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March 8th, 2009

Chocolate Candy Cups

1 Cup Chocolate Chips ***** ADD SOME SOYMILK TO THIS!

For both treats, begin by melting you chocolate in the microwave 30 - 60 seconds at a time, and stir thoroughly until completely smooth. Use a spoon, thin spatula, or paint brush to brush the melted chocolate over the insides of paper mini muffin cups, making sure to leave no holes and spread it as evenly as possible. No need to go crazy though, because even if the walls are too thin and break when removed from the wrapper, I doubt anyone will mind after they take a bite! You will only use about 1/2 - 3/4 of the chocolate, so set the rest aside for later. Place the chocolate-covered papers into mini muffin tins so that they retain their shape, and let them cool and set completely. You can speed up this process by placing the tins in your refrigerator (or on the windowsill like I did- It suddenly got cold out!)

Peanut Butter:
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
Splash Vanilla Extract

To make the peanut butter filling, just stir together the peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla until completely homogeneous and toss the mixture into the microwave for 30 - 45, just to warm it through and liquefy slightly. Give it another good stir to combine everything again, and drop dollops of the filling into your prepared chocolate cups. Be careful not to rub the sides too much so as not to melt the chocolate, and fill each up to about 2 - 3 mm from the top. Let the filling cool completely.


Peppermint:
1/3 Cup Vegetable Shortening
2/3 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1/2 - 3/4 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract (depending on desired intensity)
Splash Vanilla Extract

To make the peppermint filling, place the shortening into a bowl and microwave it briefly until just melted. Add in the sugar and both extracts and stir everything together until smooth. Drop the mixture into the cups as described above for the peanut butter cups, and let cool.



Finally, take out the remaining chocolate and melt it back down into a liquid state. Spoon the chocolate onto each of the filled cups and spread it out to the edges to fill in any gaps. Let it cool once again until set, and enjoy your ghoulish goodies with friends!

Recipe courtesy of:
Fatfree Vegan Kitchen

Mexican Lasagna (or Enchilada Casserole)

1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
corn tortillas--at least 12
3 cups (28 ounces) fatfree refried beans
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tsp. chili powder, divided
1/2 tsp. cumin, divided
3 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup salsa
1 can enchilada sauce (or 1 1/2 cups homemade)
sliced black olives

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a non-stick pan with a little water (1 tbsp.), sauté the peppers, garlic, and onion for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Set aside.

Spray a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the bottom with a layer of tortillas (you may cut some of them to fit). Make sure you cover the entire bottom of the pan.

Stir the refried beans and spread half of them evenly over the tortillas. Cover the refried beans with half of the pepper-onion mixture and half of the tomatoes; sprinkle with half of the seasonings and half of the black beans.

Add another layer of tortillas and repeat the layers of the other ingredients. Spread the cup of salsa over the final layer of black beans. Cover with a final layer of tortillas, pour the enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with black olives. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes or until hot throughout. It will be easier to cut if you allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Fresh corn is a great addition to this. I use about 2 cups of uncooked (or frozen) corn and add it as one more layer. You may need a deeper pan, though.