Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas with a Vengeance

Hello everyone! Regardless to what you all did last weekend, I hope you enjoyed the long weekend and ate lots of goodies! Now that things are going to be slowing down a bit, I'll be back to blogging more regularly.

I haven't been cooking or baking much lately due to being low on time and the homeowner's curse- my oven is dying! I doubt it ever had quite the workout it's had since it started living with me, but it's getting progressively worse, so we're going to have to face the inevitable and look into getting a new one soon. While we're at it, we're going to get a new fridge because our current one is on the fritz as well. It's a domino effect, I tell you! Our dishwasher hasn't worked worth anything, either, but that's not necessary so it's going to wait. We haven't had a decent dishwasher in years, so I'm used to doing it by hand anyway. At least it functions as a huge drying rack! Anyway, while I'm not looking forward to the cost, the idea of having some shiny new appliances that are energy efficient and will be vegan from "birth" is exciting.

Christmas Eve breakfast, crepes with an apple and pear compote and an almond version of Dreena's Creamy Cashew Dip on top.

Very beige, but full of flavor!

We had a lovely Christmas Eve. In keeping with making our own traditions, we decided to do Christmas on Christmas Eve. Why not?! It was just us, but we've been so busy lately it was exactly what we needed. We hung out in our pj's and ate food and watched movies and just plain relaxed. While Santa was good to both of us (check out this cute shirt Jim got me!) I think Bindhi had the best day. Her Aunt Leslie made Bindhi and her brothers some organic catnip toys that she dug out of the bag while I was at work. They are all well-slobbered on and have dozens of teeth holes in them. And we got them a set of these cubes. We used to have a set, but gave them to my sister-in-law. The ones we got have a leopard print on them, very sassy! They are great because when you need to tidy up, they fold up like those wire sun visors you have in your car and they take up no space. Bindhi's favorite activity is to get in one and push against the sides until it rolls over. She just rolls them all over the place. It's so cute to watch. The boys just like to sleep in them.

For dinner on the Eve we went to a local vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant called Van Hanh. It was our first time there and I'm not sure if we'll be back. The great thing about the place is that it's volunteer run by Buddhist nuns and the proceeds benefit the local Buddhist temple. But the food was had was all rather... greasy. Jim and I both left feeling slightly ill.

But not too ill, apparently, because we decided to make peanut butter chocolate chip cookies later that night! We munched on them while watching one of my holiday favorites, Elf.

Christmas day we slept in and had a lazy breakfast of toast and fruit smoothies. Our big dinner got simplified making the Stewed Tofu and Potatoes from VwaV.

I'd somehow never noticed this recipe before, but someone mentioned it to me recently and when I looked at it, wow, I knew I had to make it and soon! Of course, like always, I added carrots and I made 1 1/2 times the gravy amount so there would be extra (can you ever have too much gravy?). The only other change was that I only used 1 cup wine total, because that's all I had, and subbed the rest with water and I only used one medium onion and the garlic, no shallots. Served with some organic ciabatta. It made hearty portions with plenty of leftovers. Yum!

Dessert was a parfait of puddings, the orange pudding from VCTOTW and the chocolate pudding from VWAV.

I layered the puddings while warm and put a layer of chocolate chips in the middle, which melted into a creamy filling. I also sprinkled a few on top along with some fresh orange segments. Creamy and filling, but not too sweet. A nice change of pace for dessert for 2 sugar addicts.

I hope you are all doing well and I look forward to blog hopping soon to see what everyone's been up to!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Quickie Post

Sorry for the gap in posts, but I've been very busy, as I know many of you have been as well. I will be back to a more regular posting schedule after the holiday buzz dies down. We went to Seattle this last weekend to see my brother-in-law and his wife and we definitely did a little eating tour of Seattle, as well as a shopping tour! And, forgetful as I am, I forgot my camera up there! Max is sending it down and I will be doing a Seattle post. We ate at a handful of delicious restaurants and picked up some cool finds, including a stack of new vinyl. Right now I'm listing to "Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk", which is Star Wars music ala disco. So freaking cool.

And now, a quick post.

Brunch a few weekends ago, Susan's fat free quiche adapted with what we had on hand, some sundried tomatoes and zucchini.

On the side we had tempeh crumbles and a throw-together fruit salad with a can of pineapple, banana, vanilla soy yogurt and some ground flaxseed. Firstly, can you say "Soy, oh soy"? The quiche were good, but too good, really. They were so egg-like I made it through half of one and I couldn't eat any more. I imagine that if you were baking a brunch for omni's this would be a hit.

A Christmas surprise last week from a great customer of ours, Diane.

Vegan truffles! Wingnut Confections are vegan, made locally and delivered to their retail outlets by bike. It doesn't get any more Portland than that! They were heavenly, literally the best vegan truffles I've ever had. Hazelnut, marionberry, peppermint and Earl Grey. Yummmmm.

We went with Chris and Kate to go see Howard Hugues' flying boat, more widely known as the "Spruce Goose" a couple of weekends ago.

It was so enormous that we couldn't take a picture of the entire plane. The museum was built to fit it and all the other planes are sheltered by its massive presence. Wow. It was a very cool museum and the Goose was great. If you're ever near McMinnville and you have any appreciation for design, aviation or just general geekery, make the stop.

Okay, more soon. I hope you're all weathering winter and the holidays well!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Where's the time going?

Wow, I am behind on everything. Firstly, I'm several posts behind on responding to your comments. For that, I apologize. I will catch up.

As I'm sure many of you are experiencing, it's that crazy, busy time of year. I'm in the middle of several holiday projects that are keeping me on my toes, and I'm up to my ears at Herbivore. It's actually rather fun, between holiday shopping and several new designs we have, I've been flooded with orders, but it's really fun packing them up, because I'm like Santa Claus. Except for the elves. And the sleigh. But I have a red hoodie and I'm pretty darn jolly this time of year!

My shortbread recipe is up on my recipes page. Enjoy! They are great for planning ahead, you can make the dough even several days ahead of time, refrigerate it and then you just have to slice and bake.

A few items from this week:

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies from an issue of Martha Stewart Living a few months ago. They were really tasty and were ridiculously easy to veganize, one of those recipes where you look at it and wonder why it wasn't vegan to begin with. It was like banana chocolate chip bread in cookie form. Yum.

These are the Peanuttiest Blondies that Crystal posted about, that she got from Vegan Diva. I made them with chunk peanut butter and didn't add the extra peanuts. Man, they were great. I sent the cookies and the bars to work with Jim, so the guys there got a (secretly) vegan treat and then I wouldn't be tempted to eat them all.

BTW, Jim isn't secretly a vegan at work, he just works primarily with pretty average guys and he just doesn't like to be singled out as the weird guy, because in his industry you don't really want to make yourself the center of attention for being "weird". If someone asks, though, he talks openly about it and has vegan-related bumper stickers on his car, etc.

This was my mini-bulk cooking this week, a throw-together Indian stew with some a saffron jasmine and quinoa blend. The stew was basically some sauteed onion, a large can of roasted tomatoes, some diced potatoes and carrots, lentils, water and garam masala. Very fragrant and hearty and a nice change up from eating so much soup!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The week in (food) pictures

It's Sunday night. It's late. I'm tired. But there are so many food pics on my camera, I had to post! These are random, sequentially, but I suppose that doesn't matter to anyone except me.

A quick waldorf salad, using what we had around.

Some Jonagold apples, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon and vanilla soy yogurt. This was great for breakfast or with lunch. It's so easy to throw together, I'm not sure why I don't do it more often.

A lasagna I made the other night.

I used those no-cook style noodles and they worked really well. It was layered with Real Food Daily ricotta, zucchini, mushrooms and black olives. Served with a veggie roll from Wild Oats (only at the Fremont one, Portland folks).

I finally found a TJ's near us that carries their meatless meatballs.

I swear they aren't Nate's brand, they taste firmer and more flavorful. Jim felt like he was coming down with a cold today, so he got to make the call on dinner tonight, so we had meatball subs, baked beans drenched in barbeque sauce and a salad.

This morning was brunch day, so I made the raspberry lime variation on Isa's basic pancake recipe in VwaV. They were lovely. Inspired by Leslie's recent post, I ran some frozen mangos and mixed berries through the food processor.

The result was more of a chutney than a puree. It was delicious and Jim even ate some! He's strickly a maple syrup boy, where as I only use maple syrup if there is no fruit whatsoever in the house. I also made the Tempeh Sausage Crumbles from VWaV for the first time and wow! Have we been missing out! I like tempeh, but I've never liked the ways I've been able to make it at home, but this was fantastic.

The other night we had calzones.

Ready to bake pizza dough from the grocery store along with artichokes, mushrooms, black olives and some slices of Tofutti mozzerella that have been living in our fridge.

Dinner a few nights ago, inspired by Jess.

I had the new, super firm tofu they've been carrying at TJ's in the fridge and when she mentioned baking it in the Soy Vay marinade I knew I'd be making it soon. I used the Soy Vay teriyaki, along with a splash of toasted sesame seed oil. We had roasted veggies on the side: potatoes, carrots, onions and our new friend, parsnips. Who knew something with such an unfortunate appearance and name would be so good? Lesson learned.

Baked for the store this weekend: Cherry Almond Shortbread.

I usually make the shortbread and press a dried cherry and some almond slices into the top of each cookie, but I was too tired to do that, so I subbed out some of the flour for almond meal and finely chopped up the cherries and added them to the mix.

From midweek, Eggnog Muffins from La Dolce Vegan. I used the Hollynog which had been living in my fridge for about a week. It is no comparison to the Chocolate Peppermint soy milk that Vitasoy is making right now.

I haven't always had the best of luck baking from Sarah's book, but these muffins were great. I topped each one with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. Simple, very low sugar and festive.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Check it!

I'm in comic form!