Dinner party, vegan style

Sorry for the sporadic posting recently. I’ve been working on living a full and guiltless life lately which means that if other activities take over with no time for blogging, as much as I miss it, I’m okay with it. All of it. It’s the happiest I’ve been in a really long time and I’m embracing it! [PS – if you just type in the URL to see if there are new posts, I know it may be frustrating to not know if there is going to be something new and checking back over and over with no good news. May I suggest email alerts? Hopefully that makes things easier and I do hope my schedule normalizes soon).

Now onto something fun I did this weekend. The weather was dreadful (stoopid rain) but we still had a chance to eat at East by Northeast – a sustainable Chinese tapas place, which happens to be on my 30 by 30 list. The place was adorable but the lighting was not good for pictures so Adam and I happily enjoyed a photo-free dinner.

I continued to plow through my list (ok not exactly “plow”) by inviting Josh and Melissa over for dinner. I’m totally crushing my goal of 12 dinners this year (this one was #3 already in less than a month! Told ya I’ve been busy!!).

Scenes from the kitchen…

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[Tofu pressing]

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Melissa is vegan so dinner was a 3 course vegan meal. On the menu:

[Recipes linked to the names]

I don’t think that having a few friends over for dinner needs to be a big production, but if it’s the weekend and I have time, I love making things a little more special. I’ve mentioned it before but I just love browsing through recipes and having a theme in mind (vegan in this case) was actually fun.

Tofu and mushroom lettuce cups

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I doubled the recipe to make sure we have enough and it made A LOT.

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This was quick and very flavorful. Would make for a really great entrée over rice.

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While the guys were chatting it up, I went back to the kitchen to make the hand pies which… were a pain in the ass. Instead of butter (not vegan) the dough had coconut oil which was pretty hard to work with. It was either rock solid or almost mushy the second it started to warm up. I persevered and made 5 large and 1 mini hand pie and crossed my fingers that it would bake up into something edible.

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Oh it did.

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While the coconut oil was hard to work with, it made these taste so much more special. It had the texture similar to any short dough (given the high fat content) but had a natural sweetness that was very appealing. Btw, I added some black beans to the filling (and omitted the onions of course) which was a great decision. Some hot sauce over the top and these were lip-smacking good. We devoured them within minutes! (I saved the dough and the remaining filling and am determined to make a few more pies for me and Adam to enjoy later this week). I’d make these again and see if practice makes perfect Smile

Dessert time!

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[How cute is my ice cream container???]

Cookies fresh from the oven with homemade ice cream. Does it get any better than that??! It doesn’t. I speak from experience. Smile

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I used dark vegan chocolate chips instead of white, and dried cranberries instead of cherries for the dough balls and am very happy with the results. Just like the peanut butter chocolate chip dough balls the dough was quite dry, but the taste was nothing short of amazing. Pea Daddy said “Those will be gone by midnight”… well ours were gone by 10! Open-mouthed smile

The vegan ice cream was delicious as well. If you put it side by side with the “cows milk” ice cream, it wouldn’t win but in a class by itself, it was very delicious (and well, if you’re vegan – obviously that taste test would never even happen). I LOVED the cookie dough made of cashews, dates and chocolate chips (larabar-style) and will make those again just for a random dessert soon for sure (I ran out of cashews, otherwise I would have doubled the recipe right there!). Nice job, Lauren! Smile

Happy bellies all around. Checking things off the list has never been tastier Smile with tongue out

I realized at the end that we never took people photos so here are Josh and Melissa with their “party favors” (aka a box from our popchips stash)

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Haha, don’t they look like proud (popchips) parents or something? 😆

All right, that’s enough rambling. Say hello in the comments if anything strikes your fancy Winking smile See you soon!

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