Monday, December 18, 2006

Catching up

I'm a posting slacker, so now I'm playing catch up. I have made so much yummy food that I haven't posted about, but have really enjoyed. It's not like I don't have the time, I'm just lazy. So, in the spirit of the holidays and the approaching of a new year (thus pesky resolution making) I'll highlight a few things that were really good, and try to resolve to post more often.

First up, Ginger Gems. These tasty treats were featured in a Vegetarian Times article full of yummy vegan cookies. The icing on these babies definately does something magical to them. Although, I found that replacing some of the oil or EB with apple sauce, and making my own crystalized ginger (by boiling chopped fresh ginger in a simple syrup until absorbed), made the cookies moister and sweeter, and they didn't even need the icing.

Next up is a cabbage casserole I made. A very simple concoction of shredded cabbage, lightly blached, layered with chopped tomato, whole wheat couscous, onions, and seasonings, then baked until soft. It was definately a worthy use of my locally grown, organic cabbage from the market.
I finally bought a bag of shelled hemp seeds at the farmers market. I was at a loss for what to do with them, besides throw them into smoothies. When I came across mention of Dreena Burton's Apple-Hemp muffins, I knew I had to recreate those delicious sounding things. Since I don't have the book, I compiled a few recipes together and put my own twist on them, eventually ending up with these beauties. I will definately be buying "Vive leVegan" the next time I have money to purchase a cookbook.
I have been sorting through all of my torn out recipes from years worth of collecting food magazines. When I ran across this recipe from a Vegetarian Times a couple years back, and I had most of the ingredients on hand, I knew I had to make it. It is supposed to be Pasta with Cannelini beans, broccoli rabe, and sun-dried tomatoes. Instead, it is made with broccoli, instead of broccoli rabe. Basically it is pasta (I used macaroni) topped with a white bean sauce of mashed up beans, veg stock, garlic and rosemary boiled down, them some blanched broccoli with rehydrated and sliced sun-dried tomatoes. So simple, yet SUPER delicious. Also served with pieces of a homegrown sweet potato. MMmm!Last, some miso-braised eggplant with brown rice, and baked tofu. I wanted to try this eggplant recipe from Artful Vegan before I gave it to James for Christmas. It turned out nicely, except that I used a regular globe eggplant instead of the Japanese eggplant it called for. I'll know better next time. But the sauce was great.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Oh man, where have I been? The time is wooshing past me and I can't seem to grab hold of it quick enough. I recently returned from a short (10 day) trip to Europe. I say short because I could have easily stayed much, much longer. Now I am home, and it's back to life as "normal" whatever that is. It's late, and I should be sleeping, but I want to share some things about my trip. It will be short. but I've waited long enough..

Our first stop was Amsterdam, where we stayed for 3 nights. The B&B we stayed in was in a great location, right near Central Station. Also not too far away was the Red Light district, which became difficult to avoid when walking home late at night. Regardless, everything in the city is easily accessible by foot (or bike) in under 20 minutes. We spent most of our time walking around and visiting the markets and all of the cute shops, as well as people watching. We also went on a canal tour (not the tourist kind) and visited the Anne Frank House. Some amazing food was also had. All of the restaurants we went to were generally vegetarian, and very accomodating to vegans. The food was different from what is available here. They really know how to incorporate good things like nuts, seeds and grains. I had some teriffic, yet simple dishes. I was feeling fat and happy.
After our first weekend, we decided to take a short trip out of town and caught a train to Paris. We spent 3 nights in the city of love, which I couldn't grow very fond of. I didn't find it as accomodating, especially since I didn't practice any of my very limited vocabulary of French. It did have it's perks though, such as fresh baked bread, amazing wine, and good shopping. I will miss those simple things.
From there, we went to Brussels for one night. Because we were there for only one night, and the one night we were there happened to be Thanksgiving, we decided it was time to feast. In the span of 6 hours we had chocolates, frites, much beer and tasty belgium waffles. Leaving was difficult, since the guest house we were staying in was so amazing, but I was ready to return to the city I had fallen in love with to spend our last few days.
We returned to Amsterdam and had an apartment all to our selves for the last weekend. We did more shopping, lots of eating, and even some museum hopping (Van Gogh and Sex Museum). We also rented a bike for a day, but quickly discovered we preferred walking during the short time we were there. Much easier to enjoy the view that way, and the view is definately something to enjoy. The weather wasn't great toward the end, but it didn't dampen our spirits. We still had a great time and enjoyed everything we could.

All in all, it was an amazing trip. I really learned alot from visiting another country, such as the joy of experiencing simplicity. I have always dreamed of travelling abroad, but I could never have imagined the experience that I had. Here are some pictures from Flickr. It makes it so much easier than posting individual ones. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Aw snap. I completely forgot to post about our wonderful trip to the Austin Zoo and Vegan Chili Cookoff last weekend! We drove in early Sunday morning (as in 2am), and stayed in a hotel. After a quick stop by the Austin Convention Center to see Thomas the Train, with a friend's 5 yr. old, we headed out to the zoo. The Austin Zoo isn't like many other zoos that we are all too familiar with. This zoo is a refuge for rescued animals coming from neglectful situations. Many are retired or saved from the circus, found or bought from abusive owners, or given a good home when one was not otherwise provided. There was also a Vegan Chili Cookoff being held there by the Lonestar Vegetarian Society. All kinds of people and groups from the Austin area, and even from Houston, Dallas, and Ft. Worth got together and showcased their chili recipes. We met many lovely animals, and had some amazing vegan chili. I don't have any pictures of the lovely chili, but let me just say I can't wait to go back next year and stuff myself all over again.

The male lion was absolutely gorgeous. He swaggered over to us when we walked up and was really chilled. He had dreadlocks and everything, and I instantly fell in love. He kind of reminded me of a hippie. The little guy chewing on the wire, and the guy sticking his tongue out were in the "petting zoo" area, which was just full of all types of small animals doing their own things. They really just wanted some lovin'.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

To highlight my new soup/coffee cup from Curves I made a delicious breakfast couscous. This is slightly adapted from the recipe in Garden of Vegan. I call it, Israeli Breakfast Couscous with Apricot, Pistachio, and Rose Water

Israeli Breakfast Couscous with Apricot, Pistachio, and Rose Water
1/2 c israeli couscous
1 c non-dairy milk, fruit juice, or water
1 Tb orange juice concentrate
1/4 c unsalted pistachios, chopped
1/4 c dried apircots, chopped
2 tsp rose water
2 tsp unsweetened shredded coconut (garnish, optional)

Bring liquid and concentrate to boil. Add Israeli couscous, bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer 5-7 minutes. After 2-3 minutes of simmering, stir in aprictos, and pistachios. Once couscous is cooked, remove from heat, cover and let sit 1-2 minutes. Uncover, stir in rose water. Spoon into serving dish, top with coconut.

I don't like things very sweet, but this would probably work well with some agave nectar. This is my first time making this and it could probably use a little tweaking, as it was a little dry. I really enjoyed it, especially with the rose water. I added a little more while eating :)

I'm doing my last minute things to get ready for my trip to Europe next week, like shopping, getting my hair cut, and..oh yeah..packing! I hadn't touched, or even looked at my suitcase until today. I have been so preoccupied with everything else, that I didn't want to start worrying about what I was going to take and if it would all fit or not. So, today was the day that I broke down and did it. I pulled my suitcase out of the shadows, threw it on my bed, ripped it open, and began the throw down. I was done and out in under 30 minutes. I am packed! I was suprised how little time it took, but I am so ready to go that I could hardly care what I brought with me. One step further with my long, hard struggle with procrastination.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Rat Pack: Frankie, Deano, Sammy

These are my children, and they never let me sleep. <3

I'm not used to this blogging thing, as witnessed from my lack of posting. Not to make excuses, but I have been too busy to care. Now that I have more time on my hands, maybe I will give this thing another try. I tend not to expose myself in this kind of way, simply because I value my privacy. But, I see this as a contribution to my people, and I want to keep us strong. Holla!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Today was a little off after a 4am trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science for the Body Worlds 3 exhibit. It was the last day for the exhibit to be in town, and that was the only available show time. I wasn't all that impressed by the exhibit, as plasticized organs behind a glass display case isn't very shocking for me. The posed figures were pretty spectacular, and the fact that everything was real made it interesting. Above all, I would have rather been in bed, but I enjoyed the night with friends. I got home at 7am and slept until 1pm. Needless to say, it was a very lazy Sunday. I did make some delicious chili from leftover taco filling, and tried chili-mac for the first time ever. I topped the night off with some leftover cupcakes.

Le Cupcakes.
On the left: Chocolate Chai; right: Chai.
Both topped with Toffuti Cream Cheese frosting. Both experiments and the Chocolate Chai won
I am a vegan and this is my blog. I hope to use this to my advantage to keep track of my culinary adventures, document my eating habits, and relieve my head of jumbles of thoughts. Maybe I will bring new ideas, inspiration and a little funkiness along the way.