Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vegan French Toast

So, last I left you, the arches of my feet were starting to hurt badly because I was logging in about 20 miles a week and doing it in trail shoes. Silly girl.

I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and got myself a pair of Asics gel-1170 running shoes. They were written up in Runner's World magazine as being one of the best sneakers for marathons and long training runs.

I tried them out last weekend.

Boy, these babies were great! I could definitely feel a major difference in the arch support when I ran. The rubber on the soles are soft and help with the bounce back after striking the treadmill. The top of the toe and sides of the shoe are very breathable and keep my feel cool, but there is still enough padding in the back by the ankle to keep stability and support.

These were,in my opinion, a great buy and I'd recommend them to any runner looking for a new pair of stability running shoes. I've already logged about 15-20 miles in them since last Friday!

In other news. . .

it snowed this week.

It's almost May.

Just when Buffalo thought it was well on it's way to spring, this happened:

"Issued by The National Weather Service Buffalo, NY 3:53 pm EDT, Sun., Apr. 22, 2012 ... WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 11 PM THIS EVENING "

Well great. All the buds have sprouted, the animals are making their new homes for the summer, and now the snow is going to come by for one more visit. Oh, well,make the best of it and cook something warm and comforting, right?

How about vegan french toast....perfect.

Vegan French Toast
You'll need:
3-4 slices of whole wheat bread
1/3 C unsweetened almond milk
1 med. banana (preferably ripe)
3 T canola oil
2 t honey
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t cinnamon
1/16 t nutmeg
1/16 t clove

To make:
1. Mash banana in bowl until smooth
2. Add the almond milk and stir until combined.
3. Add the vanilla, honey, and spices until combined.
4. Soak bread slices individually in mixture for 30 seconds on each side
5. While bread is soaking, heat a small frying pan on the stove at low-medium heat. Once pan is hot, add 1T of the oil and place one piece of saturated bread in the pan.
6. Let bread cook on the one side until you can see the bottom edges are getting golden brown; flip and let brown.
7. Repeat the 1T oil, cook bread sequence until all slices have been used. It is best to cook them one piece at a time because they don't take that long to cook and it's easier to keep an eye on them.

The result was a soft, spongy, spicy, sweet french toast! I was very pleased with the texture - it was just like the real thing. This recipe is a great healthier alternative to a traditional recipe...and if you don't have any more eggs in the house!

What  is your favorite cold-weather breakfast? Has Spring sprung where you are?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Staying Above Water

The name of the game these past couple weeks has been: Just keep your head above the water.
Life has been a busy flurry of work, training, work-work-work, training, work, little bit of play. So, although I'd love to come here and share with you all the goodies I've been making, baking, and eating, I'm sad to say there just hasn't been too much of that lately. There's just no time (insert The Guess Who's "No Time" lyrics here.)

I haven't completely given up on my hobbies and daydreams, though. This past weekend, I bought a Wilton Decorating Basics course kit.

I'm really excited to break this baby open and play with frosting.

I've also been creeping a new blog that's all about cookie decorating and it's only fueling my desire to bake and create.

I also bought a new pair of running shoes! Woohoo!

They're Ascis GEL-1170. They were rated very well in Runner's World magazine as being "a great choice for long training runs and marathons." Perfect.

I needed a new pair so badly. I've been running in trail shoes (yes, I know, I know), and the arches of my feet are really beginning to pay for it. Sometimes during the day, after I complete a long run, the muscle in the inside arch of my feet will seize up and it hurts so, so badly I have to stop what I'm doing and try to massage it out.

Good news, however, is that my last longest run (this past Sunday) was 9.5 miles! I'm doing a really good job of staying on schedule and pushing myself to complete my goals. This weekend I was scheduled to run 10 miles, but I'm going to a concert on Saturday night.To make up for it, I think I might do 5 miles tomorrow and then 5 miles Saturday morning.

I hope these new shoes will help and I can break them in before the 1/2 Marathon at the end of May.

But, that's about all the excitement in my world at the moment. I'm currently working on a homemade peanut butter frozen yogurt recipe, so once I think I have it down, believe me, I will share. But, in the meantime, I promise I'll try to be better at posting  :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

I know, I know. . . it's been a while. This past week has been busy with work, the Easter holiday, training, and life.

I really would love nothing more than to stay in the kitchen all day and make delicious vegan and vegetarian treats, but work has to be done, duties have to be carried out, and money has to be made. I always have weekends to play. . .

With that said, I really haven't gotten to make anything really spectacular lately, but I did manage to get this together for Jon's mom's Birthday with help from Have Your Cake and vegan too, By Kris Holechek.

Chocolate Cake With Coffee Butter Cream Frosting
You'll need (for the cake)
1 3/4 C flour (I used gluten free flour)
1 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
3/4 C baking cocoa
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
1 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1/2 t apple cider vinegar
1/2 C canola oil
2 t vanilla extract
1 C boiling water

To make:
1. Preheat oven to 350'F. Lightly grease 9''x13'' pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, combine milk and vinegar with an electric mixer. Add oil and vinegar. Combine with mixer.

5. Incorporate half the dry mixture into the wet, blend until smooth. Add remaining dry mixture and, again, blend until smooth.
6. Add the boiling water to the mixture and blend until smooth. Batter will seem watery. Pour into greased cake pan.
7. Bake in oven for  40 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center). Let cool completely in pan on wire rack before frosting.

For the frosting, you'll need:
1/2 C Earth Balance Buttery Stick
1/2 - 1 t instant coffee granules (I used 1/2 but next time I'll do more)
1 T unsweetened almond milk
1 3/4 C powdered sugar

To make:
1. Cream Earth Balance in a medium bowl with beaters.
2. Dissolve coffee in almond milk and add to Earth Balance. Mix.
3. Add the powered sugar in 2 parts, mixing to combine. Beat until smooth and creamy.

I was very pleasantly surprised with this cake. It came out much better than I thought it would. The cake was mildly sweet, and the texture was similar to pound cake in that it was very compact, but it was not dense - it was very light and almost spongy.
The frosting was very smooth and the coffee sang through the sugar and combined with the bittersweet chocolate flavor of the cake to harmonize into a lovely Birthday treat!

P.S.: Notice anything a little different about these photos? I used natural sun light and WOW, what a difference!