Friday, November 27, 2009

Tootsie Roll Pie; Revisited

Two years ago, I attempted to make a chocolate creme pie with soy milk. I made some adjustments to "make sure it would set up." The result has ever since affectionately been called Tootsie Roll Pie, by my friends. The taste was fine. The texture was far more solid than any chocolate creme pie has any business being.

So here we go again. Bryan was my pastry chef, grinding up graham crackers in the blender, adding sugar and margarine...

...pressing it into the pie pans...

... and baking them for 7 minutes at 375*. For the recipe he used for the crust, click here.

I cannot descibe how delicious these smelled coming out of the oven. I suppose it would be the equivelant to how it would smell to make graham crackers from scratch. It was heavenly, and you should make one today. Yum...

Anyway... here is the type of pudding mix I used for the filling. You could make your own from scratch, if you like. Bryan's aunt Randi always does. But everyone at our gathering today seemed to like this filling just fine.

Also, note the warning on the back against attempting this with soy:

Well, here is the soy:

Mix in the Jello chocolate pudding powder...

stir it all up...

And make room for a Tablespoon of our secret thickening agent:

Corn starch.

You honestly might be able to get it to set up with a bit less than a Tablespoon, actually. But that is what I used this time around. If you want to see what happens if you use a WHOLE LOT MORE corn starch... click here.

I heated it over medium heat, and anxiously awaited it boiling.

It started glumping up like pudding is supposed to. So that is good, right?

Then it did start to boil. Looking very much like pudding at this point. (Sorry, the steam fogged up my camera lens.)

I removed it from the heat a poured it into one of the cooled crusts.

Next, rinse and repeat. But this time, with real milk.

The real milk is whiter than the soy, which may have caused the difference in the final color of the two pies.

The soy pie was setting up nicely. But I didn't want to much of a "skin" on the top

so I covered it with plastic wrap as it cooled.

Here is the real milk pie:

Here they are side-by-side:

Everyone seemed to enjoy the pie at my family's gathering this afternoon. So I consider that a win! And, of the three different pies I've made (apple, lemon meringue, and chocolate creme) this is by far the least time-consuming to make.


Edited to add:
I forgot to mention that you cover the whole thing with Cool Whip if you can have dairy, or Soyatoo! (or some other vegan whipped topping) if you can't.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Vegan Nachos

I have been eating nachos like they are going out of style lately. We bought another small loaf of Vegan Gourmet cheddar "cheese." It is especially wonderful in dishes like this where the cheese is seasoned by lots of other flavors:

I originally purchased it so that I could have twice baked potatoes with Bryan. More about that later.

But for now, there is nothing wrong with this:

Hope you all are having a restful Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love.

May God truly bless you this holiday season!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meat & Potatoes Bento

It has been awhile since I've packed a bento. Mostly I have been eating soup and sandwiches for lunch lately. But after making pulled pork last night, I knew I would have to throw together a bento today.

This uber-simple bento contains

  • BBQ pulled pork
  • Mashed potatoes
Ever since we cooked the turkey, the dog has been even more attentive to me in the kitchen.

(Let's just say that more turkey juices hit the floor than we would have liked. Next time I cook a turkey I'm buying one of those disposable foil pans with the thicker rim around the edge to hold all the juices!)

Happy Bento!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My First Turkey!

Yesterday I started "practicing" recipes for the holidays. My feeling is, I don't want to be super-stressed out when the day comes, so if I've made the dishes before, I will feel more confident and relaxed. Or, so the theory goes.

My first hurdle was to tackle the turkey. I have never cooked one before in my life, always being fortunate enough to live by family I can join on Thanksgiving. My parents had given me a free bird after the holidays last year, and I have been procrastinating this daunting task until now.

I will spare you the gory details of how the "bits" were removed from each end, and the thing was rinsed with cool water. My hands weren't free for picture-taking anyway. And though my husband was on-hand, he was mostly concerned with keeping the dog out of the kitchen and saying reassuring things like, "Don't look at that too long, just toss it in the trash." Yuck!

Anyway, here is the buttered bird:

I was all ready with string to tie the bag, and seasonings to sprinkle. I was (more or less) following the directions given on How to cook a Turkey Dinner (I highly recommend it, it is easy and illustrated).

I sprinkled the seasonings on while it sat in it's oven-bag.

Tied it up with string and pierced a very small hole near the tie, to release excess pressure that might build up during cooking.

Here is the bird ready to go in the oven:

My Dad will be happy to notice that I placed the bird "breast up."

And a little less than four hours later at 325 degrees, here is my finished turkey:

It got rave reviews from my parents and husband. I call that I complete success!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jack Skellington Cupcakes

Here are some pictures of the batch of Jack Skellington cupcakes I made for the Halloween party this past weekend.

I made 24 in all. They were made with yellow cake mix, and I added chocolate chips just for fun.

I used store-bought black whipped frosting to draw on the faces.

This one below just looked like a ghost, so I decorated it accordingly.

My friend Jen had given me a cardboard cupcake holder that seemed appropriate.

They were a big hit! Only 5 were left the next day.

Thanks for taking a look!

Related posts:
Flaming Pumpkins
Jack and Sally Bento

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Flaming Pumpkins 2009

Here is a picture of how my jack-o-lantern appeared last night:

Inside are two kerosene soaked rolls of toilet paper. One stacked on top of the other.

We actually had two flaming pumpkins last night.

I love how the flame shoots out of the eyes!

And my favorite pic of the pumpkin was taken by my friend Bethie:

Hope your Halloween was fun and memorable. I know ours was!

* Please use caution when lighting your own jack-o-lanterns. Always supervise the blaze and have a hose at the ready to put it out. Do not light it on top of dry, flammable materials. It is not a good idea to be the pyrotechnician if you have been enjoying adult beverages. Just sayin'!