Fall is officially here. And with the coming of Fall, also comes an abundance of apples and pumpkins. Even though I loathe the impending cold temperatures, I relish the slight chill of autumn weather and the plethora of comfort foods that accompany it. Especially comfort food that include apples–whether it be a nice mug of cider (preferably the adult versions) or a hefty slice of cheesecake with the addictive flavor of apple pie strewn throughout. Apples are a staple in my house come the end of September… and they remain there all the way until December.
I used honeycrisp in this cheesecake only because my default baking apple, the granny smith, is nowhere to be found in any grocery store or market I’ve perused in Philly. Is this a problem in other parts of the world… or are our friendly grocery-teers mocking me and my east coast relocation?
Anyways, even with honeycrisps–which I truly hate to bake with, as they are a superior snacking apple straight to the core–this cheesecake takes apple pie to a whole new level. Or maybe this apple pie takes cheesecake to a whole new level? Whichever it is, be sure to chill this dessert in the fridge for at least 24 hours after baking for maximum enjoyment.
I have a recipe post planned for tomorrow (Tuesday) but I just got word that Manifest Vegan was nominated for “Favorite Blog” in the 2011 Veggie Awards–so I had to share the excitement as soon as I found out! Hooray!
I’ve been following the Veggie Awards for years, and I would be lying through my keyboard if I said I was anything but thrilled to see that Manifest Vegan made the cut.
Click here to check out the list of nominees. There’s a long list of veggie related awesomeness you can vote for… from favorite storefront to favorite cookbook author!
Thanks to all of you for making this possible. Even though I’ve said this hundreds (thousands?!) of times, I mean it: you guys are the best! Please go and vote!!! Plus, there’s some fun prizes you’ll have a chance to win if you do…. ♥
And, if you don’t wanna vote for my blog, you’ll quickly see that there is an amazing lineup of blogs who have also been nominated that I am very proud to be listed alongside. I mean, seriously, these people are my heroes. :)
This past Friday we celebrated our little girl’s 2nd birthday!
I made this cake for her.
Yes, I went overboard… but this is really due to the fact that I love decorating cakes , and my daughter loves looking at cakes like this one: you know, the kind with plenty of glitzy things going on. She’s far too young to eat much of this tribute (in fact, I’m pretty sure she just ate the smallest chocolate heart on top); but for her, it’s much more about the “show” than anything else.
She’s really into “frilly” things: swoons at sparkly shoes and must be wearing a pair at all times, borrows my jewelry and has a hard time giving it back, loves wearing dresses, and has been caught on many occasions trying to sneak into my makeup.
I thought this cake celebrated her quite well. It’s laced with tart raspberries and sour lemon, encased in a super smooth vanilla bean buttercream, and topped with a hefty dash of glamour.
It’s actually just a simple tweak on one of my favorite recipes: the cinnamon donut cake. A few chocolate garnishes really make it sparkle.
This given recipe yields a double layer cake, rather than the triple one shown, but for you ambitious bakers out there, I’ve also included the breakdown for a third cake* at the bottom. Continue reading
Recently I have been hearing mentions of it being “girl scout cookie time”, and although now I obviously abstain, I still get a little nostalgic thinking about my short lived years peddling those things. I was a girl scout for just five years… but in that time, I easily ate hundreds (no thousands) of girl scout cookies. I mean, I had to spend my allowance on something, right? The flavor I loved the most was thin mints… by a long shot. I could crush an entire packet of those things in one sitting, without a single complaint from my belly. That’s like 30 cookies at once. We had a very serious relationship, thin mints and I.
Happily, I found my love re-kindled with a homemade version of the classic cookie. When I was making the ice cream sandwiches last week, I was thinking that the dough would make an excellent crunchy wafer if baked a little longer. Then I thought about how I could easily slip some minty flavor in there, dip it in chocolate and re-create my childhood cookie love. The rest is history.
These babies taste pretty damn good and authentic, if I do say so myself. No hydrogenated oils, gluten, or animal products needed.
A few days ago, I got this hankering for a twix bar… or more likely a hankering to create a vegan and gluten free version of the popular candy that I grew to love as a child. I distinctly remember there being three varieties offered for sale in my small midwest village grocery store: peanut butter, cookies and cream, and caramel. I always loved each one for their own uniqueness… but for some reason, the caramel variety was my favorite.
Today, I barely remember what the darned things taste like… but I get the gist: a crunchy vanilla-ish cookie, creamy caramel, and a thin chocolate coating.
Easy enough, right?
This recipe does take a little patience, finesse… and an even temper. But, it’s definitely worth a go if you too miss twix bars like I do *whether you are gluten free, vegan, or both*.
Not exactly the same, but close enough to be worth the little bit of extra effort.
(updated— the amazingly rational Kittee came through in the comments with a stellar idea to make these super easy! She had a ridiculously good suggestion to pipe on the caramel sticky filling using a piping bag and flat tip. Genius!) see * below
I was recently cleaning out my cabinets and discovered a treasure buried deep down underneath my twenty (and a half) cake pans…. my electric George Foreman grill! I rescued it from my sister last summer when she was holding a garage sale. I don’t think it is actually made by George Foreman.. err, his brand name, but it works mighty nice. Its extra big with a temperature control. Very fancy.
These types of grills are cheap and easy to come by (I bought our previous model at the drugstore for 7 dollars). They also make the best tofu ever. Seriously, I could eat my weight in tofu grilled on one of these things. Prior to seeing the magic these humble grills could perform on well drained tofu, I wasn’t a big fan of cooking it myself. Mostly a scramble here and there. But with the grill… anything is possible.
I have been happily serving my family various versions of grilled tofu almost every night since the grill’s re-discovery. This recipe is my favorite so far. Basil infused olive oil lends a spectacular flavor to this crispy and chewy tofu. Served along a melange of red peppers, mushrooms, and okra this tofu becomes part of a wonderfully fragrant and tasty meal.
I think the vegan community is amazing- everyone involved is making a huge impact in their own special way. I love how vegans ultimately find common ground by simply refusing to participate in the exploitation of non-human animals. As most of us know, the choice to go vegan is no “trend”… it is holding on strong, and will only continue to grow. Which is awesome!
If you haven’t yet heard the heartwarming tale of Dorothy and Chico, you are in for a treat. I simply couldn’t resist sharing this story of these two love-birds (erhm, ungulates). All you need is love….right? Read on and warm up your heart: <3