Wednesday, December 26, 2007
When you spend any extended amount of time (more than 10 minutes) with someone else's crazy family, you begin to appreciate your seemingly less crazy family
Eat nothing but sugar for a week, and you will feel like shit
If your grandmother asks what you want for Christmas, never say "nothing". She will inevitably get you something.
The book is always better than the movie. The big boys in the media industry seem to think that dumbing down movies will somehow make it much better and more accessible to the general public.
If you tell people your plans, things will inevitably go to shit
Cinnamint flavor is good for lipgloss, but not always so good to eat
Chocolate and Amber are a match made in olfactory heaven
Teenagers possess an uncanny ability to sit and stare at a TV screen for an amazing 12 hours straight
Meatloaf is so much better without the meat, this recipe saved my x mas, with the addition of sauteed carrots, celery, onion and garlic
Hope everyone found a way to keep their sanity in tact. Cookies, coffee, and sleep helped me a lot. Except when I got sick, then it was mainly orange juice and echinacea.
In less than 6 hours, I will be having lunch with my (stubbornly omnivorous, yet still love able) family at a vegan haven in the middle of cattle country- Spiral Diner, to commemorate the beginning celebrations of my birthday. I am undecided on what to eat, but I'm sure it will be good. Then it's off to New Orleans for a weekend of raucous fun. See you next year!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
We went to a vegan cookie exchange party the next day. We took our cherry almond drops, and came home with a bigger selection of really yummy cookies and bars.
I came across Amanda's recent post about getting in the spirit, and I'm totally jealous of all the lovely cookies she has baked. I decided to do the holiday themed meme she had, but I think it makes me sound even more like a scrooge..
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I prefer recycled good: newspaper, paper bags, boxes, etc, or cotton shopping bags
2. Real or artificial tree? Usually artificial
3. When do you put up the tree? Growing up, it was usually right after Thanksgiving. This year, we did it right after we couldn't stand hearing the kids ask one more time
4. When do you take it down? After New Years
5. Do you like eggnog? Soynog, totally. I wasn't ever much for the egg stuff, though.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I remember really loving the play kitchen I got, even though it was made entirely out of cardboard. As an adult, my favorite gift so far was my stainless steel pot and pan set.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Nah
8. Hardest person to buy for? My grandparents
9. Easiest person to buy for? Mom
10. Worst Christmas present you ever got? Hard to say...probably that one lamp thing with the angel...
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I usually don't do cards.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Huh..I've never really had one.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually I make a mental note of things throughout the year, and then I forget about them and go shopping at the last minute. This year, I'm not shopping, I'm making.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, yes, yes.
15. Favorite thing to eat on Christmas? Gingerbread!
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I like the clear ones on houses, but I like color on trees.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Nellie McKay's A Christmas Dirge. Looove it!
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Usually my mom and I travel to my grandparents house. This year, Candy and I are travelling home to Houston
19. Can you name all of Santa's Reindeer? Proabably, if I thought hard enough.
20. Angel or star on top of tree? Usually star, nothing this year
21. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning? One on Christmas eve, the rest on Christmas. A little different this year. I got my presents from my family early, and we're doing Christmas with Candy's family Christmas eve.
22. Most annoying thing this time of year? Everything
23. Do you decorate your tree in any theme or color? No, but I like my friend's Star Wars tree
24. What do you leave for Santa? This year, Candy Cane Joe Joes, because me and Candy are Santa
25. Shopping? I stay far, far away from the mall. This year most of my stuff is handmade.
26. Do you decorate outside for Christmas or just inside (or at all?) Just inside this year. Oh, a couple of poinsettas on the porch
27. Favorite Christmas cookie? Hmm..Ginger Gems, any biscotti, gingerbread, chocolate peppermint....
28. Do you own Christmassy clothing or jewelry? Not really. I bought these cute green tree earrings, and someone said they look kind of like christmas trees. I told them they kind of look like a crack addict..
29. Do you believe in Santa? I believe if Santa was real, he would have every health problem known to man.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
This is what fall tastes like- spiced steel cut oatmeal spiked with raisins, served in a roasted squash 'bowl', topped with sweet almond gravy, with half a roasted apple on the side. I used the recipe from Hot Potato, subbing my own spice preference/on-hand mix, and using a different squash. Soo delightful!
What do two PPKers do when they meet? Cook, of course! And cook we did. Denise got Veganomicon before I did, and we were both really hyped to make Chickpea cutlets. She came over one night and we made the cutlets with red wine roux, and had the tomato spinach on the side. They were really simple and very good. The one thing I can say is they are super filing. I had a small baked one, and I was full all night long.For our 4 month anniversary, I wanted to prepare a nice, somewhat elegant, yet simple meal for Candy and I to share. Remembering the PPK 'Love Bites' episode, and how they waxed so romantic about the sweet potato crepes, I decided to give the recipe a try. I was a little overwhelmed by the fact that I had only made crepes once before, even though they were a success. I was pleasantly suprised at how quickly, and simple the meal came together. I had nothing prepared in advance, but it took me around 2 hours from starting the filling, to finishing the sauce, and I even found time to make a simple green bean dish for the side (fresh beans, thinly sliced pears, tossed in a vinagrette of canola, cider vinegar, miso paste, and fresh basil, with toasted walnuts).
Money shot, ya'll's. Super fantastic filling and saucey sauce. I had two, plus extra filling, and ruined crepe pieces. And the wine kept flowing...
That's all I have to share right now. There were some other things in between, like a super awesome cake that started as a disaster, but became the best thing ever. The picture would not have done it justice, so I didn't even try. But do not despair, for there will be other cakes in our future, I am sure..
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
I look forward to these all week long. We always have such a good time, and meet really cool people. I see it as an opportunity to to do what I love best: cook good food and feed good people.
Last week was Curry themed. Instead of making an actual Curry, we brought food with curry, the spice. I made Aloo Parathas, using Lolo's tutorial. They turned out sooo good, and were really simple. Candy made a special treat- Curry Truffles! Since her specialty has become mini sweet things, we put a spin on an old classic. Made using the ganache recipe in VCTOTW, but subbing coconut milk, and adding a tsp of curry powder, then rolled in curry and cocoa. They were a labor of love, and soo amazing! (Sorry, no picture :( They were completely devoured)
Sometimes, life needs to be simple. Step back and focus on the important things. Don't let everything get in your way and inhibit you from living a happy life. Sometimes, simplicity means just not fussing about being exact, or avoiding adding too much. Whether in terms of life, or in food, simplicity is key.
Sometimes, it's hard for me to make a decision. I ponder, and worry over every detail, practically paralyzing myself to decided. Even when I know one option would be better for me, it is hard to let go of the other options. In this case, it didn't take long to make a decision, because I knew hands down it would be the best. I quit my job. Not the one I just got at Wheatsville. I love it too much. But the other one. I was working 12 hour days, exhausting myself. I wasn't able to do much else but work, and I realized it just wasn't worth it. Besides, I didn't come to Austin to work work work. I realize I will be a little short on money until I become full time at WV. But, that is where simplicity comes in. With the holidays coming up, I have decided that all of the gifts I give will be handmade, which really reduces alot of spending. We are trying not to eat out, but instead freezing meals for later. My grocery bills are also considerably less now that most of my food comes from the free box at work. So, yay for good choices, and making the right decisions for yourself. I feel so relieved.
Those are just a few of my loves. I could go on and on, but I'm sick of typing. I will type one more thing, though. Think about the things you love in your life, and let everyone know. It's kind of like Isa's 1/2 week with no hate, spread it around.
Also, does anyone have any ideas for fancy hor dourves?
Saturday, December 01, 2007
As I listed as one of the things I am thankful for, leftovers are at the top. When I was younger, I especially despised leftovers. I couldn't stand the thought of eating leftover mac and cheese, hamburger helper, or anything else besides a few select things, one of them being my moms homemade beef stew and cornbread (especially in cornbread and milk). Thinking back, I believe that I would still feel the same today if my meals came primarily from a box. When the extent to which you prepare your food is by the touch of a microwave button, or a quick boil and pour, then the end result can only be so edible, for so long. Today, however, when I cook I savor the leftovers. Homemade, freshly prepared foods taste so much better the next day, when the flavors have a chance to sit and mingle with one another. So join me, won't you, and savor every leftover bite, making sure not to waste a scrap of food.
The next day after Thanksgiving, I would always enjoy a turkey sandwhich composed of various leftovers from the T-day feast. The sandwhich usually went- wheat bread, mayo, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mustard, wheat bread. This year, I wanted something similar, but a little more sophisticated and cruelty free. I went for a simple stuffing sammich, and included a little fresh arugula I had laying around.
Besides the stuffing, the dish we had the most of leftover was the roasted veggies. Besides leaving them as is and just allowing them to be a hearty side dish, I wanted to give them a spotlight of their own. While I was blog wandering one afternoon, I came across a recipe on Karina's recipe index and decided that I would do these beautiful vegetables justice by making them into a Roasted Vegetable Mulligatawny but without the curry.
Speaking of cornbread, and as I mentioned previously, I have a serious love for cornbread and milk. We affectionately call it cush cush around our house, pulling the term from an old southern dish. I enjoyed the last piece of cornbread one morning with soymilk for breakfast. Along with a cup of coffee, I was nicely sated until lunchtime.
Now, to extend my leftovers even further, and to tempt our taste buds with a whole new dish, I decided to take these vegetables to a whole new dimension. I was again inspired by one of Karina's fabulous recipes, this time a baked brown rice risotto . First, I sauteed some wilting celery in a castiron skillet with olive oil, pressed a couple of cloves of garlic in there and let it mingle and soften. I dumped some leftover rice (free from work) in, and then poured pureed, leftover Mulligatawny and mixed it all together. I put the entire pan into the oven and let it bake at 250 for an hour. I might have let it go a little too long, because it was quite dry. Then again, we like our food crisp.
I hope you enjoy leftovers as much as I do, and find something interesting and delicious to do with them. Even if you just eat them cold for breakfast, because some things are good like that.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
For our day of fun, Candy and I hit the towns. Yes, thats towns with an 's'. We had something very exciting in store for us in San Antonio (we'll get to that later), so we decided to make a day of it and treat orselves to things that we normally don't get a chance to do. First, we slept in. This is very important, because on most days we are up and out of the house by 8am. Once we were up and moving about, we went to Bouldin Creek for brunch. This is a rarity we got to treat ourselves to, and one that I think everyone should enjoy sometimes.
I had the special: tofu scramble with leeks and bacun bits, with cinnamon-raisin toast and orange marmalade. Very noochy. Best with an endless vintage mug of fresh hot coffee.
Next up, a trip to the library where I had a big stack of books waiting for me (A Confederacy of Dunces, Last Exit to Brooklyn, One Hundred Years of Solitude), then the bike shop for some lights, and then thrift shopping. We finally got around to the coolest little East end thrift store, which is only about 2 mile from our house called Treasure City Thrift. They hold alot of fun parties, and have some pretty cheap clothes. I left with a simple long sleeve shirt, and a vintage button up. I found alot of cool stuff to decorate my bathroom with at Goodwill, a cheap 10 cup coffee pot at Savers, and a couple of cute winter items. Candy got a couple of board games (Pop-up Video, and Wheel of Fortune) for our weekly game nights. Phew, after all of that it was time to head to San Antonio.
Our first stop was for dinner. We were looking especially forward to this dinner, because it would be at a new restaurant in town, and the only vegetarian restaurant in S.A. called Green Restaurant. I had been looking (and drooling) over the menu online and could not wait to try it out. It was a cute little cafe/diner type place, but with a lot of ambiance. You order your food at the counter, then drool all over the dessert case (all desserts are vegan) and then sit down at one of the various booths and wait for your food. Everything sounded wonderful so we decided to split a few things.
We started with a delicious sounding salad that applealed to our curious side. A bed of fresh spinach, with sliced crisp green apple, dried cranberries, and cinnamon spiced pecans. Originally served with blue cheese, we opted out and accepted the offer for crumbled tofu, on the side. All salad dressing are vegan, and we decided on the Orange Vinagrette. The entire salad was delightful, and very refreshing. I enjoyed the added texture of the tofu, but it would have been fine without it.
Our entree was a huge hit. We had the "Chicken fried" wheat-meat plate, with brown gravy, herbed mashed potatoes, and green beans. When given the option, who could say no? It certainly appealed to our down home side. The wheat meat was one of the best I have ever had. Perfectly breaded, not too chewy, and down right homey with savory mashers and gravy. The beans were..beans.
Some rolls on the side. Actually, they were a little more like buttermilk biscuits, but not as biscuity. Either way, they were perfect for soping up gravy.
And, of course, we simply could not pass up dessert with such a welcoming selection- fruit cobblers, cake, chocolate brownies, soy ice cream. Of course, we went for a classic- chocolate cake with mocha buttercream icing. Mmmm!
Now, why in the world would we leave lovely Austin to visit an unfamiliar city for just one night, you make be asking. Well, like I said previously, we had something very special waiting for us there. For one night, and one night only, we had tickets for two Orchestra section, row R seats to see the lovely Tori Amos!
(This is where I get all crazy fan on you. How in the world do I add a cut tag?)
We originally bought the tickets many months ago to see the show in Austin. Unfortu
The concert was held in the Majestic theater, the same theater we saw R.E.N.T in a few months back. It is one of the coolest theaters I have been to, and was the perfect setting.
We were super excited waiting for Tori to come on stage. I always feel this great rush of excitement, mixed with calmness, and butterflies before I see her live. I once read that before each show she burns sage back stage, which I think has something to do with these feelings.
She played a large mix of songs, spanning from the early days (pretty good year, precious things..) a few covers (New Age, and one I didn't recognize) to her latest album American Doll Posse. I especially loved when she talked to the audience. She had some funny stories involving wine, which are always fun to hear. It was a fantastic concert, and I left exhilarated. I also left with an ADP poster, and a T-shirt I can't wait for the next tour!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Our menu checklist board. This kept us sane, and helped us avoid forgetting to bake the stuffing.
Appetizer platter- Walnut-pecan pate, two kinds of crackers, mixed greek olives. Went down nicely with a glass of white.
The beginnings of the feast- the app. plate, rolls, sweet potato casserole, cranberry-cherry compote, the wines.
Roasted vegetable (brussel sprouts, sweet potato, delicata and butternut squash, parsnips, red bell peppers, red onion, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, olive oil and balsamic), ala Brandon, my girlfriends brother.
My loaded plate with a little scoop of everything. Usually I go back for second, but this year I could hardly finish what I had on the first round. Then, shortly after, I collapsed and took a nice long nap.
I am thankful for:
Good food and good people
Finally having a job I enjoy
Monday, November 19, 2007
It turned out beautifully and it was absolutely fantastic, especially with the sauce. Words cannot even describe. It was like a loaded dressing stuffed into a pie crust. The walnuts added a nice crunchiness, the cranberries were both sweet and tart, and paired well with parsley and chickpeas along with the saltiness of tamari. Mmmm. The sauce was simple, but very complex in taste, with an added bit of balsamic vinegar. If you're looking for a nice entree dish for the holidays, I recommend this. I'm even planning to play around with different bean/nut/spice combinations.
There were also butternut squash flautas, topped with some kind of green sauce, bell peppers and onions. Very good, with a sweet, smooth filling and a smoky spicy topping.
Roasted brussel sprouts. You can't go wrong with these. They seem to find their way into almost every potluck, no matter the theme. I ain't complainin!
The whole spread. Also some seasonal fruit salad with poppyseed dressing and chocolate peppermint bars at the end of the table.
My (first) plate, illuminated by the beautiful fire. I could have eaten that whole pan of brussels, but I decided to be nice and leave some for the other people.
They got a makeshift screen set up to show movies on. Last night we watched Gremlins 1! It's been so long since I've seen that one, it brought back memories. I also realized how funny and very morbid it is.
The makeshift fire we always sit aroud, toasting our chilly hands and feet in. Sitting around it with a full belly, after stuffing our faces, watching stupid movies is priceless.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Lunch is always fun in my Laptop Lunchbox- leftover Wheatsville Frito pie (Mmmmm!), carrot sticks with cashew-tamari dressing, 1/2 banana.
Cute notes from my ladylove. Awww, so sweet!
Dinner- okay, so I got a little bit fancy, but it was pretty quick and easy, plus I prepped ahead. We had roasted acorn squash stuffed with a forbidden rice salad (forbidden rice, celery, green onion, dried cranberries, tamari, maple, sesame oil, walnuts), sauteed swiss chard with chickpeas, wheatsville cornbread (best ever!)
And, let us never forget, dessert! Chocolate Peppermint Cream bars. These were the best things I have ever put in my mouth. Like a mint oreo and an Andes mint had a baby and it grew up to despise it's parents and become the best damn cookie in the world. I love you Kelly and Garrick! (Oh, and I didn't eat the whole plate, we were sharing. But, I could have..I so could have.)
Did anyone notice the abundance of Wheatsville goods? Yeah, so I'm in love with the place. It's a good thing I got the job there or I would be considered a stalker.
And, not my work, but the work of the groomer at my work. The cutest dog ever with a mohawk
Yo! Yo woman gimmie some treats. Mr. T demands doggie treats!
The Sunday night potluck is tonight, and the theme is seasonal produce. I'm making the Chickpea-Cranberry tart from VegNews, and we're bring the leftover Chocolate Peppermint bars. Chocolate is always in season.