March 30, 2008

Ali's Messy Rice

I made this rice, with the help of Carrie :o), the other week for a dinner party we had with some friends. It turned out quite yummy! The combination of veggies, rice and spices was a feast for the eyes and the stomach. My friend Hannah even used it as a filling for some spring roll-ish creations (sorry! no picture of those, but you can imagine!).

I love that my friends are always so excited to make dinners together-vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike! We all combine our skills and make food that is delicious and even more so because we can share it together. I plan to do a bunch more dinners with friends for Spring Term...which starts TOMORROW!! AH!

I have a pretty full course load this term, so I will be very busy to say the least. I have some AMAZING opportunities though. For one of my classes, I will be planning a journalism public relations conference up in Portland for the UO School of Journalism and Communication. Another class is FLUX, which is the journalism school's annual magazine, which just so happens to be honored with national awards in college journalism every year. We are changing the face of the magazine, and with that came the Business Staff on which I am Marketing Assistant. It's a pretty big deal because FLUX has never had any public relations work, so we have a big responsibility to sell this magazine like never before! We want all of UO to know about it as well as many people as possible. So, definitely check out the website, which will be updated for the new 2008 issue soon! On top of those classes I have a Mass Media Ethics class and Advanced Public Relations Writing...all journalism classes this term! I am also taking 6 hours a week of yoga, which will be so invigorating and rejuvenating after all the school!! In addition to all this, my group, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, for the student-run Allen Hall Public Relations, holds its annual event this term...The Mike Bellotti Silent Auction and Golf Classic. The events should be amazing and plus, they are to raise money for an amazing cause!

OKAY! So, back to Ali's Messy Rice!

2 cups brown basmati rice
1 1/2 cups lentils, steamed
3/4 cup mushrooms (I used button and portabella)
Half an onion
1/2 cup snap peas, halfed
3/4 cup cauliflower
1 cup carrots, cut in small pieces
a couple handfuls of spinach
2 tsp (or to taste) of the following:
Hungarian Paprika
1 tsp Salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Cook rice until tender. Set aside, but keep warm.
Saute the onion and mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil.
Steam the lentils and the other vegetables besides the spinach.
Once everything is all cooked, combine into one large skillet excluding the rice. Add the spices and flip with a spatula to evenly distribute the spices. Add the spinach and allow to wilt a bit, about 3 minutes.
Serve over a bed of the brown basmati rice, and enjoy!

Check back to see my spring break adventures with Tilly and Tofu, the dogs!

March 27, 2008

Carrot Cake Cupcakes!

I absolutely love carrot cake. It is by far my favorite of all cakes. The moist, heartyness of the cake pairs perfectly with the cream cheese frosting. I wanted to make carrot cake for Easter, but because I made the cookies I thought I'd hold off a couple of days. Carrie and I have eaten almost all the cupcakes. They are just so delicious.

The grating of the carrots furthered the evidence that I NEED a food processor. The blender is just not making the cut. I added a bit of cinnamon to the frosting for an added spice. I definitely want to try making this in the cake form, but the cupcakes were definitely a success.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking's Carrot Cake

3 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups finely grated peeled carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cupcake tins or use paper cupcake liners.

In a food processor or blender, whip together the ground flaxseed and water until it's thick and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the oil and blend until combined. Transfer them mixture to a large bowl, and add the carrots and walnuts. Stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Add the wet mixture to this dry mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined, but do not overmix.

Fill the muffin tins evenly with the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the edges of the cupcakes

Once cool, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting
From The Joy of Vegan Baking

8 ounces non-dairy cream cheese, cold (Tofutti brand is good, but make sure to chose the non-hydrogenated variety!)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Tilly and Me on top of Spencer's Butte!

March 23, 2008

Spring Awakening!!

To ring in Spring and all its lovelyness, I made sugar cookies and decorated them! Carrie bought the cookie cutters back a couple of weeks ago, and after days of not putting them to use, I finally did on Sunday. And it was Easter to boot!

I was especially excited because I think my puppy, Tilly, looks like a bunny. Her skin is pink and visible through her sweet white fur, so I love to call her my pink bunny. Tilly got her very own pink bunny cookie! She loooooved it! She will be 5 months in a couple weeks.

I used the sugar cookie and buttercream frosting recipes from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I added about 5 frozen strawberries to the buttercream to make it pink, and it also gave it an amazingly yummy strawberry taste! I compensated for the juicyness of the berries by adding a bit more powered sugar.

I had so much fun decorating the cookies! I even made initial cookies for a certain someone... Check back in a couple days for carrot cake cupcakes! Yummm! I love Spring!!!

March 18, 2008

Oh! March Madness!

I have neglected my blog for far to long, and for that I am sorry! I have been so busy with school and life. But this week marks the end of winter term and the start of Spring Break, so check back because I will hopefully be posting up a storm...Until then, love and light.

March 9, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!

After I got my wisdom teeth out, I realized how lucky I am to have Carrie, my best friend/roommate, and J, a sweet and vivacious love. Carrie drove me to and from the appointment, bought me extra gauze and brought me flowers and a lovely card. J came over the first night, made me soup and kissed my swollen mouth, made me fruit salad and yogurt the second day, drove me to classes and gave me good company.

With all the love surrounding me, I couldn't help but want to give it back...And I thought what better way than cookies!! Especially vegan cookies, which in my opinion are 150 million times better than not. Of course I couldn't sample them before I delivered them to my fabulous friends, but I was assured that they were DELICIOUS. I am happy to report, I am all recovered, and I tried one last nite...They really were DELICIOUS!

Love and light.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
From The Joy of Vegan Baking

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
Equivalent of 1 egg (I used flax seeds - 1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds with 3 Tbsp water mixed in blender or food processor)
1 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, smooth or crunchy (I used creamy)
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated, non-dairy butter (Earth Balance Whipped)
3 Tbsp non-dairy milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup non-dairy semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the over to 375 degrees. Line 3 cookie sheets with wax paper or use 3 non-stick cookie/baking sheets.
In a small bowl, combine the first three ingredients. Set aside. Grind the flaxseed and water in a blender/food processor until thick and creamy (looks almost like gelatin).
In a larger bowl combine all other ingredients except the chocolate chips. Beat at a medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended (I did it by hand...Good for those muscles!). Add the flaxseed/water mixture. Beat just until blended. Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and mix just until blended.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Flatten slightly in a crisscross pattern with the tines of a fork.
Back for 10-12 minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. Do not overbake. Remove from oven, and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 3-5 minutes before removing to let cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

March 5, 2008

Diary of a Vegan Dinner Party.

First of all, I would like to thank all the lovelies who wished me well after having my wisdom teeth removed on Monday. It's so nice to know people all over the world are connected through amazing vegan food! It literally fills my heart with jubilance. I am happy to report that I am recovering quickly! I haven't taken any vicadin since yesterday around 4, and I am feeling just fine, a bit sore, but nothing I can't handle! I even made some yummy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies last night, which will be appearing in the next couple of days.

On another note, I am presenting my blog to my class on Monday March 10th. I am really excited and a bit nervous. I have put a lot of work into my blog, but it doesn't really feel like work because I love doing it so much. I just hope I have enough time in my presentation to express all that I want to say about my blog and the community of bloggers that I have met.

Last Friday night before J's show (he's in a hip-hop/jammish band, and he sings), my lovely girlfriends and I finally got it together (after weeks of not) to have a dinner party. It was so nice to see all the girls and my friend Camina brought her vegan friend from home (California), Kalela. We had so much fun! All the food was vegan, even the amazing desserts from Sweet Life. I don't have pictures, but Carrie made a gigantic salad with avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, hummus, carrots and baked tofu that was so delicious, Lin made stuffed mushrooms that were itsy bitsy bite sized treats, and Sammi brought a bowl of green grapes and strawberries that we munched on during our pre-dinner champagne toast!

I made the Creamiest Vegan Mac n' Cheez EVER from Yeah, That "Vegan" Shit. I added some spinach before baking for some added color and nutrients. Everyone loved it including moi! :o)

Camina and Kalela made a yam and apple bake that was fabulous with spicy cinnamon sprinkled on top. The tenderness of the apples and the yams were perfection.

And Lydia outdid us all and brought a selection of desserts that we managed to devour in ohhhhh 7 minutes. Of particular liking was a slice of Banana Cream Cake. Sooooo delicious, definitely the group fav along with the Cheesecake of course. All in all it was an AMAZING dinner.

Afterward we thought it would help with our digestion to take some shots of tequila before heading off to the concert. Ehhhh, I don't know if they really helped with digestion, but they definitely helped with my hangover the next morning. I LOVE my friends!!!

March 3, 2008

Comfort Wednesdays!

This term Wednesday's have been fabulous! I start the day with yoga then usually come home and take Tilly on a long walk. Then I loaf around for a bit, do some homework, write on my blog, etc. At about 5:20, Carrie and I head off to campus to grab dinner before our class at the Craft Center. I cannot disclose too much information concerning our class because the product of the class is my Mom's late birthday present, but I assure you that once I'm done I'll post some pics. The ladies in our class are all so wonderful and treat Carrie and I like we are their daughters. So before heading to class we stop at Holy Cow to grab a bit to eat. Sometimes the amazing salad bar that I already blogged about, other times Pad Thai, but last week it was Rice and Dal. Soooo yummy and comforting with a bit of chutney on the side! I love Wednesdays!

Note: This Wednesday it could all change as I had my wisdom teeth taken out this morning, so I don't know how much eating I will be doing, but at least I'll be crafting at the Craft Center!