Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yule Love This French Log

It's time to introduce this month's Daring Bakers Challenge!
This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand. 
This multi-layered frozen dessert features six elements:  Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake), Mousse, Ganache, Praline (Crisp), Creme Brulee, and Icing.  We were given a lot of leeway in terms of flavours this time, and I have to say that my favorite part ended up being the mousse.

I chose to make a maple mousse, which was actually quite simple.  I used one box of mori-nu silken tofu and 1/2 cup maple syrup.  Blend in food processor for 2 minutes.  That's it!  It's so light and full of flavour, I wanted to eat it all on its own without adding it to the yule log but instead I resorted to licking the spatula ;)  It was well worth the wait though, because it is absolutely delightful once it's frozen.  I think this summer I might toss this in the ice cream maker and see how it fares as "ice cream".
 Also, since I've pretty much had enough chocolate over the holidays to last until next year, I went with a vanilla ganache.  My vegan creme brulee was more like a blanc mange (vanilla pudding) but at least I kept with the french theme?!  With all of the vanilla and maple layers it's hard to distinguish one layer from the next other than the almond cake and chocolate praline, but they each have their own flavour that blend harmoniously with the other layers.  It takes a bit of time to put this together but it really is a nice dessert to serve if you have guests over.  
You can find the original (non-vegan) recipe posted at Florilege Gourmand.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Two uses for Vitasoy Holly Nog, and a munchin in a Christmas Tree....

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays.  I haven't had too much time to catch up on everyone else's blogs to see all of the goodies that are being serving up, but I hope to check them out over the next few days.
In the meanwhile, how about some Rum and Holly Nog? with a little sprinkle of cinnamon.  This will warm you inside and out!
For Christmas morning breakfast I whipped up some corn bread from La Dolce Vegan and subbed in Holly Nog because, whoops, I forgot to buy my usual almond milk when I went shopping the other day.  Even my friend's dad who is very skeptical of any soy/tofu/alternative food liked it!

Well, it's time for some late snacks and a movie with the girls (and some more rum & Holly Nog!) so I'll catch up with you later!  Merry Christmas :) I'll leave you with one last photo, of our little munchkin.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Yummies

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, whatever you prefer.  I wish all of you a joyous holiday season and may you be blessed all year with good friends, family and yummy FOOD!

I've had to miss a couple of days of work due to some bad weather.  In fact, my flight to be with my family for Christmas was cancelled, so I'm spending the holiday with friends and hoping that my rescheduled flight on Boxing Day doesn't get cancelled. 

On the bright side, being snowed in and stuck at home leaves lots of time to bake some old favorites for our guests. 

I made a batch of Almost Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cookies subbing in almond butter...

And I made some of Dreena's Chocolate Mint Melties.  These are soooo good.  If you've never made them, you must find any excuse to do so.

And I also made a carrot cake.  I had an abundance of carrots from my weekly produce bin (Green Earth Organics) so carrot cake was the perfect way to use some of them.  I used a recipe from Martha Stewart's website and made a few substitutions.  You can refer to the original recipe here, but I'll list it with my substitutions below:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup finely shredded packed (about 2 medium) carrots 
Quick Glaze, or confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil an 8 inch round baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk flax/water, sugars, almond milk, and oil until smooth. Gently mix wet mixture into dry ingredients until moistened; mix in carrots. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes (if browning too quickly, tent cake with aluminum foil). Cool in pan, 15 minutes. Turn out of pan, remove paper, and cool completely on a rack, right side up. Apply glaze, or dust with confectioners’ sugar. 

 Right now I've got a batch of Lavash baking, and I'll be making some lemon-dill hummus to go with it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Monday Lunch

I went shopping today and spent about 6 hours on my feet walking and trying on clothes, so I feel like I kind of worked off that caramel cake.  But I really want to get back to healthy eating for now! Here's my breakfast/lunch for tomorrow, clockwise from the left:  Nature's Path Agave Plus granola, followed by unsweetened Almond Breeze, a salad of chickpeas, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, cilantro and some smoked garlic chipotle salt instead of dressing, an organic apple of some variety, a persimmon, and in the very middle there is a packet of acai berry tea.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

(Vegan) Caramel Cake With Caramelized "Butter" Frosting

No, that's not a giant donut.  It's this month's Daring Baker's challenge from author Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater and her signature caramel cake.  The challenge was hosted by Dolores, along with Alex,  Jenny, and alternative baker Natalie.  If you have the need to satisfy a sweet craving, this recipe may well cure you of that forever.  It is S-W-E-E-T!  Too sweet for me, actually.  I mean, I'm always trying to cut sugar out of my recipes, and here I am eating it by the pound for this challenge.  I stopped counting the sugar after the first 4 cups of it!  Here's to hoping it doesn't go straight to my hips or butt ;)
I had to make a few substitutions like Earth Balance instead of margerine, ground flax instead of eggs, and almond milk instead of dairy milk.  I've never made caramel syrup before, it wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be.  But I have to admit, I was wearing heavy oven mitts after reading the disclaimer about having a bowl of ice water ready to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin. 

Once it was all said and done, I gathered up some girlfriends and we dug in.  Everyone thought it was fantastic, though we all felt naughty eating it because it has about, oh, a zillion calories.  I'm gonna work those calories off tomorrow at the mall doing some speed shopping...or trying to, anyways. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spreading veggie love on Helium.com

During the summer I wrote an article on Helium.com on a whim, it was not a topic that had been covered by anyone thus far, and they have thousands of articles.  The article is called "Vegetarian 101 for parents" and it was meant to be some suggestions on what a parent can do if thier child announces they want to be a vegetarian.  I was so suprised when I learned that my article is now featured on the Helium home page!  It seems as though they are focussing on a vegetarian theme as there are several other veggie related articles featured.

Yay!  One more step in the veg movement.  Already today five more writers have written articles using my Veg 101 subject.

*Update:  It appears that they change the featured articles after just one day so I'm not on the home page anymore.   You can still read my article here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meals for busy people

Eek!  It's been two weeks since I last posted.  I  got  an exciting new job at an advertising agency, so between that and my other job, and  taking care of the baby, I'm sorry to say  I've been putting together some pretty boring meals that don't really seem blog-worthy.    But maybe a healthy quick meal is just what someone else might be looking for.  I'll probably be posting a lot of these easy to prepare meals for the next little while until I get used to my new routine.

So here you go, a dinner that is quickly tossed together at the end of a long day:  a big heaping bowl of steamed veggies with pan fried tofu and brown rice in a spicy peanut sauce! Yes, brown rice takes a while to cook, but while it's cooking is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with the baby.

And while I'm at it, how about taking a peek at tomorrow's lunch?  Well, it's actually breakfast and lunch.  Clockwise from the left I've got 2 slices of sprouted grain bread with hazelnut butter, an organic gala apple, Enjoy Life sunbutter crunch bar, brown rice avocado rolls sprinkled with sesame seeds, a small container of Braggs soy sauce, and some plump organic raspberries.  Sushi really isn't difficult to make at all., and  I needed to do something with the extra brown rice I had left from my dinner tonight.  Much to my suprise (and delight) the brown rice didn't fall apart like I thought it would.  I ate one of the ends of the roll because 1.) it wasn't pretty and 2.) I wanted to know if it tasted good.  Yep, it tastes yummy.  I can't wait to have lunch tomorrow!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mock Tuna Casserole

I trust you all had a spooky Hallowe'en?  Ours was a little less spooky with this little butterfly fluttering around...

A few days ago Happy Herbivore posted a Mock Tuna Salad recipe and I just had to try it.  The last time I ate tuna was at least 16 years ago when my mom used to bake tuna casseroles for dinner.   Though I don't miss tuna at all, I do miss my mom so I made this dish with pleasant memories of cooking in the kitchen with her. 
I whipped up a batch of the mock tuna, and let me say that it is so tasty it barely made it out of the food processor! I tasted a spoonful which then became two spoonfuls, then three...

But I managed to save enough of it to add to a casserole dish full of cooked brown rice pasta and peas.  I combined the mock tuna with my favorite pasta cheez from Get Sconed's adapted version of New Farm Macacroni and Cheez.   I sprinkled some kelp granules and black pepper on top before baking it.
Oh my, this was extra delicious!  And since I loved the mock tuna so much, I later made it again and enjoyed it on some sprouted grain bread with romaine lettuce.  Equally scrumptious!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin # 2

Here's my second pumpkin!

Tossed Pizza - Oh Mia!

This month's Daring Baker's challenge was a hand-tossed pizza crust from “The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread” by Peter Reinhart.  I've made many a pizza crusts, but never had I attempted to hand toss them.  And now I know why.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I totally suck at it.  I have a new found admiration for the guys in the Italian pizzaria down the street who toss thier dough and end up with perfectly circular pizza pies.
                  BEFORE                                              AFTER
After I tossed the dough in the air it looked more like one of the Hawaiian islands than a pizza!  I even tried singing "when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore"  in a really bad Italian accent but it didn't help at all.  But once my pizza was cooked it didn't look so bad, and it tasted really good.
I made a pesto sauce and then topped it with freshly roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and mushrooms.  I added some fresh ground pepper right before I chowed down becuase pepper is yummy on just about everything and this is no exception.  Yes, the dough takes 2 days to make, but it's worth it.  The recipe yields six crusts, so I put the extra dough in the freezer so I wouldn't overdose on pizza.  You'll see how those ones turn out over the next few weeks.
I tried to cut and paste the recipe here twice, and both times my internet window crashed :(  But if you come across “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart, give the “Pizza Napoletana” recipe a try.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Great Pumpkin

I just carved this pumpkin today and I couldn't wait until Hallowe'en to see it in all its glory.   I still have another one to carve, but this is a lot of work and I was all pumpkined out by the time I finished.  I'll do the other one tomorrow.
 I love munching on pumpkin seeds when they are still warm from being baked in the oven. P umpkin seeds are so easy to bake, just toss them in a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle on some salt or other seasoning (I used smoked garlic chipotle salt) and bake at 275 for about 45-50 minutes.  Shake them up a bit as they are baking a couple of times so they cook evenly.  YUM!

Sorce Salba Krispy Rice Bars

Day 28 of VeganMoFo...
Move over Rice Krispies squares!  I found some amazing little treats made by Source Salba that are Vegan, 100% Natural, Wheat Free, Trans Fat Free and Peanut/nut free.  Each bite sized bar bar contains a whopping 200mg of Omega-3 and 2 grams of fibre.  This is already our second package of them...no way these treats are going to last until Hallowe'en! 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tag: Six Random Things

Jen at Chasing Domestic Bliss has tagged me with Six Random Things.

The rules are:

1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Along with 6 random things you are also supposed to post 6 things you love.

Random things about me:
  1. I cannot keep a cactus plant alive. I've had at least six of them in the past 10 years and they all die from either being over watered or under watered.  I just can't get it right.
  2. I think brussels sprouts stink when my room mate steams them in the microwave.  Are they little baby cabbages?  Ironically I like cabbage, but for some reason I don't like brussels sprouts at all.  Pehaps if they were prepared differently I might give them a second chance...
  3. I read Tarot cards for my friends.  My brother gave me a Spanish Tarot deck as a gift many years ago and I have been fascinated with them ever since.
  4. I ordered deep fried pickles once at a pub in St. Louis...and loved them!
  5. When I was a little girl my favorite cartoon was Jem and the Holograms.  I even had a Jem barbie doll.
  6. I hiked up Diamond Head volcano in Hawaii in flip flops when I was 7 months pregnant.   Not an easy task, but so worth the spectacular view!
6 Things I love:
  1. My daugher Naimah
  2. Animals, especially cats
  3. Swimming in the Caribbean Sea
  4. Travelling
  5. The colour pink
  6. Dark chocolate
So now I'm supposed to tag 6 blogs...but instead I'm going to tag anyone who likes bussels sprouts!  Surely there's at least 6 of you out there ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Bread

I absolutely love the scent of cloves, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg, especially when they are coming from my kitchen!  I call this group of fragrant spices my "autumn spices" because when I smell them I think about a cold rainy day when red and orange leaves are dropping from the trees outside. They just smell like autumn.  I  morphed a banana loaf recipe into a pumpkin counterpart and of course after making substitutions and additions, the final recipe is nothing like its original.
If you're familiar with my baking at all, you already know that this is super healthy, with no almost no sugar or fat, but don't worry, it's definitely full of flavour.
Pumpkin Spice Bread
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 packets of stevia
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup agave nectar
4 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water
1/4 cup unsulphered, blackstrap molasses
1 cup pumpkin puree

Combine the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  In a small mixing bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients.  Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed, do not over mix.  Pour batter into a lightly oiled loaf pan .  Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin seeds on top if desired, and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Maple Glazed Acorn Squash

 As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the dishes served at our Thanksgiving feast was some mouth-watering, maple syrup glazed acorn squash.  I love the shape the ridges make along the outer edges when it's sliced.  So pretty!  Acorn squash is high in fibre and potassium, and the flesh is slightly sweet tasting.  Perfect for adding even more sweetness, right?

Cut the squash in half vertically (same direction as the ridges) and scoop out the pulp and seeds.  You can save the seeds for toasting later, they are a great snack.  Next, place the squash with the cut side facing down and cut against the ridges, so you get little half-moon shapes with ridges along the edges.  Toss the squash in a bowl along with some maple syrup and olive oil.  I didn't measure, but I'd guess I used about 1/4 or 1/3 cup of syrup, with about 1/8 cup olive oil.  Once it's all coated, spread into a casserole dish and bake at 400 for 15 minutes.  Turn slices over, and/or stir it up a it and bake for another 20 minutes or so, until tender.

Sprinkle some roasted pecans on top just before serving.

Lo Mein a la CCV

It's day 16 of VeganMoFo and I have somehow fallen behind in my attempt to have about 20 posts this month.  It's time to catch up! 

Not too long ago, Chocolate Covered Vegan made lo mein and I have not been able to stop thinking about it ever since.  I love asian cuisine, and this recipe looked so easy to make, I just had to give it a try.  I'm so glad I did because it is so delicious and nutritious ;)

I cooked up some brown rice spaghetti, and sauteed some sugar snap peas, yellow bell pepper, onion, mung bean sprouts and carrots in a spicy peanut sauce.  I wanted to add some protein to it so I added an Yves Chicken patty, sliced it into strips.  (One of these days I'll get around to making seitan.)  When it was all in the bowl I added a splash of Braggs.  Seriously, this is so easy to make.  Thanks for the inspiration, CCV!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More Vegan Mofo

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.  Our friend sent us home with generous leftovers from her wonderful feast yesterday.  Among the vegan fare was maple pecan acorn squash (which was ridiculously delicious and I will be cooking one just like it later this week!), a spring mix salad with dried cranberries and raspberry vinigrette, roasted potatoes, rye bread, and fresh fruit, among other things.  It was an amazing meal, and Naimah loved all the attention from the other children, and the adults, too.
In fact, she got a ring from a little boy who is intent on marrying her one day!  That's right, my friend's 6-year-old son insists that he's going to marry Naimah one day, and he presented her with this heart-shaped ring.  It doesn't fit on her tiny fingers yet, but I told him I will keep it in a safe place for now.

 And now I'd like to show you one of my favorite quick and easy breakfasts;  A Vegan McMuffin!  It's made with a thick slice of medium-firm tofu (pan fried with Braggs and black pepper and a sprinkle of nooch), with a slice of yves canadian bacon and leaf lettuce on a toasted english muffin.  Who needs McDonalds?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

I'm off to a friends place today for Thanksgiving lunch.  She's not a vegetarian, but she is a fantastic cook and always accommodates her guests with lots of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, she goes organic as much as possible and at least her turkey lived a natural, antibiotic free life (not that I'll be eating it, though).

I've tried to host Thanksgiving a couple of times but I'm given the old, "oh, sorry but it's just not Thanksgiving without meat."

Hey, at least I'm one of the people that the turkeys can be thankful for today!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Noochy Popcorn

Okay, this is not a new invention by any means, but if you've never had nooch (nutrional yeast) on popcorn with some melted Earth Balance, you must try it!  And if you're lucky enough to live in Vancouver and catch the Oddball Organics guy at the Granville Island Market, get some of his smoked garlic chipotle salt and add that to your noochy popcorn. It's Heaven in a bowl!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Wrap

October 2008 is Vegan MoFo!  You can read more about it here, but basically there is going to be a whole lotta vegan blogging going on this month.  Here's something yummy to get things started:

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Wrap

1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 cup red onion, chopped
1 large button mushroom, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz medium-firm tofu (1/4 pkg), drained and mashed
1/8 tsp cumin
salt & pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp Braggs

1 large whole wheat/ancient grain/sprouted grain tortilla
1/8 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 tomato, sliced

Heat oil on medium/high in a small skillet, and then saute onions, garlic and mushrooms until the onions become transluscent.  Add mashed tofu, cumin, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.  Stir with wooden spoon until combined.  Add Braggs and then simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, place avocado, tomato and cilantro in the middle of the tortilla.  When the tofu mixture is cooked, place it in the tortilla and wrap it up.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Baby food that actually tastes good

There aren't very many pureed vegan baby foods that are high in protein (at least not that I can find) and the few that I did get a hold of tasted absolutely gross.  So I decided a few months ago that my best option was to just making it myself.  I never really thought about posting baby food becuase it doesn't seem all that interesting to me, but when my friends saw (and tasted) what I've been feeding Naimah they insisted that I share it with the world.  Here's one that has been a favorite:
1 small red potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 of a small, white-flesh nectarine, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh spinach
1/3 cup lentils
2 1/2 cups water
Pour the water into the bottom saucepan, add lentils and bring to a boil.  Place the potato, nectarine and spinach into the steamer pot and cover with tight fitting lid for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft.
Place steamed veggies into a food processor.  Drain excess water from lentils before adding them. (The leftover water can be used to thin out the puree, and can also be frozen for future use.)  Puree the mixture, adding some of the lentil water until it's like a thick, pea soup kind of consistancy.
Below is a photo of the type of steamer pot I use:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fabu-lash Lavash

I was completely thrilled to discover that my second ever daring baker challenge was vegan!  No substitutions necessary, just a straight up Lavash Cracker from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread.  I strayed only slightly from the recipe in that I used whole wheat flour instead of unbleached all purpose flour, I added 1 tbsp of guar gum, and I sprinkled ground pumpkin seeds on it right before baking in the oven.
The instructions say to roll the dough paper thin, and this is probably the most important step, as I learned the hard way that if the dough is too thick it ends up being pita-like.  Still tasty, but I don't think it could really be called a cracker.  My second attempt turned out much better after I realized just how thin paper thin is supposed to be.
The other half of the challenge was to make a dip for the lavash.  I decided I wanted to try making something raw, and I came up with a delicious spinach & artichoke dip which was a hit with my friends - they couldn't believe that I made it by just tossing random ingredients into the food processor.  Seriously, there is no chopping or preparation of ingredients needed.  It's that simple.  Raw can be so easy, I really should eat more raw foods.

*UPDATE:  as someone pointed out, the artichokes aren't raw so I fudged that up.  Hmm maybe raw isn't so easy!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 16 oz can white kidney beans, drained
1 small jar of artichoke hearts in oil, drained
1 cup fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
pinch of salt & pepper
pinch of cayanne pepper

Blend everything in a food processor until smooth.

RIP Paul Newman

The founder of our beloved organic, vegan Newman-O's, Paul Newman has died at the age of 83 after a long battle with cancer. Read the full story here.
The official Newman's Own website is unavailable due to high traffic but there is a lovely write up there at the moment.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Platinum Waffles with Blackberry-Lime Syrup

With the absence of banana, sugar, and dark vanilla, these waffles are not a familiar golden brown, but instead, a delicate platinum hue.  It creates a stunning contrast for the rich color of the blackberry-lime syrup.


1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
3/4 tbsp stevia
1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp oil (canola, olive...)
3 tbsp ground flax
3 tbsp water
1/2 tsp white vanilla

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sea salt, and stevia.  In a seperate bowl, mix together almond milk, vinegar, oil, flax, water and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and stir until blended.  Pour onto lightly oiled, hot waffle iron.


2 cups blackberries, strained
1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup agave nectar

Simmer all three ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until thickened.  This is great on pancakes and waffles, and even ice cream!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Finest Foodies Friday

Each Friday the Leftover Queen posts five favorite food blogs.  How shocked am I that I was chosen as one of them on the Sept 5th edition?!  While most of the bloggers who are part of the Foodie Blogroll are not veg*n, it is an excellent network of food blogs where you can  look to get inspired and discover new dishes and cooking techniques.  I'm so glad to find out that people actually read my humble little blog :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Chocolate That Soothes The Soul

Have you ever had one of those days where you were down in the dumps and only a heaping dose of chocolate can lift your spirits?  I had one of those days yesterday, so I baked Vegan Dad's very, very sinful Chocolate Chip Cookie Pudding Cake.  Ohhh yeah, that hit the spot!  I didn't use any stevia, or make any substitutions, (though in my haste to get it in the oven I forgot to add the vanilla at the end).  It was still scrumptious, and every bite made me wonder how anyone could be depressed when there is gooey chocolate pudding cake dancing on their tastebuds.