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.