Monthly Archives: May 2008

L’Opera Cake, or pain in my butt cake

Hi. This was the Opera Cake we were supposed to for the Month of May’s Daring Baker’s Challenge. Good lord was this thing tedious. And I don’t even get to eat it! The point of the challenge is to step outside your comfort zone and be ‘daring,’ get it smarty?

So for this I bought a candy thermometer($15), almond meal($12), parchment paper($5), and used an entire dozen of eggs($3). This cake took me two days to make and one extra day to assemble. Oh, and warning- this cake is NOT vegan. I didn’t even try to veganize this, although you can go here to see a pretty damn good version of one. If you wanna know the history of Opera Cake, I’m going to have to refer you to Cakespy, she’s fabulous and did a whole thing about it’s origins and all that. I’m too lazy to do any actual investigating. Sorry.

I know it’s supposed to have a lot of almond and espresso flavors so I stuck with that. The cake part is ground almonds, or almond meal. I halved the recipe, otherwise it makes an enormous cake, so it only used a quarter cup of flour. I soaked it with the sugar syrup mixed with Starbuck’s coffee liqueur. I made the chocolate mousse with bittersweet chocolate. I made the buttercream also with Starbuck’s coffee liqueur. I did my layering as such- cake, sugar syrup, buttercream, mousse, etc. On the top I glazed it with white chocolate ganache, then drew some fun little musical notes and finished with “L’Opera.” See what I mean? Tedious with a capital T.

It sure looks pretty, doesn’t it? I’m donating it to my friend’s cousin’s bridal shower and I’m not even sure if I want to put my card with it, just in case. I mean, at one point, I’m supposed to use that thermometer mentioned earlier in some boiling sugar and water to help make the buttercream (??) and it got a little crunchy. Oh well. Either they’re going to love it, or hate it.

So, today was supposed to be grilled veggie day, but with the rain and all, it turned into muffaletta day. A muffaletta is a traditional Italian meats and cheeses sandwich, but since I eat neither of those, I’m turning it into a grilled veggie sammie. At least that’s what Giada and Rachel always make theirs with. Oh, and some gross looking olive salad that I’m not a fan of. I use giardinara instead. So….I guess It’s not muffaletta day after all. Oh well.

I used my tabletop grill to make it, panini-style. There were asparagus, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, portabella mushrooms, and red and green peppers. And why doesWordpress always red-underline my Italian food words? I think it’s about time they updated their lexicon.

These were the kale chips i made to go with the sandwiches. How yummy! I got the idea from the Melisser at The Urban Housewife. Thanks woman! They were fab-o!

Here is my daughter with her new zebra pants from angry, young, and poor. Ironically these pants were damn near $60. Isn’t she adorable? And the shirt says “this girl can work it.” From me for Christmas. That’s right, I rule.

Oh, and just a quick note- if you want me to add you to my blogroll, fine. But how about a little common courtesy and putting me in yours? I had some requests for listings and when I went to check out the blogs, no reciprocity. What’s up with that? The people who are in my blogroll now, either have me in theirs, or they just have a rockin’ ass blog that needs to be seen whether or not they give a hoot about mine or not. Needless to say, I did some deleting.

Rock on and do it with a vengeance!!


Filed under Uncategorized

Dear Summer…

I effing hate you. You give me perma-frizz for like four months. You make my face look greasy enough to fry eggs on, if i still ate eggs. I hate sweating and being around humidity. I hate being in the sun and that whole “gotta get a tan” subculture. I also hate shorts and you will NEVER see me in them. Oh yeah, and i hate ‘belly’ shirts, too. First, I’ve had three kids so every shirt i own is a ‘belly’ shirt. Second, you would be hard pressed to find one square inch of my torso that does NOT have some sort of freckle or mole on it. This just occurred in the last few years. Even my own mother, who came to visit and happened to be around while i was getting dressed and only had my bra on, said, “Wow! When did THAT happen? You weren’t ALWAYS covered in moles, right?” My mother. She is soooo going to Shady Pines when she gets older.

Also, I am as pale as the day is long. Like, see-through, I’m so damn pale. I like being pale, to tell you the truth. While everyone around me looks orange and unnaturally leatheresque, I am keeping my youth tightly in my grasp. I get people all the time who say things like, “YOU have teenagers? What, did you start when you were like 12?” To which I would love to reply “Actually, 11. And they have three different daddies, one of which is my brother. Oh, and I’m from Alabammer ‘riginally.” But, I digress. Not everyone can possess my sparkling social graces.

The only good part of summer is the fact that I can eat ice cream ten times a day, and no one (except my scale) looks at me funny. My fiend-oops, friend- at Bake and Destroy! got herself the ice cream attachment for her brand new Kitchen-Aid mixer. Well, I’m not one to be left behind trendwise, so I hopped on that bandwagon faster than you can say “Just TRY to keep up with the Slaters, I dare ya!” However, my old ass Kitchen-Aid was too small for that attachment so I bought the next best thing(I hope), the Cuisinart ice cream maker.

This recipe is actually from the magazine Vegetarian Times, which my daughter insists I subscribe to, or else. It’s a good mag, I like it. This is called ‘super chocolate vegan gelato.’ It is the best vegan gelato recipe ever. I mean that. Here it is-

2 cups plain soy creamer, divided (I used Silk. I love that stuff. One container is exactly two cups. Plus, i found no reason to have this recipe ‘divided’ so i didn’t do that.)

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp cocoa powder

3 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup mini vegan choc. chips (the recipe actually said 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped. Who has time for that?)

2 tsp vanilla

Combine soy milk, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt over medium heat. Simmer until slightly thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and vanilla until melted and combined. Cover and chill 4 hours or overnight. Mine looked a lot like pudding. Prepare according to ice cream maker’s directions. Hooray! I can do THAT.

Oh, and at the end of mixing, which took about 25 minutes, i tossed in a teaspoon of Starbuck’s coffee liqueur. Not because I’m a boozer or anything, but because I was too lazy to mix up some instant, but also because i have a giant bottle of this stuff so I’m always looking for places to use it.

Holy CRAP was this shizzle delicious!! It was creamy, rich, chocolatey, fudgey and just plain ol’ heavenly. You could barely taste the coffee, which was fine, really. It just sort of gave it that little something extra. Also, next time, i think i will stick the mix in the blender before i heat it up because i did notice tiny clumps of cocoa powder here or there. Nothing serious, just here or there.

I insist that you try it. The Cuisinart was only $60 and I know they have them used on Amazon for like $30.

Also, i went to visit my friend Jackie today who just had a baby girl (named Natalie!) May 9th and ended up staying for less than one hour because Olivia is so scared to death of other kids, she wouldn’t stop tantruming and banshee howling every time Jackie’s little boy Trevor came within ten feet of her. Yes, I have one of THOSE children. Brat.


Filed under Uncategorized

Affordable Veganism

First off, my husband has been hard at work making this giant Plex from Yo Gabba Gabba. I wish I could get him to put that much of himself into dishes or laundry, but oh well. A giant robot is the next best thing, right? On to the food…

I’m going to warn you up front that this is a loooooong winded blog but I think you’ll find the info interesting if you stick around to read it all.

I have been working on a feature for this blog titled- you guessed it- affordable veganism. My point is to simply let others know that you do NOT have to spend two hundred dollars a week at your local health food store in order to make this lifestyle choice.

Your first purchase as a vegan will undoubtedly be about four or five cookbooks, like mine was. I have some that I can suggest, but I would also like to suggest others that I do not have, but have researched and my sources tell me they are fabulous. Vegan Planet is awesome and has recipes for stuff like tofu sour cream and little things that you don’t want to have to spend all your money on. Veganomicon is kind of like the bible in that I reference it about 9 times a day and I am always quoting it. It has a few casseroles and one pot dishes that you can switch up a bit to suit your tastes, and they aren’t horribly expensive to make. Eat, Drink and Be Vegan is good, but some of the recipes can get a little pricey or weird. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World is great for sweet treats but you’re going to have to buy things like non-hydrogentated shortening and vegan margarine to make the frostings. The good news is, you only need a quarter cup of each so they will last you a while, but sticker shock may keep you away from them. Don’t let it. Oh, and Smart Balance makes a vegan margarine that is sold at your local chain. Good times!!!

Ah, unfrosted poptarts. The lazy vegan’s best friend for about a month until you get sick of the same three flavors.They are always on sale at my Jewel for like five dollars for three boxes.

My Jewel also carries it’s own line of organic crap so yay me. This soy milk pictured was $2.50 per half gallon. It sounds like a lot when cow’s milk is three bucks for a whole gallon but whatever. It’s cheaper than Silk. Also, this oatmeal (vegan) pictured is two for three dollars right now, so stock up.

I would go on for your cook books. While normally I would suggest giving your money to the authors of these books, we are doing this on a budget, right? And the point is to not exploit, harm, or kill any living being because of the food we eat so we’re not going to worry too much about lining the authors pockets at this point. Although, I guess technically they are living beings as well, but let’s not go there right now. However, if you can afford it, go right ahead. You only make it possible for them to write more wonderful cook books in the future so it is definitely good karma, or feng shui, or whatever.

In the front of most of these books is a “pantry” section where they tell you what you should always keep on hand. Some of the staples include coconut milk, canned pumpkin, etc as well as things you’ll REALLY need like canned tomatoes, beans, pasta, etc. I’m here to tell you scrap the coconut milk and canned pumpkin for now.

One of the cheapest, easiest things I make at least four nights a week is simply this- pasta, veggies, and beans. If tofu was on sale that week, i toss it in there, too. Of course, make sure your pasta is vegan, some of them use eggs. Go to your produce section and buy whatever is on sale this week- zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, escarole, tomatoes, eggplant (although, this can be a little tricky to cook with if you aren’t experienced in cooking), broccoli, carrots, green beans, etc. You can even be super cheap and go to the freezer section and buy frozen. It doesn’t really matter. This also works when certain things are not in season.

Next, go to your canned goods aisle and buy canned, chopped tomatoes. They come in all flavors now including olive oil with oregano, basil, garlic, and/or parsley, so half the work is done for you. Then you scootch down a few feet and pick out cannellini beans or garbanzos or navies and presto. Dinner is done for a couple days. This makes a huge pot of goodies. This picture above is of some spices and herbs that my Jewel carries for a dollar a bottle. They taste just as good as McCormick only without the price that makes you feel like your being violated in some way. Only thing is, it’s back by the dog food. I know, right?? And this giant bottle of pre-chopped garlic was like five bucks when i bought it a few months back. When I’m cooking for other people, I use the real peel and chop stuff, but when it’s just us…there you go. Anthony Bourdain says if you are too cheap and lazy to buy and chop your own garlic then you don’t deserve to eat it, but I disagree. I still love him, though.

Last week at my local Jewel, this hummus was buy one get one free. I bought a box of wheat thins (also on sale AND vegan) and baby carrots and my snack time was taken care of. This seasoned tofu was BOGO, too. The Italian stuff I’m using for tonight’s pasta dish. The Asian stuff went for yesterdays lunch with broccoli and carrots and white rice.

It’s all about looking through your paper and finding what’s on sale and making it work for you. Pre-sliced apples were buy one get one free also. I would never buy those things otherwise.

Each one of the canned goods I have pictured was right around a dollar. I am somewhat health conscious so I make sure my kids and I all get our veggies in, as well as our fruits, and mass amounts of protein in bean form, usually.

I do recommend picking out one or two of the meals from one of your books so that you can keep your family NOT bored with your food. I could eat the pasta stuff all year long with all the different combos of veggies and beans and it wouldn’t bother me. My kids, however, are a little more fickle. They get that from their dad.

This stuff is leek and bean cassolet with biscuits from Veganomicon. Next we have matzo ball soup from Vegan With a Vengeance. Tasty, but a pain in the ass to make. Then we have cholent, also from Veganomicon. My kids loved this stuff!!!

Next week, I’m going to make something a little more pricey. It has sun dried tomatoes, brussel sprouts, and some other stuff. Oh, and seitan, which i made myself last week and ate with my pasta but discovered that having a gluten intolerance means that eating

something made from gluten is a bad idea. Duh. Eating the pasta is bad enough but that only gives me minimal amounts of pain and torture. So, I’m going to use tempeh from now on.

And here’s one last picture of my little peanut. You know, doctors do everything they can in the emergency room to save lives so that they can say just that- “We did everything we could possibly do.” I don’t have much of a chance to make a difference in the world so I’m going to do it in a way so that I can say to my children some day, “I did everything I could possibly do.”

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

These were the best cookies ever. Really. I got them from Vegan With a Vengeance but I tweaked them a little.

The recipe called for raisins and walnuts. Well, no thanks to the nuts and I was fresh out of raisins so chocolate chips it was!

I used the optional ground flax seed because she says somewhere in that book that they add chewiness and I’ll be damned if I’m eating crispy cookies. I don’t like them.

I actually split the batch in half, added my vegan chocolate chips to half, then added regular Hershey’s semi-sweet to other batch. Mainly because I’m too cheap to share my super expensive vegan chips with the rest of my family. Carmen can’t seem to keep herself vegan so she’s just half-assing it right now, and that’s fine. I know how teenagers can be. Fickle, irresponsible, cranky. I’ve been there so I’m not going to force her into something she’s not quite into wholeheartedly.

oh, sidebar-I’m trying like hell to volunteer at Warped Tour for the Action For Animals booth. It would be super if they would call me but he said he thought they were full at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater. Oh well, I will have to find something else to volunteer for, I guess. There’s plenty of horrible crap going on that I can be a butthole about and protest, right?

Oh, here’s a couple more pictures of my cookies in action…

This was the mix and the can of pumpkin. I used my spring loaded 1 ounce ice cream scoop to make all my cookies the same size. I love it, it’s so handy for all kinds of crap.

I got 48 scrumptious cookies out of this recipe. I guess I’ll post it here, and if the ladies get mad at me, I’ll just take it down. But really, if you make the cookies, then buy the book because of it, who wins? Everyone!

Here it is, you will need:

2 cups AP flour (i used unbleached)

1 1/3 cups rolled oats

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 2/3 cups sugar

2/3 cup canola oil

2 Tbsp dark molasses

1 cup canned pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie mix

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds (optional)

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped     ** i passed on these. not a HUGE fan of nuts in my cookies.

1/2 cup raisins  **i was out of raisins so instead i used 1/2 cup vegan choc. chips, and 1/2 cup reg. choc. chips

This follows the basic premise of any baking job- you mix the dry stuff together, then the wet stuff, then you fold to combine, then you add the raisins/walnuts/chocolate chips, what have you.

What I did was I divided the batter into two portions and added the different chocolate chips to each batter. I used my scooper to get my cookies a nice uniform shape and size. I sort of mushed them down before putting them in the oven. I have five rack spots in my oven so one of the cookie sheets sat on the very middle rack, and one sat on the rack directly under it. I baked them for 8 minutes, took them out, turned the pans around and switched them from top to bottom and bottom to top and then turned my timer back on for 9 minutes. I took them out and let them cool completely.

I tried one warm, and one completely cooled and what a difference!! Wait til they cool. You will NOT be disappointed. Yum!!

Enjoy! And Viva La Vengeance!!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lack of Protein? No Way, Jose!

So , it drives me up a wall, but I constantly get people asking me what i do for protein. Are they serious? I get so much protein i think my kidneys are mad at me. Let me just set the record straight real quick.

First of all…beans! Yes, they are the magical fruit that make you go toot but they are also packed with protein. If you take enough Beano, you don’t have to worry about gas. Or bloating. Or that weird meowing noise your stomach does when garbanzos decides to tear it a new one.

Second…pasta! If you look at those new-agey type pastas they all say “excellent source of protein” and upon further digging, i have found out that apparently whatever your age is, you multiply it by two and there you have how much protein you should be taking in per day. If there are any nutritionists out there who’d like to do battle over this stat- bring it. I’m unarmed. That’s just something I pulled from the net. You would totally win.

The box of angel hair I just looked at says 7 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving. I looked at my cans of beans, too. Garbanzo beans, 6, red kidney beans, 7, cannellini beans, 8 grams, all per 1/2 cup serving.

Let’s not forget my favorite protein alternative- tempeh. This monster has 19 grams of protein in one four ounce serving. Wow. Tofu, while not the best of them, is still holding steady at about 4.5 grams per ounce. Let’s not forget soy milk, please. I ingest tons of it because I freaking love granola (yes, honey free, my darlings) and one cup of it has 7 grams.

And let’s go there please. Soy milk. It was never my favorite back in the day, but this ugly duckling has really sprouted beautiful feathers recently. I don’t know what they’re doing to the stuff, but it tastes so much better these days. And calcium? It has 30% of what i need in that little cup.

I’m not going to go through and list all the things i eat in a day that have protein and calcium so a clan of carnivores can still find something wrong with the vegan philosophy. Either you feel it or you don’t, and I do. So nyah! Bring on the food!!

This was my lunch yesterday and today. I boiled the aforementioned pasta while sauteeing some cherry tomatoes. I pushed down on the tomatoes to get them to squirt out a bit of juice and then tossed in a lot of zucchini and yellow squash. When it was pretty well caramelized, I tossed in the cannellini beans, a handful of dried parsley, a handful of dried oregano, a crapload of chopped garlic, and some crushed red pepper because I like my shit hot. Oh, and of course, kosher salt ad pepper. This was quite delicious and I’m going to pat myself on the back for this one.

I’m not going to pat myself on the back for this one, however. I sucked hard at making this recipe that I know would have been fabulous if I’d had over a couple of Yentas, but I don’t know any. It’s the Matzo Ball Soup from Vegan With A Vengeance by Isa Chandra. It started out great- I got the mix together and I refrigerated it overnight, as suggested.

I took it out and made my Matzo balls. I was so excited I almost started speaking in tongues, Yiddish being one of them. I had my water boiling and I carefully placed them inside the pot. I put the lid on and left it alone like she says to in the book. I mean, she used all caps to drive home the point, so i figured I’d better do it or I may get some kind of bad Kabbalic Karma sent my way. Then this happened.

It boiled over. So i had to remove the lid. I was looking over my shoulder the whole time, I swear. What a bummer because I’m sure that had something to do with what happened to my balls. Ahem, Matzo balls.

They looked nice in the pot but when my 40 minutes were up and i went to remove them, well, there was a lot of Matzo meal floating about the pot and a good portion of the balls were falling apart. Very sad, really. I was so looking forward to trying this stuff. This  is the finished product. I managed to find few good balls and i ladled the broth over them. It was still heavenly, I’m not going to lie, but until I perfect this soup, I’m not serving it at my next Passover Seder.

You know what? I’m going to have some right now. see you tomorrow!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Superb cupcakes and supreme casserole!

I am really getting into this whole mostly-vegan thing. And now that my husband and daughter have offered to be my taste testers for my dessert business, i can really go for it, with an exception here or there, of course.

I can’t help but wonder- am I a bad almost-vegan if i decide not to go completely militant and stop purchasing all the things that keep dairy farms in business? This is something that is probably going to keep me awake at night. Time to renew that scripp for Ambien! How far should i take this whole thing? I want to do more than just consume, which i feel most of this country does, but I don’t know how to go about really making a mark that people will notice. Hopefully it comes to me in a dream, because I’m not getting any inspiration while fully lucid. I think one of the points is that we stop purchasing from places who are the main source of injury to animals and I’m all about that.

Anyway, on to the food! I made the most wonderful casserole called “leek and bean cassolet with biscuits” or something like that, I’m too tired to go look. It was awesome! I loved it! the only thing I will do different next time is only one cup of leeks instead of two, and then i will add zucchini into the first sautee portion of the cooking process. I love zucchini. Leeks, not so much. They weren’t horrible, i just like other veggies more than them. Sorry leeks! We can still be friends, though, right? Aww…don’t be mad. Oh, and the biscuits were a little doughy, but I didn’t mind it at all. They were still biscuits and even though my tummy hurt later because they were made with flour, I’ll have to experiment with different flours for biscuits because i can’t stand running into the bathroom like a three year old yelling “outta my way! I gotta drop a bomb!”

These were the best cupcakes ever. I made them from the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. They are the banana ones. I had to sub out the rice milk for soy, so i just did what they did in every other recipe that called for soy milk, i let it curdle with a little bit of cider vinegar. Still amazing!!! I topped them with the fabulous peanut butter buttercream. Peanut butter and banana!! Do you love it? Well, screw you then! I love it, i guess that’s all that REALLY matters. I would post the recipe here, but I’m pretty sure these ladies who wrote the book would like you to purchase it. Although, they are pretty punk rock, so maybe they’re all about sticking it to the man. Who knows, really. You should buy the book anyway, it’s like a dollar on Amazon and way worth it. Or, you could just write me and I’ll send you the damn recipe, cheapo.

Oh, i also made some chocolate soy milk ice cream in my new ice cream maker.Not the creamiest stuff ever, but passable, and it made me happy that there was no cholesterol in it, and a giant tub of it has 16 grams of fat as opposed to the 16 grams of fat in one quarter of a cup of dairy ice cream. I just really need to experiment with flavors because it was kind of boring. And rock fricking hard.

I originally went to the store looking for the ice cream maker attachment that goes with my Kitchen-aid but apparently i need a 6 quart, and mines only a 5 quart. Tear…. So i got my next in line, the Cuisinart!! I read the reviews about everything i buy which keeps me from a buying a lot more stuff that what i already do, just so you know. It’s a nice little machine, i highly recommend it.

Until next time…viva la vegan!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Bridal Shower Fun!

Okay, so it wasn’t THAT much fun. I worked my butt off, although, you’d think it would be smaller. Oh well! So remember these little buggers? My cake disaster that i mushed into balls and stuck in the freezer? I resurrected them zombie-style for yesterday. My hostess told me she needed some type of party favor and i told her i had a great idea!! Bakerella (look to the right-she’s in my blogroll) had a post about buying a peanut butter cup mold and making tiny little ‘cupcake’ bites. I’m not going to bother with detailed directions, she has those on her site. Instead, I’m going to thrill you with pictures! Here are the balls being formed. I put them back into the freezer to firm up again after being in my nice, warm hands.

Next, they are being pushed into the melted chocolate. Just try to get the melted chocolate to crawl all the way up the sides of the mold. It makes for a better cupcake effect.

Then they were topped with purple and pink melted white chocolate, which in all reality is vanilla. There’s no chocolate whatsoever in white chocolate. I think it just makes people feel better to call it that. Whatevs.

Then i dusted them with sprinkles and a mini m&m. You know, to look like a cherry or whatever. Super cute!

Here’s me working soooooo hard at these. (Note the Jessie Steele apron. Also in my blogroll. Buy one. Now.) They weren’t difficult, per say, just tedious as all get out. You better really like the person you are making them for, or you will be cursing the whole time, like i was. Not that I didn’t like her, but I’m indifferent towards the lady she ordered them for. Anywho!

Here is the final product. They got ooohs and aaahs from the guests and that’s all my giant ego really requires. Oh, and yes, i did indeed make the tag. I scrapbook, too, so i had scalloped edge scissors already hanging around my house. And nothing better to do on a Friday night, apparently.

Here are some more pictures of the bridal shower. Yes, I did everything, including the cucumber sandwiches (i know, right?) and the scones (scones? wtf?) with clotted cream. God that just sounds gross. Clotted cream. *Shudders* Anyways, you probably figured out it was an English tea party theme. Enjoy the pictures!

She placed the mini cupcake bites around a candle. It looked pretty. They did not catch fire, thankfully.

These were mini carrot cakes, mini banana walnut, mini cappuccino chip, and mini lemon angel cakes.

Then we have cucumber sandwiches with some sort of mayonnaise/ cream cheese mixture. I flattened the bread, piped on the stuff, carefully placed the cucumbers marinated in red wine vinegar, dusted them paprika, and cut them into fours. They were placed on lettuce leaves to keep the bread moist.

Here are the scones. My very first attempt and she tells me they were the best she’s ever had, and that’s not just a compliment, that’s a COMPLIMENT. She used to live in England. Whaaaat? I know, she was in the military, though. But still, she knows her scones. And while my version of clotted cream wasn’t what she’s had, it was still tasty, and as she put it, “Like any of these hillbillies will know the difference.” Right on, Pats!

Here is the “cake,” complete with flowers that were actually recycled from my mother’s day gift. I couldn’t believe they kept all week, so i used them. They were beautiful!! Oh, the other ‘theme’ of the shower was advice, so the hostess asked me to make cake toppers that had marital advice. Since I am previously divorced, i did not think i was best suited to come up with this stuff on my own. So, I perused the internet.

Here are some of the flags pre-cake topped. Yes, some of them are quite lame. What do you want from a girl whose best marital advice would be “don’t do it to begin with” ?

Oh, and just so we’re clear, NONE of this was vegan.

I hope you enjoyed my post on an English Tea Party/ Good Advice Bridal shower.

Now, go call your friend Randi and have some coffee while you talk about your neighbors, like I’m going to.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Mostly Vegan Gourmet!

Well, I finally got all my vegan cookbooks and then discovered there was one more i needed- Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. However, i must tell you a secret…I’m trying to just veganize the recipes i make now so my kids don’t get all freaked out by the weird stuff I will soon be making.

Today’s lunch consisted of something we make at the restaurant where i work. It’s simply called “escarole with sausage” but my super-Italian boss just calls it “shcarole” pronounced like you’re rolling the R just a tad. I don’t know, it sounds funny to me, so i just say to people, “Oh, you’d like the escarole with sausage? Sounds delicious!” (And he’s kind of a stroke so who cares how he says stuff.)

Anyway, I simply boiled rigatoni pasta noodles for the correct amount of time- no more than that though because I freaking HATE slimy, soggy, mushy pasta- then while that was happening, i sauteed the sliced soy/veggie italian sausage with some olive oil, chopped garlic, crushed red pepper, and salt. When it was mostly done, i threw in the green stuff and let it wilt down quite a bit while tossing it here or there. I kept adding touches of oil because i love the stuff.

Here’s my confession- I’m pretty sure the sausage wasn’t totally vegan. Oh, and my other confession- I’m not sure I care all that much. See, here’s my problem…

I was vegan a long time ago, and I only lasted about 8-9 months. (I already posted why previously so if you wanna know why, go back and read about it.) And i was “that guy.” You know the one. You sit down in a restaurant and you order a BLT and I’m the one who starts in with how pigs are kept in factory farms and tortured and blah blah blah. (Only it’s NOT blah blah blah, but still, not the time or the place.) I harassed everyone i went out to eat with. I was a complete pain in the ass at restaurants and had to make a point of my politics to every single human i came into contact with.

I’m a different person now. I made the veggie transition over a couple of days last month and it worked out well so far. I’m very hesitant to refer to myself as vegan though and here’s why- I’ve met soooo many vegans who are now just the way that i was then. Assholes. “What are you doing using Burt’s Bees? Don’t you know that’s stealing?!” (I love the stuff!) I don’t want to be an asshole. I try desperately to use soy milk in my coffee every time and most of the time i do, but if I’m somewhere where there happens to be no soy milk and the only thing available is that powdered crap with trace amounts of casein…I’m using it. Sorry.

I will do what i can when i can to eat as little animal products as possible but I’m not going be a militant jerkoff about it. I’m not going to lecture people or tell them they’re going to hell. (Is there such a place?) I’m not going to starve myself. Don’t get me wrong, I will never eat meat again, but we plan on going to Italy for our anniversary (apparently he has family there. who knew?) and while I could eat pasta marinara the whole damn time, I’m not going to. I’m going to taste the regional cheeses. I am, after all, a food lover. It’s just something I’ll have to deal with when it happens.

So, I’m only going to refer to myself as mostly vegan. And lazy. And cheap.

The “Lazy, Cheap, Mostly Vegan Gourmet.” It has a ring to it. Enjoy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Vegan Cheesecake with Vegan Gluten/Wheat Free Crust

It probably doesn’t look all that great, huh? Well, I’m not sure if it tastes all that great either because i haven’t tried it yet. My best friend Robert said his favorite thing in the whole wide world is cheesecake so i figured I would give it a go.

No, he’s not vegan. But he said he would be willing to try this cheesecake. I went ahead and wrote down all the calories and fat of everything i was putting into this sucker, too. I got just under 300 calories and about 12 grams of fat per slice, if you divide it into 8 pieces and eat it plain. And if you care about the fat and calories you are consuming. Sometimes i care, sometimes not. Plus, I made my own fruit topping of blueberries and cherries that I plan on putting on top of my piece. I know there’s no fat in there, but I don’t know about the calories. I forgot to write it down, and i don’t feel like doing it now. People must not realize how easy it is to make your own fruit topping. They just follow the rest of the lemmings over the cliff and buy that crap in a can. Oh well. Here’s the crust recipe i got with my notes, as usual, following the asterisk and in italics-

2 cups Grape-Nuts cereal or vegan honey-free granola, (remove any dried fruits from the granola beforehand if necessary) *i passed on the Grape Nuts as it has wheat in there and I am somewhat gluten intolerant.i used Health Valley. They left the fruits in a little package on the side so i got to be super lazy and NOT remove them. Yay me!
1/4 cup maple syrup *i just used what was in my cabinet. I know they want you to always use pure, but that crap is expensive, yo!
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Place cereal in a blender or food processor and grind to fine crumbs (but NOT to cereal-dust), about 2 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in the maple syrup and almond extract. Mix well until crumbs are moistened. *The food processor part only took me like a minute.

Pour into oiled 9-inch pie pan and press mixture in evenly to form a crust. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while preparing filling of your choice. *I used one Tbsp of canola oil

I may actually use about half cup more of this stuff as it did not go all the way up my pie plate’s sides. Bummer. So here’s the cheesecake part-

1 container Tofutti brand cream cheese alternative

12 oz or one package silken tofu *Don’t forget to drain out the water, like i did!! Also, i used Mori-nu extra firm. I hope that doesn’t affect it. Oh, well. (extra firm, my ass.)

1/3 cup soy milk

1/3 cup corn starch

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp maple syrup (optional) *I put it in mine just for extra flavor

2/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

3 tsp egg replacer

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Oven at 325.

Mix the egg replacer with the water in a small bowl until smooth and add to blender. *I used my food processor. I love it. Blend together all ingredients, except for oil and crust (*duh) at medium speed until smooth.

Mixture should be thick and creamy. Slowly incorporate oil by pouring in at low speed.

Pour into pie crust and bake 45-50 minutes or until just barely firm. The cheesecake will not change color or rise up, but don’t be afraid to take it out of the oven! Allowing it to cool and refrigerating or freezing slightly before serving will firm it up to the proper texture. *I baked mine for exactly 45 minutes and it was a tiny bit brown around the edges, but that’s okay with me. Really.

Enjoy your tofu cheesecake! Drizzle with chocolate syrup or garnish with fresh fruit as desired. *I made a fruit topping.

For my homemade fruit topping i simply took 1 cup frozen cherries, i left them whole, and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen blueberries. I put them in a saucepan. I added water just to cover. I added 1/4 cup sugar. I also hit it with a tiny bit of lemon juice. I let it boil and stirred here or there. You can add more sugar if you like it sweeter but I like to taste the actual fruit, thanks. Then i added a previously blended mix of 1/4 cup cold water and 1/4 cup cornstarch. I let it drizzle in and let my berries come to a boil again. It got super thick, so i added extra water, a little at a time. It got to a perfect consistency for me so i took it off the stove, transferred it to a bowl and let it cool.

I think i could have eaten the whole bowl of fruit right there, as gross as that may sound because of the corn starch. I love blueberries, though. When i was a kid and i used to visit my daddy in Maine, we used to pick the blueberries that grew right in our front yard. Sometimes, that was all i would eat for days!

Well, enjoy your vegan cheesecake. I hope mine turns out okay. I can’t wait to try it later.

By the way, i still haven’t gotten my book by Dreena Burton, Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. I wonder what happened to it? Curse you, Barnes and Noble online!


Filed under Uncategorized

A Little Post About Bags…

First, i would like to say that I am not really a tree hugger. I’m what you call a poser. When it’s convenient for me, I’ll do whatever you ask as far as recycling or whatever. But honestly, we drive an SUV. And the worst kind, too. It’s an H3. Barf. Now, don’t get too excited, it was a lease. Anyone can get a lease. Even us broke folk. But regardless, from the second he brought it home, i was embarrassed. I think they’re ugly. They use way too much gas. Plus, they aren’t all that good for hauling stuff. There’s no hitch and that back door opens to the side. Not downwards like every other truck on the planet. What’s the point?

Oh, and there are certain things i get nasty about, I’m not gonna lie. If I’m in a restaurant with friends and one even thinks about ordering the veal, i go through my rundown about baby cows. I did this even when i happily ate the baby cows mama as my own dinner. I just happen to think treatment of baby cows for this purpose is unacceptable. Same thing with goose liver pate. I would love to do the same thing to some jackass that’s done to those geese. But i would gladly eat Mother Goose’s cousin, el pollo. Get what I’m saying? Total poser.

I stopped eating meat and am currently cleaning out my fridge of most animal products. Except for the stuff my hubby eats. He refuses to go veg. Whatever, that’s his choice and I’m not going to be a sterotypical vegan asshole about it.

But this bag thing…it’s got me bummed. I ordered cloth grocery bags from Bake And Destroy and I love them so i leave them in my car because I’m a forgetful moron, and i often have to stop for crap like paper clips, or diapers. When i do, my local chain grocer employees look at me like I just asked them to wear a leopard thong and grease up. No, really, it’s getting ridiculous. I go into the bag-the-damn-stuff-yourself lane and one of the workers came over to help in an effort to hurry me out of there. The first thing she did was open up a plastic bag. I very quickly-and shortly- told her i brought my own bags and I will do it myself. Cue the eye roll, please. Grrr…. I wrote a letter to Jewel, yes, Jewel, or Albertson’s to all you westerners, and i got some very generic form letter back. Jerks.

To all of you reading this…if you’re not going to buy the bags Jewel sells for a dollar a piece then please please please make sure you are recycling those plastic bags. Each Jewel has a giant box posted by the front door for this purpose. Use it! Good karma will follow you everywhere, i swear!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized