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Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie and Cranberry-Raspberry Compote

So, it has been a really long time since I have posted.  During my pregnancy, I just overwhelmingly didn’t feel like posting anything.  Now, of course, with a 4 month old, I have very little time to write anything.  In the beginning, I was sleeping while she slept, like everyone suggests, but these days I try to get stuff done or get ready for work while she’s sleeping.  While she’s awake, though, I want nothing more than to stare at her little beautiful face and blow raspberries on her little baby belly.  She’s such a doll and I’m so happy to have her in my life.  She’s got such a personality and is generally a very, very happy and very perceptive baby.  We are really very lucky.

Charlotte | A Vegan in Progress

I happen to have this week off (my office is closed), so I thought I would try to get my momentum back.

I made this Oh She Glows Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie for this past Thanksgiving and it was so popular with my family that it was requested I make it again for Christmas.  Luckily for me, it’s pretty simple, especially with a tweak for the lazy.  I simply got store-bought pie crust from the frozen section (they came two to a package – more pie!) rather than making my own.  This pie is very likely the best vegan dessert I have ever had, let alone made myself!  Don’t let the coconut cream scare you away if you aren’t a huge coconut fan.  It’s not the overwhelming flavor of the dessert – that would be yummy, yummy chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Pie | A Vegan in Progress

Rather than make the strawberry vanilla compote from the Oh She Glows website that I’m sure is delicious, I felt that a cranberry-raspberry compote would be more fitting for the season.  I did a quick google search, then chose a recipe that looked the easiest (that’s usually how I work) and ended up with this one originally from Bon Appetit.  I would make this 100 times over – it was that good.

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Vegan Recipe – Chocolate Ice Cream

My mom has been experimenting with different vegan ice cream and cheese recipes lately and, man, are we lucky to be her taste testers.  On Labor Day, she served up some Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream, adapted from the cookbook, The Vegan Scoop: 150 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream that Tastes Better Than the “Real” Thing by Wheeler Del Toro.  It was the best vegan ice cream I have ever had.  I definitely recommend giving it a try.Mom's Chocolate Ice Cream | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup chocolate soy milk, like Silk chocolate soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 cups soy creamer
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder (the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup, but we found that it gave the ice cream a slightly gritty texture and figured that it was too much)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup soymilk with arrowroot and set aside.
  2. Mix soy creamer, remaining 3/4 cup soymilk, sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips in a saucepan.  Stirring frequently over low heat, melt chocolate chips, then bring to a boil.  Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and immediately add arrowroot cream.  This will cause the liquid to thicken noticeably.
  3. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Refrigerate mixture until chilled, approximately 2 to 3 hours.  Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

YIELD:  1 quart

Vegan at Vegetable Delight, Granada Hills

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This semester I actually had a final on a Saturday, Mother’s Day weekend.  While that sucked, I planned to hang out with my mom for the afternoon afterward.  We went to lunch at Vegetable Delight in Granada Hills.  The restaurant is entirely vegetarian and mostly vegan, with an extensive menu.

Every time I have been there, it has been mostly empty, but the people that do go there really like it.  They have great reviews on yelp, happy cow, and urban spoon.

Vegetable Delight, Granada Hills | A Vegan in Progress

My mom and I ordered Pan Fried Vegetable Dumplings to start off.

They were really, really good – all warm and crispy.  I would definitely order these again.

We also shared the Mu Shu Vegetable, which is always a favorite of ours.

Mu Shu Vegetable - Vegetable Delight | A Vegan in Progress

The waitress very cutely called these “Chinese burritos” and encouraged us to ask for those if we forgot what they were actually called.

For our entrees, we ordered Lemon Veggie Chicken…

Lemon Veggie Chicken - Vegetable Delight | A Vegan in Progress

Lemon Veggie Chicken

And Veggie Chicken with Cashew Nuts.

Veggie Chicken with Cashew Nuts - Vegetable Delight | A Vegan in Progress

Veggie Chicken with Cashew Nuts

I’m not usually a fan of fruit sauces (orange or lemon, usually) on savory meals, but the lemon chicken tasted good for what it was.  I love cashew nuts and veggies, and the Veggie Chicken with Cashew Nuts was delicious.

Although we didn’t try any, they offer a ton of vegan desserts.  They have a flip menu listing ingredients including things like organic rolled oat flour .

  • Vegan Chocolate Lava Cake
  • Vegan Organic Carrot Cake
  • Vegan Tiramisu
  • Raw Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Cake
  • Raw Vegan Raspberry Lemon Cake
  • Raw Vegan Lemon Chi-z Cake
  • Raw Vegan Chocolate Banana Cake

I really like this place.  They have a lot to choose from and never rush you.  The whole family likes it, so we will definitely be back.

Vegan Recipe – Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am a big fan of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbooks… her Fronch toast recipe is the best French toast I’ve ever had.  So when I felt like trying my hand at a vegan chocolate chip recipe, I went directly to her website for a recipe.

These cookies are actually quite simple to make and come out very soft and puffy rather than other cookie recipes that come out crispy and flat.  They were very tasty as well – try them out!

Chocolate Chip Cookies | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour (you can use cornstarch or arrowroot instead – I used cornstarch)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Lightly grease two large light metal baking sheets.
  2. Mix together sugars, oil, milk, and tapioca flour in a mixing bowl.  Use a strong fork and mix really well, for about 2 minutes, until it resembles smooth caramel (or beat it in your mixer as I did).  There is a chemical reaction when sugar and oil collide, so it’s important that you don’t get lazy about that step. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Add 1 cup of the flour, the baking soda and salt. Mix until well incorporated. Mix in the rest of the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. The dough will be a little stuff so use your hands to really work them in.
  4. For 3 inch cookies, roll the dough into about ping pong ball size balls. Flatten them out in your hands to about 2 1/2 inches. They will spread just a bit. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes – no more than 9 – until they are just a little browned around the edges. I usually get 16 out of these so I do two rounds of eight cookies. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
  5. For 2 dozen two inch cookies roll dough into walnut sized balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches and bake for only six minutes.

Vegan at Mohawk Bend, Los Angeles

Mohawk Bend, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

Mohawk Bend is a place that I have wanted to visit for quite a while.  In fact, I sought out a copycat recipe for their Buffalo-Style Cauliflower because people raved about it.  Here’s where I tweaked that recipe a bit and posted about my results.

Eric and I went out with his mom a couple of weeks ago and suggested Mohawk Bend since it’s mere miles from her house.  As I said in my previous post, Mohawk Bend (found in the Echo Park area where Mohawk Street bends and meets Sunset) used to be a movie theater, but was left vacant for many years.  Now it has a cozy, pub-like atmosphere and offers food and drinks that are made mostly with California-based products.

Mohawk Bend, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

We were seated in the back, theater area that is surprisingly light and airy.  On the walls hang photos of graffiti saved from the renovation of the formerly dilapidated theater.  Their well-marked menu has quite a bit to offer to vegans, vegetarians, and carnists alike, so it took us a while to figure out what to order.  I knew what I wanted to start with, though!  I got a Mimosa with cider rather than champagne that was seriously yummy.

Of course, we had to order their Buffalo-style Cauliflower appetizer.  While very tasty, I preferred my version.  Theirs didn’t have a lot of coating to it and therefore, the cauliflower wasn’t as soft and just looked like slightly crunchy cauliflower drenched in buffalo sauce.  I can see why the original copycat recipe didn’t call for much batter, though.  It was actually a better copycat recipe than I had assumed.

Mohawk Bend - buffalo cauliflower wings | A Vegan in Progress

For my entree, I ordered their Vegan Burger with vegan cheese, which was delicious!  Possibly the best vegan burger I’ve had.  The black beans and rice patty had just the right texture to it and the cheese was such a welcome addition.  The fries that came with it were well-cooked, but a little too salty.

Mohawk Bend - Vegan Burger | A Vegan in Progress

Check out that side view!  It’s making me hungry!

Mohawk Bend - Vegan burger | A Vegan in Progress

Finally, I had to try out one of their vegan desserts.  I ordered the vegan Cast Iron Cookie, which was Mohawk Bend’s version of a BJ’s Pizookie.  It was good, but a little overcooked and lacking in chocolate chips.  I could have done without it.

Mohawk Bend - Vegan Cast Iron Cookie | A Vegan in Progress

We will definitely be going back, but this was quite a pricy trip.  For the three of us, it cost over $100.  Eric’s mom graciously covered the meal, but I felt a little guilty.  I highly recommend the place to anyone in the LA area.  It’s worth going out of your way for.

Vegan Recipe – Easy Vegan Brownies

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I promised a brownie recipe and I am here to deliver!  This recipe (originally found here) is relatively simple and is made mostly with regularly stocked pantry ingredients.  I added a melted chocolate topping to the brownies because that is how my mom has made them since I was a child and her brownies are loved by everyone who is lucky enough to try them.  They were yummy and gooey and certainly curbed my chocolate cravings.  My only complaint is that they were pretty crumbly and definitely needed something to get them to stick together.  I have added an egg replacer to the recipe below.  You could easily use different types of sugar and flour to make this sinful recipe a bit healthier.

Easy Vegan Brownies | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer + 2 tbsp warm water
  • Handful of vegan dark chocolate chips or a few pieces of vegan dark chocolate bar (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl, mix together egg replacer and warm water. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water, vegetable oil, vanilla, and egg replacer; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny.
  4. (Optional) Sprinkle chocolate chips /place chocolate bar pieces evenly on top of warm brownies.  Let them melt on the hot brownies, then smooth with a butter knife.
  5. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.