Sunday, February 18, 2007

Giant post from a scattered brain

Oh boy, have I been a bad blogger/bloggee! I'm so sorry I haven't been around much lately. Things have been kind of nuts around here and I've been swamped, but things will be settling down in the next few weeks and I'll get back into a better blogging routine again. It seems like I have had a hard time getting back in the swing of things post-holidays, but at least I'm not the only one.

But, even thought I haven't been posting, I have been cooking and taking pictures, so here I go!

Chicken fried tempeh with mashed potatoes and mustard greens. This recipe is the one that Jess posted about a few weeks ago from It was SO good. I would halve the recipe if you're using a regular sized brick of tempeh, because I had a lot of leftover batter.

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Valentine's Day breakfast. I got up early to make Jim his breakfast, which I don't normally do during the work week. A few weeks early we were at a kitchen gadget store and Jim spotted a cookbook called Peanut Butter Planet, by Robin Robertson. Jim could live on peanut butter alone, and I was so happy to see in actually interested in a cookbook, and actually cooking, so I made a mental note of the title and I got it for him for V-Day. At the store, he showed me a recipe for apple peanut butter pancakes that he was drooling over, so I made those along with tempeh white bean patties and some fresh kiwi. He was delighted to have pancakes AND peanut butter and I was delighted that he eagerly accepted a cookbook as a gift. I'll let you know when he finally makes something from it.

Random dinner last week when I really needed to go to the grocery store. Black bean and carrot stew, millet and mustard greens. It was "eh". But I got rid of stuff in the fridge.

A local restaurant here that normally only serves breakfast and brunch has started a series of 4 course vegan dinners that happen one Friday a month. They have become so popular they are booked well in advance, so you have to reserve your spot ahead of time. Jim and I went early this month and it was incredible. It costs a flat $15 a person and it's served family style, so you can go back for seconds if there are still some at your table. The Friday we went we were treated to roasted garlic and potato soup, fennel and beet salad, mushroom risotto stuffed chard with butternut squash sauce, sprouted wheat pasta with roasted veggies and chocolate and dried cherry cupcakes with chocolate mousse. OMG.

Our favorite item was the mushroom risotto stuffed chard, so I decided to try my hand at it this week. I made some mushroom risotto in the pressure cooker, roasted the squash and pureed it, blanched the chard leaves, then filled the leaves with risotto, rolled them up and covered them with the sauce. It was good, but not as magical as the ones we had that night. I know that March is all booked up, but if you're local, I highly recommend contacted them ASAP to try and get a slot for April.

Simple apple crisp with some vanilla Soy Dream. Soy Dream is my new friend, it kicks Soy Delicious' butt.

And our new fun treat! I've heard about people making frozen banana soft serve in the Champion juicer for some time now, but just recently decided to pull out our sadly underused juicer and give it a whirl. Oh boy, is it ever amazing! I expected it to be like banana smoothie texture, but it comes out as soft and creamy as soft serve. We've been alternating chunks of bananas with peanut butter for an amazing treat with no added sugar. I LOVE IT! I've gone bananas buying up ripe bananas and freezing them.

A close up of the nana goodness.

We had a lovely dinner party last night with a handful of friends and I made tempeh fajitas! Naturally, I forgot to take a picture, but this is part of the leftovers, sans salsa. Marinated tempeh with red and yellow bells peppers and onions, tofutti sour cream and guac. Chris and Kate made two yummy salsas, one with roasted tomatoes and olives and another with bananas(! it was really good!) and Sandy and Joe brought homemade sangria. Delicious.

And what else goes better with a Mexican-inspire feast than Isa cupcakes? Especially Isa cupcakes displayed in my new cupcake tree?

Margarita cupcakes. MAKE THESE! The lime and tequila mixture was so freaking good, with the slight crunch of the rim sugar and the creamy frosting with an occasional bit of course salt. The frosting recipes make much more than needed so Jim and I were enjoying it on it's own and man, it is incredible.

Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes, sprinkled with powdered sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon. These have a combination of flours, all-purpose, corn flour and ground almond meal, for a really soft and delicate crumb, that was a nice compliment to the margarita ones. We love you, Isa!

And now, for our latest challenge. Maybe it was the cupcakes talking, but last night after our guests left Jim and I started talking about Lent. We're not religious and neither one of us has ever given up anything for Lent before, but our raging sweet teeth have gotten out of control. Jim is at the point where if there is nothing for dessert he will put chunks of baking chocolate in his mouth, wait for them to melt and then stuff in a teaspoon of peanut butter! So we decided, as of this Wednesday, we are giving up sugar for 40 days. Not fruit, because that's natural, but no sweets, no baking, no sugar added cereal, no maple syrup, nothing. It's going to be hard, but it will be well worth it to see how we feel 40 days from now. I'm really excited to have a goal and to have Jim in on the deal. The first thing is that in the next few days we need to clear everything out of the house that has sugar in it, which isn't much, but I have a handful of things that I need to have far, far away from reach. The Champion will be getting lots of use, so I'll have to go stock up on bananas!


Anonymous said...

Please let me know how the 40 days of no sugar (my fave drug in the world) goes. I may have to follow!! Thanks for mentioning us on your blog. I was just teasing when I said you haven't posted in awhile. :) The cupcakes were awesome!! We can't wait to have everyone over.
Can't wait to scour the Bahamian markets for fun things to bring back.. Think we can find vegan island food? I am up for the challenge!
GOOD LUCK tomorrow and I would love to hear all about your first day!


laura jesser said...

I love the banana soft-serve; it's one of my favorite treats. Thank goodness it's not off-limits for Lent! :) I hope that goes well for you--heaven knows I need to do the same thing. I've done it before, and it really is a rewarding feeling in the end. Good luck!

Eat Peace Please said...

Hi Kris, you got me commenting! I'll blog soon like I say to you everyday.

This post is awesome! I love your cupcake display and those cupcakes look super good.

As I already said, good luck with the 40 days! I don't think I'd make it... your juicer will be put to plenty more use, I know it. That banana soft serve looks awesome. Have you thought about coconut like the soft serve they have at Green?

Oh, and Jim cracks me up- shoving baking chocolate squares in his mouth! That's hilarious!

aTxVegn said...

My, you've been busy! First, that chicken fried tempeh looks too good. That goes on the must try list. And the apple pb pancakes - I love apples with pb -- well, like Jim, anything with pb -- you were sweet to make those for him.

I didn't realize a juicer could make ice cream! The soft serve looks heavenly, as do all the cupcakes.

Good luck with Lent. Last year my sister, who eats chocolate every day, successfully gave up chocolate, so I know you can do it!

maybepigscanfly said...

THat banana soft-serve looks amazing! I must start purchasing bananas by the bundles!

That was so sweet of you to get that cookbook for Jim and make him the pb pancakes early in the morning. I'm sure he loved it!

Your fajitas are making me hungry!


erica said...

Kris, good for you with the sugar thing! I've given up caffeine for lent successfully, and I gave up all sugars-except fruit-last year for several months (you know, when I gave up gluten and everything else on the planet :P ). It's do-able, but so hard for the first few weeks. Once you break the hold it has on you it's easy.

I am currently on a one day juice fast, so I am completely jealous of your juicer. I plan a longer three day fast in a month or two, and my boyfriend will likely join me, so I'm going to have to break down and get one. I love that you can make nut butters with a Champion, as well.

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I like your scattered-brain posting! Glad you got to try the chicken fried tempeh, I always, even with halving that recipe, have batter left over - good point.
I love the idea of tons of banana 'creme'.
Good Luck with the no sugar, for reals!
I will warn you, don't come to my blog..

Caty said...

Wow, everything looks delicious. Good luck giving up the sugar!

Anonymous said...

Everything looks wonderful. It's really not a good idea to go blog-hopping when you're hungry. I want to make everything! Jim's dessert idea rocks. My girlfriend and I used to keep a stock of chocolate and pb at work just for that same purpose! I hear you about that sugar monkey. I hope you post a lot about how you're feeling.

KleoPatra said...


All that food... and to think some folks out there believe there is nothing for VEG*s to eat. HA! Thanks for proving 'em wrong... Love the photos of all the great food. SO yummy.

Sweetness in life is something to be cherished, and going without the excess sweets is not always easy. I wish you an easy time and good health with plenty of energy and happiness as you do this.

Go for it!!

scottishvegan said...

Good luck with the sugar thing! I know I couldn’t do it!

I love the idea of the banana ice cream. If only I had a juicer :(

I made the margarita cupcakes and thought they were nice, but not amazing...maybe I just didn’t make them right. I was torn between making them and the Mexican hot chocolate ones and looking at your chocolate ones I wish I had made them now! They look gorgeous!!

Vicki said...

mmmm, the risotto stuffed chard looks fabulous - I sure wish we had a restaurant like that here. and major yum on the cupcake tree! :o)

Freedom said...

That's awesome that you're giving up sugar for lent. I'd never realised it before, but being raw means I've given up all non-natural sugars too. More raw food for you, methinks? :-)
Oooh, I wish wish WISH I had a champion juicer. You lucky things (although food processors make 'banana ice cream' almost as well).

Anonymous said...

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Mikaela said...

Well no wonder you haven't been blogging - you're too busy cooking and eating! Everything looks great :)

Anonymous said...

What's in frozen banana soft serve besides bananas?

Anonymous said...

yum, so much food, i wish you good luck!

Anonymous said...

Which restaurant now has the 4 course meals for dinnr? by the looks and sound of it...I would say veganopolis, but it's a mystery to me...Let a girl KNOW!!

Kris said...

Thanks to everyone for all your comments and no-sugar support!

Anon #1- the softserve is made up of pure bananas, that's it. I add a little peanut butter for taste, but other wise it's just banana.

Anon #2- Junior's Cafe is having the dinners. It's in SE on 12th just south of Hawthorne. They also have an incredible vegan breakfast menu.

Austin Home Purchase said...

Wonderful home cooking. The stuffed swiss chard is intriguing.