Monday, March 31, 2008

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

I've said it before but Vegan with a Vengeance is sort of hit and miss with me. These muffins were a hit though. I used half whole wheat pastry flour but those were the only changes I made. The texture of these muffins was awesome and they had a strong lemon flavor. Lately I've had a lot of blah tasting lemon goods. These were great.

My computer has been getting much slower lately and been driving me insane. Joe, the husband, is a computer wiz and said he would reinstall Windows. I also went through and wrote down all of the programs that I use, about 20, and he took off every thing that was left. He saved everything I asked him to and my computer is at least five times faster.

But, you saw that coming right, for some reason my internet bookmarks are the ones I had from like six months ago. I'm so incredibly bummed. I had a file all ready to go with the supplies for Isaac's next school semester. I had finally got off my arse and organized all of my recipes. There was a long list of stories and articles that I was reading or about to read. All of that is gone. What bugs me more is all the stuff that I can't remember bookmarking but did for some reason and will never find again. So, I'm sad. Joe feels bad and I know it's not really his fault. But, I'm sad.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cookie Experiments

It was a big hardship for me to sample all of these cookies but I persevered. These Nut Butter Cookies come from Raising Vegetarian Children. When I first saw the recipe it looked so simple I thought Isaac could do it by himself. The first batch I made used almond butter and were super. All the ingredients were nut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and whole wheat pastry flour. Joe didn't like them but everyone else did.
For the next batch I only made a 1/4 batch. I used tahini for my nut butter. I was afraid that it would be to bitter but I still wanted to try. Tahini has such a strong flavor but it's so good for you. I love any chance to get it into the kids. The cookies did end up with a very strong sesame taste. The kids didn't like them to much. When all the other cookies where gone they did turn to these, though.
Last up was another 1/4 batch with half cashew butter and half tahini. These were much better then the plain tahini. You could hardly taste the sesame. They were also a bit more crisp. I'm out of almond butter now and can't try a combo with tahini but I will try peanut butter next.
Yummy asparagus, I love you. Along side the most perfect green vegetable is some more bread from Artisan Bread in 5 and some Indonesian Coconut Rice from Vegan Fire & Spice. We liked this rice quite a bit. I held back on the spices some but the kids still said it was to spicy. The adults all liked it and Sophia, the one year old at playgroup, liked it. It was a nice change of pace from the old plain rice.
Veggie Stirfry with Spicy Almond Sauce ala Vive le Vegan! I did not care for this. The kids hated it. Ramsey gagged and almost puked on her plate. The sauce maybe could have been ok if there wasn't so MUCH of it. Joe liked it. The man has no taste.
And tonight's dinner, Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes from Yellow Rose. These were just as awesome as last time even though I had no mushrooms. I doubled up on the shallots because in my book that's never a bad thing. I really do love this recipe. It's pretty quick to make once the potatoes are baked. hee hee, that rhymed.
That's all we've got going for now. We're gearing up for a big camping trip. A ton of friends are going along so we should have blast. Joe is already planning his beer. He's a man with priorities.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

We are totally not religious but we'll say we celebrated the spring. First I'll show off another loaf of bread from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day. Isn't it cute?
The above bread cut up, roasted brussles sprouts, and Southern-Fried Tofu from Vegan Vittles. This was a tasty meal that we all liked pretty well. I thought that it was a little to salty and I saw Isaac picking off some of the breading. I assume he thought the same thing about the salt.
Courtesy of VeganYumYum, Lemon Maple Scones with Vegan Clotted Cream. These were very tasty. These weren't the overly sweet American scones. I loved the light lemon flavor of these biscuit like scones. I have had clotted cream before and so I added a touch of soy milk to make her recipe a little wetter. I made these scones for our Easter breakfast with the in-laws.
This is the coconut crust from Dreena Burton's Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Tart with Coconut Crust. No matter what I did the dough would not stay up the sides of the pan. What little progress I made slid down while baking.
Here is the finished product. This tart is so unbelievably rich. The crust ended up making no difference. It still tasted great even all down on the bottom. The chocolate part tasted just like the truffle recipe from edbv. I have way to much of this leftover and will be pawning it off on my friends at playgroup on Wednesday. You hear that Sara?
Last up is tonight's dinner, Spaghettini with Green Sauce from Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. I hardly ever use parsley in anything and this called for a whopping 2 cups. It also had 8 cloves of garlic. Anything that calls for that much garlic can't be bad. I liked this pretty well but would have enjoyed it more subbing in basil for the parsley. Joe and the kids liked it well enough.

That's about it. I have a different type of dough from Artisan Bread bubbling away in my fridge right now. It's been in there for a few days without me trying it so I might need to test out a loaf tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I love bread.

Soon after we had our trip to San Francisco planned my sister, Christy, called and said she was coming for a visit. She happened to be coming right when we were gone. I was bummed that I wouldn't get to spend the whole time with her but things worked out for the best. She was able to take care of Miso and the house and had the place to herself plus a car.

When we got home Saturday night I was welcomed home to this little face. Isn't Baby Benny so cute? I hadn't seen them since Thanksgiving. He's such a little chub.
Ok, on with the food. Ever since I read the post from Julie Hasson about the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day I had to have it. My copy finally came while we were on vacation. I waited a whole one day before mixing up a batch of dough. It was so easy! It took me under 10 minutes to mix the dough with a spoon. I threw it in the fridge and in the morning we had this bread for breakfast in under 40 minutes. I've never made a not round shape, so shut up. :)
Today I pulled out another hunk of dough and made this pizza. It has caramelized onions, tomato and Julie's sausage. This was really good but I'll spread the dough a bit thinner next time. Also, the sausage needs some sort of sauce so that it doesn't dry out.
I had to throw one more picture in of Baby Benny. (He's Ben the 5th. So, we have Baby Ben, Ben, Big Ben, Grandpa Ben....)
For Christy's birthday her only request was VCTOW Chocolate Cupcakes. I got to pick dinner. Since there would be a nice sized group and I was recovering from vacation I decided to go simple. We had salad premixed, spaghetti with jarred sauce, Julie's sausage, and garlic bread made with the Easy Garlic Spread from How it all Vegan. Everything was great. The garlic bread was slightly spicy and I loved the onion flavor.
For dinner tonight I made nachos ala Native Foods. I used their recipes for Salsa Fresca and Taco Meat. I also used the Nacho Cheese Dip recipe from Vegan Lunch Box. These turned out super. Everyone cleaned their plates. This is the best cheese sauce I've had. I'm kicking myself for taking so long to make it. The taco meat was good and I usually like a more soupy salsa but that was great also. I can't wait to have this again. In fact, I have left overs in my fridge I'll be heating up for lunch tomorrow. To bad I don't have anymore avocado.
That's about it. Plan on seeing a lot more posts about bread. I need to get myself a pizza peel.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Purgatory: Day 6


Eight hours in the car.


No stops.

No bathroom breaks.

I'm not really sure how anyone didn't soil themselves. I forced myself unconscious for much of the ride. When I did regain my senses the children reminded me why I wanted to be asleep.

It's good to be home.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Vacation: Day 5

Today was a little more loose and easy. Having said that, we are still coming home a day early. We're all pretty done.

We started today off at the Randall Museum. It was free and they had a lot of neat stuff.

Oh, I totally forgot. I started my day off with a vegan lemon poppy seed donut. The frosting was nice and tart. I have no idea where the hotel got them from.
After the museum we decided to go to the Exploratorium. We got a bit turned around and then accidentally on purpose drove across the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Exploratorium really is awesome. If I were a local I would totally buy a season pass. You could spend all day in there.
The kids just loved all of the hands on exhibits. The cafe they have there wasn't bad at all either. The kids had pasta with marina, Joe had a sandwich , and I had the salad bar that wasn't that expensive. The gift shop was really neat and had science kits and books that I had never seen. Thankfully they have a website so I can track down some more of those books through our charter.
Our eating schedule was all messed up once again. We had lunch around 2, again. We went from eating lunch to Maggie Mudd. I counted and they had 20 different vegan ice creams. That doesn't include the sorbets.
Joe got Tar Mac sundae. I don't remember the exact contents but it was something like chocolate, peanut butter, cookie ice cream with hot fudge and hot peanut sauce, crumbled cookies, whip cream, and peanuts. Isaac had a waffle cone with S'more ice cream. I had a two scoop sundae with hot fudge, whip cream, and chopped almonds. My ice cream choices were mint cookie and the Dubliner.
This ice cream really was good. I loved all the different flavor choices. I wish I could try them all. I did the math and it would have cost me close to $80 for a scoop of each. I didn't really want to pay that and obviously I couldn't eat that much ice cream. If I had like 8 friends with me, I think we could do it. I would pitch in $10 bucks for that.
Last is a lovely picture of Ramsey doing some water coloring. I never let her paint at home but hey, it's not my towel.

Parenting advice from kids

I do so love parenting advice from children. That's what these people were to me. I realize that I'm only in my twenties but I have two children, one who is 6 years old. This couple looked between 18 and 20.

Isaac got up from our table when we were done eating in this cafe, seat yourself, in and out kind of place. He sat down at this other table without realizing that there was a guy sitting there reading. We told him to come back. I heard this couple across from us commenting to each other that they'd smack their kid for doing that.

First off, I didn't really think it was that big a deal. I wanted him to come back but didn't consider it bad behaviour.

Second I was amused in an ironic sort of way. While we had been eating the male part of that couple, the one who made the smack comment, kept burping really loud and gross. When I looked over, because for some reason you do that when you are sicked out even though you know what it is, the female part of the couple had her sandals kicked off into the aisle and was sitting side ways with her bare feet up on the booth seat. I found that gross, also.

I'm wondering if I should have stepped into the parental role there and smacked both of them.

As a side note, Joe was finally correct about something. Mexican food really does get worse the more north you travel.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Oh Fine

Here's the food from Dosa. This one's got potatoes and stuff inside.
Joe's Uppatam, did I spell that right? I don't care and I'm not looking it up.

The kids shared coconut rice and a plain dosa.

Vacation: Day 4

I'm tired. Very, very tired. I don't really have any good pictures from today. Joe went on a brewery tour and the kids and I went to Union Square. We had a good time going in book shops and toy stores. Then we tried to find a restaurant and got lost in the ghetto. I don't mean jokingly 'it was ghetto'. I mean it smelled like pee and s**t. I lost count of how many people were talking to themselves. There were guys selling DVD's out of a dirty bag. A lady on her lunch break saw me looking at a map (which I suck at reading) and asked if I needed help. She then pointed out to me that I was in a really crappy area. The drug dealers totally didn't clue me in.

After we got unlost and made it back to Market Street, without having lunch, we went to the mall to have lunch. I was a little to frazzled to search for anything else. It was getting to late to go to Zeum or the Science Museum but we did go to Yerba Buena gardens and Metreon.

For dinner we went to Dosa over in Mission. I took pictures. It looks like every other Indian food you've ever seen. It was good.

The parking gods shined on me again back at the hotel. Now I'm laying here in a drooling stupor. I am having fun on this trip. I really can't say I like S.F. much, though. I'm pretty ready to go home. Tomorrow were going to try and have a bit more of a low key day and see if that settles every ones tempers.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Vacation: Day 3

We were out allllll day today. I'm dead tired and the kids passed out within minutes of reaching the Red Vic. Today we went down to Fishermans Wharf, Pier 39 and the near by attractions. I read that Boudin had a tour and knew Isaac would love it. He even loves the one at Disneyland and it has a lot of just videos.

So, we ate lunch at Boudin before the tour started. The have an enormous gift shop and we found this kiddie chopstick helpers. We have been on the look out for some but come up empty. These are even better then the ones I'd seen before as the chopsticks come out of the little top holder thing. Here's Ramsey practising.

Here are Isaac and Ramsey at the start of the bakery tour.
We stood here for a long while. They drop the dough from the second floor into a shoot that goes to the bottom floor. Then they watched the machines cut everything up and so on.
We also went to The Aquarium by the Bay. These guys have a thing for crabs that I don't really get. They were excited to see this big one.
This picture doesn't look as cool small but I still had to share it.
I had to harass someone into standing for this picture. This is just to give Yaya the heebee jeebees. That's a homemade two person submarine. Joe is there for size perspective. Wanna ride?
Next is the USS Pampanito. Isaac loves this type of thing but he totally freaked out whenever Joe or I would mess with anything, push buttons, turn knobs, etc. Those of you who don't know us well, that totally makes us sound like punks. Those of you who do know us well, we are totally awful like that.
Don't you wish you were here, too, Yaya? We're on a submarine that has water in it! Nice, huh? That also scared Isaac a bit.
There is a museum with all of these old arcade games. Ramsey refused to look at this one. I agree with her, it's a bit creepy. That didn't stop me from putting in a quarter. We spent a really long time in this museum. It was really interesting and fun playing with all the old fashioned stuff.
Ramsey has never been one to fall asleep while out. In fact, she doesn't even nap at home anymore. However she totally wore out within minutes of being put on Joe's back.
We tried to go to Green's for dinner, even though I wasn't really super interested, because it was close to where we were at. They ended up having a two hour wait. Instead we went to Herbivore on Divisadero. It was really late for us, 7 pm. We did get a great parking space.
Joe got some polenta dish that reminded me that I never make polenta. Then I tried his and remembered why. Still, he liked it.
I had some roasted vegetable ravioli with pesto. It was pretty good but I'd probably try something else before getting it again.
The kids split a veggie burger that neither really liked. The did want dessert though, so they toughed it out. I liked the seasoned fries that came with their meal, they did not. They both chose a donut for dessert. Joe and I were allowed one bite of each. They were pretty good.
Even with the camera sitting in my lap, I forgot to take a picture of my and Joe's dessert until half way through. I got a german chocolate cake. The cake was a bit dry but the rest was great! The chocolate frosting and the coconut part were really good. I had to take at least half back to the hotel. I see a not so healthy breakfast in my future.
Joe got the carrot cake. I didn't even try his since there was no chocolate involved. He took home at least half also. I'll try it tomorrow.
That's it. The parking gods gave us another nice spot when we got back to the hotel and everyone is passed out now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vacation: Day 2

We made it! The longer leg of our drive wasn't near as bad as I was fearing. The kids did well and didn't start to drive us insane until we got here.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a lot more impressive in person then it is in pictures. That said, I think the whole city is kind of ugly. The houses are interesting but everything is so close together and hardly any plants.
Joe told the kids that who ever saw the bridge first would get a dollar. They ended up crying and fighting with each other over who would win. Good job Joe. Isaac got so mad he threw his money pouch (we aren't calling it a purse even though it is.) The pouch is full of change and hit me in the head. I was really happy.

Ramsey ended up seeing it first and screamed so loud that I nearly had a heart attack. I was afraid we'd get in a car accident.
Joe ended up giving them both a dollar. Joe thought that I was a little insane because I had the kids pose when these guys from India wanted to take a picture of them at the bridge. I totally understand though when you're visiting a different country even the people look different. If I was in China I'd love to have a picture taken with me and the kids with a bunch of Chinese kids. I'm sure it's the same for them showing off a picture of themselves with my little blondies off in America.
We had dinner at Bok Choy Garden and everything was super good. Joe ordered the Spicy Salt and Pepper Tofu. This was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The salty outside made it perfect. I didn't taste any spicy.
I ordered the Spicy Crispy Beef and was super. I liked how thin the "beef" was. It had a pretty good kick to it but Isaac still liked it.
The kids ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken. It was pretty good and Isaac liked it, but it was my least favorite of the dishes.
You can't have Chinese food without some sort of rice. We ordered some Vegetable Fried Rice and it was just as good as everything else.
Here's Ramsey enjoying some tofu. I think that's the only thing that she ate.

At the end they gave us these gummy ball things filled with sweet red beans. I have no idea what they were. I'm guessing tapioca of some sort. The kids dug 'em.