Showing posts with label vegetarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetarian. Show all posts

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Vegan Sponge Candy

I have been meaning to test out a vegan sponge candy for years. Many friends and family are either vegetarian or vegan and cannot enjoy the deliciousness of sponge candy. Most candies out there don't have this problem, but my version of sponge candy requires gelatin for proper aeration. It took a few tries to get the candy close to the original. I have a few tweaks left to try, but I wanted to share this first success with you.


The bubbles in this vegan sponge candy are a little larger than in my traditional sponge candy. I am still doing a bit of scientific research into the difference in the protein structures of agar agar and gelatin, but it seems that the agar agar protein is not a strong as the gelatin protein. The bubbles in the vegan version are more akin to that of a Violet Crumble or Crunchie candy bar. It's still delicious, just not quite as smooth!

To make this GMO-free, I used French glucose that was prepared from wheat (This brand). Generally, all corn syrup that is produced in the US is made using GMO corn. As a chemist, I have no problem using GMO-derived corn syrup. Chemically, the corn syrup from GMO or non-GMO corn is exactly the same. The DNA of the corn will have no effect on the corn syrup product. However, if you do not want to support GMOs, use the wheat glucose! It's definitely more expensive, but glucose has so many uses in candy-making and baking.


Since this is a vegan version, I decided to coat my candy in orange chocolate! I melted a package of semi-sweet chocolate chips, added 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon orange extract. This is a small batch of sponge candy, just the perfect amount to be able to make and eat it in less than 1 week. Keeping the candy around for any longer is tricky in high humidity. Sponge candy tends to melt when it meets too much water.  

Full disclosure - Since I coated the candy in semi-sweet chocolate, it wasn't completely vegan. There was milk in the chocolate! Vegan friends, you know your options when it comes to vegan chocolate. Simply go with a vegan chocolate for the coating.

All my vegan and vegetarian friends, you can now enjoy some traditional Buffalo Sponge Candy!



Once Year Ago: Homemade Oreo Cookies
Two Years Ago: Potato, Spinach & Asparagus Quiche with Cumin
Three Years Ago: Granola Cookie Wedges
Four Years Ago: Gorgonzola Soup
Five Years Ago: Banana Mallow Cups

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lightened Mac'n'Cheese

Tuesday I told you about my treadmill running.  Today, I'd like to discuss running outside!  Long runs are best done outside. The monotony of the treadmill would make any run longer than four or five miles a chore. Boyfriend prefers running outside.  Mostly because he falls off the treadmill.  His legs are too long.  He also likes running in the rain and cold.  Something about "earning it."

My 8am, 6 mile run this Saturday took my from my apartment, down a wide street and through the park. It was exactly six miles, an out and back run with a loop through the park. On my outdoor runs, I keep track of my pace and mileage with MapMyRun+ on my iPhone. It tracks me with satellites and records my route down to the closest 1/100th of a mile.


The nice lady in the app tells me when I reach each mile and how fast I'm going. I know that if my pace drops below nine minutes per mile, that I need to pick up my feet for the next mile. The mile callouts are helpful when I'm doing an out and back run, rather than a loop.

When my workout is over, the app shows me my splits for every mile I ran, along with a terrain map. That way I can tell that lost a minute from my pace when I was heading uphill.

This weekend I'm heading to Buffalo to visit my parents and the Perry's ice cream factory. This means that I will be doing my long run in the Buffalo cold. I bought a hat and gloves just for the trip! I will even show my mom how to track me on her phone, just so she can make sure I didn't slack off and stop at my brothers house for a break!


Three and a half weeks until my half marathon and I'm looking forward to it! We'll see if BF joins me on my run, he's been too busy to train with me! Silly work is getting in the way. Now I just have to find the perfect running outfit and I'll be ready to hit the starting line.  I can tell you one thing, it will be neon and you'll see me coming!

Today I made you something ahead of time!  I've been spending a bit of time each Sunday, preparing a meal that BF can just put in the oven.  This way dinner can be on the table when I get home, with minimal work from either of us.  Starting in April this will be a biweekly post, so stay tuned for Make Ahead Mondays!  This week, I made you some lightened mac'n'cheese.  Yum.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thai Sweet Potato Stew

I am completely wiped out after this weekend.  Boyfriend and I spent the weekend moving into a new apartment.  That might not sound unusual or especially tiring, except for the fact that we moved from the second floor of our building up to the fourth floor.  We did this move over the course of three days.

Day One: Wait, before I get into the details of the moving process I should tell you this - I packed almost nothing prior to our move-in date of February 4th.  The morning of day one, we were scheduled to get the keys to our new "penthouse" apartment at 10 o'clock.  Not wanting to move on an empty stomach, we did what every moving day person does, we went to Dunkin' Donuts.  We filled up on egg and cheese sandwiches and hot beverages.  Movers need protein!

Upon receiving the keys, we signed our new lease and went up to our new place.  We knew we were moving into an apartment with a slightly different bed/bath layout, but we weren't quite ready for what we saw when we entered the room.  The main living area was the exact reverse of our apartment downstairs.  This is going to hurt my brain for weeks.

Moving day one was fine, with the exception of our harrowing journey with the couch into the elevator, everything went smoothly.  We moved our clothes from the old closet to the new, smaller closet.  The bedroom set went from our old, weirdly shaped bedroom to our new, normally laid out one.  The couch and TV did make it upstairs without being broken or leaving too many marks on the walls.  It was a good move.


We did not have that soup for dinner.  Oh no, no.  We had Chinese food from the take-out place down the street.  The Thai sweet potato soup that you see above was made last week and enjoyed by one and only one person in the apartment, me.  Someone doesn't like sweet potatoes.  Someone is a weirdo.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creamy Vegetable Soup

I have been trying to decide what to share with you today, then I realized that all of the recipes that I made this weekend either consisted of soup or pretzels.  And since pretzels are delegated for Thursdays post, I am giving you some more delicious soup!  I have been quickly going through my stock of stocks (hah!) because of one person.  Boyfriend.


Boyfriend has come down with some sort of fever-raising, cough-inducing sickness, brought on by the below-human temperatures that exist in his office.  I think that many people deal with the same thing at this time of year, especially if you work in an office and most definitely if you work in a lab.  These two environments are not good at regulating temperatures.  Office buildings are broken up into little rooms and it is unlikely that there will be a heat register in each office.  This means that some offices are a million degrees and some offices are freezing cold.

The same hot/cold situation exists in most lab spaces as well, but for a completely different reason.  Chemists work inside of hoods, which are basically like your oven hood, except our hoods are completely enclosed and have doors that raise and lower like a garage door.  These hoods pull air in from the lab space and send it out through the filters on the roof.  The rate of air being pulled out of the lab isn't always matched by the amount of air replaced by the heaters.  Hence, the labs and offices get pretty chilly.

Look how thick and delicious!!!
I have the ability to throw on an additional sweater under my labcoat, where boyfriend has to look like a business guy and not wear layers of jackets around the office.  Therefore he gets chilly and lowers his defenses to the cold and flu viruses floating about in the office.  Then he gets sick and I feed him lots of vegetables and vitamins!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Bother??? 2012 - Stocks

Welcome to the first post of the Why Bother??? 2012 challenge!  Have you had a look at the schedule of events for this year?  Do you have a post that you are already looking forward to?  I'm excited about this years challenge and I'm very happy that all of you were instrumental in creating it.  All of the challenges for this year were thought up and posted by you guys, whether it be here on the blog, on Facebook or through Twitter. 

While the challenges were set out by all of you, I took the liberty to choose when to complete each of these tasks.  Condiments and buns wound up in the weeks prior to Memorial day weekend so that you could make some for your own summer parties.  Jams are set to be prepared in the midst of the summer fruit season, when I can get the best produce from our local farmers market.  Stock was set for the first post of the year because we are in the midst of soup season, with months of winter left ahead of us.  Unfortunately, my friends in the southern hemisphere are on the opposite schedule as I am...  Maybe we can meet up in the middle, spring and fall?


Boyfriend and I spent this weekend at home in New Jersey.  We decided to relax at home and enjoy the nice weather in our town.  I spent much of last week reading my many cookbooks, researching stocks in all of their incarnations.  There are many options when it comes to making your own stock.  First you must choose what flavor you would like, chicken, beef, fish, vegetable?  Then you have to decide what your background notes will be, veggies, herbs, spices?

I decided to make the two stocks that I am always buying at the store, chicken and vegetable.  Once I completed all of my reading, I discovered that it is a very easy task to make stock.  Simply choose your flavors, cook them up in a big pot of water and strain to collect your stock.  Do you own an 8-quart pot?  Do you have some paper towels?  Can you purchase food at the grocery store?  If you said yes to those three questions, you can make stock.


The vegetable stock was beyond simple to make.  I chose a variety of vegetables and some of my favorite herbs to make a flavorful stock.  Fennel is used as the major flavor in this stock, with celery, onion and carrot as the milder flavors.  The house smelled of herbs and anise while this stock was simmering.  Boyfriend asked if I had spilled a jar of pepper on the floor.  After simmering for two hours, filtering of the stock gave a golden colored stock with a pleasant aroma.  I used this stock as the base for my cheese potato soup.


For the chicken stock, I decided to stick with classic flavors - celery, carrots, onions and parsely.  My only concern was simmering the stock long enough to cook the chicken and impart the right amount of flavor into the stock.  After averaging the times in each recipe, I decided that between 90 minutes and two hours was the right amount of time to cook the chicken and make good stock.  This stock needs to sit overnight to allow you to skim off the chicken fat, so make it one day ahead of time.  You'll see this stock in use this weekend in a tasty Thai-style soup.


Would I make stock at home again?  I definitely would, the flavor varieties offered by making your own stock has made me a convert.  However, I don't really need to make or buy more stock for a while.  Each pot of simmering ingredients gave me about ten cups of stock.  My freezer in now well stocked...


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Iceberg Wedge & Blue Cheese Dressing

Welcome to the new year everyone!  I hope the first two days have treated you well.  If my first two days of the year reflect how everyone else spent their first two days, I hope you all enjoyed shopping at Walmart and Target, buying storage containers and hangers! 


Yesterday, boyfriend and I spent the day cleaning and organizing the apartment in preparation for our move to a slightly smaller apartment.  We filled up three huge garbage bags with clothes than no longer fit into our wardrobe and dropped them off at the donation bin.  The huge pile of metal hangers made their way to the recycling bin.  The pile of shoes in the bottom of the coat closet got organized and whittled down. 

Along our cleaning journey, we realized that we had accumulated lots of new clothes for christmas and were in need of hangers.  A series of thoughts brought us to getting in the car and driving to the closest Walmart, only to discover that everyone else in the county decided to go there too.  Were you at the big box store this weekend, because I think just about everyone in the world was in my checkout line.  (Warning - if you take a cart FULL of items into the "Speedy Checkout Line" you're going to get quite a few snide comments)


At the end of the day, our closet was slightly cleaner and our bodies were tired.  There was very little energy remaining to prepare anything for dinner.  Chopping a head of lettuce into four pieces was just about the amount of prep I could handle. 

Iceberg wedge & Blue cheese dressing
Adapted from Williams Sonoma - New York


I've had a couple of wedge salads in my time and I've always wanted to make it at home.  The dressing always had the same notes, but I didn't have a good base recipe.  This recipe from Williams Sonoma really hit the spot.  Although, to be completely honest with you...  After I photographed the pretty wedges of lettuce, I chopped it up and tossed it into a big bowl.  So much easier to eat, just less pretty to look at!

1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into 4-6 wedges

1/2 cup mayonaisse
1/2 cup light sour cream
juice from 1 lemon
dash of Tabasco
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
1 tbsp fresh chive, finely chopped

1/2 cup candied walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Plate one wedge of lettuce per plate.

In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the salad dressing (mayo through chives).  Spoon a few tablespoons of dressing over each wedge.  Spinkle with cranberries and walnuts.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spicy Sesame Noodles

It's official everyone, I work at my company!  I know, it's an odd thing to say.  You might even be thinking "Wait Vicki, didn't you start your new job in July?"  First, thank you for remembering!  Second, yes.  I did start working at my job in the summer, but today I got my first set of business cards.


They are so pretty.  My name Dr. Wilde, Ph.D., in bold black lettering, tells everyone that I am an official member of the team!  Before I would go up to people and be all, "Hi, I work here!" and I would have no tangable proof to back up my claim.

Not any longer!  I work here now and I can prove it!  I can even back it up with a little information about what I'm working on.  I can spew fancy chemistry and pharmaceutical words and sound like a professional.  But don't let the business cards and fancy language fool you!  I'm still feeling my way around my new job. 


When I joined the team I was told that my first year would feel like I was thrown into the deep end of the pool.  I've learned to float and now I'm learning to swim.  Soon, I'll have all the goods necessary to back up that business card.  That little piece of card stock holds a lot of pressure and responsibility!  Here's to finding my sea legs!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto


Each morning I transfer from the New Jersey trains to the Long Island railroad. While I've described my evenin transfer as an Olympic event of toddler-jumping and granny-dodging, my morning commute is much more relaxed. In fact, I have thirty minutes between my morning trains. There are a few options open to me for filling this time and I've explored them all.

In my first few weeks of commuting I stayed in Penn stationand waited for my LIRR train. I brought books to read and stood around in the main corridor reading. One morning I decided to sit in the LIRR waiting area and read and that was the last morning I stayed in Penn Station. A quick note for all, the waiting area is where the really chatty and crazy people like to hang out. I'm not big on conversation that early in the morning.

Option two is to go outside of Penn Station and get some fresh air. This idea was spurred on in mid-July, when the temps inside of the station were reaching two hundred degrees. While getting outside for some air is a great idea, this is also he same idea that the smokers have. The fresh air I desired would not be found there.

Option three has become my favorite. It's a game. How far can I walk and still make it back before my train? I'm becoming increasingly familiar with the streets and avenues around Penn Station. My favorite Starbucks is at 39th and 8th, it has a second floor seating area!  I can make it to the Jamba Juice at 23rd and 7th with time to spare. It's a great game and good exercise too!  You might even see me strolling by Good Morning America on the days that I head north!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pizza Foccacia

Among all of the big changes that have been happening in the Wilde household, the change in living situations is probably one of the biggest.  For the past eight years, boyfriend and I have been a long distance couple.  It did help that we've known each other for the past fifteen years and also that we were both so very busy while we were apart.  Boyfriend was busy building his career and getting a great job, while I spent my time holed up in labs finishing my education.


Now that we are living in one household it's totally different.  Good different!  Not only are the living expenses cut in half (a great bonus), but sometimes I arrive home to discover the laundry I put in the dryer that morning has folded itself up and put itself away!  The dishwasher empties itself and even dinner arrives without me having to lift a finger!

Now, I realize that boyfriend might have a bit to do with the amazing feats of housework and food prep (ordering) because these things never happened when I was living alone!  Food covered dishes would just sit in the sink until I faced the music and put them in the dishwasher.  Laundry would remain in the dryer until I tried to run another load, so that's where those pants were all week...  Dinner would often be a bowl of lettuce that I would call a salad. 


Living with boyfriend definitely has is benefits, most of all being, I get to see him every day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cream of Asparagus Soup



I have some terrible news people.  Yesterday morning was going so well, until I went to dry my hair.  My favorite (only), trusty hair dryer was working its magic until it decided it had enough.  With half wet hair, my hair dryer coughed, sputtered and exhaled one final hot breath, then died.  I tried shaking it, pushing buttons, turning it on and off.  Even the tried and true electronic fix of unplugging and pluggin back in did nothing. 

I am now mourning the loss of my hair dryer.  I am also looking all sorts of crazy.  I guess the one bright side of no longer owning a functioning hair dryer (I like to call it an art piece right now) is that I leave the house twenty minutes earlier in the morning.  WIN?
 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lentil Chili

Well, that’s what it sounds like if you listen to the news right now. The vast majority of Connecticut schools had cancelled classes before a single flake of snow fell. Libraries, community centers and childcare centers, all closed. Is everyone being overnervous, or am I just hard to impress? The weather channel suggests that we will get between 18 to 24 inches of snow. Is that a lot? Nah.


I can count the number of snow days I experienced as a child on one hand. This is not because I lived in sunny Southern Florida or tropical Hawaii. I grew up in the northtowns of Buffalo, NY. Snow capital of the United States! In reality, Buffalo ranks ninth among cities over 50,000. There is a town in New Hampshire that averages over 200 inches of snow per year, Buffalo averages only 93. Anyways. You’re thinking, “All that snow, now snow days?” There are reasons that all the Western New York children are constantly disappointed.

Problem #1 – Snow Plows! The Atlanta airport has one snow plow. The driver most likely learned how to plow in Buffalo. Every year there is a plowing convention held in Buffalo, where drivers learn the fine art of snow plowing. This means that the snow plow drivers in Buffalo are good at what they do, much to the chagrin of schoolchildren everywhere.

Problem #2 – Winter is long in Buffalo. Some years, snow starts falling in October and will keep coming until long into spring. There is the occasional blizzard, the ones that make the national news, but these are rare and usually only happen when Lake Erie is unfrozen. So 93 inches of snow, spread out over 5 months equals lots of snow, a little at a time.


So our 18 to 24 inches of snow might keep me from heading to work, maybe. My boots only go up to my knees, and I don’t own any snow pants (I recently destroyed a pair while tubing). Just in case the grocery stores are wimps, I decided to prepare myself a big pot of lentil chili to last me through the onslaught of snow. I’m going to enjoy my piles of snow while eating bowls of chili, knowing that if I was still in Buffalo, I would definitely be at work.

Health tip?  Eat the rainbow!  Don't eat the snow.
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