Busy Busy Busy

29 05 2008

The chiweenies are at another foster home now; I could only commit to three weeks right now because of our hectic schedule, but it was GREAT to have them with us for a little while and I know I’ll see them on Sundays at adoptions (plus their foster mommy only lives five minutes from me)!

Mondo had his friend Gio over on Monday to talk motorcycles (Mondo has a 1973 Honda CB350F), so I baked a huge batch of cookies for them to snack on and for Gio to take back to his awesome wife Kim and their daughter Caoilinn.
Later on I finally made the Curried Eggplant Soup from FatFree Vegan Kitchen. Wowza! We had 2 bowls of this stuff and folks were asking us for the recipe the next day at work (we brought leftovers with us). It definitely ranks as my favorite soup now and Mondo said it’s right behind his fave, Pumpkin Leek from Vegilicious.

I’m so PUMPED for the Indie Craft Experience at Centennial Olympic Park next Saturday, June 7th. I missed it last year and am so not going to let that happen again! The most awesome Becky from Glue&Glitter has asked a few Atlanta vegans to donate some of our tasty vegan food for the ICE pre-party, being held at Youngblood Gallery on Friday, June 6th. Idalys from Dulce Vegan, Lori from Pleasantly Plump Vegan and myself are providing the treats and snacks for the event and I am spending most of my free time trying out recipes to find the right ones for the party. So far I’ve narrowed it down to four dips, some stuffed mushrooms, a cheez ball (yeaah, you know what i’m talking about!) and some mexican tortilla cups.

I tested out one of the dips tonight, a spinach-artichoke dip that I found on VegWeb. So. Good. No fake cheese in it (like every other recipe called for). We killed about half of it tonight and Mondo wants to take some with him tomorrow as a snack. I’m so pleased it turned out well. I added five cloves of garlic vs. the three listed, along with some red pepper flakes and only put in half of the artichokes called for. I used marinated artichokes, so it helped make the dip extremely flavorful. I can’t wait to test out more recipes this week and next! I’m taking off a 1/2 day from work next Friday to finish preparing everything I can’t make in advance and then dropping everything off at Youngblood at 6pm (an hour before the party) so I can rush home, get ready and head back for the par-tay!

I had some very ripe bananas about to go bad and what better way to put them to use than to make banana nut bread? Or muffins, in my case. I used the recipe from the Damn Tasty Vegan Baking Guide and added an extra mashed banana and some chopped walnuts. Superb. These were fluffy and so banana-y (not a word but I don’t care) with just the perfext taste and texture. I’m going to share some with the receptionist/office assistant at work, since she has to put up with so much from the arrogant jerks we work with.

Oh, here’s my pretty new bike! Her name is Gypsy and she is going to take me around town and hopefully to work (after taking MARTA halfway). I’m hopefully going to have some time Saturday to take her to some bike shops and see about getting her converted to a fixed gear. I’m psyched to go bike riding and I have much thanks to give Lori’s husband, Jared, for helping me know what to look for, reading craigslist ads I sent him, etc. Woohoo! I owe you baked goods!


Spanish, Chinese & kinda Cajun

14 05 2008

To answer your question, yes, these are the best vegan chocolate chip cookies ever. Best chocolate chip cookies of any kind, really. I’ve made the same recipe before (from Vegan with a Vengance), but they’ve never turned out this good. They’re sitting pretty in my cake stand.

Last week I was craving some Spanish food and took a peek at what I had in my pantry and fridge. I had soaked black beans the night before and just needed to cook them. So I got them in a pot and let them boil until tender and tasty (especially after I added a little salt and garlic powder to them). I grabbed some short grain brown rice and before I started cooking it, I noticed a little recipe on the back for Spanish rice! Killer! So easy, too. Just had to saute for a minute an onion and garlic (3 for me!) w/ some bell pepper I diced, then I added 1.5 cups of the short grain brown rice, a vegan bouillon cube, pinch of cayenne pepper and 3 cups of water. I brought it to a boil and let it simmer for 30 minutes. I added a can of fire roasted dice tomatoes at that point, stirred it in and let it simmer for another 20 minutes.

Yes. Total Success. I was eating it right out of the pot and had to stop myself to save my appetite for dinner. I made tostones (fried plantains) after the rice and beans were done and plated it up with a little lettuce and tomato to eat along w/ everything. We cleaned our plates. Tostones don’t reheat very well, so I try just to eat them as soon as possible. I still have another plantain I need to use and I’d love to find a new recipe for them other than the typical frying or baking. I’m really interested in incorporating them into something. Any suggestions?

Later in the week, after a hectic morning which resulted in my lunch being left at home, I decided to order up some Green Sprout since I have the puppies with me at work. Thankfully I’m within their delivery area or else I’d be stuck with lame not tasty choices for lunch. We used to order from Green Sprout once a week when we lived in Midtown! Now that we’re further away, we try to eat there whenever we’re in the area. I decided on the mango bubble tea and the vegetable lo mein. MMM, everything was delicious as always and I just love that everyone who works there is super friendly.

I was feeling very uncreative this past Sunday night, so I sat down and flipped through my cookbooks and decided it was high time I make the Cajun Tofu out of YRR. I had to cut down on the cayenne pepper it calls for, since Mondo can’t hang with the heat. It turned out fantastic and it reminded me of a cajun fried fish type meal so I made some tartar sauce to go on the side (or top, as pictured). It was more of a sun dried tomato tartar sauce, since I had made sun dried tomato couscous (which was just way too easy, btw) and worried that a traditional tartar sauce wouldn’t work with the sides I served.

I double battered the tofu and Mondo liked it so crispy, but it had one coat too many for me. Next time I’ll do a batch of one batter coat for me and two for him. We were so full after we ate that even while we were lying in bed hours later we were talking about how stuffed we were!


13 05 2008

Their names should be Trouble. I can’t get mad at them because they’re so cute, but ohmygosh are they are a handful and a half! It’s the dachshund in them, so mischievous! Thankfully I can bring them to work with me so I can keep an eye on them (and play with them)!

This was fantastic. I made TJ’s ’17 Bean and Barley Soup’ one night last week (I like soup, who cares if it’s hot out). I decided to split the soup up for lunches for us to take to work and it worked out well, the soup kept us very full in the afternoon and was delicious!

It was super easy to make and I really enjoy meals like that. I soaked the beans and barley overnight and sauteed some onions, red bell peppers, garlic and carrots (I left out the celery it recommended, because celery is evil). Added the veggies to the pot of beans, tossed in some vegan bouillon cubes added 8 cups of water and a can of diced tomatoes and let it cook for about an hour + over medium heat. I didn’t care of the look of the soup and didn’t want to deal with trying to fit a variety of beans on my spoon when it came time to eat it, so I blended that soup like there was no tomorrow (I love you immersion blender!). Excellent idea. Creamy beany goodness. It tastes great (almost chili like) and has an insane amount of fiber in it.

Just some steel cut oatmeal I made last week. I chopped up some dried apricots and medjool dates and added it to the oatmeal along with some walnuts, agave nectar and spices. This was my first time having steel cut oats and I am such a fan now! I’d love to have this for breakfast during the weekend (rather than stuffing our faces with the delicious, but not super healthy, brunch at Soul Vegetarian).

This past weekend was uber crazy. The weather fluctuated from a disaster to beautiful to weird. I got SO MUCH stuff done around the house, it was insane. I cleaned the entire house and re-organized the kitchen and set aside a bunch of items to be donated. It felt so good to get the house in order (especially when my life doesn’t feel like it is) and to get the week off to a good start. Saturday afternoon I met up w/ my pals Lori (thanks again for the awesome mix cd!!) & Jared at SOPO Bicycle Co-Op. I’m in the market for a bike because I’m so done with driving to work. Mondo takes public transportation to work, so I’m going to ride along with him and take a train as close as I can get and bike the rest of the way. I’m really appreciative of them coming out with me Saturday, as I know nothing about bikes and Jared knows a lot. I didn’t have much luck finding anything (except a bike that was already on hold for someone) so I’m searching craigslist and other websites.

Mondo wasn’t feeling well (due to eating a pan full of espresso chocolate chip cookie dough brownies), so I made something fairly simple for dinner (in my mind at least). I sauteed some kale with garlic, olive oil and sea salt and served it alongside some Chickpeas in Red Lentil and Eggplant sauce served over some barley. Wowza. Soo good. I have some with me for lunch today and can’t wait to eat it again!

I wasn’t in the mood for dinner last night and had way too much energy, so I decided to bake. Well technically this is a no-bake pie, but whatever. I made the No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I couldn’t believe how ridiculously easy it was to make and it was set in less than 2 hours (although I’d recommend waiting overnight to have a little slice, as mine wasn’t cold enough for my liking). I really enjoyed the texture and flavor of it (like a peanut butter cup!), so this will definitely be on my go to list of super easy desserts to make again.

While that was chilling in the fridge I got the idea to make the zucchini muffins from Yellow Rose Recipes using the zucchini that was about to go bad in my fridge. Yeah, too late. So, I had already started mixing the ingredients (I don’t prep beforehand, maybe I should?) when I realized there would be no zucchini for these zucchini muffins and decided to turn them into Coconut Lime Raisin Walnut muffins! I’m glad I made them because they turned out delicious!! I followed the YRR muffin recipe and subbed coconut for the zucchini and lime for the lemon zest (and added some lime juice). YUMM!! It’s like biting into awesomeness (yeah, I suck at descriptions). *I forgot to mention that I subbed spelt flour for all-purpose flour in this recipe*

Oh and here are some shots from the bird sanctuary we visited Sunday morning. We happened to drive by it one day while wondering around Atlanta and figured it would be something small (since it was basically a median between two roads) but WHOA we were not expecting creeks, waterfalls and bridges! It was so beautiful and tranquil and we can’t wait to go back! We didn’t snap any photos of birds (we were probably being too loud running around chasing each other) but hope to next time!

Flying Saucer Attack!

3 05 2008

Wooooo, what a week!! We’ve been going non-stop this past week and things are only getting busier with the addition of 2 dachshund/chihuahua (chiweenie?) puppies we’re fostering for a few weeks. Their names are Cora & Penelope; I’ll make sure to take some cute pictures of them to post soon!

Thursday was a frustrating day, so I felt like making lots of food that night to take my mind off things. I decided to make pad thai because it’s so easy and there is always enough left for lunch the next day. I subbed oyster mushrooms (mmm) for tofu and kept everything else the same. It was sooo tasty; Mondo tried to go back for seconds, but I had already packed everything up for lunch!

Saturday was the final day for a furniture exhibit at MoDA (Museum of Design Atlanta) that we’ve been wanting to go to for awhile. We finally made it down there and although it was very small, it was pretty cool!

We were STARVING afterwards and headed over to Ali Baba’s for some yummy mediterranean food. We both had the same thing (Mondo copied me), falafel wrap and a side of dolmas. SO good. So so good. We sat out on their covered side patio and enjoyed our meal while watching the rain fall.

I have developed a serious sweet tooth since meeting Mondo. He is a sugar addict. We have been trying to cut back a lot, but sometimes we just go overboard. Case in point: Mixed Berry Chocolate Chip Blondies. SO. GOOD. I had never made the Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondies from Vegan with a Vengeance before and decided that I had to try them. I only had a bag of mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries) in the freezer, so I used that. Amazing. I made them Saturday afternoon, and embarrassingly, we polished them off by Sunday night. I’ve sworn off sweets for the week but am already thinking about what baked goodies I want to make this weekend!

Not to mention the fantastic strawberry muffcakes (part muffin, part cupcake) I made early last week (pictured at the top). They had such a yummy strawberry flavor with a delicious creamy icing. It totally hit the spot.

I’ve got some pretty healthy coconut apricot date balls on the menu this week. I’m really excited to finally make them myself, instead of paying an arm and a leg to buy them at the store!