Monday, August 29, 2011

Pasta Fagioli 4/5 Spoons

Hey lovers! Sorry that I've been missing in action but I actually have a temp job right now and that means that I barely have time to cook good meals or eat good food. It sucks but I manage! And now I'm heading out to New York City and Boston for a week and I could not be more excited. Things are crazy but it feels really good to be tired from being busy all day, it's rewarding to say the least.

So I had my apprehensions about this soup at first. The picture looked great (down below there) but that isn't always an accurate representation of course. I will say, this soup was pretty darn amazing and ended up looking like the picture. Go figure. This had such a nice hearty tomato flavor and the pasta and pureed beans really added something extra. It would be ideal for winter nights or just when you need a serious "soup hug". Soup hug = a big bowl of soup that just melts all your daily worries away. It works, trust me.

(Photo courtesy of Skinnytaste)

Here are my notes:

-- I ended up using two cans of cannellini beans because I thought the soup was a little thin for my taste at the end. And I pureed the whole soup with my immersion blender. It seemed like it needed to be zapped a few times to get that rich and thick tomato soup from a can vibe that is so great. And it doesn't hurt to have more protein and fiber in your diet.
-- I used a can of diced tomatoes but ran it in my food processor until it was smooth. And I always use sodium free tomatoes just because I do. I'm sure I make up for it in added a lot of kosher salt but oh well. We only live once.
-- And as for herbs, I honestly didn't even measure them. And I didn't even add a bay leaf. I worked with what I had. But I did use fresh parsley because that stuff could make a toilet seat taste fresh.
-- Of course, I used veggie broth.
-- As for the ditalini (which I love), I cooked it separately and then added it in my soup as I went back for more. If you leave the pasta in the liquid and refrigerate it overnight, you will end up with a big poofy thick pasta mess on your hands. It's really not the worst thing ever, but it tastes so much better when you have that pasta saved away from the soup.
-- And since I'm a sucker for parmesan, of course I put some on the top. Obviously this is vegan if you leave that out and still just as good.

This review is short but sweet (or savory) and of course, I put my No Meat Mama stamp of approval right on this recipe. I will be back again soon with more reviews and another giveaway. So thanks for reading and have a great Labor Day!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Vegan (Almost) Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones 5/5 Spoons

Well I am going to brag, this is my own recipe and it is AWESOME. Okay, so I kind of just tweaked the Vegan Tomato Rosemary Scone (which is so delicious) from Vegan Brunch but I say it's different enough that I can call it my own. (And I kind of fudged up and bought the non-vegan Ghiradelli chips by accident, but this can be easily remedied on my next trip to the store!)

One day on the bus I was contemplating how I can change up this scone but still a. keep it vegan and b. keep it moist. I know scones aren't supposed to be all moist and shit, but I don't care, this is my recipe. I was thinking of other wet ingredients that could replace the tomato sauce in this recipe. And bam! Pumpkin! Duh. Making a dessert version of this scone was the first on my list. And since I'm trying to start my own Etsy shop of my baked goods, I thought this one would be a great way to start!

(Excuse my awful phone photos, once I'm an acclaimed baker with a cookbook deal, then I will buy a nicer camera.)

Here is the recipe:

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones (this is exactly as I did it, but if you change it up, please let me know what you did to make it your own!)

3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (and extra for your kneading surface)
2 T. baking powder
1/3 c. sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw, but ya know, do your thang)
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. cinnamon (I used my fancy Penzey's Spices for this recipe!)
1/4 t. ginger, cloves and nutmeg
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. vegetable oil (This is ideal but olive oil would work in a pinch.)
1 1/2 c. pumpkin (Ya know, the unsweetened canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix and I doubt anyone has fresh pumpkin puree just hanging around, but please use that if you do!)
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep your sheet pan with a Silpat, parchment paper or some light cooking spray.

Sift the flour with the baking powder in a large bowl. Add the spices, salt and sugar; mix well.

In a separate bowl/measuring cup whisk together the pumpkin, oil, vanilla and vinegar until well combined.

Add the wet to the dry and mix until it just comes together. Just before completely blending everything together, add your chips. It is good to have a few spots of flour left before you dump it out on your floured working surface. Knead the dough on your floured surface a few times just to incorporate everything but not until it is too tough to move around. This should be a soft dough but still easy to manage.

Fold your ball into a disk shape about 2 inches high and about 8 inches across. Or ya know, the size of like a medium size dinner plate. Take a knife or a bench scraper and cut the dough in half. Take one half and cut the dough into 6 triangles. Repeat with the other side. I actually ended up making 10 scones instead of 12 (we like our scones big). Take each scone and place it on your sheet with just a little bit of room in between (they don't puff up too much).

Mine took about 25 minutes to bake. They were firm and dry on top but still gave a little when I pressed their middles. I also tested them with a toothpick to make sure they were not too doughy. And voila! Scones! Let these cool and eat. And if you have leftovers, just throw them under a paper towel overnight or a container with a lid for a few days. I doubt they will last that long.

(That is me being excited!)

I just want to thank you all for reading my blog. I really mean it. It's so nice knowing there are people everywhere reading and enjoying my love for food with me. Don't forget, I have an e-mail address ( where you can ask questions, request a recipe for me to make and review or ya know, if you want to pay me to make things for you, I'm more than excited to do that. I'll be back again soon with more deliciousness!