Monthly Archives: January 2015

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: January Edition

So, I’ve unofficially decided on a personal challenge this year, which is far more fun than a New Year’s resolution. Early this month, I cracked open Veganomicon, looking for a use for some tofu I had in my fridge, and ended up with a pot of barbecue sauce simmering on the stove – and I made some tofu-cashew ricotta that was DELISH.  So I decided to attempt to try roughly 5 new recipes every week. I’ve been bouncing around a lot of cookbooks this month; I may try to be more focused next month. Or not! Spontaneity is the name of the game!

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From Veganomicon:

1. Basic Barbecue Sauce – I’m honestly not sure why I made this, aside from the fact that I just happened to have all the needed ingredients, because I’m not a huge fan of BBQ sauce. It just sounded fun for some reason! We ate a little bit of it with some leftover something or other and I froze the rest until I can think what to make with it. It’s good.

2. Cashew-Tofu Ricotta – YUM.

3. Messy Rice – Good, but I thought a little more salt would have been nice. Also, I let it sit too long before eating, so it got a tiny bit too dry.

4. Chickpea-Quinoa Pilaf – I thought this was pretty fab fresh. Mr Pine Nut dismissed it as “kinda brown and monotaste”. The leftovers weren’t appealing to me, but I think I’d make it again!

5. Pumpkin Cranberry Scones – VERY good. Will opt for the longer bake time next time, because these were more muffins than scones with the shorter time.

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[6-13 REDACTED UNTIL PERMISSION GRANTED]

From the interwebs:

14. Carrot Cake Muffins – I got some cocoanut flour for a Christmas present and so I found this recipe to try. The flavour was really quite good, especially considering that there was no salt, but the texture was weird.

15. Kamut-Wheat Pizza Crust – I remembered that Vegan Richa did a pizza series for MoFo one year, and I wanted to use the abovementioned barbecue sauce on a pizza AND branch out and try a new pizza crust. So I decided on this one. It was very tasty; I managed to gum up my grain mill with the cashews because I’m brilliant that way. (I was trying to grind the wheat, kamut, and cashews together, because I ain’t got cashew flour. Don’t try this at home.) Anyway, I don’t think I’ll make it again unless I come into possession of pre-ground cashew flour, but I did really like it!

And in case you were interested, I topped the pizza with the BBQ sauce, chickpeas, minced chives and green onions, and Daiya. It was great!

From Vegan Brunch:

16. Toasted Cocoanut-Mango Muffins – SOOOO YUMMMMM. I want to try it with dried pineapple next, and I also must try the chocolate chip version sometime very soon.

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17. English Muffins – These tasted good, but I think my next try will be better. The only other time I tried making English muffins resulted in some indigestible leaden discs, so this definitely was better than that, but I think there’s some skill to be gained from practise. Figuring out exactly how long to pan-fry, how to be sure they’re baked through – it’ll come with time. They were good and went fast!

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18. Cocoa Raspberry Muffins – I subbed chopped frozen strawberries for the raspberries because that’s what I had. These were tender and delish, not too sweet (unless you ask Mr Pine Nut, who thinks everything is too sweet 😉 ) I’d like to try these with cherries next! They were good the next day also, and then I refrigerated them and they were still good. Can’t say that for some muffins.

19. Bakery-Style Muffins – I did use a little whole wheat flour and reduced the sugar a smidge, but these were decadent and delightful. I may or may not have eaten six.

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20. NYC Coffee Cake – This was astonishingly delicious. I don’t think I’ll ever make another coffee cake again. No, really.

From Isa Does It:

21. Creamy Potato-Leek Soup – I liked this, but wasn’t over the moon about it.

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22. Jumbo Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – I’m lousy at math, but I did figure out the following: I did a double batch and consumed 30% of the dough before the cookies were done baking. These were WAY easy and the dough was amazing. The cookies were really great as well.

23. Carrot Cake Pancakes – These were really good!

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24. Creamy Sundried Tomato Penne – Also very pleased with this. It looks kinda complicated, but it actually was really easy and came together quite fast. I used some cauliflower as well because I had some along with broccoli that was dying in the refrigerator.

From Appetite for Reduction:

25. Arabian Lentil Soup – Many other PPKers were raving about this soup, and so I made it. It was very good; not to die for, but it was very simple and I’d make it again.

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From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

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26. Key Lime Shortbread Rounds – SO good. The dough was grand, and the baked cookies were no less exceptional, even considering I didn’t have quite enough lime zest as was called for.

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27. Sweet Chocolate Pretzels – these were just okay to me. They weren’t bad, but I wasn’t thrilled with them either for the amount of work they were. The dough was tasty though! Tastier than the final cookie. And the end result did look charmingly pooplike, if you’re into that kind of thing.

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:

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28. S’mores Cupcakes – So, one of my gripes about this book is how many of the recipes call for non-dairy yogurt. I have some yogurt at the moment, so I was all “lemme make some cupcakes!” And as I was paging through I realised that actually a lot of them don’t actually call for yogurt. So… I guess it seems one way when I have no yogurt vs. when I do. ANYWAY, these are really good. The cupcakes really do taste like graham crackers. I was too lazy to make a chocolate ganache, would would have been easier to eat and more chocolatey than the chocolate chips, but hey, it looks pretty! Would definitely make again.

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in January: 8

Did I meet my goal? Yes, plus 8. Yay!

See you next month, with February’s recipe report!

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Categories: brunch, challenges, cookies, dessert, soup, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Saga of the Ever-Changing Kitchen!

Okay, so it’s not actually ever-changing, but it’s changed a lot since my last kitchen tour post, not to mention the one before that, because we’re, oh, IN THE HOUSE. Partly for your perusal, but mostly for my own records, here’s a current peek at my makeshift kitchen!

_MG_5071Here’s an overall view of the south end of my kitchen, with a bonus Lou Who and Pumpkitten II.

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This shelf used to be in my sewing closet, and someday it may again be used for that, but for now it sure is handy in my kitchen. On the bottom are canisters of staples: rolled oats, mixed rolled grains, granola, flaxseed, and frequently-used dried beans.

Next shelf up is dried fruit.

Third shelf up, my spice shelf of doom.

Top shelf, vitamins, meds, oils, salt, a digital clock, an assortment of nukkys, random overflow spices, a mortar and pestle, bandaids, my glass of water,  and my kitchen scale.

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Here’s the stove. This stove was in the house that we tore down when we bought the property, because it was a stinking mouldy mess, about 19 times worse than the trailer. It still works. We stored it in the shed until we had this room ready for it and a plug to plug it into, and then we Thoroughly Santised it, because there was a dead mouse in it and apparently years’ worth of bacon grease, or something. Blech. So anyway, it’s a good stove and although I’d like a nicer one someday, I’m happy to have one that works for now.

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Next to the stove is this counter. It is a clever counter because it is supported solely by my precious decoupaged table (that has a towel on top to protect it from harm). There is a piece of plywood, a layer of black plastic, and tiles that will eventually be our utility room floor. Mr Pine Nut made me shelves with boards and cinderblocks, and I appropriated the plastic drawers (also a sewing room item in a former life) to store silverware, baking things, kitchen towels, and miscellany.

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Here’s what the black plastic looks like under the tiles. I have to lift the tiles occasionally to clean around and under them, since flour tends to sift through the cracks when I make bread or whatever.

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And this is under the counter: my aseptic milk stash, oil, pots and pans, flour mill, and other stuff.

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And this is the west end of my kitchen. The yellow buckets have white flour, wheat berries, brown rice, and rolled oats: things we go through the most. There are also stacks of boxes of last fall’s canned goods and a juicer.

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And this is my living room bookshelf that is, for now, a kitchen shelf. The top has a variety of grains we use for breakfasts, the food processor, popcorn popper, and utensils. Next down is all my storage containers, mixing bowls, and kidlet dishes. Bottom shelf has my most-used cookbooks and more canned goods both storebought and homemade. I still have the convection oven there on the floor too! I don’t use it much any more, but I’m glad to have it.

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And finally, the north side of the kitchen. Same counter setup. The dishwasher was a free item from a lady at church who was upgrading; the sink is a cast-iron Kohler sink that we got for $35, and the refrigerator was also free – we just had to go pick it up. As you can see, the bag dryer is still getting heavy use! 🙂 We have our knives on the far end of the counter, and this is also my morning grooming spot, so I have a little mirror on the windowsill and all my “stuff” in the overnight bag on the counter. Yes, we do have bathroom mirrors, but no bathroom sinks or counters, so this is easiest for me.

So that’s my update. But I’m going to leave you with this, because it makes me really happy:

That's Mr Pine Nut plastering the walls of the office, the first room we'll be finishing! I AM BEYOND EXCITED

That’s Mr Pine Nut plastering the walls of the office, the first room we’ll be finishing! I AM BEYOND EXCITED

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Categories: around the kitchen, Mrs Pine Nut | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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