Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cat in a Box

Thanksgiving has come and past. I have acquired multiple bumps, cuts and bruises from those whirlwind days of cleaning and cooking. But it was worth it.

My mother in law graciously subbed Earth Balance and rice milk in dishes she could veganize, and even tried them! She didn't try the dish I brought, but small steps here.

So without further ado, a pictorial of various foods consumed:

Pumpkin baked ziti with caramelized onions from V'Con, for my family's celebration

Green Bean Casserole from FatFreeVegan for ThanksveganA random stuffing recipe I sorta made up - carrots, celery, onions and local bread
Merc devours Tofurkey box (seriously, he wouldn't leave me alone after I opened it)
Badass Smlove Pie for fatty food's sake.

I had a lot of fun cooking up my own vegan Thanksgiving. I invited people that were open and interested in trying a vegan dinner and everything went over really well, Tofurkey included! I cooked two in the crockpot, basting them in the sauce recipe on the box, for 3 hours on high. They were moist and delicious. Next year, however, I'm making my own.

Christmas this year is gong to be a little...sparse. Our family is getting homemade cookies and apple butter and we've decided to donate money to people that need things more than we do. I'm also surprising Jeff with a surprise trip to Vancouver BC on New Years Day. I'm hoping the trip will ebb this travel bug we picked up in May and provide a much needed break from our normal, boring lives before I start school full time.

Next post I'll go over some of the foods I've been cooking up for the PPK Blog cooking challenge, including chocolate chickpea spread!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


In preparation for the post I plan to make on my family's celebration and then my very own vegan Thanksgiving, I give just two reasons I am thankful.



Growing up (yeah, a lot of my stories start with that!) we were a family of animal rescuers. My mother was notorious for bringing home strays. They were very loved and I hope that we made their lives full and happy.

Mercutio came to me in October of 2002. I was working in a pizza place and one of the video store employees next door came over with this tiny black kitten. He asked if I wanted a kitten and while I certainly did not need one, I couldn't say no. The kitten came at the nick of time. I split with my boyfriend at the time and having to take care of a cat helped me to take care of myself better. Merc LOVES Jeff, and as soon as Jeff sits down anywhere, Merc is in his lap. He also loves to sleep with us. That cat has helped me out in so many ways.

Delilah was a rescue kitty. My best friend works for a vet clinic. She went out to her car one day and noticed a suitcase next to a truck. Thinking that it belonged to the owner of the truck, she left it alone. Well, the truck left and the suitcase stayed. My friend went to investigate and found the suitcase was locked and the bottom was warm. After some maneuvering, the vets got it open and found a cat with 5 kittens. While I'm thankful that the suitcase was dropped in a vet clinic's parking lot, who the hell locks up a bunch of cats in a suitcase?!?! I was warned of calico traits before we adopted Delilah, and she has not let us down. She's rambunctious, crazy, hyper and nervous. She loves us, but if anyone else comes in the door she hides under the couch. But when she cuddles up to you, you forget the torn blinds and chipped paint.

Of course, these two furballs aren't the only things I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for my loving relationship, my family, my friends and a roof over my head. I'm thankful that I have the choice to be vegan and the ability to support my little family, however hard it may seem.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


A truly wonderful thing happened on Friday night.

I finally got my copy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

Now, this isn't a good thing for my attempts to lose weight. Not at all. But c'mon, it's the holidays, and what better gifts than cookies? I just have to try them out first...

I asked Jeff to pick a recipe for me to make while he was at work. Well, he picked 4. Out of those 4 I chose 2. Peanut butter blondies and hazelnut fudge dreamies.

The hazelnut cookies hugging the fudgey center are light and rich and shortbread like. Eating a cookie like that makes me stick my pinky out and demand tea. The peanut butter blondies are buttery and delicious. And addicting. I highly recommend this book to vegans and non vegans alike. Proof that you really don't need eggs or cows milk to get the amazing cookies you desire.

Now on to something completely different. I mentioned in my last post that I would share my Thanksvegan menu. Here ya go:

Tofurkey Roast
Cornbread Stuffing with Pears & Pecans
Green Bean Casserole a la Fat Free Vegan
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Root Vegetables (Jeff thinks squash would be better, we'll see)
Dinner rolls with regular and roasted garlic margarine

I have never, ever had a tofurkey roast. We thought we would try it before moving on to homemade roasts and if it doesn't taste good, well there's a ton more food for the eating. Last night I made a first runner up for the mashed sweet potaotes: Joanna Vaught's coconut mashed sweet potatoes from her new potluck zine. These were incredible! Jeff didn't like the curry and ginger, but I might play around with the spices 'cause I want these taters on my table! Here they share a plate with roasted brussel sprouts and chili lime tofu:

I finally got the hang of the manual settings on my camera. It's funny, I'm such a photo nerd and I've never played around with the light settings - I guess I assumed that night pictures would just be bad for all time!

Good eating!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catch! Up.

I was doing so well too.

I know I've mentioned this before, but we were broke growing up. Like, way, way, WAY below the poverty line. I always knew when my mom got her tax return 'cause that's when the "lunch money" basket was overflowing with dollars and sometimes fives. Most of the time it was change. My mom worked really hard during our childhood, and did a damn good job at raising my sister and I. One of our "treats" happened every couple of months: my mom would ring up ole Nick's Tavern, order 3 Nick's Burgers (2 without onions!) and we would feast on the deliciousness. It wasn't any better than any other burger, but it was a treat, which made it special.

Recently, I tried to recreate the experience. I used my standby, the black bean burger from VCon, and caramelized onions and mushrooms for the top. As you can see, I had no bun, but that's ok. It was delicious anyways. I dedicate this burger to my mother and my sister:

I also got a full day with the husband and an empty fridge over the weekend. Turns out we had the supplies for two breakfasts in one day. First up, for real breakfast, was the mushroom frittata from Vegan Brunch, with caramelized onions(I love those buggers) and spices:

Next up, for brinner, I utilized my hated waffle maker. We had requested one through our registry and didn't end up with the same. Now, I am so not the person to pick apart a freaking gift, and they didn't have to get us anything at all, but this thing is junk. I got it to work for me though! I made the gingerbread waffles from Vegan Brunch, topped with the diabetic friendly lite syrup (read: gross):

And finally. It's time for the blog cooking challenge on the PPK! I have lots of stuff in store for this weekend, but I made the Tempeh Helper on Tuesday. It's fast and filling. I didn't think it was close to the original taste-wise (which is ok with me!) but when I reheated the leftovers, I was taken back to a dark place; a place where my then-boyfriend requested Hamburger HELL almost every night. A place where I gained a million pounds.

I've just about set my Thanksgiving menu in stone. In addition to the family get together (in which I will have to bring my own food) I'm holding a vegan dinner the Saturday after. I'm greatly anticipating the feast.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Vegan: First Year

November marks the date that I decided to go vegan a year ago. According to a blog I wrote on some social networking site, the date was around November 21st. Just in time for Thanksgiving, right? Well, I seem to turn to this holiday to make such decisions. I decided to go vegetarian in 2004, just a week before Thanksgiving. And you know, I have absolutely not missed the turkey.

Looking back, my first year of veganism was pretty darn amazing. Sure, there were a couple slip ups (some intentional, some not) but I don't let it get me down. I thought cheese would be the hardest thing to cut but not eating it seemed so natural. I first jumped into this thinking I'd have to buy all these fancy ingredients, but seriously, it's so not necessary. I eat so much better now than I did a year ago.

That being said, I need to make some more changes. First and foremost: drinking. I won't completely give it up, but there is no need for me to have a freakin' beer (or two) every night. Last night I went out with some friends, had a grand ole time and drank probably 4 beers without even registering it. That scares me. When I have people over or throw a party, I always have wine or a shot of vodka to loosen up. Totally not helping with my social anxieties. Or my quest to lose some weight.

Weight. That's my second problem. Since turning vegan, and losing my job, and cooking all this amazing food all the time I've gained more this past year than I have the 4 previous that I was vegetarian, when I ate a lot more cheese and processed foods! Obviously I didn't turn to veganism as a way to lose weight, but in addition to a better focus on whole, fresh foods, I'm going to apply myself to eating less at mealtime - more often than not I put more on my plate than I should and then go back for seconds.

Lastly, I just need to get off my ass! Not working full time is giving me all this extra time to do....nothing. Next quarter I'll be in school full time, but right now I'm focusing on getting to the gym on my cheap membership at least every other day, if not more, and making myself leave the house more often.

None of this will be done in a radical sort of way. I just need to learn to pay attention to my body and my health, just like I do my husband's health. I fully intend on continuing to make treats and indulge, just not so darn often!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

African Peanut Stew

Yesterday, before I left for my ridiculously dumb shift of 2-5, my husband asked if we could have some kind of stew for dinner. Now, I was intrigued. When he mentioned it, I didn't automatically feel nauseous like I usually do when soup-like substances are brought up. I have not been feeling well, and the thought of something rich and spicy just sounded GOOD.

So, while at work on my ridiculous shift, I perused recipezaar, which is my go-to when I have an idea but don't really know where to go with it. I was rewarded with African Peanut Stew.

Here is my very modified version of this recipe, which I cut into half and substituted things for things. I actually forgot to add the lime juice and peanuts at the end due to hunger, but this was SO FREAKING GOOD, it didn't matter.

African Peanut Stew (courtesy of recipezaar)
2 servings and a couple leftovers.

1 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1 14oz can diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup peanut butter (told you I was craving rich.....)
1/2 of a kabocha squash, cut into large chunks
1 sweet potato, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 carrot, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 cup fresh green beans (frozen, no thanks)
3 cups kale
juice of 1 lime
chopped peanuts

Heat the oil in a large, heavy stockpot. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and ginger, and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the broth and peanut butter, season with pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the kabocha chunks and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes and carrots, cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes. Add the green beans, cover partially and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes longer. Add the kale and juice of 1 lime, and cook for 10 more minutes.

Transfer to deep bowls and serve hot. Garnish with lime wedges and chopped peanuts at the table.

Now, the original recipe calls for 3 cups chickpeas and okra. I have been eating so many beans lately that I just didn't want them in the stew and kabocha was an awesome substitution. Okra....I didn't really put in an effort to get some. I do believe I'm on the right track to enjoying soup again!

Doesn't it look rich and inviting?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The end of MoFo and Halloween Roundup

I did 28 posts during October! The last couple days I was stressed over other things, but I think the continuous posting throughout most of the month really upped my numbers. Woo hoo!

Halloween rocked. Friends that I haven't seen in YEARS came, and a grand time was had by all. We had tons of food, beer, hot cider and a photobooth setup. The night ended on a high note as everyone made their way to Cartopia on 12th & Hawthorne and enjoyed pies and fries. A pictorial for your viewing enjoyment:

Jellyfish in the photo booth!
I'm Charlie Chaplin, my lovely friend is my silent actress
The guy in the beard is from Sword & the Stone, Florin is just Florin
The food spread, with silly names
The lady carnie won most creative costumeHer prize were these awesome galoshesJellyfish floating to Cartopia

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bwa ha ha, I sneak in just before the deadline!

This week has been and will continue to be insane, but I will do the best I can. One of the most notable meals of the week:

Nuggets a la Joanna. Seriously, if you haven't tried them DO IT. And dip them in Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce, it's awesome.

Jeff says it's very apparent I haven't had meat products in a long time as I'm always saying "oh, this tastes just like the real thing" when obviously, it does not. These nuggets were no exception.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Portland Vegan's Hundred.

Thanks to Jess for compiling and putting this list together! And special thanks to Karla for not crossing stuff out! It makes it so much easier to copy and paste...

I've bolded the ones I've had and added special notes to others in italics.

1. Fries with spicy tofu sauce at Dots
2. $1 Corndog from Hungry Tiger Too...tempted.
3. Chick-o-Stick doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts ...however, my favorite is the Oreo doughnut.
4. Tiramisu from Portobello
5. Vegan Mulita from Gorditos or Gorditos II
6. Nanotear Ham and Cheeze sandwich from Tube's actually quite tasty.
7. Milkshake from Sip...I've never been a milkshake person, but the pumpkin one sounds yummy.
8. Gnocchi from Portobello
9. Caramel Nut Bar from Sweetpea Baking Co...I've only had other baked goods!
10. Soft serve from Blossoming Lotus
11. Local cherry tomatoes from a farmers market
12. Dong Po Tofu from Bay Leaf many, many other meals!
13. Jerked chickun from Assase Ital
14. A Big Big Lunch Special from an Indian cart
15. Soy latte made with Stumptown espresso...*heart*
16. A crappy tofu scramble
17. Cornmeal pizza from Dovi Vive
18. Weeping Tiger sandwich from Bye & Bye
19. Bye & Bye or Floor Punch from Bye & head hurts just thinking of the sugar!
!20. A Bowl meal from a cart
21. vegan nutella from freddy's hazelnuts...not nutella, but pesto!
22. soy curls in bulk from food fight or proper eats
23. buffalo wings from Vita
24. the weekday vegan pancakes from Laurelthirst...I must remedy this soon.
25. Maple vegan sausage waffle from flavourspot
26. Drunken noodles with pepper steak from Thai Food Cafe
27. Macnocheeto from Homegrown Smoker...what is this?!?!
28. Veggie platter from an Ethiopian restaurant
29. Blackberries picked from a public place
30. Baba Ganouj from Ya Hala
31. Coconut Mashed Yams from Papa G’s
32. Butternut Squash Wontons from Hungry Tiger Too
33. Vegan slice from Bella Faccia
34. Apple pie from Whiffies
35. Chili dog from Zach’s Shack
36. Vegan poutine from Potato Champion
37. Missionary Chocolate Truffle
38. Apron Activists 4-Course Dinner
39. Hot Wok at New Seasons
40. Che Guevara Burrito from Laughing Planet
41. Bryan’s Bowl from Por Que No?
42. Pad Thai from Pad Thai Kitchen...sorry PDX'rs, this is the worst Thai food I've ever had!! Maybe they were having an off day but I haven't been back.
43. Cupcake from a stand at Last Thursday
44. The Giant Pancake at Hungry Tiger Too
45. TLP from Red & Black Cafe
46. Cornmeal tempeh plate from Proper Eats
47. Tofu Po Boy at Palm State Gumbo
48. Maple Walnut Scone from Back to Eden...I've had a cupcake!
49. Vegan Mezza platter from a Lebanese restaurant
50. Crispy eggplant from Fujin
51. Lemongrass Tofu Sticks from Van Hanh
52. Tofu Salad Bun at Pho PDX
53. Cocktail made with local liquor...Lovejoy Vodka is our vodka of choice at home.
54. Biscuits and Gravy from Paradox
55. Smoky soy curls from Homegrown Smoker
56. Field Roast sausage
57. Secret Aardvark Hot Sauce
58. Toddbot's Triangles
59. Local microbrew...constantly. I'm serious.
60. Hot Lips soda
61. Herb Crusted Tofu with Mushroom Marsala from The Farm Cafe
62. had a picnic in Laurelhurst Park...I am including my wedding in this answer! It was a ginormous picnic in the park.
63. burrito from Shelley's Honkin Huge Burritos
64. Eggplant tibs from Bete Lukas
65. Tator Tots before noon or after midnight
66. Lone Ranger from Chaos Cafe
67. Sunday brunch at Sweetpea...not yet *hides*
68. Tofu at a BBQ place (for example Derby Mustard Sauce Tofu at Russel Street BBQ)
69. Mint Fava Falafel at Nightlight Lounge
70. An unexciting hummus plate at a bar
71. Vegan meatball sub from Aalto Lounge
72. Koi Fusion spicy tofu was amazing.
73. Veggie dog from the Vegi dog stand
74. Sesame chicken from a vegetarian chinese chicken remains my favorite.
75. Bagel with Bacun Scallion cream cheese from Sweetpea
76. Vegan savoury crepe
77. Veggie kibbeh
78. Club Vegan at Backspace
79. ice cream sundae from Back to Eden
80. Raw fudge from Blossoming Lotus
81. Tempeh reuben....this will never happen, sauerkraut is not something I search out.
82. Pause vegan burger
83. vegan ribs
84. something baked with local marionberries
85. Veggie bento box
86. Dave's Killer's making a bigger appearance in my life since it's cheap at Winco!
87. Higher Taste Buzzitos
88. Thai food that the server swears is vegan, but you taste fish sauce
90. Dovetail sticky bun
91. savoury pie from Nicholas restaurant
92. Salad rolls from the Just Thai cart
93. Vegan torta from Gorditos II
94. Nutritional yeast on your popcorn at a movie theater
95. Vegan grilled cheese from The Grilled Cheese Grill
96. Pasilla burrito from El I the only one that reads "nutria" whenever they see that?
97. Something from the vegetarian menu at Andina
98. Vegan Steak and Cheese from D.C. Vegetarian
99. Dragon Noodles at Red & Black Cafe
100. Falafel from Wolf & Bears

39/100 - not the best score, but I'm working on it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Feeding a Diabetic

Argh. I missed my second post yesterday.

Since I'm stuck at work with no photos or recaps, I thought that I would write about a health condition that my husband deals with: diabetes. The type 1 version, that is. Otherwise known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 is not preventable and once you have it, you have it for life. It also means that diet and exercise alone won't control it, you're insulin dependent.

About 7 years ago, Jeff caught the stomach flu. He had been diabetic for a couple years by that time, but nobody had bothered to tell him that when he throws up, his blood sugar soars to unsafe levels. After a really awful night, Jeff got up to smoke and the next thing he knew, it was 2 days later and he was in the hospital. His blood sugar level had been over 900 (I don't remember the exact number) and he had fallen into a diabetic coma. Luckily, he came to after a day but has serious problems with his stomach, nerve endings and feet. He takes Reglan daily for nausea and has to keep his work shoes in shape as all he does at work is walk around on concrete all day.

When we met, his A1C level was around 10. An A1C is a blood test to see how a diabetic is controlling their sugars. 10 is a pretty high number, and I'm proud to say that with my veggie and then vegan diet, we have lowered his A1C to a 7 in a little less than 3 years.

If that isn't a magical side effect to a animal free diet, what is?

Saturday, October 24, 2009


So, remember when I said that I was taking the peanut butter cups from Ms. Silverstone's book to a friend's house? Well, it turns out that she made the rice krispy treats from the same book! I had not told her about seeing Alicia at Powells or anything, so this just goes to show, great minds think alike. Crappy cellphone picture:

And my lovely pumpkin. My first time using a pattern...I think I like using a marker better.

This year I've been throwing a lot of parties. Probably not the best idea when we're broke, but oh well. Halloween is no exception. I'm planning on turning our creaky old duplex into an extra spooky experience, complete with a haunted basement. There will be a photobooth set up (I heart the Mac!!) and a costume contest. The festivities will end with a scavenger hunt around our neighborhood that leads everyone to the carts at 12th & Hawthorne...pies and fries for all! I actually wrote a cool little poem for the invites. An excerpt:

On All Hallows Eve, before the strike of twelve
a band of hunters will gather and delve
Into the neighborhood where we will find
Clues to where the wicked bind

The first band to cross the line
Will be given a prize divine
The unfortunate band to finish last

Will hold the position of the outcast.

I was pretty proud of it!

Of course, you can't have a party without treats. In addition to a nacho bar (vegan and non!) I'll be making these eyeballs (easily veganized) spooky cupcakes, peanut butter cups from hell and other yummy, fun stuff. A rather large group is coming from out of town (Seattle, Eugene AND Santa Barbara!) so I'll be feeding them a lovely breakfast the next day. I'm so freakin' excited.

Oh, what's that? What will I be dressed up as? Charlie Chaplin, of course!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Peanut butter cups? They're way existential.

I missed my first MoFo post yesterday! I had a midterm and honestly, food around our house has pretty much been toast and cereal lately.

So Portland is abuzz with the appearance Alicia Silverstone made in our fair city. She published a book earlier this year, The Kind Diet, and Powells hosted a reading. It wasn't EXACTLY a reading, but she talked about her journey to veganism and macrobiotics and answered a ton of questions, all while being charming and the kind of girl you'd probably have a good time with. Not that I'll ever hang out with her, as she's, like, famous and all. The way she wrote the book really speaks to me - she talks about how the food you eat directly impacts your life, and she breaks her plan into a couple different degrees depending on where you are in your diet. She also gets so excited over umeboshi plums, it's adorable.

I'm going to carve pumpkins tonight with some friends and though I would make something out of Alicia's book. I present: Peanut butter cups!!
These puppies are dangerously delicious. Rich. Sweet. Chocolatey.

For lunch, I roasted a delicata squash and a beet. Odd combo, I'm sure, but it's what I had and craving. It made a beautiful, colorful plate that was pretty tasty to boot. Does anybody else eat the seeds of every squash they make? I scarf them down!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quick & Dirty

Today's post is so unorganized I'm not even doing it at home. I'm at work, waiting for a dumb webinar to start, so here ya go. I thought I would visit some of my favorite foods and then those that I avoid whenever possible, a la High Fidelity.

Top Five Favorite Foods, in order of most favorite to eh, it's tasty.

1) Peanut butter. While I've had peanut butter all of my life, lately it's been in everything of mine. Oatmeal, sandwiches, sauces, on a spoon....seriously, I got up last night and had two slices of bread with peanut butter on them. Not smooshed together, mind you. Just 2 pieces of bread. I have a problem.

2) Pasta. I'm not even really picky on what kind. I scarf that stuff down and then go back for more. Carb overload queen here.

3) Oatmeal. It's hot, it's nourishing and you can make it as sweet or savory as you want. Currently my favorite is Bob's Red Mill Scottish oats, which takes me back to Gma making us cream of wheat before school....current love is dumping applesauce and nutmeg in it.

4) Beer. What?

5) Potatoes. Doesn't matter what they're in, I'll eat them. Kind of goes along with the beer quite well, thank you.

Things of my dislike:

1) Baked beans. OMFG all I remember is being really sick after a batch when I was kid and ever since...*shudders* Seeing a can of Busch's make me nauseous.

2) Pineapple. People tell me I'm a weirdo for not like it, but I don't. I really have no reason why other than I hate the taste. Oh, and I can taste pineapple juice in EVERYTHING, so don't try to feed me a cocktail made with it, I'll throw it in your face.

3) Soup. I'm not sure why, but last year I developed an aversion to everything soup and I can't seem to shake it. I was able to have a vegan potato & leek soup in Dublin, but it was so thick and rich I didn't think of it as soup.

4) Black licorice. Siiiiiick, and I don't even know if it's vegan, so it doesn't really matter. Fennel, while it reminds me of black licorice, doesn't bother me as long as it's cooked.

And that's it. I'm not really picky, despite what my mother in law thinks (who I've had to strain the vegetables OUT of pasta sauce for...) so I'm kind of an easy feed as long as there's no meat, eggs or dairy involved. At the moment, I feel like I'm going to be feeling under the weather soon. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Some Like it Hot, or How I Found the Tummy Culprit

My husband is a spicy food freak. Thanks to the lovely lady behind Vegan Conversion Challenge, who we got meet along with her husband, he got his paws on some jalapeno salt. He puts that stuff on everything now, including toast, and worries about what will happen when it runs out (he's still got half the canister!) I think I'll be ordering him an early Christmas present....

For our lazy dinner on Sunday, I picked a recipe out of Veganomicon that would be both new to us and useful of the tempeh I bought recently: Spicy tempeh with broccoli rabe. Unfortunately, I couldn't get broccoli rabe, so regular broccoli stood up to the challenge.

The sauce was definitely my favorite part but the dish as a whole was delightful! Spicy foods have recently made an appearance in my life and I feel like I can taste more because of it. On a sad note, the tempeh confirmed my recent grumblings that soy is making my stomach unhappy and I will be eating less of it. I find that baked goods, soy creamer and soy sauce don't bother me, so at least there's that!

Too hot for TV close up

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Skinny on the Kitch

One of the most important aspects in a vegan diet is, of course, your kitchen! Sure, you could eat out for every meal but what fun is that? I mean, I like going out, but I like cooking at home more. I know what goes into my food and I can eat as much or as little as I want (although it always turns out to be too much......)

When we first took a look at our duplex, there was another woman poking around She said "Oh, I'm a teacher at the culinary institute and this is DEFINITELY a gourmet kitchen. It will be perfect for me!" Well we didn't think so. I mean, look for yourself.

This is the view from the hallway, and this is basically it. I mean, the countertop you see is it, and there's about 6 inches of space before cupboards hit. Just to the right of the stove, where you can't see, is a little spice cabinet, which is pretty cool. But we had to buy 3 different shelves/cabinets to hold all of our stuff. I know that this isn't the smallest kitchen in the world and that it's bright and cute, but it's really non functional. Plus, because there's no dishwasher and no space for dishes, it gets cluttered very quickly. Then again, I'm a mess.

The view from the spice rack area. The kitchen is alo painted this lovely shade of pink, which actually contrasts well with the blue middle room (it could technically be a library with all the books and such...)

Tomorrow I will review another VCON recipe that I am cultishly in love with.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Last night's dinner was an unusual pairing. When I first found the PPK, I printed off a recipe for salt and pepper tofu. I'm sure if you search the Kitchen forum, you'll find it. I'm kind of too lazy to find it for you. Anyways, the first time I made it, I was astounded by the flavors. The only time I had had salt and pepper anything was s & p squid at some crappy buffet, and it was AWFUL. This recipe is rich and filling and quite oily, which is why I only made it for the second time last night.

When I picked up what I needed, I also grabbed bok choy and mushrooms to go along with the tofu. Well, my husband vetoed that. Usually he's cool with what I pair, but for some reason he wasn't feeling the 'choy. Which is strange, as he loves it. So I gave him another option: spaghetti squash. And that is how we came to have an Italian-Chinese dinner last night.

I didn't have cornstarch, so I used Ener-G as I don't use it for ANYTHING and it seemed to work fine. It added a sticky crust to the tofu, which was kind of my favorite part.

Spaghetti squash with a marinara sauce and nooch, my garnishment of choice.

My furbabies, at time of peace.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Benefit dinner for the chimps!

Last night I was lucky to attend an Apron Activist's benefit for the NW Chimp Sanctuary! Before dinner, we were treated to a slideshow from one of the chimp outreach employees and she told us all about where the chimps came from and how they've improved.

Now, I forgot my camera. I sat next to Jess, who took lots of pictures, but she probably won't have them up for a couple days. Dinner included a bread basket with a mushroom walnut pate and carrot ginger spread, salad with a cilantro drizzle and fresh figs (which were a first for me!), creamy butternut squash risotto and apple pie with Coconut Bliss ice cream. Whew!

Dinner was outrageously good, and the people I got to share it with were amazing. Having Isa and employees of the vegan mini-mall cook for you isn't too bad, either. I can't wait for the next one!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sweet, sweet potatoes and burgers.

Wednesday was the last day I cooked something other than oatmeal. When I wasn't working, I cooked so much and I loved it! Even with a part time job, I'm finding the time is scarce.

Wednesday's dinner was a test run for a dinner I'm making for some guests on Halloween before the big party. I have been eying this recipe for Besan Burgers since it first made an appearance in my Reader. For some silly reason, I thought that I would need more food so I made Sweet Potato Curry from Recipezaar. Recipezaar, by the way, is amazing. That's where I found mug brownie. You know, the minute brownie you make in a mug?

The sweet potato curry was really good. However, it made enough for a small army, so I had lots of leftovers for the freezer. Jeff tells me it could have had more spice, but he puts jalapeno salt on everything. The besan burgers were amazing! I only left out the frozen peas, and served it with a little tofu sour cream and avocado. Next time I'll take the writer's suggestion and saute some yummy mushrooms...

Tomorrow I'll be covering the benefit dinner I'm going to tonight, which will be cooked up by none other than Isa herself! I'm really excited and the menu looks amazing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Memory Quickie

I don't think this post counts. But I got called into work way early and haven't been able to type out a post until now. Today I craved Italian espresso like mad, and just went through all of our pictures of Florence to pictures of espresso. Use your imagination.

Tomorrow will feature a sweet potato curry and some fun burgers. Hold onto your hats!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ode to Comfort

So many stories of feeling under the weather are whirling around the MoFo atmosphere, and it frightens me a little. I mean, can I catch a cold through the internetz? I'm very susceptible to germs, being seemingly without an immune system.

I thought I'd dedicate my post today on comfort, things that get me through the day and through bouts of coughing and general malaise. Growing up, my grandmother had a tea bookshelf. Seriously, she was the queen of tea and would give you certain teas based on your symptoms. Oh, it was lovely, and I miss it so much sometimes. I mean, I make tea myself, but it's not the same as having someone else take care of you!

My mother fed us potato chips when we had sore throats. It turns out she was the only person in the world to do that - I've done extensive research. Our upset tummy cure was baking soda and water and to get rid of an earache meant laying on the couch with a huge glass jar on our ear, filled with hot water. I really don't miss those days at all.

These days, comfort to me is a little bit of hot oatmeal in the morning and my coffee with soy creamer (I've been on a mad hunt to find the coconut creamer!)

Whole wheat macaroni with VCON Cheezy Sauce does the trick on cold and windy afternoons (not a soup person!). This is just for me as husband doesn't share the love of vegan mac!

And as of recently thanks to this post, I've been making hot chocolate with almond milk. Every day. Sometimes twice. In a naughty penguin cup my hippie mother gave to me.