Wednesday, February 25, 2009

insert clever title here

We eat good at our house.  Although the meals you are about to witness were mostly simple fare, damn, were they delicious.

Behind door number one, I give you...    Chinese night!
teryaki udon noodles w/veggies, spicy broccoli, sesame kale, baked tofu

This was all crazy awesome, but a tad salty for my taste (which is another way of saying that it was waaaaay too salty, because...  me like-a the salt).  Still, loads of veggies, noodles, and tofu that you get to eat with chopsticks?  I'm in!

Michael made this vegetable soup a few days ago that tasted exactly like Campbell's alphabet veggie soup.  Except way better.  It was eerie.
mmm mmm better

I'm not totally sure what he did, but I do know that the base is water, tomato paste, and 'beef' bouillon.  That way, it's not too tomato-y, but just tomato-y enough.  Veggies included carrots, red bell peppers, corn, peas, potatoes, spinach, onions, and napa cabbage.  Even better the next day, by the way.  Tres bien, mon amor!  Hey, is that French?  Did I just speak French?  Since I don't speak French, I have no idea.  (Shelly?)

Next up is a wrap that was Michael's idea, but my own doing.  Jamaican jerk tofu wrap!
many 'jerk' jokes thus ensued

I found a Jamaican spice rub recipe somewhere (thought I saved it, but alas...) that I used to marinate tofu strips in (along with some water to make it more...liquid), then baked those.  All nestled snugly against carrots, cabbage, and tomatoes...heavenly.  And spicy!  Wowza.  

By the way, I have declared this week that cabbage is the new lettuce.  Namely, napa cabbage.  It's always crunchy, it's light and lovely, and you can cook it, so it's versatile.  Lettuce, move over!  Cabbage is movin' to town.

Oh, we ate those wraps with some of my signature MexiRice (tm).
love in a bowl

Except I made way too much, so I'm still up to my ears in MexiRice (tm).  By the way, MexiRice (tm) just consists of brown rice, canned tomatoes, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne.  Oh, and water and a bouillon.  The key, my friends, is the ratio.  But since I never measure, I couldn't really tell you what that ratio is.  Experiment!  Try it out!  It's so fricking good.

We made this lovely piece of radness for lunch on Saturday:
chickpea salad of the ...gods?

We were starving.  We found half a baguette in the fridge.  And a can of chickpeas.  The result is almost too predictable.  Goodness was it good though!  Nom.  No recipe used, just tossing things in.  Things tossed in may include the following:
garlic dill relish
garlic powder
green onions

And finally!  Another test recipe from the Cookin' with my Craw-Daddy zine!  This one was to die for.  I almost died.  It was that good.
roasted jalepeno cornbread pancakes w/fresh salsa

My friends, I would not lie to you.  These were light, fluffy, flavorful, and omni approved.  They even had cilantro in them (in both the pancakes and the salsa), and Michael and I both were left wanting more.  Seriously.  Once this zine comes out, you should get it if only for this recipe.  Amazing.  A perfect way to celebrate national pancake day and Mardi Gras combined.

I do not kid.

Anywho, I have dishes to do and it's LOST night (and Top Chef!) and dinner needs made before we dissolve our brains in front of the television.  Have a lovely rest of your week, everone!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

a new winner

Ok, so after many failed attempts to get in contact with the first winner for the Earth Shoes gift certificate, I've decided to choose a new winner, via our friend, the random number generator. It's been about 10 days since the last drawing, and I've heard nothing, so I think it's time that someone wins, fair and square, before the opportunity to collect the certificate falls by the wayside. Our interweb buddies at chose commentor #......

1! That's Jes of the ever illustrious Cupcake Punk!

Jes, send me an email (linked in my profile page) with your first and last name so that I can send your info over to the lovely people at


Saturday, February 21, 2009

omg, cake!

I made a layer cake!  My first ever!  Ok, Michael helped me with some of it too.  But still!  Cake!  When I saw Hannah's recipe for a Citrus Sunshine cake on her wonderful Bittersweet blog, I knew I had to make it.  Not only because it sounded awesome, but because I love lemon in baked goods and because I knew I had the ingredients at home.  Or at least, I thought I did.  

Of course, I knew I didn't have any Meyer lemons (and neither did any grocery store in a 50 mile radius), so I substituted 2 smallish regular lemons for the zest and juice in the recipe.  But then I realized that I didn't have anywhere near enough agave nectar for the cake!  Oops!  I had to do some off hand subbing, but luckily all turned out well.  In the cake batter, I used 1/2 cup of agave nectar and then 3/4 cup of sweetened applesauce to not only make up the rest of the sugar, but also to make up the liquid content I'd be losing.  Oh, and I didn't have a bundt pan, but Hannah oh-so-nicely replied to an email I sent asking about using two 9 inch round pans instead (a new purchase, yay!).  Here they are right out of the oven.
sleep lines

Yeah, so when I popped them out of the pans onto my cooling rack, they got a little indented.  No biggie.  That's what frosting's for.  Also, my oven is totally crooked and the cakes came out lopsided (which Michael nicely trimmed so that I could stack them).  He also whipped up a basic vanilla buttercream for the filling and outer layer of frosting, from VCTOTW.  Meanwhile, I whizzed up the icing from Hannah's recipe, substituting light corn syrup (guh, I know, I know) for the agave and adding another half a lemon's worth of zest, because I was afraid I was losing lemon flavor with all that buttercream.

It turned out beautifully!  I asked my dear food assistant (Michael) to slice up a strawberry for garnish since otherwise it would have just been kind of ugly.  Holy crap though!  Look!  My first layer cake!
and it tasted good, too

With all the icing, it is a very sweet cake...  But still so wonderful!  Just enough hint of lemon to tang it up, and the cake is so moist and delicate.  
would you like a slice?

We still have so much cake left.  How am I supposed to use all of it?  So.  Much.  Cake.  I think that's really a small problem, if you think about it.

For dinner we made some homemade veggie/grain burgers!  I made these buns for them using my bread machine to knead the dough for me.  I added in a cup of whole wheat flour to give them a little more tooth than the rolls I did last week.
do you like my buns?

Michael got this recipe from the Food Network website.  It was something Alton Brown was making.  Pea Burgers!
so they don't photograph well

Despite their non photogenic-ness, these burgers were really yummy!  Here's the recipe:

Pea Burgers

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 to 2 additional tablespoons for sauteing

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper*

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons minced garlic

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry split peas, picked and rinsed

1/2 cup dry brown rice

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs, plus 1/4 cup for coating

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large (4 to 6-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper* along with a generous pinch of salt. Sweat for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook for another 4 minutes.

Add the broth, peas, rice, coriander and cumin. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Decrease heat to low, cover and cook at a simmer for 1 hour or until the rice and peas are tender.

Remove from the heat and gently pour the mixture into the bowl of a food processor and process until just combined.** Do not puree. Pour this mixture into a bowl and stir in the 3/4 cup of bread crumbs. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Shape the mixture into patties and dredge on each side in the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat.*** Add 2 burgers at a time and saute until brown on each side, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side. To grill, cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes per side as well. Serve immediately.

* We had no bell peppers, so subbed in 1 diced jalepeno and frozen corn to make up 1/2 cup

** You might need to do the food processing in 2 batches.  That's ok.

*** Instead of sauteing the burgers, we used out Foreman grill, in order to cut down on the fat.

The burgers were very tender, but still stayed together well, and had a touch of an Indian taste from the coriander and cumin.  So, so good.  Thanks, Alton!  We also roasted up some beets, carrots, onions, and garlic with rosemary for the side.  Yum!

In other dinner adventures, we had jumbalaya!

This is the recipe from ED&BV, and it was a huge success, of course.  I've never made a recipe from that book that failed.  Not a single one.  That woman is a genius.  Anyway, I made the tempeh crumbles from VWAV to go on top, for an added bonus.
i want some of this right now!

I kept the crumbles more like chunks so they're be more like...well, chunky.  Man.  This was so great together.

A slightly trashier dinner adventure can be seen here:
return of the croissant dogs

But...  you know...  to make it healthier, I made some sauteed kale to go with them.  That totally makes up for it, right?  Anyway, these were really great with some mustard (we've gotten a couple new varieties as of late...) and the relishes from Zukay Live Foods.  Yurm.

Michael has class during my lunch hour 2 days a week, so I'm on my own for them.  I've started making something on the first day, eating half, then eating the leftovers on the other day.  This week, I made some couscous with spinach, chickpeas, capers, lemon juice, and red wine vineger.  It was much better the first day than the other...but still a yummy lunch!
i will try any excuse to use capers when michael's not here

And to close...cake!
still so excited!

Oh, I got some new dishes that are totally rad, so start looking for prettier photographs.  My next goal is clamp lights.  And I almost bought a new camera last night, but it turned out to be a shitty camera, so I didn't.  I just know I can do so much better than the photos I've had here (I have a masters degree in photography for goodness sakes!) and am finally motivated enough to make it happen.  You see, I only ever used to take photos outdoor and always with film, so I'm still learning here (without lights, it's pretty I still can't find my tripod).  Oh, and if you want to see some examples of my art, you can see some here (I'm still in the process of uploading them...there are so many!).

One last thing!  Ckwebgrrl, please contact me!  If I don't hear from you in the next couple of days, I'm going to have to pick a new winner.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Monday, February 16, 2009

we have a winner! + some foodz

So I don't know how to copy the random number generator thingie into my blog, so you're just going to have to trust me on this one.  Our winner is commentor #66 who just happens to be:


who also just happens to be new to veganism, so this is a deserving winner indeed.  I certainly hope that this makes your transition to veganism slightly easier (not that it's THAT hard).  I need you to email me asap with your first name, last name, and email address so that I can forward it on to the peeps at and they can get you your gift certificate!  (find a link to my email addy on my profile page, buddy, and step to it, because I'm not sure if there's a time limit on this.)

.....lag time.....

Sorry, took a break there to shoot a couple emails, haha...  Easily distracted, I suppose.  Anywho, with all the sadness of my contest being over, allow me to cheer you up with some food.

This is what I had for dinner last night!
rotelle w/spicy tempeh and broccoli rabe* from Vcon

*Except I used rotini because I got the wrong box and regular broccoli because broccoli rabe does not exist in the minds of the people of Huntington, WV.  So sad.  Still, this was mighty tasty!  And with Michael's help, it came together quickly.  My only complaint is that it's dry.  I thought I used enough oil, but since I'm still slowly getting over my oil phobia, this might not be the case.  Who knows.  Anyway, the flavor was awesome.  I love tempeh more and more.  And I'm always looking for an excuse to put broccoli in stuff.  I wish I just liked it steamed as a side veggie...  But alas, it is destined only to be incorporated into things here.

I served this with these bad boys:
the best bread product i have ever produced

Michael's grandparents gifted us their breadmaker because his grandma prefers to just bake bread.  Or so she told me!  I think the honest to goodness truth is that the breadmaker is crazy!  See, while it was kneading my dough (just plain old white bread as a test batch - but done with bread flour), it kept shaking and shimmying all over the counter.  Which didn't seem quite right, but...who knows.  So at one point it had shimmied itself sideways so Michael moved it back and the damned thing shut itself off.  Jerk machine!  It wouldn't just start again where it was.  And I didn't want it to just start over, for fear of overkneading.  After much huffiness on my part (I do mope at times, I swear I can't help it), I let the stupid dough rise in the oven and made rolls out of it, not having much hope for any success. 

Wrong!  They turned out beautifully. flour must make a difference?  The question is this:  is it worth it to spend $4 on bread flour when I can get regular flour (but shitty bread) with $1 flour?  I'm not sure yet.  The other problem is this:  my store does not have any whole wheat bread flour.  Only white.  And I've been trying to eliminate as much white flour from my diet as possible.  Does anyone know if I add wheat gluten to my dough, will it help?  Because I bought a freaking oven thermometer thinking that my oven was screwy, but it's spot on.  It has to be a flour problem.  

Whatever, until I find the answers to these mystical questions, let us revel in the happiness that is this:
fluffy, fantastic bread

I was in a cooking mood yesterday.  Before I attempted the bread, I made this stuff for lunch:
that's buckwheat!

My last trip to the health food store, I bought buckwheat accidentally instead of barley.  Hey, same first letter, gimme a break.  Anyway, I had no idea what to do with the stuff.  But I was in the mood for a grain/pilaf type lunch yesterday, so I tried it out (lunches can fail with less disappointment than dinners, imho).  It's awesome!  Very creamy and tender and totally easy to cook.  I cooked it with some fire roasted tomatoes, black olives, and lime juice, then added cumin, smoked paprika, garlic & onion powder, more lime juice, salt & pepper when it was done.  And Michael added in some tamari, which somehow made it just perfect.  Topped with cool and creamy avocado, this lunch was smooth on the palate and kept me full for hours and hours.  Seriously, I ate this around noon and wasn't hungry again until after 7, which is unheard of for me.

And finally, upon my request, Michael made this for my lunch today:
chickn parmesan openfaced sammie

This is basically exactly the same as our vday pizza, but on a much smaller scale.  It was the perfect lunch today.  Savory and slightly sweet, filling, but not so huge that I felt all bloated and sleepy when I got back to work.  Which to me is the perfect lunch.  And aren't we all just living our lives to find the perfect lunch?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vday, testers, and other great stuff

Wow, it's been a busy week.  I can't believe it's been so long since I posted!  This is gonna be a big one, kids.  And before I forget (or you tune out before the end of my post haha...) don't forget to:
a) enter my contest for a $50 gift certificate for Earth Shoes here, and 
b) make sure you come back TOMORROW to see who won!  
I'll need all of you to come check to see if you won and if you are the lucky one, you'll need to send me an email (link on my profile page) with your name and email address so that I can send it to the peeps at and they can get your your gift certificate.

Now that that business is done with, we must talk about food.  I'm gonna start with the big Valentine's day eats.  Ok, so I have to admit that up until a few days ago, I had completely forgotten about chocolate covered potato chips.  Anybody else have these before?  I remember in high school or undergrad having gotten a couple boxes of these and LOVING them.  There's just something about that sweet/salty combo that really does it for me.  So anyway, I was browsing through a Rachey Ray magazine at work the other day and saw a 'recipe' for chocolate covered potato chips.  I mean, seriously, leave it to Rachel frigging Ray to remind me of something so terrible for my health and then encourage me to actually make it myself.  Well, how could I refuse?  That woman.  There's something about her that I really love/hate.  Mostly, though, I really dislike her.  But I also just can't help but like her.  What is wrong with me?!

Regardless of my feelings for her, it planted a seed in my mind, and I made chocolate covered potato chips yesterday for us to munch on.
pure decadence

This is ridiculously easy to do.  Just melt some dark chocolate with some soymilk (or, I used rice milk because we had it for some reason).  Dip in some kettle chips (nonflavored).  Let drip on a rack with wax paper underneath.  When they're done dripping, put 'em in the fridge.  These are pretty good, but the chocolate I used was pretty bitter, so I'd add some sugar next time if I got the same chocolate.  Because, you know, the ones that I remember were, of course, made with milk chocolate.  Which is way different (and honestly way crappier) than the chocolate we eat now.  So what I'm basically saying is that you can't shove these into your mouth like you're popping M&Ms (oh, my old M&M addiction...R.I.P.) because they are richer and more of a....delicacy?  Can I call chocolate covered potato chips a delicacy?  

For dinner we made a chickn parmesan pizza.  This is the ultimate in easy.  Crust it up (I used a different crust recipe than the one from VWAV because I wanted a doughier crust), add garlic, onions, spinach and prebake for about 10 minutes at 450F.  Then add a layer of pizza sauce, lots of chopped basil, some sliced Boca chicken patties, more sauce, then your fake cheese of choice.  We used Teese and somehow, that crap didn't melt.  
non-melty, but still delicious

I think I sliced the Teese too thick, because it was melty on the underside, but still solid on the top.  It was fine to eat though.  Oh, and make sure you use Boca ORIGINAL chicken patties (not the organic ones or whatever) and still check your ingredients because apparently there is some conspiracy out there where some Boca chicken patties have milk in them or eggs or something, and some do not.  Inconsistency.  But you have to use these kind of breaded patties (if you find another brand, use those then) because chickn parmesan needs to be...breaded.  It's part of the deal.  This pizza turned out really good, but there was one weird thing about it.  Apparently our corner market is selling bags of fresh basil that is thai basil, without being labelled as such.  We noticed there was a strange licorice-y taste to our basil (after we put it one the pizza of course) and realized that we were eating some non basic basil.  It wasn't bad, but it was definitely different, haha...  So go for plain old basil if you make this.

We even tried microwaving our slices to melt that stuff, and it was a no-go.  It did, however, make it insanely hot and I burned the crap outta my mouth.  C'est la vie, eh?

And since you can never have enough chocolate, we made Chocolate Covered Cherry Pudding Cakes from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen.  Oh man, were these ever rich.

My mom used to make pudding cake when I was a kid.  And I just couldn't resist trying it out myself.  Worth it!  And really, it was very easy.  I even bought ramekins yesterday so that I could make this.  That's dedication, baby.  Don't they look great?  Very intense (make sure to let these cool so that they can be more pudding-ish and less liquid-y) and the cherries and chocolate go together perfectly, of course.  A lovely end to a lovely day.

Ok, enough Valentine's day mushiness.  Next up?  Some tester recipes for the Cookin' with my Craw-Daddy zine!  This past weekend, Michael was out of town and I made the Swampy Tofu Scramble for dinner.
swamp thang

I was not really expecting a tofu scramble to knock my socks off, but consider my socks completely knocked.  This is honestly the best tofu scramble I've ever eaten in my life (and I've had quite a few).  Something about the flavor combo is just...perfection.  Plus there's a secret trick that makes it nice and creamy and super wonderful.  I liked it so much that I made it for Michael on Monday for dinner again, along with these bad boys:
Yell'er Hush Puppies

The flavor of these was really yummy.  They were a tad greasy, but they are hush puppies after all.  That's kind of how that goes.  Michael made these and we ate them with lots of mustard, and it was good.
ragin' cajun mealtime

Well, I dunno how cajun brussels sprouts are, but we steamed some and they went very nicely with this meal.  Made me feel a tad better about the fried-ness of the hush puppies.  I also think that the hush puppy batter would work really well as a batter for frying other things, like, oh, say...corn dogs?  Mwahahaha...  

Next up is just a meal worth mentioning because it was full of mushrooms and I ate all of them.  Shocker!
could i be changing my ways?

Michael found a mixed container of wild mushrooms while he was out of town and he sauteed them up quite simply with peppers and onions.  They were insanely delicious.  I don't know...but...I may be starting to like mushrooms other than oyster mushrooms.  Wonders never cease.  We made some couscous (that I think just had nutritional yeast in it, honestly) and I sauteed some kale that I had beforehand massaged with lemon juice (kale loves to be massaged with lemon juice, you must try this).  I just sauteed some garlic and one shallot, then added the lemony kale.  I have to say, it was the best kale I've ever eaten.  For such a simple meal, this was crazydelicious.

I also made something with another kind of mushroom for Michael's mom, who came to town this week.  It was the faux clam linguine that I've made before, but it turned out a million times better and I'm kicking myself for not taking photos of it.  

Oh well.

These babies are something you just have to make.  You have to!
relish oat crackers

Celine, of Have Cake, Will Travel, is a genius.  She also tested out some of the Zukay Live Foods, and made these amazing crackers out of the garlic relish.  Since the garlic relish was my favorite out of the whole product-testing-batch, and also since I've never made my own crackers, and also since they seemed so darned easy...I made them.  The day she posted them.  And they.  Are.  Wonderful.  And you don't have to have that specific relish.  I'm sure there is garlic relish out there besides that brand.  GO MAKE THESE!  Immediately!  Recipe here.

To finish, I will leave you with a sign that spring is close.  Don't despair.  I had these for lunch last Saturday, when it was sunny and 70F.  
a little taste of awesomeness

And while that warm streak was a bit of a fluke (it's much colder now), it gave me hope that it will be warm again.  There will be strawberries.  There will be fresh tomatoes and peppers and trips to the farmers market.  I will be able to go outside without a coat and without shivering and without hating life.  I just can't wait.

Now go enter my contest!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Earth Shoes Gift Certificate Contest!

I was recently contacted by to run a contest on my blog to promote their line of Earth Shoes!  These shoes are 100% vegan, containing absolutely no animal products, which we all know is difficult to find from time to time, and can be pricey!  Well, if you need a new pair of awesome shoes and are possibly hurtin' for cash (like so many of us are these days), this is your chance to win a $50 gift certificate for Earth Shoes!  This is a really amazing deal, and the shoes are super cool.  Not only are they stylish and sporty-looking, the heels are designed to change your posture so that you burn calories while wearing them (obviously, you'll need to be walking, lazybones!).  They look nice and comfy, and I would love to own a pair of these.  (can i enter my own contest?  jk haha...)  Plus, this isn't only for the ladies, they have a full line of men's shoes as well, so everyone is happy.  There are all styles from sneakers to sandals, fancy to casual.  For proof, click on the respective ladies and gents links to see the full line.  

There is only one stipulation:  you must reside in the United States to enter (sorry international folks...).  If you're interested, leave me a comment on this post and I will use a random number generator to pick a winner on February 16.  I will then contact you and get your info.  50 free dollars towards totally rad and planet-friendly shoes just for being cool and reading my blog.  You guys are so lucky. 

Good luck everyone!  I'm so excited, are you?