Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Bloody Cupcakes!

It is almost Halloween! I am not really a holiday person at all. I generally find them annoying and filled with senseless consumerism. Halloween is no exception. However, I do recall enjoying dressing up as Freddy for all of my Halloween years as a child. My father would go all out. He would take some hot wax mixed with food coloring, pour it on my face to resemble melted flesh. I had the glove, the hat, the sweater. The works. I WAS Freddy for the night and I loved it.

Over the last couple of years I have enjoyed going out and see the little kids dress up in costumes and trick or treat. They always look so happy but sadly, never has good as those old school costumes that I had as a child. Everything is so "off the shelf" now.

In honor of my non-participation of Halloween, I threw together some cupcakes....bloody ones! I used the recipe from the How it all Vegan cookbook (lemon cake). Tasty!

After hours of searching, I found the best deal for my November vacation. I will be heading to Los Angeles to see my great friend Laura for 3 days and then heading to Maine for the remaining 5 days. In Maine I will get a chance to see family and friends, this will be a good trip. Not 2 hours after I spend the money on the airline tickets, I get in my car to head to work only to find my brakes are completely shot. The car is in the shop now and $300 later it should be fixed. I struggle to catch a break but am still in good spirits about it.

On a side note, my mum got a hold of the documents I needed from the State of Maine and i am heading toward my next step in getting my real estate license. Go mum!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tato and his Treats!

Tato loves his black beans. We give him these as his treats when he is good, which is rare.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sweetwater Creek

I took a hike by myself into Sweetwater Creek State Park. This was the first place I went hiking when I got to Georgia and it has been many years since I had been there. In fact, this was a very nice day and a great day for a hike. With all the rain we had gotten recently the water was rushing and loud.

There is something about rushing water that captures me. Waterways were so influential in the creating of our world and yet, it can wipe it out at any moment. It is so raw and powerful. The water destroys and creates all in the same motion. It is honest. It offers no apologizes for its honesty. It is innocent and merciless at the same time. The water can do no wrong.

I sat on a rock for several hours with water rushing by me on all sides. Just thinking, dreaming, inspired.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tofu Scrambler

The house has some unfinished wood floors now and things are hopefully going to start picking up again. The rain has really put a damper on what has been able to get accomplished. I am hoping that it will be only another few weeks and I will be in! Fingers crossed.

After making several thrift store scores I headed home. I made some sausages from Vegan Brunch. My own version with maple syrup and some other random things but fairly similar to the ones found in the book. I also made some pancakes, berry topping, and tofu scramble. We had breakfast for dinner!

Tofu Scrambler

1/2 pound of tofu
1 link of "sausage" (see above)
2 cloves of chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of chopped onion
2 tablespoons of oil
1/3 cup of nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons of turmeric
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper

With a fork, gently crush and crumble the tofu. In a frying pan, bring the oil to a med temperate. Add the sausage, garlic, and onion to the oil and fry for 5 minutes. Add the turmeric and tofu. Fry for 5 more minutes until the onions are golden and everything is yellow. Add the remaining ingredients and fry for another 15 mins until the tofu begins to get crispy.

The berry sauce was also very good and simple. It was great as a pancake topping and would also be good over vanilla "ice cream" or even as filling for a turnover.

Roasted bandwagon

Everyone seems to be roasting veggies and tofu. I guess it is that time of the year. Nice autumn weather goes so well with garlic and potatoes. The temptation was too much. Join the bandwagon.
Brussel Sprouts are another veggie that just seems like autumn to me. The nutty flavor and crunchy texture are so good. Strangely, I first had brussel sprouts about a year ago and not they have become one of my favorite foods.

Toss some mashed creamy potatoes and you have a meal!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peanut Butter Curry with Tofu

As it turns out, my dad will no longer be coming to visit and help with the house. It is unfortunate for me but great for him. He got a new job! I am very happy and it is a great thing for him. On a side note, it means that I have some vacation time that I need to use next month. I have been throwing around some fun ideas and hope that something great comes to fruition. Option 1 is to take a trip to Los Angeles to see my friend Laura. It has been far too long and I miss her too much. Option 2 is to trek to Maine and see my family and friends. Option 3 is a solo trip to Vancouver Canada to get in some cold weather hiking and good food. We will see what happens.

I zipped home to watch top chef only to realize that the venomous cable company has destroyed our service. It was a sad moment and Jamie and I will need to play catch up again. We thought we were finally on a weekly basis. Sad times.

In honor of the missed top chef, I made some peanut curry! This is a dish I have been making for many years and has occasionally been a staple in my diet.

Peanut Butter Curry with Tofu

1/2 pound of tofu
2 vine ripe tomatoes (diced)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 of a sweet onion (chopped)
12 oz of coconut milk
2 cups of veggies
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1 tablespoon of oil
3 teaspoons of curry powder
3 teaspoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of jalapeno pepper (chopped)
2 teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoon of coriander
2 teaspoons of fresh cilantro

In a sauce pan heat the oil. Add the garlic and onion and let it begin to turn the onion translucent. When the onion is done, add the turmeric, jalapeno pepper, and curry powder. Stir well and cook for only about 2 minutes. Everything should be yellow. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

Bring a separate non-stick pan to about low or low/med temperature. When the pan is hot, add the todu (cubed) and let it begin to sizzle. Without oil the tofu will brown up each side withing a few minutes. Be sure to stir the tofu often and gently. Add in the veggies as you see fit and cook until tender.

When the coconut sauce mixture has simmered for about 5 minutes (stirring frequently to avoid burning) add the reaming ingredients and turn your heat down to low. Bring the sauce back to a simmer and the peanut butter will melt, and the tomatoes will liquify. Let simmer for about 10 minutes and add the approprate amount of sauce to the tofu and mix.

What do you do when life give you lemons?

First off, let me apologize for not being on top of the blog reading and writing. It has been a rough few months and I have had much on my plate. I am trying to focus on taking things down one at a time and things are starting to look up. When life give you lemons, you make lemonade.

Months ago I wrote about making my nana's pie crust. It has been a feat that no one in my family has been able to completely fulfill. With her gone now, this is the time that the recipe will either live or die. It will either be her legacy or it will be left as a memory. My nana was one of the best and sweetest people I have know in my life and I learned more from her then I even realize. The farm life is dificult and she wore it well. I have been working diligently to master the nana pie crust craft. I am getting close, I can taste it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tartar Sauce

I have been busy the last several days and have not had the chance to post. I feel guilty that I can not keep up with all of the postings that people are making for veganmofo. It is impressive. I wish I had that much to say.

I have been saving this recipe for a day when I had time to post and not much to say. Here goes...

Tartar Sauce

3/4 cup of vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of chopped dill pickle
1 teaspoon of chopped onion
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of dulse flakes (other seaweed will work)
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise and pickle together until they have become well mixed. This pickles need to be chopped finely. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. It should be a think and slightly lumpy consistency.

Tomorrow is the October vegan lunch meetup and I have 2 days off. No plans other then the meetup but we will see.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Passed my test!

I passed my test! Finally! Tonight is Top Chef, to celebrate.

Last night my mum came into town and we went to my house. She had a good time and was impressed with the size of the house.

She has not been feeling well and wanted to have something light for dinner. We made some pasta and salad. I am ashamed to admit then I have never really made my own pasta sauce from scratch. There seem to be so many easy jar sauces out there that I always just use them as a base and work from there. Not last night, not for my mum!

Anyone else like their OJ so chunky that you need a spoon?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Banana Bread

Before work yesterday I noticed that there were 5 overly ripe bananas on the counter. Guess what that means?!?!

Banana Bread

4 ripe bananas
4 cups of flour
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup of applesauce
1/2 cup of pecans (or walnuts - optional)
4 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Pre-heat the oven at 325. Grease and flour a loaf pan. In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and maple syrup. It is preferred that the bananas still have a little chunk to them. The consistency of your banana bread will be better. In another bowl, combine and mix all other ingredients. Then combine the two bowls and mix until the batter is a golden color and there is no dry flour. Pour into a loaf pan, cover with foil and bake for 55-60 minutes. Check with a toothpick.

My mum will be here in a couple of hours! I re-take my test again in the morning. I have 2 days off! Top Chef tomorrow. High hopes for a good week.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where are the warriors today?

Yesterday both Jamie and I had the day off. We headed to North Georgia to visit a farm and maybe go to the Ellijay Apple Festival. We ended up at a farm that was less than eventful. The upside is that it had an amazing flower garden with all sorts of butterflies. It was pretty impressive and I wish I taken a few photos. As we were leaving the parking lot, we got a glimpse of North Georgia life.
Off to the apple festival. We went last year so we knew what to expect. It is not great but there is a bread stand that has great frosted vegan breads. Yum. Jamie got 3 loaves. We ate samples of apple sauce, apple bar b que sauce, and apple cider. The cider was so good. Very sweet.

A few weeks ago, Jamie came home from a family visit in Florida where her cousins Heather and Peter were. Somehow she left with a squash! I won't ask any questions when great food appears in my house. We cooked it up very simply and it was outstanding. Growing up I loved the flavor of squash. Nice and sweet with a hint of the nutty.I also cooked some tempeh and made a salad. There is a spot here in Atlanta that has the best salad dressing in the world. No joke. Amazing. I have been trying to figure out how they make it for awhile. Last night I came pretty damn close. I have a few more adjustments and then I will out their recipe! You will not be dissappointed.
I also used the last of the apples we picked for a nice dessert. Baked apples. Not only have I never baked an apple before but I have never eaten a baked apple. I think I may have over cooked it but it was delicious regardless. I made a nice syrup sauce to go with it as well.
Tomorrow, my mother is coming to visit. She will be the first in my family to see my house. I am excited. She will only be here for 2 days but it will be a nice visit. I like to have company.

My dad starts his new job tomorrow. So many big things on the horizon. I hope they go smoother then the have recently. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Throw back to childhood

Growing up in my mum's house in Maine with my brother and sister both actively involved in sports, there was not much time for gourmet meals. Fish sticks and french fries were a staple, along with frozen pizzas, maybe a can of green beans for some veggies. Not the healthiest, but it was efficient for my mum and what she was able to do with her time. One of the "fun" meals we had as kids was English Muffin Pizzas. My mum would get a package of english muffins and we would all get a couple of them do "decorate" ourselves. It was a fun night of dinning pleasure in the house.

Last night, I made some food that was way to spicy. Not sure why, I made it the same way I have a dozen times before I just think I got an extra potent jalapeno pepper. Too bad. I rarely make a bust (food-wise) but this was a disaster. I could stomach some of it but Jamie was in bad shape. I had to come up with something else on the fly. Looking through the cupboard I spotted.....English Muffins! That was it, in honor of my mother coming to visit next week, Jamie and I whipped up some English Muffin Pizzas like i had not had since I was a kid. Great stuff.
Thanks mum!

Friday, October 9, 2009


I failed my test again.

Here is some food. Fried Seitan, Rosemary Fries, and Veggies in "cheese" sauce. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Carrot Ginger Soup and Fried Seitan

It has been an emotional week. I failed my first test on Monday. It felt awful and I barely made it through the day. I have been under a tremendous amount of stress and it is grinding me down. I know that it will get better eventually but it often offers little comfort. I retake my test tomorrow and I will pass.

The other night I made some food in hopes that it might made me feel better. It didn't, however it did keep my mind off of my sour demeanor for a little while.

Carrot Ginger Soup

2 cups of carrots (peeled)
2 cups of water (or veggie broth)
1 1/4 tablespoon of ginger (grated)
2 cloves of garlic (grated)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of turmeric

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the turmeric, ginger, garlic and carrots and let boil until the carrots are almost completely soft. Once the carrots are softening, pull out your blender and puree the water and carrot mixture until it is smooth. Return to the pot and put on low heat. Add the sugar and oregano and stir until it is well mixed. Let heat (do not let bubble) for 5 mins and serve. This soup can be served cold.

Despite my mood, it has honestly been a drab couple of weeks here in the dirty south. More rain then I have seen since I moved here in 2004 and the days that are not wet are very overcast. Perfect soup weather! Hence the numerous soups I have been making. Soup is one of my favorite types of food and I enjoy the weather that makes me desire it!

With the soup, I made some seitan. This has been my thing in the last year or so. Jamie has really enjoyed it and I tend to make it the way she prefers but I know I can do other great things with it. I made some fried seitan strips and she loved them! Success! Could this be another additon to the standard menu?

Fried Seitan Strips

1/2 pound of seitan
2 tablespoons of oil
2 cloves of garlic (chopped or grated)
2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon of rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of marjoram
1 teaspoon of sage

In a sauce pan, heat the oil on low-med heat for about 3-4 minutes. The oil should not be frying temperature but should be hot enough to cook with. Add the garlic, black pepper and turmeric. Stir well and coat the garlic in the oil. Let cook for 1 minute (do not let the garlic begin to brown). Add all other spices and let heat, stirring well. This should take only about another minute or so. Turn the heat off and remove from the heat. Slice the seitan into 2 inch long thin strips. This allows the oil micture to begin to cool and absorb the flavors. Once the seitan is sliced, put the oil pan back onto the heat and let it warm back up. It should be off the heat for at least 5 minutes. Once the oil is heated back up (do not let the spices brown up) add the seitan and stir well. Make sure all the seitan is covered with the oil mixture. Turn the heat up to med and let the deitan fry in the oil mixute until both sides are golden and crispy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Asparagus and Basil Soup

Asparagus and Basil Soup

3 asparagus spears
6 oz of tomato sauce
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 of jalapeno pepper
2 cups of water or veggie broth
1/2 cup of chopped carrots
1/3 cup of peas
1/3 cup of corn
2 tablespoons of chopped onion
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons of oil
2 teaspoons of oregano
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of marjoram

In a sauce pan, heat the oil with the chopped garlic, onion and jalapeno pepper. Once the onion is translucent, add the tomato sauce and water (veggie broth). Let the liquid begin to heat up (does not need to simmer) and add the oregano, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, thyme, marjoram, and carrots. Bring to a simmer until the carrots are almost soft. Should be about 10 minutes. Then add the asparagus, peas, corn and fresh basil and let simmer until asparagus is soft. Cool and serve.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Quick Update

I am not sure what the VeganMoFo is all about. I guess you just post as often as you can in the month of October? Well, I feel like I post as often as I can each month. Yesterday I quickly made a cake. It has been awhile since I have had a cake I the house and I tore it up!

I have my state real estate exam on Monday morning and work all weekend. Also, my Nero photo viewer will no longer read jpg files. I am trying to grab a copy of photo shop and see what I can do.