Monday, October 30, 2006

The Birthday Curse

For the last few years, I have been asked to bake b-day treats for everyone in my family. I’m not sure if it’s because they like my cooking, or if they’d feel bad because I wouldn’t be able to share in the traditional non-vegan fare that would otherwise be served…hmm.

It’s bad enough that poor Tracy has to turn another year older, but I have to add insult to injury when I’m asked to make her a b-day cake. One year, Tracy asked me to make a carrot cake with cream cheeze icing. My creation? The cake was totally soggy, and the icing soaked into the cake (I swear I iced the cake when it was cooled). It was so sickly sweet and despite their best efforts, no one could eat it. I felt awful. Since then, I have gathered about a million carrot cake recipes and will one day perfect a recipe to give Tracy the perfect carrot birthday cake with a hope to break the curse.

Until she trusts me again with carrot cakes, Tracy has submitted requests for non-carrot related fare. This year, she asked for the same peanut butter-chocolate-maple syrup mousse pie that I had made for Princess’s b-day earlier this year. Perfect, I thought – I had already made this, and it turned out great. I’m safe! Then, Tracy managed to snag a copy of Vegan with a Vengeance from the library. She changed her mind, and instead wanted the No-Bake Black-Bottomed Chocolate Silk-Peanut Butter Pie. No sweat, I thought casually. That was until I read the ingredient that is known as my nemesis: Agar. No matter what I do, the agar just never works. I don’t even know what it’s supposed to do. So I became nervous, and as the days went by and Tracy’s b-day crept closer and closer, I began to dread the creation. And it didn’t help that I read about an unsuccessful venture on the PPK’s forums.

So I set out to make the pie tonight, so that in case my agar didn’t gel, I’d have time tomorrow night in between trick-or-treaters to make something else instead. I made the graham crust, spread the ganache, whipped the peanut butter-tofu mixture…then came the agar part. I whisked the boiling agar for a good 13 minutes (just to be sure it cooked or dissolved, or whatever), and then measured it in the measuring cup. ½ cup!!! The recipe said that it should have boiled down to 1/3 cup!!! I decided to take my chances, and added the remaining ½ cup liquid to the peanut butter mixture. I was so nervous about the whole agar thing, that I had inadvertently used the last choice (soymilk) instead of the planned second choice (soy creamer). Despite that slight mishap, it looks like everything turned out OK:

Tracy – I know that you will see this before Wednesday night…but I purposely wanted to post this pic in advance just in case my house blows up before then, and you would know that your b-day treat seemed OK at one point in time :) Now I just hope that each slice comes out nicely…stay tuned.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Frosty Day Feast

On Saturday night, it was so freakin' cold, that I made a childhood fave for Kyle and I - "Beef" and Red Noodles. It's one of my comfort foods. In a large sauté pan with a lid, I cooked some onions and celery with a little oil, then added a box of whole wheat macaroni, 1 1/2 cups TVP, 1 can of tomato soup, 2 soup cans worth of water, 1 19-oz can of tomato juice, 4 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp tamari, and chili powder - then let it all cook. It was a yummy dish to warm us up!

Despite getting to bed at the usual Saturday night time, I didn’t take advantage of the whole time change thing. I was up at 6:15 today with Kyle while he got ready for work (as he says, "to pour soymilk on his cereal"). Normally, I go back to bed right after he leaves. But for some reason, I wasn’t tired enough to go back to bed. Weird thing is, it was ‘really’ 7:30 or so…and it’s not like pre-fall-back I was up at that time either. But I thought I would have time to have a nap today…ha. Who was I kidding? I had to make food for my friend Sam’s Halloween Party at night. But I only had 2 things to make, and as I discovered, had lots of extra steps.

I first made the Fresh Mango Summer Rolls from VWAV (although there's nothing summery about the weather right now). I’d made them before for a party, but this time, I made some Seitan first and cut it into matchsticks to use instead of bean sprouts. I thought the brown and yellow was a little more fall-ish.

Instead of the recommended sauce that went along with the recipe, I made a batch of the peanut sauce on page 165 (I think it’s from the Cold Udon Noodles recipe), and used half of that for serving (I’m saving the other half to mix with pasta mid-week). It tastes way better.

I also made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from VCTOTW, but I noted that I should drain my homemade, puréed pumpkin first. Also, I can’t find vegan icing sugar here, so I tried the homemade version. The icing was really gritty, but still tasted great. I used festive Halloween paper liners, and had bought one of those cupcake display racks over the weekend to wow the guests at the party. Only thing was, the rack stores 13 cupcakes. I think that is the oddest design, because I only have one muffin tin that makes 12, and as a girl living by herself, would not dare make 2 batches just for the extra cupcake at the top. And I get the whole ‘baker’s dozen’ thing, but I wish they made the thing to just hold 12 cuppers. Oh well. I don’t have a pic, but at the party, we stuck an apple with a tealight inside on top, and that seemed to impress everyone more than the cupcakes did :(

So I was in the kitchen all day. But I wouldn’t dare guilt-trip Sam for that, as it was my parents who so *politely* suggested that she have a party (which translated into them inviting themselves). At the end of the night, she realized that she didn’t serve one of the dips that she bought, and then said that she should bring the to my parents’ house to serve at a party before the expiry date. I thought that was pretty good, and I’m really liking how everyone is too distracted by coaxing each other into parties, that they don’t realize that my turn is way overdue :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Honestly, I Don't Have an Imaginary Sister...

Yes, this blog is called ‘Two Vegan Sisters’, although I seem like the Blog Hog Sister. Tracy truly does exist – despite not posting her photo nor any entries over the past week. She is busy moving into her new house (which I have yet to see). I can’t wait to see what she will cook first in her gleaming new kitchen! Thankfully there won’t be any fluorescent lights like in her old house – the photos taken in that light probably didn’t make for good blog fodder.

And now onto food - In addition to making tasty treats on Tuesday night, I decided to make another batch of ice cream using the Chocolate Delight recipe from Vice Cream. As you may note in an earlier blog, I tried another recipe from this same book, with fantastic results. Only thing was the ‘cream’ seemed a little gritty. I had thought that this could have been caused in part from the natural peanut butter that was added to the recipe, but the other night, after a taste test, I confirmed that the gritty texture is also caused by the ground cashew base. I have to think of something that will grind these nuts much smoother than what my current food processor can do. And buying cashew nut butter is not a financially-viable option. Otherwise, I’ll have to live with the grit, or maybe try straining it. I was going to add some crushed Oreo-style cookies, but at the last minute, I found the ice cream’s almond extract flavour made it seem like a chocolate-almond ice cream, with bits of ‘almonds’, yeah…’almonds’ crushed into it.
Anyways, I didn’t post a pic of the ‘soft-serve’ style from when the mixture came out of the ice cream machine. This is because I made a dark chocolate variety of ice cream, that would cause critics to be grossed out by my creation. Instead, I stuck it in the freezer overnight and scooped it into a bowl, which you see below.

Guilty confession – I didn’t make it onto the elliptical on Tuesday night since as I was turning out the light in my office, I noticed an odd dark blob in the hallway. I turned my light on only to confirm my worst fear - a big kahuna spider. I’m petrified of spiders, and was forced to run downstairs, grab my central vac hose, and suck it up (that doesn’t sound very vegan of me). I was so stressed out from that experience that I decided to vacuum my upstairs, to ensure that the spider was safely in the central vac cannister in the garage. While that frightening episode forced me to avoid the basement - and hence, my elliptical - for fear of running into another spider of that magnitude, it did allow me to get half of my vacuuming done :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Isn't She Loaf-ly?

A while back, I had to buy a new breadmaker. My old Proctor-Silex model was sadly kaput after years of overuse, and had to be replaced. Last summer, Canadian Tire had a good sale on a popular model, so I caved - grudgingly. It took me a good two months to even be able to put my old breadmaker out at the curb. I mainly used the dough cycle, but once, I decided to test out the whole 'horizontal' loaf thing with one of my whole wheat recipes. I didn't have time to wait a long time, so without reading the instructions, I used the 'rapid bake' cycle. The loaf did not turn out well. It was very lopsided. I thought this had something to do with the fact that I used a 1 1/2 pound recipe for a 2 pound machine, so I made a note to self to follow the instructions for the larger loaf next time.

So next time rolled around last night. At 8pm, I decided to make me a loaf of bread. I followed the instructions in my cookbook for the 2 pound version, and got all set to turn on the bread machine. I then remembered that I had to select a setting. That's when I pulled out the cryptic breadmaker instructions (worst instructions ever). I then read that I can only use the 'rapid bake' cycle (1 hour 10 minutes) for ONLY the recipes in the book (of which there are two). I guess that's a useless cycle! My only other option was the 'grain' setting (4 hours 10 minutes). As it was already after 8pm, there was no way that I was going to wait until after midnight to pull that sucker out of the machine to avoid it getting soggy. So I used the delay timer (again, I was reminded at how crappy the instructions were), and decided to set it for 6am this morning.

I was eagerly anticipating my loaf - after all, I used the proper amount of ingredients (2 pound recipe) and the correct setting ('grain' instead of 'rapid bake'). When I woke up this morning, I could smell the faint scent of fresh bread. I opened my bedroom door and ran downstairs to find this:

I may have well just used the 'rapid bake' setting with the darn 1 1/2 pound recipe as the results were nearly the same :(

While on a bread kick, I decided to try a recipe that piqued my curiosity a few weeks ago. I have never tried one of those spinach dips served in a pumpernickel loaf, but found a vegan spinach dip recipe in Extraveganza that didn't seem to call for any hydrogenated Tofutti products. It sounded good! So I mixed this up for a snack, but it turned into my dinner.

It was pretty darn good! I tried serving it (to myself - so sad) in the carved out loaf, but I think my ratio of loaf to dip was off, so it didn't seem very full. Ah well - it tasted good. I can't wait to get nice and close to the co-workers tomorrow, as this recipe had three cloves of garlic.

Speaking of co-workers, they might overlook my hideous breath - I had extra filling leftover from my first batch of Boston Cream Cupcakes, so I made a second batch. I'm bringing some into work tomorrow to try and improve my popularity among the team (and partially because I don't want to get stuck at home alone with 12 cupcakes). The icing was a bit runnier today...come to think of it - maybe I should taste-test one from this batch...I'll go do that now. I was just about to get on the elliptical anyways...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Day of (Un)Rest

I was a busy girl today! Kyle is feeling a little under the weather, as he is busy at work installing the ice for the curling rink. So I wanted to make him a yummy dinner to help lift his spirits. I cooked up 1/2 a recipe of Seitan from Vegan with a Vengeance, then used two of the three seitan chunks to make Jerk Seitan. I use red onions and red peppers instead of what the recipe calls for to add more colour. This was my second time making it, and I wish I had more time to marinate it (the recipe says to marinate the seitan for one hour, but the first time I made it I marinated it overnight - much better). Nonetheless, it was great! I served it over steamed brown rice, with some broccoli on the side. Kyle really liked the broccoli - all I did was sauté it with garlic-seasoned rice vinegar and soy sauce, and sprinkled it with sesame seeds.

For Dessert #1, I pulled out some of my Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream from yesterday. My mom and stepdad came over and taste-tested this earlier in the day, and were very complimentary! My mom isn't a fan of soy, and she said that she never would have guessed that that was a main ingredient!

I'm posting a new pic of the ice cream, since my aunt had logged onto this blog earlier in the day, and said it looked like dog sh*t. I had stuck it in the freezer overnight, and scooped it out today. I'm a bigger fan of it this way, rather than the soft serve, sh*t style :)

And now on to Dessert #2...earlier in the week, I finally received my copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I am on the Post Punk Kitchen site rather frequently, and have been very jealous of everyone else making tons and tons of cupcakes - it was now finally my turn! I haven't eaten a boston cream donut for I don't know how long, so I knew that this was the first cupcake I would make! I got a little scared when I read that the filling required agar - I have not ever had any luck with that stuff. It either never dissolves, or it does absolutely nothing to thicken or glossen (I don't even really know what it's supposed to do). I followed Isa's instructions for when using flakes instead of powder, and it seemed to turn out A-OK. I was however getting a *little* worried, since there was only like 1/3 cup of soymilk in my pot with the agar, and after 10 minutes of cooking, there wasn't much liquid left. I stirred that thing the entire time, just like the recipe said, because I knew that if I stopped stirring for just one minute, it would likely burn and crust on the bottom of my pan.

When it came time to fill the cupcakes, I tried to think of something else to use instead of a pastry bag. I was expecting to use a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off, but I then remembered back to Xmas of 2001 or something, when I asked for and received a Tupperware 'decorating' tool. I have no idea why I wanted that back then, as I certainly didn't plan on decorating cakes or anything. But man, that tool was perfect for filling the cupcakes! It comes with a variety of tips, and you can stick on the lid and store the contents in the fridge. I had extra filling left over, so I'm going to make a second batch of cupcakes on Tuesday night.

After like 3 hours of slaving away at these cupcakes, I was SO pleased with the final results:

Needless to say, I didn't do my vacuuming :) There's always tomorrow...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I Scream, You Scream...

Well, it doesn't look the most appetizing, but I made some Peanut Butter Ice Cream from Vice Cream, and it was actually pretty good! Five minutes after I piled it into my bowl and it half melted, I decided to snap a pic. Better late than never!

My friend Sam came over after a long day of shopping, and we thought this would be pretty quick to make. I was surprised how well my food processor ground the raw cashews, so I'm looking forward to making a 'plainer' recipe without the gritty natural peanut butter to see just how well they process. I used chocolate soy milk instead of the purified water, and added some chocolate chips (honestly, I DON'T eat chocolate chips with everything, although they have made more than a few appearances on this blog...).

We were going to make the Boston Cream Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but it would have taken way too much time. I'm going to make them tomorrow along with Jerk Seitan. I had reserved Sunday for vacuuming, but cooking and baking is way more fun instead. Maybe I'll vacuum after all of that...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I've Redeemed Myself!

Was I ever thrilled to fill my cannister with oats! On to Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies - Round 2.

After last night's fiasco, I rushed to the grocery store to grab the missing ingredient to re-attempt the cookies. I got home at 5:13. I threw the ingredients together (I even measured carefully - which I normally never do, but I wasn't taking any chances for another screw up), and tossed them in the oven at 5:29. I even made sure my oven thermometer read the required 350 degrees. 18 minutes later (2 minutes longer than the recommended baking time, under my watchful eye), the cookies were out. By 5:55, they were cooling on a rack, and looked MUCH better than last night's creation, although still different from my first batch. I honestly didn't care, as I could at least feel confident bringing these puppies into work.

I was supposed to be over at Tracy's by 5:45 to babysit Princess, but I didn't there until 6. I always seem to be 15 minutes late for everything. Fortunately, dinner was ready for me! Hooray! Tracy made this yummy recipe from Lorna Sass' Complete Vegetarian Kitchen. It's a spinach-chickpea-sundried tomato risotto recipe that's made in minutes in the pressure cooker. Definitely one of my faves.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Crisis Not-Quite Averted

Last week, an e-mail went around at work asking for volunteers to bake goods for the United Way Bake Sale. Remembering how complimentary my co-worker Derek was about my Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, I had visions of Experimental Farm employees raving over vegan goodies. I eagerly responded that I would supply 2 dozen cookies. Worried that I would forget, I left reminders all over the house that on Tuesday night, I would bake a whole batch of Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies to take on Wednesday for the sale early on Thursday morning. How hard could it be? I had already made the recipe and it turned out great (see earlier post). By the Law of Sarah, I should have known that this endeavor would not be achieved without a major headache.

On Monday night, I thought how I’d better check that I had all of the ingredients. By late that night, I was too tired and convinced myself that I was well-equipped. My god, I had been cooking/baking all weekend, so I would have noticed if I was missing any critical ingredients. Nevertheless, I told myself that I would check before work. Needless to say, I was running very late this morning, and on my way to work, I even had to turn around and drive back to grab my purse that I had inadvertently left in my front hall before leaving. Cookie ingredients? Never gave it a thought. At work, I wondered if I had all of the ingredients, and knew that I was making a stop at a store next to the grocery store tonight. I told myself that I would do a mental check while I was there, so that I could easily stop and pick up anything I might have been missing.

So, after doing all of the other stuff around the house that I needed to do, I decided to get into my PJs and make some cookies at 9:42. I open the cupboard, and sure enough, I only have 1/3 cup of oats. Since these were "Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies", I thought that this was a critical ingredient. I thought about running to the grocery store, but in my attire, scratched that idea. I then decided I would halve the recipe. Forget the two dozen, the charity will have to be happy with one. However, with the amount of oats I had on hand, I would have to quarter the recipe. Instead, I went through my freezer, and found a ground oat/hemp seed concoction that I had saved from another recipe. I dumped that in and hoped for the best. I rushed to get the cookies on the sheet, then did a taste test. Good idea, since I forgot to add the freakin’ sugar! I tried to mix as best as I could, but one can only hope for the best. I added extra chocolate chips to make up for how disastrous this could be.

Needless to say, I won’t do vegan food any justice at the bake sale. I might be able to salvage a dozen if I’m lucky, but it’s not looking good. I'm probably going to have to re-attempt tomorrow night at some point as they are greasy looking, flat and too crispy :(

Fortunately, my Crockpot Homestyle Applesauce from the Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook turned out great. I had just finished telling some people in the lunchroom that I was vegan and that that meant no meat, no eggs and no dairy. Not even 10 seconds later, one of the eager listeners asked if I was eating pork n’ beans (my applesauce). I wasn’t offended, since there are a few folks that work for the government that aren’t the *swiftest* characters, so I didn’t take it personally and instead just relished in my apple pork-free treat.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Awash in Squash!

I also made the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup too on Sunday night. Delish!

However, I now know that I will spend more time in the produce section looking for a scale. I bought 3 squash, as the recipe said, but I did not weigh them to see if I met the 5lb that were called for in the recipe. I roasted them, and started adding the squash to my onion/broth combo, and started mixing with an immersion blender. I couldn't add anymore, since the soup was so thick! I had PLENTY of squash leftover, so I guess I could have given Tracy my leftover squash so that she'd have some yummy soup too.

I also made the Fettuccine Alfreda, as I saw pics of that recipe on a few sites out there. I should preface my review by indicating that I HATE the taste of cheese. For instance, as a little kid eating grilled cheese sandwiches, I used to soak them in pickle brine, then layer dill pickles on top to be able to eat the sandwich. To this day, even when I use vegan cheeze, I still have to do the same. Why do I even eat a grilled cheeze sandwich, you ask? I dunno. I guess it’s just an easy meal. But I digress – I have to admit that I wasn’t a fan of the alfreda, not by any fault of the recipe, but for the mere fact that I hate anything that tastes cheesy. Kyle liked it, so I knew that it was just me. So for all those vegans that miss the taste of cheesy food, this is the perfect recipe for you!

I also added mushrooms to the prepared sauce, to give it some texture.

For dessert, I made another attempt at soy ice cream. I had first tried a vanilla recipe using tofu, but I wasn't thrilled with the results. So I tried yet another plain vanilla to go on top of my homemade apple pie (I was a cooking machine yesterday!!!). I used a recipe for Cookies and Cream (sans Cookies) that used soy creamer, and the results were fantastic! I really liked the fact that I didn't have to chisel it out of the container once I left it in the freezer.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

In a Hurry Curry

On Friday night we had quite a few errands to run in preparation of the move into our new house IN THREE DAYS. I am unbelievably excited! I opted for a fridge cleaning curry, which used up onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, spinach (grown in Canada!), and chickpeas.

I was out of curry paste, so I added copious amounts of garam masala, curry powder, coriander and mustard seeds. I pre-boil the carrots so the curry doesn’t need as much cooking time, and use the cooking water in the curry. Princess isn’t fond of curries, so I set aside cooked carrots, chickpeas and spinach for her, along with the basmati rice that we serve with the curry.

Yesterday I splurged on some cool items for the new kitchen. One was new spice bottles:

I have been wanting to re-organize my spices for quite some time, and put them into bottles that any spoon will fit into. The other item I bought was a silicone muffin “tin”.

Last night I made Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. I make it similar to the recipe in VwaV, but leave out the maple syrup, lime, ginger and chile. I like my squash soup kinda vanilla, but that doesn’t mean it lacks flavour. We paired the soup with ciabatta bread from Farmboy. I only had one butternut squash, so we weren’t blessed with much leftover soup.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I’ve Gone Bananas

For fear of a swarm of fruit flies invading my kitchen, I decided to do something with the brown bananas sitting on my counter. Once in a while I get this bunch that are a sickly army green colour, and no matter how much time goes by, they never turn yellow - they just go straight to brown. I knew they were no longer edible, since I took one in my lunch the other day and was nearly drunk after mowing it down.

And so, I decided to mash the following recipe together in a quick attempt to generate a snack for the rest of this week’s lunch. Also, I wanted to do something productive to justify watching my weekly TV trash fix, America’s Next Top Model:

Sarah’s I’ve-Gone-Bananas Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup Sucanat or sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon each ginger and nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
3-4 mashed ripe bananas (if you’re missing one or two bananas, add in ½ cup applesauce to compensate)
½ - ¾ cup soymilk
2 tablespoons maple syrup (I’m a Canuck)
½ cup chocolate chips (for Kyle!) or walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottoms of a 12-muffin tin with oil.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Make a well in the centre, and add the mashed bananas, ½ cup soymilk and maple syrup. Mix until just blended, adding in additional soymilk if the batter is as stiff as mixing cement. Add in chocolate chips (if you have a chocoholic boyfriend like me) or walnuts and stir to combine.

Fill each muffin cup with batter. I recommend using a large scoop that ejects the batter easily. Bake for 20 minutes, let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from pan and cool on a rack.

For dinner, I whipped up this Asian-inspired recipe. As a result of my impulsive ingredient toss, the measurements are approximated, but I don’t think I’m that far off:

Sarah’s Tamari Tofu Toss

8 ounces linguine noodles
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup cold water
½ cup tamari
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup (again, for the Canadian in me)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 medium red onion, diced
5 mushrooms, sliced
1 block firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
¾ cup carrots, cut into matchsticks (I cheat and buy them prechopped)

In a glass measuring cup, mix cornstarch, water, tamari, seasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, syrup, ginger and flakes. Set aside.

Bring pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook.

Meanwhile, cook onions and mushrooms over medium-high heat in a little oil until softened. Add tofu cubes and broccoli and stir for one minute until broccoli looks soft. Toss in carrots and cook for another minute. Add prepared sauce and stir until thickened, about 30 seconds.

Drain cooked noodles, and add to pan with tofu mixture. Mix to coat and serve immediately.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss on the salt. Yum!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Long weekend, Leftovers and Healing Soup

But Sarah, this *is* an Isa-worshipping site! I want to photoshop her head onto one of those bathtub virgin marys and put her out on the front lawn. Seriously, we love Isa. My copy of VwaV finally came in the mail today. I had to return the library copy last week and was waiting impatiently for the package to arrive. Yippee! Now I can write in it and safely dribble food on it.

Monday night’s dinner consisted of Thanksgiving leftovers from the family feast. Sarah made a seitan loaf and I made our traditional vegan stuffing. Covering both is Sarah’s Brown Gravy, which is really yummy, but doesn’t reheat to the same consistency as fresh. I made vegan coleslaw.

I wish we had taken more photos, as Sarah also made a yummy butternut squash dish, which was consumed rather quickly. And a killer vegan pumpkin pie and vegan vanilla ice cream too.

I started feeling tired Monday night and stayed home from work Tuesday. I don’t know why, but holidays stress me out. I didn’t feel like anything but soup, so Pete and I whipped up a healing soup with mushrooms, onions, carrots, pineapple, shelled edamame and cilantro. Mmmmm.

Tonight I needed a quick healthy dish and wanted to use the leftover mango-ginger tofu that I had marinating in the fridge. Add the tofu and some veggies to a stir-fry pan and top with PC soya ginger sauce. Serve over udon noodles.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

C is for Cookie...

And this one is good enough for me! On Thursday, I had baked some Best Pumpkin Muffins (from VwaV - see Tracy's post) for my beau, Kyle, to take to his work, and had 1 cup of thawed pureed pumpkin left in the fridge. I thought I could just make another batch of muffins from my fave cookbook, but I remember seeing “Pumpkin” splashed across a few other recipes in the book. Sure enough, a recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies caught my eye. At first, I was skeptical because A) I only make one kind of oatmeal cookie that everyone raves over (I’ll post my delectable recipe soon), and B) Pumpkin in a cookie? Although the recipe called for all purpose flour and raisins, I made an executive decision to substitute whole wheat flour and chocolate chips (Kyle wants them in EVERYTHING). I am known as the Queen of Substitution, and I had to put my personalized mark on the recipe. I tried the cookies today at work, and they were awesome…the spice was a perfect complement to the crisp fall air. I had also brought an extra two cookies to share with my co-worker Derek, a self-admitted cookie freak, in order to solicit his opinion. Derek seemed thrilled with the treat, noted the spiced taste, and told me that I could bring in Kyle’s share for him to eat. I doubt that that would go over well with Kyle, although it might actually make me popular at work.

As Tracy mentioned, VwaV rawks. That being said, for fear of turning this blog into an Isa-worshipping site, I thought I’d talk about a recipe from one of my other favourite cookbook authors. I made this delectable All-Day Minestrone Soup from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. It was delish, and probably one of the easiest Crockpot recipes I have ever made (I know Crockpots are supposed to be effortless, but I find a lot of recipes involve browning/cooking many of the ingredients in advance, thus making it seem like I’m still having to tend to the meal). I used Eden’s organic Alphabet noodles, which brought me back to eating Alphagetti as a kid :) For my more mature tastebuds, I mixed in some homemade pesto at the end, as the recipe suggested, and it really gave it a lot of flavour. I’m glad this recipe called for chickpeas, as I seem to hate every other bean out there.

The one thing I absolutely love about the Crockpot is coming home after a long day at work in the bureaucracy-filled public service, opening the door, and smelling dinner cooking. I actually forget that I turned it on it the morning, so I get excited at the realization that I don’t have to cook! I then sort of pretend that someone has made me dinner and it’s just waiting to be served! The reality is that I live alone, and I don’t expect anyone to come to my house and make me dinner anytime soon :(

PS - need to get the Wearever Muffin makes clean-up a breeze. Ditch the muffin papers and go commando...

Super Duper Best Pumpkin Muffins

For Thanksgiving brunch, we had the two cool teens over so we needed something really good. They're still a little sketchy about the whole vegan thing. Sarah had good luck with the PPK's Pumpkin Muffins, so I gave them a shot. They really are the *best*, and I've screwed up enough vegan muffin recipes to know (hockey pucks, anyone??). Absolutely scrumptious. And they got the thumbs up from the kids.

It's pumpkin season, so go out and buy a pumpkin and make these! I used muffin cups so I wouldn't have to scrub the pan. They were a little hard to pry off. For next time, any suggestions?

Monday, October 09, 2006

My First VWAV Recipe

More about us in the posts to follow...

I'll start off our introductory post with a photo of Saturday night's dinner.

This is Mango-Ginger Tofu from The Post Punk Kitchen. Sarah and I are just delighted with Isa's book Vegan with a Vengeance.

The taste was good overall, but I prefer a little more savoury if fruit is included in a main course. I had Princess taste the sauce before putting it on hers and good call, because she wasn't keen on it. I found the prep time quite long and intense. Pete liked it.