Thursday, February 28, 2008

Susy Homemaker she is not

Ramsey- Who's that? (pointing to Sarah Kramer)

Me- She wrote this book.

Ramsey- When I'm big I'm going to have a full arm of tattoos and orange hair and be named Lila.

Thanks Sarah.

Honestly, since Ramsey was 2 years old she's said she is going to have an arm of tattoos. I have tattoos but not a sleeve. I'm not sure where it's coming from. She tried to walk into a tattoo shop at 2 years old.

For the past one to two months she keeps telling me that she should have been named Lila. WTF. I asked her if she liked Lila better then Ramsey and she said yes. I thought you were at least 10 before you hated your name.

The orange hair thing is my fault, I guess. I'm a cosmetologist and she has already asked for purple hair. So, I gave her purple streaks. (The chemicals didn't touch her scalp and they were semi-permanent. They washed out over time) So, I suppose I opened that can of worms. But I didn't feed her the idea.

Oh, and according to Ramsey she's going to be a mail carrier. Go figure. I asked if she would drive the little white mail truck but she said no, she would walk.

Ramsey, or Lila, has an interesting life ahead of her.

Not very exciting

Last weeks post sucked because I was sick while doing it. This weeks has hardly any food as I was sick while I would have otherwise been cooking.

Vegan Momma raves about the Lemon Garlic Pasta from edbv so much that I had to finally make it. Now I can see why she makes this pasta so much. This was quick and easy to throw together and it tasted light and refreshing. The kids dug it, too.
I made this granola loosely based on Granny's Grand Granola from Raising Vegetarian Children. I love that it gets tahini in my kids. They aren't to inclined towards tahini but it has so many good things in it. This is a nice basic granola recipe that would be super easy to expand upon. Cherries, cranberries, raisins, coconut? You name it.
I tried out the Tofu Aloo Gobi from Vegan Express. I wasn't super impressed. Everything was sort of bland and I needed to add extra liquid. I had to salt my portion a LOT in order to like this. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I made this recipe at about peak time of stuffy nose/cough. That may have influenced things a touch. Well, maybe I'll try it again.
I have this picture of these banana pancakes, obviously. I can't for the life of me figure out what recipe I used or which book I pulled it from. I have no effing idea. They were good.

For an Oscar Party I made the Chocolate Brownies from JVB, not pictured. The omni's at the party gave these brownies rave reviews. They called them moist and wonderful. This is not my personal favorite recipe but I like my brownies less cakey. I like them slightly chewy and hard on the edge. Flatter and more dense. These are my favorite brownies.

Hopefully I'll be bringing more to the table this week, but I seriously doubt it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


We're all sick so I'm a little late with my post. First up from Yellow Rose Recipes is Rosemary Home Fries, and Buttermilk Biscuits with Almond Milk Gravy. The Home Fries were really good. I will be coming back to this recipe again. They were seasoned nicely and crispy on the outside. I can't give a fair review on the almond milk gravy because I used soy milk as we were out of almond milk. The soy milk made the gravy a little to sweet but it was still pretty good. I would try it again but with almond milk. Last is the buttermilk biscuits. These really weren't the best biscuits that I've ever had. I like the biscuits from JVB better.
Also from Yellow Rose is this spinach lasagna. My cheeze had gone bad so we went without. This was still a pretty good recipe. I'll try it again and put cheeze on top.
For a Valentine's Day treat I made the Cashew-Chocolate Crumb Ice Cream Pie from Vive. We were eating this for days after because it made so much. This was very tasty. The crust is really hard if you don't follow the advice about letting the pie sit out for 10 minutes before you cut. We learned that lesson the hard way.
I made the Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits from Vcon again. I have a felling that I used fennel instead of leeks last time I made this, but I can't be sure. Either way, it was still good. Because we had a person allergic to wheat and someone who didn't eat soy I made a few substitutions. I used spelt four and rice milk instead of the white flour and soy milk. Everything still turned out really well.
From edbv we have Broccoli Cashew Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry over soba noodles. This was pretty good. There was a little bit to much sauce for my taste, but it was still good.
There was no logic behind the making of this Pumpkin Toffee Trifle. I had some soy creamer that needed to be used up. So, instead of dumping $1 worth of creamer, I used a ton more ingredients on a dessert to give away. I do know that makes no sense.
I'm so glad that I did make this recipe from My Sweet Vegan. It was so elegant looking. Each component of the trifle was amazing by its self. The toffee was so good. The pudding was awesome. Every thing thrown on top of the pumpkin cake made a truly impressive dessert. I can't wait to make this again. I plan on bringing it to our family Easter Hunt.

I'm still feeling pretty cruddy which is why the reviews are so short. Hopefully we'll kick this bug soon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


We have just finished planning our up coming vacation. We're going to be heading off to San Francisco in the middle of March for one week. Joe has been there but I haven't. We also have never been in the car with the kids longer then it takes to drive to Disneyland. Fingers crossed please.

We're staying at The Red Victorian which is a vegetarian/vegan bed and breakfast. Cool, huh? It's slightly more a night but then we have breakfast right there. Breakfast we can actually eat. Also, each room is different. For the first 3 nights we'll be staying in Sammy's Poster Room. For the second 3 nights we'll be stying in Gigi's room.

There are no t.v.'s but we will be bringing a small DVD player. In Sammy's room we'll have a shared bathroom and in Gigi's room a private. The beds are bigger in Sammy's so all things come out about equal. There is a cafe downstairs that has breakfast, lunch, and dinner if we don't feel like straying far and free internet. Hopefully I'll post as I go. If not there will be one big long post.

I have a big list of restaurants that I want to visit. We also have a big list of activites we want to do. If anyone has any tips or must see places give a shout out.

I'll be back with food in a few days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Holy Seitan!

Note: Spell check is not working and I'm to tired to pick over every word. Blame blogger.

I was correct in assuming that I wouldn't be cooking much with Joe gone to Vegas. I only made two things while he was away that are blog worthy. The first of these is the Blueberry Lemon Muffins from JVB. I subbed half of the white flour for whole wheat pastry but left the rest of the recipe alone. Colleen is right about the tang of the lemon complimenting the blueberry, everyone loved these.

I do have one small gripe. The recipe calls for the zest of 2 lemons and 1 tsp. of lemon extract. What is that all about? Why not just use fresh lemon juice and scale back some of the nondairy milk? I was not in a place to go figuring that out, but I will next time. It just doesn't make any sense.
The other thing that I made while Joe was away was Sloppy Joannas from Yellow Rose Recipes. These are the best sloppy joe's I've ever had! I not usually a huge fan of tvp but these were great. Joanna reccomends blending the veggies and sauce if you've got picky kids. I thought that was a great tip and implimented it. The kids still wouldn't eat this but I loved it.
No, I'm not going raw. Some how I came across these coconut lemon cookies at Gone Raw. The recipe sounded so simple, cashews, lemon juice, lemon zest, agave, coconut. I thought it would be a good snack for the kids and they sounded tasty to me.

My picture is not picking up any of the awesome yellow color. These cookies are tart with just enough sweet for them to not be overwhelmingly sour. They totally kill a sweet craving and I don't care how many the kids gobble down. The cashews have to soak for 4 hours before you put these together and after that they hop into the dehydrator for 12 hours. I highly recommend these.
Blackbean Tortilla Soup from little vegan monsters. This is not kid friendly. It has some pretty good spice to it. I don't think that I could have handled the heat if it weren't for the avocado, sour cream and tortilla strips.

I have never liked black bean soup but this recipe caught my eye and sounded good. I've only ever seen black bean soup that is all blended up. This soup has a broth with the beans swimming in it. We loved it!
I want to fish out some of the spicy beans and make nachos with them. Yum!
For breakfast this morning I made Classic Currant Scones from JVB. Again I subbed out 1/2 the white flour for whole wheat pastry. I am not a raisin fan but the currants in these scones have a nice tart bite to go along with thier sweet. The scones have the dense flaky texture I expect and were lovely with Earth Balance and jam. The kids were happy, too.
Joe got home from Vegas on Friday night. Saturday night I hit the road and went to spend the night at my moms. I also had my friend Teresa over. For dinner I made Potstickers from little vegan monsters. We sucked them all down and I forgot to take a picture.
While I usually have one vegetable or another going bad in my fridge at any given time, these potstickers were so good that I couldn't stand the thought of the leftover potsticker vegetables going bad. I also promised Joe some potstickers and we had ate all of the others.

So, today I chopped up the rest of the vegetables, seitan, tofu, and other ingredients in order to make some more. I have never been a giant fan of seitan. I'll eat it but I don't go gaga over it. This is the most amazing recipe ever. Potstickers are definietly time consuming but not really difficult.
Again they were a giant hit and the whole family ate them for dinner.
With all of those ingredients I ended up making 6 dozen. Four and a half dozen are frozen in this bag. I bet ya'll want to come over now, huh? I can't say enough good things about this recipe. I used white flour instead of spelt but that was the only alteration. It took about 2 hours to put all of those together.

That's about it. Thanks to everyone who voted for my entry in the Vegetable Love contest.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Vegetable Love

Over at Fatfree Vegan Kitchen, Susan is running a Valentine's Day contest called Vegetable Love. I imagine that there is going to be all sorts of lovely savory dishes. I would love to be able to create one of those, too. I can follow a recipe with the best of them but when it comes to expermentation I get afraid. With sweets it's much more simple in my mind.

To be honest, the first thing I thought of was a raw vegan volcano brownie. You know with the fudge that oozes out of the middle. That seemed like a neat challenge to set myself. However, the only "vegetable" that I would be adding would be avocado. Yes, technically a fruit. In my mind it's a vegetable but the husband disagreed.

Moving on. I decided to look up a list of aphrodisiacs to see if any inspiration struck. For some reason I had my heart set on a raw dessert. When I saw that carrots were supposedly an aphrodisiac I had my mind made up.

Raw Vegan Carrot Cake with Cashew Cheeze Frosting and Caramel Sauce

I'm not so good at decorating the plate. That and agave is runny.
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pinenuts
2 Tlb. cashews
1/t tsp. cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
3 prunes, soaked for 5-10 minutes in warm water
3 dried apricots, soaked for 5-10 minutes in warm water
2 Tlb. raisins, soaked for 5-10 minutes in warm water
1 Tlb. shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 medium carrot

In your food processor grind up the nuts and spices until crumbly. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until a sticky mass. Oil a heart cookie cutter and fill with cake filling. Put in the fridge to cool while you make the frosting.

1/4 cup cashews
1 Tlb. agave nectar
1 tsp. coconut oil

Process until smooth. If you'd like a smoother consistancy cashew butter would work instead of cashews.
Slide the heart cookie cutter up but not all the way off. Frost cake and then remove cookie cutter.

Walnut Caramel
2 Tlb. agave nectar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
generous pinch cinnamon
2-4 Tlb. walnuts

Mix together agave, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir in the walnuts to coat. Place desired walnuts on cake and drizzle with caramel.

Makes 2 small cakes.

Monday, February 4, 2008

All that and then some

I've been cooking like mad this week and have the pictures to prove it. Starting the count down with tonights dinner we had Kasha Varnishkes and Braised Cauliflower from Yellow Rose Recipes, one of my newest cookbooks. I don't think I'll ever cook cauliflower another way again. The flavor was excellent and I didn't even need to add Earth Balance. The pasta dish was good also. It was a nice comfort food. I wouldn't call it amazing but I would make it again.
We went to a family party for the Super Bowl. I'm not sure we had any idea who was playing until we got there. Vegan Dad had a recent post about these Pretzel Bites. Inside those little pretzels are little vegan hot dogs. This were wonderful! I didn't tell the party goers that these were vegan until after they were all gobbled up. I suppose I should confess that out of 24 my kids ate about 10 before the other guests made it to the table.

I can't rave enough about these as a snack. The recipe was very easy and I'm betting I could bake them for half the time and then freeze them. Then just pop a few in the toaster oven when the mood strikes. I can't remember what brand vegan hot dogs I picked up but they were the best I've had. I'm pissed at myself for not remembering.

I didn't take a picture but I also made the Brooklyn Deli Macaroni Salad from Vcon for our football party. It was sensational as always.
These little chocolate cups have been sitting in my cupboard for over 2 months. I bought them on a whim because they were vegan and seemed cute. Finally inspiration struck, s'more cups. I put crushed graham crackers in the bottom of the cups. Then I filled the cups with Ricemellow and dusted with a bit more graham cracker. Next time I might try a pastry bag for the ricemellow.

These were a bit messy to make and you had to eat them in one bite if you didn't want them to fall apart. They tasted great, though. They ended up tasting much better then I expected. These were also gobbled up at the party.

To give fair warning, this is #1 of 3 smore comments.
The kids (read: husband) were wanting a treat for breakfast on Saturday and after Vegan Momma's recent post about Vcon's Chocolate Chip Brownie Waffles I knew which book to turn to. I left the chocolate chips out so I wouldn't feel as bad and they still turned out wonderful. We didn't have any sticking problems this time. There's just something about the pumpkin.

I heated up some maple syrup with frozen blueberries for our topping. The fruit made me feel a little better at such a sweet breakfast.
Thursday at our house is Science Day. We homeschool and have homeschooling friends that come over to spend time together. Since I knew we would be home all day I had a bit more time to play with for breakfast. I made French Toast from my newest cookbook, cookbook.

This is the first french toast recipe that I've come across that didn't call for tofu or some other egg substitute. This was mostly soy milk, a bit of flour, and noosh. The results were good. I had to turn down the heat so the middles would set but it turned out well.
For lunch when all the friends were here I made lasagna. I had seen a picture of lasagna rolls somewhere and it seemed like a neat idea. So, I used whole wheat lasagna noodles and rolled up some Cashew Ricotta from Vcon inside. On top is the Marinara recipe from Vcon.

The kids really liked these. Ramsey kept asking for more the rest of the day. Personally, I just did not like whole wheat noodles in my lasagna. I can stand whole wheat some times but I didn't like these. The sauce was good but I would have liked it a touch sweeter. The Cashew Ricotta was good as well. This wasn't my favorite ricotta recipe but I would use it again in the right circumstance.
I had just picked up some Sweet & Sara marshmallows from All Vegan as I was having a major s'more craving. So, we threw together a sweet treat. S'more comment #2
For dinner I made Dirrrty Rice and Beans, also from Yellow Rose Recipes. This was nice and spicy. I loved the flavor. This would be excellent in a burrito, taco, or as a nacho topping. It was a bit to spicy for the kids but Joe and I ate their portions.
I've just been in a baking mood. This is my defense. I also wanted to see how Dreena Burtons Peanut "Better" Cookies stood up to The Joy of Vegan Baking. I have to say that over all I do like JVB Peanut Butter Cookies better. BUT the Vive le Vegan! cookies were still very good and a lot better for you. I would make this recipe again. The amount of maple syrup in these cookies leave a sligtly fruity note but not overwhelming.
I have searched and searched (ok, not more then like 5 minutes) but I can't find where I pulled this S'more Muffin recipe from. Sorry. I made these for breakfast on Wednesday and then took the leftovers to our weekly Park Day. I have to state for the record that while they do have chocolate chips and marshmallows they have very little sugar and are whole wheat. So there. This is the first time I've used the recipe and I probably won't again. This is the type of recipe that I'll save and if someone requests them I've got an ok thing to go to, but they aren't out of this world.

S'more comment #3. Now incase anyone is curious why there is so much s'more talk it's because I came across a hard to find ingredient. I bet you all thought marshmallow, huh? You would be wrong. I've came across vegan graham crackers twice this past week and snatched some up. I love graham cracker but don't always want to make my own.

Edit. The S'mores Muffins are from VeggieGirl.
This is supposed to be a dessert but I'll be honest and admitt to making it for dinner. You are looking at Bazu's Crêpes Susannah with Banana-Mango Foster Filling. This dish is spectacular. The kids were so amazed when I lit the pan on fire and were just as pleased with their servings.

The crepes were wonderful. The recipe includes coconut milk and it gives these thin little pancakes a rich sweetness. I would love them all by themselves. The filling was very sweet. I liked it but a little goes a long way. This recipe would be excellent to wow company with. When I make these for myself again, (when, not if) I'll go with a berry filling.
Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes from Yellow Rose Recipes. Twice baked potatoes have never really wowed me until the Samosa Stuffed Baked Potaotes from Vcon. After that recipe I was willing to take a chance on another. I'm so glad I did. These potatoes might just beat out my love of the Vcon recipe. I didn't even exclude the mushrooms! I did chop them up but still that's a step in the right direction.

Joe and I both loved these. Isaac didn't like the broccoli cooked this way but ate the potato. Ramsey didn't care one way or another.
Last, but not least, is Blackberry Shortcake from little.vegan.mosters. This is the best shortcake recipe I've ever had. I will use it for strawberries when they come in season. This is the first time I've ever had a different berry be part of a shortcake. The blackberries had a nice tart bite that went well with the cakes.

I have to say that I didn't really care for the cream much. I doubled the sugar called for and it was edible but there was to much of a tofu flavor for me. I would prefer a cashew cream or even soy cream. This tofu just had a strong flavor. It probably could have been colder, though.

I'm not sure how much cooking will take place this week as Joe will be in Vegas. I'm used to being home all day with the kids but without adult company come evening I'm not always the most motivated, or pleasant, person. We'll see how it goes.