Kids in the Kitchen: Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

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Yesterday I mentioned to the neighborhood kids that I might be baking today. They were eager to help and made baking so much fun and playful–two of my favorite things! While our sugar cookie batter was cooling and melding in the fridge, we opted to make a dessert that required a lot less patience and time: chocolate peanut butter truffles. This is one of the easiest dessert recipes I’ve ever tried. All you need is peanut butter, crispy rice cereal, vegan butter, powdered sugar, vegan chocolate, and to make it more fun–plenty of hands!

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After making the sugar cookie batter, I was running low on ingredients, so I halved the recipe with great results. I’ve also substituted almond butter and sunflower seed butter before and it worked like a charm! This recipe is very similar to one I made often with my mom during the holidays growing up. It was always one of my favorites for obvious reasons.  Here’s the original recipe from Action for Animals:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) vegan margarine, melted
  • 1 16 oz jar (about 2 cups) peanut butter
  • 1 1-lb box (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
  • 3 cups puffed rice cereal (optional) (I whole-heartedly recommend this for great crunchy texture.)
  • 1 bag vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 oz. bar Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate Squares

In a large bowl, mix the melted vegan butter and peanut butter until fully blended. Continue to mix with a spoon or using your fingers (yeah! Use those fingers!), gradually adding the powdered sugar and rice cereal. Once evenly mixed, mold mixture into 1-inch balls. If it is too dry to form balls, add more peanut butter. Set the balls aside.

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It’s always helpful to have a clean-up crew!

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Kid tested and approved……And now for the chocolate! Break Baker’s Chocolate into smaller pieces, then combine with chocolate chips in a double boiler. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until all chunks are gone. With the chocolate on low heat, use a fork to dip each peanut butter ball into the chocolate. After dipping, place balls on wax paper on a cookie sheet.

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Cool in refrigerator until chocolate is hard. Drizzle remaining chocolate over the tops of the cooled truffles to create a decorating effect. refrigerate until al of the chocolate is firm then remove truffles from the wax paper. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes a few dozen.  This is a great dessert to eat, share, and create with children. I had such a lovely time watching them get messy with peanut butter, crispy cereal, and of course, chocolate! My hope is that you too can find the fun in the messiness and deliciousness of this simple recipe. Enjoy.

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Post-Workout Quinoa Curry

Often after a good, hard workout, I am ready to eat and eat well. Yesterday I was particularly hungry after teaching a Zumba class so I opted for the most complete vegan protein available: QUINOA! Quinoa (“keen-wah”) has all the essential amino acids your body needs and so happens to taste wonderful too. This curry only took me about 30 minutes total and was much appreciated after class. I’m adding the recipe to my ‘Quick and Tasty’ page. It’s very basic and needs simple ingredients: sliced onion, curry spices, veggie broth, coconut milk, broccoli, black beans, fresh lime juice, and cilantro if you have it. I made mine without lime and cilantro this time and it was so great-tasting that I went back for seconds. Yum! I served it with carrot sticks and homemade garlic hummus from the night before. Double delicious. All this talk about food is reminding me I haven’t had my kale smoothie today! (Stay tuned!)

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Thriving at Thanksgiving

Let me begin with a moment of honesty about going home to the Midwest for Thanksiving this year: I was excited to see family and slightly concerned for the non-vegan food available for the holiday dinner.  After having lived in California for the last few years, this was the first time I had been home for Thanksgiving since 2006. I knew that I would be surrounded by turkey and ham, other meat-flavored dishes, and plenty of food adorned with butter. On top of that, the last time I had visited for Thanksgiving, I was vegetarian (not yet vegan) and had to navigate all the questions and comments about my lack-of-meat food choices; and therefore, as my father would call it, “un-American.”  I decided to be pro-active as possible and bring my own food. I opted for my standard kale salad with a lemon-ginger vinegarette dressing tossed with black beans, cranberries, chopped apples, and homemade roasted walnuts coupled with VegNews’ Guilt-Free Mashed Potatoes. These garlic-infused potatoes were combined with a full heaping cup of cooked red lentils and veggie broth, adding a boost of flavor to the dish. The recommended fresh rosemary added a subtle hint of familiar holiday flavor that was much appreciated. Both of these dishes were full of flavor and coziness; they helped me feel at home at a table whose food selection had become uncommon to me.

Surprisingly, my family,even my father, accepted these dishes as part of the Thanksgiving spread. Placed between the buttered rolls and honey-baked ham, my dishes were welcomed as part of this traditional turkey and dressing celebration. Somehow seeing my large mint-green salad bowl and my garlic mashed potatoes at the table made me also feel welcomed. A couple of my cousins even sampled the vegan dishes; and one remarked that even though she hadn’t tasted anything like that before, she did like the kale salad. I was pleasantly surprised that the holiday was better than I had expected. It hadn’t centered on who was eating (or not eating) what but rather the shared gratitude of being with family. With a new baby cousin in the family, the attention, rightfully so, was focused on her.

Baby Sophia eating her first solid food: sweet potatoes! Yum!

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Butternut Squash Surprise (Gluten Free and Vegan)

As I was trying to decide what to make for dinner tonight, I had three things in mind: 1) Use only ingredients that I already have;  2) Use my two butternut squash; and 3) Include organic black beans (and maybe a dash or two of coconut milk). What evolved was a butternut squash lentil curry. It made the house smell amazing and it tasted great too. I started by slicing the butternut squash in half, took out the seeds, skinned the squash and chopped the squash into 1 inch pieces. Easy as pie! Also, this dish can be easily adapted to include the produce you might have in your kitchen. I have visions or broccoli or cauliflower, even some spinach or kale added at the end with the coconut milk. I even had 3 baby yukon gold potatoes that I diced and threw in the lentil curry.  The curry spices plus the roasted butternut squash create the flavor for you, you just add the veggies!

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp good quality curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of rinsed and sorted uncooked red lentils
  • 2 cups of Organic vegetable broth
  • 1 can of Organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup parsley (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Toss 2 tbsp olive oil with diced butternut squash well and place on cookie sheet. I did this with my bare hands; it gets a little messy but it’s more fun! Make sure the pieces aren’t overlapping and bake for about 20 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat other tbsp of oil in a large pot and add spices (curry, cumin, and coriander) and stir quickly for about 30 seconds. (A friend  from India taught me how to cook curry a few years ago; she always said, heat the spices, then the onions!)
  3. Add onions and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. You can add 1/4 cup water if onions and spices are sticking to bottom of the pan.
  4. Add garlic and bell pepper and saute for another minute.
  5. Add rinsed lentils with the veggie broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the lentils or cooked. They should look soft and have a yellow color. Stir periodically to prevent ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a small amount of water or vegetable broth if needed.
  6. Add cooked butternut squash, black beans, and parsley to red lentil curry and mix together. Let set for about 5 minutes so some of the flavors can blend. You can eat it like this if you’d like. It tastes great with and without step 7!
  7. Add the coconut milk, stir together, and remove from heat.  Let set for about 15 more minutes. If you want more of a soup, rather than a stew, just add more coconut milk. Voila! Another Delicious Vegan Delight! A special thank you to Abigail Lynn for taking pictures via Skype since I temporarily misplaced my camera. Thanks Grandma!

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Check out ‘cheesy’ polenta with black beans and roasted red peppers

I’m working on adding some of my favorite standard dishes including this one on this “Quick and Tasty” page. These are the every day meals that are easy to create, versatile, and tasty. Many of them are served warm and can be either side or main dishes depending on your desire. They contain real food with real flavor that will appease any palate. Enjoy!

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Strawberry-Infused Cupcakes with Strawberry Sauce and Strawberry Buttercream Icing

I made these wonderful strawberry cupcakes from Vegan Bake Sale for the second time this morning.  These lovely cakes are infused with 32 ounces of organic frozen strawberries and their flavor is pleasantly ever-present in the icing.  This recipe yields about 15 large or 18 medium-sized, moist cupcakes. The consistency is somewhere between cupcake and muffin. I have slightly adapted the original recipe and replaced all soy ingredients with other non-dairy substitutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Strawberry Sauce (below) at room temperature (You can add more if you want a stronger strawberry flavor in the cake.)
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe of Strawberry Butter-cream Icing (below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 12 or 18 cups of your muffin pan with cupcake liners, as desired. (If you don’t use some of the cups, fill them halfway with water so the pan won’t warp.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond milk and vinegar, and set aside to curdle for 5 minutes.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients (from flour through salt), into another bowl.
  4. Whisk the sugar, strawberry sauce, oil, and vanilla into almond milk mixture.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, fold in to just combine, breaking up any large lumps.

Spoon into the prepared muffin pans. If using 12 cups they will be full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.

  1. Once they are completely cool, frost the cupcakes with icing and decorate the tops with sliced strawberries or extra strawberry sauce.

Strawberry Sauce: Combine 4 cups frozen or fresh strawberries, 1/4 cup water, and 1/4 cup agave nectar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium to high heat, then boil, stirring occassionally, until thick and syrupy and the volume has reduced to half (about 20 minutes after the berries have started to boil).

  • Let cool to room temperature and blend until smooth. Pass through a sieve to remove the seeds, if desired. (I kept the seeds and couldn’t notice them!) Store the extra sauce in a covered container in the fridge. Return sauce to room temperature prior to using.

Strawberry ‘Buttercream’ Icing(this is also adapted from the original recipe)

  1. 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp vegan margarine (Earth Balance: soy free works great!)
  2. 1 tbsp of extra Strawberry Sauce (you can use less if you want a lighter hint of flavoring. Add strawberry til desired taste).
  3. 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, if lumpy
  4. 3 tsp of almond milk
  • Cream vegan margarine until well combined and fluffy, with no lumps. If creaming by hand, a whisk does the job best.
  • Add strawberry sauce and mix well.
  • Add confectioners’ sugar and mix well. A wooden spoon is great for mixing here.
  • Add the almond milk, a tsp at a time, so you can judge the consistency. Mix until well combined and at the level of fluffiness you desire.

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Hello World!

Welcome to Delicious Vegan Delights! Pull up a seat and stay awhile. I’m glad you came to visit! This is a blog that has been percolating within me for the last couple of months and I am glad to share its manifestation with you.

Why “Delicious Vegan Delights?” A few weeks ago, 3 neighborhood kiddos learned that not only do I eat a vegan diet like they do, but I also bake vegan treats when inspired. That day I happened to have made a simple apple walnut crumb cake with Trader Joe’s Spiced Cider (yum!) and shared it with them. The following week I greeted a daily grinning visitor who would ask: “Have you made any more delicious vegan delights?” Who can say no to that?!?

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