Monday, December 30, 2013


We have been looking to build a bank of good folks to watch Kaleigh as our schedules are not consistent.  Ashley got in touch with a really nice guy and we had him over for dinner to get to know him.

I made chickin' fried seitan, twice baked potatoes, brussel sprouts, and kale.  It was a big hit as our dinner guest is vegetarian. Kaleigh will gobble up kale and brussel sprouts like no one else.

Although I have been quite busy with the holiday hours at the jobby job, and the rental property that burned, I have gotten a good opportunity to get some decent cooking done. Having a family makes it a priority and I have been really enjoying it.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The holiday update.

For the first time in a long time, I opted in on the christmas celebration.  With Kaleigh in the house I felt like it was time to curb my own feelings about the holiday and make it special for her.  She had a a great day.  I worked in the morning but did leave and meet up with the family for a dinner and present swap that evening.

Ashley got me an amazing camera lens that I have been eyeing for some time.  She spent too much but ill forgive her since she spent it on me!  I also got some cool parenting books, a Dawkins book, a munchkin expansion,, vintage pitchers, an homemade apron to match Kaleigh's, some cooking supplies, and Kaleigh even made me a super awesome skull mug.  Now I just have to convince her to make me some hot chocolate!

I have been working a lot of unusual hours over the holiday.  I made some chili to help me get through it while still eating well.  Kaleigh liked the chili so much she was even eating it for breakfast on christmas morning.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Busy with with treats!

It is a few days before christmas, which for me means, I will be spending a lot of long hours at the jobby job.  Not to mention all the long hours I have been spending at the jobby job over the past week.  Fortunately, for the first time in a long time, I have a family around to help me feel less disconnected.

One night, after a long shift at the jobby job, I came home to a massive batch of my double chocolate chip cookies that Ashley had made!  It was a great surprise and an excellent bedtime snack (for several nights).

Somehow I forgot to share a recent shish-kabob with homemade seitan that I made for dinner.  It was really nice.  I have been experimenting with some different cooking styles for different flavors of seitan.  More on that topic when I have some solid results.  Either way, these were quite tasty and a big hit at the dinner table.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Desserts

Peanut Butter Pie

Cinnamon Rolls

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Monday, December 16, 2013

Recipe: Shiitake Gravy

Thanksgiving recipe!

Typically I would make a gravy like this and never bother to post a recipe.  This time, Ashley caught me in the middle and said that this was a great dish worth sharing.  I appreciated her input and quickly wrote it out.  This was great on our vegan turkey roast as well as mashed potatoes and the like.  Enjoy!

Shiitake Gravy

3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 cup of shiitake mushrooms (stemmed)
1/3 cup of onion (chopped)
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
1/4 cup of water
4 tablespoons of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of oil
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of celery salt
1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke

In a saute pan, heat the oil on med / low heat.  Then add the stemmed mushrooms, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.  Allow to fry for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.

Add the saute mixture to a blender with all other ingredients.  Puree until smooth.  Pour back into the saute pan and allow to re-heat.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thanksgivings late post

Due to my recently hectic life, I am way behind on posts.  Hence the Thanksgiving day post in the middle of December.  Better late then never I hear.

It has been about 10 years since I have had a Thanksgiving Day off.  The jobby job pays time and a half on the holiday and I have historically had no family to spend the day with so I worked.  This year, I decided if they did not need me at the jobby job, I would spend the day with Ashley, Kaleigh and their side of the family.

Ashley and I opted to make several dishes to bring with us.  We also make a store bought roast for the turkey effect.  I made my standard cranberry sauce, I roasted some beets with some balsamic vinegar, roasted some acorn squash in apple juice and dried sage, candied walnuts, and we even made some smoothies to tote around.

The beets were not a big hit.  I really liked them and Kaleigh ate them because I told her she would poop purple.  Apparently that is enough for a 6 year old to eat some beets.

To top our boxed faux turkey roast, I made a really nice gravy.  I will share the recipe soon, as some folks might want to try it for their upcoming holiday meals.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Doing it BAD

Kaleigh and I have started calling breakfast for dinner, BAD (breakfast and dinner).  We get to feel awesome about the name by being in the store, brainstorming a dinner plan, turning to each other and saying "Lets be BAD".  She gets a real kick out of it and fortunately, she really likes tofu scramble!

We recently had BAD.  Waffles, tofu scramble, soy sausage, and fruit.  We have been BAD-ing about twice a month and loving it!  We even make a breakfast burrito for her lunch with the left overs.  I guess that would be BAL, which sounds far less awesome.

I have still been really busy with the house and the jobby job is also hectic this time of the year.  Things will cool down soon though, I am sure.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Brooklyn Brine! Get a pickle!

Before I dive into the Thanksgiving food posts, I wanted to use this space for a plug.  I rarely use my blog to promote a company or product, as I am opposed to the commercialization of food on a fundamental level.  Today, I make an exception.

Growing up in Maine as a punk kid, I am always thrilled to see one of my old punk buddies creating great things for themselves.  My old friend Shamus has created something very special.  Brooklyn Brine.  An amazing pickle company out of NYC.  I had the opportunity to get my hands on some of his pickles recently.  I found them at a big name natural foods store, I bet they are in your area too!

They were incredibly crisp with a refreshing natural taste.  They were no tto sweet and not to tart, just a perfect balance.  It is hard to find such a good pickle, especially here in the south.  It really reminded me of the Northeast and missing home.  I highly suggest going out and supporting a great pickle maker and enjoy some great pickles!  I served them to the family as a side with some roasted brussel sprouts and BBQ tempeh, but might have even been better with a good hummus wrap.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nothing destroys like fire and water...

I have been really busy for the past week and a half.  I moved a new tenant into a rental property I own.  The following day, Thanksgiving, I get a call from her saying that whenever she uses the water in the house, it overflows into the downstairs toilet.  I went over and sure enough, she was right.  Sewer water was oozing out of the toilet all over the floor and new carpet.  I called an emergency plumbing company and they found a glass bottle in the line.  Although I could not prove it, it has to have happened the day the tenant moved in since there had been no prior issues.  I called an emergency water removal company and they came out in hazmat suits to clean the mess.  They had to tear up the carpet and cut the portions of the wall that were wet.  It was going to be thousands of dollars in damages.

Three days later, while at work, I get another call from the same tenant.  She begins to tell me this long story about how she put some grease on the stove to cook her toddler some food, then got in a fight with her teenage daughter.  After the fight, she decided to take a bath to cool her temper, leaving the grease on the stove.  A fire ensued.  I immediately left the jobby job to meet the fire department at the property.

No humans her physically harmed from the fire. Since then, I have been dealing with contractors, insurance companies, and even my tenant to figure out how I am going to overcome the $40,000 in damages she caused in 4 days.

Needless to say. I have been quite busy.  I am sure the blogworld is reeling in despair from my week and a half with no posts but the community will have to deal.  On the plus side, I do have a lot of food to post when I get the time.  Until then, bare with me, as the posts may be a little sparatic.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

No worries, it's punk rock.

Sunday night Condition (from LA) played here in Atlanta.  Despite getting a late start, I did not miss any of the bands.

Stepdad SS, from Charlotte North Carolina, opened.  They were a decent band that was fun to watch.  Next up was an Atlanta favorite, Manic.  They delivered their typical old-school hardcore performance that us always a good time.  Next was one of my favorite locals, Mercenary.  They had some technical issues but still melted faces.  They are so abrasive, and fun to watch.

Paradox played their first show in months.  This was the best time show I have seen from them.  They seemed really tight, despite the hiatus.  They really destroyed the place, D-beat anthems filled the room and the crowd was going bonkers.

Lastly, Condition played.  They were good fun.  The singer had a brace on his leg that limited his movement but they were still fun to watch.  With a reputation as one of the best current hardcore bands around, they drew a good crowd.

It was a great night.  I really am glad to be back into a punk/hardcore scene.  It has been really rewarding for me, some nostalgia and some urgent aggressive outlet.  December has a drought for shows but hopefully I will be able to catch some more soon.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Red Rice and an upcoming Holiday

I have been working at the jobby job for 10 years now.  For the entire 10 years, I have worked a double shift on Thanksgiving.  The time and a half was nice but I also did not have much reason to take the day off.  I did not have any family near me and not much to do besides work.  This year, Ashley and Kaleigh are with me.  While I did not ask for the day off, I was scheduled off anyway.  I will have a family day on Thanksgiving, for the first time in 10 years.  I am looking forward it!

I will have a lot of cooking to do for dishes we will bring to the Holiday table but before that, we have been eating some other great dishes.  This week we had red rice with veggies and topped with bananas.  It is always a favorite of mine.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My first time making baked beans?

Growing up in New England, I have always loved baked beans.  Boston baked beans are a very traditional dish even in Maine.  Strangely, I have never made my own baked beans, until now.

I am still working on the recipe but these came out fanatic.  Soaking the beans overnight, boiling for a couple hours, then dumped them in the slow cooker for the night with an array of spices and vegetables.  It was a bit hit in with the family as well.

With the beans, I added in the southern end of baked beans and combined them with corn bread.  This dish screamed out for my roasted brussel sprouts as well.  I could not even keep Ashley away from the plate long enough to get a picture to share!

After dinner, we partook in some shoddy apple crisp.  The flavor was great but I should have used a smaller baking dish for a deeper crisp.  Oh well, better next time.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Autumn means soups!

One of the great things about autumn foods is hearty soups.  As a child, soups were not something I would eat.  Typically they came from a can and were fairly bland.  As an adult, I get to make my own and they have become a favorite.

Moving away from the summer soups of roasted red pepper and ratatouille in the autumn we get chilli and other thicker soups.  Last week I grabbed a bunch of foods in the kitchen to whip up a great soup.  I tossed potatoes, lentils, beans, veggies,  lots of mushrooms, oregano, and broth and let it simmer for a couple hours.  It was fantastic.

Homemade soups are easy and so much healthier than the store bought canned soups.  The store bought soups typically taste like aluminum and salt.  When you do it yourself, you have total control and it makes it great dish for a healthy family.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A new jerk in town...

With the time Ashley, Kaleigh and I spent in the woods last month, we realized that we were often eating vegan jerky.  It is an easy high protein and fat treat to take on a hiking trail.  However, vegan jerky is often expensive and not always very good.  The solution?  Make it myself.

I made it with a variant of my basic seitan recipe.  I then made a sauce and marinated it in the oven for several hours on a low tempurature.  This gave it a really dry texture, much like traditional jerky.

This is a recipe I will share as I perfect it.  Currently, it is really good.  I even shared it with a number of folks at work, nearly all of which said that they would not have know it was not meat.  It came out wonderfully dense in flavor. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Seasonal Treats

With the coming colder weather, I have been making some seasonal sweets.  For the first time ever I made gingerbread people cookies.  They were a lot of much and Kaleigh and I decorated them in some silly clothes.  They came out pretty well.  Maybe next time I make them, I will post a recipe.

After carving our pumpkin, Kaleigh and I made my paprika roasted pumpkin seeds.  She loves these treats.  She asks for them throughout the year and looks forward to them during the fall.  When we were picking out our pumpkin, she tries to guess which pumpkin will have more seeds.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Pigs in a blanket, ants on a log & cabbage

BBQ tofu

Autonomy @ Capsule

Doom Town @ Capsule

Ruidosa Inmundicia @ Star Bar

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vegfest 2013!

Saturday was the 2nd annual Atlanta Vegfest.  There were speakers, food demos, and plenty of vendors.  Immediately, Ashley, Kaleigh, and I nabbed a s'mores cupcake from Mama Bakes Safe Cakes.  They specialize in vegan, allergy safe baked goods.  We devoured the cupcake in a matter of a few bites.

Then we looked over the rooms a few times and connected with Nate (of crack the plates fame).  Eventually we found ourselves in line for a Korean bun.  This was hands down the best food item at the fest.  It was amazing.  They can be found at local farmer's market but sadly, do not have a store front.

Then we ate other random goodies, including Revolution Gelato.  This gelato was fantastic, rich, sweet, creamy, and smooth.  I hope they get their production together soon so I can eat more.  Otherwise, I may end up knocking on the door of the owners house to get my gelato.

After going back to get seconds on gelato, we headed over to see Isa Moskowitz do a food demo.  She was a lot of fun and Kaleigh really seemed to enjoy the food demos.  Maybe she picked up some pointers for her next video!

After Isa, we let Kaleigh do some vegetable painting and then headed home.  It turned out to be a great day.  These events take an outstanding amount of organization and planning.  We really appreciated the opportunity to attend and have a great day.  Thank you to the former Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe folks!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Recipe: Sugar-free Cashew Bittle

When I was trying to come up with a sweet dessert that everyone at the potluck could eat I was at a loss for much of the afternoon.  Then I decided to try a sugar-free cashew brittle of sorts.  Sadly, the maple sugar was being counted as a sugar according to the diet of a par of our guests.  Either way, it was quite good and I thought it was worth sharing since, for most, it would fill the "sugar free" roll.

Sugar-free Cashew Brittle

1 pound of raw cashews
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of molasses
1 tablespoon of oil
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well.  Using hands might be the easiest if being a little dirty is not an issue.  Once the cashews have been fully coated, pour them into a lipped baking pan covered with parchment paper.  Spread them over the paper evenly.

Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove from heat and flip/stir to allow the cashews to become golden on each side.  Bake for another 10 minutes.  The should still be fairly wet even runny.  Allow to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, the will thicken up and be much more brittle.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Recipe: Soy-free mushroom ginger "soy" sauce

For the potluck, I created a soy-free soy sauce for the pan fried spring rolls that I made.  The spring rolls were decent but the sauce really shined.  It had a very soy sauce feel but some deeper elements that really gave it something to notice.

Mushroom Ginger "Soy" Sauce (soy free)

1/3 cup of molasses
1/4 cup of sesame oil
3 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger (chopped)
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper

In a sauce pan, heat the oil to med temperature.  Once the oil is hot, add all remaining ingredients and reduce heat to low.  Allow to cook down until the ginger has almost a burnt taste.  This should take about 20 minutes but depends on the level of heat.

Pour the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  This will allow it to thicken and become a bit lighter in color.  This can be either served hot or cold and on a number of foods.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Last vacation day; the potluck

The last day of our vacation, Ashley wanted to host a potluck as a sort of house warming and settling in celebration.  All of her family was invited and it made for a fun night of stories and food.

Ashley's father and his wife were on a special diet that prohibited dairy, corn, sugar, egg, gluten, and soy.  It made for a fun challenge and forced me to come up with some creative dishes that I will share over the next couple of days.

I made all the dishes that we included able to be eaten by anyone; or so I thought.  Apparently the sugar-free cashews I made for dessert were not part of the diet due to maple syrup.  I was disappointed but I did the best I could with what I knew.

I made pan fried spring rolls with a soy-free "soy" sauce, falafel with a cucumber tahini sauce, Ashley and Kaleigh made cole slaw and a new video, and Ashley and I tag-teamed a spaghetti squash and pesto.

There was a ridiculous amount of food on the spread and Kaleigh orchestrated a few weird games for everyone to play.  For me, it was a fun day of cooking and relaxing after some hard hiking with the family.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cooking with Kaleigh; Part 12: Cole Slaw

On our final day of our family vacation, we were hosting a potluck with Ashley's family.  Kaleigh wanted to make a Cooking with Kaleigh video with her cabbage that she picked on our trip.  She wanted to make cole slaw as she had been eating it often recently.  She was really excited to use her cabbage. 

I really enjoy these videos, despite the fact that they get very few views.  I think they are a lot of fun for our new family!

Friday, November 1, 2013

October Vacation; Day 6: Apples and Waterfalls!

Ashley, Kaleigh, and I took out annual trip to Hillcrest Orchard for the Apple Jubilee.  It is fairly corny but loads of fun.  We get to do all sorts of fun activities and top it off with apple picking.

Generally, we go earlier in the season and there are more apples on the trees.  This year, it was slim pickings.  Most of the apples has already fallen.  We eventually conceded that we may need to hunt of the ground for nice apples but it was not quite as fun.  It was still a fun day at the apple orchard.

We had some nice vegan treats at the orchard as well.  Each year the offer ribbon fries, which are amazing.  This year they even had homemade lemonade.  It was actually really good and a fun treat for the three of us to share.

As always, we headed to Amicalola State Park which is about a mile or so away from the orchard.  We hiked to the falls and added the mileage to our total for vacation hikes.  Kaleigh's little 6-year old legs hiked a total of 24 miles in 5 days!  She was very proud of it, as she should be!