Vegan Mofo Day 14 – Earth Balance (Vegan Cheddar Flavor) Squares

Plenty of people have reviewed these crackers already, and I am aware that I am some months late on the band wagon. I hadn’t purchased these yet because while I did enjoy the odd cheese cracker before going vegan, it isn’t something that I miss too much. I didn’t find myself craving them regularly, like cheese puffs or boxed macaroni. So while I was curious, I couldn’t motivate myself to purchase crackers that were nearly a dollar per ounce at the local Whole Foods.

What made me change my mind? A sale bringing them down to a mere four-fifty per box? (Have you ever seen Whole Foods’ sales? Silliness.) Shop lifting? A charitable donation?

Try the 99 Cents Only store. I found myself in this store this week because money is extremely tight for us right now while we work out some debt. I figured we’d buy what we could there and figure out what’s left for food after the bills. Not a bad plan, right?

The 99 cents store is actually pretty awesome. If you haven’t been and your frame of reference is The Dollar Tree, trust me when I say it is nearly fifty times better, food-wise. Sure, there aren’t any mini jars of Just Mayo, but isn’t that Dollar Tree’s one vegan selling point? The only one? 99 cents store is like a tiny Grocery Outlet. In addition to regular offerings like cheap-tasting bread and processed “cheese product,” they have factory rejects and overstock out the ying-yang. And unlike the overstock at Grocery Outlet, everything is a dollar. It’s really hit or miss, shopping there. Once I found Silk yogurts and Enjoy Life cereal. Once I found Earth Balance cheese puffs (and bought eight bags). Often times I find nothing special, but a few decent items. Friday I found Earth Balance crackers.

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Sorry, Earth Balance, but one dollar for a 6 oz box is more my budget. In a lapse of logic, I bought five. I quite literally bought five for the price of one. (Wasn’t the idea to NOT spend five dollars on cheese crackers?)

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I was shocked when I opened the bag. They smelled just like a box of freshly-opened Cheez-its.

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As for the flavor. . . they’re alright. They’rd oddly sweet, and don’t have the grease and salt that I miss from the Nabisco treats. I’m kind of glad I didn’t pay a steep price, but I’m a bit overwhelmed by the five boxes. I might try making crusted tofu/seitan, or maybe doing a casserole. Cheese-cracker baked mac and cheese, anyone?

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Sweetie Fridays – Chocolate Chip Cookies, Version 235723

Sweetie Fridays - Chocolate Chip Cookies, Version 235723

I really need a new baking sheet, huh? Preferably with a big roll of wax paper to preserve it. Anyway. . .

I’m on a mission to find the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. A mission to find this recipe and share it with my five-odd readers. There hasn’t been a mission this intense since Monica tried to track down the cookies once baked by Phoebe’s late grandmother.

Unlike Monica, however, I know the perfect starting point: the back of the bag. Now, when I say back of the bag, I really mean, “back of a bag I haven’t purchased since God knows when.” Nestle Tollhouse (nesle tolus, not nesli tolhaus) has been my go-to since I first started baking cookies solo, and they’re a great control recipe.

Wanting a) to have my own recipe for blogging and fattening purposes and b) to have a cookie more suited to my own personal tastes, I’ve been experimenting. Going vegan has led me to make two obvious changes: switching out the butter and eggs. The butter was easy – Earth Balance sticks are a godsend.

For my first couple batches, I played it safe and baked the recipe as is, with Earth Balance buttery sticks, two “flax eggs,” and subbing half my flour for whole wheat pastry. This has been great, but again: not my own.

My next experimentation was majorly healthy. . .izing. . .  it. I used all whole wheat pastry flour and cut the sugars down to 1/2 cup each. These were alright – very cake-y and very health food-y. They tasted too much like what people would expect to taste when you tell them you’re giving them a vegan dessert.

Yesterday, my omnivore boyfriend requested chocolate chip cookies. This time, I decided to make them anti-health food (no flax, only white flour), so he wouldn’t be too angry when I turned around and took the crisp right out of the cookies.

He loves crisp and I love chew. It’s enough to tear a couple apart!

What I ended up doing. . . I subbed half the baking soda with baking powder, and was very pleased at the texture. Chewy and really held a round shape once baked. I think I found my new control!

VeganMoFo Day 18 – A WINNER IS YOU (ME)!

Again, I’m busy busy busy with working towards my future career, so. . . Not much to really discuss today!

Instead, I want to brag. I won one of the giveaways through VeganMoFo! And it was the one I was the most excited about – EARTH BALANCE!!! That’s right, 5 VIP coupons should be delivered to my door, assuming I replied with my address fast enough! 

I am SO excited! It’s all the self control I have to not go out and snag five bags of white cheddar puffs! 

Depending on when the coupons expire, I’m thinking. . . 
1) coconut spread
2) baking sticks (apparently now available soy free?)
3) shortening sticks
4) just ONE bag of the puffs. . . 
5) ??? Maybe they’ll have a seasonal soy milk soon? Maybe a store in my area stocks their nut butters? I’M SO EXCITED!

That’s the fun route. The practical route is buy five boxes of sticks and freeze them (if the coupons expire), or bring them with me to Whole Foods to save on my regular purchases, if they don’t. But a big part of me says screw that. Yes, I’m pretty broke, but that sounds like all the more reason to get a fun haul – when will I next have the chance? I might even go all new with this and say no to baking sticks and puffs. There are many things I’ve wanted to try but simply haven’t had the money for! 

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Like. . . Just what is this sorcery?