Potluck, biscuits & sausage gravy & ice cream testing party!

26 10 2008

Just got home from another incredibly fun potluck!  There was lots of delicious food to be had and so many new faces to meet (I didn’t count, but I think about 30 people showed up).  The weather was perfect, so that just helped make the day even nicer.  Mondo was taking pictures for me while I stuffed my face and he seemed to only be interested in the first sweets to arrive – but I’m sure Leigh will have lots of photos of all the food and more desserts (I saw her snapping away on her camera).  I decided to make something with a fall theme and choose the butternut squash lasagna w/ bechamel from Yellow Rose Recipes.  It doesn’t photograph too well, but tastes great (I think).  Laurie makes amazing sweets and totally brought the halloween theme to the potluck with her cookies (which I am snacking on as a type) and cupcakes:

There so many yummy dishes, I really enjoyed the mac and cheese Idalys & Howell brought, the macaroni salad Lori & Jared brought, the potpie in a biscuit Kevin & Laura brought, the pizza rolls Jill & Tony brought, the sloppy joe biscuits Leigh brought and the kale salad that Alicia brought.  Angelina brought an amazing pumpkin cheesecake (recipe from fatfreevegan.com) that I couldn’t stop eating, and there were so many tasty cookies and other desserts – I think everyone was about ready to undo their jeans and let their stomachs hangout for a bit after eating 2 plates worth of food!

I can’t wait for the next potluck, spring sounds like a good time to have another one…once everyone defrosts from winter.

Saturday morning we were being lazy and I decided to actually make breakfast (this seriously is a rare occurrence).  We had picked up some spelt biscuits the day before at Sevenanda so we decided on biscuits with sausage gravy. I’ve never had anything by the brand gimme lean, but I heard it makes a mean addition to gravy and it really did…I can’t think of a breakfast that has tasted better than these big fluffy biscuits smothered with juicy vegan sausage and creamy gravy.  Just another one of the perks of being vegan, this was all cholesterol & cruelty free!

Last but not least, I am so late on posting this, but I received many many samples from Turtle Mountain of their new ice cream flavors & products.  It was way too many for Mondo and I to devour ourselves, so I brought everything over to Cosmo’s and called on Atlanta vegans to due their civic duty by taste testing vegan ice cream.  We had a nice little gathering, sampled some tasty new things and Leigh took photos and tallied up everyones rating of each item.

The samples I received included: Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl ice cream, Passionate Mango ice cream, Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream (my personal favorite, I could eat that everyday), Coconut Almond mini ice cream bars,  Vanilla mini ice cream bars &, Coconut mini ice cream sandwiches & Banana split mini ice cream sandwiches.

We all agreed that the cookies part of the ice cream sandwiches was a bit too crunchy, but Tim from Turtle Mountain explained that they were just made the day before I received them and need a little while to soften up and have that texture people are used to.  The next day, they were totally soft and sticking to my fingers! I really liked that the center portions of the sandwiches and bars is sweetened with agave nectar, I learned that this has a different freezing point and helps keep the centers nice and soft!

Here are the ratings we all gave each sample:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl – 

Ashley – 3 / Laura – 5 / Kevin – 3 / Leigh – 3 / Howell – 4 / Idalys – 3 / Ken – 5 / Mondo – 2

Average rating: 3.5

Passionate Mango – 

Ashley – 3 / Laura – 4.5 / Leigh – 3 / Howell – 3 / Idalys – 2 / Ken – 4 / Mondo – 4

Average rating: 3.35

Overall consensus “It was good, for a fruit flavored ice cream”.  Very smooth & nicely flavored.

Mocha Almond Fudge – 

Ashley – 5 / Laura – 5 / Kevin – 5 / Howell – 5 / Idalys – 5 / Ken – 4 

Average rating: 4.8

Coconut Almond Mini’s – 

Ashley – 5 / Laura – 5 / Kevin – 5 / Leigh – 5 / Howell – 5 / Idalys – 5 / Mondo – 5

Average rating: 5.0!!!

Overall consensus: Perfect in every way!!

Vanilla Mini’s – 

Laura – 3 / Kevin – 4 / Leigh – 3 / Mondo – 4

Average rating: 3.5

Banana Split Mini’s – 

Ashley – 2 / Leigh – 5 / Howell – 1 / Idalys – 3 / Ken – 5 / Mondo – 2

Average rating: 3.0

Overall consensus: You either loved ’em or not.  Some devoured them with pleasure, while others thought the banana was artificial tasting.

It seems that we completely forgot to tally our ratings for the Coconut Mini’s, but I think everyone enjoyed but couldn’t get past the crispy sandwich part (which as I stated earlier, softened up completely by the next day).

I am glad to have been selected to sample the new treats from So Delicious and was happy to share.  Cosmo’s is ordering some of the products to sell in the store after having taste tested them, so go grab some and ENJOY!  These really are amazing and it’s great to see Turtle Mountain expanding their offerings; things seem keep getting better and better ever since the addition of their coconut milk varieties – makes everything creamier and less icy tasting.

A nice end to a busy day, I’m off to join Mondo & the dogs on the couch and catch up on some reading!



30 09 2008

Holy crap it’s been a long time since I’ve posted!! 

I will post a real update soon; I miss cooking new things and writing about them on here (and especially checking out everyones blogs for recipes and inspiration).
Currently I have a few things going on (besides being obsessed with bike riding), such as putting together another vegan potluck picnic!  It’s going to be held on Sunday, October 26th, at 1:30pm in Candler Park (the picnic area).  It’s going to be Halloween themed, as evidenced by the below flyer I put together for it:
So if you are in Atlanta or just happen to be visiting here at that time, please join us!  We would love to have you!  The last potluck picnic was so much fun and everyone brought insanely delicious items – I know things will be the same this around if not better!  I’ve already sent an email out to the attendee’s of the last picnic and Cosmos Vegan Shoppe has posted it in their store blog (Thanks Leigh & Ken!).  I plan on dropping some flyers there tomorrow afternoon and at a couple other spots around town, to help get the word out some more.
I’m also in the process of creating a vegan resource site for Atlanta, where folks can see in one place listings and information on our vegan restaurants (as well as vegan-friendly and vegetarian), groceries, bakeries, events, organizations, links to vegan-owned/vegan-friendly businessess in Atlanta, etc.  I’m also putting together a discussion board for the site so the Atlanta vegan community can keep in touch and share information on upcoming events, potlucks, etc.
It’s not fully up and running yet, still have a lot of content to add and some design work to do, but hopefully by mid-October it’ll go live!  I’ll be sure to post the details here when it is, for anyone who is interested.
That’s all for now!

Eats from last month and recently…

27 08 2008

Just a quick blog post showcasing some meals from the last month, in no particular order. Hopefully once things settle down around here I can get back in the kitchen with some new energy and start posting regular blog entries. For now, I hope you enjoy!

Sauteed Rainbow Chard w/ Garlic & a side of roasted cauliflower, green beans and grape tomatoes

Pre-cooked; Sauteed Leek, Mushroom & Spinach Tofu Quiche

Had some friends over, made lots of Tempeh Wingz, Roasted Potatoes and plain ol’ Corn

I made them vanilla cupcakes w/ vanilla buttercream frosting

Can’t remember what was in this, but it was damn good!

Just some Collard Greens, Spanish Rice, Pinto Beans & Guac

I’ve been making a lot of peanut noodles for some reason and a TON of collard greens w/ a side of baked sweet potato. I think that has to be my new favorite quick meal. I checked out Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen from the library, so I see raw meals in our near future…

Sorry for the lack of updates, but this is important

20 08 2008

First it started off with me just slacking on updates and more recently it’s become dealing with other major problems, mostly dealing with our house (which has been broken into twice now). But this is extremely important and I know it has nothing to do with food, but I volunteer with a local animal rescue group every week (www.animalactionrescue.org) that takes in dogs all the time (dogs at kill shelters, dogs from animal control facilities, strays, dogs found in dumpsters & chained to trees, etc etc etc) and they rely solely on donations and receive no funding whatsoever. So please take a minute to read the below and if you can, donate a few dollars to help.

Thank you bloggers!! xoxo Ashley

**please crosspost**

One of our volunteers found a dog almost drowning in a ravine in Avondale Estates Sunday (08/17) evening. When the volunteer got the dog out of the water she saw a huge hole in the dog’s foot, it was obviously broken, and a hole on her back and side. She would not move her back legs, and thought she might be paralyzed. The dog just looked at her in the sweetest way, not an aggressive bone in her body. She was rushed to our ER vet, given meds for the pain and x-rayed. As it turns out she did not fall in the ravine and hurt herself. She was shot in the back, side and leg and most likely thrown in the ravine to die. She was operated on immediately to remove all the broken and shattered bones in her leg, back and side. We had no idea how long she had been laying in the dirty water.

AAR, Animal Emergency Center of Decatur, & The Village Vets-Decatur, desperately tried to save this girl, unfortunately, Gracie went downhill a couple of nights after rescuing her, lost all reflexes and feeling in both back legs, and in general was beginning to suffer. Evidently there were serious internal and spinal cord injuries. Sadly, we had to make the decision to let her go and not let her suffer any longer. We are just thankful that she didn’t die a slow, painful and lonely death, had pain management and a volunteer was with her to say goodbye. She was lovingly buried in the volunteer’s backyard with a few other special pets that have crossed the rainbow bridge.

However, Gracie’s fight is not over! We are now working with the DeKalb Animal Cruelty Investigators to find her killers! Channel 2 (wsbtv) has agreed to cover Gracie’s story and we have opened a “A Voice For Gracie” fund account that is strictly going towards a reward to catch the low life(s) that murdered her. Even though she is no longer with us we are going to continue her fight and WE are now her voice.

So please send around this email to help donate towards the reward fund. Folks can use the paypal link and just designate it as “A Voice For Gracie” reward fund. All funds will be transferred directly into her account.


Or you can contact Decatur First Bank about direct donations:
1120 Commerce Dr., Decatur, GA 30030, (404) 373-1000‎


And especially, if anyone has any information or recognizes this dog, please email: avoiceforgracie@animalactionrescue.org

Playing catch up, plus a vegan cake!

16 07 2008

Been awhile! Friday, July 4th, was my birfday and I was greeted that morning to a surprise birthday cake that Mondo ordered for me from Dulce Vegan! A delicious vegan mint chocolate (my fave combo) cake w/ a frosted yellow rose (I’m from Texas); the cake never stood a chance, it was gone in 48 hours! Yeah, so I’m pretty much on no sweets right now (which I always say and can never seem to stick to).

We had a really fun day and kept it very low-key; I bought some sewing supplies that were 50% off at Jo-Ann’s, went to see Wall-E (and loved it!), ate at our favorite vegetarian Chinese restaurant, Harmony, and sweated our asses off at the botanical gardens before heading home. The next day I got my hair cut super short (and I love it!), spent time with some friends from Miami at The Earl and saw a band I’ve been wanting to see for awhile, Boris (who were absolutely AMAZING). Sunday morning we ate at Ali Baba’s in L5P and went to see Gonzo, a movie about the life and work of Hunter S. Thompson. All in all, it was a super fantastic weekend filled with yummy food, friends and fun!

Delicious steamed leek dumplings from Harmony, mmm…
Here are some photos that Mondo took from the botanical gardens and I’ve posted a couple more on my flickr. We had so much fun, despite it being so hot and yucky out. We can’t wait to go back once the weather cools down a bit. There is so much to see!

This past weekend, Mondo was at a Motorcycle Safety course so I pretty much had the house to myself and decided to make a spicy tofu scramble for breakfast Sunday morning after a kickass bike ride the night before. I bought this Louisiana hot sauce at the farmers market for a recipe and have become seriously addicted to it. I use it on everything now! I really love the taste of it on garlicky collard greens, mmmm. I didn’t actually eat the jalapeno shown on the plate, I can’t hang that tough! I’ve got plans to use it some black eyed pea croquettes.

Blueberry Muffins, Biscuits, Vegan Sushi, Soy Curls w/ Peanut Sauce, Hummus and Yuca Frita!

29 06 2008

It seemed like it was going to rain pretty hard all afternoon yesterday, but of course I was wrong and it only lasted about 1.5 hours. It was enough though to make me feel bored, so I made blueberry muffins to busy me while I did some sewing and other things until the rain stopped.

The last time I made blueberry muffins I forgot to add baking powder and it was a disaster. These were absolutely marvelous!! Mondo really enjoyed them, I believe he proclaimed “Damn, these are good!” after eating one and then went for a second.
After cooling for a bit, slathered with some EB.

P-Bo trying to keep an eye on them, to make sure they don’t burn.

Last week I saw a recipe for some biscuits on Vegan Explosion! and decided I had to make them right then and there. I’m glad I did. My dad always made the most awesome biscuits for breakfast as a kid and I figured I could do the same and failed at doing so a few other times. Well, now I can! I think all recipes for biscuits are typically the same but something magical happened and these came out so fluffy and big and AWESOME. I see biscuits and gravy in our near future…

We went out to Sushi Avenue last Tuesday afternoon (we took the day off). We first went here with Lori and Jared and were so pleased at how cute the interior is of the restaurant and how yummy the rolls are.

Here is our first order (oh yeah, we totally did a second order with the same as below minus the avocado roll. We rolled ourselves out of the door after that).

From L to R: Avocado roll, Asparagus Tempura Roll, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Tempura roll

We feel in love with the soy curls we picked up at Cosmo’s during the ice cream social. They are so versatile and taste great! I first used them in a ‘chicken salad’ wrap and decided to use the rest of the bag to make stir fried soy curls (w/ garlic and onions) topped with a spicy peanut sauce and broccoli. The result was one of the beast meals I have ever made. This came out perfect and still perfect after eating it for dinner that night, lunch the next day and then for dinner again the next night. (It ended up making A LOT). I’m not a fan of rice, so I served it over some red quinoa and it paired very well.

Just some roasted red pepper hummus I whipped up. The recipe is from YRR (I just add extra garlic…as I do with everything!). It turned out much brighter than this, but the color looks so muted in this photo! Very very yummy hummus.

Finally, last night’s dinner! I found frozen yuca at Publix for less than a dollar per bag and grabbed 2 bags to keep in my freezer! I’ve had a hard time finding it here and thought I had bought some before at the farmers market but couldn’t find it again the last time I went. I remembered all the yummy yucca dishes we’d eat while living in Miami and decided upon making Yuca frita (fried yuca). It was so much easier to make than I thought! You just boil the yuca chunks for about 30 minutes (I did less, because I didn’t want it mushy), cut then into pieces and de-stem them (they have a hard little string on the inside that you can very easily pull out with your fingers). Pour some oil in your pain, turn it up to med-high and fry them on both sides until they look a little brown. I drain them on a plate with some paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt. These are extremely tasty, kind of like a giant french fry (since yuca is in the same family as potatoes).

I did a simple salad on the side: romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, broccoli sprouts and sliced (Florida) avocado. On the side is some goddess dressing for the salad.

Happy One-Year Anniversary, Cosmo’s!!

22 06 2008

Last night was the Ice Cream Social at
Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the retail store. Turn out was INSANE!! I never knew there were so many vegans in Atlanta; it was amazing! Saw a lot of familiar faces and hung out with friends while stuffing ourselves full of delicious ice cream sundaes. I chose a few scoops of Purely Decadent (made w/ yummy creamy coconut milk) Coconut ice cream, a scoop of fresh strawberries and blueberries, some crumbled vegan shortbread cookies, ricemellow, chocolate sauce and soyatoo whipped cream. Mondo had scoops of Purely Decadent Cookie Dough ice cream, ricemellow and crumbled vegan shortbread cookies. There were homemade vegan waffle bowls and cones at the social, too! SO MUCH BETTER TASTING THAN IT LOOKS IN THIS PHOTO!

Everything in the store was 10% off and a portion of the profits are being given to the Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary. I grabbed a shopping basket and walked the aisles in search of new things! This is my take below: Tings (for me), Soy Curls, Mimic Creme, Dulce Vegan Cinnamon Roll (for mondo), Teese, Rasberry filled chocolate bar (for Mondo), Vega Smoothie mixes and Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe shirts for Mondo and I. Such an awesome and delicious haul…I can report that the Tings are already gone!

We had bundles of fun and can’t wait for the bake-off in December at Cosmo’s. It’s so great to hang out with such rad folks in our favorite store in Atlanta. Congrats Ken & Leigh, here’s to many more years!

(For more photos of the Ice Cream Social, there are some up on the store’s blog now!)