Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Car woes

I think I'm finally realizing the downfalls on not having a car. Don't get me wrong, I love my bike, and riding to work and home each day is kind of exhilarating. But, when we want to go out for, say, a movie, or a night on the town, or even to the grocery store, it is an all day ordeal. The round trip on the bus is a minimum 3 hours, and most of that is just sitting and waiting. So, it can be a pain in the ass to get out and do anything. That isn't to say that we haven't sucked it up and gone out for some fun, though.

The other night we got out and watched a live improv group called Girls Girls Girls. It's a local improv musical group, comprised of all women. They perform at theaters around town, and do improv musicals with ideas suggested from the audience. It was a very small crowd that night, but still alot of fun. They even chose my suggestion for that nights performance and did Library: The Musical! Hehe.
Before catching the show, we finally tried a great little restaurant on the East side called Eastside Cafe. They have a private garden where they grow most of the produce used in thier dishes. They have a wide variety of choices. When I told the waitress I was vegan and asked about my options, she pulled out a seperate menu with the heading "Vegan" I was so thrilled!

Candy and I shared the Pasta Pomodoro, which was penne pasta, topped with sauteed mushrooms and a tomato basil sauce, on a bed of fresh greens. It came with 1/2 roasted acorn squash w/ soy-ginger sauce (sooo good!), and we got 2 small dinner salads with their housemade Raspberry Vinnagrette. I would have to say this was one of the most pleasant meals I have had in a while. It fueled our 4 mile hike around the Eastside and through the ghetto (much better than waiting on buses) quite nicely. We will be going back!

Sunday night we went to a Vegan Halloween Potluck hosted by Team Feed Everyone They host a potluck every Sunday night. Anyone is invited, and it's all vegan! It was pretty cool, and a lot of fun. I brought a Butternut squash lasagna, and Candy made mini Chocolate Orange cupcakes. It was all devoured and everyone was raving about the food. We are going to try to make it a bi-weekly thing. It will be a great chance to meet people, and also a chance to get my creativity flowing, since every week is themed.

Can't you tell they have a death wish?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cookies for yo mama

I went into a total cookie frenzy last Monday. Not really for your mom, or mine (sorry mom, you'll just have to come visit and get some!) I had the day off, and decided to spend it baking. Here's how it all went down:

Wake up late, scramble some tofu while girlfriend whips up some biscuits.

Eat it all up, then assemble ingredients for bread. Let rise.

Clean up, make house pretty. Do computer stuff.

Punch bread down, let rise again.

Listen to music, decorate room. Finally bake bread.

Put beans on oven to soak for dinner- Chili Sin Carne.

Get bread out of oven, and gather cookie ingredients.

Oh yeah, don't forget the seitan.

Okay, get 6yr. old, a few bowls, some spoons, and all of your ingredients on the table. Now, form some sort of game plan in head (cookies with coolest temp. first, what needs to be done ahead, etc.)

Now, finally get to makin the cookies..

In the course of 2 hours, we made 3 batches of cookies (all halved, of course..what? I'm not going to have 8 dozen cookies sittin around..it aint Christmas yet.) On the left, Chai Spice (although actually Pumpkin spice..), Pixies in the middle, and PB&J thumbprints on the right. All were really great. Although, the spice ones seemed a little off, so I will try again using Chai spices, and maybe 1/2 AP 1/2 whole wheat. The Pixies were definately the best, and gone by the next day. This is going to be a fun cookbook!

The Chili Sin Carne we had for dinner, with cornbread. Munch munch munch. Mmmmm, so good. The house was warm and smelled great all day. Perfect way to greet the cold weather. Tthe chili was pretty fabulous. It was the first time I tried the recipe, and it won't be the last. It is very versitle, just use what you have, and it comes together quickly.

Okay, now for some awesome news. Mothers Cafe re-opened!! We were so thrilled, we decided to have a late dinner there opening night. It was just as amazing as I remember, if not even better. I had a cup of Artichoke-Tomato soup, and the Tofu Spinach Lasagna. Sadly, I didn't have my camera, so no pictures were taken :( I can guarantee it was fabulous, though. We went back for lunch Thursday, and I got pictures then...

I had the Bueno Burger (best veggie burger in TX), with all the fixin's and some Vegan Rella, and a cup of Veggie Gumbo on the side. It was all so so good. Their bread is perfect.
I missed Mothers so much when it burned down and closed. I was worried that they wouldn't be able to reopen, and I would never enjoy a fully vegan brunch, or a fabulous vegan burger again. Boy was I wrong. It's been a year, but they are back and better than ever!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Eats and treats

I am slowly, but surely getting addicted...wait...I am completely in love with...no. I can't help myself, I have to look at Johanna's Daily Eats everyday. Seriously, I don't know what it is I like so much about looking at other people's food all day. I guess that's why it's called porn. I'm thinking about trying to do something like this, just because I think it would be fun. But that might be a little difficult since my USB port on my laptop is al funked. I do good to control my temper long enough to deal with it once a week or so. Everyday? Sheit. It would also probably be kind of boring, since all I have been in the mood for is PB&J and brussel sprouts.

Also, some exciting news. I became a tester! I have been wanting to do this for so long, and I finally got the chance. I will be testing cookies for Autumn Vegan, and her new vegan cookie book. I baked my first bath last night- Cashew Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies. They were so so easy, and perfect chewy delicious goodness. Great after a long, hard day and getting hit on my bike. Yeah, I said it. I got HIT on my BIKE.. by a CAR. Grrr. I'm fine, but my bike got a little beat up. I came home and worked on it, and it's rideable. I definately need to take it to the shop now, though. Anyway, expect seeing many more cookies in posts to come. Did someone say Chocolate Peppermint Cream Bars? Umm, yes please! Perfect timing for the holidays.

A nice plate of cookies hangin' out on the recent copy of The Advocate, waiting for me to dip them into some soy chai.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Appetizer dinner and a cutie

This dinner was inspired by Chili's and Mrs. Badmouth (odd combination, I know). Let me do some 'splainin. While heading back to Houston after one of our many trips to Austin before we moved here, we were very hungry and stopped in a Chilis for dinner (there are alot of really small towns between the two cities, and this is the only choice we had). Of course, there wasn't much for me to eat, but I was intrigued by their appetizer plate special. Although it was all laden with animal ingredients, it sounded like a neat idea to try at home. After seeing Spinach-Artichoke dip as one of the options, I immediately thought of Mrs. Badmouth's zine, Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk, and realized I had yet to try any of the recipes. So, I decided to put together my own appetizer special, using recipes from the zine.

Of course, we had to have the Spinach-Artichoke dip. I omitted the sour cream it calls for, because I don't keep it around. I loved that the recipe was bean based, unlike others that are all fat based. It was different from the dip I'm used to (it's almost like a baked hummus), but we loved it, and ate it all in two days.

Next up, the Tomato-Potato salad. I made my own tofu mayo for this because, again, I don't really keep stuff like that around. I also used died herbs instead of fresh. It turned out really good and flavorful. I added some edamame for a little extra somethin'somethin'.

And, finally, Tempeh Wingz! Probably the highlight of the whole meal, these were extra awesome. I used some Louisiana style hot sauce my sister-in-law sent for my housewarming gift. I never liked wings in my pre-vegan days, but these blew me away. They were so spicy and crispy, but also soft and sweet all at the same time. And so easy to make.

The whole meal, complete with homemade Garbanzo crackers. Yum yum, I wish I was still eating it. I can't wait to see what Katie comes up with for zine #2.

And a bonus. This is Rufus, the adorable little puppy that we puppy sit for ocassionally. He was given to Dirty Dog by a homeless woman a few weeks ago, and was in really bad condition. He has regained his health and vitality, and is an awesome dog. He has a home with one of the employees, but she can't keep him until November, so we all take turns bringing him home. We love him, and now I have puppy fever.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Vegan eatin' for the environmental soul

Okay, so this is the post that's supposed to be about environmentalism. In some way, I am supposed to showcase environmentalism through my blog.

Well, first of all, I believe that every post I make is, essentially, environmentally related. By living a vegan lifestyle, shopping organically (mostly), and preparing fresh and whole foods in my home kitchen, I am lessening my footprint on the planet. As vegans, we consume less, and waste less compared to the average American diet. I could pull up the statistics, but I am too lazy, and I'm sure it would be redundant to you all by now. So, I decide to show you through my food, my form of activism, because I believe that says enough.

I wanted to showcase something special for this particular post. There is a very special restaurant in Austin called Casa de Luz. They focus on wellness, wholeness, and macrobiotic principles. This is incorperated into every facet of the many things they provide. Other than a wholesome breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu, they offer massage, yoga, and many other forms of therapy as well as cooking classes. I always enjoy my meal here, because the people are kind and the atmosphere is relaxing. There is communal seating, as well as a couple of single tables. They have a salad/soup serving station that you can help yourself to, and then they bring out your plate of food, which is perfectly cooked in their open kitchen. If you are still hungry, you can get second helpings for free, and even take them home with you. What you don't eat is composted. What I love about Casa, aside from almost everything being organic, and the food being delicious, and feeling sooo good after my meal, is that I know they actually care.

We decided to go on this particular night because they were having a Persian Feast. The menu included: Spiced Butternut Squash Soup, salad with mint-lime dressing, Tempeh with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds, steamed seasonal squash, blanched greens, brown basmati rice with mint and pistachio, and mint pickled carrots. It was all delicious, and so satisfying. We also shared pecan pie and a fruit parfait for dessert. They were both so light and not too sweet but very very satisfying. I forgot to take a picture, but I'm sure you can guess what a pie and parfait look like. I also learned that you can volunteer for the lunch or dinner shift, which are about 3 hours long, and get a free meal afterward. I'm going to try it out soon, and it may become a weekly thing.

So, in short, shop local, cook at home, reduce waste, and go vegan, people! Oh, and a bonus shot of my lunch, because I have been doing more talking and not enough showing in this post. PB&J on homemade bread with natural jam and organic peanut butter, steamed brussel sprouts, and organic edamame, organic applesauce. All packaged nicely in my wonderful Laptop Lunchbox <3

Saturday, October 13, 2007


So, I was feeling pretty bored at work. It's a Saturday, with not much at all going on in this little dog gromming shop on the south south side. I decided to browse through all my favorite blogs, which is my favorite past time that I don't get much of a chance to do anymore, and I came across an old post on bazu's blog about Blog Action Day. Even though it is only one day away, I was very intrigued and decided to sign up. I'm not really sure what I'll talk about, but look forward to an environmentally friendly post coming in less than 24 hours. Maybe I'll make earth shaped cupcakes...

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Here comes fall

I love pumpkin. And fried foods. And italian food. And I always try to get my greens. So, I made dinner one night that incorperated all of it. It was the end of a season goodbye/beginning of a new season hello dinner. I picked up some okra, plum tomatoes, and basil from the farmers market. I breaded and pan fried the okra, roasted the tomatoes and added garlic and basil to make bruscetta, and then made Celine's pumpkin risotto (subbing orzo for arborio rice). It all turned out well, and it was a nice way to pass the seasons. I just wish my camera didn't pick up so much red.

There was also a breatfeeding challenge at the market that Saturday. They were trying to get together as many people as possible at the same time to breastfeed. I don't know how many there ended up being, but it was alot, and so exciting to witness. Breastmilk is the best food for a healthy growing baby. The sign says Babies were born to be breastfed. I couldn't agree more. Kudos to all the mama's out there giving life to their little offspring.

Fun on the town

What a great response I got on the cinnammmmon rolls. If I wasn't already planning another batch, I'd make them again just for the nice comments :) Between all the fun we've been having, I've fixed up some other yummy stuff lately.

Free museum day was last weekend, and we decided to spend the day visiting some different ones in downtown. Our first stop was the Austin Museum of Art. They have an exhibit on everday art running, which was fun. I have to say, it is very exciting seeing a huge sandwhich made of vinyl, with every layer fully detailed. They also had a fun section on the latest and greatest designs that will be on the market soon. While there, we also got to eat our art.

Stevie making art on a piece of toast that will soon become a jelly sandwich
The finished pieceOther peoples art work
Darth Toaster...I know, lame. Sorry.

We also went to the Children's Museum, but it was far too crowded. They had alot of fun stuff in there, so we vowed we would visit again on a weekday and just pay admission. The Mexican art museum was our last stop. I love Frieda Kahlo, and other mexican style art. It was a small gallery, and again pretty crowded, plus we were on a time limit, so I didn't get a chance to really take anything in. I guess that's the downfall of free museum day.

After staring down a huge vinyl BLT at the AMoA, I was really craving my own tasty sandwhich. With a block of tempeh in the fridge, a big fresh tomato, and a fresh loaf of homemade bread, what better that a TLT? I followed VWaV recipe exactly, just without sprouts. Mmmm, so delicious. Sorry, no pictures. But wait! I made up for it by using the tempeh bacon in two other meals.

Here's the tempeh frying. Not that pretty, but it smelled fantastic.PB&J on homemade bread, with a TLT salad (TLT minus the bread)
And I finally made the tofu omelette from Fat Free Vegan. Served with a side of tempeh bacon, and collards. The omelette was fantastic, and was similar to the way I used to like my omelettes. It was a little scary, actually. But it's so easy, and filling, I will definately be making it again.
And a bonus closeup shot of the PB&J. I'm so proud of my bread. I can't wait to get a breadmachine. There just won't be any stopping me.