Monday, January 31, 2011

Political Unrest

Has anyone else been reading the news regarding the uprisings in Tunisia, Yemen, and now Egypt? There have been supporters in the street in Jordan and Qatar too. So many people taking action to stand up to abusive governments is truly inspiring. I really wish I could be there to experience it. I know that sounds crazy, but I've always wanted to be part of a revolution. It is empowering that people can stand up to their authoritarian governments and hopefully bring about positive change for the people in their country.

I've been reading the news (like I do every single day anyways) and even watching the news! I don't usually watch the news, because I prefer to read several versions of the same story from multiple sources. Here are some easy to read links, if you're interested:

Women of Egypt pictorial here
Video footage with music here
Internet shutdown in Egypt with other links here and here
Tunisian uprising here and here
Yemen uprising here
Protests spread to Northern Sudan here
Spreading uprisings in the Middle East here

Saturday, January 29, 2011

National Vegan Pizza Day

As everyone else is at the Beer Fest, I am taking a day to myself. I was hoping to be in Melbourne today, but I never heard back from Ryan and Marigny. Since I'm on my new budget, I couldn't justify spending money on the ticket to Beer Fest, since I don't like beer, don't care much for hard cider, and don't want to drink wine in the afternoon sun. Plus, the only vegan food would have been the pretzel necklace, so I decided to save my money and not go. I decided to enjoy national vegan pizza day instead, staying in and watching some of my favorite movies, reading, and cleaning.

I made English muffins from Urban Vegan for the cookbook challenge. The taste was good and similar to what I remember from Thomas English muffins, but they didn't come out thick enough to slice in half like an English muffin. I wish I had some English muffin rounds to make forming them easier. I dolloped some dough on my hot griddle for the first batch and they came out like ovals. For the second and third rounds, I tried to use foil rings (as suggested here), but that didn't work out well. I decided to make English muffins instead of the many other dishes in Urban Vegan because I really wanted an excuse to make veggeroni (seitan pepperoni). I cut the recipe in half because I was low on vital wheat gluten. I topped the muffins with a roasted herb and garlic sauce, Daiya cheese, and veggeroni chunks. Nom nom nom.


Earlier in the week, we celebrated Elliot quitting his job and had a farewell dinner. Jess and Elliot brewed a Newcastle style beer, so they got to serve it at the farewell dinner. It got rave reviews. Jess made French bread and beer bread, again with recipes from Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day. For the main dish, I made quick seitan cutlets, which tasted just like chick'n burgers. Jess, Elliot, and Cristin made the apple and squash chutney to serve on top of chicken breasts (seitan cutlets for me). I know this photo isn't very good, but the chutney was amazing. It reminded me of what I would like Thanksgiving stuffing to taste like.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Vegan Cheese Sticks?!

So my inner fat kid squealed with delight today when I logged onto blogger. I was browsing my reader and saw Vegan Heartland's review of Teese sticks!!! Teese is another cheese alternative made by Chicago Soy Dairy, the makers of Dandies. I've never bought it, but it's on my list of foods to try. Turns out that Vegan Essentials is now carrying Teese sticks here. I can't believe it! I've thought about vegan cheese sticks and found some recipes (vegoftheweek and vegan happy hour), but never bothered to put forth that much effort for junk food. Maybe now I won't have to! Nom nom nom.

Anyways, on to healthier food! I made Ina's crunchy noodle salad from Food Network. I used agave nectar instead of honey and added a box of cubed tofu to add protein to the dish. It was delicious! I love the texture of peanut butter and soy sauce mixed together. Plus, any excuse to use my Microplane grater is nice. :)


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oh Ferry Corsten

As I'm preparing photos for this entry and typing this up, I am listening to the amazing Ferry Corsten (YouTube channel). He's one of the best techno artists in the world and puts on an incredible live show. I had the chance to see him in NOLA for Voodoo Fest in 2006. One of the coolest moments of my life. I got really lucky to see Tiesto (YouTube channel), another legendary techno artist, at Voodoo Fest too. I'm bummed I missed the past one because a bunch of techno artists, including the rising Deadmau5 (pronounced Deadmouse), was there and the video footage of his set is sickkkk. Enough about my love of techno/trance, on to the food!

I made margarita cupcakes on Friday night with Jess and Elliot. Cristin got held up with some other stuff so she didn't get to join our baking and drinks party. Nothing better than fresh margaritas - Patron, Triple Sec, and fresh squeezed lime juice. The cupcake recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.


I went out of town for part of the weekend to celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday party. She was surprised to see me there. I felt like I really needed to be there after missing our family's last big birthday event for my great-grandma's 99th birthday in 2008. I didn't get to go to that event and my great-grandma passed away 3 weeks later. I never got to see her that one last time, because she died as I was getting on the interstate in Louisiana to make the 13 hour trip home. :(

While I was at my mom's house, I made the seitan, red bean, and white bean jamabalaya from Veganomicon for the cookbook challenge. The seitan recipe in this book is ungodly salty and I would not make it again. Even the next day, the seitan was still really salty. The recipe would have been delicious even without the seitan. I'd use a less salty seitan recipe next time or maybe some tofu cubes. The beans alone would be enough. The recipe made waaayyy more food than I anticipated so I'd cut the recipe in half in the future.


Today, I went to the surprise brunch party for my grandma. My vegetarian aunt made spanakopita for me using the recipe from VwaV. The way these are shaped makes me want to dip them in something, but I have no idea what sauce would be appropriate. My aunt said she wanted more spinach in them, but I think I'd want more nutritional yeast for that salty/savory element. She also made some chocolate cupcakes and cornbread veganized for me. :)


Okay, time to listen to more Ferry Corsten and rock out in my room!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quick Entry

I am drained from the week, and the general lack of sleep I've been getting in 2011, so I'll keep this short. :)

Cristin hosted our dinner club the other night. She made stuffed flank steaks for everyone else's main dish. I just took a giant portion of the quinoa salad and brought some spinach to saute. Jess made the rolls topped with a sun-dried tomato using a recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Unfortunately, the recipe called for a glass dish to be heated, then to add water to the dish when you put the rolls in the oven. The moisture puts a nice crust on the bread. Well, even with 3 scientists and an engineer in the kitchen, we didn't realize this would likely cause the hot glass dish to shatter. It exploded, sending glass shards into the first batch of rolls! :(


Tonight, I came home from work and stared into the fridge. I have a meal plan drawn up for the month, but I couldn't bring myself to put forth the effort for the dish I initially planned for tonight. I picked one of the easier meals to use up some ingredients in the fridge before they went bad. I made mashed potatoes with soy creamer, Earth Balance, a little parsley, sauteed onion, sauteed garlic, nutritional yeast, and those crunchy fake bacon bits. I served this with a Gardein stuffed turkey breast that has been in the freezer since the holidays and some corn. I'm trying to avoid buying a ton of new stuff until I use up some of the stuff taking up space, such as this stuffed turkey breast set. It was good, but I didn't like the gravy.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cupcakes and a Cookbook Challenge!

I made the mint chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Nom nom nom. For the chocolate ganache, I used Sunspire's Chocolate Dream semi-sweet chips. I originally went to the store looking for Tropical Source brand, but apparently Sunspire changed the name to Chocolate Dream. I knew these Chocolate Dream chips would be fine to use, because my aunt gave me one of their bars for Christmas and it was delicious. :)


In other cooking news, I found this PPK cookbook challenge while randomly browsing recipes. I have some ingredients in the fridge that I need to use up, so I've been looking for very specific recipes. The hunt always starts out focused, but then I let my curiosity get the best of me and I start clicking links from blog to blog. When I saw this cookbook challenge, I was pretty excited. I am not going to do 3 recipes from each book for each week, instead I'm going to just do 1 recipe. It's easier on me and ensures that I can mix and match items to avoid wasting food. I got lucky that Week 1 was Appetite for Reduction, so I technically am on track without even realizing it! (I made the spinach and roasted cauliflower lasagna.) This week is Veganomicon and next week is Urban Vegan. I do not own these books, but I was able to look at some recipes using the "look inside this book" feature after signing in on Amazon. I printed some recipes out, but I won't reveal them today. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Food I Actually Cooked

Unlike the last post, which was full of items pre-made at Whole Foods, I am making this post full of things I've cooked in the last week. :)

After having the lasagna at the Secret Santa party, I decided to make some at home. I borrowed the Appetite for Reduction cookbook from Cristin and set out to make the lasagna. I took two short cuts compared to the original recipe: (1) oven ready lasagna noodles that do not need to be boiled before baking and (2) pre-made sauce because I have a zillion bottles from Publix’s “buy one get one” specials. I used a roasted garlic and herb sauce, as well as 2 cups of spinach (instead of 1.5 cups), a little garlic in the tofu, and no olives. It is supposed to make 6 servings where each serving has 300 calories, but I just split the lasagna in half (don’t judge). I had half for dinner the night I made it and the other half for lunch on Friday. I snapped this picture on Friday, so the photo does not do this lasagna justice. It has roasted cauliflower in it!


The other dish I have prepared recently is spiced banana pancakes from Vegan Planet. I had three little bananas turning brown. I did not want to make banana bread, so I was browsing the web for ideas when I saw these pancakes mentioned on Vegan Cookbook Tester. I decided to give it a go, even though I’m more of a waffle girl. I served the pancakes with tempeh bacon from VwaV and the leftover roasted red potatoes. I let the tempeh marinate for a couple hours, but I didn’t really like this recipe. Maybe I would like it if I used the same marinade recipe for tofu (a suggestion in the book).


I also found this photo of tortilla cups on my camera and realized that I never uploaded it to the blog, even though I mentioned the recipe here. Again, I’d leave out the slimy green chiles and opt for a freshly diced jalapeno. I also don’t think I’d want the salsa in the cup again either because it did drip all over when I bit into the cups. The chips on the side are just tortillas that I cut into quarters and crisped in the oven, like this recipe.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Whole Foods Trip

I went to Whole Foods the other day to get a doughnut to celebrate re-submitting my paper to the journal – a few days ahead of schedule even! Whole Foods is the only place in town that sells vegan doughnuts. They have a raspberry jam filled doughnut, which I love, and a regular frosted doughnut. These are a special treat for me. :)


While I am there, I am always tempted to buy other things! I bought some Wildwood soy yogurt, tempeh, and vegetables for Jess’s dinner. However, they also have a prepared foods section that always tempts me! I bought some falafel from Aramouni’s, a local place that prepares the food for Whole Foods to sell. (I couldn’t find a website for Aramouni’s, but it appears to be a gourmet bakery and wholesale snack place based in Riveria Beach/West Palm Beach.) This falafel is way better than my two attempts and it comes with tahini sauce. I enjoyed them for lunch with the leftover blanched green beans.


While eyeing the falafel, I saw another little container that looked interesting. This container held a five grain and corn cashew ball. What the hell is that? Exactly. I had to buy it to taste it. It was a little weird. Not something I would buy again, but I had to try it. I had this with a sliced Gala apple and some soy yogurt.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Another Dinner

Last night, Jess volunteered to cook for our supper club. She went above and beyond by making fresh rolls.


We used the rolls as buns for sloppy joe lentils. So good!


Cristin commented that you don't even care that the sloppy joes contain lentils instead of ground beef. I mean, can you beat high protein, iron, and fiber content with essentially no fat?! Oh lentils, you are awesome. We had a group of 6 so she wisely doubled the recipe. Since Cristin was getting a hair cut, I volunteered to do side dishes. I made roasted red potatoes and blanched green beans. I felt really fancy blanching the green beans, but I now understand why people love to do that on cooking shows. The crunchiness and gorgeous green color of fresh beans was intact (as you can see in the bottom right corner of the photo). :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Fighter

This past weekend, I got the chance to meet up with a friend in CityPlace. We had lunch at BB King's and then saw The Fighter. I ordered a salad without feta cheese for lunch. I know, why would I pick a place with essentially no good vegan food? I had a gift certificate that I won at the company holiday party.

Anyways, we saw the movie and were discussing how Mark Wahlberg has aged gracefully. Case in point:

Mark Wahlberg in his modeling days:

Mark Wahlberg on set for the movie:

He is still in ridiculously good shape! There were a few scenes that were shot from behind him as he was training. You could see his back muslces moving as he was doing boxing drills. Crazy! I would definitely recommend the movie though, because it's really interesting to see how the older brother's crack addiction affects their family, but there are some funny moments too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Great quote

"I'm vegan because I care deeply about the suffering in the world; not because I want to be righteous, smug, arrogant, holier than thou, preachy, a know it all, confrontational or an asshole. I'm vegan because values of mercy, kindness, compassion and justice are my every day values that extend to my food choices."

This was on the facebook page for Portland's Food Fight! vegan grocery store.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Very Short Entry

I have only bit my nails a couple times this week! Weeee! I have been chewing a lot of gum though. It's a trade-off for now. Hopefully one day I won't need to use gum as a distraction. :)

This week, I didn't get any food photos. Boo. I made baked falafel from ChowVegan. Instead of using hummus in the pita, I made a dip using white beans, roasted red peppers, and Tofutti cream cheese. I put some diced tomatoes, cucumber, and lettuce in the pita pocket. Tonight, I went to a friend's house and made tempeh meatloaves. Instead of the bourbon sauce, my friend made his mom's ketchup, brown sugar, and powdered mustard meatloaf sauce. He also cooked some kale with white beans, garlic, and some beer. Tasty. I should work more kale into my diet since it's a "super food." Our little dinner party was a success with 6 friends joining us. (No, this was NOT a date. Just friends.)

I bought Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World because it has a recipe for margarita cupcakes. Jess has been unsure of what to make me for my birthday dessert. I want margarita cupcakes! Nom nom nom. Plans will be fleshed out over the next several weeks, but it looks like drinks on the Friday or Saturday before my birthday and then lots of Mexican food on my birthday. Mexican food + margarita cupcakes = 25th birthday celebration. :)

Also, as a note, here are the Canadian dietary guidelines discussed on vegandad. I have to look at stuff like this periodically to remind myself about why it's worth taking the time to plan meals. I want to make sure I'm eating healthy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Secret Love of Pyrex

If I could get some Pyrex Gooseberry for my birthday, I'd be ecstatic. Unfortunately, it's so expensive because these patterns aren't produced anymore. :(


I also found this pattern that is super cute - the Blue Horizon.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Welcoming in the New Year

I've enjoyed the last couple days. I am still toiling away in lab, but I've enjoyed my bicycle rides to work. Balances out the annoying stress of failed experiments. I am excited to cook tempeh meatloaves with the guys and Cristin this weekend! It should be entertaining to say the least. Jeff is getting a sauce recipe from his mom, plus he'll be making beer beans and kale for the side dishes. Cristin is in charge of dessert.

Tonight's dinner included a curry known as rajmah from the famous Smitten Kitchen. I ended up not having enough kidney beans, so I added a yellow bell pepper to provide more chunks to chew on. Delicious curry. I've never used tomato sauce in a curry before, but it gave it a nice touch. Different texture than my usual tomato chunks or coconut milk curries.


I forgot to mention that I saw The Dead Kennedys in Melbourne recently. I went up to see Ryan and Marigny again. They move to DC in mid-February, so hopefully I can see them one last time before the big move. If not, the show provided a last chance to see them.

I also finished reading Dave Cullen's Columbine last night. It is a very thorough look at the Columbine tragedy. Definitely would recommend it to anyone with a morbid curiosity about the shooting. A lot of stories reported in the news after the tragedy were lies and the police department even had a cover up! I don't think Adie approved. I snapped this photo on my iPhone to text it to Cristin, since I borrowed the book from her.


Looks like Chic-fil-a is making its way onto my boycott list. Chic-fil-a is sponsoring a conference for a publicly anti-gay organization. Boo.