Thursday, October 20, 2011

We have a winner...

Congratulations to ikkinlala!!

This book had been banned by the Republic school system, very close to where I live. The Springfield-Greene County library system received a grant allowing Sarah Ockler, the author, to come and speak in the area. It was an amazing opportunity for the community and I'm so happy to be able to celebrate and pass on the love of banned books! For the curious, here's my previous blog entry about the giveaway. To learn more about the book here's a link to goodreads.

Yo swappers! Want a sweet treat in the mail?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegan MoFo Swap 2: Sweet Treats

**This swap has been postponed until further notice. Please feel free to comment or contact me if you are interested and I can let you know when it happens :)

Did I mention that we are having two swaps this month? Well, that was no lie!

Sweet Treats Swap:

* You will send a package with one sweet item (regular sized candy bar, large cookie, etc.) to one other person! Feel free to send a sample of smaller chocolates or sweets, as long as they are equal in value to a regular sized item it is fine ;) You are welcome to send more, but this is all that is expected ;) Sweets may be store-bought or homemade!

* To sign up, leave a comment below or send me an e-mail. Please contact me if you have any dietary restrictions, allergies or general dislikes (people who don't like chocolate do exist! strange, I know!). I will pass that information on to your partner, but do not let this keep you from signing up!

* Sign-ups close on Mon., Oct. 31. You will receive your swap partner's information sometime the next day.

* Swaps should be sent out by Fri., Nov. 11. If you are unable to send it at that time, please send early or do not sign up.

* If you are a first time swapper, please send your snail mail info. to me at aveganfox[at]gmail[dot]com

* Questions or thoughts? E-mail me or comment below!

This is just a fun way to send a little sweetness in the mail :)

By the way, I am getting very excited about mail swaps, mail art, postcards, etc.! If you are interested in doing a separate, one-on-one swap please e-mail me and we will set something up!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

VeganMoFo: Pumpkin Harvest Curry

A few days left for the Banned Book Giveaway!

Last night I met up with an awesome group of vegans, vegetarians and anyone else interested! We have a group set up on Facebook for anyone in the area to join. This was our first meet-up and around 15 people showed up! Next month we're going to have a vegan Thanksgiving potluck and I'm psyched!

Over the past year I've become very intrigued by mail art and mail correspondence in general. I've mentioned the bookmark exchanges on goodreads before and these have really added to my interest. A week or so ago I signed up for swap-bot. If you like receiving and sending mail you should definitely check it out! Feel free to look me up and give a shout ;)

Here's a package I sent out this morning (my first bit of mail art; before postage):

There's an awesome crew of vegan bloggers in the Vegan Cooking and Cookbooks group on goodreads. In honor of Vegan MoFo we decided to hold a cooking challenge! Each of will make a pumpkin dish and post about it on our blogs. I will list links to each of their entries at the end!

For this challenge I decided to use fresh pumpkin. I've only cooked with the canned stuff and pumpkin seeds in the past, so I thought this would be interesting :) I picked out a leaning medium pumpkin that I took fancy to at a local produce stand, but from what I've read since you might want a smaller pumpkin. Evidently, smaller pumpkins are ideal for cooking as they will have more flavor. In the end, we were pleased with the results, so no complaints from this house!

Pumpkin Harvest Curry 

I just threw in spices that appealed to me in the process so please adjust and experiment to suit your tastes!

The Goods:
1/2 med. pumpkin
1 pkg tempeh
1 zucchini
2 sm. or 1 lrg. red pepper
1/2 red onion
1 can coconut milk
1 c. water (add more as needed)
sesame oil
tamari or other soy sauce
curry spice mix
coriander (freshly ground)
garam masala spice mix
lemon juice
pinch of salt (if needed)

Divide the pumpkin into eighths and roast at 350 F for 30-45 min. Set aside.

Zucchini, pepper, and onion:
Slice and fry at medium-high heat in a dry skillet (I use cast-iron) for 1-3 minutes. You want these to stay crisp to add a little variety to the textures in the dish.

Add a little sesame oil to the skillet. The skillet should already be warm from the veggies. Toss in tempeh and splash a little tamari or soy sauce on top. Once brown, set to the side. 

Curry Sauce:
Add sesame oil to the skillet. Add all spices and stir around for 30 seconds or so. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and mix with spices. Let this sit for a minute or so. This is the base of your sauce, like using a curry paste. Add the coconut milk and cup of water and mix thoroughly. Then let the sauce simmer over medium low or medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

Putting it all together:
Mix everything into the sauce, add a splash of lemon juice, and let simmer for a few minutes. You want everything to absorb a little of the flavor of the sauce without losing the crispness of the veggies.

Serve over rice and enjoy!

Pumpkin Cooking Challenge!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Squares ~ Plenty Sweet Enough
Pumpkin Curry with Lentils ~ A Cowhugger's Life
Vegan Baked Pumpkin-Bourbon French Toast with Pepita Caramel Syrup ~ The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes
Sweet Potato Pumpkin Lasagna ~ Carrot Top Vegan

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Liebster Award ~ Thanks Farrah!

Thanks Farrah! Farrah's a new vegan who has an awesome blog that you should definitely check out ~ Carrot Top Vegan.

"Liebster" is German for 'dearest' or 'beloved' but it can also mean 'favorite'. The idea behind this award is to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers and show some support.

The rules of winning this award are as follows:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

3. Post the award on your blog.

4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!

I am so honored to receive this award a second time :) Especially because it means that I get to share the love! Once again it is so freakin' hard to choose! For this round I have chosen some of my fav's over 100, but still under the 200 follower mark (last time I tried to stay under 100) and some newer fav's. Once again these are all AMAZING blogs that you should check them out!:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Liebster Award ~ Thanks Val!

Thank you so much Val! Please check out her blog, A Cowhugger's Life. As some of you know I'm a huge fan of goodreads. We have a great vegan group on goodreads with awesome bloggers, like A Cowhugger's Life ;) In the past I've been really bad about award posts, so I'm posting this asap before it gets left behind!

"Liebster" is German for 'dearest' or 'beloved' but it can also mean 'favorite'. The idea behind this award is to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers and show some support.

The rules of winning this award are as follows:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

3. Post the award on your blog.

4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!

It is NOT at all easy to pick, but all of these bloggers deserve it! They are all awesome and you should check them out!:

Want to get in on the action?:
* Recipe Swap ~ sign-up by Oct. 15
* Book Giveaway ~ sign-up by Oct. 18

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Banned Book Giveaway: Twenty Boy Summer

Congratulations to commenter 5: book_pusher!!
*Giveaway now closed*

During Banned Books Week the Springfield-Green County Library system (Missouri) held a series of events. The headliner this year was a visit from Sarah Ockler whose book Twenty Boy Summer was banned from the Republic school system and later made available to students with parental permission. You can view more links and read some of my ramblings about it here. The Republic Monitor recently published an interview with Ockler, taken after a Read-Out at the Republic Branch Public Library. -link-

GIVEAWAY: A signed copy of Twenty Boy Summer :)

To Enter:

* Leave a message in the comments telling me about a banned or challenged book that you have read or would like to read. There are tons of books out there to choose from! (You'd be surprised at some of the books that have been banned: The Giver, Call of the Wild, The Great Gatsby, Slaughterhouse Five, Little Women, A Wrinkle in Time, Merriam-Webster Dictionary...)

* Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you (if your e-mail is attached to your profile, that works).

* Giveaway will be open until October 18. I will randomly choose the winner the next morning.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vegan MoFo: Weekly Wrap-up

There is so much awesome food floating around on the blogosphere during Vegan MoFo that I decided to take a cue from Scissors & Spice and create a Pinterest board to keep track of some of the awesome food finds. Have you checked out Pinterest yet? I found about it while at work one day and decided to use it to tag ideas for teen programs. It's like have tons of virtual cork-boards to view. And yes, it can be quite addicting!

I'm just starting to catch up on some of this week's feed, so much of this is from the last day or two. Here's a screen shot with some of this week's selection. It's quite small because I haven't quite figured out the best way to do this. BUT it's here and if you click it you'll see the bigger picture:

And now for some Shout-outs to some awesome bloggers. Check them out!:
*Molly ~ Vegan Flower ~ Especially made my week because I got lucky and won her giveaway!
*Amber ~ Zombie Cats Eating Plants
* Jenny ~ Vegan and so forth
* Rose ~ Dandelion Vegan Blog
* Michelle ~ lovinlivinvegan
* Carissa ~ Coffee & Sunshine
* Bobbie ~ Budgeting with the Bushmans
* Val ~ A Cowhugger's Life
* Lee ~ Plenty Sweet Enough
* Farah ~ Carrot Top Vegan
* Betsy ~ The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes
* Kathy ~ Healthy Slow Cooking

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vegan MoFo: Coconut bacon, Avocado, & Tomato on Focaccia

In the trend of trying new things in the kitchen, I made focaccia! I used the recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking. Next time I will make adjustments so that it is thick enough to slice through the middle for sandwiches.

A few years ago I worked as a cook in a coffee shop in Columbia, MO. We made huge cookie sheets of focaccia that we had to slice through for paninis. Initially it was so intimidating! Here you are, faced with a huge sheet of bread, and you're expected to cut through it - no mistakes. But you get the hang of it by starting slowly. By the fourth or fifth pan you'll feel like a pro ;)

I filled this bad boy with coconut bacon, avocado, tomato, fresh sprouts, zucchini, and veganaise. Served up with burrito leftovers (beans, rice and Daiya).

Inside shot:

It's been quite fun (and a bit challenging!) posting every day this week. I was planning to aim for the whole month, but I'm going to change it up a bit. Part of the fun of Vegan MoFo for me is previewing the awesome things everyone else is doing and discovering new blogs. This week I haven't done nearly as much of that as I would like! I would rather make more time for blog reading than fretting about posting daily. So, my current goal will be 3-4 a week during October. Considering I didn't post for nearly two months before that I think it's a good goal ;)

Check back soon for the Banned Books Giveaway!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'm Sprouting!

Ever since my sister told me how easy it is to sprout I've been meaning to do it. Well, I'm a bit of a procrastinator and a few years have passed. But Sunday I took charge and started soaking some beans.

The beginning of my sprout revolution:

And success! We now have homegrown sprouts :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Big Fat Burrito

First I'd like to give a shout-out to my friend Bobbie who just started blogging! Her new blog, Budgeting with the Bushmans, is awesome and you should definitely check it out! Bobbie and her family recently moved to a small town in Northwest Missouri near an awesome eco-village, Dancing Rabbit (read about my visit last year here: part 1 and part 2).

Craving a burrito? Here's what we put in ours:

The Beans: After cooking dry pinto beans, I left enough "bean juice" (the water they cooked in) to cover beans, and added: tamari, garlic, roasted red bell pepper, lime juice, chili powder, and salsa.
I usually add cumin, but was out. These tasted great regardless! Black beans always work well too.

The Rice: After cooking I added tomato paste, broth (I used "Better than Bouillon"), lime juice, smoked paprika, green onion and garlic.

Everything else: Kale (from our garden :), green bell pepper, Daiya, and salsa.

This definitely hit the spot!

If you like getting mail and swapping join in on the VFS Recipe Swap!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vegan Mofo SWAP! 1: Recipe Swap

*Swap is now closed*

Hey, hey, hey! We are long overdue for a swap my friends. If you haven't swapped before don't let that stop you! For VFS swaps we aim for inexpensive, small swaps. Just a happy little something for those of us who like to get "snail" mail ;)

In celebration of Vegan Mofo there will be two swaps this month! For swap one you will share three recipes with three people and for swap two...well you'll just have to wait and see!

Recipe swap rules:

* For this swap you will have three partners (crazy, I know). The people you send to will not necessarily be the people sending recipes to you (it'll be a surprise!). As you might have guessed, you will receive recipes from three different people for a total of three pieces of mail and nine recipes ;)

* Send three recipes to each of your partners. You may send the same recipes to each person. These do not have to be your original recipes. Feel free to choose recipes that have been posted on your blog. The choice is yours ;)

* Recipe design is completely up to you! A few design ideas: zine or mini-cookbook, index cards, written on stationary, bookmarks, anything goes! Keep in mind that this shouldn't cost more than a stamp or two.

* Sign-ups will end on October 15. You may sign-up in the comments or by sending an e-mail to the address listed below. (If you are new see the note below)

* On Sunday, Oct. 16 you will be e-mailed your swap partners' information from me and should send the recipes out by Friday, Oct. 28. If you can not send your recipes out by this date please do not sign-up.  

* If you are new to VFS swaps please send your mailing info. to me at aveganfox*at*gmail*dot*com

* As always feel free to leave ideas for this swap or future swap in the comments :)


Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Coconut Bacon

I've been meaning to post this for a looong time. It all started with this Simple Coconut Bacon on VegWeb.

Coconut Bacon (For measurements see link above or measure to taste)

Coconut Flakes
Tamari (or soy sauce)
Maple Syrup
Smoked Salt
Apple Cider Vinegar (opt.)

Mix all ingredients in a dish until coconut flakes are well-coated. Let sit for as long as you can stand, 20 min. - 1 hour. Heat skillet on medium high and toast until lightly crisp and brown. These will crisp up a bit more as they cool.

We have served this on pizza (see Pizza Time!), as a breakfast side and as a soup topping (see below). We're planning sandwiches this week, so there may be a follow-up post ;) Coconut bacon is quite tasty! It's definitely hard not to stuff it all in your mouth before serving ;)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Raw Hot Cacao

Is there anything better on a cool autumn day than a warm cup of sweetness?

Raw Hot Cacao (inspired by Ani's Raw Food Kitchen)
This will fill two mugs, plus a little to top them off after a few sips ;)

3 c. Water
1/3 c. almonds* (or cashews)
1/3 c. dates
1/4 c. cacao nibs
touch of agave or raw coconut sugar to taste

Put all ingredients into blender* and blend for 7 minutes or until desired temperature is reached. Enjoy!

*Soak almonds for 6-8 hours ahead of time. This will make them easier to digest. They do not need to be completely dry before use in this recipe.
*I used a Vitamix for this recipe. Please let me know the results if you make this in a standard blender and I'll share the info.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegan Mofo!!

It seems my urge to start blogging again came just in time for Vegan Mofo :) This will be my first year participating and though I didn't sign up in time to be on the official list, I'll be blogging every day possible. Besides blogging, I'm back to checking Google Reader and it has reminded me of the great inspiration found on other blogs. I'm excited to spend more time in the kitchen and discover new great blogs this month!

As I mentioned in my last post, not every entry will be about food. We have swaps and such on the way after all! But for this month I will try to at least link to other vegan posts to celebrate all the wonders surrounding Vegan Mofo :) Speaking of sharing, I'll be posting many awesome finds on Twitter this month. So stay tuned...