February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day & MUG BROWNIE!

 

I hate Valentine's Day.

I refuse to acknowledge it as a "holiday."  In my opinion, if you wanna celebrate love, celebrate it spontaneously....celebrate it when no one is looking....celebrate it when your other half least expects it and in a way that only the two of you know about.

Not on the day that everyone else does, with stupid red roses and stupid candy.  How boring, how cliche.  BA-HUMBUG!

Although I'm a total Valentine's Day scrooge, I know there are tons of people who love this Hallmark holiday......plus, I'll look for any excuse to eat chocolate!  

So this Valentine's Day, what says "I Love You" more than considering the health and well-being of your loved one?  Instead of going out, or buying chocolates from the store, why not make your partner a healthy, plant-based meal from scratch?  Being generous with your thoughtfulness and time?  Now that's what love it all about.
 
I think a super-sexy meal would be my Butternut Squash Risotto.  Plus, as Ann can attest to, it takes a lot of love to make this dish!  But it's worth it - it's rich, creamy, and super seductive.  

Sexy Butternut Squash Risotto


Serve this with a salad, a couple glasses of white wine, and some candles - and you've got yourself a delicious, sexy vegan Valentine's dinner.

But enough with dinner - let's get to the good stuff.  The special part of Valentine's Day that everyone looks forward to.  The naughtiness that ensues after your meal, as the sun sets, and the wine buzz kicks in......

Dessert.

Here's a couple of super simple vegan Valentine's Day dessert recipes full of chocolate and love - and both only take literally a couple of minutes to prepare.  The first is full of chocolaty, peanut butter goodness:  

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups!  

See my teeth marks?



Not only is this recipe amazingly delicious, it literally takes a few minutes and just a few ingredients and it's done.  They are wonderful and bite-sized and a hit with adults and kids!  You could make these to have on hand for after-dinner treats, or as a treat for your kiddos.  So yummy, so easy.  They taste almost exactly like a Reese's Cup, except the chocolate is a little harder.  But seriously, who the hell frickin' cares.  They're to die for - and a great after-dinner Valentine's Day dessert!

If you're not into the peanut butter and chocolate combination, you're weird you could always try this next recipe.  But I must warn you......this recipe will forever change your life.  Mine has not been the same since, nor will it ever be the same.  It's life-altering.  Enter............

The Mug Brownie!!

This little gem of a recipe came from my vegan friend Maggie who needed to indulge her late-night pregnancy chocolate cravings.  I get these urgent chocolate cravings as well, minus the whole being pregnant thing.  Now, let me give a disclaimer here - this is NOT a whole-foods recipe.  Yes, it's vegan, but remember - just because something is vegan, doesn't mean it's health food.  It's a decadent dessert that should be an occasional indulgence.  

I cut the margarine and sugar way down from the original recipe, and added some maple syrup and chocolate chips.  This made it a little less naughty but let me tell you - when you're eating this brownie, you won't be thinking, "This is vegan."  You'll just be thinking, "I love you Ali - thank you for this recipe."  

It's creamy, it's gooey, it's warm, it's soft, it's chocolaty......it's Mug Brownie.

Now this is a Valentine's Day I can get on board with......

Love & Kale,
Ali

                                   _________________________________________________

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

Yield: 2 dozen bite-sized cups

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups non-dairy dark chocolate chips (I use either the Kroger Private Selection brand of dark chocolate chips, or the Ghiradelli semi-sweet chips)
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (try to find some without added sugar and salt!)
  • 2-4 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 2-3 tsp nutritional yeast (optional - but gives the peanut butter a nice texture)
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions:
  1. Lightly oil a mini-muffin pan or line with foil candy papers.  
  2. Melt half the chocolate in the microwave - go in increments of about 30 seconds, stirring, until melted.
  3. Spoon chocolate to fill one-third into each cup.
  4. Place trays in freezer while preparing peanut butter mixture.
  5. Combine peanut butter, maple syrup or honey, and salt in a small sauce pan.  Cook over low heat until the mixture is soft and smooth.  Add the nutritional yeast, if using. (*You could also use the microwave instead).
  6. Spoon peanut butter on top of each chocolate cup, filling nearly to the top.
  7. Melt other half of the chocolate - top each cup, filling to the top.
  8. Place tray in freezer until set.
                                   ______________________________________________

Mug Brownie

Yield: 1 ridiculously good mug of brownie

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine, melted
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, optional
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp flour (whole wheat, gluten-free all purpose, etc.)
  • Handful of non-dairy chocolate chips
Instructions:
  1. Mix Earth Balance, water, vanilla and salt in mug.
  2. Add cocoa, whisk with a fork.
  3. Add sugar and maple syrup, whisk.
  4. Add flour and whisk.
  5. Add chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
  6. Microwave for about 90 seconds.
  7. Eat it, love it, and thank me.
This is all you need.


Melt butter. Add water, vanilla & salt.
Add cocoa.

Whisk with fork.

Add flour.
Whisk with fork (mug brownie ninja)
Add chocolate chips, stir.

Mmmmm......brownie batter.

Microwave for about 90 seconds.

Mug Brownie.

Mug Brownie bite.


I love you mug brownie.




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