I’m on a celebratory mode. Francis finally turns 25! Haaay. The pains of being the older woman. But after twenty-three days of waiting, our age gap is now down to four years again. I’m probably happier than him right now.
Unfortunately for him, November 2 isn’t a holiday this year, so we both have to show up at work. I took on the dutiful girlfriend role to make a simple birthday lunch. (He was on emo-mode last night after his mom joked of cooking instant noodles.) Thinking of the menu was hard since we are still on our week-long detox after eating a total of twenty four cups of white rice last weekend at the convivence. I decided to just stick to the basics: a green salad, our one-pot pasta, and a chocolate cake.
I thought we won’t have guests but our officemates from the Division Office came. I was afraid we won’t have enough but God is good. Everybody was able to eat and they – at least they said – the lunch was delicious.
Honestly, I’m starting to get confident with my cooking. My brother Joey joked I can cook better now because I put in effort and love since Francis would be eating. Hahaha. Maybe. I’m just happy that I got to cook for him. It’s his first birthday with me.
Throughout the meal they were asking me about the recipes. I’m so happy I got to inspire them to make healthier food. Indeed, it’s not hard to prepare vegan food at all. Here are the recipes:
Basic Green Salad
For the salad (I just used anything available in the pantry; you can absolutely use anything):
- Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- Green olives, sliced
- Cucumber, sliced and deseeded
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
For the dressing:
- 3 parts olive oil (or any oil)
- 2 parts red wine vinegar (or any acid)
- 1 part minced garlic (or any add-on of your choice)
- Salt and pepper
Combine in a jar with lid and shake vigorously to emulsify. Douse on the salad just before serving.
One-pot Penne in Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 head garlic
- 1 cup eggplants, diced
- 1 14-oz can sliced button mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olives
- Salt and pepper
- 6 cups water
- 500 g penne, or any pasta of choice
- 1 14-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 small can tomato paste
- Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- Chili flakes (optional)
- In a pot, heat oil and garlic at the same time. This is called cold sauteeing.
- Add in eggplants and cook for about a minute. Add in mushrooms and olives and cook for another minute. Stir in tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add water into the pot and let boil until vigorous. Add in pasta and cook until al dente. Penne took about 12 minutes.
- Halfway through the cooking time of the pasta, add in the tomato sauce. Reduce heat to medium. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- With about two minutes left, stir in Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast and chili flakes, if using.
- Remove from heat and serve warm.
Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
For the cake:
- 2 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup raw turbinado sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp coffee granules
- 2 1/4 cup soymilk
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 2/3 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Shavings of dairy-free chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-in round cake tins with parchment.
- Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Do not combine until the oven reaches the right temperature.
- When the oven reaches 350, stir the dry and wet ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. Quickly pour into the lined cake tins and bake immediately for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from tins and cool completely before frosting.
- In a bowl, stir in peanut butter and powdered sugar together, adding a little soymilk at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Carefully place one of the cakes on a cake plate. Put half the frosting and spread evenly just until the edges. Very carefully put the second cake on top. Put the remaining frosting on top and spread evenly. Decorate with shaved chocolate.
So, there go three very simple and quick dishes you can make any day. All vegan and all healthy. Enjoy!
P.S. It’s my best girl Jena’s birthday yesterday, November 1, and tomorrow will be my favorite boss’. Isn’t November the best month ever! Happy birthday to all you celebrators!