Please head over to my new blog at TheUrbanHousewife.com, where you'll find this post & more!
While my planned birthday dinner at ubuntu in Napa was less than spectacular & resulted in a mad dash to Millennium to escape ubuntu's sub par offer of soup & salad as the only vegan option, there were luckily other plans to celebrate my birth. My husband Ryan is also a January baby, as is Megan from The Sisters Vegan, so we decided to plan a joint birthday party. Ideas swirled around & the result was a PIZZA PARTY, a la the coveted childhood celebration, often at some horrible place like Chuck E. Cheese's. Further discussion revealed we were all avid Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans, so we threw them in to the mix as well. Unfortunately, Megan fell ill a few days before the party & couldn't attend, but we did our best to do her proud!
Pizza stone at the ready, I made a few "Isa Pizzas" from Vegan with a Vengeance, as well as various combinations from Potato Pesto to mixed Veggies, topped with Mozzarella style Teese, the perfect vegan cheese for pizza making. Friends were kind enough to bring pizzas to share, such as an incredible Barbeque Chicken pizza, one with homemade Seitan Pepperoni & creamy Cashew Cheese, & a Mexican Pizza in a cornmeal crust. The pizzas were stacked high & as each one came out of the oven, people declared they couldn't fathom another piece, yet they still disappeared.
Dessert was quite the adventure, as I decided to try my hand at making an ice cream cake! I've sang the praises of Double Rainbow Soy Cream in the past & here I go again! I used two of their flavors as bases to create my fillings for the cake. Cinnamon Caramel was mixed with homemade Graham Crackers & spiced Apples to create Apple Pie ice cream & Vanilla Bean was transformed with Chocolate ribbons, Sweet & Sara marshmallows, & more homemade Graham Crackers for S'mores ice cream. They were downright delicious & I laid the two ice creams side by side to create a filling for the 10 x 15 layers of vanilla cake topped in vanilla frosting. I had to keep the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme going beyond the pizza, so I tried my hand at piping Michaelango, my favorite turtle, on top with his common exclamation, "Cowabunga!". As you can see, I'm no artist, but it could certainly could have been worse!
On Ryan's actual birth date, we had a quiet night, opting for dinner at Minako Organic Japanese, a local restaurant with an extensive vegan menu. While they surprised us with a fruit jelly dessert, complete with a candle in the agar cubes, we both knew we had another treat waiting for us back home. After the delicious cheesecake we had in NYC, I decided to try my hand at this decadent dessert for the first time & make a mini Peanut Butter Cheesecake. A crust made with homemade Graham Crackers housed layers of peanut butter & plain filling cheesecake filling, chocolate ganache, & peanut butter frosting. Ryan loved it & I will definitely be making cheesecake again, as it yielded many ideas for the future!
As I mentioned, mozzarella style Teese Vegan Cheese makes for a killer pizza topping. When I heard they had released other flavors, I found myself anxious to try them & luckily was able to do so. In the world of vegan cheese, these are a stand out & even as someone who tries not to consume mass quantities of processed food, Teese is something I find myself indulging in from time to time.
Those looking for the fancy wine & cheese experience, look elsewhere, but for American cheesy goodness, Cheddar style Teese is on point. Our first impression was "whoa, Kraft Singles", so we decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches in our sandwich press, or shall we say Grilled Teese Sandwiches?! In the past week, this has been a great snack or last minute meal when we're on the go. Who can resist a melty pocket of cheesiness?
Nacho Teese made a perfect topping for chips, of course! Similar to the cheddar style, but with a hint of jalapenos, it easily melted in a saucepan over medium heat, then was poured over layers of chips & salsa, then topped with olives for our birthday celebration. A giant platter was gobbled up quickly, with no complaints from attendees. Ryan continued to melt Nacho Teese for dipping chips days later & even found it tasty on taquitos!
In other news, in March, Ryan & I will be off on another foodie adventure in Europe! While we couldn't help but make a return to Berlin, one of our favorite cities, this time we'll also see Copenhagen & Vienna, plus my dear friend Marijke & I will be checking out Stockholm. Suggestions on places to see, go, or EAT are always welcome!