Saturday, December 22, 2007

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and some random thoughts

What's a girl to do, sitting home with her dogs on a Saturday night? Well make cookies of course! These are the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies from The Joy of Vegan Baking. And they are nothing short of fantastic.

I'll be heading to Nannie's on Monday for the annual xmas irritation. Happy birfday, Jebus! I'm going to do my best to keep my cynicism to myself though, with this being our last xmas in the house. As much as I hate to admit it, the sentimental part of me knows this will be tough--for both of us. The only xmas memories I have, I have in that living room, with the dark wood wall, a roaring fire, the gumdrop tree, and Nannie's perfect tree with some ornaments that are 70 years old. Oh well. Things change. I suppose we just have to deal.

I went through six or seven cookbooks today, planning what to make while I'm down there. Nothing nailed down, but I'll definitely be doing a few things from Bryanna's Almost No-Fat Cookbook, the new Yellow Rose Recipes (don't have it yet? get it!) and one I picked up yesterday, Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen. I've been pretty bad of late, and plan to get back to healthy eating by doing a lot of soups. They're filling, comforting, variable, generally low in fat, and I feel better when I eat a lot of soup, "lighter" somehow. Now to stay away from the bread machine...

Anyway, here's wishing everyone a happy time, however you celebrate the season. Cook lots and tell me all about it!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Some Food (with recipes) and Stuff

Hey, kids! Yeah, yeah, it's been a while and I obviously didn't fare well with NaBloPoMo. Eh, whatever. But I DO know someone who completed NaNoWriMo, so a HUGE CONGRATS to my friend H. You did it! There was never any doubt. So now I know a novelist! I guess that makes both of us cool.

Aaaand on to some food and crappy pix. Wouldn't it just ruin things if I actually had a decent camera?

Earlier this week I made my friend VeganWitch's spinach lasagna.
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YUM. I also made it last Thursday--on that day that some people "celebrate" but which is actually a day of mourning--for Nannie and she loved it. V was pretty fond of it too, as evidenced by his three helping dinner. As always, I added way more spices and garlic than called for.

It's super easy to put together and utterly delicious. Make it. Like now.

Kick Ass Lasagna


* 2-3 jars of favorite spaghetti sauce
* 1-16 oz bag of spinach leaves
* 1/2 lb. carrots
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
* 2 cloves minced garlic
* 1/4 cup canned low-sodium veggie broth
* 1 lb. tofu (I usually mash in some oregano, pepper, garlic powder and salt)
* 8 oz. vegan "cream cheese" (I use tofutti)
* 2 Tblspns. lemon juice
* 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
* 12 lasagna noodles, cooked
* 1/4 cup nutritional yeast


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice carrots and steam, set aside. Add olive oil to a large skillet, place over medium-high heat until hot. Add parsley and garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add carrots and veggie broth; simmer uncovered for 5 min. Add tofu, vegan "cream cheese", and lemon juice; stir well. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until fake cheesy stuff starts to melt. Stir in nutmeg and nutritional yeast. Remove from heat; keep warm.

Place 3 lasagna noodles in bottom of large baking dish. Spread carrot mixture over top, place 3 noodles on top of that and spread tomato sauce and spinach on top of those, repeat process until all noodles are used up... top with spaghetti sauce. Cover and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes. Enjoy!

On Thursday I decided not to go to work. Actually, on Wednesday I decided not to go in on Thursday. Late in the day I decided chocolate chip cookies would be a good idea. So here they are:
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I used the recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking. Something went awry but it was most certainly user error, as others have made this recipe with great success and that book is fucking amazing (as evidenced by the cranberry scones I made last week). Not sure what I did but the cookies didn't spread in the oven as usual, so for the second batch I had to flatten them before baking which I think made for a crunchier cookie. I prefer chewy, but whatever, they're good and of course being eaten. Oh, and I also added walnuts. Cuz, well, they're walnuts.

Next, on to some soup. I also didn't go to work on Friday (I actually was feeling kind of crappy both days--due to the fact that I'm a GIRL), so I made some potato soup. This is also one of VeganWitch's recipes and it is positively fantabulous. Make it. Like the day after you make the lasagna. Okay, that may be a bit much back to back, but toss together a salad and look how healthy you are! Besides, this soup has broccoli in it, and everyone knows that any dish with broccoli is super healthy.
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Creamy Potato and Broccoli Soup

I have made this recipe several times in the last few is so awesome. I like to serve it with a sprinkle of vegan "bacon" bits and a dollop of vegan sour cream.

1/4 cup of vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 large onion
6 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
3 cups of water
2 tablespoons of veggie bouillon powder
ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
3 cups "milk" (I used Silk enhanced with flax and DHA)
1 head of broccoli (frozen or steamed)
1 tablespoon of dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt, to taste

In a large stock pot melt the margarine and add the onions and cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent.

While the onions are cooking, place the diced potatoes, carrots, water and bouillon powder in another stock pot and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Season with black pepper to taste.

Add the flour to the cooked onions to make a paste. Gradually add the "milk" and stir well. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until warmed through. Add the potato and carrot mixture. Stir in the broccoli, parsley and thyme and heat through. Add salt to taste.

I have also made variations of this soup using celery, garlic and veggie broth. Also have tried topping with vegan cheddar and croutons.


Again, an easy and tasty recipe. You'll have leftovers, but it doesn't make it to the freezer around here--it's just too damn good and gets eaten quickly.

Lots of things going on aside from kitchen activities. Maybe I'll get to some of that later.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving with the Turkeys--and then some ranting

This past Saturday was the annual Thanksgiving with the Turkeys at Poplar Spring. Two vegan friends from Baltimore, who I don't see nearly enough, came down for the day. I love them dearly and they're smart and fun chicas, so it's always good to see them.

Of course it's always wonderful to see the turkeys, chickens, pheasants, and others enjoying their fanciful feast. Catered right to their yard on table tops for their dining pleasure, and with the security that no one is going to hurt them ever again.

Being a potluck, ya gots to bring some food, right? So I made gonzo salad, cornbread, and I had frozen the massive amount of Greek Stuffing from the other night, so I heated that up and brought it along. There were GOBS AND GOBS of food--so much there's no way you could taste everything. I truly wish there was a Poplar Spring Cookbook, because some of the dishes were nothing short of incredible and I'd love to have the recipes.

After a satisfying lunch and three plates (yes, I said three plates) of desserts we passed around, we went to visit with the other animals. I am especially in love with goats and pigs. Why? Cuz they're goats and pigs! Have you ever spent any time with them? The goats are always fun--they're so curious and have such unique faces. It's always with the goats though that I start crying. Especially with the older ones or the ones who've suffered such cruelty they have obvious lifelong injuries. Pigs are just so freakin' smart and adorable and many are quite affectionate towards humans. How anyone could put the flesh of these beautiful animals into their mouths in beyond my comprehension. You have to be a pretty sick fuck to look into their soulful eyes and see "food." Toward the end of the day, V and I took a walk out to visit with the cows, who I think had pretty much had their fill of people by that time. Can't say I blame them.

Which leads me to the angry portion of this post.

What the fuck is wrong with people? The ENTIRE IDEA of Thanksgiving with the Turkeys is to, well, spend Thanksgiving with the Turkeys. Gee, I thought that was kind of, you know, obvious. And of course to visit the other animals and serve as a fundraiser for the monumental work done at the sanctuary. So why the hell when they were bringing out the birds' feast were there more people lined up at the potluck, waiting to dig in, than hanging by the birds?? Why? I shall tell you why. Because humans are selfish, ignorant, tacky, greedy fucks. Now I'm no Miss Manners, but if any one of you ever happens to run across this--YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED. I was ashamed for you. You embarrassed yourselves. I don't care whether you're vegan or not; you demonstrated some high level assholery with that one. The birds were the guests of honor, and instead of even waiting until they had been served THEN going to get in line, your greedy asses were standing there, paper plate in hand, waiting to be given the "go" signal. Next year, how about you just write a check out to Poplar Spring and leave your sorry ass at home, k? Thanks.

And another thing--I know some of you brought non-vegan food to this event. In fact I saw you, Hippie Boy, walk in with those two large containers of grocery store-bought doughnuts. Being that this is DC and we don't have vegan doughnuts like Seattle, Portland, and Vegas, you broke the basic rule of the potluck. Way to go. Doughnuts aren't even vegetarian. And I noticed a lot of store bought things, especially on the dessert tables. I'm not saying you gotta rock the kitchen like Isa or Colleen, but come on. Most of that shit was likely not vegan. Don't have the time or talent to make something? Grab some pita and hummus on your way, but don't you dare bring non-vegan food to an ANIMAL SANCTUARY event. Oh, as for the TWO hummers in the parking lot? FUCK YOU.

And finally, I invited no less than 16 people to this event, and NOT ONE would attend. Kind of getting used to no one in this town ever wanting to do anything, but seriously, not one? For something fun, educational, and including free food? And for something that was actually pretty important to me? Then again, when I asked everyone I know to go vegan just for ONE DAY as a personal favor to me, I had exactly one person grant my request. One. Hope no one else ever needs a favor. Yes, I am aware that this could be nothing more than a failure in my activism, and that's probably something I should explore further. But in general, I have had it with omnis (yes this includes you, pescatarians) and vegetarians too afraid or too guilty or too stubborn to face the reality of what they're doing. What they're doing to the animals and what they're doing to the environment and what it all means with regard to social and environmental justice. It is NOT a personal choice. When YOUR so-called choices affect the well-being and the very existence of others, they cease to be "personal" choices. If you could have gone to this event, or a similar one in your area, and you didn't, well--you suck.

And while I'm starting my third paragraph with the word "and," I have had it up to HERE with people telling me how much they looooove animals. Yes, they love animals so much they put it into practice by tacitly participating in their murder and then eating their corpses. Please stop saying you love animals. It's obvious you don't. Just say you love dogs and/or cats, cuz that's really all you're talking about. And if you don't see the hypocrisy in saying you love your dog but you're eating a pig, well then I'm not really certain of your intellectual capacity.

This really shouldn't have turned into a big ole rant. Saturday was a beautiful day in so many ways. Overall it was wonderful seeing friends, sharing a meal, visiting with the animals. Just can't forget the asshats who always seem to stick out.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Greek Stuffing

Wow, what a slacker. No posts since Sunday. I have failed in NaBloPoMo in a big way. But hey, if you gonna do it, do it big.

The pumpkin spice bread was a big hit at work. People grubbed it right up (yeah, you know who you are!).

Monday was D's birthday, so dinner at the Playbill. Tuesday was class. Wednesday was back in the kitchen! I made the Greek Stuffing from Cozy Inside. I was a bit leary of the raisins and the cinnamon--and with good reason. The recipe is good and the dish turned out just fine, it's just a personal taste thing that made both V and me less than crazy about this one. I think I'll try it again--because the wild rice and seitan were superb--but go with a savory flair next time. And probably more garlic, cuz, well, it's more garlic.

Although there's no pic of the Greek Stuffing, here is a pic of the two most adorable dogs on the planet taken that same night. How do I know they're the most adorable dogs? JUST LOOK! And see if this doesn't make you want to sing "Maggie got a big ole butt, oh yeah!"

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Have Redeemed Myself

Today was far superior food-wise to yesterday's "eh." I'm much better with baking than cooking and got the baking bug early in the day. I made the Pumpkin Spice Bread (p65) from the new and fabulous The Joy of Vegan Baking. I added chocolate chips and walnuts. Yum yum yum! If my coworkers are lucky, they'll get the uncut loaf on Tuesday. If not, I will be extremely full of spicy pumpkiny chocolately walnuty yumminess. This stuff is the super bomb diggity.

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Needing to make a better meal than yesterday, I once again turned to the Veganomicon, hoping for better results this time. Jackpot! I tried the Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans(p137). Good gravy this was delicious. In fact, V's word was "incredible." I didn't roast the garlic because even though I like roasted garlic, the flavor is just too subtle for me, and given that the rest of the soup was on the bland/simple side, I went for straight up garlic, and loads of it. I also included more thyme, marjoram, salt, and pepper than called for--and added loads of basil and oregano, with a dash of red pepper. Great tomato soup, but the thing that made it, I'm sure, is the fact that I used canned (by Nannie) tomatoes from my dad's garden this year. It would definitely be good with regular ole canned tomatoes if you have to use them, but go with the best brand you can get, and make sure they're organic.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Not So Good Night in the Kitchen

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It's not often I make something that makes me toss my plate on the coffee table and say "I can't eat that shit." Well, tonight was the night.

Finally delving into Veganomicon, I tried the Chickpea Cutlets(p133) with the Mustard Sauce(p204). I went with the baking method rather than pan frying for the cutlets, and it's likely they were dry because I held them too long waiting for the side dish, and I may have made them a bit too thin, but they didn't have much flavor and were really really hard. I'd try again though, adding some spices and going with a pan fry. That doesn't change the mustard sauce though. Blargh! Now I'm a big mustard fan, but this stuff was just Not. Good. Yeah, my cooking sherry was probably past its prime, but even still, even if it was a bit vinegary, it should have worked with the sauce overall. I will NOT be making this sauce again.

The side dish tonight was Acorn Squash with Tomatoes, Chard, and Pine Nuts from The Vegan Gourmet. We made this last year for our non-thanksgiving and it was fantastic. This time, not so much. Just like for the dinner last year, I had to call V in to help on this one because I was getting a little behind in making everything come out together. This time we followed the recipe exactly (except we used red chard)--last time V kind of went off on his own, as he does, and made it his way and made it d-lish. Well the gods know sometimes that's just what you have to do, and that's how we should have done it this time. Edible, but nothing like it was the last time we made it. Still a great recipe, very colorful and makes a beautiful table (if you're setting a table and not eating on your sofa like usual), it just didn't turn out so hot this time but neither of us could figure exactly why.

I ate some of it, but made my meal from yesterday's Mac & Cheeze(p52) from Cozy Inside. Now THAT was good and worth making again and again.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Cashew Curry "Chicken" Salad

Yeah, so I skipped work and class today. What's it to ya? I don't usually get to make anything on Tuesdays because of my schedule, so this just gave me the opportunity to make something yummy--which I did with the Cashew Curry "Chicken" Salad from Cozy Inside. I followed the recipe exactly, which is a rarity. The only thing I would add is that I recommend giving the cashews a rough chop before the saute. Seems like the thing to do, but Joni doesn't specifically state that. Anyway, D-lish! It's good warm or cold. And it makes your house smell divine.

Further exhibition of my need for a real camera...

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Monday, November 5, 2007


Not much to blog about today (though there is a news story I'd like to address later), but I do want to mention (especially for the DC peeps and visitors) that ten vegans dined at Nirvana tonight. Of course dinner with like-minded people is always good and refreshing from the "outside world." There's no explaining. No avoiding sensitive topics because you might "offend" someone during dinner--though no one seems to mind offending vegans during dinner. No compromising on the restaurant just so you can "find something" to eat.

Anyway, Nirvana is a particularly wonderful spot because it's all veg, mostly vegan or veganizable. In fact, it may be one of my new favorites for many reasons, but especially because it's about a mile and half from our house, the people are nice and helpful, the service attentive, and of course the food is DAMN GOOD. V had the vindaloo (heh--V for Vindaloo!) and I had one of my all-time loves, aloo gobi. H was kind enough to share her dosa and the three of us dabbled a bit from each other's plates.

So, good food, good friends, new people (even representin' from OCanada). If you live here, lemme know when you wanna go. If you don't, we're going when you visit. Especially you JenF, cuz I know you loves you some Indian foodstuff.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Hangover day dinner

You know how you need greasy fries when you have a hangover? Yeah, well I didn't have any potatoes today but I did have a hangover. Needing something lovely and carby, I turned to pasta. Nothing elaborate, and no recipe. Just a plate of penne and sauce with burger crumbles, lots of spices, and some nooch. Oh, and of course some of yesterday's herb bread. Doesn't get much quicker and easier.

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Afternoon delights

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A cool Saturday afternoon begs for some time in the kitchen. Today I got busy with a couple of Robin Robertson's recipes. First, I made the PDQ Pot Pie from Quick Fix Vegetarian (p137). I'm renaming this one "World's Ugliest Pot Pie" for obvious reasons, but that's because I used a round pie crust in a rectangular pyrex. Hey, as long as it tastes good, right? Which it does. And as promised, it was indeed a quick fix. Found myself to be out of onions today (how can I be out of onions??), so I added some onion powder to the vegetable mixture, and some broccoli and celery. I also used Tofurkey brats. Robin suggests using extra firm tofu or some type of "meat" analog--and the brats were the only thing in the fridge that would work (since I had other plans for the tofu). I also added a gob of garlic. Cuz that's how I roll.
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Next, I tried Robin's recipe for Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies from Vegan Planet (p511). Only I didn't have any cranberries, so out come the raisins. For such a simple cookie, this one was actually a bit disappointing. Turns out you need to flatten them as you're putting the dough on the cookie sheet, not make them as drop cookies per the instructions. Don't get me wrong--they're good, just not my favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. I prefer a chewy cookie, these are a bit crunchier than I like. Of course this will not stop us from eating them. Duh. Cookies are cookies.
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One more homemade thing for today--and the best thing in the world to have as a homemade treat--BREAD. This is a fantastic bread, light and fluffy, herby, crusty, just what bread should be. The recipe is from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook. Do you have this book? Well you should. It's not vegan, but everything is veganizable. Except for maybe your favorite buttermilk honey cheese pepperoni bread, although I'm sure someone could figure that out too. Anyway, this bread is delicious. It's just the plain ole Herb Bread recipe (p304), which calls for marjoram, basil, and tarragon. Of those three, I had basil. You don't really think that would stop me from having homemade bread, do you? I threw in some garlic powder and rosemary along with the basil, and a handful of sesame seeds, and it's fantastico.
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Friday, November 2, 2007

The theatre makes you think

Last night my friend R and I went to see the Studio Theatre's production of My Children! My Africa! by playwright Athol Fugard . The story is set in South Africa during apartheid, and accounts the unlikely friendship of two students--one black, one white. Make that a black male and a white female. You see why their friendship was unlikely. Thami and Isabel are from different sides of town, different parts of their segregated town that is, and at 18 begin to see their similarities more so than what makes them so different. The other character in the play is Thami's teacher Mr. M. (Mr. Myalatya), a passionate and dedicated educator who brings them all together through debate and then enters them as a team into a literature competition. But as the world is changing right outside the classroom, in the streets of "the location," so too does the trio's relationship.

The script is lyrical and meaningful. All three of the actors were superb. It was funny and sad and maddening and thought-provoking. So, a good night at the theatre, and if you have the opportunity you should certainly catch a performance of this play. But...It made me realize how little I know of what happened in South Africa during apartheid, and what still goes on there today. It's not like it was some long ago period in history--I was an adult by the time apartheid officially ended. I don't ever remember hearing of it in school, WHILE IT WAS HAPPENING. I don't even remember much mention of it in college, despite the fact that I spent a lot of time focused on social justice issues. I'll leave the failings of the US public school system for another time, but this is my failing. My lack of attention to what was happening in South Africa during apartheid--and its residual effects--is embarrassing and inexcusable. Sure I remember when Mandela was released, but beyond what made the US mainstream media, what did I know? Nothing. And I still don't. I have much catching up to do.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Hello blogging world

This is the first post of the rest of my life.

I've been thinking about blogging for a while, but never could coalesce my thoughts to the point of figuring out what to call it and what to write about. I knew veganism would be a part of it. I knew dogs, the two with whom I live in particular, would have a role. Animal rights would have to be discussed. I knew food would be up there on the list, along with my often bumbling attempts to create magic in the kitchen. I knew living in DC would be a factor. But which one of these topics to focus on? And then I figured it out. I will write about all of those things. Not with any sort of plan of course. Just all of it--veganything. And everything.

So why now? Today begins NaBloPoMo. What the hell is that, you may ask. It is National Blog Posting Month, a less stressing take on the infamous NaNoWriMo, which I'm not about to undertake. Can't say I'll keep up with NaBloPoMo, but perhaps. In addition, today is World Vegan Day. Between these two ocassions, it was today or never. Thus it is today.