, medium-roasted, 100% Arabica beans for a rich, smooth taste. 






 I really liked both flavors despite having one in my household that really just does not like flavored coffee. I still brewed both and had Ryan taste them as well. He thought they were both pleasant while I thought they were really smooth. 


I finally decided to make a Pumpkin Spiced Latte because I had been REALLY wanting one most coffee shops syrup has dairy so I made my own with coconut milk. YUM!



I like opening the bag and smelling the spices for this coffee. Ryan told me this morning that I have been really obsessed with pumpkin recipes. Have I? I am glad he noticed. Tis the season for pumpkin recipes, what can I say?? I could not even tantalize him with a cup of my latte, but he is more of a mocha guy.



I used Pumpkin Pie Mix because it was already sweetened with cane juice and it had all the spices. I just added a b it more ground cinnamon, 1/2 Tablespoon agave nectar, and hot coconut milk. It was pretty good! No dairy and very seasonal. 

Go out and find this coffee while you can. Godiva DOES have other flavors, so go check out their website!

Who wants to try this coffee?  I have a coupon for $2.00 OFF a 12-ounce bag of their coffee.

Just leave me a comment with your favorite pumpkin recipe or favorite Thanksgiving recipe. Open to US readers.

I will choose a winner by the end of the day so I can mail it by tomorrow in case the baby arrives. :D



Godiva Pumpkin Spiced Vegan Latte

makes two 12-ounce lattes

1 1/2 cups So Delicious Original Coconut Milk
4 Tablespoons canned Pumpkin Pie mix
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 1/2 cups Godiva Pumpkin Spice brewed coffee
cinnamon for sprinkling

If you cannot find canned Pumpkin Pie mix then use regular pumpkin puree and add your own spices: 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

Heat coconut milk in a medium pot and add the canned pumpkin pie mix, agave nectar and heat until frothy. Divide between two mugs and add brewed coffee. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Enjoy!

10.29.2011

Coconut Nog French Toast and a few of my favorite things

Coconut Nog French Toast


Hello there. Today marks my 41st week being pregnant. I have to say that it has definitely been harder dealing with the fact that this baby is taking her time being born. I have cleaned the floors, reorganized some drawers, put up fall decorations, washed laundry multiple times, and more!


I took a picture last night at 41 weeks and it makes it seem that this baby seems comfortable where she is. Can you see all the veins on my tummy? Crazy but I do have thin skin.


Last night we just took advantage of going to the movie theater and watching The Big Year. We were super surprised there were only 2 other couples at a 9pm showing because the movie was very amusing, but then we figured out that perhaps there were not many people because it was PG. You hardly get to see those come out anymore. LOL


41 weeks pregnant


Here are a few things that have been my favorite things of late:


Yoga ball

Raspberry Tea
The yoga ball helps me not to be sitting on a couch and helps me stay flexible while the tea helps prepare me for labor when the time comes. I added 2 cinnamon sticks this morning to continue to help the process.

Again, I woke up feeling hungry and prepared a recipe that a friend suggested I try from the side of the So Delicious Coconut Nog carton. Coconut Nog French Toast. Does that not sound delicious???


I have not had French toast since I was in elementary school when my mother bought me the Nancy Drew Cookbook Clues to Good Cooking. If there is a cookbook you are looking for to introduce your young child, this one is one to look at it. I had lots of fun learning how to cookbook with simple recipes even with a French toast recipe.

Anyway, I decided to use up the rest of our sourdough French bread to make this new recipe and boy was it surprising! You mash bananas and the coconut nog with spices and then cook on a hot griddle until nicely toasted and cooked. I then added sliced bananas and pears, sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled them with agave nectar.

Ryan and I both liked it and deemed that French toast must be prepared a lot more often, at home! :D I finished the rest of the coconut nog with the French toast and am looking forward going to the store and getting another carton. Ask your local grocer to carry So Delicious Coconut Nog for a healthier, lighter version of eggnog. You will not regret it.


Coconut Nog French Toast 


Coconut Nog French Toast


adapted from So Delicious Coconut Nog carton


serves 2


1/2  cup So Delicious Coconut Nog
1 ripe banana
1/2 teaspoon  ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 slices day-old Sourdough French baguette, 1/2 inch thick
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread, divided
Maple syrup or agave nectar (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)

In a pie plate, mash banana with fork and combine the Coconut Nog, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg and 
vanilla until smooth.



Soaking bread for French Toast 


Add the bread slices and allow the bread to soak in the mixture, 3 minutes on each side.

In a non-stick skillet,  over medium low heat,  melt 1/2 Tablespoon of Earth Balance margarine.



Preparing Coconut Nog French Toast 


 Add 4 bread slices and slowly cook until nicely browned on both sides.  Serve with maple syrup or agave nectar and sprinkle with powdered sugar  if desired.


Add more banana slices or other fruit to compliment this lovely breakfast. Thanks So Delicious for a nice recipe! :D

10.26.2011

Spiced Peach Nog Cobbler and Update

Spiced Peach Nog Cobbler 

 So here I am still waiting on God's timing. What have I been doing with my time? I totally do not feel like lounging around like lazy bones, but I have not been overdoing it either. 




Monday, I went to my Zumba class with my favorite teacher, Antonio. He told me he thought I would have given birth already. Well, I think many have thought that too! I have to admit that Zumba was not as MUCH as fun as last week because I was a little uncomfortable in my lower abdomen region. I remember the gym owner telling me she worked out a few days before giving birth and encouraged me to continue the classes, granted Zumba is only twice a week so I have been walking the other days.


Here is it Wednesday and I am still pregnant with some contractions throughout the day. Nothing too big but they are definitely different than Braxton Hicks contractions. Ryan was talking to the baby through my tummy yesterday asking her when she was coming out and BOY did she respond with movement that made me nauseous! LOL  Ryan continued to chat with her and I told him he had to stop because mommy was going to get sick on him. Yes, we are a mess here. 


You know what I realized though, is that now that the concert is over that the only thing looming over is the baby's arrival and it is crazy unnerving. As I was taking a 45 minute walk yesterday I was talking to God and getting teary because I cannot believe that this baby is almost here. The gift of life is incredible but the emotion is so amazing! God's timing is awesome.


Well, so besides working out or doing a little more cleaning in the house, I have been cooking a little, catching up on Netflix, reading a bit and catching up on posts. Someone still needs to cook right? This morning I felt SO hungry I demanded to be taken out for breakfast. I HAD to have a piece of fruit as I got up from bed but I was terribly famished but the desire to cook has been lacking.


I at least have 2 freezer meals stored at my friend's deep freezer and 2 nights ago I quickly made my Tortilla Soup and froze half of it. Might as well make the most of my time right?


Spiced Peach Nog Cobbler 
  Last night I felt inspired to make a peach cobbler. I have not had a peach cobbler in a while even with peach season that came and went here in August. I actually did not hear much about the peaches but I used frozen peaches to make mine.


Photo courtesy of  The Laziest Vegans in the World.
Recently, So Delicious sent me 2 of their NEW Holiday drinks, a Nog Coconut Milk (a vegan egg nog) and Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk. Can I say super yummy???? I immediately poured myself a glass of the nog and sighed after because it was so good. I stopped drinking Silk's Nog because it left a weird aftertaste and I also wanted to limit of soy in my diet, so it was REAL nice to have this coconut milk version. You should be excited folks! You are going to love these drinks for sure. The Mint Chocolate Coconut milk tastes like a thin mint cookie...hmmmm...nom nom. 


I took advantage of using my So Delicious Nog Coconut milk for my peach cobbler.  I subsituted the milk in the recipe for nog and I also added Nog into the peach mixture as well. It was super delicious!! I also drank a glass of the Nog with the dessert to accentuate the flavor. Can't get enough. Thanks So Delicious for letting me have the opportunity to taste test these products.


Spiced Peach Nog Cobbler

 Spiced Peach Nog Cobbler 


makes 4-6 servings or a 9x9 pan


Peach mixture
16-ounce bag frozen peaches, thawed
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 Tablespoons So Delicious Nog Coconut milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Dough mixture
1 cup whole wheat white flour
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening or coconut oil
1/4 cup So Delicious Nog Coconut Milk
1 flax seed "egg" or 1 regular egg (1 Tbsp flax seed meal + 3 Tbsp warm water)
( mix the flax meal plus water and set aside for 3-5 mins)


Spirnkle with sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a medium bowl, add the peaches and the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Pour peach mixture into a 9x9 glass pan.


Prepare the dough mixture. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the vegetable shortening into the flour until the mixture looks like wet sand. Add the egg and Nog coconut milk and mix until well combined. 


Add the dough in lumps on top of the peach mixture.  Sprinkle sugar over dough. Bake your cobbler for 20-25 minutes until the dough is golden. Cool for a bit and serve with a glass of Nog Coconut Milk or with So Delicious Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Spiced Peach Nog Cobbler


10.25.2011

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program with Marzetti Simply Dressed Salad Dressing


As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon to choose ANY Marzetti Simply Dressed Salad Dressings. I was intrigued to try a salad dressing because I usually make my own dressings at home but when I read the following description I decided to give one of the dressings a try. Here is a snippet about the dressings:

Marzetti Simply Dressed is made with a minimal number of all-natural ingredients, such as extra virgin olive oil, canola oil (source of Omega-3 ALA) and sea salt, and does not contain any preservatives, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, MSG or artificial flavors or colors. Finding a refrigerated Simply Dressed variety that pleases your palate is easy with 10 varieties to use on your favorite salads, grilled vegetables, and in wraps. 


When I went to the store I looked for the dressings in the refrigerated section of the produce area. There were 10 different kinds of dressings but most of them were creamy and mostly with dairy. Here are the options are really had:

I decided to try the Champagne Salad Dressing which had the following ingredients: WATER, CANOLA OIL, CHAMPAGNE AND WHITE WINE VINEGARS, SUGAR, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, SEA SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, GARLIC*, XANTHAN GUM, BELL PEPPER*, SPICES.

I used the dressing in our everyday salads for a week and after a week I realized I felt like I was eating regular Italian dressing. There was really nothing special about this dressing except the fact that it uses natural ingredients. I am not much one for fruity dressings but I now regret not going for one of those. Maybe in the future I will try one of those.

Check out Marzetti's website to see the rest of their dressings and try one this week.

10.24.2011

40 weeks and counting

I am 2 days past my due date and I am certain it has to do with a little prayer of mine. I talked to the baby and I prayed this past week that she hold off for 2 days so that Ryan could conduct his first fall concert of the season and so mommy could sing in daddy's concert.


Did it work?  Ha ha ha, I am writing this post with the baby still in my womb.


I broke out the pineapple and have been munching away this morning. I have been feeling a few contractions but not any that are as frequent. I did wake up fairly uncomfortable this morning and I am praying that there will be some action in the next 2 days. I do have a midwife appointment today so we'll see. Good news is that there is no rush to force inducing. If I am late 2 weeks, THEN they start talking about scheduling something on the calendar. I just PRAY that it is not 2 weeks from now.




I did have a good workout this weekend though. I had a voice lesson on Friday with my fab teacher. He had suggested I keep my lesson on the calendar even though perhaps I might not feel up to it or perhaps the baby would be here by now. I am glad we kept it on the calendar because it was wonderful being able to sing with limited breath support. I mean, it technically is not limited but it makes it harder to breath deeply.


At 40 weeks pregnant, I feel singing has been sensational. I feel like I have a richer sound especially when I hit my high notes. My voice teacher agreed. He was just amazed I was taking a lesson. I worked on Un bel di from Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly. By the time we got through I was breaking a real sweat. Who knew it would be such a workout?


The real question is, how will the baby respond to music and all types of music when she is born? She has been exposed to a lot and I am eager to see how she embraces and responds to it. Yay!


Saturday was Ryan's concert in Holland. I also sing in the 80 plus member ensemble. Would I need a chair or would I need to sit half of the concert? The problem with this was that everyone would be on risers and I would be the lone person on a chair on the side. Heck no! I would feel like I was singing a solo. It was already enough sticking out because I am pregnant but on the side of the risers. 


I stood the whole concert. We did have a 20 minute intermission so I sat for 10 minutes. I did feel sore the next day and some contractions but I did have lots of people come up and say how impressed they were I even sang or the fact I stood the whole concert. It felt wonderful to be able to get through a workout like a concert at 40 weeks pregnant ESPECIALLY when it was the DUE DATE too!


I will have a story for baby girl. I am already putting it in her baby book so she knows what was going on while she was in my womb. SO exciting!


I would appreciate prayers!! Here is looking at the next 2 days!!


Come on baby........

10.20.2011

Sunflower Butter Rice Crispies with Chocolate Espresso Layer

sunflower butter rice krispies with chocolate espresso layer


I have nothing to complain about.


After getting a pregnancy massage on Tuesday, my days have been so wonderful. I have LOTS of energy and I have been able to sleep pretty well. I also have been working on a yoga ball during my 8 hour shift. Yes, working from home and sitting for multiple hours HAD been a pain until I discovered I could work from my T.V. tray and on a yoga ball.


Yes, I must look silly but it is doing the trick. I feel and work comfortably until baby girl arrives. 


I wanted to get in one post before the weekend. I figure with being out of town and with a concert in the works, I probably will not have time to post so I wanted to leave you with a delicious recipe I made last night.


I could see in Ryan's eyes last night that he wanted a sweet treat but he had rehearsal and I promised that when he returned from it, there would be something special waiting.


sunflower butter rice krispies with chocolate espresso layer
One of Ryan's favorite desserts to choose at our favorite coffee shop are the Scotcheroos. I looked up a recipe and noticed that they have butterscotch chips and corn syrup, ingredients I do not use or keep in the house. I could easily veganize the recipe but I decided to go another route and see how Ryan would like a different version. 


I was inspired by Katie's post for her homemade Luna bars that I created some bars somewhat like hers and like the Scotcheroos with a little twist.


I recently bought, finally, a bottle of sunflower butter that I had been wanting to try. I am such an Earth Balance Crunchy Peanut Butter fan that I just forgot I wanted to try an alternative. You know what the pros are when eating sunflower butter?
  • With one-third less saturated fat and 27 percent of a day's recommended allowance of vitamin E in one serving, these products fit well into a healthy lifestyle and diet. Plus, SunButter® products have a much higher iron and fiber content than peanut butter and are a great source of protein.
I was really floored! If you are allergic to tree-nuts then this is the butter for you. It is gluten-free and peanut-free. I really liked using it in the crispie recipe.

I did trick Ryan though. He did think they were the perfect sweetness. He is always telling me my desserts are not sweet enough, even though they ARE, but I was glad to hear that he enjoyed this recipe. He could not quite pinpoint the sweetener I used but he was also surprised that I used brown rice syrup.

Well, we had our one slice last night and sent the rest to the grad students. I am in no way trying to fatten anyone up but I am continuing to enjoy cooking around here until I get my hands full taking care of my little angel! 

There is so much cleaning I can do you know. LOL  Enjoy this recipe and play around with it!

sunflower butter rice krispies with chocolate espresso layer

Sunflower Butter Rice Crispies 

makes 9 bars

3 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1/2 cup smooth sunflower butter
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso granules

Chocolate Espresso Layer

6 ounces dark chocolate ( I use Ghiradelli)
1 teaspoon espresso granules


Line a 9x9 glass pan with parchment paper. 

In a medium bowl, melt the sunflower butter and brown rice syrup in the microwave. Add the vanilla, salt and espresso granules to the mix and stir well until combined.

Add the 3 cups of puffed cereal to the butter mixture and stir until well combined. Ad the mixture to the 9x9 dish and press the rice mixture firmly with a spatula until spread evenly.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Add the espresso granules and mix well.

Spread the chocolate over the rice and spread evenly.

Place the dish in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour. Slice into bars when ready to eat.

sunflower butter rice krispies with chocolate espresso layer


10.18.2011

Revisiting Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls w/ Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing and Giveaway Winner

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing 


First of all! Happy crisp Tuesday! It is a nice 35 degrees out this morning and I can't help but welcome it. I hope that it is cooling down for many of you.


First of all, I want to thank everyone for entering the Equal Exchange Giveaway. Remember that you can make a difference by learning more about child labor and informing others about it. Please check the post again and read more about how YOU can make a difference even if you do not do a Reverse Trick-or-Treating. The winner is:


Amber Shea --the Almost Vegan Chef


Well, if you have been following my blog for a while you know that we are expecting a little girl and that I have FOUR days until the actual due date. It is pretty wild to imagine that our lives will be so blessed with a life that God has blessed us with. Having a human being grow inside me has been the most amazing experience. I never knew how it actually would feel like or how it would affect my life and Ryan's.


Our prayer and hope is for our little girl to arrive 2-3 days late. Why?


Ryan has his first Fall concert for the Holland Chorale and I also sing for them too! He does have a cover in case anything happens but it just seems like all the work he has has put into rehearsing us would not be put into performance. It is all in God's hands and I am looking forward seeing what happens. I mean think of me singing at 40 weeks pregnant in a choir dress? I think I would have a nice story to tell my daughter. :-)


Keep us in your prayers!




Are you tired of pumpkin recipes yet??? I am not! I have a huge can I have been trying to use up and I decided to bring out my recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Rolls, the ones I made last year. Well actually, I have made them several times and this time I decided to add pumpkin to the icing.


Ryan and his colleagues have mid-terms this week and I decided to make a pan of these lovely rolls as a treat. I hope they like them! The more I make this recipe the easier it gets to make them. I should sell them next year! How about that?


Anyway, the addition of the pumpkin to the icing makes the recipe prettier in my opinion and depth. The icing looks like butterscotch icing but do not be fooled. These babies are all pumpkin and spice and that is all nice ya know!


Make them, try them, and go to pumpkin heaven. Add a cup of pumpkin-flavored coffee while you're at it.


Looking for a GLUTEN-FREE version? Check out Manifest Vegan's recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.


Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls 
with 
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing


makes 16 rolls


Dough:
1/4 cup warm water (not hot, about 110 degrees)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk (or non-dairy milk)
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water (equals 1 egg)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, either fresh or canned
2 Tablespoons melted Earth Balance buttery spread
2 cups (approximately) All-Purpose Flour
1 1 /4 cup Whole Wheat White Flour (Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Filling:
3 Tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread, softened
1/4 cup white vegan sugar
2/3 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing:
4 ounces Tofutti cream cheese or regular cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoon So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk

4 Tablespoons pumpkin puree


In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Let rest for 5 minutes before stirring. Mix flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add milk, pumpkin, butter, 1 1/4 cups whole wheat white flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom to yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Gradually add remaining flour (all purpose), a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead. Start with about 1 1/2 cups and increase if necessary. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.



Combine the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl, set aside. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16" x 12" rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough and then sprinkle with the sugar mixture. 



 Roll the dough into a log the long way; it'll stretch to about 20" long as you roll. Using a very sharp knife, slice the log into 15 slices.







    In order to cut down on drag, it helps to rinse the blade in hot water, and wipe it off, between slices. Place slices in a greased 9x13 inch baking pan (or in two 8 or 9 inch round cake or pie pans). Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.



Bake in a preheated 375°F oven. Bake the rolls till they're brown around the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center, about 20-30 minutes.

While rolls bake, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Add the cream cheese, vanilla, milk to a small food processor or use an immersion blender.  Blend until smooth and combined. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending in between, until well mixed and desired consistency is reached. Add the pumpkin puree and blend until mixed well.
Frost warm rolls with the cream cheese frosting and serve immediately and enjoy with your favorite coffee.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing
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