Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekly Intrigue (3)

First off, I would like to mention a little food discovery.  I made up a wrap from some leftover falafel, spinach, tomato and tahini, but realized it needed something moist.  So, looking in my fridge I saw some applesauce and thought why not?  I drizzled a little on and it was fantastic!  It wasn't enough to give it an overwhelming apple taste, but enough to add a hint of sweetness and moisture.

So, on to the goods.  You may notice that the vegan blogroll over there is getting long.  That's because I'm constantly remembering blogs that I meant to add and discovering new (to me) blogs that should be listed.  So, keep an eye on it, it will keep growing.  Soon I will be adding some craft and garden links, as well.

These first two were left off of last week's list:
Chocolate Donuts (The Life):  If only I had a donut pan to make these wonderful treats.  (Any suggestions?)  Perfectly glazed images!

Kaiser Rolls (Vegan Thyme):  A detailed and simplified how-to with pics for preparing kaiser rolls.  These babies will encourage even the most intimidated would-be baker!

Cacao Buckwheat Bars (Veggie Wedgie):  We're pretty fond of buckwheat these days and a new raw bar is always exciting!  Check these out for a chocolaty, healthy treat (also includes goji berries)!

Pumpkin Kibbeh (Vegan Feast Kitchen):  Kibbeh is a middle-eastern dish with minced meat, bulgur and spices, often served with tahini.  There are many variations and traditions depending on location which you can read more about at the Vegan Feast Kitchen.  This variation sounds wonderful and might be something to consider for those participating in the EAT world challenge ;)

Lentil Taco Salad (Thrifty Living):  This should interest frugal cooks and anyone who prefers few processed ingredients.  Lentils are a great pick for taco filling! Why did I think of this?

Seitan Parmesan (My Veggie Kitchen):  Well, if you've been thinking about veganizing chicken parm. and aren't interested in the eggplant variety, this seems like a good match!  You can create your own recipe for it, but looking at this page will definitely give you inspiration.

Massaman Lentil Pumpkin Soup (My Veggie Kitchen):  I think I've mentioned that we love our Thai curry dishes, so how could I ignore this?!  A warm spiced soup perfect for the season.

Chickpea Idea List (Get Sconed!):  This includes tips for using dried beans, why you should and some great recipe recommendations.

Cashew Cheese Log (Tofu-n-Sprouts):  Cashew cheese?  Yes please!  So, I've just started experimenting with cashews mixed in sauces for a cheesy flavor, it's wonderful.  But that's the extent of my testing and there is so much more to be done.  A little fancy and quite lovely, this would look lovely laid out for any sort of festivity!

Wild Rice Crepes (Maple Spice):  Filled with chickpeas, mushrooms and spinach, and topped with a roasted red pepper tomato sauce.  Doesn't that sound like a fantastic gourmet dish?

Glögi (Tofu for Two):  This is the perfect time of year for mulled wine, wassail and other spiced drinks.  In the mood?  Then this might be for you.

Sweet Treats:
Almond Joy Cookies (Bicycle Bread):  Coconut and chocolate, oh my!  These sound wonderful and use agave!

Maple Glazed Sweet Potato Doughnuts (Peaces by Pastries):  Donuts always sound good to me and I have yet to make my own.  But these sound great, even adapted from a recipe by the author's grandma - you know that means good things!

Caramel frosted Dark Chocolate Brownies (Seitan is My Motor):  I really can't say enough about how enticing these look!

It's not food, but it's still great!:
Vegan Sock Yarn List (Vegan Knitting):  I was so excited to find this!  I haven't made any socks yet, but am very anxious to try (and maybe a little intimidated).  It's so wonderful to have such a comprehensive list available!

We're all made out of meat (These Little Piggies Had Tofu):  Every wondered what to tell the kiddies before they decided animals might be something to munch on?  Well, this explanation seemed perfect!  Maybe a little grotesque, but hey, it's the truth! I could not say enough about this site to encompass how wonderful it is.  If you have not been here you should.  This is one of the best sources for staying up to date on all things vegan.

The Saucy Vegetarian (Vegan Appetite):  Interested in a copy of The Saucy Vegetarian by Joanne Stepaniak?  Head over to this link for a chance to win a cookbook by the Uncheese Queen.

The Conscious Cook (  Want a copy of Tal Ronnen's popular new book? 

New (to me) Blog Spotlight:  Because there are so many to stumble upon, these might be new to you, too.  I came across tons this week, so some might spill over into next week.  Check these out!
Hot Knives 
Vegan Family House
Kitchen Dancing
Love Star Plate
Kirsten's Kitchen
Sword and Bean
An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
The Innocent Primate
Peace by Pastries

Tiny White Daisies
Colleen's Organic Gardening Blog
Vegan Knitting
Vegan Sock KAL

Friday, January 29, 2010

Grilled Avocado Sandwich

This is something for those quick dinner nights, when you're missing grilled cheese or want something a little greasy ;)  On the side I served up mashed potatoes (after boiling, peels were left on, I threw in some margarine and soymilk and mashed it up - leaving chunks of course!) and cauliflower poppers (from vegweb).  The gravy on the mashed potatoes was actually a packet we had from a Christmas gift.  We mixed in a little nutritional yeast with it to thicken and to help downplay the saltiness.
The sandwich is super easy.  Spread margarine on one side of two slices of bread (these will be the top and bottom of the sandwich, margarine side out).  Spread avocado on one slice of bread (for these we used 1/3 of a whole avocado), topped with minced garlic (or powdered/granulated) and a couple of tomato slices.  Add anything else you might want!  Warm up your skillet and toss these babies on.  They're done in no time!  

Another option: instead of spreading margarine on the bread slices, you can just add oil or margarine to the skillet.  But I've always preferred it this way ;)

Honest Scrap

Please, check out this blog: Vegan Thyme.  If you've been there before then you know why I'm recommending it.  If you haven't, you'll soon find out why.  Not only does Kelly make great food, but she's thoughtful and has interesting things to say about her life.  And she has completely flattered me with an award!  I can hardly believe it.  When I popped on her site for a daily review and noticed my name in a list of ten, well I had to look over it again to be sure, I just couldn't believe it!  I've been doing this for a couple of weeks now and am flattered by any recognition and comments I receive, and then she gives me an award!  I am so honored.  Thanks Kelly!

So what is this award?  Well, that's a good question.  It's origin is a bit of a mystery.  Over at Vegan Thyme and Cajun Chef Ryan (the one who nominated her) I learned that it came about in 2008 and the logo came from a brand of chewing tobacco or snuff.  Wild, huh?  I tried to search it myself, but after two pages of googling I had enough and decided that it didn't really matter.  I think the important thing is to recognize the one who gave it to you and those who you will pass it on to.  Kind of a "thanksgiving" type of thing, you know?

Well, I'm a little nervous, being new to the blog world and to get so honest with you, but I will do my best.

The Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to that blog post.  (Kelly (Vegan Thyme) thank you so much, again!)
2. Tell ten honest things about yourself and make them interesting, even if you have to dig deep!
3. Pass the award on to ten bloggers you feel embody the spirit of Honest Scrap, and whose blog you find brilliant in design and/or concept.

My "Honest Scrap" (These are the things that came to mind tonight):
1.  I rarely bake with sugar and try not to eat it, but I love coffee and tea too much to consider giving up caffeine.  (At least I watch my intake!)
2.  In Australia I got a $200 speeding ticket.  Pretty awful huh?  I was studying abroad for 4 months.  A few friends and I had rented a car for a couple of days in Melbourne over Spring Break.  We were driving along the Great Ocean Road, ending at the Twelve Apostles.  As we were leaving it started raining.  Hard.  So there we were, it's pitch black, raining, and I'm winding around hills on the wrong side of the road trying to get back to our hostle.  Just as we were coming back in to town I was pulled over.  They don't go easy on foreigners, either.  On the good side, the girls riding with me were good sports and split the ticket with me - how awesome is that?!
3.   I became vegan in Feb. 2007.  I was planning to give up meat for awhile and my boyfriend suggested that I watch "Meet your Meat" to help me out (since I was whining so much about how hard it would be).  When I saw them cutting the beaks off of baby chicks I realized that vegetarianism was not good enough (it was all or nothing!).  And that's how I went from vegetarian to vegan in 8 hours or less.
4.  Possums used to piss me off.  Not sure why, but I used to want to kick them when I saw them and I would get angry just talking about them.  This isn't really the case anymore, though!
5.  I toured with a saxophone ensemble in China for 2 weeks (during the holidays of 2004).
6.  I went to school for music (saxophone).  When I decided that I didn't want to teach, I finished my degree and decided to just try out different things and see where life took me.  I am quite happy with my current position as a librarian in a teen department.
7.  I am consistently late or "just on time".  It's not a good thing.  I think I have a fear of being early and waiting around by myself or with nothing to do, and I seem to always be able to find something to do just before I need to be somewhere!
8.  My biggest dream is to some day own my own coffee shop/cafe.  Everything will be vegan, fairly traded, fresh, and wonderful!
9.  Cameron is my huge, sweet, lovable baby.  He's not vegan, but I will care for him his whole life.  I picked Cameron up at a pet shop while living in my first apartment (only rescue animals from now on!).  I knew he was the one when he took me on an adventure around the shop after being placed on the ground and then later, when he pounced from my shoulder onto a parrot's cage and knocked him down (the parrot had been hanging upside down).  I might mention that this parrot had been picking on me, pulling at my hair and squawking at me.  So, I guess that makes Cam my hero ;)
10.  Adam is my love who I plan to spend my life with.  We have been together for nearly 3 years and it's been wonderful the whole way through.  Though we attended the same college, I hardly knew him until my last semester.  He was two years younger than me and a composition student, a more quiet type than the loud-mouthed musician variety.  Luckily I had to drop out of Music History 1 the first go around and when I retook it Adam was in my class.  I was, also, taking Comp. lessons that semester, so we were in the Composers' society together.  And on blossomed our romance.  (I don't think I want to go into the "honest" details, haha.  Not that they're that bad!)

My "Honest Scrap" Nominations:
How did I pick?  They have blogs that I happily visit, I want to get to know them better, but mostly they just seemed like the right picks to me right now :) - meaning, I have my reasons! :)   Check these out, you won't be sorry!
*Scottish Vegan Homemaker
*Vegan in New England
*Skint Vegan
*Earthy Foody
*Going Down Swinging
*A Little Hungry
*Bitter Sweet
*Vegan Eats and Treats
*Be My Playground
*The Fairest Seed

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Black Bean Burgers and the big crumble

onight I made black bean burgers and fries.  I don't remember the last time we tried making black bean burgers, but I remember knowing I wanted to try a different recipe next time (we weren't very impressed).  For tonight's version I looked at a few sites, narrowed down from a search earlier this week (during a meals planning session) - Black  Bean Burgers 1, Black Bean Burgers 2 and Black Bean Burgers 3.  The flavor was pretty darn good, if I do say so (the boys agreed), but they were falling apart a little.  What could have helped?  Maybe chopping things a little finer or putting everything through the food processor.  Maybe less of the "chunky" ingredients.  Or perhaps letting the pan heat a little longer.  If anyone has suggestions from their perfected bb burgers please let me know!  The spice amounts are guesses from what I threw in, so use more or less depending on your tastes.

Black Bean Burgers
 3 c. black beans
   (cooked; or 1 1/2-2 cans)
3/4 c. mushrooms
1 onion
3/4 c. oats
   (I should have processed these a little)
2 tsp. garlic granules 
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. tamari
1/2 tsp. jalapeno pepper flakes

Mash beans, mix in all other ingredients, then fry 'em up in some olive oil.

French Fry Spices:  garlic, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper.
I threw on more paprika then planned and these were actually quite spicy due to the amount of paprika and pepper, a wonderful surprise :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Simple Sushi and PETA's Vegan College Cookbook

Isn't he a handsome cat? Adam took this amazing picture last night while I was making sushi. He captured some other wonderful Cameron faces, but I thought everyone should see this one at least ;)

Well, I will show two more since they are sushi related. That is, Cameron kept me company while I made sushi...


Simple Sushi

At our house we use pretty simple sushi fillings most of the time. This makes it a fairly quick and easy meal, if you don't count how long it takes me to form and roll since I'm a bit obsessive about things being spread out evenly...even sushi rice that no one will see in the end...who knows why.

Simple Sushi veggies include: cucumber, carrot and avocado.

Sushi Rice: Remember that the rice to water ratio when cooking sushi rice is different than most others (I always have to look it up to be sure). But with sushi rice it's more or less a 1:1 ratio, you can add a Tbl. spoon or two fo good measure, but I'm not sure it's necessary. If you use much more water than that you will have sushi rice slop and will probably need to use it for something other than sushi, pudding or breakfast perhaps?

Is sushi rice (Japanese short grain) really necessary? YES! This rice will be stickier to enable the rolls to stick together.

After it is done cooking transfer it to a bowl. Add a bit of brown rice vinegar and brown rice syrup and mix. From what I understand this is for flavor more than anything else, so it's up to you. I almost always see some sort of rice vinegar suggested and often times sugar or some other sweetener. We once had a bag that called for brown rice syrup and that seemed like a natural choice to us.

Allow it to sit and cool before adding to the rolls.

There are many tutorials online and tons of information on sushi out there, so do a quick google search and you will find all you need! And if you do anything wild and crazy, or extremely wonderful I'd love to hear about it.

PETA's Vegan College Cookbook

The library is a great place to take a sneak peek and try out cookbooks.  I picked this one up recently to see what it is all about.  Well, the title and blurb on the back pretty much cover it:
"Let PETA turn your dorm room or apartment into the campus destination for amazing vegan food! Inside are the 275 simplest, most scrumptious recipes for college vegans on a budget - and the best part is, the most complicated kitchenware you'll ever need is a microwave..."
This book aids those who have little experience and little time to cook. Not to mention those who have made the switch while trying to live off cafeteria food, who will now be able to whip up quick and easy vegan meals.  It gives helpful tips on stocking quick-fix foods and vegan alternatives to things the new vegan may fear to be without.  Though I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who likes to spend time in their kitchen or has been vegan for years, it's a perfect care package gift for that niece or nephew in college considering veganism ;)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Creamy "Crab" Pasta and Orange Agave Chocolate Chip Cookies

Creamy "Crab" Pasta

Last night we tried Match Meat "Crab". We haven't eaten crab for three years, so our memories may be a little hazy. It wasn't worth the $12 spent. The texture was decent and it had a fishy flavor, but it didn't really seem like crab specifically. So if you feel like splurging to try something new, feel free, but I didn't find it to be worth the dough. We are however interested in trying another flavor sometime, like chicken for this "Chicken Picatta" or perhaps one of the great looking recipes I've seen on Vegan Thyme recently: Country Fried "Steak" and Moroccan Crab-less Curry. So who knows we may give the "crab" another try someday.

For the pasta sauce I used this Creamy Basil Pasta Sauce found at Free Cooking. After following the directions (before adding noodles) I added the "crab" (which had previously been fried in olive oil), some fresh spinach and freshly ground pepper. Then we tossed in fettuccine noodles.

At Mama Jeans that night Adam found some wine from Kaiken on sale to go with dinner. Last summer we were on a Cabernet Sauvignon kick, so naturally he gravitated toward it. We haven't picked up wine for awhile. This one wasn't quite dry enough for me. It was slightly sweet and tart. I am no wine expert, so that's the best description you're going to get!

Orange Agave Chocolate Chip Cookies from VCIYCJ
These were pretty tasty. The only thing I substituted was coconut oil for canola oil because we already had it on hand. I generally like soft cookies, but these were a little cushier than I would have liked. That is, until they cooled. A few hours later I discovered that they had developed a nice crispness on bottom while retaining a softer interior. Delightful :)
I still have yet to taste a perfect sugarless chocolate chip cookie, but someday!
I'm so please that this book offers several recipes with alternatives to sugar. If you do not yet own VCIYCJ, be sure to check out the PPK for a sneak preview ;)

More to come: Sushi, zines and a nomination...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekly Intrigue (2)

As I mentioned in another entry, I am constantly amazed by all of the awesome blogs and recipes I come across. Not only that, but the fact that there are so many vegan blogs alone that I seem to discover new ones weekly. So, despite the fact that I have made few entries this week I still want to take this time to celebrate wonderful things that I have come across, something I started last week. Not all of these will be recent entries because I've decided that old entries are just as worthy of notice ;) (Naturally!)

I'd like to start off with my neice's blog, Life of a Homeschooled Teenager. She just got started and has some fun things going on, not to mention sweet pics of kitties and a chicken :)

Raw Cranberry Goji Berry Bars (Gluten-free Vegan Family): Raw bars are great snacks to have on hand. You can fix batches and have a week or two's worth of snacks to pack for work or wherever you might be headed. Tasty and nutritious, these bars drizzled in chocolate look delightful!

Pull-Apart Wheat Dinner Rolls (Beans and Greens): Do you love bread? Because I do! Bread is one of the many reasons that I don't ever see myself going completely raw. Kristin over at Beans & Greens says that she's found the perfect dinner roll. Well, I'm excited to try it! And this is a good time of year for such things :)

Guiltless Quiche Provencal (Yoga.Food.Art): Quiche was one thing I ate a lot before becoming vegan. A lunch stop at the local coffee shop meant a slice of quiche and bread. The images for this recipe make my mouth water and I hope to try it very soon.

Sweet Potato Tart with Maple Icing (Manifest:Vegan): I really wasn't a sweet potato fan until I met Adam and it was one of the things he requested and could not live without. My tastes have adapted since and I enjoy a good baked sweet potato or treat now and then. This looks amazing and uses dates and Agave!

Spiced Beans in Coconut Milk (Maharagwe) (The Fairest Feed): Trying a new recipe from somewhere exotic (for me anywhere outside the US) is exciting. This is an African dish that looks appetizing and filling. Not sure if I've mentioned before, but coconut milk has become one of my favorite ingredients. With this spice combination mixed with beans and tomatoes I expect some tasty results.

Cauliflower Poppers ( Finger foods are very appealing to me. One of those loves you don't really lose past childhood (as with many things for me ;). These have definitely caught my eye and I will be sure to post results whenever I try them for myself!

Sweet Potato Kale Balls (Cupcake Punk): Finger foods? Well, I just covered that. These little guys also have the potential to be a hit mixed with pasta (like shown in the post) or with a variety of things I can imagine.

Pistachio Matcha Muffins (Bitter Sweet): I could not resist including this. Though, I have no idea what these might be like the idea is very intriguing. Adam loves pistachios and I'm always ready for a good muffin. Like the blogger (at Bitter Sweet), I agree that there are too few recipes that call for these wonderful nuts!

Chocolate Spritz Cookies with Candy Cane Filling (Bitter Sweet): I'm a fan of chocolate and mint combinations. These cookies look delightful and would be a hit at any holiday gathering I'm sure!

DIY Hot Pockets (Tiny Choices): This is such a great idea! I have been thinking a lot lately about items to make and freeze for quick meals. These definitely hit the spot!

Truffles: A whole label to itself? Well, I found so many good-looking recipes this week that it was hard to resist. Each of these offers something a little different, so get excited and experiment with your own version! (And please let me know if you create something wonderful!)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Cookies (Manifest:Vegan)
Chocolate Truffles for Your Vegan Valentine (La Vie En Vegan)
White Chocolate Walnut Truffles (VegSpinz)
White Chocolate Orange Almond Truffles (Vegan Etsy)

Other Things:
More At Home Toxic-Free Beauty (Diary of a Vegan): I'm always a sucker for info. on DIY natural health and body products. Though I have experimented very little in this area myself, I get very excited when I see tips from others.

Hearts for Haiti: Treat yourself and help people in Haiti by visiting this Etsy shop where 100% of proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders. (Thanks to Vegancraftastic for posting an entry on this!)

Fast food slows down (Sustainable Food): Has anyone read Infinite Jest? Every time I read articles like this it seems like the future described in that book is close to reality. And that's scary. This article describes the ways fast food chains are working to capitalize on Americans' obsession with TV. (Entertainment obsession is a key element in David Foster Wallace's incredible novel.)

If you try any of these out let me know! And if you have found anything wonderful lately let me know that, too :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cous Cous, Burritos and Zombies

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I promise that I have NOT retired my blog after one week! This week just sort of got away from me.

So, a little bit of food. Nothing too fancy this week, though:

Cous Cous with Falafel and Veggies

For this simple dish I combined cous cous, falafel (leftover and crumbled), broccoli and carrots...I think that was all. I threw on some garlic, of course! And a little bit of this Moroccan seasoning we received as a Christmas gift from Adam's wonderful Mom :) (I can list the ingredients if anyone's interested) After preparing the cous cous and setting it aside, I boiled the broccoli for a short time to soften (it should also gain a nice darker green shade). Then I fried carrots in oil for 5-7 min, added the garlic for another min or 2. I added the leftover falafel to the pan, then after a time the broccoli and finally the cous cous. To this I sprinkled Moroccan seasoning over the whole thing and some tamari. Now that I think of it, I probably threw some dried shallots in at some point. But if you have an onion lying around I would suggest frying it with the carrots.

Burrito Filling

Last night I whipped up a quick dish to stuff in tortillas. So many things taste wonderful when you wrap them up in a warm tortilla, don't you agree? Luckily I got up in time before work to cook the beans that we soaked overnight.

After putting filling the rice cooker, I fried up onion, pepper, beans, tomato and then added the rice (in that order, even ;). I threw on some granulated garlic, for a quick fix, and added just a bit of tamari over everything for a little extra flavor. Near the end I added some dried jalapeno flakes. Just a simple tasty dish to make when you're already HUNGRY!

Books I have recently read:

The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath: (spoilers) Honestly, I wasn't very impressed with this one. This is my first affair with Plath and I suppose I should read some of her poetry. It was well-written, but the story didn't really captivate me until the last fourth of the book. I just didn't feel very interested in Esther's NY escapades and had trouble feeling for her as she fell into depression when she came home. BUT after a suicide attempt and watching her sort out her tangled, warped mind in psych wards the book became much more interesting.

Z for Zachariah - Robert C. O'Brien: I didn't finish this book. I picked it up because I've been on a post-apocalyptic kick since reading The Road (which is fantastic!). A class I visit monthly at a local high school are also on this kick and I'm always hunting for books they might enjoy. This book was kind of a bore with useless, uninteresting details. Finally I decided to skim the end. It seems that the most action happens in the last 30 or so pages.

The Forest of Hand and Teeth - Carrie Ryan: This was by far the most interesting of the three! Another post-apocalyptic pick and suggested by a coworker (thanks Bobbie!). Set in a world overrun by the Unconsecrated (zombies) a girl wonders what lies beyond her fenced in village. She dreams of oceans and skyscrapers, of everything her mother has told her existed before The Return (zombie apocalypse). The main character, Mary, is unwilling to except that the village and rules of the Sisterhood are all that life has to offer. There is a bit of a romance, too.

The sequel is due out soon and I'm very excited! Above I have linked to the author's blog. In fact here is one entry you might enjoy where Ryan discusses the importance of considering a teen's freedom (as with anyone else's) in choosing what to read: 'Won't Someone Please Think of the Children?'.

Not sure if I've mentioned, but I'm a librarian. I started about 6 months ago and love it! I get to work with teens, a passion I developed working in a drug and alcohol rehab. It's a wonderful place to be!

Coming up: Recently received zines, Match Meat Crab and Weekly intrigue

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekly Intrigue (1)

It's the end of the week, so I'd like to pass on a few blogs that inspired or intrigued me this week. Since it was in visiting so many wonderful blogs that encouraged me to start this in the first place this is the least I can do. I will try to do this at the end of most weeks.

First, this being my first week, I would like to thank those who have encouraged me and welcomed me into the blog world.
The bloggers: Kelly (Vegan Thyme), DJ (Skint Vegan), Tough Cookie, Vegan in New England and Debra (Vegan Family Style).
And the friends who already knew me: Dana, Bobbie and fiddlewitch.
Thanks guys, it means a lot to me!

The Food
Vegan in Brighton: Vegan Cheese and Wine party? What's not inspiring about that?! These images get me exiting about the vegan potlucks I hope to have in the spring.

Herbivore Dinosaur: Baked Tofu Teriyaki on Ciabatta Rolls
Gourmet sandwiches are often appealing. They look delicious, not difficult to throw together, but extra exciting. This is one of those!

Bankrupt Vegan: Coconut Curry Quinoa
When I see curry and coconut milk combined I am hooked. This is a great looking recipe and easy to toss together. It includes quinoa, which sounds like a wonderful combination!

The Bad Vegan: Hot Reuben Dip
Reubens are one thing we've enjoyed several times in the past few weeks. But I have never had a Reuben Dip and am very intrigued with the idea.

Vegan Dance if you Want to: Banana French Toast
I love french toast. This one includes bananas and coffee, need I say more?

Seitan is My Motor: Gomba Paprikás - Mushrooms w/paprika flavored cream sauce
This sounds like a delightfully creamy dish. I would, also, like to add that this is a newer blog to me and quite wonderful. Not only do entries contain grand recipes and pictures, but these are loaded with cultural and historical information - quite an experience!

The Words
PPK: Call for Vegan bake sales for Haiti!

Thoughts of Jess Five: Another blog that's new to me that I've enjoyed reading this past week.

Feel free to let me know what you think of these and discoveries you've had this week.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Want a free cookbook? (and more)

This could be yours:

To get your copy head over to Vegan Family Style! Even if you have a copy of this book this blog is worth a visit. I just stopped by in the midst of my hitting familiar and new blogs adventure and am very glad I did! Recent entries include: raw desert, orange pudding cupcakes and green smoothies.

It's wild. I've been to so many blogs the last couple of years and sampled many recipes, but I just didn't really interact. Crossing that line still feels a little strange. But believe me, I'm quite anxious to get involved in the online vegan world. I haven't had many vegan friends and it seems wonderful to have this whole community available.

So, next up my first hat! I'm pretty psyched because I'm not great about finish projects unless it is some sort of assignment, like for work, school or perhaps a gift. I started knitting recently (actually this was a second go at knitting) and I finally completed something! Now I'm ready to begin a new project or two.

Eats and Drink of the day:

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast cookies (VCIVCJ)

First attempt from VCIYCJ! I'm very excited about this book. Just flipping through, every pic is absolutely amazing. Today I had to try something. We had a couple of very ripe bananas, so that was a start. I chose the recipe for Banana Oatmeal Breakfast cookies. Going
with the things we already had: I substituted pecans for walnuts. I didn't have quite enough oats, but threw in some pumpkin seeds. We didn't have dried cranberries, but I look forward to trying it with these next time! Despite the changes they still seemed wonderful and I'm excited to try the rest! This recipe already uses brown rice syrup and agave, so there was no need for a sugar substitute.

Falafel Reubens

With toppings minus thousand island.

After toasting with mixed green salad.

Chickpea Cutlets (VWAV) and gravy, roasted brussel sprouts and roasted potatoes

A tasty dinner with Chickpea cutlets covered in shiitake gravy, roasted brussel sprouts and potatoes. The brussel sprouts were seasoned with oil, garlic and salt. The potatoes were seasoned with oil, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, rosemary, coriander, oregano and lemon juice. Thanks to the lemon juice and coriander combo these were slightly tangy and delicious!

Brews in Review

Well, Adam has been working at a local liquor store for the past 6 months or so. He just recently got a job at the library and will no longer be there, so we are taking advantage of the discount while we still can :) Tonight he brought home a 6 pack of Tripple (New Belguim) and one tall pint plus 6 oz. of Deep Enders Dark Porter (Anderson Valley).

Tripple wasn't bad. I don't really have a lot to say about this one, it was decent. I will say that New Belguim Brewing Co. is known to be a very sustainable crew, so that's a good thing. Not to mention they put out a fine line of beers.

Now the Deep Enders Dark Porter. Oh, this was wonderful. This beer had a wonderful clean, smooth dark malty taste. The maltiness was not overwhelming, but just enough to add a little sweet tang. Another great thing about these guys? Solar powered! I highly recommend this beer! Lucky for us, Adam will be able to get a 12 pack of these babies for $22 :) Those will definitely last us awhile!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chimichangas and a little Christmas

What a happy day! I came home to packages waiting inside. Luckily, Adam's and mine came on the same day, so we were able to open all of our Christmas at once.

Two new cookbooks! Oh my, these were probably my top two picks on my current want list:
Vegan Brunch AND Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar! (Click the links for sample recipes if you don't have a copy yet!)

That's not all! Also, the next installment of Northlanders (trade paperback) and 3 David Bowie albums!

Also, I visited the Thrift Store for the Blind today and made out with some goods:
Twin Peaks Soundtrack, a little hanger for ties (perfect for Adam and his new job), small flower pot, spatula for outdoor grilling, a gardening book, and skirt book.

I love thrifty finds!

Today I figured out how to add links to text (obviously a blog novice). If anyone has happened here because you wondered, "Who the hell is this chick that just posted on my blog?" Well, it was me. I've hunted the net for recipes for years and followed many blogs. Just recently I started my own and decided to start communicating...hopefully not creepy, haha.

We've been eating a lot of chimi's lately. I originally got the idea for mashing potatoes and beans together from a vegan cookbook I once had. Each time is a slightly different variation.

Black Bean Potato Chimichangas

3 med potatoes (chopped and cooked)
2 c. black beans (cooked)
2 avocados
3 garlic cloves
2 Tbl tamari
1/3 c. water or veg. broth
1-3 hot peppers or 1-2 tsp. dried pepper flakes (jalapeno are a great choice)
8 tortillas (burrito size)

Mash together potatoes, beans and avocados in a large pot or bowl. Add everything else and mix thoroughly.

To form chimichangas:
Start with a single tortilla and fold two sides in toward the center:

Add a scoop (1/8) of mixture to one end and roll up.

Next, add safflower oil to a pan and start frying. I usually add 1/4 to 1/2 in. and flip over to conserve oil. But feel free to deep fry (more traditional).

Then, voila! Top with salsa or whatever else you might like.

If you love chimichangas like I do, there's also a tasty looking recipe over at Vegan Thyme!

Dancing souls, Happy animals and Massaman Curry

Herzog did it again. Another completely fantastic film (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans)! And Nicolas Cage was amazing, doing what he does best :) Cage truly has a way with eccentric, offbeat characters. A wild man that does it well! And Herzog? Well, perhaps the same could be said. Here we are stranded in New Orleans and he still manages to reflect on a few reptiles. He loves those animals. Herzog has a way of drawing out amazing characters and creating an atmosphere unlike any other director I know.

How happy would you be if you found this is the mail?

Adam and I haven't exchanged gifts yet and are excitedly waiting for packages to come in the mail. Today an envelope came addressed to me from sweet Amey at Vegan Eats & Treats
It's a wonderful cookbooklette that made me smile with each page! I'm super excited to try out the recipes, especially her recipe for Disaronno Cookies (which I have never had)!

Here's the cover and I will include another image at the end. Because I really can't get enough of these :)

Tonight's dinner was Massaman Curry. We have this once a week generally because it's cheap, easy and delicious! Recently we have tried some of Maesri's other pastes, but this is still our favorite. The original came from Mac & Cheese. Since we like to make enough for leftovers, here was tonight's variation:

Massaman Curry

4 med. potatoes
19 oz. tofu
fresh spinach leaves
fresh broccoli
2 cans Maesri Massaman Curry Paste
2 cans Coconut Milk
Red Pepper Flakes

Saute onion on med. heat until it starts to brown on the edges, it will be a dark golden color. Dump in the curry paste and saute for 1-2 min. Add coconut milk. Mix until the paste and milk seem evenly mixed and allow a few bubbles to form (maybe a min. or so). Dump in potatoes, tofu, broccoli and spinach and mix thoroughly. Allow the curry to cook for 15-20 min. or until potatoes have softened to your liking, stirring periodically. About 2 min. before the curry is done add cashews and red pepper flakes. Serve over rice.

We like ours pretty spicy. For a milder sauce use more coconut milk or less paste.

One more image from Amey's super cute cookbooklette!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Band practice, Bingo and Beer

It was a good night tonight. A night of working toward some of my 2010 goals, actually. This year will be a year of not just creating, but achieving many goals, I hope.

A few of those goals and tonight...
Improve community involvement: joined the community band. It's going to be a pretty good time I think ;)
Spend more time with people: A friend told me about a bingo night at a local bar in town, Lindberg's. I love games (and beer), so it seemed like a grand opportunity. And it was a good chance to catch up with a couple of good pals.

Tomorrow night I'm headed to the local independent theatre, The Moxie, to see Herzog's Bad Lieutenant. Herzog is an amazing director and I really enjoy Nicolas Cage, especially when he gets to be over the top!

A bit of food. Tonight we had Fried Tofu, mashed potatoes and gravy and peas. It was a quick dinner night.

Fried Tofu Seasonings (not marinated long because I was short on time)
granulated garlic
ground ginger

This works really well for a quick fried tofu to stick in wraps or on top of rice.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Perhaps the best Pumpkin Muffins

Yesterday morning was a perfect day for brunch :) A cold, snowy day with no work or need to leave the house. I decided to make a breakfast casserole and muffins. There was a partial can of pumpkin in the fridge and chocolate chips. Adam was in charge of rummaging through cookbooks for muffin ideas while I worked on the casserole. He discovered The Best Pumpkin Muffins recipe from VWAV, which had somehow slipped by me previously. What a great discovery! We prefer to use sugar alternatives (though I often make an exception for vegan chocolate...), so I made a few changes.

Original ---> Sub.
Sugar ---> Date Sugar
Molasses ---> Brown Rice Syrup
Veg. Oil ---> Apple Sauce

Other Changes: No ground cloves (I'm not a fan with pumpkin) and about a cup of chocolate chips. (Click for full recipe)

Mmm...these were delicious and a new household favorite!

For the Scrambled Tofu Casserole I split 6 buckwheat biscuits in half and spread across the bottom of a 9" x 13" dish. On top of the biscuits I spread scrambled tofu and seitan mixed with a cheezy sauce. And then spread a thin layer of the rest of the cheezy sauce on top. (No pic of this one.)

A great sweet and savory combo!

I'd like to get to know those who stumble across this blog. So, here are two questions:
What is your current favorite cookbook?
What new (or new to you) cookbook are you most excited about?

This is how it starts

Just a quick entry to jump-start my goals list for 2010. I have secretly followed many blogs for a while now and have decided to get more involved in the online community. Please be patient with any changes I make in the next couple of weeks as I get into the groove of it all.