Archive for July, 2012

Vegan Brownies

What do you do when in a foreign country with 13 teenagers who don’t speak very much English? You bake with them. This couldn’t be any more of a win-win situation: the kids get to have fun in the kitchen doing something different, and I get to, along with them of course, eat something hopefully baked correctly and delicious that I miss from back home.

In steps the best friend who likes to be healthy and suggests that we make vegan brownies using weird ingredients that I’ve never heard of before but decide to give a try. I mean really, what the heck is okara and who in their right mind makes peanut butter from scratch in a blender (only peanuts, nothing else added), I don’t get it. But she had all of the ingredients and I was willing to be adventurous. After all, I am in Thailand.

The baking process itself went well, no lost limbs, no fires, no language mistranslations, we even got to play hangman post clean-up while waiting for the brownies to bake. However, if you ask the students the end result was less than satisfactory. Apparently Thai people don’t get the chocolate/peanut butter combination that the rest of the world obsesses about. Too much peanut butter they complained about, too gooey, too rich. Are these real teenagers? I don’t understand. (However they are super precious and do love frozen yogurt, proof provided in these pictures, so we get along just great!)

Further proof that the brownies weren’t the biggest hit? While playing speak only English Uno (very educational!) after lunch, the students decided to raise the stakes and make the loser of each game eat a brownie. Everyone was in fits of laughter and on the edge of their seats hoping to not be the unfortunate loser who had to eat a brownie. Because there isn’t anything worse in life than eating a brownie…

I thought the brownies were great. Obviously. They are different than normal but so they should be considering that they are vegan and super healthy. And as if I was going to complain about getting to eat all of the left overs that my students didn’t want!




Vegan Brownies

1 1/2 cups sugar         2/3 cups cocoa powder

1 cup peanut butter     1 cup soy milk

2 tsp vanilla                 1 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder     1/4 tsp salt

1 cup okara

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with wax paper.

In a large bowl mix together the sugar, cocoa powder and peanut butter.

Stir in the milk and vanilla.

Add the okara and mix until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool before cutting since the brownies will be quite moist/mushy otherwise.


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Have you ever thought about what you would want your last meal to be?

Clearly I have. Numerous times.

I’ve narrowed it down to a few options. I’m thinking that a full Thanksgiving dinner might suffice. Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and sausage, yam and apple bake, mashed potatoes and throw in a few peas for some colour. Finish it all off with pumpkin pie and whipping cream. Obvs. (ps. this all has to be made by my mother, I’m for sure not settling for anything less than her best).

Or maybe I could do a southern meal. Say pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw and plenty of bbq sauce, or bbq ribs with corn bread and corn, for the sake of having a vegetable. Wash it all down with sweet tea and let’s have pecan pie too? After all, this is probably the only time in my life that I’ll be able to go big AND go home (literally)!

I had a sort of last meal a few weeks ago, nothing morbid at all, simply the last meal that I had at home before heading to south east Asia for over a month and a half. This strawberry pie was what I finished that last meal with.

Thailand is great, but now I’m missing fresh summer berries. This pie uses exactly that. Fresh strawberries picked by my mom and I, then glazed, thrown into a baked pie shell and topped with whipping cream. So summer appropriate and fresh. And fricking delicious. For real. And now exactly what I want as I sit here eating my bazillionth bowl of rice.

Maybe I’m going to have to reconsider my last dessert. Or maybe my last meal will be ALL desserts. I might be on to something there…

Strawberry Glaze Pie

1 baked pie shell                         1 cup strawberry juice
2 cups or more strawberries        3 tbsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt                                3/4 cup sugar

Prepare, bake and cool the pie shell.

Wash and hull the full berries.  Place in pie shell.

Make strawberry juice by crushing 1 extra cup of strawberries and adding water to make 1 cup in all.

Simmer for 3 minutes, strain; add water to make 1 cup juice.

Cook the juice on medium heat with cornstarch, sugar and salt stirring constantly until thick.

Cool slightly.  Pour over berries in shell glazing them.  Chill 2-3 hours.

Serve with whipped cream.

Ps. This recipe works just as well for raspberries too!

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