Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 30: And I wonder why I have no grocery money




So, I got a totally rockin' haircut the other day from Tanya of piratesalon.net, and my hair is now red-tastically awesome. Naturally, I want to make sure I take good care of my fancy new mane, so I went out in search of color-safe hair products. Unfortunately, all the Walgreens-type brands are pretty un-vegan - most of them have glycerin, and if they don't, they probably test on animals anyway (Cough, Garnier Fructis, cough. I have an inquiry to back that one up). So Tanya had recommended PureOlogy - and I had also remembered my sister and I finding out that they were vegan when we were at the hair salon in our hometown. I looked them up online, and found that yes, they were in fact, vegan. So says the PureOlogy website:

"Our commitment is to make the finest prestige products that are good for you and safe for the environment. Our 100% vegan formulas contain absolutely no animal ingredients and are biodegradable. Our containers are recyclable wherever possible and all PureOlogy products are created with respect for future generations."

And then it says on my bottle at the very bottom:

"100% vegan - This Formula is Not Tested on Animals."

Satisfying! So, with the convenient salon locator on their website, I walked a few blocks down the street to a salon and picked up some (don't get me wrong, I'm an idiot when it comes to this stuff, I just got what was recommended :P) basic hydrating shampoo and conditioner for hair that's been colored. Awesome, right?



OH GOD. Not so much. Expensive! And that was for these two wimpy little bottles...there had better be some goddamn black holes in there, from whence vegan shampoo comes a-spewing.
Look how sad I am! I have spent half an entire paycheck on my hair!



But that's alright - it's my own money, and I want to keep my awesome hair awesome, and this way I can do it in a most vegan and sustainable fashion.

So where is the food part of this entry? Well, there isn't one, really. But I'm totally making Golden Crispy Tofu from Nava Atlas' Vegan Express tonight.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 28: Autumny Foods



As we draw near the end of Vegan MoFo 2008, I am running out of steam. Probably because the evil test of doom that I have to take is THIS SATURDAY (some fool scheduled it for the day after Halloween - dumb, right?). No matter - still going to party hardcore on Friday. Because EFF responsibility!

Anyway here's what I made last night (while I should have been, ahem, studying):


Apple & Carrot Soup with Coriander (from Get It Ripe by Jae Steele)


First recipe from my newest cookbook, Get It Ripe by Jae Steele. This is Apple & Carrot Soup with Coriander. Mmm! Very tasty. At first I was nervous to try it (it smells sweeter than it tastes), but after a bite I began to really appreciate the warm cinnamony appleyness mixed with the spicy coriander. Perfect for curling up with on a chilly night when your uterus hates you.


Banana Pumpkin Spice Muffins 1


I seem to be on a cinnamon kick. Later in the evening I used up the last of the pumpkin butter my cousin Michelle gave me in these Banana Pumpkin Spice Muffins from BitterSweet. I stumbled across them while looking for vegan bakesale recipes for one of JP's classmates, and decided to make them myself! I made 6 BIG muffins, and wow were they good. Really moist, lots of spice. They use simple ingredients most people have on hand, and this recipe is a great way to use up those overripe bananas you've got stored away in your freezer. (You DO keep overripe bananas, right? It would be a travesty to simply throw them out...) The only change I made was that I used completely whole wheat flour to make them a tiny bit healthier. And they were still amazingly fluffy and delicious.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Vegan Mofo Day 26: Survey, Kelly-flavored




My turn! As mentioned before, this survey was created by Jess of Get Sconed.

1. What was the most recent tea you drank?
A very strong cup of ginger tea. The burning in my throat, it is so gooood.

2. What vegan forums do you post/lurk on? If so, what is your username? Spill!
I'm a fairly lazy (read: seldom-posting-ever) member of VFF. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

3. You have to have tofu for dinner, and it has be an Italian dish. What comes to mind first?
Gosh...I haven't made that much italian food with tofu in it. Meg already stole my lasagna idea. How about seasoned tofu crumbled into pasta sauce? Yes/nom?

4. How many vegan blogs do you read on an average day?
4 or 5, probably. Yes, shameful, I know. I mostly depend on Meg to send over her favorite entries of the day to me over chat.

5. Besides your own, what is the most recent one you’ve read?
Probably Vegansaurus, as I am really interested in their reviews of places around here! I love to hear about great vegan dishes I haven't tried yet.

6. If you could hang out with a vegan blogger that you haven’t met, who would it be, and what would you do?
Susan V from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen, probably. I love the creative, healthy dishes she puts together. I would go on a hetero-date with her to the farmer's market on the Embarcadero and gaze upon the fruits and vegetables and dream up cool recipe ideas.

7. If you had to base your dinners for a week around one of the holy trilogy – tofu, seitan or tempeh, which would it be?
SEITAN! Definitely my favorite! (Sorry, Mark!)

8. If you had to use one in a fight, which would it be?
I would take some chunks of lemon seitan and shove them into peoples' eyes. Or paper cuts. Yeah.

9. Name 3 meals you’d realistically make with that tough protein of choice!
Seitan Portobello Stroganoff (haven't tried it yet!)
My own Steak-tan
Orange Sweet and Sour Baked Seitan

10. What’s a recipe in vegan blogland that you’ve been eyeing?
I have the urge to try Isa's Apple and Ginger Chops.

11. Do you own any clothing with vegan messages/brands on them?
My favorite is my standard Herbivore hoodie. It always stirs up conversations with strangers, I love it :)

12. Have you made your pilgrimage to the 'vegan mecca' yet? (Portland, duh)
I have, once, while staying with Sister the Oregonian in Eugene. She took me to Vegan Row, and I did et a glazed vegan donut. Bliss!

13. What age did you first go vegan? Did it stick?
When I was 20. Or, December 20, 2007. It has stuck, yes - I'm doing my best, loving it. Sometimes after talking to someone about it, I kind of go, "Hey.......I'm vegan!" and giggle joyfully, and maybe snort a little.

14. What is the worst vegan meal you’ve had? Who cooked it?
I am not the most prolific or creative cook in the world, nor do I have the money to go out and try all the vegan restaurants I want to try, so I can't say I've had a particularly awful vegan meal before. If something tasted funny, it was probably something I cooked, and that has happened way too many times for there to be a particularly outstanding instance.

15. What made you decide to blog?
I felt like my sister and I had a lot to say about our journey as (former) country bumpkins trying something new and so different from what we had grown up knowing. Though she is the better half of the blog (I am the lazy half) I still enjoy taking time once in a while to share my vegan adventures with a crowd I don't have to explain everything to.

16. What are three of your favorite meals to make?
Raspberry Blackout Cake With Ganache-Y Frosting and also the country potatoes from VwaV (can you guess which vegan cookbook was the only one I owned for a really long time?) and Lemon Yogurt Muffins.

17. What dish would you bring to a vegan Thanksgiving-themed potluck?
Do I have to make it myself? :P If not, then I'd bring a nomable little field roast covered with Meg's golden mushroom gravy.

18. Where is your favorite vegan meal at a restaurant? How many times have you ordered it?
Probably the Southwestern Scramble from Herbivore. UGH. That shit is SO GOOD. I've only had it once - I also love the Marinated Tofu Sandwich, I know I've had that at least three or four times.

16. What do you think the best chain to dine as a vegan is?
CHIPOTLE! I love to get a vegetarian burrito or a burrito bowl with all the vegan fixins. Love it love it love it.

17. My kitchen needs a………
Sink That Is Bigger Than My Head

18. This vegetable is not allowed in my kitchen…..!
Sorrrryyyyyyy - not a huge eggplant fan. But, it can still come and hang out. :D

19. What's for dinner tonight?
Oh boy. Cereal and fruit. AWESOME. Right?

20.Add a question here!
What vegan events are you most looking forward to? A cooking class with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, and my first veganniversary at Maggie Mudd's.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 25: Post Your Spice Collection



A trip to Tuk Tuk Thai Market down on University today (and a trip to Spun Sugar, yee!) and the acquisition of whole anise (so preeeetty!) made me think of a new MoFo meme: post your spice collection! All are invited, including but not limited to: racks, shelves, drawers, cabinets, armoirs, boxes, cupboards, and entire rooms (THAT WOULD BE SO AWESOME!)?! (Herbs of all manner and form are also invited to share in the fun.)

First, my Thai market treasures:


Tuk Tuk Thai Market swag!


Top left to right: bananas (duh), sesame oil, peanut sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, plum sauce and pearl barley. Bottom left to ride: agar-agar powder, panko, whole anise, and tamarind concentrate.

Sidenote: the other day at Monterey Market I bought a can of mock duck and a can of mock chicken from the Asian foods section, and I mention it because Tuk Tuk had the same brand, but also carried mock abalone!!! WTF?! I want it! But JP wouldn't let me buy it unless I had a plan for how to use it. (How dare he imply I insanely hoard really random ingredients much like a squirrel collects nuts for the winter! ...Oh wait, he's right, I DO do that...).

So tell me, dear readers: what do I do with canned wheat gluten based mock abalone (and mock dock, for that matter?).

I'm particularly excited about the plum sauce. I could swim in a pool of it. And the tamarind concentrate! Now I can make those crepes that Isa and Terry made for the Love Bites! episode of the PPK.

And now, my modest spice collection:


Spice collection!


Sadly I can't get all of them in there nice and orderly, at least three jars have to kind of float on top of the others. Most of these jars are from before I found a store that sold bulk spices. For all new spices, I prefer this nifty pudgy little jars from IKEA. The Drawer is organized alphabetically, for the most part. You'll notice not one but FOUR types of chili powder, three of which are featured here (and all of which are randomly the same brand, but were not purchased at the same time):


Four (one not picture) types of chili powder.  WORD.


I'm really running low on red pepper flakes and paprika.

Recent acquisitions: white and black sesame seeds (not really spices, shut up), the chili powders, whole anise, and whole coriander seeds (I had to throw the rest of my old coriander seed stock out, because they got infested with tiny brown beetles! GROSSNESS!).

Organizing the drawer for the photo made me happier than I've been in a long time. Am I really that pathetic? (Shhhh......)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 24: Happy Friday



I leave you today with a single, perfect, cupcake:


Classic vanilla cupcake with cream cheese frosting (VCTotW)
Classic vanilla cupcake (Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra-Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero) with cream cheese frosting


To me, it is beautiful.

Happy Friday everyone!!!

(I started a campaign in my office to get people to use refillable cups rather than disposables...the cupcakes were a reward!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 23: A hint of what's to come



I'm working on a project, and I wanted to gauge interest. I'm thinking about starting a blog devoted to...vegan waffles. My own recipes (and pictures of others' recipes, obviously).

I've been playing with the idea for a while, and made some starts last weekend with these:


Hashbrown waffles 1
Hashbrown waffles


These obviously did not turn out that great because I was just curious to see if it would work, so it's only shredded potato and a little oil. Next time I'm going to try throwing in a little cornstarch to make them hold together a little more and start experimenting with spices. I also didn't leave them in long enough because I was HANGRY!!! (Hangry = so hungry you're angry)


'Bacon' scallion waffles and apple slices
'Bacon' scallion waffles*


Sweet Pea Bakery in Portland has 'bacon'-scallion cream cheese that is amazing. And I miss Sweet Pea a lot. So I thought I'd combine those flavors in a waffle. It's a variation on the Waffles 1 recipe from Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I'm still playing with it but since I can get vegan bacon bits in bulk at Berkeley Bowl and scallions are dirt cheap at the farmer's market, I should have a real recipe soon.

These were REALLY tasty with maple syrup, which was a nice counterflavor to the saltiness of the "bacon."

I was inspired by (a) my own love of waffles, (b) seeing some of the savory waffles that Isa's new brunch cookbook testers have been putting out, and (c) disturbed by the lack of vegan waffles offered at breakfast places. It's a tragedy, I tell you.

*I can never get my god damn waffles to be perfectly square. I blame my shitty waffle maker. And myself. But mostly the waffle maker.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 22: Rum Raisin Fudge Brownies



I had a post up earlier about ethics and some related stuff, but I realized that Bob & Jenna talk ethics way better than I do, so head over to Vegan Freak Radio and give 'em a listen. They're smart, funny, and have amusing soundbites ("You're working hard to put food on your family!"). Plus sometimes you can hear their dogs and kitty and it makes me feel less sad that I don't have a kitty (yet!).

Anyway I have been super duper PMSy this week, but I have the perfect cure...


Rum Raisin Fudge Brownie
Rum raisin fudge brownie


And no you can't have the recipe (yet!) because it's a tester recipe for Hannah of BitterSweet. (Shh, tell no one but I shrieked with glee when I found out I was going to be a tester...while at work...while on the phone...oops!) It's fudgey and spicy and delicious. And it's soothing my savage hormones as we speak, and made a bad day at work seem better. Alcohol + chocolate = amazing.

One more glamour shot (of the less pretty side, thanks to my cutting skillz):


Rum Raisin Fudge Brownie 3


By the way I hella took these pictures in the conference room at lunch.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 21: Survey!



Obligatory MoFo survey! I've been waiting for a day when I was too exhausted to cook to do this, and today seems to be it. This survey was created by Jess of Get Sconed!.

1. What was the most recent tea you drank?
A cold mug of Good Earth decaf lemongrass green tea (all the caffeinated stuff is gone, boo)

2. What vegan forums do you post/lurk on? If so, what is your username? Spill!
I'm on the VFF and the PPK as herbstsonne.

3. You have to have tofu for dinner, and it has be an Italian dish. What comes to mind first?
Tofu ricotta in lasagna! :D

4. How many vegan blogs do you read on an average day?
On weekdays, like 20-25. I am lazy through the weekend and then play catch up on Monday.

5. Besides your own, what is the most recent one you’ve read?
Cupcake Kitteh

6. If you could hang out with a vegan blogger that you haven’t met, who would it be, and what would you do?
I would love to meet Hannah Kaminsky and eat lots of vegan sushi at Kitaro in San Franciso and then go to the Japan Center, or drive to Canada and spend a day in Dreena Burton's kitchen!

7. If you had to base your dinners for a week around one of the holy trilogy – tofu, seitan or tempeh, which would it be?
Tofu – I just love the shit.

8. If you had to use one in a fight, which would it be?
One of those huge blocks of nigari tofu, frozen. That shit is heavy.

9. Name 3 meals you’d realistically make with that tough protein of choice!
Crispy sweet and sour tofu, Scrambled tofu, and the Asian grilled tofu from VwaV.

10. What’s a recipe in vegan blogland that you’ve been eyeing?
This delicata squash bisque and these Thanksgiving Burgers

11. Do you own any clothing with vegan messages/brands on them?
I've got a Cow Guevara shirt from (the late) Vegan Porn that I share with Kelly, and I have a black Herbiore t-shirt.

12. Have you made your pilgrimage to the 'vegan mecca' yet? (Portland, duh)
Shit son, I lived in Eugene (2 hours away) for four years. Did I EVER! And I miss Red & Black's and Sweetpea and Bay Leaf like crayzay.

13. What age did you first go vegan? Did it stick?
22.5 (i.e., last August). Never looked back, thriving and loving it.

14. What is the worst vegan meal you’ve had? Who cooked it?
There's this place in Berkeley called Razan's Organic, this little hole in the wall just off of Shattuck. They're a vegan-friendly omni place, but the prices are exorbitant and the food ain't worth it. I got a vegan schawarma and John got a burrito, and not only were the portions tiny but it was the blandest shite we'd ever eaten. Also service blew. If I'm going to spend like $8 on what was essentially some barely cooked tofu in a flatbread, it better be god damn delicious, because I can make that shit in my house for cheaps.

15. What made you decide to blog?
I've been keeping a personal blog since 2001, and reading vegan blogs played such a huge role in helping me go vegan that I figured I'd spread the love. This blog started as a way for Kelly and I (newbs) to learn more about veganism together and a way to collaborate on something fun while we lived 500 miles away (though now I'm a little closer, haha).

16. What are three of your favorite meals to make?
Lasagna, soup, and the black bean and sweet potato flautas from Yellow Rose Recipes.

17. What dish would you bring to a vegan Thanksgiving-themed potluck?
My late grandma's caramelized sweet potatoes. SO GOOD.

18. Where is your favorite vegan meal at a restaurant? How many times have you ordered it?
The tofu florentine at Fellini in Berkeley (3 times) and the orange sesame tofu at Bay Leaf in Portland (4?).

16. What do you think the best chain to dine as a vegan is?
Cafe Yumm, hands down. GOD they need to get their asses down to the Bay Area. My bowl of choice: Large original, vegan, sub carrots and cabbage, sub sesame jalepeno salsa for the regular red kind, extra Yumm sauce on the side. NOM!!! I haven't had a Yumm bowl in months and I think I'm going through withdrawals!

17. My kitchen needs a………
Blender. It's getting ridiculous.

18. This vegetable is not allowed in my kitchen…..!
I'm not really a huge fan of purple beets, except shredded into salads. JP loves them though.

19. What's for dinner tonight?
Quinoa, kale, and some sweet and sour tempeh and sweet potatoes.

20.Add a question here!
Best place to eat on a budget in Berkeley? Vegi Food! :D

I'll try to get Kelly to fill this out too! :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 20: Grandpa's birthday



My grandpa Herman's 85th birthday was last weekend, and I got to meet up with my family at my grandparents' house in Sonoma for some birthday fun! Kelly couldn't come sadly, but you know how art school midterms are (i.e., hellish).

My grandma and my mom gave me a ton of produce, including these gorgeous granny smith apples from grandma's orchard.


Granny Smith apples from my granny


I also scored tomatoes, kale, swiss chard, golden delicious apples, butternut squash, a few last zucchini and summer squash, two little green bell peppers, carrots, beets, and lemons! My family is awesome. I'll have to take pictures of their gardens next time I get a chance. Both are a force to be reckoned with!

My cousin Michelle was nice enough to make a vegan dessert for us: red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting! Unfortunately, during assembly there were some, er, technical issues which involved it sliding.


Sad cake is sad!


Hence, Sad Cake is sad.

It still tasted REALLY good though! You can read more about it and see some awesome pictures at her blog here. Incidentally, the cake mix she used (and substituted silken tofu for the egg) was Duncan Hines, which has 12 dairy-free cake mixes! (As long as you sub something for the egg you're supposed to add.) She also used Pillsbury's cream cheese frosting which, somehow, I don't understand but somehow, is vegan! So if you're ever hankering for baked goods but are in a hurry, you might want to try one of the mixes out.

I wanted to make Grandpa cookies for his birthday, but they couldn't be too crunchy or nutty. I was flicking through My Sweet Vegan for ideas when I came across the Pfeffernüsse:


Pfeffernüsse! (My Sweet Vegan)


(Sorry for the crappy photo, I was running late!)

Grandpa is German, so I figured these would be perfect! No whole or chunky nuts, but with almond meal, flavored with anise, and covered in powdered sugar! I tested four one, and man are they delicious! A little crispy on the outside, softish on the inside, a little spicey, and that sugar coating is the perfect finish. They're a perfect snack for a tea party (or to snarf down while studying and drinking cup after cup of your caffeinated beverage of choice!). JP and an omni coworker also confirmed that they are delicious. They're my favorite recipe from the book so far!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 19: Pumpkin raisin walnut oatmeal



A PPK thread that popped up this morning discussed what to do with pumpkin butter. Hmm, I thought, I have a jar of pumpkin butter that my cousin gave me last year and I never opened. Hmmm...


img_0657


I unearthed it from the back of the cabinet and opened it. Rich, deep orange autumnal goodness was staring me right in the face, begging to be used. Thus, pumpkin raisin walnut oatmeal was born!


Pumpkin raisin walnut oatmeal


Pumpkin Raisin Walnut Oatmeal

Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
2 cups water
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
2 Tbsp pumpkin butter
1 Tbsp whole flax seeds
Splash of non-dairy milk (optional)

In a saucepan, combine oats and water over high heat. Bring mixture to boil, then reduce heat to low and add walnuts, raisins, and spices. Let simmer, stirring every once in a while so it doesn't stick. After 5-10 minutes, depending on how thick you like your oatmeal, add pumpkin butter, flaxseeds, and non-dairy milk. Stir a minute or so more, then serve. Eat while curled up on the couch, recovering from 5k run earlier, and watching Season 3 of The Office for the fourth time.

The best part is, there's enough natural sweetness from the raisins and the pumpkin butter that you don't need to sweeten it at all! It's so yummy.

This is pretty cinnamony but I am a cinnamon lover, so if you're not a huge cinnamon fan, cut it back to 1/2 teaspoon.

Serves two and makes for one deliciously autumny morning!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 18: Study Weekend



I've been studying like crazy lately for the 2nd part of another test I have to take. Which is pretty much how I've spent the last 6 hours of my day. (Though I did get to take a brief walk in the beautiful autumn weather that graced the East Bay today!)

So I'm just going to leave you with some pictures of what I've been eating lately. They all have crappy lighting because my dinner time these days seems to be around 8pm.


Bodacious Bean & Barley Soup (GoV) and cornbread (JoVB)
Bodacious Bean & Barley Soup (Garden of Vegan) and cornbread (Joy of Vegan Baking)



Baked potato & greens soup with potato wedge croutons (Vcon)
Baked Potato and Greens Soup with Potato Wedge Croutons (Veganomicon)



Asian grilled tofu (VwaV) with sesame green beans (YRR), brown rice, and stir-fried kale
Asian grilled tofu (Vegan with a Vengeance), sesame green beans (Yellow Rose Recipes), with brown rice and stir-fried kale



Greek-style zucchini and tomato fritters (Vcon) with pan-seared summer squash (VYY)
Greek-style zucchini and tomato fritters (Veganomicon) with pan-seared summer squash (VeganYumYum), served over greens with tahini-dill sauce (Veganomicon)



Chana masala (YRR)
Chana masala (Yellow Rose Recipes)



Maple-glazed tofu (VYY)
Maple glazed tofu (VeganYumYum) over steamed kale and leftover brown rice, red rice, and quinoa



Veggie sizzle burritos (ED&BV!)
Veggie-sizzle burritos (Eat Drink & Be Vegan!)


And people say vegans don't get to eat a variety of food. BAH, I say to thee!

More interesting posts later, I promise, my head's just too focused on 'Major Economic Earth Resources' at the moment and it's getting to me.