February 28, 2008

Well since everyone else is doin' it...

I have noticed lots of my fellow vegan bloggers filling out surveys, so I thought I'd have my go at one...This ones from Food Snobbery is my Hobbery.

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
Organic unsweetened soy milk from Trader Joe's. I only use soy milk in cooking and in smoothies, so the taste is never overwhelmingly present.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Vegan Mac and Cheese
Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls from Veganimicon
Eggplant Moussaka

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
Earth Balance

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Berry Pie

5. Favorite pickled item?
Baby Dill Pickles.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
I don't....

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
All three depending on what's being disposed.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
Whole Grain Bread

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
Apple Pies and Pancakes at Gramma Julie's

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
Purely Decadent Cookie Avalanche

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
Food Processor....Now all I need to do it get one!

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Too many to choose!! Turmeric, paprika, sage, basil, nutmeg.

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
Williams Sonoma Vegetarian Cookbook. A gift from my ex-boyfriend's sweet mother.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
Apricot - #1. Blueberry - #2.

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Usually a pasta dish.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Not a huge fan of seitan, but please don't make me choose between tofu or tempeh!

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Empty wine bottles.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Flaxseeds, sprouted grain bread, Gardenburgers.

20. What's on your grocery list?
Tempeh, veggies, bread, juice, frozen berries.

21. Favorite grocery store?
Sundance Natural Foods or Market of Choice.

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
I guess a quesadilla...? Not really into vegan chesse though.

23. Food blog you read the most. Or maybe the top 3?
Chocolate Covered Vegan
Get Sconed!
FatFree Vegan Kitchen

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
I have a MAJOR sweet tooth. I don't want to talk about it....

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Fresh fruit.

26. Favorite things to do.
Run/work out. Yoga. Play with my puppy, Tilly. Read blogs/write on my blog. Go to concerts. Be with my friends. Travel. Talk to my mama.

27. Goals for the future.
Create more of my own recipes. Become a yoga teacher. Open a vegan bakery with a dog bakery attached. Become a vegan.

I love this painting. And I got to see it when I was in Paris visiting my amazing Aunt Alison, Uncle Gilles and cousins, Shannon and Alyssa! I thought I'd share it with you in hopes that it will inspire you to create and share your light with others.

February 24, 2008

Nothing's Better than Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

So I got pretty ambitious (or at least by my standards) and decided to take a stab at making homemade whole wheat bread this past week. I almost started making it on Monday night at around 10 p.m., when luckily I realized that it is about a 7 hour process. Tuesday was bread making day!

I used the recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking. My favorite part was definitely kneading the dough. I got to use the muscles I have built over the past few weeks from yoga :o)

One of the loaves turned out a little misshapen due to an impromptu visit to Market of Choice in a mad rush to buy another loaf pan. And the other loaf, which was actually perfectly shaped, turned out a little on the dry side. I think it was because I used my friend Lin's loaf pan that is ceramic. Needless to say, both loaves were super delicious, and even more so because they came from my own hard work! I enjoyed bread with Earth Balance, blueberry jam and with a hot bowl of Amy's No Chicken Noodle Soup.

On another note....Tilly's growing bigger everyday (very, very slowly, but surely!). The weather in Eugene last week was splendid. Flowers abloom. People abound. Tilly especially loves lavender.

February 22, 2008

Pasta with Cheezy Sauce...mmmmm!

I have been interested in making a vegan version of macaroni and cheese, and finally, last week I made one! I used the Cheezy Sauce recipe from Veganomicon, and shared the results with Carrie and my new roommate, Tara. We all absolutely lovvvvvvvvedddddd this recipe! The spices and nutritional yeast provided the perfect taste combination for a substitute to real cheese. Since the recipe turned out so well I plan to try making the Macaroni and Cheeze recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen in the coming weeks...I'll keep you posted. But until enjoy this recipe and definitely try it out and share it with some friends!

Cheezy Sauce
From Veganomicon

2 cups vegetable broth or water (I used water)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of dried thyme (crumbled in your fingers)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Several pinches of freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard

Combine the broth or water and flour in a measuring cup and whisk with a fork until dissolved (a couple of lumps are okay)
Preheat a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Place the oil and garlic in the pan and gently cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often and being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for about 15 seconds. Add the broth, turmeric, and nutritional yeast, and raise the heat to medium. Use a whisk to stir constantly. The mixture should start bubbling and thickening in about 3 minutes; if it doesn't, turn the heat a bit higher.
Once the mixture is bubbling and thickening, stir and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the lemon juice and mustard. The mixture should resemble a thick, melty cheese. Taste for salt, turn off the heat, and cover the pan to keep it warm until ready to use. The top might thicken a bit while it sits, but you can just stir it and it will be fine. Serve warm

Note: I used whole wheat penne from Trader Joe's, but it might be more authentic to use macaroni! Enjoy!

February 18, 2008

Live with intention. Lead with the heart.

Through my practice of anusara yoga, I have learned to live with intention, and to lead with my heart. Over the past few weeks, these mantras have held particular relevance in my life. I have decided that I want to be certified as a yoga teacher once I graduate this summer. I have always thought it would be a wonderful thing to be a yoga teacher, and now with intention, I have decided to make it part of my reality.

My lovely roommate/best friend, Carrie, has been with me for most of my adult growth, and this term we have been taking anusara yoga together on Mondays and Wednesdays. We have the most inspirational, uplifting, beautiful, teacher who is full of laughter and grace. Her name is Michele. I think she has had such a positive influence on Carrie over the past six weeks and on me over all three terms that she has been my teacher. She has inspired both Carrie and I to live with intention and open our hearts and let our excellence radiate. And she is definitely one of the best reasons I want to become a teacher. I hope someday I will be able to have such an influence over my students.

Living with intention inspired Carrie and I to finally go grocery shopping, stop eating out so much and explore our talents as young chefs. As I began to prepare to make whole wheat bread from scratch (look for the blog post in a couple of days), Carrie made us a delicious soup to close the weekend and make Sunday extra special.

Carrie's Green and Yellow Vegetable Soup

2 large carrots, chopped
1/2 purple onion, diced
1 large head broccoli, chopped
1 cup snap peas, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 tsp dill
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp Court Bouillon Bio (X-mas present from my Aunt Alison who lives in Paris, but we think it's a mixture of thyme, coriander, marjoram, laurel and lovage)
1 tsp salt, or to taste
pepper, to taste
1 cup bow tie pasta
1 cup wheat spiral pasta
1 can whole pinto beans

Chop carrots and broccoli into manageable chunks. Cut several of the broccoli chunks close to the heads, so the buds separate in the liquid. In a large pot, boil a cup of water and cook carrots over medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Bring water to a boil for pasta.
In a separate pan, saute diced purple onion in water for about 4 minutes or until translucent. Add vegetable broth, broccoli, and snap peas to large pot of carrots and stir in spices, salt and pepper. Add onions and cook at a medium heat while pasta is cooking.
Cook pasta until al dente then add to large pot. Stir in whole pinto beans and let cook on a low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until all vegetables and pasta are tender.

Carrie says, "The turmeric gives this delicious soup its golden color, and the broccoli buds make the soup thick with a lovely deep color. GO DUCKS!!!"

February 17, 2008

I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon...

....then at Sweet Life with my best girlfriends, Carrie, Lin and Lydia. We decided that it was time for a trip to our favorite sweet spot since we hadn't been all term. Lydia got regular cheesecake (She swears by it, but I really just don't like cheesecake unless it's vegan), Lin got gelato, which I did sample, and although not vegan, was delicious. And of course Carrie and I got the mixed berry vegan cheesecake. A staple in the life of any real sweet tooth. We also got petit fours, which are just so cute we couldn't resist! Mine was pink with a little red heart in honor of St. Valentine, and Carrie's had a white musical note on it in honor of..umm...the sweet melody of life! Chatting with my bestests and eating vegan cheesecake is how I wish to spend every Saturday afternoon. With the beautiful Eugene sunshine casting shadows on our table in the brightly painted patisserie.

February 15, 2008

The Vegan Powerhouse aka My Life.

I have been waiting to post about this for a looooooong time, and finally I remembered to take a picture before chowing down my meal. The Vegan Powerhouse with homefries, tofu, spinach and mushrooms, and the spicy peanut sauce on the side, with a side order of wheatless spelt-rye-oat toast with soy butter. PERFECTION!

This menu item from the Keystone CafĂ© can be ordered in a variety of ways, but as a regular Keystoner, I assure this is the best. I absolutely LOVE dipping my chunks of tofu and the chunks of homefries into the peanut sauce. I literally envision myself doing this when I am lying in my bed (sometimes hungover) waiting to go to breakfast. My friends (namely Carrie and J.) and I always try to be creative and go to a different morning breakfast/lunch spot, but it just never happens. It’s always back to good ole’ Keystone.

February 12, 2008

Birthday Cakes Galore!

On the 26th of January it was a certain J.’s birthday. 22!! A magic year. And this lucky man got two birthday cakes. One when we were on the coast celebrating with his family, and one when we got back to Eugene.

The first one was the legendary vegan cheesecake from Sweet Life. I was thrilled because I had only ever had one piece placed in front of me, and all of a sudden there was an entire cheesecake. We could eat cheesecake till we die!! It survived the trip to Waldport, but the berry topping got a little displaced along the way. Well, it didn’t matter one bit! The cheesecake was delicious on the night of J.’s birthday and the next day as well!

The second cake, made by moi, was a Raspberry Chocolate Cake. I got the recipe off FatFree Vegan Kitchen. And as always, it did not fail to impress. I was particularly impressed by the chocolate buttercream! It tasted and looked perfect. I decorated it with some left over raspberry preserves and some dark peppermint chocolate. I think, and hope, J. really enjoyed his birthday!

February 11, 2008

Back to Blogging...finally!

First, I would like to apologize for neglecting my blog for the past couple of weeks. I have been so busy!

Mainly, she is the reason...

She is a dream, let me tell you! She is so well behaved, affectionate and happy. I call her Tilly for short, and I have a whole schlew of other nicknames :o) Another reason I have been so busy is that we changed residences last weekend. The new house is much nicer and a better fit for me and the pup. And Tilly is happy because she still lives in close proximity to her best friend Justin the cat! He's five months old and belongs to my best friend and roommate of four years, Carrie. I say close proximity because Matildae and I live in a separate apartment-like room located right behind the main house. The house is perfect except I don't have internet in my room causing my internet usage to plummet. It's not that the house is so far away, but I'm just so used to having the internet right in my bedroom. We might have to fix the problem in the coming weeks...