Monday, October 31, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Buh-Bye Vegan MoFo, Hello Isa...

I feel like I should post something profound today. It is the last day of my first Vegan MoFo.

A year ago I couldn't even fathom going Vegan. Nine months ago I was dreading it. Seriously.

But I decided I could give up dairy for a month. One measly month. And now. Here I am, just finishing seven almost perfectly clean months of Vegan eating.

I'm sure this won't be my last Vegan Month of Food.

I feel like I should have a radical recipe to celebrate with. There is a dill potato soup in the crockpot ala Vegan with a Vengeance. But I can't give you her recipe. And the weekend saw us cleaning out the fridge and using up some things that needed to be eaten. Most of them were tasty. Like the Asian slaw soup which was a serendipitous creation that will probably never be repeated because the salad was so so and the recipe was tossed. I was happy that I could use up some non-Vegan items for a potluck, too.

I do have a few Vegan things to celebrate.

One. See my left-sided sidebar? The cool Featured Recipes thing. My recipes will all be posted there and you can click on it and see a whole page of recipes. Right now there are nine. But as I get time to convert, I'll be doing that.

Two. I found out that Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Vegan with a Vengeance) is coming to my neck of the woods next Saturday. How cool is that? Very!

Three. Even though it was 26 degrees this morning, the sun is shining and we are pushing 60. That has nothing to do with Vegan, but the dogs are currently lounging in the sun as it splashes across the entryway floor, and that kind of makes me happy. (Mostly cuz they aren't up in my bizness while I'm trying to type, and because they are cute.) 

And yesterday was so nice we winterized the garden. My raspberry bushes are out of control. I think that means we are going to have a great harvest next year. Or they are alien mutants and are going to entomb us on Halloween night.

If you don't hear from me again, you can assume that the alien raspberries attacked. If you know Isa tell her not to be concerned. I will not be a creepy fan. I'll try not to be a creepy fan. I'm really normal. Tell her that. All of you who really know me are NOT allowed to comment unless it's nice. Not kidding.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Apple Soup and Pepper Yum....

Bizarrely good soup.

Xta emailed me a recipe that she thought sounded like me but pretty much said sounded overall nasty. Ha. Ha. Well, I now know how she feels about me!

Kidding. Of course Xta loves me.

I liked the recipe. But it needed major tweaking. So here is my version.

Harvest Candied/Curried Apple Stew

1 TBSP Coconut Oil
1 Large small dice onion
1 Clove (Large or two medium) minced garlic
4 Large or 5 medium stalks of celery, small dice
2 Apples small dice
4 Cups vegetable juice
2 Cups apple cider or juice
1 TBSP curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Sea Salt and pepper to taste.

Melt Coconut oil, saute celery, garlic, onion. When tender and caramelized add the vegetable broth, the apple juice, the apples, curry powder and cinnamon. Simmer for about an hour. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Not too sweet, not too spicy. Refreshing in an oddly delicious way. And easy. Win. Win. Win.

I also made stuffed peppers out of some leftover tidbits. I had about a 1/4 cup of Daiya cheese. Some peppers fresh from the farm, and a mish mash hash of leftover Seitan, garlic, onion and potatoes.

Stuffed Green Peppers

1/2 onion small dice
1 clove garlic minced
2 to 3 baked potatoes small dice
1 cup seitan diced into cubes
2 TBSP Earth Balance
1 cup of cooked lentils
1 cup of brown or black or red rice
6-8 Bell Peppers, cut in half and seeds removed

Melt Earth Balance, toss in the garlic and onions and saute until translucent. Toss in potatoes and brown until some of the potatoes get crispy, finally toss in seitan. Add lentils and rice. Scoop mixture evenly into the pepper halves. Sprinkle Daiya cheese. Bake until pepper is tender, (about 35-40 minutes in a 350 oven).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ A Little Hair of the Cat er Kernel That Bit You?

I follow a few blogs. Most of them are Vegan focused because, clearly, that is my learning curve right now.

One is Peas and Thank You. I love Mama Pea's spicy posts.

She didn't disappoint the other day. I haven't made the recipe and don't know when I'll get around to it. But this caramel popcorn post reminded me of a hilarious, though a little icky, story a friend told me.

My friend has a favorite family recipe for caramel corn. A lot of folks pop the corn in a paper bag, my friend uses paper bags to actually caramel the corn. I'm not sure of the procedure but she told the following story.

Her dad (who looks a little bit like Parks and Rec's Ron Swanson sans the bodacious mustache) and sister were at home with her and it was one of those nights. Not much to nibble on in the house. A few good back to back television programs on, and the air had a tinge of brisk in it. One of the three of them decided that popcorn sounded fabulous. And as we all know how that goes, three heads together pretty soon popped out the idea of caramel corn. (If the original idea is good, pour a decadent sauce on it or drench it in chocolate to make it AMAZING!)

My friend hopped up to get the job done. She decided to make a double batch for efficiency's sake and pulled out the ingredients and paper bags.

Later, after the caramel corn cooled and hardened they polished off one of the bags. But one was not enough. (As is often true of sugar drenched or chocolate drowned goodies.) Her dad began noshing on the second bag. He stood up and turned on the light. He held up a handful of caramel corn. "This is hairy."

My friend looked at him with a Huh face and said, "Huh?" "Hairy?"

The annoyed cat, aka Feral Will, has nothing to do with the story. However, it's a creepy picture of a hairy critter and I'm sure he'd be thrilled to coat anyone's caramel corn with some of his fur.
He held out his hand. "Look."

And she did. And his popcorn was covered with hair.

After a little freak out dance by the entire, now completely grossed out, party. They began trying to figure out a) how the heck they got hairy caramel corn. b) If the bag they scarfed had been covered in it too.

Here's what happened. My friend's mom had been cleaning out some closets at a relative's home. One who was going into a skilled care facility and hadn't moved in years. My friend's mom packed loads of things in containers and bags and a few found their way into my friend's house. Turns out that the elderly relative had been a hair dresser way back in the 60's. One of her grocery bags, which had probably been used to hold swept-up hair still lurked in her kitchen closet. And my friend's mom was thorough enough to use every little container she could find, even the last bag in the kitchen closet. Being the green gal that my friend's mom is, she decided the bag could be used yet again. It ended up in her kitchen closet. Where her daughter could grab it and use it for caramel corn er Caramel-and-50-Year-Old-Hair-Bits-Corn.

(Need an idea for a creepy Halloween trick? There you go.)

This probably can't be considered a Vegan Month of Food worthy post. After all, I just tell a story. And the caramel corn that is featured in the story was traditional with dairy. But, I did link to Mama Pea who is a "Go, go, Vegan!"  cheerleader. And I think there is a moral to this story. It is safer to recycle paper bags that have not been used to haul meat and dairy products. aka VEGAN bags. Bonus Moral: Never, never, never, reuse a paper bag for caramel corn that has been played in by a rambunctious cat.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Farm? For Reals...

I revisited the farm yesterday. We hadn't been for three weeks. Three long weeks.

Why? Two birthdays and a few visitors from out of town squeezed our plans. And the CSA was only supposed to go through the last week in September. But because of the hail storm and the damage that intense twenty minutes caused, the farmers planted more greens, turnips, radishes, kept pulling tomatoes out of the high tunnel, eggplants from the bushes that survived, and hoped for a late frost.

This is our haul. Twelve additional boxes looked just like ours, (but had tomatoes, too) and a dozen more were half full of loot. The sink full of lettuce is what 169 ounces of lettuce looks like. That's a whole lotta lettuce. And believe it or not, the farmer had a fight to the death with some pests who were chewing her kohlrabi right before we got there. Sounded ugly. Glad I wasn't there as a witness. Apparently those critters are hardy, Iowa-stock, too.

I missed the farm. And I get to go back for a few more weeks. Crazy that we'll be getting fresh produce into November. Crazy good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ A Little Late, But Not For Next Year...

Eat Well Guide and Food Day

Do you ever have those V8 moments, but not about V8?

The ones where you say. "Duh!!!! I coulda/shoulda been paying attention."

Apparently yesterday was national Food Day. October 24, 2011. What a great thing to blog about during Vegan Month of Food (aka MoFo). Yeah. Well, would have been, and, still going to.

Here's what I found out, accidentally, while reading someone else's timely post about Food Day, after the fact.

There were Food Day events in my area. (I remember driving by a sign that mentioned the farmer's market special event on Sunday, the 23rd. Of course I was excited. The sign was colorful and I love farmer's markets. But then I apparently got distracted and never revisited the initial happy, happy, joy, joy moment. Another bit of interesting trivia. One of my state's Senators is a chairperson. Whodathunk.

The Food Day goal is simple. "Food Day seeks to bring together Americans from all walks of life—parents, teachers, and students; health professionals, community organizers, and local officials; chefs, school lunch providers, and eaters of all stripes—to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way."

Uhhh. I can support that. So next year, I will. I signed up for their emails so I can have a bit of a heads up. Clearly I need all the shiny, colorful reminders I can get.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Weekend Over ~ Sigh...

This past weekend was full of fun and food. Vegan food, of course. Our meat-eating friends visited from up north. They left with full tummies and a few recipes. Most of the recipes they adored were desserts. (Surprise there.) I know it's a good visit when my Martha Stewart friend, Michelle, wants to make a recipe I've served. And I'm pretty excited that all of them were Vegan recipes. (Did I mention that they pretty much love meat and dairy?)

& outdid herself in the dessert department. She made Peanut Butter cups from The Kind Diet, a pumpkin "cheese"cake (which also works great for a guilt free breakfast the next morning), and pumpkin muffins and sparkling ginger snaps from Vegan with a Vengeance.

I didn't take many pictures of food since we were busy having fun. We checked out some local history. Did a whole lot of shopping. They like the prices at our thrift stores and are fans of a few stores we have that they don't. We even went to the library and church. And for long dog walks with our two big girls and their teeny, tiny Arthur.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Recipe Book Review ~ Vegan With a Vengeance...

I'm not a cookbook collector. Oh, I collect books and have a whole wall of bookshelves to prove it. But I need my cookbooks to be more than pretty decoration. If they don't work for me, I scavenge what I will use, put it in a three ring binder and the cookbook moves to a new home. Vegan with a Vengeance is moving in.


I've made nine recipes. One of them twice. All but one of them stellar. The following is a list of the items I've tried.
Seitan. Terrific and easy. Yum.

Sparkled Ginger Cookies. AMAZING. All thumbs, and big toes, up.

Fauxstess Cupcake. They taste freakishly like the original.

Chocolate Chip cookies. Good

Pumpkin Muffins. Really good.

Lemon Gem Cupcakes (I made a bundt version... very, very lemony delish)

Gingerbread Apple Pie (Good and got raves from non-Vegans.)

Cold Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Seitan (making that one for dinner tomorrow, the sauce and seitan are done, pretty sure it's going to be delish.)

Other recipes are marked with "gotta try this" strips of paper. Others won't be ones that tempt me. She has a pancake recipe that looks way too involved and I have a pancake recipe that I LOVE. Scrambled Tofu, tried it, didn't love it and I have another recipe I like better. Many of her recipes are comfort food makeovers or fun twists on standard ethnic dishes.

Moskowitz is clever, creative and funny. Her bodacious attitude peppers the book with comments and she shares her story, her kitchen tool list, and her ingredient must haves. Her cat, Fizzle, pops in with interesting facts throughout the book.

I don't think Vegan with a Vengeance could be the only Vegan cookbook you'll ever need, but it certainly can add a whole lot of interesting spice to your menu repertoire.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Recipe Book Review ~ Peas and Thank You...

The best thing about writing book reviews is when you score a free FABULOUS book to review. So thank you, Peas and Thank You marketing team. That said. I don't write glowing reviews unless the book deserves one.

When I get a cookbook, I look through the recipes and try a few that sound good to me. And if there are five or ten recipes I will add to my life recipe file, I consider the book a keeper. I'm pretty picky. If a recipe book has only two or three I want to try, I don't buy it. If I'm given the book with just a few keeper recipes I usually will copy down the recipe, put it in my file and get rid of the book. I just don't need a huge shelf of books that aren't being used.

Peas and Thank You is a keeper. A lifetime member of my recipe shelf. The recipes I've tried are delicious, they turn out when I follow the easy directions, and they don't taste like someone is trying real hard to make tasty food healthier. Everyone who has tried the recipes I've made from Peas and Thank You, whether Vegan or meat eater, cautious eater, or don't-give-a-rat's-rear-end-what they put in their mouth, rave about the food.

I have only tried nine of the recipes, but three of them I've made several times. These are the recipes I've tried and love. And they are SO worth the stinking sticker price. Heck. I'm tempted to send a check to someone.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
Lemon Lentil Soup
Cutout Sugar Cookies
Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
Almond Joy Cookie Bars
Peanut Butter Blondies with Ganache
Double Chocolate Single Chin Brownies
Grand Old Biscuits
Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chickpeas

I have about a dozen more that I must try. More recipes are marked than not.

Mama Pea (Sarah Matheny) is a talented and engaging writer as well and she shares charming and sweetly twisted stories about each recipe. I don't often laugh when reading a recipe book. I did with this one. She also shares pantry information, details about why they went vegan and most of her recipes are designed for busy folks and use convenience items. If you are newly Vegan, want to explore meatless, or love cookbooks, you need to add it to your list.

The only thing I did not love was the recipe title appeared at the beginning of each recipe, but not after the story and right before ingredients. So some recipes are a page or two after the introduction/story. So you have to do a little page flipping to make sure you are on the right recipe. Otherwise I LOVE it. Don't even ask to borrow it. This little sucker is part of me now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ No Bake Cookies Vegan Style, and Mouth Nirvana "Chicken Salad"

Insanity. Making cookies a half hour before needing to be on the road. This kind of sums up my life. Sadly. The insanity and the cookie parts. Ha.

Before the cookies let me share the "Chicken Salad" Recipe.

I had a love/hate relationship with Chicken Salad when I ate meat. Biting into gamey or bland Chicken Salad was the worst!!! GAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But every once in awhile you could find one that was a party in your mouth. Texture, flavors, YUM. I've been trying for the past few months to find that mouth Nirvana.

This is pretty flippin close for me. Rob even said I should make it again. Trust me. High praise. Ha. Ha.

This is the One - "Chicken" Salad

Bread of choice. ( : ) ) Or not. Eat it out of the bowl if you want.

3 TBSP Veganaise
1 TBSP rustic mustard (just not the yellow plain)
1 small diced apple (firm sour is best)
a handful of chopped pecans
1 Cup of small diced, nicely flavored Seitan (if your Seitan is bland, (I used the lemon/garlic one) you could add some seasonings)
1 Celery rib finely chopped.
Finely chopped onion to taste, I didn't add this and it would be the final blast of taste I was looking for. I'm thinking a small wedge would do.

Mix all together and enjoy! Loved the texture/taste combo.

And finally, the cookies. Here's the thing about me of late. I have come to the understanding that taking favorite recipes and Veganizing them is almost easy. Doi!!!! After months of trying to create from the ground up, I figure this out. Anyhoo. I took the No Bake Recipe my mom used to make and tweaked it Vegan style. (NOT TOUGH, Sheesh!) and the cookies were awesome. Didn't take pictures, they didn't last that long. Ha. Ha.

No Bake Cookies (Veganized)

1 3/4 cups Vegan sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup Earth Balance
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries

Combine sugar, milk, coconut oil, Earth Balance, and cocoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oatmeal, and vanilla, when mixed add cranberries and stir well. Drop blobs onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.

Just like my Mama used to make. Kind of, mostly. I want to try decreasing the sugar to see if I can't make them a wee bit less sweet. But that may throw off the chemistry and make them not harden.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Panic, the Mother of Creativity... Or At Least Decent Meals

I mentioned an upcoming/looming camping trip yesterday. And that Friday night hit and I needed 4 meals ready to prepare over campfires or to eat out of a cooler. Panic. Did I mention Rob's two meat eating friends wanted to try a little bit of our Vegan food, too? Yikes.

I had leftover Lemon/Olive/Garlic Seitan cutlets. I could have frozen the cutlets. But I needed food ideas now, and since I had them, creativity (for me) often comes from panic. Here are my not so necessarily creative recipes, that worked.

Seitan Phillies

Bread or Vegan Naan
Slivers of seitan slices (3/4 cup or so)
Onion slivers (about 1/2 an onion)
Peppers slivered (a pepper or 1/2 a bag of Trader Joe's frozen Pepper Medley)
Mushrooms (a cup or so)

Saute onions/peppers in a wee bit of oil or Earth Balance. Add mushrooms, When they are all tender, add Seitan. Serve it up. Rob put Vegan ranch on it. I didn't put anything on it. Pretty tasty.

Seitan Three Bean Chili

1 1/2 Cups (or 1 rinsed and drained can) White Beans
1 1/2 Cups (or 1 rinsed and drained can) Pinto Beans
1 1/2 Cups (or 1 rinsed and drained can) Black Beans
1 Cup diced Seitan
1 Small jar Salsa (1/2 Jar Water)
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 diced tomatoes (or a can of diced tomatoes)

Toss all together and let it simmer.

This had bite which wasn't aiyii hot, but nice. The heat of the salsa would make a difference. Mine was a homemade medium.

If my mad dash to prep food Friday night wasn't enough, Saturday morning as I packed up the food, I decided we needed some chocolate treats. It occurred to me that No Bake Cookies would hit the spot.

Come back tomorrow for that recipe.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Ginger Maple Pear Sauce

Rob and I camped over the weekend. It was a perfect few days to spend outdoors. But Friday night found me feeling unprepared foodwise for four meals on the go. So I had to get creative. A couple of Rob's buddies were joining us and they wanted to try out some of our Veg food. Extra pressure for sure.

Creativity and four pears that wouldn't survive the weekend gave me a bit of inspiration. I had plans to make Vegan french toast. And I thought a pear sauce would maybe be nice. I was right.

Maple Ginger Pear Sauce

4 peeled sliced or diced pears
3 TBSP Maple Syrup
1 tsp powdered ginger

Put all in a saucepan. Simmer for about a half an hour. As the pears get softer, begin smashing the bits until the mixture resembles applesauce.

When it is cool, place in a jar and refrigerate. It makes about a cup. Use within a week or so.

We spread it on our french toast and it was pretty delicious.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Smiling is My Favorite ~ Blue Planet

I don't write a lot of restaurant reviews. Heck, I don't know that I even know how to write one. But here goes.

We've got a few locally owned eateries around and about that we like to go to when we get the hankering for food we don't have to prepare.

One is a place we've only been to a handful of times over the past few years. It's pretty close, ten miles or so from us, and reasonably priced, too. But for whatever reason, I haven't been to Blue Planet since we went Vegan in April.

Yesterday we dropped in for lunch. I hadn't scanned the menu before for Vegan friendly foods. And I was really surprised to see how many Vegan items there were available. The staff members were extremely friendly and helpful.

While we waited for our lunch we sat near the kitchen. Couldn't help but notice a couple of the cooks having a great time. Don't you just love seeing people love their jobs? I do. Anyhoo. The food prep included a few riffs on the air guitar and some songs. I overheard a conversation about smiles between two cooks and the owner/manager (a guess). When our Vegan Caprisi pizza was delivered I understood the conversation and we had to smile.

Caprisi v vg $7.99 Natural Italian sauce, slices of tomato, basil, and natural mozzarella or vegan cheese

Why? Well, because a) they had plastered the thing with smiles. b) and because it was delicious.

So. If you are ever in the Omaha area, give them a visit. Good stuff, and good attitudes = smiles for all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Party on the Fly and Being Social

Cooked up a storm last night. & (the unpronounceable (not really, it's an ampersand, but humor me) symbol for my daughter who has formerly been known as 21, 22, 23, 24 and ^.) Anyhoo, & made these delicious muffins. However, she subtracted 1/4 cup of sugar, added two handfuls of walnuts and a handful of chocolate chips. Yum.

She made these because a friend is in town. & turned 25 yesterday. And tonight she's got a few friends coming over to celebrate. (One friend can't eat grain, hence the bean flour muffins.) Not sure how this party happened, actually. The list of attendees grew. A few will be dropping in for dinner. I'm making Seitan Scaloppine with Lemon and Olives . This recipe was chosen mostly, because her cute friend wants to stop eating meat. :  ). And she wanted some ideas on how to get the meat "feel" and taste. Last night I showed her how to make seitan and gave her a few recipes.

Finally, for dessert I made Mama Pea's Peanut Butter with Chocolate Ganache Brownies. (Two pans, one for trying and one for tonight's impromptu "party.") 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Yes, Virginia, You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too...

Vegan Ice "Cream" Cake (Plan ahead, needs at least overnight in freezer to really set up, 24 hours would be better.)

The Cherry Pie (Vegan, of course) made a delicious ice "cream" cake for her a costume party last weekend. Ms. Cherry Pie, formerly known as 24, now, because her grandma thinks this unpronounceable symbol (^) doesn't say enough about her pretty sweet awesomeness is going to now be known as &. She poses with Leslie and Tom from Parks and Rec. But, I digress.

Non-Dairy Ice Cream Cake

2 Large Containers (or 4 small) Non-Dairy ice cream. She used Trader Joe's Soy Cherry Chocolate Chunk (YUM!)
1 Box of Vegan sandwich cookies. (16-20 oz)
1 Cup Veg Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Milk 
Fingers and a Tombstone and a Raven. (Note. If you have dogs like ours, put the Raven and the fingers in a place that the dogs cannot reach. The Raven lost his legs and a few feathers, and the fingers, well, let's just say they looked a little more horrible after being chewed (and scrubbed, of course.)
A Spring Form Pan.

Let ice cream sit out until soft. Not soupy, but soft. Sitting out at room temp for 10 minutes or so unless really, really frozen.

Grease Spring Form Pan.

Crush cookies.

Melt chocolate chips in double boiler (or microwave), add non-dairy milk and stir til mixed.

Spread 1/3 of the cookies crumbs on the pan base. Scoop 1 container of ice cream onto crumbs and press down with a spatula or spread with knife. Place 1/3 of crumbs over the ice cream and drizzle 1/2 of the ganache (chocolate chips/ non-dairy milk mixture)over the crumbs. (At this point if things are getting soupy, place in the freezer and let it firm up for an hour or so.

Add the remaining ice cream, spread as smooth as you can. Pour rest of ganache over this layer and cover with the remaining cookie crumbs. Stick fingers into the top layer. (No Silly, not your fingers, the chewed on plastic ones from the dollar store that appear to be severed and horrifying.)

Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze overnight. Carefully remove the side of the spring form pan. You may have to run a warm knife around the sides to loosen the ice cream. Recover in plastic, take to your party. At the party, put the base of the spring form pan on a bigger platter, and secure the tombstone and/or raven to the platter. Ms. Cherry Pie aka & used a folded piece of cardboard and good old fashioned duct tape. 

Slice. Serve and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Upside-Down Pecan-Maple Applesauce Cake

Upside Down Pecan-Maple Applesauce Cake


1/2 Cup Earth Balance
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
1 and 1/2 Cup Vegan Sugar
2 TBSP Ground Flax
6 TBSP Almond Milk
2 teaspoons Baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (or cloves or allspice)
1/2 teaspoon ginger (or cloves or allspice if you prefer)
2 1/2 Cups applesauce
2 Cups oatmeal
3 Cups Flour

Topping/or Bottom:

2 thinly sliced apples
3 TBSP Maple syrup
1/4 Cup Pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In small bowl mix flaxseed and almond milk together, set aside. 

Mix Earth Balance, coconut oil and sugar together until creamed. Add salt, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger. Stir until mixed. Add applesauce, stir. Add flax mixture, stir. Finally stir in flour and then oatmeal. 

Grease (bottom and sides) of a 9 x 13 pan. Lay apple slice and pecans to cover bottom. Sprinkle cinnamon over that and drizzle maple syrup over the cinnamon. Pour the batter over the mixture. Bake in a 350 oven for 55 to 60 Minutes. (Knife should have moist crumbs but not batter when poked into cake).

Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake. Put a cookie sheet over top of baking pan. Then turn over so cookie sheet is on the bottom. Loosen cake with spatula if needed before removing the 9 x 13 pan.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Now I'm Cookin with Gas ...

Another big food weekend. I made three new desserts, tried the Lentil Loafabout meatloaf (it's a keeper), made black bean soup base, lemon lentil spinach soup, took pictures of a Vegan Ice Cream cake made by my soon to be 25 daughter. Yummm. And smiled at her costume. 

Spent a few hours at Costco, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods with my mom. This was the Whole Food's maiden voyage for my mom. She was impressed with the sights and smells. I do love the look of a produce aisle. Not quite as much as a Farmer's Market, though, but it can tide me over til May.

I will share my new Applesauce Cake recipe tomorrow. I have spent part of my blogging time answering a disgruntled author who didn't care for a review I wrote. He's taking his comments to Amazon now. At first it was an e-mail, then a friend of his commented on my review. Now he's commenting on my review. I hurt his feelings by not loving his book. And it wasn't even a negative review. I just pointed out an area or two where parents might have concerns. Sigh.

Anyhoo. The Applesauce Cake was tasty. I made two more recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance. Her Lemon Gem Cupcakes (but in Bundt format : ) and with vanilla frosting drizzle.) And Gingerbread Apple Pie. Yum. It is jood.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Celebration ~

I'm digesting delicious rich, rich, rich Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake courtesy of my daughter. (Cheesecake tweaked from this recipe.)

Tonight, I just want to dwell a bit in the deliciousness of my life.

I turned 49 today. Part of me shudders at this fact. How in the heck did I get to be 49? I don't feel mature or wise enough to be over 40. I still have so much living I want to cram into the years I have left that I don't want to think about the sands shifting in the hour glass.

I said as much to my Mom. And said my birthday is not something I want to dwell on, and the year even less. She said that my life is so full, rich and satisfying that I don't consider a birthday as a day to set apart and celebrate, that I find things to celebrate in each of the days I've been given. I like that thought. My 49th birthday is a day to celebrate, just like every day, that I am choosing to live to the fullest.

I don't know that I need to share the details, again, of why we are eating differently than we did a year ago...why plants are our diet. I've done that. I don't know that I need to share again, today, why God is so important to me. Or wax on about why my family, my children, my husband give me a reason to celebrate every moment I've been granted.

How many more birthdays will I be gifted with? God knows and I don't need to. Honestly. But I have a responsibility to embrace the days I've been given, and live them with my heart and my soul engaged

I love my life. It is a gift. It is imperfect and crazy, messy and unfinished. But it was given to me, and I love it.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ GMO? Heck NO!



This Vegan MoFo participant wants to see GMO/GE foods labeled for what they are.  

What is GMO or GE food? Genetically Modified or Genetically Engineered food. These are food products that are manipulated to make the end result travel or hold up better, carry certain characteristics that make them survive longer on the shelves, etc. These items are tweaked and grown to be pest resistant or heartier than they would be without manipulation. 

This seems like a harmless idea. Right? Food that stays fresh longer, or that is resistant to things that want to steal our food from us. 

I'm not even going to go into all the details. What I am going to say is that I think we all should be able to see what's in the food we buy. That's all. If there are chemicals that I can't pronounce on the label but I choose to eat it, then that's my choice. But if items contained within are not listed, then I can't make an informed decision. 

I buy organic and local. That is a choice that comes with a price tag attached. I know that many others choose to not buy organic and local. That's their choice. 

This GMO/GE labeling issue is coming to a head. People are asking and demanding that these products be labeled. But the resistance has gone on for years. The food is still not being labeled. There is fear that labeling will bring death to the GE industry. Why would they fear that if there is nothing to be concerned about in their product? 
We all should  have the chance to see what is in what we are eating. Folks who eat fast food three plus times a day aren't likely to balk at an extra label since most of them understand that they are eating fast and cheap and that there is a price tag attached. After all, people still buy and smoke cigarettes, drink and drive and gamble in spite of warnings.

Warnings aren't going to turn off the customer base of those who don't care. But the ones who do, but don't know what they are truly getting in their boxes and bags at the grocery store and drive-thrus, have the right to chose, too.

If this subject concerns you, check out the following websites to read further. And if you agree, take the simple steps.

Stonyfield Farm BUZZ

Label My Food

Center for Food Safety

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Meet "Meatloaf" (Not the Singer).

So this is kind of fun.

I subscribe to lots of Vegan blogs because I need lots of help in the creativity department, some or MOST of the time. Most posts I delete, but some I save for future reference. Today I found a fun one.

Okay. Maybe not fun. Fun might be kind of an extreme adjective for what I'm talking about.

I'm going to say quirky. Yeah. Quirky. Gazing In send me to The Magical Loaf Studios. Where you pick from a list of "meat"loaf components and the program gives you a recipe. A few months ago, when we first started eating Vegan I was on a quest to make a perfect meatloaf. The closest I got looked like this. And, it was okay. The downside, besides the texture, was that I had gone over dozens of recipes to find the tweaked recipe that I thought would work for me. Well, I didn't. I haven't given up. But summer is not a high "meat"loaf season anyhoo. And the darn quest just went on the back burner so to speak. But then here comes this little website.

I named mine Lentil Loafabout. Ha. Ha. And I'm totally going to make it.

Here's the recipe. And I'm thinking it's got to be pretty tasty. Go try your own idea out. I'll be sure to let you know how this goes over.

Lentil Loafabout


1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 TB olive oil
One onion, diced
One large garlic clove, minced
One large carrot, peeled and grated
Two celery ribs, diced
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup uncooked quick oatmeal or oat bran
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed
1 heaping TB flaxseed meal
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 TB nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. salt


Preheat the oven to 350�. Spray a loaf pan or 8x8 square baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside (an 8x8 pan makes a crisper loaf).

Grind the sunflower seeds into a coarse meal using a food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Saut� any vegetables you've chosen in the olive oil until soft. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny (you may not need to add any liquid if the grains and protein are very moist). Add more binder/carbohydrate as needed if the loaf seems too wet.

Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice. Serve with potatoes, vegetables, and vegetarian gravy, if desired.

Cold leftover slices of Lentil Loafabout make a great sandwich filling.

*Disclaimer: I have not personally tried every possible combination of ingredients and therefore cannot vouch for the tastiness or efficacy of every Dinner Loaf creation. Happy eating!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Last Night of Raw, Meet Mother, And Salisbury "Steak" ummm Seitan

Yesterday I had a stock pot full of homemade veggie broth that needed to make it's way into small containers for the freezer, seitan floating in it's liquid nest, and not much time. Our last Raw Cooking class started at 6:30. And I needed to get a whole lot done. We had told the class we'd be bringing show and tell. Specifically Mother and her mother juice and her friend almond milk kefir.

After nibbling on all the lovely raw treats to your left, we broke out our treats. 

I gotta tell you. I'm impressed. The ladies all, not even one refused, tried both drinks. Of course, no one wanted their very own mother to take home to feed. But they all tried it. I like to think that their digestive systems will thank us today.

But before class I threw together a meal that ended up being really tasty.  

I call my creation Salisbury "Steak" Umm Seitan with Garlic New Potatoes.

1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
3 TBSP Earth Balance
About 8 ozs of sliced/diced mushrooms
3 TBSP flour of choice
Sliced Seitan (a dozen or so slices)
1 LB of new potatoes or chunks of potatoes
1 TBSP olive oil
2 Cups of Veggie Broth
salt and pepper to taste
Put potatoes on to cook. (I brought mine to a boil and simmered for about 20 minutes. They would be good baked, too, but I didn't have time.)

I started with 3 TBSP Earth Balance in my dutch oven. Melted it. Added the garlic and onions and sauteed them. Then I took half of that mixture and added it to a bowl, with the olive oil. Stirred it and set it aside to dress the potatoes when they were ready.

I added the mushrooms to the Dutch Oven and sauteed them a minute or so. Then added the flour. I stirred until everything was covered in a thick paste. Basically just so the flour isn't in dry pockets. I added the veggie broth and stirred. It simmered while I finished the rest. 

I then browned the slices of seitan.

When the potatoes were done I drained them and tossed them with the olive oil/garlic mixture that I set aside earlier. I put pieces of seitan on each plate and covered them with the gravy. And Voila. Dinner.

This tasted really good. Very savory and would scratch any craving for old fashioned pot roast I might ever develop. I love the seitan recipe. This is going to be something I make often.