January 31, 2008

I <3 Tempeh!

I probably eat far too much tempeh, but I don't care. It's just sooooo good. I like it especially with an agave and mustard marinade. I usually mix about 3 tablespoons dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon raw blue agave then mix in some spices depending on my mood. I cubed the tempeh in pretty hefty sized chunks, but you could just as easily crumble it. This time I had it with broccoli and cauliflower. It made for a winning combination. Especially with the broccoli. Because broccoli is one of my top 3 favorite foods, I couldn't think of a better thing to put with tempeh.

For this tempeh goodness I just used the magic of leeks to flavor the whole dish. I also love leeks. Threw in some portabella mushroom caps and red bell peppers. So delicious. If you've never used leeks in your cooking I recommend doing so. They add so much amazing flavor. Also, definitely give tempeh a try. Vegans and non-vegans alike can enjoy this hearty, protein-filled ingredient.

January 29, 2008

The Holy Cow is certainly Holy.

Everyday I am on campus I go to the Holy Cow, an all vegetarian restaurant in the EMU (the University of Oregon's student union) to help myself to a heaping salad from their all organic salad bar. Their hummus is literally the best hummus I have ever had, and makes a fabulous addition to any salad. So now you will understand when I tell you how utterly devestated I am to annouce that the Holy Cow has been put out of buisness by the Portland, OR-based chain, The Laughing Planet.

While I do enjoy L.P.'s Soylent Green Bowl, I cannot say that I am at all happy about this decision. The Holy Cow's owner, Kathee Lavine, opened the restaurant 10 years ago, and invested over $200,000 to open the buisness. The decision was a poor one made by a committee consisting of five University employees and one University student. That's the thing that makes me the most upset. How can such a large decision be made by such a small population?!?!

Passionate University students are fighting at all costs to stop this from happening, and I am one of those students. I have hope that the real voice of the students will shine through.

Support local businesses.

January 28, 2008

Dressed to Cook!

My lovely mamabean, whom I miss dearly everyday I am away from her, got me the cutest apron and matching pot holder for Christmas, and I thought I had to share it with you all. I got a bunch of other amazing kitchen supply stuff for Christmas, but this matching Anthropologie set topped my list. Other highlights were a cute set of ceramic measuring spoons (pictured), and a peeler disguised as a Japanese samurai.

January 24, 2008

Cooking Shows, Internet Magic!

I was on youtube yesterday searching through some random assortment of videos when I stumbled across a series of cooking videos called Everyday Dish. The five to ten minute long segments show viewers how to make some pretty yummy looking vegan dishes. The one I watched yesterday was called Tofu Breakfast Scramble. But they have everything from Oatmeal Cookies to Pumpkin Hummus to Seitan Corned Beef---all VEGAN!!! Check this one out.

I signed up for a subscription for Everyday Dish, which is also free! Having a subscription allows you to make playlists, mark your favorite videos and be in touch with other subscribers. Another interesting way to build a community on the internet. Thank goodness for fiber-optic cables!!

It's amazing to me that now we can watch cooking shows over the internet. And for free! Another great resource (along with blogs) for learning and trying new recipes and techniques in the kitchen.

I encourage you all, vegan and non-vegans, to watch some of the videos. The meals look delicious, and hey! you never know, maybe they will open your taste buds to a whole new experience!

Never stop exploring, loving and opening your heart and mind to new experiences everywhere!
love and light.

January 23, 2008

Sweet Morning, Sunshine!!

I am typing this post from the depths of my house which because of a broken heater is currently an igloo. Eugene is covered in frost and when I went to run an errand this morning I thought, "Hey! It's colder in my house than it is outside!!" I have been waiting around all morning (not going to class...sorry!) for the repair people to come, but still waiting...

I have a big announcement! On Friday....I'm getting a PUPPY!! I am so, so, so excited. She's about 12 weeks old. I named her Matildae (the Italian form of Matilda), and she's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I'm picking her up in the late afternoon on Friday, and could not be more happy! Pictures to follow...

So before I head off to PetSmart to gear up for my new addition, I thought I would blog about the vegan pancakes I made Sunday morning. It was a big day for football fans, and to my surprise, and my Dad's delight, over this past fall I have become one of them. My brother and my Dad are the biggest sports fans ever, so I figured it would rub off eventually. So Sunday morning came along, and realizing that I was penniless because of my M.O.C. shopping spree I decided to opt out of the trip I was going to take to the Newport Aquarium, and watch football with a certain J. instead.

Pancakes just seem like a Sunday morning delight, so I was happy to make them! I used the leftover blueberries from the pie I had made, and the leftover carob chips from the muffins, and we had a real sweet morning!

Sweet Vegan Pancakes

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons orange juice (or other sweetener, like maple syrup)
Cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves to taste
Fun additions: fresh or frozen fruit, carob-chips, walnuts (or any nuts for the matter), raisins

Cook like regular pancakes. When top side starts to bubble a bit and you can easily lift up the center, the pancake is ready to flip. Don't be scared! The first flips are always the hardest :o)
Serve with maple syrup, soy yogurt or fruit jam/syrup.

I ate mine with maple syrup and strawberry syrup from Emandal.

January 21, 2008

Gramma always made the best pies...now, I try vegan-style!

Growing up my dear Gramma Julie always made me an apple pie every time I came to her house on Cape Cod. Apple pie was the best. I sometimes even ate it a la mode (haha. reference: I just watched Little Miss Sunshine last nite). I decided making a fruit pie vegan style in honor of my lovely Gramma would be an awesome thing to blog about.

On my shopping spree to M.O.C. I bought frozen Wholey Wholesome Organic Spelt pie crusts.

I also bought a bag of frozen blueberries and a bag of frozen marionberries. (I think next time I will attempt strawberry rhubarb!). I adapted the recipe from, yep, you guessed it The Joy of Vegan Baking. Although I'll admit I didn't use cornstarch. I think thats maybe the reason it ended up a bit runny. I layered the mixed berries with the soy butter, sugar mixture and popped it in the over for about 50 minutes.

It was kind of soupy after we cut into it. Does anyone know what could have caused that? But with the muffins from my last post and the delicious warm pie, we were in heaven and ready to pass out during the Motorcycle Diaries. :o) Love and light my friends.

January 20, 2008

Plantain, carob-chip goodness...mmm!

I went to grab dinner at the Sundance's hot food bar sometime last week, and before I left I checked the damaged food shelf where there is often times perfectly good produce for half price. I found what I thought were 3 very ripe bananas. I did notice that they looked a little oddly shaped, but I was excited to make some banana bread.

Last night I decided it was time to make the banana chocolate chip muffins from the Joy of Vegan Baking. On my M.O.C shopping spree I bought vegan carob chips and brown sugar so I was set to bake. When I defrosted the bananas (I keep them in the freezer once they start getting too brown) and started to peel away the skin my eyes were surprised by the sight of the orangey not-banana flesh. They were plantains!

Well right on baking I went.

I added crushed organic walnuts as well as the carob-chips. I think it adds a nice touch to the muffins. They turned out scrumptious!! We have been eating them non-stop. I heart plantains!

Inspired by....a cupboard

The other night I went over to my new, lovely friend Katie's apartment, which is adorable by the way, to drink margaritas before going to our other amazing friends' concert at The Campbell Club. The salt ran out so I went looking in Katie's cupboards for some more. When I opened her main set of cabinets I was so jealous! Her cabinets looked like this:

Mine, however, were empty.

Katie inspired me to go on a yummy, stock-your-shelves-full shopping spree. I spent about an hour and a half in Market of Choice buying all the ingredients for the delicious things that are the come in the next week.

Now my cabinets look like this:

Thanks for the inspiration, Katie! You are lovely!

January 17, 2008

Vegan cheesecake...to kill for.

I have always hated cheesecake. I guess it's because it tastes so much like cream cheese, which I dislike as well. Last fall on a special trip to Sweet Life Patisserie in Eugene my oh-so-wise (not to mention handsome) date suggested we share a piece of their non-dairy cheesecake. Ever since that first bite of close to perfection, I have been obsessed with vegan cheesecake.

It doesn't have that heavy, thickness to it like regular cheesecake. It's light, creamy and matches perfectly with its graham cracker crust. I went on a mission to try to make a similar creation.

Last Christmas I made my first vegan cheesecake, which was pumpkin. It turned out fairly well, and fooled my whole family who thought it was just a regular vegan cheesecake. I wish you all could have seen my brother's face when I told him (after he ate his whole piece) that it was made using tofu.

This Christmas with my new vegan cookbook in hand, I decided to attempt to make a pumpkin cheesecake again. I enlisted the help of my darling cousins, Shannon, 10, and Alyssa, my goddaughter, 5. The especially loved making the crust.

After I have mixed the dry ingredients together, made the crust and beat together the egg replacer, I discovered that while caught up in the gloriousness of Whole Foods I only bought one 8-ounce container of vegan cream cheese while the recipe called for two.

I quickly turned to my fellow vegan food bloggers, who inspire me and whom I admire. I went to the recipe index of The FatFree Vegan Kitchen and to my delight there was a recipe for double-layer pumpkin cheesecake! After reading the recipe and seeing that SusanV, the creator of the FatFree Vegan Kitchen, used an 8-ounce container of vegan creamcheese in combination with 12 ounces of tofu. I trust these knowledgeable vegan bloggers, and I had the tofu so I gave it a shot. The cheesecake came out perfectly and my family was thoroughly impressed! Thanks SusanV!

I have to say as much as I am proud of my attempt at making vegan cheesecake, it still cannot live up to the amazingness of the cheesecake at Sweet Life . I might have to find a way to get my hands on their secrets....hmmmm....

A trip to Sweet Life is in order for the coming week. Keep checking back as I will likely blog about that little slice of goodness.

January 16, 2008

Europe has fabulous history, art, fashion...and vegan food!

I was lucky enough to spend eight months of last year in Florence, Italy and around Europe (Paris, Cannes, Amsterdam, Greece, Barcelona). And let me tell you...I LOVE EUROPE! I'll be honest it did make me miss Eugene so, so, so much. I mean there really just isn't another place like it especially trying to eat vegetarian/vegan.

Alas, I did find some pretty yummy vegan dishes in Europe.

First of note: For my 21st birthday (June 17th) my aunt and uncle (who live in Paris) took me to a great restaurant in a part of Paris where they used to live called Neuilly-sur-Seine. I was skeptical because eating out in France as a vegetarian or vegan is quite the undertaking (I came to be 100% sure of that after spending three weeks in Cannes). But I saw they had a vegan/organic special. So I thought I can't go wrong here!

Boy was I right! The all organic vegetables were delicious coupled with organic brown rice. The colors of the summer ripe veggies made for a eye-catching photo as well. All-in-all it was a yummy, yummy birthday dinner with family and friends. I'm sure the champagne helped a little....

Second of note: I had the most amazing opportunity to go visit two of my best friends from UO with one of my other best friends on the small island of Kefalonia, Greece. It was far and above my favorite European adventure (maybe tied with living on an organic farm in Tuscany). We rented scooters for three days and got to see most of the island. Plus being with AMAZING people anywhere is nice. Being with AMAZING people in paradise...there are just no words. We made yummy dinners. One of particular note was a pasta with veggies and artichoke hearts. Fresh veggies from Greece...yum!! I will never forget that dinner because we were all so drunk by the time the artichoke hearts were ready for the pasta (aka MIDNIGHT) we were all pretty much sleeping in our food. Ahhhh the memories! None-the-less the stir-fried veggies were delich.

Lastly of Note: Living in a city like Florence is a once in a lifetime opportunity...at least for me. There were things I ultimately disliked about the city, which is really a town, mainly the absurd amount of foreign tourists that steal the beauty and charm right from Florence's belt. But anyways...what I did love about Florence besides my friends, my internship and the art/culture was the Mercato Centrale. The entire upstairs was filled with fruit and vegetable sellers with the best, most beautiful produce you'd probably ever see. I would wonder up there for hours practicing my Italian just feasting my eyes on all the goods even if I knew I wasn't going to buy a thing. My favorite stand belongs to an old Italian man who dries pretty much any fruit or vegetable you can imagine. Starfruit and strawberries were my favorite. He also sells a fabulous assortment of nuts. You just tell him what you want and how much (I usually just said un po', which means a little...Italian skills lacking...). This stand definitely gave me happiness in the times when I felt like I was a stranger in a strange land...

This one's for my brotha, Steve!

The recipe (in The Joy of Vegan Baking) calls these Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies, but I would call them ity bity pieces of divinity, and I think my older brother, Steve, would agree. I made them over winter holiday, and he couldn't stop eating them. I mean neither could I, but it always fills me with joy to see someone I love enjoying something I made.

This time instead of using the flaxseed/water combination in place of the eggs I used Bob's Red Mill Vegetarian Egg Replacer. I love vegan baking because it really made me understand how unnecessary it is to use eggs when baking delicious sweets. The replacements are not only a ethical alternative but they are also a much healthier alternative. Less cholesterol, less fat.

Adding cocoa powder gave the dough a dark chocolate color.

The chips tended to fall out of the dough a little bit, but it was all good. I just pushed them back in or made my balls of dough more compact.

The peppermint extract (although only about 1/2 teaspoon is added) really adds a wonderful flavor to these cookies. They were the perfect pre-Christmas dessert. I know my usually quiet brother loudly agreed!

Yummy, yummy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!

As I said in my last post, I got the book The Joy of Vegan Baking over the holiday break (which I spent at home with my lovely family in Connecticut-my homestate!). I was eager to get baking right away!

The first thing I wanted to make were oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. My roommate, Carrie, and I are obsessed with the ones from Laughing Planet, so I thought I put myself up to the challenge of trying to recreate those delicious, dream-about-them-at-night cookies. Only there was one problem...There was no such recipe in the book. I did, however, find a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies, so I just decided it would be okay to substitute the chocolate chips.

The recipe calls for a mixture of flaxseeds and water mixed in a blender as a replacement for the eggs. It's amazing that the consistency of the mixture ended up looking a lot like egg whites! I made sure to buy vegan chocolate chips, soy butter and vegan sugar on my trip to Whole Foods, which by the way is like heaven.

The dough was pretty standard. Perhaps a bit drier than normal, but I think that was mainly because of the oatmeal. Needless to say, I was still pretty nervous when putting the cookies onto the cookie sheets. I was planning to send them to a certain someone for the holidays, and I wanted him to eat the cookies and be like "Damn girl!"

The cookies turned out so yummy! They were a hearty treat with the chocolate adding that extra sweetness I know I need in my life. I could definitely taste the nutmeg and the cinnamon too! I don't know if a certain Oregonian was saying "Damn girl," but I think its safe to say, he was probably munchin with a smile on his face!

Welcome to my kitchen...and my life!

Hey everyone! Welcome!

Sooooo...this is my second attempt at creating a blog. My friend Lindsay and I started a fashion blog last fall with hopes of blogging from abroad. The plan unfortunately failed, but we did have a pretty stellar time in Italy. Anyways, I am creating this blog for two reasons.

1.) I have to create or use some kind of digital media as my final project for my journalism class, J412: The Digital World.

2.) I have an obsession with vegan food blogs.

I'm glad we got the assignment because it really pushed me that little bit to do what I have been talking about for a couple months now: start a vegan food blog. And guess what? I'm not even a vegan!!! I have been a vegetarian (occasionally eating fish) for about six years now. But I love vegan food and think some incredible things can be done without the use of animal products. Maybe starting this blog will cause me to eat even more of a vegan diet. I don't eat much dairy anyways (besides non-fat yogurt, which I am obsessed with, and the occasionally cheesy dish).

I am lucky enough to live in the beautiful emerald city of Eugene, Oregon. Eugene inspires me everyday to be a better and more conscious person. I think I will find it extremely difficult to leave upon graduation in the summer. Eugene is great for so many reasons (Number One: The PEOPLE!!), and one of those reasons is the extensive vegan food options abound. Both in the natural grocery stores (Sundance is my home away from home!) and at local restaurants.

In this blog I will chronicle my meals (vegan only) that I eat at all the amazing restaurants around Eugene, and meals that I prepare in my lovely house or others lovely houses. I promise to only put foods that are 100% vegan on my blog. I got two awesome vegan cookbooks over the holiday break: The Veganomicon and The Joy of Vegan Baking. I have already made four delicious sweets from The Joy of Vegan Baking, and I am so excited to start using the other soon. I will look into trying to post the recipes on this blog, but I don't know if I have the rights to do so. Otherwise, I will try to create some of my own recipes to post on here.

Thanks for visiting my blog! And I'm excited to share this journey with you.

Love and light.