Posts made in May 2nd, 2012

bite-sized vegan chocolate bourbon pies


Posted on May 2, 2012 in Food

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, identify pretty strongly as an Indiana girl.

I’m a Hoosier through-and-through. But there is another state out there that, as much as it pains me to admit, also has part of my heart. I grew up about 30 minutes north of the Ohio River and, while I may try to deny it, the Bluegrass State has always (and will always be) a huge part of who I am. I was born in Kentucky. My first “real” job was in Kentucky. I bought my prom dresses in Kentucky.

If Indiana is my favorite pair of jeans, Kentucky is the comfortable sweatshirt that I secretly love, but wouldn’t dare be caught dead wearing in public.

No offense, Kentuckians.

Growing up so close to Louisville means that the Kentucky Derby was a huge part of my childhood. I marched in the Pegasus Parade in high school. I watched Thunder Over Louisville from the bow of the Belle of Louisville when I was a kid. I wore my Pegasus Pin proudly to school. I happily enjoyed the “administrative holiday” from school that just happened to fall on the Oaks. And I ate my fair share of Derby Pie.

For those of you not from the area, Derby Pie is a chocolate, walnut and bourbon pie that was created at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. It’s, uh, the best thing in the world. Imagine pecan pie, but with walnuts. Plus chocolate and booze. It is my absolute favorite pie on the planet. It’s even in the running for my favorite dessert on the planet. It’s that good. And being that the Kentucky Derby is this Saturday, it seemed only fitting that I have a go at making this Bluegrass favorite a little bit cleaner and healthier.

I went full-on health-obsessed crazy pants with this one. I stripped out all the animal products, made a delicious, whole wheat crust and used less-processed ingredients. I thought for sure I was going too far from the original, but the end result was completely delicious and true to the Derby spirit. The chocolate-bourbon-walnut combo cannot be conquered—even with copious ground flaxseed and whole wheat flour.

The interesting part? I’ve never actually been to Churchill Downs. I’ve stood outside of it. I’ve watched the Derby on TV, but actually don a fancy hat and bet on the horses? Never. Hopefully now that I’m moving home, we’ll make it to the twin spires in the next few years.

Bite-Sized Vegan Chocolate Bourbon Pies

by Cassie Johnston

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 36 bite-sized pies


For the Crust
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick vegan margarine, cut into small cubes and frozen
  • 4-5 tablespoons ice cold water
For the Filling
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup honey, agave or maple syrup
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan margarine
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of Salt


  1. To make crust, in the bowl of a food processor, add flours, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add in frozen margarine pieces and pulse until pieces are about the size of peas. Add in water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough holds together when squeezed. Dump dough out onto a floured surface and form into two discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and stash in fridge for at least an hour to chill.
  2. When ready to make pies, preheat oven to 350°. Remove one dough disc from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface until about 1/8 inch thick. Using a circle pastry cutter or glass, cut circles out of the dough. Line the cups of a non-stick mini muffin tin with the dough circles.
  3. For the filling, combine all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Spoon about a tablespoon of the filling into each muffin cup. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until filling has solidified. Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from muffin tin and cool completely on racks. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
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What are you doing for Derby this weekend?

what i ate wednesday: it’s me again


Posted on May 2, 2012 in Food

I know I haven’t posted a WIAW in a few weeks, but I promise I haven’t been hiding my food from you guys. I’m not doing Cheese Whiz shooters with mayo as a chaser—my eats have been perfectly normal. The problem is that my brain has hit its max load these past few weeks and I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember to shoot photos of my food. But! Finals are now over (HAPPY DANCE) and I successfully remembered to capture all my eats for a whole, entire day. Every single bite. Amazing, right? I’m pretty proud of myself. It’s the little victories, friends.

Hopefully this is a sign that there some RAM being freed up in this noggin of mine. That would be nice. Because this sucker ain’t upgradable.

Started off the morning with a cup of coffee. One thing you have missed over the past few weeks—a new coffee habit. I still only drink 1-2 cups a week, but man, that sweet, glorious caffenation on Monday morning is where it’s at. I promised myself I’d go decaf again once finals were over because I can already tell I was getting more frequent headaches (I went decaf about three years ago because it’s a migraine trigger for me). I guess that’s now. Whomp. Whomp.

I pulverized all the backlog of to-do items in my inbox and before I knew it, I’d skipped right past breakfast and morning snack time. I took a break and got up to get some food in my belly. Vanilla yogurt, oats, granola, strawberries, chia seeds and some mini, vegan chocolate chips. Yum!

After a few more hours of work, Babyface brought me a Mason jar full of iced coffee. So delicious. So bad for the brain pain.

I started to feel a nasty case of the jitters (too much coffee, not enough food) so I went and heated up some leftover ham ‘n’ beans plus a square of cornbread. Jiffy box variety. It’s hard to beat $0.39 for cornbread.

(P.S. Like my new teal photo background? Fun! And incredibly overused in the remainder of this post.)

For lunch dessert, I grabbed a dark chocolate Hershey’s kiss. I love these for lunch dessert. 20 calories and just enough sweetness to finish off a meal perfectly. A bag of them lasts us for weeks and weeks because we only eat one at a time. Plus they are pretty purple. I like purple.

For dinner, I tried out a new pantry-clearing dinner. We have a boatload of quinoa and canned black beans, so I (fittingly) tried this well-reviewed recipe for Quinoa and Black Beans. It was a really delicious dish! Big fan. Easy, simple ingredients and vegetarian—it’ll be put into regular rotation. Although it was super filling. I only got about half way through this bowl before handing it over to the Hungry Hungry Babyface to finish.

On the side, we had a Mexican-inspired salad: greens, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, green onions and lime dressing. Plus a glass of white wine.

And if I hadn’t already talked about coffee enough—dessert was homemade decaf coffee ice cream (topped with some coffee beans and chocolate chips). Babyface requested I make some coffee ice cream, so I did this weekend. I hadn’t planned on posting it to BTHR because there are a billion coffee ice cream recipes out there, but this one was life-changing, so it’ll probably end up here at some point. Babyface said, “This is probably the best ice cream I’ve ever had.” And it’s made with low-fat milk and no annoying egg-custard that most ice cream recipes require. So. Good.

I’m now going to go throw away every coffee ground in my pantry. It’s time.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this week?

No contest. The coffee ice cream. I can’t stop thinking about it.