What I Cooked Last Weekend

If you happened to see my post from Saturday, you’ll know that my area of the country was hit by our first major winter-storm of the season. In fact, it was the first really major storm in the last couple of years. Parts of the state I live in experienced blizzard conditions. Though we had a lot of snow at my house, we didn’t lose power, have the blizzard conditions (according to meteorologists) and overall fared pretty well. The fact that it fell on a Saturday was also nice. In the end, it basically meant I was snowed in on Saturday which gave me plenty of time to hang out in the kitchen.

I did bake, though not from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I also tried my hand at some more vegan recipes. Here a rundown of my time in the kitchen last week.

Friday’s Bake

It was a special day in my house. We celebrated my son’s birthday. Of course that meant I had to bake him a cake! Early last Fall, I was gifted Claire Saffitz’s book, Dessert Person. I had been wanting to bake something out of it for a while, but hadn’t up until this point. So, I decided to take a chance and make her three-layer chocolate cake as his birthday cake.

He wanted chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, so the opportunity was right there. The other option was to use the tried and true recipe from the Magnolia Bakery handbook. The chocolate cake out of there always gets rave reviews every time I make it. But, I thought I’d try something new. Sadly, everyone seemed underwhelmed by it.

First off, the cake had a brownie texture. In fact, the layers had a thin crust on the top just like brownies get. While it was odd, I didn’t think much of it. That was where I first thought I may be having Brownie cake that evening.

When it came time to build the cake, I had quickly decided against making the Italian buttercream in Saffitz’s cookbook since the last time I made that style buttercream, it didn’t turn out too well. Instead I made good, old-fashioned American chocolate buttercream frosting with powdered sugar and butter. I also enjoyed that I didn’t have to level the cakes layers since that seems to be one of my kryptonites when it comes to cake baking. (Truth be told, I have many kryptonites when it comes to baking and decorating a cake…)

The frosting I made ended up being slightly too thick for my liking, but that isn’t Claire’s fault. It’s mine. All in all the cake didn’t turn out looking half-bad. But, when it came time to bite into it, it was definitely brownie-like in texture. It wasn’t bad, per se. We just weren’t expecting it. Even my son seemed unenthused with it.

I will probably stick to the Magnolia Bakery cake recipe for the future since I know how well it turns out.


Friday Dinner

I also had dinner duty on Friday. I seem to be getting back into the routine of cooking once a week again. Much like last week, I decided to stick with a vegan meal. But since my meat-loving boyfriend was coming over, I needed something that resembled meat as much as possible.

Unfortunately, he took one bite and sensed “a lack of meat.” Well, I tried!

Anyway, one of my new favorite plant-based blogs is Rainbow Plant Life. Nisha has tons of really flavorful, colorful, and accessible vegan recipes. She’s also not a “preachy vegan,” which is something I appreciate.

For dinner I made her 10-Ingredient Lentil Bolognese and served it over linguine. This was great option since we had just about everything already in the pantry and it cooked up in no time! I love recipes with minimal prep work. Leftovers kept well in the fridge for a few days. The sauce didn’t lose texture or flavor, either! Definitely a “make-again!”

Saturday

The day of the snow storm!

It meant I was staying in and cooking various things.

I have been wanting to make my Hearty Vegetable Quinoa Soup for a while. I love bringing this soup for lunch during the week. It lasts a few days in the fridge, is full of protein (thanks to both quinoa and white beans!), and always leaves me satisfied and feeling “full.”

This soup isn’t just for winter-time. Though, many people in my social circle tend to only associate “soup” with “winter.” This recipe can be adapted to include seasonal vegetables any time of the year. This time around, I changed up the veggies I included in the soup and opted not to include a starchy vegetable (I know, the horror!!). Instead, I made the soup with zucchini and yellow pepper, in addition to the carrots which as always included. I just added more kale, it worked out great!

Try this soup for yourself. It’s available here on the website under “Original Recipes” > “Soups”. Or, you can click the link above with the recipe title.

The Quick Cooker

A few years ago, I was a sales consultant for Pampered Chef. While I was selling their products, I treated myself and bought their version of an InstaPot, which they call the “Quick Cooker.” As I have done more and more research into plant-based cooking, it became clear to me that pressure cooking is a popular way food is prepared for vegans.

(You can get your own Quick Cooker here, but it is much more expensive than an InstaPot.)

I wanted to make something easy that could really show me what a pressure cooker could do. So, I found a quick and easy recipe, also from Nisha’s site, for Great Northern beans. I was able to purchase a bag of the dried, uncooked at my local Aldi earlier in the week.

This recipe took almost no active time at all, just chopping an onion and some garlic. Though, you do have to soak the beans overnight, but that is a passive thing. The beans turned out very tasty, having a buttery texture. For full plant-based eaters, they would make a lovely, quick (though a no-frills) meal. My family consumed them as a side dish.

Sunday

I was tired! All the baking and cooking left me with no desire to make anything on Sunday. We were still pretty snowed-in, but I just sat in front of the TV for most of the day. I didn’t even exercise.

Until next time, readers!

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