Monday, April 25, 2011

Shake, Shake, Shake!

Shake that vegan ice cream! Doo do dooo doo!

Ok, so I don't know about all the other newbie vegans, but  I personally find that ice cream is the hardest thing to replicate, and the thing I miss the most since going vegan.  I mean tons of companys try, but I personally just don't like most of the products. 

At all times there are like 10 pints of vegan ice cream in my freezer, most of which have two bites out of them, and then I keep them out of guilt for how expensive they were until they get freezer burn so bad I finally feel ok throwing them out.  Sigh. 

Now, to be fair, some vegan ice cream is great.  Marry Me bars are amazing, Tofutti Wild Berry is like the Holy Grail, but the problem is I have trouble finding them in stores.  So what is a vegan ice cream lover to do?

Buy mail order ice cream.  You're probably saying "Mail order ice cream?  Whaaaaaaaaaaat??" but I swear, it's real.  A kosher company called Oh nuts!  sells Klein's amazing Vegan ice cream.  I had to try this, obviously, so I placed an order for my two non-veg faves, cookies and cream and mint chocolate chip.

The ice cream arrived a few days later in a neat box of dry ice.  The ice cream wasn't the slightest bit melty, in fact it was frozen solid, and I had to thaw it out just a little before I could get a spoon in it!

The ice cream itself is very good, aside from Tofutti Wild Berry, which is indistingishable from regualr ice cream, this is the best vegan ice cream I have ever had.  The cookies and cream is a very light ice cream and the flavor is slightly reminiscent of marshmallows.  The mint is quite good, but I wish it was just a pinch mintier.  (not to nitpick though, this is still BY FAR the best vegan mint chip I have encountered!)

Of course just an ice cream review isn't much of a blog post, so I decided to make milkshakes and show you my absolute favorite milkshake recipe.

You will need:

Klein's cookies and cream ice cream
Hershey's Syrup
Peanut Butter
Almond Milk
Whizzer's chocolate beans (any vegan M&M style candy will do)

Put a couple of scoops of ice cream, a tbs or two of PB, a splash of almond milk and a squirt of the syrup in a blender with about a quarter of bag of chocolate beans.  If your blender has a milkshake button, use it! :)  When your shake reaches optimal thickness to your liking, pour it into a cup and enjoy. 

I meant to show you what it looked like as a finished product, but it was so yummy I drank it before I remembered.  So here is my empty glass, LOL!

If that isn't a testament to how yummy this was, I don't know what is, haha!  Happy eating! :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ain't No Party Like A Vegan Party...

Cuz' a vegan party don't stop!  I know, I know, corny title, but it suits the post, ok?  Anyway, I recently hosted a little soiree at my home for about 10 of my closest non-veg friends and was a little worried about what to serve.  I was tempted to simply cater the event with regular food from a restaurant that I knew they would enjoy, but then I decided to make the event a project. 

I challenged myself to make vegan dishes that the non-veg people would not only enjoy, but not even realize they were vegan.  Now I generally don't like to trick people, so I decided at the beginning of the day that if anyone asked me, I would totally fess' up, but I wasn't going to offer the information up voluntarily before that happened.  Luckily for me, no one asked, so my experiment went on as planned.  :)

As I go along here, I do have to warn you, this is party food, not health food.  I am sure some of these items contain MSG or food coloring, and I am POSITIVE they contain fat and sugar, LOL!  That said, they do not contain any animal ingredients, which was my only goal.

First on the menu, chips/veggies and dip.  This was totally easy, a no-brainer.  I got Lay's BBQ chips and Bugles (both naturally vegan) and then mixed one container of Tofutti with a package of Wylers Onion soup mix.

As you can see there was a tiny package of Ranch dip that wasn't vegan, but it came with the veggie tray and was the only non-vegan offering of the day.  On an amusing note, that dip went unfinished and people kept raving over the vegan one, including some folks who wouldn't have even tried if they knew it was *GASP* vegan. :)

Secondly, a party just isn't a party without spinach dip.  Really.  If there isn't going to be a hollowed out bread bowl at your event, count me out. ;)  Luckily, the traditional Knorr Vegetable Dip mix is vegan, hurray!  I conveniently swapped out the mayo and sour cream for Vegenaise and Tofutti Sour Supreme, and added the green onions and water chestnuts as usual.  I was able to buy the bread at my usual grocery store bakery as it was already vegan. 

I served the dip with the bits of hollowed out bread, as well as some tasty whole wheat crackers.  It was TRULY indistinguishable from regular.  And you can trust me, I am picky about my spinach dip.

Third on the menu was fondue.  If you haven't tried fondue, you are missing out on a really fun and generally messy experience.  Although in my pre-vegan years I was obsessed with cheese fondue, I now obviously stick to chocolate fondue.  When I first went vegan, I thought I would also have to give this up as I liked Milk Chocolate best, but happily I have discovered that semi-sweet works wonderfully too.

You will need:
1 bag semi-sweet chips (make sure the brand you buy is vegan, shop rite's store brand is, and thats what I used)
Almond Milk
Powdered sugar

Pour the chips in a pot, put the heat on low.  Add a splash of almond milk.  Let them melt a little, stirring continuously. As they become fully melted, add about 2 tbs powdered sugar.  After this you have two choices.  If you don't have a fondue pot, leave it on the stove on super low heat and enjoy from there.  If you DO have one, pour the mixture into it, and light the candle or sterno to keep it warm.  Do this close to your event time so you don't burn your chocolate.

I served mine with fresh fruit and both chocolate and vanilla Oreo's, which are both naturally vegan.  This was a HUGE hit.  There is something about fondue that just brings people together.  Didn't hurt that this was a group of women and a pot of melted chocolate. ;)

Finally, I think every party needs some sort of cake.  Ideally some sort of cake art, or alternatively cupcakes.  I took the easy way out of course and used boxed mix.  I forget which brand at the moment, but I believe it was Duncan Hines (I just read boxes till I found one without eggs/dairy).  Then, instead of preparing it with the eggs it called for, I added a cup of unsweetened applesauce.  For some reason, applesauce acts in just the same manner as the eggs without adding any cholesterol or harming any animals, yay!  It also makes your cake lower in fat and fluffy/moist, YUM! 

I frosted it with strawberry icing, also I think from Duncan Hines, BUT seriously I don't remember for sure, so READ THOSE LABELS before you buy, please! :)

For decorations I topped them with Ring Pop's because they were colorful and adorable.  I don't think anyone ate the Ring Pop's, but they were cute to look at anyway.

Everyone seemed to have a great time, no one asked me "Uh.... is this vegan?", no one seemed to chuck a full plate of food in the garbage and I got a ton of compliments on the food.  The best validation that it turned out ok?  No leftovers. :)  Always a good sign!  Happy vegan entertaining!