Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Baby Borrowers

I come across things pretty frequently that I think about posting. Things that have nothing to do with food that I find interesting/disturbing. I just came across this article about The Baby Borrowers less then five minutes ago and am so appalled that I had to post it.

I don't really have enough words to describe how I feel about this. Babies taken away from their parents. Worse, parents who willing think it's ok to hand them over. What is wrong with these people? The producers, the parents, h*ll the viewers!

The Natural Child Project has an open letter to NBC for those interested. I'll stop my rant now.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Catch Up

I have had so many pictures to catch up on but I think this is the last. They are in no particular order.

First we have the Bread Stuffing Casserole from Vegan Vittles along with some zucchini and cranberry sauce. This was very tasty and I plan on using this recipe for the fall holidays. The cranberry sauce is from a can and the zucchini was baked with some oil, salt and pepper. It was a tasty meal.
The ever lovable strawberry shortcake. I think this is one of my favorite desserts. I tried to make whip cream out of coconut cream but my can fell over sideways in the fridge and everything got mixed together. It still tasted good. I think this was the first time that I ever made quinoa. I really want to squeeze it in more places.
Quick Tuscan-Style Pizza with White Beans, Tomatoes, and Basil from Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. This pizza was so good. I loved the flavor of the beans and the texture. The beans would be good just by themselves. Topped with the tomato and basil, this was to die for. Yum! I used to dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Min for the crust.
Nachos with cheese from Vegan Lunch Box and Barbecued Buffalo Zings from Vegan Vittles. The BBQ Zings were ok. The texture was pretty chewy and odd but the flavor was good. The nachos were as wonderful as always.
Fresh Lemon Vice Cream. I didn't think anything could get better then the Coconut Macaroon but this is equal to if not better. It's super light and very tart and creamy. It went perfectly with the graham cracker crust and some toasted coconut.
Another picture of the Fresh Lemon pie. I ended up eating so much of this that I killed my tongue. So much citrus.
Cauliflower and Potato with Spices (Aloo gobi masala) and Browned Rice (Dhansak chawal) from The Asian Vegan Kitchen. This was very good. I very much love my Indian veggies to be a bit more soupy but these dry spice vegetables were very good. The rice was a nice side.
After having the Tempeh Hashbrown Casserole at the vegan potluck I had to have it again right after. Instead of tempeh I used baked tofu. This is a major winner from edbv. My mom really doesn't like tofu but was in love with this dish. There were no leftovers. Joe thinks the potatoes have a slight cheesy flavor. I'm not sure about that but I know I love this recipe.
I'm hoping that's the last of the catch up from when my computer was down. Denise just brought me a HUGE bag of lemons so I seem many lemon dishes in my future. And more ice cream.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The good, the bad, the dirty

Our camping trip was a success. I think this picture pretty much sums up camping with small children. I counted at least 3 such potties outside of our groups tents.
If I had to chose one word to sum up camping with 14 children it would be.....hmmm, let me think. Dirty. It started out small. A smudge here, a bit of dust there.
Then the kids decided to throw all restraint out the window. That's right Isaac, the mats right there but just sit in the dirt.
Ramsey and Athena on Saturday when we were deciding which child was the dirtiest.
I would have people vote but I didn't get permission to post all the kids pictures. Rowan here won.
I'm pretty amazed how clean Maggie looks in this picture. I promise you she was anything but.
There is one thing that everyone loves about camping, the fire. I always forget between trips how stressed I get with my kids around open flame. It doesn't help that they make targets of themselves. Just lean right over Isaac.
Jill and Chunkzilla aka Molly. This was the first day before we were all covered in dirt. And I promise I'll stop calling Molly that before she gets a complex.
And me. I made some Coconut Cupcakes to bring up. We were celebrating several birthdays. I didn't frost until we got there, that's why my hands are covered.
Here's another shot. Chocolate frosting from JVB and toasted coconut. I like the chocolate frosting from JVB better then VCTOW. I used coconut extract instead of vanilla to give the frosting an extra coconut kick. Next time I'll use the left over coconut milk instead of soymilk, too. This coconut cupcake recipe was very good. I'll be using it again.
We really did have an amazing time. It was a ton of fun having so many campsites in a row. The kids were able to just wander. If a child came into our zone we'd keep an eye on them. It was also really neat to see the kids playing and finding things to do without any playground equipment and tons of toys.

I didn't take any other pictures of food. Nothing was super notable except one thing. I grabbed one bar of chili chocolate for a sophisticated s'more. It was so amazing. Everyone loved it. The spice was like a light after note but it cut out some of the overly sweet taste that s'mores can have. Yum!

Our camping season has started off with a bang. We have trips already planned once a month through July. I hope the rest are as fun as this one was.


Hopefully I will have our camping trip pictures done later today. In the mean time here are my first two attempts at marshmallows.

#1. I used pectin AND agar and now see why pectin is a bad idea. It was a learning experiences and this was not even good for fluff.
#2. This attempt included only agar and a paddle attachment instead of a whisk. It was a bit like soft taffy and did work as fluff.
I'm still searching for ingredients online. I want to try a combination of things so that the gelling isn't so hit and miss like with straight agar. I've got a list of things to try and will post as things develop.

Show me the money

I've recently signed up with blogher, following in the footsteps of several friends. I've requested advertising without meat, dairy, eggs, and baby formula. I have no clue how all of this will end up working. We'll see.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffle

I like almost anything with lemon in it. Lemon poppy seed muffins are a definite favorite. Recently I had a surplus of lemons and was trying to decide what all I'd make. I decided to try and make a lemon poppy seed waffle. They were pretty good but no where near recipe sharing quality, yet. I'll let ya know when it's perfected.
At our last vegan potluck we were talking vegan pancake recipes. I have a whole stack of recipes to pick from when it's time to make pancakes. Kelli was saying how The Joy of Vegan Baking has the best recipe of all. I finally made them and she was spot on. These really do turn out perfectly. I have no idea how they can end up so different from every other pancake recipe but everyone should give these a shot.
We will be camping this weekend with a large group of friends and everyone is super excited. We stopped off at All Vegan to grab some marshmallows and I couldn't decide between 2 or 3 packages. We left with Joe mocking me. I'll let you guess how many I bought. I also got some cute shirts. Every thing else is ready to go. I should be back with some good pictures.
Obviously the marshmallow making isn't going well, so far.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What IS that smell?

Joe and I both love ethnic grocery stores. We must visit one at least once a month. I was in need of agar agar and had a feeling that I might find it cheaper at Ranch 99. I was right and while we were there we picked up some other non-essentials.
Joe had been fascinated with durians ever since we learned of them. I myself was sort of amazed at the price and curious about the first hand experiences I'd heard. Most of those experiences involved the telling of a horrid smell.

In times past the durians have been well over $40.00 and that is pricey for fruit in my book. Especially an experimental fruit experience. At this visit the durian was $.18 a pound. So, we snatched one up and paid around $6.
Slicing the durian open felt a bit like performing a cesarean c-section. Once the outside was split, I swear the innards looked like an alien fetus. I pulled out the inside and there are walnut sized seeds in the soft fruit. You have to pull those out. Then you turn and perform another c-section. I think there were 5 sections total.

While birthing the fruit there was a definite odor but it wasn't bad or overly strong. I was very smug in believing that the rest of the western world have been wusses when confronted with a druian. Yah, I'm now a wuss too.

We stored the soft, pudding like fruit in the fridge for a day. Upon opening the storage container my older child started screaming at me about the smell. The smaller child cried and ran when faced with the opportunity to taste.

Honestly, it doesn't really taste bad. It is very specific and not anything that I can describe. It is very creamy and pudding like. The taste lingers like there is no tomorrow. And it smells like rotten eggs with garlic.

Thus ends the telling of our durian experience. It is still sitting in my fridge waiting for my next victim. I have been enjoying broadening the horizons of any guests that have visited my home in the past few days. Jill, has that taste left your mouth yet?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to MEEEEE!

My birthday was yesterday and we had my favorite fruit bowls for breakfast and went over to my mom's for dinner. I was kinda done with eating out by that point so we had food brought in. My mom went to San Sai, a Japanese place that has my favorite salad. That's it on the left down there. We also had some sort of noodle and veggie sushi. It was perfect for the super hot weather we had all weekend.
And for dessert we had my favorite Ice Box "Cheese Cake" from My Sweet Vegan. I made a double batch so that it was a 10" instead of a 6". Everyone loved it and yes I did make my own birthday dessert. There is even a bit left in the freezer. Jill and I had some with lunch today.

I also made the Apple Cinnamon ice cream from Vice Cream and so far this is my least favorite recipe from that book. The kids ate it but they'll eat anything sweet. We didn't care much for it.
The day before my birthday my in-laws took me out to breakfast at Rancho's. We had a really nice relaxing time. I made out like a bandit on the gifts and for the first time the kids were old enough to pick me out cards and stuff. It was super cute and they were very proud. Ramsey had me wear a #1 Mom sticker all day. Both kids also picked me out a vegan candy bar to put in their card envelope.

I had a lovely weekend. And Christy, you're still older.

Catch up

I've finally got all of my photo software uploaded again! So, I have a lot of photos to post. First I'll show all the lovely eats at our monthly potluck. This was a week and a half ago.

Here are the sweets that I made. I was trying to use up a lot of my baking stuff so that I wouldn't have to bag it during the fumigation of our condo. I made tiramisu cupcakes, Jam Thumbprints from More Great Good Dairy-free Desserts Naturally, and cream puffs. The cream puffs ended up not working out so we just at the pudding that would have been inside.
Here is my super tasty looking plate of food.
Kelli brought some awesome taco salad. Growing up we only ever had taco salad with 1,000 island dressing. Even now I make vegan 1,000 island for our taco salad at home. I never thought that I'd like it with another type of dressing. I was wrong! This was super.
I think Natalie made this tofu scramble but I'm not 100% sure.
Sara made this very tasty quinoa salad. It was great by itself and on tortilla chips. I want to make this for myself.
Again, I'm pretty sure this was Natalie. This is the Hashbrown Casserole from edbv. I always look at that recipe and want it but when I buy the tempeh it sits in my fridge until it goes bad. Natalie is awesome and used Julie Hasson's Spicy Italian Sausage instead of tempeh. This was my favorite dish. I liked it so much I made it for dinner the next night.
This cranberry sauce went with the Hashbrown Casserole.
My sweet plate. A Tickled Pink cookie, not my fav but I'm not really into sugar cookies. The kids loved them. Banana bread, a pineapple carrot muffin, tiramisu cupcake and vanilla pudding. I liked the jam thumbprint cookies best of the sweets.
A flat bread that I can't remember the name of.
And the awesome bean dip for the flat bread. I should have wrote it down.

This was a great potluck and I really loved having a lot more savory dishes this time instead of the sweet breakfast stuff. The savories were my favorite part. We're thinking about doing a theme so that it'll be easier to come up with ideas. Greek, Italian, Chinese...... You get the idea. I can't wait!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Does reading 30 pages on the differences in gelling agents in regards to marshmallows make me a pathetic person?

Fairies did it

Me- Walks into bathroom and finds wall chips on the ground. Previous small hole is a bit bigger. Go into living room.
Who was picking at the wall?

Ramy- Not me.


Me- Isaac did you pick at the wall?

Isaac- No.

Me- Then who did?

Isaac- Fairies did it.

Me- Why didn't you tell them not to?

Isaac- They're invisible.

Me- Then how do you know it was fairies?

Isaac- I can see invisible things.

Me- Then why didn't you tell her not to pick at the wall?

Isaac- She came down from the heaven.

Me- So. Next time tell her not to pick at the wall.

I'm not sure where to start with this really. I suppose the heaven part. I have no idea where he's pulling that out of. I don't recall ever speaking about it. Then there is the whole rest of his story. Does he think I believe him? I really have no idea. Next time he better tell those fairies in his head not to pick at my wall.

Back log

This is only half of the back log of posts I've needed to make. Our condo was fumigated and we were kicked out from Sunday evening until Wednesday afternoon. That was not fun. I honestly don't have the energy to explain everything that sucked about it without getting upset. Let's just leave it at IT SUCKED.

I have no idea what day I made this but it's Pureed Chickpea Pasta Sauce with Fresh Herbs from Vive. The kids did not like this pasta dish but Joe and I thought that it was pretty good. It was actually much better then I was expecting. There's not a overpowering bean taste. I'll try making it again. I think I used soba noodles.
The Very Best Chocolate Chip Cookies from Raising Veg Children. These were very good and my favorite crunchy-ish texture. The only sweetener used is maple syrup but they still don't have much of a maple taste. I think I like these better then Dreena Burton's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies. Supercharge Me Cookies might still be better, though.
Polenta Casserole from edbv. This dish was ok, I guess. The flavor wasn't bad but the mouth feel wasn't great for me. It's somewhat mushy even if you let the polenta get crispy. We had guests over for dinner and they didn't really think it was anything wonderful either.
Native Ch'i's (nondairy cheese) from The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook. This was easy to put together and made a large batch. I liked the texture and flavor for tacos and burritos but not for nachos. There is a slightly sour note but it's creamy and cooling in a sour cream way.
And the reason I made the Native Ch'i's was to go with the Tijuana Tacos, also from Native Foods. These were good, everyone seemed pleased with the results. I think I like the nachos better but these were good and I'd make them again.
Behind the taco is Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado from edbv. Always a favorite at our house and very quick and easy to put together. The rice recipe I adapted from something else and it turned out really well. I've since lost the paper I wrote the directions on, during the fumigation packing upheaval. I'm sure I can recreate it. mumblemumbledamnitmumble.

That's all for now. I still have no photo editing software Joe and so it's a pain to upload so many pictures. Hopefully I'll be caught up by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More Nut Butters

The obsessive compulsive in me couldn't handle not making another batch of Nut Butter Cookies with the last untried nut butter in my fridge. Down below are peanut butter and peanut butter tahini.
The peanut butter tahini had a very slight sesame taste and a more mild peanut taste. The straight peanut batch had a much stronger peanut taste and were a bit more moist.

All told, I like the almond best. I think the cashew tahini would be my second runner up. If you have the book Raising Vegetarian Children this is a winner.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More Artisian Bread

I moved on from the basic bread in Artisian Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and ventured into the partial whole wheat. The loaf below got a touch to dark but was still excellent. I love the nuttier taste of whole wheat.
The rye bread is my favorite though. There is just the right amount of rye and caraway seeds. It's not over powering but excellent plain, as toast, or as sandwich bread. We all loved the rye.
We weren't able to keep our hands off the rye dough long enough to make the onion rye but the next batch I mix up will be destined for onion greatness. Mmmmm, I love onion rye. This book has got to be my all time favorite. I have around 75 cookbooks and this one is just so awesome.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Why did I wait so long?

I can't believe it took me so long to try out the Tiramisu cupcakes from VCTOW. Someone should have slapped me when they noticed it's absence amongst my posts. Whats wrong with you people?

These cupcakes were so amazing. I used half Marsala wine and half Kahlua and they were just perfect. I was a total punk and waited until the kids were in bed to break them out for me and Joe. The dusting of cinnamon added the perfect note and the chocolate shreds on top finished every thing just right. I may have ate another at midnight. And the next day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Vegan Avalanche Bark

All right, I couldn't wait until tomorrow to try and get something up. I'm going to try one picture per post so that if it doesn't work I won't have spent to much time.

The is a store called Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory here in San Diego. I'm not sure if it's only in California or not. In my prevegan days Avalanche Bark was one of my favorite treats. The first time I had it I was in love. I also thought that it was way to expensive and that I could easily make it myself. I was correct and it was easy to duplicate.

Now with Hannah's white chocolate and Sweet & Sara marshmallows it's just as easy for me to make a vegan version. You can be very loose with your measurements and add and subtract based on what you like.
Vegan Avalanche Bark

double recipe of Hannah's white chocolate
3 Tlb peanut butter
4 Sweet & Sara marshmallows, chopped
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup crispy rice cereal

While the white chocolate is still melted mix in the peanut butter. Once the white chocolate and peanut butter are well mixed stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased bread pan. Cool in the fridge and then cut into squares.

For a prettier look you can line a mini muffin pan and pour the bark into the papers. Then you end up with the little peanut butter cup shape.

Dead vegan duck

I just had a post typed out with pictures and it's now gone.

I have no photo editing software on my computer yet.

It takes a long time to upload these large pictures onto blogger.

I will try again tomorrow.