Saturday, July 30, 2011

Vegan Butterfingers

Pretty much everyone loves butterfingers.  Who didn't grow up with Bart Simpson skateboarding around telling people off for trying to eat his butterfinger? However, since becoming vegan, they're sort of off the table.  Which is why I was sort of irritated nobody every told me about Chick-O-Sticks until last week:

Chick-O-Sticks are exactly like the middle of butterfingers.  Super delicious and peanut buttery.  After finding this part, it was easy to make a full butterfinger.

I bought 3 packs of Chick-O-Sticks (if you live in Chicago, you can find these at an awesome candy store called Candyality).

I improvised my sort of double broiler by placing a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water (works just as well) and then dumped in 1/2 a bag of semi sweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips to melt.  I always add about a teaspoon of vanilla when melting chocolate, but that's my tastes.  If the mixture is too thick or fudgey, you can add small amounts of vanilla or chocolate soymilk.  This will make it easier to dip the sticks.

I just broke up the Chick-O-Sticks into 3 pieces to make it easier, but theoretically you could do the whole thing.  I tossed them in the melted chocolate, then rolled them around till they were coated and pulled them out with forks.  I laid them out on a tray lined with wax paper and put them in the fridge to cool.  Pretty simple!

I want to use these to try to make butterfinger cheese cake, but I'll need to get a good peanut butter cheese cake recipe first.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Loaded Vegan Nachos

I think just nachos and cheese are rather boring.  Instead, I like to put all sorts of stuff on top to make them delicious.  There are a few different ways this could be made.

Take a base of tortilla chips, whichever kind you like best, and dump them into a baking dish (the sort you would make a cake in, the deepest you have).
Preheat the oven to about 250 - you only really need to warm everything up and melt the daiya cheese.
Take whatever kind of vegan taco flavored crumbles you like and add a package of this on top of the chips.  You can also use chili.  My three favorites are Amy's Medium ChiliFantastic Foods Vegetarian Chili, or Fantastic Foods Vegetarian Taco Filling.  Then, add 1/2 to a full can of vegetarian refried beans.  I also like to add a can of kidney or black beans.
Add a cup of your favorite vegan cheese.  Daiya cheddar works particularly well.
Put this in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until everything is heated thoroughly.

While this is heating, chop up 2 avocados, one large tomato, 1/2 a red onion, and a little cilantro (if desired).  If you want spicy nachos, add fresh or pickled jalapenos.

Once the nachos are done, add the veggies on top and serve.  

Friday, February 11, 2011


Sangria is the best drink ever.  It's like an alcoholic fruit salad.  I made it with some friends from work for one of the girl's Superbowl party on Sunday (She's the one who taught me).  It's really good, and you can use whatever citrusy style fruits you have on hand.

You want to start with a pitcher that is approximately a gallon.  We used one like this.  Then take any 750mL bottle of white wine.  I've used chardonnay, white zinfandel, and pinot grigio with good results for all.  I've heard you can use red too, but I've never personally tried it.

Chop up any combination of citrusy type fruits.  Tonight I have lime and strawberry.  On Sunday we used green apple, nectarine, orange, and lime.  If you actually know stuff about wines, you can probably pair flavors to the wine.  Add the fruit to the wine in the pitcher, and let it sit overnight if possible.  It's also good if you make it and drink it right away.

Once you're ready to drink it, fill the rest of the pitcher up with sprite or 7up.  If you want it to be stronger (because otherwise it will be fairly weak like this), add about 2-3 shots of vodka, to taste, and mix well.  You could shake things up a little and try raspberry or lime vodka.

Volia, you have a delicious fruit drink that will make any night better.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Frushi at Orange on Clark st.

I just went to the restaurant Orange, near Clark and Fullerton.  It's sort of a brunch place.  I got fruit sushi (frushi) for the first time and it was amazing.  They had 2 different kinds, one in a nigiri style and one in regular sushi style, and the flavors change frequently.  For the sushi roll, they had lime infused rice rolled with pineapple and for the nigiri, they had coconut infused rice with a green apple slice on top.  They were drizzled in strawberry and orange sauce.  I loved the lime and pineapple ones, I thought they tasted like fruity Popsicles.  It was fairly cheap too.

Here's some frushi that my friend got the other day (I forgot to take a picture when we went out).  We're hoping to experiment and figure out how to make it ourselves.

Friday, February 4, 2011


This is an easy little snack that would also be cute on display for parties.
Take a bag of stick pretzels.
For each pretzel, dip one end in creamy peanut butter so that it gets a q-tip sized ball of peanut butter on it.
Set on a plate and then push 2 chocolate chips (non dairy) into the peanut butter on either side of the pretzel, so that they look like 2 bug eyes.  Cute!

If I can think of something that would look like wings, I want to make a "dragonfly" version.

Mine are a little melted from sitting on my stove while baking something, but they still tasted delicious.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Blood Drive #2 results

The blood drive at my work was yesterday, and it went really well.  I was surprised by how many walk ins we had, and how well it went in general.  I've been reading about all the trouble the recent storms have been causing for the red cross and their blood supply, so I had that in my mind most of the day.  I posted a brief article on it alongside the posters in the window for the drive.

"The American Red Cross said it was alerting disaster workers and seeking blood donations, because more than 18,000 expected donations have gone uncollected in recent weeks due to other storms." 

Our goal was 23 pints, and we got 24 successful donations, so that was great.  I'm going to post thank you signs at work for all the donors with a visual of all the people that could help (72 pictures of people I found on the internet.  72 since you can save up to 3 lives with each donation).  It looks really cool to see it laid out visually like that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


In 2008, I spent a few weeks in Ecuador on a study abroad trip, which was really awesome.  I spent time with some amazing people, seeing awesome things, practicing Spanish, teaching at after school programs, hearing stories, and learning another way of life.  Each night our group came together with some of the volunteers there and made dinner together, and the funny thing is that most of our meals were vegan.  Meat is a treat there.  (Actually, I met my first vegan on that service trip and went vegetarian myself shortly after coming back).  We used lots of plantains, among other things.  Instead of doing standard banana chips (thinly slice plantain bananas and frying them), here's a twist on that recipe.

These are called aplastados, meaning smushed or smashed in Spanish.  You use plantain bananas; the longer, thicker ones that can usually be found in grocery stores (although sometimes you have to ask).  You want it to be green.  Pour a layer of canola oil into a frying pan and put it on medium heat.  Get one or two and peel them (Note: this is harder than with a regular banana.  It helps to cut a slit down the side of the peel and work it off with your nails.)  Cut the bananas into slices about an inch thick while the oil is heating up, then put them in to fry until they turn a golden yellowish color (3 minutes), then flip them and do the same on the other side (2 minutes). Pull them all out of the oil and put them on a durable surface that won't melt.  You will probably need to temporarily turn off the heat under the oil so it won't burn during the next step. Take a glass or ceramic glass and, using the flat bottom of it, "smash" each banana disc.

Once they are all smashed, put them back in the oil and make sure it is back on.  Heat each side for another minute or two, then pull them out and salt them.  Delicious!

Using the above times, yours will turn out less brown than mine.  If they seem to be cooking too fast, turn the heat down.