Monthly Archives: August 2013

Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 10: The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado

Last October, during my first Vegan MoFo, I watched a lot of blogs, and bookmarked loads of recipes, but I can’t say any of them impressed me quite like Vegan Cookbook Aficionado. I loved the photos, and almost all of the recipes were ones that I thought, “Hey, I’d really really REALLY like to try that.”

I’ve already rhapsodised about Maggie’s Apple-Cranberry Bannock, but the sad thing is, that’s the only thing I’ve actually made in the year since then (albeit multiple times!) So, I was totally thrilled that this was blog #10 on the challenge, because it would motivate me to actually make some of those fantastic-looking recipes that I’ve wanted to try for so long. Of course several of the ones on my to-make list called for either cream cheeze or soy yogurt, which I didn’t have, so here are the ones I did have stuff handy to make.

bannockGarlic Herb Bannock

Since I liked the other bannock so much, I decided to try this savoury one. I did some whole wheat flour, some all-purpose, and some random gluten-free flour mix because I was kind of running out of everything at the time. I used the parsley fresh from our garden, and for my other herbs I picked some oregano, rosemary, and chives.

I accidentally deep-fried the thing because I dumped way more oil into my electric skillet than I intended to. But oh was it delicious. It was light, fluffy, flavourful, amazing.

sconeRaspberry Cocoanut Scones

I splurged on some cocoanut extract to make these, since it was only $2.48 for a bottle and I’ve wanted it a long time and hey, I can use it in all kinds of stuff! Again I used some whole wheat flour here. They were awesome.

tatoesSalt and Vinegar Potato Bites

As per usual, I subbed lemon juice for the vinegar. I used rosemary, oregano, and chives again as my herbs. Usually I like my potatoes sans any sort of sauce, but I decided I’d do half the amount of the dipping sauce and drizzle it on top. It was actually pretty good. GooGoo didn’t like it, and it’s not something I’ll do all the time, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The potatoes themselves, of course – delightful. Mmm.

Chocolate-Strawberry Loaf

No picture of this one, but it was intensely chocolatey and the sweet tang of the strawberries was delicious. I did the variation for regular cocoa powder, and I left out the espresso powder because I had none and hate the taste of anything coffeelike anyway. I had a piece hot out of the oven and could hardly taste it trying to keep it from burning off all my tastebuds (I’m so impatient), but just now I had a cold piece and it was amazing.

Overall comments for this week? Nothing disappointed. I am more stoked than ever to try more!

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Categories: bread, challenges, dessert, lunch, scones, side dish, vegan, vegan blog challenge 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 9: Post Punk Kitchen

And of course the PPK blog is a fitting entry into a blog challenge coming out of the PPK forum!

No, your eyes do not deceive you. I skipped from Week 5 to Week 9 in a week. I have a couple of reasons for this.

First and main reason is that Vegan MoFo starts in September this year, and I’m going to be busy enough blogging without having to also continue the blog challenge.

The other reason was that blogs 6, 7, and 8 were just not inspiring me. There were some interesting things, but I didn’t have the stuff to make them… and blogs 9 and 10 were ones I definitely didn’t want to miss.

So, that being said, I regularly browse the PPK forums, and I’ve tried some of Isa’s recipes and enjoyed most of them, but for some reason I’ve not really tried much from the blog, so this was fun.

I have to admit, some of the recipes are just too “out there” for me. But there was also a very substantial list of “really want to try”. These are the three I finally chose.

gingerscone

Bikram Ginger Chocolate Chunk Scones

As you may have noticed (or not?) I really have a thing for chocolate and ginger. I used a gluten-free flour blend I got as a free sample from Amazon Vine and it worked out great. I’m interested to try this again with regular flour just to compare, but they were delicious and amazing. The picture is lousy. Sorry. It was getting dark.

thymetempeh

Garlicky Thyme Tempeh

This was very yummy. Also very easy. I used dried thyme because I have none in my garden to use fresh, and I was out of oil, but otherwise I followed the recipe.

sausage

Tempeh Sausage Crumbles

This smells amazingly sausagelike and delicious. It doesn’t taste quite as good as it smells, but I did notice that the smaller crumbles tasted the best. I think I should have taken the time to crumble it into less gigantic hunks so the flavour would distribute better. I had some with my potatoes for breakfast today and think I’ll make a pizza with the rest.

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Categories: challenges, scones, substitutions, tempeh, vegan blog challenge 2013 | 4 Comments

Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 5: Olives for Dinner

I had not heard of this blog before. You can take a look at it here: Olives for Dinner. The photography is amazing. A lot of the recipes are just a tad too exotic for everyday use. But I was able to find three to try anyway.

Tofu Tikka Masala

Tofu Tikka Masala

Tofu Tikka Masala

This was just a bit complex – not a lot, just a bit. I made the marinade and stuck the tofu in it the night before. I didn’t press it very thoroughly because it was only medium firm and did not seem to be handling the weight well when I put weight on it. So I sliced it and pressed it with a towel by hand. It didn’t soak up as much marinade as I’d have liked, but oh well. I broke it into smaller pieces and had to cook it on the griddle probably more like 10 minutes to a side and turned it 3 times before it got nice and toasty-crisp.

I was really happy with the results, however, and Mr Pine Nut said it was really good as well, so that made my day and all the work worth it. It’s something I would make again.

Curried Chickpea and Onion Fritters:

I rarely ever fry food… in fact, I think the last time I probably did was at GooGoo’s first birthday party when I made latkes. So I figured it was probably okay to indulge in something fried again now 2.5 years later. These were really good. A little more salt would have been good since I cooked my own garbanzos and they were unsalted, but even so. Very tasty.

I didn’t get a picture, but they were tasty.

Ginger Garlic Tofu:

Also didn’t get a picture of this, but it was SO GOOD. I may or may not have eaten about 5 slices out of the 8… It had prep work involved but it was all in all really simple to put together – not many ingredients and it doesn’t take much time to stick the pan in the freezer overnight and then it has to marinate at least 4 hours the next day. I used medium firm tofu again here.

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All in all, these recipes were a tad involved, more so than I usually have time for without a bit of planning ahead. In the future I’ll probably find ways to expedite the process of cooking, but a good recipe is also really worth a little extra work. I’m pleased enough with the results that I’d definitely like to go back and find more to try from this blog!

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Categories: challenges, entrees, tofu, vegan blog challenge 2013 | 3 Comments

Lou Who’s Birthday

We had a wonderful party for my darling baby.

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I can’t believe she’s one. But I can’t deny it any more. One she is!

We had my in-laws and their house guest and some other friends over who are essentially family as well. It was a low-key, laid back party.

This was our spread

This was our spread

I made three kinds of sandwiches. One was cucumbers and almond cream cheeze on rye. One was smashed avocado (with a little lemon juice/salt) and tomato on my homemade bread, for those who were soy/nut intolerant. The third was veggeroni and tomato with the cream cheeze on a nine-grain bread. I checked the ingredients halfway through sandwich assembly that the nine-grain had dairy! Oy. We’ve gotten that bread before and I’m positive it was vegan, but I’m guessing they must have recently changed the recipe. I used it anyway and just warned off the dairy intolerant. Note to self: Companies change their recipes! ALWAYS CHECK INGREDIENTS. Preferably, yanno, before buying.

My father-in-law can’t have soy or nuts (soy oil/Crisco is okay); my friends’ little boy can’t have soy, dairy, eggs, or peanuts (but soy lecithin/oil is okay); his older brother can’t have dairy; and Lou Who (and therefore I) also can’t have peanuts. So, there was something for everyone in the end, at least.

We also had a layered fruit salad: chopped cantaloupe, watermelon, and freshly-picked blackberries collected by my husband and GooGoo to keep them occupied while I was busy preparing the party. I also had some sliced cucumbers available for people to add to their sandwiches or just eat on their own.

And I brought out homemade apple juice and a couple bottles of sparkling cherry and apple cider that have been around a while.

These were the veggeroni-tomato sandwiches

These were the veggeroni-tomato sandwiches

Lou Who had to be woken from a nap to attend her own party!

Lou Who had to be woken from a nap to attend her own party!

The cake

The cake

My cake could be one of those “PINTEREST PINS vs. REALITY” examples. This pin was my inspiration. I made my sailboat out of construction paper, scotch tape, and part of a chopstick, and I used tinted cocoanut for the waves, because I had limited frosting and not enough powdered sugar to make more to do my waves out of frosting as in the picture. Since it was a cocoanut cake anyway, it worked. I’m happy with the way it came out. I’m not Martha Stewart and have no intention to become her.

I used Chloe’s cocoanut cake recipe for the cake. It was super gooey and came apart coming out of the pan the first time, so I baked a second one (I can only do one layer at a time anyway in my oven) and it also came apart. But it came a little LESS apart, so I just smushed it all back together and covered it up with frosting. It would have been really tasty with chocolate frosting, just like an Almond Joy bar. Next time I make it, I think I’ll do that. Anyway, it was really yummy despite being so gooey, but I have no idea how it would ever come out of the pan in one piece. On the side I had chocolate cupcakes that originally were to have waves and shark fins, but due to the abovementioned frosting shortage, I bypassed that idea.

First cut of the cake!

First cut of the cake!

Lou Who was far more interested in her cake than was GooGoo at her first birthday

Lou Who was far more interested in her cake than was GooGoo at her first birthday

I also blew up a ton of white and blue balloons and everyone enjoyed playing with those, including the adults. Lou Who got some lovely new clothes and books and a bib. (Just like the one in the above picture, but pink.)

"I'm ONE, I'm ONE!"

“I’m ONE, I’m ONE!”

It was a wonderful party.

Oh, and Lou Who’s dress? I had one cut out for her and had embroidered the sailboat on the skirt and started sewing it together. But my iron was so full of gunk Thursday when I started sewing that I ran out of time with all the other things needing to be done before I could get around to cleaning it. So, this little dress popped up at a yard sale my friend and I had Friday and I bought it, never thinking until the morning of the party that Lou Who could wear it. It’s 3T! But it fit her almost perfectly despite being a little big in the shoulders. I think it’s vintage, and looks homemade, but it has a tag in it. So I have no idea. I was just thankful it was available just when I needed it.

I’ve finally posted Lou Who’s Birth Story if you’re so inclined to read it. On to the second year of my baby’s life!

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Categories: birthdays, entertaining, Lou Who, Mrs Pine Nut | 2 Comments

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