Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tools: Breadmaker

I know that its cheating, but this year for Christmas my husband got me a BREAD MAKER! I love breads of all kinds, and have always wanted to be able to make my own, but was intimidated by the whole process (kneading, letting rise, kneading, letting rise, punching, letting rise, baking etc etc).

My first batch of bread, whole wheat & oat flour came out beautifully. I'm so looking forward to branching out and doing some experimenting... this machine also has the capability to make jams... more to come!

will post recipe soon

Holidays: Christmas 2010

I apologize for the lack of posting lately, my husband and I just moved into our first new (old) home! We were told that the original stove/oven from the mid '60s didn't work, so we had been eating a lot of take-out, and burritos, but my husband requested his favorite for Christmas- baked Mac UN' Cheese... and viola, turns out the oven ACTUALLY DOES WORK!

Merry Christmas to Us!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holidays: Thanksgiving Potluck 2010

while everything finished baking, setting up the seating
 italian sodas, silk and rice nog, ready to start the feast!
 vegan cookbooks and fresh berries for dessert garnish:
 my plate, and vegan pinot noir. (baked mac and cheese casserole, roasted brussel sprouts and garlic, asparagas, stuffing, candied yams, tofurky, cucumber salad, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy)
 My first tofurky was a hit! It was much better than the horror stories I heard and was anticipating. I didn't thaw out the night before, so I baked for 3.5 hours, in a covered caserole dish with baste (made from the box's recipe) with fresh, diced veggies... garlic, onions, jalapenos, carrots, and celery). YUM! The only dish that had NO left-overs... I'll definitely be making one of these again...

 the line-up, mashed potatoes and two kinds of homemade cranberry sauce and relish
 my first tofurky (it turned out really great!), salad, and homemade salsa
 loading up our plates:
 shitake gravy, roasted brussels and asparagus, canadied yams, baked mac & daiya cheese caserole
 first wave of guests at the dinner table:
 live fruit/nut pie, pumpkin pie (by butter and sugar blogger Jody)

 Dessert Table. Soy and rice creams, soy whip cream, pumpkin pie, raw fruit/nut pie, chocolate mousse and berries:
 dessert variety, chocolate mousse, vegan whip cream, pumpkin pie, live fruit/nut pie, vegan vanilla fudge swirl icecream and brandy and silk nog
Such a wonderful, cruelty-free feast this year, shared with great friends and my family. So much to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving! Remember to practice gratitude, and appreciate daily...
(links to basic recipes I started with, and modified to my own tastes, preferences)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holidays: Thanksgiving Potluck Menu

This year, our annual vegan thanksgiving tradition turns 4. And each year has been more and more fun and festive! Tomorrow for Vegan Thanks Twenty-Ten, we will be hosting a potluck (the first year I haven't cooked everything myself). I'm really excited to try all the dishes and treats and will be sure to take lots of photos before we all dive in. Here's what's been planned so far, vegans sure know how to chow-down!:

My contribution:
  • First EVER Tofurky (you have to bast the dang thing and everything, should be interesting haha)
  • Homemade stuffing, pumpernickel bread, granny smith apples, walnuts and all that good stuff
  • Baked Macaroni Casserole (with Diaya)- My husband's favorite :)
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Rich Dark Chocolate Mousse with fresh berries
  • Soy and Rice Nog
  • Italian Sodas
  • Various Ice creams (soy delicious, and rice dream- not homemade, and Soy Whip cream

Jody & Eli's:
  • Candied Yams
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Raw/Live Fruit Pie
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Cranberry Relish
Jamie & Colleen's:
  • Cornbread
  • Banana Cream Pie
  • Vegan Beer!
  • Maybe something else

Pete & Amanda's:
  • Booze to spike the 'Nog and Italian Sodas!
I am so so SO excited for this feast, and wish everyone a happy, safe, and loving holiday with minimal stress and harm to others. GIVING THANKS TO MY READERS! xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Banter: Ick

A few things to get off my chest.

1. I can't stand mushrooms. Just because I don't eat meat doesn't mean I'll love a "big meaty" portabello sandwich.

2. Same goes for tofu, really not a fan, there are a few rare expections but prefer to go without.

3. Eggplant is disgusting.

So please remember just because I'm vegan, it doesn't mean that I'm missing meat and in constant need of eating the "meatiest" veggies etc.

Beans and Rice. Grains and legumes. My saviors.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dining: Conan's Pizza

Calling all Austin Vegans... Conan's whole-wheat, deep-dish pizzas with Daiya! are pretty much the ultimate pizza experience. Order the Veggie Supreme! Its my favorite Pizza Delivery in North Austin (for you southies and central kiddos, there are two other locations south and central too). To quote another Austin Vegan, "It's great to be alive and vegan in Austin right now!"

(512) 459-3221

Holidays: Adopt a Turkey 2010

Thanksgiving is upon us once again, and in the spirit of giving thanks and compassion, consider instead of cooking up a bird, saving one. Start a new tradition of celebrating life, rather than commemorating the genocide of natives and innocent animals with a carcass (or if you don't want me to be preachy, do it for your cholesterol levels, health, and/or spiritual clarity- or even if its just to win hipster points - no judgments).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Recipes: White Trash Wednesday

Now that I have officially re-joined the work-force... mustering energy to cook whole meals from scratch every night is a little harder than it was as a housewife. This is what I put together last night in 20 minutes. Feast your eyes upon our White Trash Wednesday. Magnificent!

Spanish Rice: Rice a Roni instructions on box- used Earth Balance for margarine... added Hot spicy diced tomatoes as per box... (Note: Long grain wild rice Rice a Roni is also vegan)

Tater Tots- put on a tray and baked, and a plain lettuce, avocado, and tomato salad to balance it out...

 Added hot-sauce into some ketchup for dipping, and dressed the salad with just a lil balsamic vinegar... Mmm good.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Holidays: Halloween Candy

What candy is vegan-friendly for Halloween?

Here are a few of my favorites (view more options HERE).. and of course non-sugary treats are also great to hand out... no I'm not talking raisins and carrot sticks, Play Dough! Last year the mini play dough tubs I handed out were such a big hit I bought more for this year... I love my lil treat o treaters! <3

Recipes: Best Vegan ChocoChip Cookies

Since our housemates moved out I've missed having our house and kitchen smell like cookies... so I'm attempting Jody's, of Butter & Sugar's best ever cookie recipe... Seriously, these are the best homemade vegan cookies I've tried... Recipe taken and modified from Butter & Sugar, visit under link HERE

(Vegan) Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 buttery stick / margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1/3 cup oil (I used shortening)
1 1/2 cups sugar (Usually use 1/2 white, 1/2 brown, but I only had white)
2/3 cups milk (I used organic vanilla soy, you can also use rice, almond, oat etc...)
2 tsp. vanilla (I use organic)
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups flour (I use organic whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips *I used 1cup
1/2 cup chopped nuts *I used 1cup organic raw walnuts

Pre-Heat Oven to 350, grease cookie sheets. Mix butter, oil/shortening, and sugar(s) well. Stir in milk and vanilla. Add oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and mix until halfway blended. Throw in chocolate chips and nuts, stir completely. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool, and serve!


I also learned the best trick ever from this Butter and Sugar cookie genius... Instead of baking off all the dough after making it... only bake a 1/2 dozen- 1 dozen at a time... This helps keep control of how many you eat and also next time you want fresh cookies the dough is already made (just store in the freezer or fridge). Fresh cookies in 10-12 minutes whenever you want them, so much yummier than stale left-overs. I used half the dough this time, since we have Halloween company over tonight.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Recipes: Put it in the Pizza

We discovered a new vegan find at Costco... Pizza shells. I grew up loving the home-bake Boboli (sp?) pizzas that my mom would make us, but I haven't had those since I became vegan (I think they have milk in them?).

These crusts weren't horribly bad, but next time I will (vegan) butter the whole shell b/c the crust without sauce on it turned out a bit on the dry side...

Added the sauce that came with... then Parsley, fresh ground pepper, basil, and Daiya vegan "cheese."
Toppings: Fresh Jalapenos, Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Garlic, Fresh Red Onions, Garlic and Jalapeno stuffed Olives for me (extra Jalapenos for my husband), Pineapple, and I think that was it. Yummm... these babies were sure piled high! And we were gluttonous and ate a whole one each.

 ....and then 15 minutes later, out of the oven.... mmmm

Next time I think I'm going to try to make a homemade Ranch Dressing to dip the crusts in... Haven't attempted a Ranch yet, but looking forward to trying it out... will post when I do.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Animals: Training by Tara

Though they are not vegans themselves, I felt it was appropriate to give a shout-out to our wonderful, inspiring, and completely AWESOME dog trainers. Tara, of Training by Tara LLC, has helped not only our own rescue pup learn some manners and new commands to help curb her dog-aggression issues, but the Austin community in more ways than can fit into one post. From dog rescue, rehabilitation, education, activism, out-reach, training, and beyond- there isn't anything they can't, or won't do to make this world a better place for dogs and the people who love them... I highly recommend her services.


Tools: Handblender and Pyrex set

Today my husband and I went to Costco, which basically means hundreds of dollars later we have a pantry stocked with bulk soy milk, black beans, tomato paste, whole wheat pasta and all the staple foods that we use almost on a daily basis. Costco really has come a long way, now carrying many organic and fair trade items.

Today we brought back my favorite kitchen tool, the hand blender. I had an unfortunate malfunction during a rather ambitious smoothie-making craze, and burned out our old one's motor. We chipped in and went for the step up, which is all stainless steel, and comes with a whisk and chopping attachments, and a cool thing that's suppose to make guacamole really quickly (I usually just use a wooden spoon).

I'm really excited to make a batch of my vegan chocolate mousse, but also looking forward to making a few of the recipes that came with the blender (vegan mayo, frosting, white bean dip, salad dressing, and several others...).

Secondly, its been a long time coming, and we now finally own a full set of pyrex cooking glass, with rubber covers.  Instead of wrapping our thrift- casserole dishes with aluminum foil, then transferring to tupperwares the next morning (yeah I'm lazy after dinner), we can just pop on one of these tops and store. Brilliant. Loving these.

Recipes: Homemade Siracha Hot Sauce

My husband's been perfecting the homemade Siracha sauce starting with the recipe he found HERE. Its a fairly easy process, soak the peppers with garlic overnight in vinegar, then boil them- evaporating out some of the vinegar, blend with some added sugar, strain and store in the fridge to thicken. I wanted to share his latest progress, because it turned out SO GREAT... He used a ghost pepper or two with the Anaheim peppers for added POW (we like things super spicy).YUM.

Parties: Bachelorette Night, Vegan at a Mexican Wedding.

My best friend from high school recently was married, hence all the photo-blogging from various places I dined at in California... For her wedding day she had vegan burritos! Which was so great, and for her bachelorette party/ladies night the MOH made a variety of hummus' dips that were all vegan... Kalamata Olive, Spinach, and Garlic... yummm! Love you Colleen

Dining: 3rd Street Ale Works, Santa Rosa

Though there's not much on the menu aside from beer (what more could you ask for after 15 hours of travel taking a plane and a greyhound on your way back to your hometown?)... I did order that Hippy Sandwich (without cheese) and it was full of good veggies and filled me up. I love this photo of my mom and step dad, and of course our empty pint glasses... ahhh to be home in California.

Dinning: Dad's Dinner night with Sandy

Half from my dad's pub (-Asian Salad- Patterson's Pub), and half from Sandy's kitchen (Baked noodle casserole and HUGE vegan cupcakes)... my parents know how to throw together a great vegan fest... I'm so lucky to come home to such a loving family who may have a different lifestyle, but know how to still make me feel at home, no matter how long its been since I was a kid under their roofs.