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!