Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Time

Has come and gone. The New Year is upon us. And I think it happened way to fast. I was not at all prepared for this Christmas season. I had plans of all these things I was going to make and show all of you, but time was not on my side this year and it seemed to just fly by. Next thing I knew it was Christmas day. Luckily I had just about all my present shopping done. (My dad finally received his gift today =] I felt so bad on Christmas morning, I wrapped a picture of his present, how horrible is that?)

So this year I made (for the fam) peanut butter blossoms, chocolate m&m cookies, sesame cookies, and 7 layer cookies. I tried to make things "healthier" this year by using palm shortening instead of Crisco shortening. I may not so that again. The shortening I used, because it was not hydrogenated (meaning the "fat" was not molecularly changed to keep at room temperature aka trans fats), it contained these small balls of the fat that was not fully melted into the shortening. I did not like that fact about the shortening, so I being the crazy person I am, picked out all of the large balls and left the smaller ones to bake into the cookies. Never again will I try this shortening in my cookies, but I do have another tub of the stuff so biscuits here I come! Oh and pie crust! Haha.

What did I make myself this year for food? Well Christmas day I ate Christmas colors! Roasted beets, beet greens, and roasted cashews. Yum.

Red, green, and white. What I did want to make on Christmas was a cream of mushroom soup and perigoes, but that never happened. And I wanted to make "fruit cake" of my dessert. So I made them the day after Christmas. I wanted to try my hand at my dad's cream of mushroom soup. I can never match it because he uses the real stuff in it like cream and butter, but my version it easy and still equally delicious.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 pint of crimini mushrooms, chopped
4 large white button mushrooms, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
2 teaspoons oil
2 teaspoon flour
1/4 cup milk of choice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat two pans, 1 large soup pot and the other a small sauce pot. Place 1 teaspoon of oil in each pan.

Add the onions into the large pan and cook until soft and transparent.

Add the flour into the other pan and start to cook until light brown.

Add the mushrooms to the onions and cook until the let off the water that is inside them and let them start to brown.

Whisk 1/2 cup of broth into the flour mixture.

Once it becomes thick and paste like, add in the milk. Once the bechamel is thickened, add in the nutmeg.

Add the salt and pepper, poultry seasonings, and coriander to the mushrooms. Add 1 cup of broth to the mushrooms.

Mix in the bechamel and them allow it to thicken.

Using either a blender or a hand processor, blend until smooth. Reheat the soup and then serve.

I had my bowl with a side of carrots and my momma had hers with rye bread. It had a nice hearty taste due to the poultry seasonings and the earthiness of the shrooms. Very nice combo.

Now for the dessert, fruit cake, and yes I did say fruit cake. Not your typical fruit cake because I left out the best part, the rum. Why? Because I felt like it. I added my own blend of fruit too. I based my recipe off of (For the Love of) Fruit Cake Bars from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I didn't have golden raisins or the candied fruit or candied ginger. So this is my version:

Fruit Cake

1 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup chopped dried dates
1/4 cup chopped dried figs
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup date sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 2/3 cup whole wheat white flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch pan and line with parchment paper.

Mix the fruit with the spices, coconut, and other dry ingredients.

Combine the oil, sugar, oj, oj rind, and applesauce.

Mix into the flour and fruit.

Add in the walnuts.

Place in the prepared pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until browned and firm to touch.

Allow to cool.
Cut and serve.

The original recipe had a glaze with it using powdered sugar, run and oj. I used applebutter and cinnamon for my glaze. I would also recommend using a different pan. This made it more of a flat bar, like the recipe did say. I just wasn't thinking clearly. Next time I want to use either a bundt pan or an 8x8 inch pan. I think the bundt pan would be more holiday appropriate for next time. And the bars were surprisingly good. The orange was not too overpowering like I thought they would be. And the spice was just right.

So next year expect some raw recipes! I got a dehydrator for Christmas =] I so cannot wait!! Kale chips here I come! Woohoo! And I promise donuts are coming too!

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