Monday, February 26, 2007

My Hostess Has the Mostess

Eva and Malani agree!

I really do eat food that isn't dessert! I swear! I'll have to post more "real food" pictures soon! I made some yummy pizza with follow your heart cheese on Friday night. The crust - ISA CRUST! Yes, I decided that Isa is my leader and her cookbooks are my bibles of sorts. I stopped by Barnes and Noble (Isa, don't frown - I stuck it to the man when I bought the Vegan Cupcakes TOTW cookbook by buying it at our local anarchist bookstore). Why not back to the anarchist bookstore? Well, I have a number of excuses including it's "weird hours", the fact that it's too cold to walk there on lunch, not being sure if they are carrying it/ if it is out...but mainly, I'm impatient and online took too long. I been trying to be responsible. I am, afterall, planning to discard most of my things and begin living "off the grid" this summer. It seemed like a bit of a splurge - everything seems splurgish now - buying any clothes is hard. I'm cutting it down to a couple summery dresses, a couple sweaters a couple shirts, a couple jeans and two pairs of practical shoes. Really! I'm talking 10 items of clothing TOPS and maybe a pair of good winter/hiking boots and a casual pair of all-purpose shoes. I can't wait to build an outdoor kitchen!

Wow. I'm actually kind of disgusted. It took me awhile to find photos of what I envision. I kept find glamorous extensions of kitchens for the wealthy. Shiny grills and well placed, even tiles. Not really what I foresee or even dream about. I dream about self-sufficiency and DIY. I think the pictures I found truly encompass some of my passion for simplistic and yet still extremely rich and rewarding life.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's Fun to Kiss Butt with Cupcakes!

It's true and you can't deny it! Here, my crimson velveteen cupcakes prepare for a trip on the bus. I love my new carrier but wouldn't mind one of these too!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cocktail Cupcakes on Fire...

OK, so I wanted another song lyric for today and had to google. I didn't want just any old kid song nor did I want some song written by a "normal" cupcake aficionado. I wanted a lyric about cupcakes from a real live "rock star". And that's what I got folks! Beck had an untitled song with the above lyric (is it just me or is Beck one sexy, hippie-ish, weirdo artsy fart freak?! Major crush from way back is surfacing now that I know he sang a song about cupcakes!! ;-) ). It's rather funny, actually, since my favorite cupcakes are almost like cocktails. I love the tiramisu cupcake that is made with kahlua and I love the margarita cupcakes made with tequila. Which came first, I wonder, the love of decadent desserts or the love the liquor?! It had to be the desserts since I didn't even start drinking alcohol until a year ago. The combination is deadly, though!

Bare witness to my newest creations! I redid the toasted coconut cupcakes so that Michael could have one - afterall, it was his influence that made me decide to make those cupcakes for the potluck and he was only able to get the cake part leftover from Malani's cupcake. Boo! Enter me to save the day. A dozen BIG ones.
And here's an adorable picture of Malani from the potluck that I had to post because...well, because any picture of our girls makes my blog that much more cool!

Next cupcakes - tiramisu. I made them once before and cut out the center, replacing the tops after the center was filled with coffee/kahlua and buttercream. They were hard to manage and "floppy". I like my more "authentic" looking versions. I simply dug a hole in the center rather than removing it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

So, I'm keeping up with my song quoted titles. I can't help it. The little geek in me condenses all experiences into songs so...
Sunday was THE potluck. Sure, we've hosted many and all have been great for different reasons. This gathering was HUGE. 36 veg*ns in our townhome! Holy twinkies batman! Our home really doesn't fit that large a crowd well. It was almost a bit overwhelming for socially akward me. I think it went over well, though. The last to leave were the Smart family and Reese. It was nice to chat with them about progressive, vegetarian and stay at home parenting, unschooling, and communal life. These are all things that make me feel grossly isolated by the rest of society and here were 3 other people to chat with Michael and I about these passions. Ron and Rachael are parents of Ellie and James. Our three girls love to play with Ellie and James! We've met them for a rainy picnic in the park, a pizza dinner hosted at their home and a trip to the Carnegie Science Center. Our family now has a yearly membership giving us unlimited access to not only the Science Center but all the Andy Warhol Musuem, Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Museum of Art. I'm sure a trip to the History Museum will be upcoming. They have a "dig" exhibit that the girls loved last year when we visited.

Ah, but I was talking about the potluck. I made toasted coconut cupcakes with a coffee buttercream frosting.

I also made a "sausage" and black lentil stew.
1 t olive oil
1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed and drained (I used black lentils bought at Trader Joes)
14 oz Tofurky Italian sausage, sliced
8 oz frozen corn
3 ribs of celery chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 1/2 cups spring water (I subbed half of the water with veggie stock)
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

In a large pot, add a teaspoon of olive oil to very very lightly coat the bottom. Add the sausage and saute until the sausages start to brown. Add the corn, celery, carrots and onion and saute until the veggies begin to become tender. Add the water/broth, salt, black pepper and lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours - stirring occassionally. Alternately, I pot the soup in a crock pot once the water was boiling and cooked on low heat for about 2 hours. I then left in on the warm setting for about an hour prior to serving.

Michael made vegan corn muffins that were delish! He's such an awesome cook!

I never thought I'd say that anything could be more important than vegan food but lo and behold, I'm preparing to say such a thing right now.
Most importantly, our wonderful vegan friends! :-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Te Amo Salsa!

I made my very own batch of homemade cooked salsa today! I totally improvised everything and it seems to be quite yummy! This could be an addiction soon! It might be better than the current cupcake making addiction that I have but given that I'll likely be eating the salsa with loads of tortilla chips and drinking beer. Hmmm.
Here is my recipe:

Approx. 3 1/2 cups tomato, diced
Approx. 1 t cumin
Approx. 2 t salt
Approx. 1 t sugar
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
2 dried chipotle chiles
Approx. 1 1/2 T tomato paste
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic - saute for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the cumin and chipotles and saute and additional minute. Add the tomato, salt, sugar, lemon and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, add cilantro and then simmer over low for 30 minutes or until chipotles have seasoned the salsa to your liking. Cool. Store in the refrigerator.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Seitan is Just Alright with Me...

Nothing like a Doobie Brothers remake to start a post. Is anyone noticing a dorky trend of "song quoted" titles? Ah...heh. heh. Anyway, this post is more about my adventures with seitan this week. Salty fellow. OK, bad pun. It was a bit on the salty side, though, so I'd recommend cutting back on the sodium in the simmering broth. I used Isa's recipe found HERE. Below is my step by step photo collection followed by the dinner I made with seitan - veggie fajitas. The beans you see in the last picture are fat free refried slow cooker beans. Michael says they are the best beans he has ever had and that he is a bean connoisseur. He was nicknamed "burrito boy" so ... I modified THIS RECIPE by omitting the jalapeno and added two dried chipotle chiles and about 1/2 t chili powder. I soaked the beans overnight and reduced the cooking time to 6 hours. It was plenty - the beans were lovely mashable and seasoned. I removed the chiles before mashing - the beans had plenty of smoky heat as is from the slow simmering. A feast for your eyes.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Weekend - Measured in Food

Aaah! Such yummy food I had this weekend! Friday, I made Aloo Gobi, Papadums, Brown Rice and Tomato Chutney. We're still in need of a major "stock up" at the grocery store but I managed to grab a few things from the local market and figured I'd find a last minute Indian recipe featuring cauliflower and potatoes. And I did! Hooray!We traveled all day Saturday. Our first stop of the morning was at the East End Food Coop for tofurky, vegenaise, tings and fruit - 4 year old munchkin essentials for her sleepover with her sisters in Washington. We also picked up a few items for ourselves - namely, COFFEE, lara bars and an extra bag of tings. Tings are Incredible! Just like Cheetos but with nutritional yeast! I'm also now a huge fan of the Lemon and Cherry Pie Lara Bars! We mainly snacked all day until we finally settled at our final location - Casa Nueva - a worker owned restaurant and cantina! It was so popular that the wait for dinner was an hour - fortunately, the cantina was large and there was plenty of seating! We indulged our senses with some inexpensive beer - I got a Marietta Brewing Raspberry Wheat and a Rogue Chipotle Ale. Michael got a a 90 Shilling Ale and a Paw Paw Wheat. All were great and only $3 a pint. Plus, all draft selections are locally (Ohio) brewed. The bar menu is quite extensive and we ordered tofu fries and some great salsas. They serve non-GMO chips. We both ended chose Chimichangas. I left the camera in the car. Oops. No problem, though. Because look at the yummy breakfast we caught there the next morning...
Sunday was full of leftovers and some chips with the Roasted Veggie Salsa we purchased to take home! Mmmm. Nothing like having leftovers! I love it! It's like going out all over again!

I was rather uninspired last night but I still managed to make an impromptu dish - Tofu Lettuce Wraps that I served with vegan potstickers. Not too shabby.

Dessert came from the Farm Cookbook - Bread Pudding. Oh how I wish I'd had some ice"bean" to put on it while it was warm! That would have been divine. It was still a bunch of sweet, carby goodness, though!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Daydream Believer but NOT Homecoming Queen

Not sure where to start with posts today. I have a bunch of food images to upload but I think I'll wait until tomorrow for posting those and recipes. My exciting weekend comes first! Traveling alongside my fabu hippie-freak comrade was a great stress-reliever, even if only temporarily. We traveled first to Lehman's and I felt like I walked into my own personal, overpriced utopia! Glorious and massive dutch ovens, cauldrons and pots! Wood stoves! Composting Toilets! Massive chunks of 100% soywax for candlemaking! I can't even articulate how excited I am about our summer! Every day it gets harder and harder to hide hippie me. Let's play a game
called - where are the hippies in OH? Ready?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Comics and Cuppers

Animal Cruelty 101 It's time for some serious discussions with our little girlies. The questions have really been flowing from our older two who are attempting to understand the differences between their vegetarian lifestyle and our vegan one. Eva, on the other hand, likes the title of being a vegan but still doesn't full grasp "why". I was glad I was able to locate these comics online. I'm hoping it will help us provide the girls with an age-appropriate, yet still disturbing, view of these industries. Michael also pointed me at some additional resources that we'll look into purchasing soon.

Yesterday was the perfect de-stressing cooking day. I took advantage of my free time and made a loaf of homemade bread, a pot of vegan chili and a batch of vegan cupcakes. While I was excited to have food to actually bring to work for lunch, I was most excited about my "artsy" cupcakes. Michael took them with him to work today. I didn't eat any! Yay me! I'm much more about the decorating anyway! I'll post my chili recipe later this evening - I improvised from my favorite cookbook - The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook. My kinda peeps.