Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving! I spent mine sleeping in (yessss), cleaning a bit, chatting with my mom, and making a yummy dinner. Nik and I had a nice dinner and we are suuuuuper-full now.

I made Bryanna's Seitan Tofurkey roast, that was waay delicious. I made it last year and loved it, but I did the stuffing roulade variation this year and it was even better! Totally the way to go. I stuck with classic bread stuffing, just like my mom makes. Nik smashed the potatoes and added lots of garlic. I had made the cranberries last night, so they were all gelled and chilled and perfect tonight. I'm not a huge brussel sprout fan, but I think if you roast them with lots of olive oil and sea salt and garlic, they become downright addictive.

Fat-free Vegan's Pumpkin Cheesecake was for dessert. It was super-pretty looking with the layers and all that, but it was kinda meh. It wasn't very "cheesecake"-like, or pumpkin-pie-like either. Too inbetween. It was okay, but not mind-blowing like all the reviews I read would lead me to believe.

I'm all relaxed now with some Adult Swim on. Yaay good food and cartoons. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New things and Shop Update

So I went to a concert a month or so ago, and I was feeling rather down and sad and frustrated, and was hoping one of my favorite bands, Broken Social Scene, would cheer me up. Of course they did. Kevin Drew has this cheesy way of saying things that most people don't say (because they are corny/cheesy sounding), that actually make you feel good. Charles Spearin performed his "Happiness" project, where he recorded his neighbor, Mrs. Morris, talking about happiness, and played it to the audience. And then he played it again, but this time with a saxophone accompaniment that played in the same tones as Mrs. Morris' voice. It was amazing and the "happiness is love" part she said kinda stuck with me. Later in the night, Kevin Drew was building up to a loud part in one of their songs and he kept saying things like "just let out all your frustrations and angers and sadness" and "just scream as loud as you can." The crescendo happened and at the final climatic horn-blasting part, everyone in the room just screamed and yelled as loud as they could and it felt damn good. I needed that and it completely inspired me and that is what this series is based on.

A lot of crappy things are happening around the world right now, that can't be solved in a day, or a week, or even years. Wars, genocides, environmental disasters, economic downturns, corruption, layoffs, fights, injustice, unfairness, prejudice, hate, ignorance, sexism, and on and on and on. Sometimes you just have to step back and remind yourself and others that there is still some good in the world around us, among the bad, and that it is good to take a deep breath and think something positive. Not to be corny or anything, but sometimes you just have to tell yourself or others to relax, or to be happy, or godammit, just let it all out.

These are watercolor, dyes, and pen/ink on paper. Click for a more detailed view! All roughly 8.5"x11" Prints are available in my shop!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What to feed non-vegans

I have a thanksgiving-style potluck tomorrow at work, and I always get a bit worked up about what to bring. I usually stick with desserts, except for that one year I made stuffed mushrooms with tofu cream cheese and spinach. It was the first time that I had EVER made them, and I forgot two very important things A)how much mushrooms shrink and how downright dinky and minimal they looked, and B) oohhhhh the excess water that comes out of them and stays in the pan. I didn't look at them before I gave them to the woman in charge of the shindig, and only realized in the line of 90 other people, that my mushrooms were swimming in their own juice. Oh the horror. So yes, I stick with desserts. Easy and usually a hit. Last year I made pumpkin-chocolate chip cupcakes and maple-pecan cupcakes, which were gobbled up without the knowledge of their veganness. Mwuahaha. Anyways, this year I decided to make something with apples in them (because as I have mentioned a bajillion times before, I have a bajillion of them that I need to do something with). My mom had sent me this groovy recipe cut out of the newspaper, for an apple-pear tart made in little phyllo dough cups and I thought that might be good for a potluck. I set the recipe aside this morning, but somehow completely lost it. It just vanished! So I improvised. I've always liked cranberry paired with apples, (and bonus for ultimate thanksgiving-ness of the foods) and I've worked with phyllo dough enough times to feel okay preparing it for other people.

Cran-Apple-Pecan Phyllo Cup

Preheat oven to 400 F

Makes 24 little cuties, using two mini-muffin pans

8 Sheets of Phyllo Dough
About 1 cup of Earth Balance, melted (this is approx., I have one of those huuuuge tubs of the stuff and I just cut some out)

3 apples, coarsely chopped
a little water

a quarter of a 12oz bag of cranberries
a little water
1/2 cup-ish of sugar


1) Using a pastry brush, brush EB onto one half of phyllo dough. Fold unbrushed side onto brushed side and brush some more. Do this one more time, so that you have 4 layers of phyllo dough, all brushed with EB inbetween layers. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 6 equal squares. Fit each square into your mini-muffin pan. I squished down the sides to make a more stable crust (I have to bring these with me onto the subway tomorrow morning!!), but they look pretty cool all wild-like sticking out. Brush with more EB, if the top is looking a little dry. Here's where I ran into a little freakout moment: I put them in the oven, and when I checked them five minutes later, they were all puffed up!! I quick took a small spoon and kinda pushed them back down carefully, and that seemed to do the trick. So yes, watch them carefully!! Bake until lightly browned, about 10ish minutes.

2)Make some applesauce!! I just throw the apples, a few splashes of water, a few shakes of cinnamon, and a handful of sugar in a pot and boil/stir. When the apples are tender, I use a potato masher and mash away at them.

3) Make some cranberries!! I always scoff at the back of cranberry packages, when it calls for 1 cup of sugar. It always seems like waaaay too much sugar for how many cranberries there are, but then I tastetest and remember how SUPER-TART those little buggers are. So yeah, in goes more sugar. I just add until my lips don't purse anymore at the taste of them. Boil until water is evaporated/absorbed, and pop those cranberries with a fork or something.

4) I let everything cool for a bit before I assembled. I was scared of what color it might be if I combined the applesauce and cranberries, so I played it safe by just layering (totally prettier) them and topping with pecans.

FYI, I totally doubled the amount of applesauce and cranberries I used and just combined them in a dish for dinner tomorrow!! (also, the color was actually not pukey-pink looking and kinda pretty)


After all that, I made some Quesadillas. I used FYH Cheddar, Kale, leftover sweet potatoes, a clove of garlic, and a some random shakes of spices (pepper, thyme, paprika) in a whole wheat tortilla. I was super-patient about cooking it at low heat in a covered pan, so that the FYH cheese would have a chance to get all melty, and it was well worth it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I will crush youuu plague!

So! I caught the plague this weekend and thus, haven't blogged in a few days. I totally crushed my sickness though and I'm super-proud of it. I started to feel all sniffly and foggy on sunday and I woke up at 4am monday feeling like DEATH. It was probably a funny sight to see me scrape myself out of bed at 4am and go straight to the stove to boil some water for throat relief. Yep, straight water, no tea. When I feel myself catching a cold, I usually overdose on OJ, tea, soup, and vitamins. Eff that over-the-counter crap. I did drag myself to work this week, as I've called into work once in my entire life for sickness reasons, and I certainly wasn't going to start now. I'm fine now. Take THAT plague!

I made some apple-sage seitan on sunday that fit itself into two dishes this week. I just used the basic seitan 'o greatness recipe, baked, swapping the spices for more garlic, pepper, thyme, and sage. I added in one apple, chopped finely. It came out really really good. I had it over a salad of pea shoots, green cabbage, daikon, more apples, and a curried ranch dressing.

I made a MASSIVE bowl of soup monday night using the seitan again. It also has lentils, kale, and onions. I also had a tiny bit of quinoa left in a box, so I dumped that in for bonus nutritional value.

Leeeetle apple hand-pies! I used the recipe off of VeganYumYum, except subbing homemade applesauce for the blueberries. I love things that make a fabulous breakfast and dessert!

Dinner tonight was a tempeh-nori salad in a wrap with pea shoots. Sweet potato fries as a side! Num!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale White Lasagna and Apple Brown Sugar Muffins

First Butternut Squash of the season! I got it in my CSA last saturday and have been dying to eat it all week. Last night I finally got around to peeling it ('cause honestly, that's the only thing that holds me back from eating winter squash). I decided to make a white lasagna (I'm all about the homemade vegan cheese lately for some reason...super-comfort food?) with roasted butternut squash and some kale.

I chopped up one whole butternut squash and drizzled some olive oil, sea salt, and pepper over it and roasted it in the oven until tender (25 min.?) In the meantime, I boiled half a box of lasagna noodles and made the cheese sauce. This has verrrry very quickly become my new default cheese sauce; sooo goood! It gets really thick too (can be thinned with water). I carmelized some onions in the pan before I started to mix in the sauce ingredients. You'll only like this sauce if you are a big nooch fan though (which I am!) Super-noochy! Does the word "nooch" remind anyone else of Jay and Silent Bob?

When the squash is tender and done and delicious, mash up in a bowl. I just layered all the ingredients in a pan, noodles, mashed squash, raw kale leaves, cheese sauce. Repeat. Top with some chopped chives. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the noodles start to get a bit crispy on top.

I still have a bajillion apples that I need to get rid of (and 5 more lbs. coming on saturday!!!), so I made super-awesome muffins tonight. I had a sweet tooth and was getting really sleepy-eyed, so I needed something to fix both of those problems. Sleepy-eyed-ness was cured by getting off my butt and going into the kitchen. I have a default muffin base that I use, which modify with a different fruit and spices. It comes from AmyArgh's Blueberry Muffin recipe (which I know that I have raved about before). It's super-simple and you just throw everything in a bowl and mix.

Apple Brown Sugar Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup veg. or canola oil
2 ENER-G eggs
1/3 cup soy milk
a few shakes of cinnamon
1 apple, chopped tiny

1 apple, cut into 12 slices
brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients together into a bowl, adding apples in last (should be cookie dough consistancy). Spoon into lightly oiled or greased muffin pan. Sprinkle each muffin with brown sugar (it gets all melty and carmel-like after it's done baking, mmmm) and top with a wedge of apple. Bake for 25 minutes!

I've been hard at work on 12 new paintings. I reached the half-way point tonight, and hope to bust my ass this week to finish them all. They are going to go into my 2009 calendar and will eventually become individual prints for my shop. They are making me really happy so far!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sammiches and pie

Today was a good day; Super-sunny and productive. I slept in late and made a nice pancake brunch (mmm apple-cinnamon! I have a bajillion apples!), made a grocery-run, and then worked on a painting at a coffee shop. Tonight's dinner was a ginormous beanball sub, using the beanballs from Vcon (except made with chickpeas) and just slathered with a fire-roasted tomato sauce (with added onions, garlic, and braising greens). I love mega-sandwiches!

I've made this sandwich twice this week; Tempeh slathered in a thousand island-esque dressing on crusty bread (bread pictured is Kalamata Olive). So easy and yummy. I boil the tempeh until it's super-tender.

Just when I thought I had my apple stock under control, making this Apfel Kuchen, then my CSA went and gave me 14 more apples yesterday. D'oh! I was thinking about making some apple hand-pies (like pop-tarts?) and freezing them.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blog-cation is over!

Okay, so I took a little blog-cation after VeganMoFo finished, but I'm back now! I got wrapped up in pre-election stress and worry and paranoia and excitement, and then have been floating on cloud-nine the last couple of days. Seriously! I don't get sick of reading/hearing about the election either. I'm just eating it up. I hung up the newspaper in my office at work and drew hearts and stars all over Obama's face, so I am constantly smiling all day. The republicans in my office just don't talk about the election at all, but the rest of us are all happy/huggy/smiley. I kind of feel like a huge weight of fear for the future has lifted off of me. Pure relief and pride of living in this country. I called my senators and reps and requested tickets for the Inauguration!! I've been stalking Megabus' site, waiting for tickets to go onsale for Jan. 20 (and hopefully they will be the minimum $2.50 roundtrip price that they do!!) Don't know where I'm staying yet, but I don't even care!

Even though I have been blog-cationing, I have been eating some yummy food in the last week:

So I agree with Herbivore Creations, and this is THE BEST mac 'n cheeze ever. Like, no joke, serious. I made it last week and have occasionally daydreamed about it this past week.

I made some YUM pumpkin-chocolate-chip ice cream in my ice cream maker the other night. Super creamy, even though it doesn't look like it. I love the combo of pumpkin and chocolate. Super-Fall time. I actually ate a fair amount of the mix before it was put in the ice cream maker, as it tasted like pure pumpkin pie. I have to make a pie soon! I'll pick up some pumpkins at the market on saturday.

I made Kale Chips for the first time and they are surprisingly DELICIOUS. The BF devoured them, which was even more surprising. Super-easy too, in fact, I'll prolly make some more tonight for the weekend. Just mix some cut-up kale with some apple-cider vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper and then bake at 400 until crispy.

I love Sweet Potato Fries so so so much. Anytime I'm in a restaurant, I always default HAVE to order them. I made the VWAV version (that added cumin is ACE), and ate it with some garlic bread and a salad of pea shoots with raw veggies and sauteed tofu. mmmm

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

To say I'm ridiculously happy today would be a complete understatement. Happy new year!!