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.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Vegan's Hundred

Today was an awful day that ended with a silly car squirmish (I'm ok, but severely annoyed) so we ordered Vege Thai (which I stuffed my face with) and watched the Biggest Loser. I am not lost to irony, but I am at a loss for a post. Here's to copping out with the Vegan's Hundred.

1. Molasses
2. Cactus/Nopales
Scrambled Tofu
Grilled Portobella Caps
5. Fresh Ground Horseradish
6. Sweet Potato Biscuits
7. Arepa
Vegan Cole Slaw
Ginger Carrot Soup
I don't eat soup?
Fiddlehead Ferns
Roasted Elephant Garlic
Almond Butter Toast
Aloe Vera This is something that my grandmother fed us regularly when we were kids...
15. H and H Bagel NYC
Slow Roasted Butternut Squash
17. White truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
Freshly ground wasabi
. Coconut Milk Ice Cream (not store bought)
Heirloom tomatoes
Orchard-fresh pressed apple cider
23. Organic California Mango (in season Sept-Oct only)
Papaya Smoothie
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet (habanero) pepper
27. Goji Berry Tea
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie
30. Radishes and Vegan Buttery Spread
Oven fresh Sourdough bread
33. Sangria made with premium fruit and juices
Sauerkraut the pizza place my mom worked at had sauerkraut pizza. Gross.
Acai Smoothie
36. Blue Foot Mushrooms
Vegan Cupcake from Babycakes nyc
Sweet Potatoes and Tempeh combo
Spelt Crust Pizza
Salt and Pepper Oyster Mushrooms
42. Jicama Slaw
43. Pumpkin Edamame Ginger Dumplings ---> This sounds really effing good.
Hemp Milk
45. Rose Champagne
46. Fuyu
47. Raw Avocado-Coconut Soup
48. Tofu Pesto Sandwich
49. Apple-Lemon-Ginger-Cayenne fresh-pressed juice…with Extra Ginger
Grilled Seitan
. Prickly pear
52. Fresh Pressed Almond Milk
Concord Grapes off the vine
Coconut Water fresh from a young coconut
Organic Arugula
Vidalia Onion
58. Sampler of organic produce from Diamond Organics
Honeycrisp Apple
60. Poi
61. Vegan Campfire-toasted Smores
Grape seed Oil
Farm fresh-picked Peach
Freshly-made pita bread with freshly-made hummus
65. Chestnut Snack Packs
66. Fresh Guava
67. Mint Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

68. Raw Mallomar from One Lucky Duck, NYC
Fried plantains
Golden Beets
72. Barrel-Fresh Pickles
Liquid Smoke
Meyer Lemon
75. Veggie Paella
Vegan Lasagna (raw optional)
Homemade Soy Milk
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Lychee Bellini
Tempeh Bacon
Sprouted Grain Bread
83. Lemon Pepper Tempeh

Vanilla Bean
Carrot you pulled out of the ground yourself
Vegan In-Season Fruit Pie
Corn Chowder
High Quality Vegan Raw Chocolate--how high quality? like $7 a bar high quality
Yellow fuzz-free Kiwi
92. White Flesh Grapefruit
93. Harissa
Coconut Oil
95. Jackfruit
Homemade Risotto
98. Seedless ‘Pixie’ Tangerine
Gourmet Sorbet, not store bought Ice Cream Renaissance in Vancouver, WA has the best sorbet!
Fresh Plucked English Peas

Monday, October 12, 2009

The man behind the blog.

So this isn't totally about food. Well, it kind of is. It's more about my drive to keep myself and my husband healthy and happy and that means food, right?

He may be embarrassed if he finds me writing about him, so nobody tell him, 'kay?

I will be the first to tell you that I'm one of the most bitter women on Earth. Years of solitude and rejection will do that to ya. What I find in Jeff is a realness, an understanding, an ability to see through to someone's soul. Cheesy, right? But it's totally true. This boy doesn't put up with shit, and that's one of a million reasons I love him.

broke and happy in Edinburgh

When I first decided to go vegan and worried about all the stuff I would need (oh, the naivety!) he was the first to suggest we make a special trip to Food Fight. He happily tried all of my creations and always steps in to help out in the kitchen when I ask.

stirring up vegan mac, with a smile!

He was the one that introduced me to the world of beer. Before him, all I thought when I thought beer was Coors or Budweiser or piss in a can. Now I'm obsessed with Belgian Ales. Of course, the skunkier the better. he tried so hard to get foam on his beard

He doesn't always take himself seriously and while we do fight on rare occasion, we're too annoyed at being annoyed to stay mad for long. We share the same views on children (yeah, no thanks) and both have a wanderlust that must be taken care of.

Because of all these reasons and the insane hours he's put in at work lately, I made him his favorite dinner Sunday night: Chickpea cutlets from VCON, bechamel sauce from YRR and sweet potato fries. With a beer, of course.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Poor Girl's Biscuits

So, before I get into the blast from my past, lemme show you what I had for breakfast yesterday morning.

Drop biscuits and Gimme Lean sausage crumble gravy.

You see, my friends, my husband is finally back to working 50 hour weeks. His work is completely dependent on the economy, so this has been a rough year for us. My getting laid off in May (and not finding a job) only increased the stress. We had one month where absolutely no money was coming in and I was scared to death. In my 10 years of being on my own, I've never had that happen. Luckily, unemployment FINALLY kicked in and we did a massive landscaping job for my mother in law and were able to pay our rent. What does this have to do with biscuits and gravy? Well, the downside of his working so much is he isn't able to claim unemployment and his last check paid our rent so we've got measly dollars on us until Thursday. We did one last grocery run while we could and picked up the sausage so we could have biscuits and gravy. Oh, yum. The sauce was (freaky) meaty and it really filled me up. I'm seriously glad I only used half the package!

We also spent a paltry $8.50 to pick up leeks, carrots, potatoes, garlic, thyme, corn and an onion so I could make the Leek and Bean Cassoulet for dinner.

I made some interesting changes to the original version...instead of Yukon gold potatoes I used reds (cheaper), instead of frozen peas I used a fresh ear of corn (also cheaper). I didn't have vegetable stock so I bagged up the ends of the veggies, boiled them in water and soy sauce and used that. I was out of soymilk so I "curdled" 1/4 cup soy vanilla creamer mixed with a 1/2 cup of water with apple cider vinegar...lucky for me this made a ton for lunches and such.

This dish was special to me. Growing up my little family was waaaaay under the poverty line. Not homeless, but definitely not able to make it on our own. My dad left when I was 4 and by the time I was in third grade we had no choice but to move in with my grandparents, who were also struggling, but they owned their house outright and had acreage. My grandmother cooked every meal from scratch and we truly lived off of the land. We had enormous summer harvests of every veggie you could think of, plus more! One of my grandmother's go to meals was chicken and dumplings and it was my favorite dish. I haven't tried to recreate it until tonight and just thinking about everything she and my mother sacrificed for us brings me to tears even now. Sadly my grandmother passed 3 days before our wedding last year so I'm unable to make her my version of her dish, but I know she's with me in spirit.

I just want to add to everyone that's struggling out there, I'm with you. Hold on as tight as you can and smile. I don't when this shit storm economy will pass, but I definitely won't let it get me down. As long as I have flour and oatmeal, we'll be fine.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Some of my favorite places....

I thought I'd spend today's post highlighting some of my personal favorite places to eat in Portland.
#1 - New Old Lompoc. Yes, it's a brewery. Yes, it's not even close to being exclusively vegetarian. But their hummus plate is my favorite in the city and their house salad - without cheese, of course - consists of mesclun greens, roasted beets, strawberries, hazelnuts and a lemon garlic vinaigrette. No crappy iceberg lettuce with a side of slimy tomatoes here! The NW location carries a portobello mushroom burger that can easily be veganized and the location on SE Division, the Hedge House, carries a lovely veggie sandwich with hummus and all the fixins. Oh, and their beer ROCKS. We usually visit after finishing my weekly paper route, which happens to be Miser Mondays....pints of their awesome beer for $2.50 all day!

#2 - Cricket Cafe. No pictures, but when we first moved to Portland, we visited this place within a week of settling in and it was fantastic. They have plenty of vegan options for breakfast and you get unlimited Stumptown while you wait and while you eat. I strongly recommend arriving before the hipster hour of 11am, it'll be really easy to grab a table and take your time with your massive plate of goodness.

#3 - Cellar Door Coffee Roasters Before we visited this coffeeshop, my standby favorite was Fresh Pot on Hawthorne. I find the coffee here is so much richer in flavor and bonus, the building houses Portobello Vegan Trattoria at night. This is the only place I'll get hummus on a bagel.
#4 - Just Thai Thanks to Jess and her never ending adoration of this cart, this is our go-to place for Thai food. Look how much you get for $5! Everything on the menu can be easily veganized, and if you're shy like me and request only part of the meal vegan, they will happily jump in and ask if you'd like the whole dish vegan. They also make vegan Thai iced tea, one of my favorite drinks ever!

#5 - Bye & Bye. This place is on every vegan Portlander's list, and for a good reason. Portions are pretty big and very tasty and their drinks are creative and fun. It's a good place to meet up with friends. They also have Hopworks on tap, which make me happy.

Bonus picture of cats cooking dinner...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Daiya in Portland

Thursdays are my busy days. When I say "day" I mean the last half of the day...I have a silly little shift of 2-5pm and then have class 6-10pm, which interrupts prime dinner making hour.

Yesterday I also managed to sign up for a gym at an awesome discount thank to a friend who works for a very successful, national coffee chain with a mermaid as its logo (hint hint!). I did 30 minutes of the elliptical and came home starving. My first instinct was PB&J, but then I thought about all the work I just did and decided on roasting up my acorn squash.

Now, my mom used to make us acorn squash when we were kids. It was always a holiday treat and she would scoop butter and brown sugar into the squash and mash it all in there. Heavenly. But, as it was roasting, I remembered Sarah's post and the leftover ginger-peanut sauce from last night. Hmmmm...
The combo was rich and filling and just what I needed!

When I got to school, I wandered to the cafeteria for something to accompany my sad Clif bar dinner. I grabbed some coffee and walked to the cooler to check out the fruit cups. Some burritos were lined up and this caught my eye:A vegan burrito with Daiya cheese! I almost jumped up and down but instead paid for the burrito and found the microwave, which was broken. No matter, this baby was good cold. It's made by The Higher Taste, a company that also makes this tasty veggie burger a friend of mine is obsessed with. Hooray for not starving before class!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vegan Soul Kitchen

Yeah, I promised a series on squash. But after I got home last night from the grocery store, it was 6pm and the husband was working and I didn't want to eat squash all by myself. So I decided to make two cookbook challenge recipes from Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen instead. I chose baked sweet potato fries with ginger peanut dipping sauce and rosemary roasted tofu.

The sweet potatoes take 50 minutes to bake into yummy goodness. And I was starving. So I had this:
Almond milk's favorite cookie! Definitely not the best snack I could have had. But I had been thinking of it all week and my body wasn't saying no! When I first went vegan, I had a day of mourning when I thought that Oreos would be banished from my life. Thank god they're just a bunch of man made chemicals and fats!

Anyways, back to Mr Terry. Here's my dinner plate.
I hate getting off of work at 5. By the time dinner is done, the sun has disappeared and I'm left holding my food up to the lamp with no shade, hoping that I'm not shaking. And then all the pictures turn out awful anyways. I'm trying to start up a photography business, but obviously I won't be focusing on food!

Dinner was awesome. The ginger peanut sauce was definitely a yummy kick and the tofu cubes were addicting. My poor tummy is not liking the soy so much these days, but I'll trade a little discomfort for some yummy goodness.

Today is a pretty hectic day, so I'm not sure what kind of post tomorrow will bring....stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Carnival Squash Risotto

My mission:

Use these lovely vegetables up this week! This last time I participated in Weight Watchers, I had the best leader. She was always pushing farmers markets and whole foods eating. One time during a meeting, one woman exclaimed how expensive it would be to subside solely on a diet that revolves around fruits and vegetables.

Really? I mean, I can get 5 bananas across the street for 90 cents. Yukon Golds for 88 cents a pound. And that lovely carnival squash pictured up front for 99 cents each.

My goal this week was a series on squash. Today I focus on last night's dinner, Carnival Squash Risotto. My recipe is adapted from the basic risotto recipe from 125 Best Vegan Recipes by Maxine Effenson Chuck and Beth Gurney. It's simple and just waiting for squash to join the risotto party. Total cooking time is around 45 minutes.

Carnival Squash Risotto - 4-6 Servings

3.5 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each of dried basil & oregano
1 roasted carnival squash (method to follow)
basil leaves (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Split the squash in half and scoop out the loose flesh and seeds. Rinse seeds in strainer and set aside. Spray squash with cooking spray and place open side up on baking sheet with parchment. Toss seeds with salt and spread out on parchment. Roast squash for 40 minutes, removing the seeds halfway through.

In a pot, heat stock over low heat and keep warm.

In a heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened. Add rice and stir until rice is coated in olive oil and heated through. Add garlic, basil, oregano and 1 cup stock. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add stock 1/2 cup at a time until mostly absorbed. When stock is mostly absorbed, scoop roasted squash into pot and stir until stock is completely absorbed.

Top with basil leaves and roasted seeds and enjoy! I've included a small pictorial for your viewing pleasure.