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.

Recipes: Family Party Lasagna Night, with my Mom

Mom made an amazing tomato sauce, and we boiled noodles then layered with sauce, Daiya, veggies from the garden (kale leaves were my favorite) and baked until "cheese" looked like it was starting to brown on top.

Recipes: Mom's Homemade Pesto

In cusinart or blender... mix together 1 cup pinenuts 1 cup walnuts, salt/pepper, lots of garlic, a bushel or two of fresh basil, enough EVOO for desired consistency (don't be stingy with this), and nutritional yeast instead of cheese. Added some Daiya into the mix for added richness. yum. Thanks mom!

Dining: Living Light, New at the Company Store Fort Bragg

I wasn't able to try this place during my time up in Northern CA, but its great to see that my small hometown community is expanding with more and more vegan options...

Recipes: Green Veggie Shake

One of my step-dad's creations. For the past year or more he has been really into his acid/alkaline diet... This is a man who used to be deathly allergic to all the good veggies: Avocado, raw carrots, parsley etc...and now he eats them (raw) in his shake from my parent's home garden every morning.

Put kale, parsley, veggies of all sorts, an apple or banana for taste, and there you go. Bottoms up!~

Dining: Viraporn's Thai Cuisine, Fort Bragg

Dining: Blue Bottle Coffee Fix

The best coffee I've ever had, from San Francisco CA. I went to the one in Hayes Valley, near the park with this cool art installation.

Dining: Cafe One, Fort Bragg, Athena and Camille

No food picture, but I love the sandwiches and soups here... all organic too...

Dining: The Raven's Mendocino, with my brother Alex

One of my all-time favorite restaurants. Never disappointed.

Dining: Ananda Fuara with Jen Marie