Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

♥ In The Mood . . . For Cacao

Looking for something different this Valentine’s Day? How about whipping up an aphrodisiac in your kitchen blender for you and your beloved? Rest assured, no eye of newt is required for this love potion.

“What the h—?” you may be thinking. And rightfully so. Truth be told, I stumbled upon this recipe a couple of years ago and, of course, I was intrigued. How could I not be?

“You have to try it to believe it! Every ingredient in this beverage is an aphrodisiac designed by nature to enhance your senses. This elixir is a marriage of flavor with none overpowering the others. Don’t omit the salt; it is the spark that lights the fuse.”

Does it work? Hmmm . . . maybe. 🙂 It’s a tasty beverage nonetheless. And different. Different, but ‘good’ different. Be forewarned, though: this recipe makes 4 cups. Wow, that’s a whole lotta aphrodisiac!

♥     ♥     ♥

Cacao Aphrodisiac Elixir

Recipe from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw.

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds

2 3-inch cinnamon sticks

1/4 teaspoon whole cloves

6 green cardamom pods

1 Tablespoon ginger, minced

4 cups filtered water

4 dried Kalamata figs, soaked in 1 cup of filtered water

2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon rosewater

Pinch of salt  (I used Fleur De Sel)

Directions:

Place the almonds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, ginger, and 2 cups water in a blender. Blend, gradually going from low-speed to high-speed, for 20 seconds. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Rinse the blender well and return the spiced water to the blender.

Add the figs and the fig soak water, cacao powder, vanilla extract, rosewater, salt, and the remaining 2 cups water. Blend on low-speed for 20 to 30 more seconds or until the figs are well blended.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer again and serve.

Happy Valentine’s Day . . . don’t stay up too late. 😉

♥ Irish Cream Cheesecake

Having a birthday the same week as Valentine’s Day means that you rake in twice as many gifts. It also means twice the gift-giving stress for the romance-challenged male! But this year, Valentine’s Day was relatively easy on J since I all but picked out the gift myself. The only surprise was the type of animal (a sweet boy goat named Justin) that J sponsored in my name.

For my birthday, J did something unbelievably sweet (or totally unimaginative, depending upon how you look at it. I choose the former!). He sponsored another animal at Farm Sanctuary: a young male sheep named Colvin. I was truly surprised and touched – two farm animals in one week. I couldn’t be any more thrilled about my gifts if I were Laura Ingalls Wilder herself!

Its another boy!

Since J is working late all week, I have yet to collect on my traditional chocolate birthday cake, specially made (and specially messy in the kitchen, too!) by the man. But, with all the leftover Baileys Irish Cream on hand from my recent Vegan Baileys Project, we aren’t lacking for sweet treats around here. What did we do with all that extra Irish cream, you ask? Why, cheesecake of course! There are some beautiful “omni” cheesecake recipes out there (like this recipe!), but, obviously, that isn’t how we roll (anymore)!

I played with this recipe a bit; apparently the third time is the charm! The recipe that I am posting is perfect for a 9 inch springform pan. I tried two different baking methods and decided that I prefer the baking method from Sinfully Vegan for the creamiest cheesecake texture. Be forewarned, though: if you divide the mixture between two 4-1/2 inch springform pans and a 9 inch springform pan–as I did this last time–you will want to reduce the baking time accordingly (as I did not do – doh!). The mini cheesecakes were baked a smidge too long, but they tasted fantastic nonetheless.

We tried various cheesecake garnishes as we taste-tested our experimental cakes: chocolate syrup, chocolate shavings and extra Irish cream, too. All were quite good. It only occurred to me after the last cheesecakes were baked and cooling in the refrigerator that adding a few tablespoons of Irish cream to the sour cream topping mixture would have been really tasty. Oh well: next time, I suppose!

♥     ♥     ♥

Irish Cream Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Cheesecake Crust:

1-1/2 cups crushed vegan graham crackers (in a pinch I use Cinnamon Teddy Grahams)

1/4 cup dark cocoa powder

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) non-dairy butter Earth Balance, melted

Cheesecake Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup tapioca flour

3 8-ounce containers non-hydrogenated vegan cream cheese, softened

1 12-ounce package firm or extra firm silken tofu, drained

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)

1 cup Creamy Baileys Irish cream recipe (from vegalicious.org)

Cheesecake Topping:

1 12-ounce container (1-1/2 cups) non-dairy sour cream

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)

A couple of tablespoons of extra Irish cream, optional

Directions:

To make the crust: Process the graham crackers into fine crumbs in the food processor. Add the cocoa and the sugar, pulse again and remove to a medium bowl. Add the melted non-dairy butter and stir to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.

To make the cheesecake filling: Whisk the sugar and the tapioca flour together in a small bowl. Place the softened cream cheese and the tofu in the food processor; process until completely smooth. Add the sugar/tapioca mixture and process again, making sure that it is completely smooth and that there are no lumps. Add the vanilla bean paste and the Irish cream; pulse to combine. Scrape down the sides of the processor and pulse again.

Pour the cheesecake filling into the prepared springform pan and place it in the oven on the upper middle rack. Place a shallow broiler pan of water underneath the cheesecake pan on a lower rack and bake for 50 minute. Meanwhile, prepare the cheesecake topping.

To make the cheesecake topping:

Combine all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse to combine. Scrape down the sides of the processor and pulse to combine again. Take the cheesecake out of the oven after 50 minutes and pour the prepared topping over the cheesecake. Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake an extra 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour.

Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack and then chill completely in the refrigerator  for at least 8 hours or overnight (my preference).

Slice and garnish each serving with chocolate curls, a drizzle of extra Irish cream and/or chocolate syrup. Enjoy!

♥ The Day Dreaded By Single Women And (Almost) All Men Alike

If you are a Facebook friend, then you already know what I generally think of Valentine’s Day. Quoting my own bad self: “True love is not expressed by means of obligatory gifts on a specific calendar day mandated by the greeting card industry.” I stand by those words, although I may just end up eating them!

I already know what my Valentine gift is because I requested it weeks ago.  J sponsored a formerly abused goat–now living happily-ever-after at Farm Sanctuary–in my name.

What’s even better, we will be able to visit “our goat” (named Justin) at the California location after we move and we are living close enough to do so. I can’t think of any better way to express love than to express it through a compassionate and selfless act. I ♥ that man I am married to!

It's a boy!

Duty calls and J is working late tonight, so I have the entire day and most of the night to do whatever I want (which, as it turns out, is nothing). Rather than mope or whine about his job ruining my plans again,  I am simply going to enjoy the evening off from cooking (and dishes)!

I started the day with a truly minimal effort breakfast of blood oranges purchased at the Pike Place Market on Seattle’s waterfront. The heart-shaped plate made it seem fancy!

Even the greyt boy was feeling festive this morning; maybe it’s the red Valentine cookies that he has indulged in lately? Actually, I just do this sort of thing to torture J. The man is opposed to people dressing up their dogs for any reason other than purely utilitarian reasons, such as protection from the cold, rain, snow. Obviously, we have dismissed that silly notion.

Anyway, I made the girl some quick (and ridiculously easy) fudge for a special after school treat. I don’t recall where the original recipe came from (other than I once scribbled it out on the back of an old envelope). I have since “veganized” it by using non-dairy chocolate chips and non-dairy cream cheese. Since I was making an effort myself (hey, if the dog can do it . . . ) to be festive, I used small heart cookie cutters to shape the fudge after it had been refrigerated.

After all this talk about how stupid Valentine’s Day is and our agreement that we would celebrate the day with a selfless act and not succumb to the commercialism of it all (blah, blah, blah), there is a knock at the door this morning. For me?!

I love a man who caves!

So, after I finish eating my words for dinner (solo), I think I will sprawl out on the couch in my oldest pair of sweatpants and my favorite ratty t-shirt and watch my  all-time favorite chick flick: Bridget Jones Diary. And, of course: eat the leftover fudge. Sounds like an almost-perfect evening to me, even if it is man-less!

♥     ♥     ♥

Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients:

1 8-ounce package Tofutti non-hydrogenated cream cheese

1 16-ounce bag organic powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

Directions:

Line an 8-inch square Pyrex dish or metal pan with parchment or wax paper (I learned this one the hard way!); set aside.

Place the cream cheese in the food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla bean paste; process again until smooth.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler and then pour the melted chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and process again until smooth.

Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.  Pull the fudge out of the pan by the wax paper and cut it into small pieces.

Store the leftover fudge (yeah, sure!) in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

♥ Bowl Of Soul

My love affair with Baileys Irish cream has been rekindled (see previous post). I can’t remember when I have been so happy! Okay, that is a total exaggeration –  but I always feel a sense of victory when I can “take back” an old favorite that I gave up when I went vegan.

My favorite way to enjoy Baileys Irish cream (responsibly) is over ice. But, on a cold and blustery evening, what is better than a hot drink? Answer: a hot chocolate-y drink with Irish cream in a favorite seasonal mug with fresh whipped cream!

♥     ♥     ♥

Bowl Of Soul

Ingredients:

8 ounces of hot coffee

1 heaping Tablespoon hot cocoa mix

2 to 4 ounces vegan Baileys/Irish cream (depending on much “soul” you want!)

Non-dairy whipped cream (we used Soyatoo), garnish

Dusting of cocoa powder, garnish

Directions:

Whisk together the hot coffee, hot cocoa powder and the vegan Baileys/Irish cream. Garnish with non-dairy whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder, if desired.