Subscribe: The Metal Femme's Vegan Living!
http://themetalvegansrealm.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
Tags:
cake  chocolate  day  don  flavour  food  good  love  made  make  mike  much  new  recipe  red  soup  time  vegan 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: The Metal Femme's Vegan Living!

The Metal Femme's Vegan Living!



The realm where you'll find vegan yummies and stories entailing the experiences of a metal vocalist and performer.



Updated: 2016-07-27T08:53:10.494-04:00

 



Geese X-Ing

2008-06-11T09:43:44.181-04:00

So I fibbed a bit. I really haven't been back around, have I?

We're still in the midst of recording our EP and a lot of other crap is going on in my life that is taking up a lot of time and energy. I've decided that I will be taking a little bit longer of a break from blogging. It makes me sad, but I don't want to continue half-a$$ing it. Once recording is finished and I get my life back in order, I will be back on here regularly, sharing and reading about delicious foods and other such projects.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a story with all of you that I knew you could appreciate.

(image)

I was on the highway the other day, heading to Andrea's house. It was on 93 North, somewhat close to Lowell.

So I'm cruising at around 70mph when all of a sudden, I see a ton of cars in front of me come to an abrupt halt. I kinda slammed on my brakes... Well, I kept pumping my foot on the brake pedal rather than slam it all the way down because I have this terrible fear that the guy behind me is going to come crashing into my rear.

So I keep getting closer and closer to the car in front of me and it was making me very nervous because my brakes aren't the best. At the last second, I stop just in time, leaving a comfortable space between my car and the other's car's rear bumper.

I'm all panick-stricken and aggravated. I HATE when cars just slow down and stop from 70-0. See, my car just can't do that so easily. I have to slow down a good deal before I can totally stop.

As soon as I get there, the cars start picking up the pace again, continuing on their journey down the highway. I turn my head, thinking I'm going to see a broken down car or a statie or some such when, much to my surprise, I see little feathered friends waddling into the woods.

It was a goose with her baby goslings!

Immediately a grin appeared on my face as I shouted, 'Geese crossing!' (Mike was in the car with me, I'm not that effin' weird.)

It truly did make my day and completely erase the fear and frustration I had from almost crashing into the car in front of me. Cute, little geese were just trying to get across the road.

But the part that REALLY made me happy was that all the people stopped for 'em. This isn't like an elk coming at your window. If you run over a coupla birds they won't be fine, but your car will. So I feel these people were stopping out of the goodness of their hearts.

And that set the mood for my day. :)



To All of You

2008-05-11T11:37:04.355-04:00

Today is tough for me, but I wanted to wish all of you who are mothers a very happy Mother's Day and to all of you who still have your mums, cherish today and every day you have with them. Give them a hug for me. :)

Rest in peace, mum.



(image)



Miss Me?

2008-05-09T11:51:06.479-04:00

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Sorry I disappeared for so long. Not only did I move to a new department at work where internet time is virtually impossible, I am also in the midst of recording with the band. Everything's coming along real well, we're very excited. But more on that later.Thanks to those of you who checked in on me. I am fine and still cooking away! In fact, we had a coupla birthdays go by, as you may remember me mentioning in my last entry from so long ago. The first one was for guitarist and friend, Matt. See, his all-time favourite poison of choice is Guinness. It's not for me, but different strokes for different folks! In honor of his love for the liqour, I made a 4-layer chocolate cake with chocolate and buttercream frosting in the shape of a mug of Guinness! (Sorry for the lopsided picture. I didn't mean to force you guys to turn your heads sideways. I forgot to upload the better pictures and they're at home right now! Perhaps I will do a little post in-between posts to show you some better angles.)I have to admit, I got the idea from something I saw online, but mine is vegan so it's automatically that much cooler. Of course, as always, Mike helped with the label design, made entirely of marzipan and frosting. I shouldn't even use the word 'helped'. He actually did the whole label on his own.Speaking of Mike, he turned the big 3-0 this year and little did he know, I had been planning a big surprise party for him. It turned out amazing- all our friends and family were there to celebrate with lots and lots of awesome food and he was plenty surprised! Let me tell you, I had TONS of cooking to do. In fact, I took a whole day off from work and was cooking from 9 in the morning to 11 o'clock at night (with minimal breaks). I am like a machine when it comes to this stuff!Firstly, I am going to do some picture recycling. For the main meal, I made V-Con's Pumpkin Baked Ziti since it's so fabulous. FOUR pans of it! Next, seeing as Mike is a HUUUGE peanut butter fan, I made The Joy of Vegan Baking's unbelievably delicious peanut butter cookie recipe, tossing in some white chocolate chips (an idea entirely of my own). I can't even begin to tell you how sweet and yummy these cookies are. In fact, here's a close up if you need a more visual idea:Did I mention Mike is also a lover of bananas and all things banana flavoured? I could not think of anything more perfect than Vegan Cupcake's Take Over the World's Elvis version Banana cupcakes with Peanut Butter frosting! This recipe came from the banana split recipe without the 'split' part. Isa and Terry suggested taking out the chocolate and pineapples and filling it with peanut butter frosting. Unbelievable! These were the real winners at the party.Even though Mike was turning 30, we still went all out with silly decorations and things (more pictures later) all Super Hero themed! To keep with it, I purchased Spiderman cupcake liners. How cute are these?We also had hummus and tabouli wraps on whole wheat. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of these because I was running around like a madwoman. But let me assure you, if you haven't had hummus and tabouli wraps by now, you're a very bad vegan. Or person, in general. ;) Something sooooo delicious, yet so simple. And it's not even fattening! Who woulda thunk?We had lots of organic soda, chips, popcorns, salsas, ice cream, etc... (things we rarely ever buy, in fact, much to the joy of our GI tracts). But the best part, of course, was his birthday cake!I was having trouble deciding what to do because I usually bake the cakes and make the frosting while Mike decorates them. He's an illustrator and a very talented one, at that! I, myself, well... I suck. I can make food taste good, but I have trouble making it look like art.So I finally decided on a Spiderman design (still sticking to the theme). Using all natural plant-based dyes, I whipped up a few frostings and set to work on my 18 inch German Chocolate sheet cake- my favourite recipe from Sinfully Vegan. I filled the [...]



When Life Gets in the Way

2008-03-14T11:00:10.466-04:00

Am I the only one on earth who realizes that March is the month of birthdays? Every month of the year (besides March), I either know and/or hear of 0-3 people with birthdays. Not March! It's one birthday after another! I have 7 close friends and family born in this month, not to mention a surplus of other people I know of that have birthdays in March. I bet a ton of you have March birthdays, don't you? You can go ahead and admit it! ;) Well, this brings me to why I haven't been very blog-active the past couple of weeks. I've been very busy planning and preparing for birthdays (lots of cooking, you see) as well as an Easter meal that's coming up. Oh, and not to mention... we set the recording date!!! This means we've been practicing our butts off. We actually decided against going with Sanctum Sound, as fancy as they are, because they were waaaay too expensive. We checked out a couple more places and ended up sealing the deal with New Alliance Studio in Cambridge. The producer is really cool, laid back and most importantly- his main shtick is metal! They also have a mastering studio next door (he's affiliated with New Alliance) that will lower our price for going with NA. So we're pretty pysched. You can expect some updates on that very soon. We'll be recording on April 19 & 20 as well as the 26th and 27th. That'll get a good chunk done. We'll be booking future dates to finish it up very soon.Lastly, my work company is moving! This means that I'm going into a different department where I won't have access to the internet quite as much. Normally I update and read all of your blogs at work, so it's going to take some time to transfer all that reading and writing to evenings and weekends. But I will! I promise!In the meantime, I made two V-Con recipes to tide you over!First: Baked Pumpkin ZitiYet another V-Con recipe that's been making the rounds! I knew this was going to come out delicious. And you know what? I actually accidentally used the recipe for tofu ricotti as opposed to the cashew ricotta it called for. Whoops! It was still excellent. It was very reminiscent of my mother's baked macaroni and cheese, so it brought back a lot of nice memories.The only complaint I have is that the pumpkin flavour was a little weak. I know it was more for a bit of sweetness than pumpkiny-ness, but it failed on both counts. It didn't really matter, though- the bread crumb topping was simple yet delicious! I know I could have eaten them even without the ziti. Definitely a must-make!Second: Chocolate Chip Waffles (with a dollop of vanilla yogurt)Three words: OH MY GOD! These were utterly amazing! I would say they were definitely more dessert than breakfast. I'd eat 'em after dinner anytime. The chocolate ooey-gooey goodness was complete heaven. Alas, I cannot take the credit. I was going to make them, but got distracted by my NEW JUICER! (More on that in a moment.) So Mike, impatient as ever, started preparing measurements. Then he ended up mixing the batter. Which, in turn, caused him to actually make the whole recipe. I didn't mind. He did an amazing job. So make these! They are like brownies in waffle form. Mmmm...Now, for my juicer! I may have to do a whole entry dedicated to this. It is truly wondrous. I have to admit, I was a little scared when I first turned it on. The sound it makes is like a horror movie (maybe it's just my model?), but that didn't stop me from throwing in a TON of spinach. The green liquid looked like something from Dr. Dreadful. Does anyone remember that game? I was scared at first to try it but when I did... well, it wasn't bad! It tasted, um, like spinach. So the next morning I got to making a new juice from my juice and smoothie book. I forget the name of the drink, but I DO remember what was in it:Fresh strawberry puree (courtesy of my food processor)Apple JuiceCarrot Juice (homemade!)It was very good, even better than the strawberry juice from a week ago! I am so excited to try all the different combinations- fruit and veggi[...]



Just a Wee Post Between Posts

2008-03-03T15:33:22.134-05:00

Since the Rocky Horror gala, I haven't been going crazy cooking. Sometimes, with work and all, I need to take a break. Well, I guess it's mainly due to lack of money and the crazy amount of bucks organic and fresh produce costs. In any case, I still had an itchin' to do some home-cookin' that wasn't too time consuming or pocket-emptying.Saturday night I made my first-ever pesto sauce. I wasn't too sure I would like it, as I had only had pesto once before. I thought the flavour was too strong at the time. But I have this goal where I have to make everything at least once (within my ethics, of course), so out came the fresh basil and parsely!It may look like green goup, but this pesto sauce was incredibly delicious! I guess that's what happens when something calls for three cloves of garlic (did I ever mention I LOVE garlic?)! The recipe said it yielded 4-6 servings and at first I just couldn't believe it. The pesto filled up a little bowl and no more, no matter how much I scraped at the processor. Well, let's just say I had no idea how very little pesto sauce needs to be spread on one bowl of pasta! The flavour was pretty intense. I actually woke up the next morning with the taste of garlic overwhelming my mouth. It's not very pleasant aftermath, but it was worth it for an amazing and simple dinner.As a matter of fact, Mike later told me that he woke up in the middle of the night with such a strong flavour of garlic in his mouth that 'forced' him to go down to the kitchen and have a spoonful of ice cream to get the taste off his tongue!So, yes. I advise just a little dollop of pesto per bowl unless you are man enough and can take the power of garlic! At the very least, garlic is extremely healthy for you- it wards off germs that may plague the immune system AND it wards off vampires. ;)For Sunday dinner, I whipped up a batch of 'Mocked Clam Chowdah'. I admit, I've never tasted clam chowder a day in my life. Besides the clam part, it always looked so appetizing to me. It's so creamy and smoothe. So luckily I've found a recipe in one of my veggie cook books that makes a pretty damn-good replacement. It's a lot chunkier than your average chowder, but that was probably my fault because I couldn't bare to puree anymore of the soup. I love chunky potatoes! It didn't matter, though. It was delicious. It contained onions, potatoes, thyme, salt, pepper, carrots, celery and sauteed tofu with tamari sauce and kelp powder all topped with Frontier vegan Bac'uns (bacon-less bacon bits!)!! The Bac'uns are awesome, by the way. This whole weekend I've been dumping them on just about everything I ate. Buy them. Now. Seriously.Lastly, I've really been getting into fresh juice. As a matter of fact, my juicer was supposed to come in the mail on Friday. But the stupid company that sent it decided they want me to be there to sign for it directly and I have to have my i.d. proving that I am an adult. I find that irking, purely based on principle: What if I was under 21? In any case, I haven't been home, so I'm going to end up having to drive half an hour to get it on Saturday. So aggravating!But! When I do get it, I will be quite a happy camper. :)In the meantime, I've been using my food processor and pre-packaged juices (organic) to tide me over.First, I present, Apricot Orange Juice.This had to have been the most delicious juice I've had in a long while! The Apricot Nectar was purchased in the container, but the oranges were freshly squeezed and it really made a difference. The powerful burst of citrus was amazing. I felt like I was drinking liquid candy. I couldn't get enough!Next, I made a juice called 'Adam's Rib'. Kinda freaky name. But I dig it.It contained soy milk, apple juice and ten fresh strawberries. At first I thought it was going to be a lot like strawberry milk, but it ended up tasting like strawberry juice. It wasn't a huge disappointment, though. I felt a little healthier about drinking it.And what's more important than[...]



A Very Rocky Horror V-Day!

2008-02-28T10:47:03.618-05:00

Not to let Valentines Day pass me by without some sort of silly celebration, I decided I was going to have a small party in honor of one of my favourite movies, 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'. I've always been a huge fan of this zaney cult-classic. This raunchy, ridiculous, hilariously crazy, over-the-top rock musical has me written all over it! After years of watching the movie (and going to the play), I finally decided to celebrate it's unique awesomeness through a showing of the film including themed food, drinks and music. I guess the inspiration truly came from the fact that two of my friends (and band members) had not seen the movie before. Ah, what shame! At least now they can no longer say that.I must warn some of you, do to the nature of Rocky Horror and the more adult side of Valentines Day, you may find some slightly offensive language and content in the paragraphs to follow. If this type of thing doesn't fit your sense of humour and isn't quite your cup of tea, go ahead and skip this post. I'll be back with a new post next week.Now, onto the themed food!To celebrate those infamous lips that sing to us in introduction and grace the cover of the dvd, I made lip-shaped sugar cookies! It's difficult to get a real red color with India Tree Die, so the royal icing is more of a magenta color. It's okay, 'cause it still fits (as you'll see later). These were the first to be gobbled up. I have to admit, it's the most delicious sugar cookie I've ever made (Joy of Vegan Baking!!!).Now for characters!First, we shall start with my personal favourite (and probably many others'), Dr. Frank N. Furter, played by one of my heroes, Tim Curry.Frank is a transvestite that enjoys the pleasures of both men and women as well as wearing glitter, haut couteur, sequins and platform heels (he also has an amazing singing voice!). However, there is more to this effeminate man than meets the eye. He is a mad scientist! Like Frankenstein, he learned how to create life itself using crazy colored chemicals and god knows what else in his laboratory.In honor of Dr. Frank N. Furter, I whipped up a batch of Pigs in a Blanket. Only I didn't call them that. This vegan version of an old favourite has been renamed: 'Franks-in-a-Blank'!I used a homemade biscuit recipe, wrapping the dough around tofu pups and throwing them in the oven at 450 for 15 minutes. They were a huge hit! This title is not only named after the mad scientist, but also falls along the lines of sexual innuendo. I mean, they are wieners, afterall. Then there is, of course, Frank N. Furter's prized creation, Rocky. Rocky is a buff, strong, muscle man, 'born' the day of Janet's and Brad's unexpecting visit to the castle. His perfect bod gets Charles Atlas' 'seal of approval', according to Frank.In honor of his name, I purchased some Rocky Road Ice Cream! Only... they really didn't have vegan Rocky Road. So instead, we had chocolate with pecans and carob with almonds. Close enough! The important part is that it had lots of nuts in it, rocky and bumpy just as Rocky's hard-as-steel muscle and rocks in his head!Next we have Eddie. Eddie was a no-good, rebellious punk who ran away from home. He got mixed up with the 'wrong crowd' and ended up dying (cause unknown). He found his way in Dr. Frank N. Furter's hands and was brought back to life. He was even crazier in the end after emerging from the freezer on his bad-ass motorcycle. If you haven't seen this movie, you wouldn't know that this character was played by the famous recording artist, Meatloaf. I'm pretty sure you can guess what food we had in honor of him?You guessed it- Meatloaf.My cousin, Robyn, whipped this up from a recipe found online. It was so delicious. I remember hating meatloaf growing up, but this is the veggie version, so of course it tasted ten thousand times better. The seasonings lended a much fancier flavour than your average loaf.Up next is Dr. Everett Von Scott. He is a professor[...]



Dog Music?

2008-02-21T13:23:13.842-05:00

(image)

Well, now, this is just odd.

According to this Yahoo! news article, '...a song audible only to dogs has topped New Zealand record charts, and is looking to go global.'

It's recorded at a frequency only canines can hear. It's supposed to be soothing to dogs, but there have been cases reported where the dog starts flipping out and going crazy. Other dogs, it seems to have no effect on whatsoever.

Animal Rights activists are against it because of the violent attacks it causes in some dogs. However, sales are sky rocketing. Everyone wants their dog to hear music, apparently.

What are your thoughts on this?

Personally, it freaks me out and I don't like it. Dogs can hear mid to bass tones just fine. That's how they recognize their owner's voice or jump when they hear a bang or a crash. I've never seen a dog get all excited when music was playing. In fact, high pitches usually hurt their ears and make them crazy. Why on earth would some crazy person think this invention was cool or even necessary in the least?

You want to please your dog? Here's what you do. You feed them daily (preferably organic food), give them fresh water, take them for walks, play with them, scratch behind their ears, rub their bellies and tell them how much you love them. Nothing is more pleasing to a dog's ears than the sound of their human pal's voice.



Nude Valentine Petits

2008-02-18T13:27:10.465-05:00

Ah, Valentines Day. I can't tell you how many bitter people I come across who angrily curse this holiday up and down, declaring it a commercial holiday and nothing to be thought twice about. Then there are those who are all about the day, stocking up on chocolate hearts, writing and sending cards, planning fancy dates and wearing pink and red all day long. I don't know if I should be admitting to this... but I am part of the latter group.For most of my life, I was 'flying solo'- a choice of my own (I had no time for such things as relationships!). Despite how many love birds I saw giving each other flowers and sweets and more than enough ooey-gooey affections, I just could not be bitter about the day. Granted, it's not an entirely important holiday, but it is an excuse for the creative mind to get to work! I've always loved Valentines day, ever since I was a youngin'. Picking out, signing and bringing in cards for my classmates was the highlight of the month! Of course I never forgot to attach the little lollipops and Sweet Tarts. Once I returned home, my bag filled to the brim with Valentine wishes and candy galore, it was like Halloween all over again (but without the spooky stuff)!As I grew older, it was fun to exchange candies and cards with my parents, who even went to the trouble of finding vegan candy upon my dietary and lifestyle changes. I'd always find a teddy bear and a rose waiting for me on my pillow after a long day of school and/or work. Of course, wanting a 'Valentine', my close friend, Janelle, and I would always claim each other (being a bit silly about it, of course) as an excuse to get each other yummy goodies and eat out at a fine restaurant on Newbury Street.These days I have an actual Valentine. :) But that doesn't stop me from my old traditions- As a matter of fact, my other Valentine this year is my 3-year-old nephew, Kenny. He made me a little colorful paper heart (which I hung on my fridge). Now, of course, comes the best part of this holiday- treats for everyone!Last year I had made peanut butter balls to share with family and co-workers. The year before I made this awesome creation:Now this year, I decided to challenge myself even further.LoLo's Petit Fours!In my opinion, there are yummy, sweet, happy desserts that everyone can find in just about any cookbook (cookies, brownies, pies, cupcakes, etc...) Then there are those desserts. You know the ones I'm talking about- the kind they serve in high-end restaurants and bakeries, where the flavour is like something from a dream? Not only does it taste amazing, but it always looks like heaven in a mold of sugar- pretty colors from childhood dreams, fluffy white clouds, creamy bliss and perfection. So perfect, in fact, you'd find a similar-looking treat in glittery porcelain dessert decor! This is where white chocolate, ganache, mousse, marzipan, fondant and food coloring (natural, of course) come in. For a more visual example, those exact treats I'm talking about can be found in just about every frame of Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. I think all of her desserts were pink and white, actually!These kinds of recipes are so hard to find, especially for a vegan. However! I checked up on Vegan Yum Yum and found the cutest, sweetest, dreamiest dessert: Petit Fours!Petit Fours are little, tiny cakes, covered in fondant and often decorated with buttercream, marzipan and chocolate. Just looking at them, one has to wonder, am I in dreamland?The cake recipe is incredible! It's so simple- vanilla & lemon cake with a raspberry filling. But somehow, after layering and topping with marzipan, it becomes a magickal delight. Of course LoLo did a wonderful job on the fondant presentation, but I didn't have as much luck. This was my first time making fondant, so I forgive myself for botching it up. I wanted a pink covering, but ended up somehow not having enough to cover all[...]



The Usual Weekend

2008-02-11T13:36:37.612-05:00

I'd like to start this blog by saying we've finally confirmed our studio! We had our consultation at Sanctum Sound and we were sold right away. It definitely has a very cozy interior with nice ambiance and atmosphere for getting into the groove. It's gonna cost us an arm and a leg, of course, but hopefully our talents and perseverance will pay off in the end. Now for the fuel:Saturdays usually consist of fairly long practices, so I try to have some food ready for Mike and myself since we're the only vegheads of the band. This week I made How it All Vegan's 'S&M Salad'. Hence the name, this salad is supposed to be extremely spicey, mixing in 1 tsp of cayenne or red pepper flakes AND 1 tsp of wasabi. WOW! The salad seemed so yummy but I am not a fan of wasabi in the least. To me, it tastes, smells and burns like rubbing alcohol. So, in the end, I left that out. AND, being that I am a wimp when it comes to hot and spicy things, I halved the red pepper flakes, giving it just the right amount of bite without burning your tongue off.So I guess we could call this 'Not Quite S&M Salad'. In the end, it was really good. It had sautéed tofu, butternut squash, onion, mushrooms, carrots, red pepper, cucumber, faux parmesan (toasted sesame seeds, nooch and salt blended up)with rice vinegar. It also called for 'spicy Japanese sprouts' but I had NO idea what they were talking about. Someone on the PPK suggested Kaiware sprouts, but they were nowhere to be found. Not even at an Asian market! In the end, we subbed Kaiware with alfalfa and it turned out just fine. We had ours over a bed of brown rice. It was so delicious, we finished it in the car on the way back from the studio!Sunday afternoon was a great day, for I got back into cardio exercise! This time I was smart about it and didn't go head-first into something my body wasn't used to (I have a lot of horror stories due to my impatience). Instead of jogging right away, I did a little power walking with Mikey. We're doing our best to be active, strong, healthy and filled with stamina (it's key for those stage shows). Despite the wretched wind and rain, we had our 30 minute walk and felt better for it! As an energizing reward, I whipped up another HIAV concotion: Ban-ini Smoothie. It sounded so good and sweet, containing frozen bananas, soy milk, agave nectar and vanilla extract that I was quite excited about it. Banana smoothies are so similar to vanilla frappes, in my opinion, but a healthier alternative. The only odd ingredient was the 3 tbsp of Tahini. Mike was especially wary of it. He thought it would ruin the yummy banana/vanilla flavour. Well, not one to turn down a challenge, I threw in the tahini and blended away.The result? Well, the smoothie was very yummy and sweet with the tahini lending a very peanut-buttery taste. However, there was a downside. The after-taste was a little strange. Not so much so we couldn't finish off the drinks, but I think I'd put less tahini in there next time.For dinner, I made lentil soup. The ingredients had called for a can of diced tomatoes and of course I ended up accidentally tossing in a can of tom sauce instead. In the end, I decided I wasn't going to waste any of the soup so we ate it with my mistake in there. It actually wasn't so bad. It was very reminiscent of pasta sauce, but that was okay.Contains: 1 large onion, 2 stalks celery, 2 medium carrots, green lentils, veggie stalk, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce (accidental), tomato paste, 2 small potatoes, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, chopped spinach & fresh parsely.Since Mike is all lentiled-out (his mother makes lentil soup for him just about every week), I made black bean burgers as well. This isn't the recipe from V-con. This is actually a recipe my mother had used ever since I first became vegan, five years ago, and I've loved it ever since. C[...]



... and Now it's Time for Deep Thoughts

2008-02-07T11:57:03.153-05:00

In the beginning, I planned on making this blog not solely about food, but about my art, my music and living as a vegan in general. Well, I've been very bad about doing that. I know that I've been pretty good with the foodie updates, which is mainly what I've been striving for, but there's so much more I want to share with all of you.My main goal is to record my ideas, recipes, experiences, creations and veg life and to communicate with other awesome veggie bloggers and 'tree-hugging-hippies' as I always love to quote (I mean it in a good way... kinda like 'taking it back'... haha). Well, this means YOU guys. And you're all so awesome and I've learned so much and am definitely looking forward to learning more and meeting new veggie friends.That being said, my second goal was to really promote my band, Acrasjia, and tell the tales of a metal vocalist (who actually sings- using her real voice- not screams) and my journey with my band and in the music field. I hope to turn some vegans who are not metal-heads onto some metal and at the same time (and more importantly) turn some metal-heads who are not vegan onto some veganism.So do not fear, this blog will still be chock-full of food pictures and cooking/baking tales. I would never leave ya hanging with that! But I do need to get my butt in gear and start incorporating more art/music posts. I think the winter's brought me down into hybernation, but I'm gonna fight it. Another reason I may have been slacking on the music post side of things is due to the fact that the band is writing and preparing to record, so there isn't much to detail. Hopefully after our studio consult on Saturday, we'll be getting into some heavy-duty recording. Of course I am going to be posting the mp3s as each one is mastered and completed. :) Our aim is to record a 5-track EP at Sanctum Sound in Boston. They are a very well-known professional recording studio, working with artists from Fuel, My Chemical Romance, Counting Crows, Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Gary Cherone, Extreme to Wyclef Jean and little JoJo! So they are the real deal. We're just hoping they are good at recording heavy metal/thrashy bands because that's what we are and that music can be pretty hard to mix unless you know what you're doing. They DID record Mike Mangini, who was in a few speed metal bands, so perhaps we are in luck.Anyway, I won't bore you with any more details.For now, I would like to recommend a group to you who are NOT metal. Believe it or not- my style of music ranges from opera to musical to jazz to ska to rock and everything in-between. Their name is Collide and I've been obsessing over them lately. They are a male and female duo and their sound is very trancey (but not techno), slow, soft electronic rock. What really sold me on them was the vocalist's extremely unique melodies and low, soothing voice.Check them out and let me know what you think.I'll be back with foodie pics on Monday. But I do urge you not to be bored by musical banter. You never know, my band just might make it and you'll be able to say, 'I used to swap recipes with the singer!' ;)[...]



Art of Sourdough

2008-02-04T11:11:24.267-05:00

I finally did it! I made sourdough! I was so afraid I wasn't going to be able to do it right, simply because it was all so new and unfamiliar territory. It turns out that in the end it was quite easy. What are the big and scary steps involved? Why, it is mixing 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of water, covering with a cloth and letting it sit in a warm and dry place for three days. Oh, and don't forget to give it a little mix every 12 hours. This is the healthiest variety of sourdough, as I used all whole wheat flour in the entire recipe, though any kind of flour can be used for the bread. The starter had a very pleasant 'sour' smell. It reminded me of dressing or vinegar.When it came time to make the bread dough, I had a little trouble at first. The whole wheat was incredibly sticky. I felt like a little kid, squishing my hands in wet goo. Luckily, with a little additional flour tossed into the mix, it turned out soft, smoothe and pliable. After sitting over night for 12 hours, re-kneading in the morning and sitting for another 6, the bread was ready for the oven. Before I knew it, the house was smelling like a bakery!I have to say, while a bread maker is convenient and can make some of the most fantastic, plump, gorgeous breads, I could never bring myself to use one. I know I've said on some of your pages, 'Oh, how I wish I owned one!' Well, I now realize that I really enjoy the full act of making bread by scratch. It's exciting and fun! I think a bread maker is totally worth it if you make bread often and don't have the time, but I think I'll stick to mixing, rolling and kneading, myself. Oh, and the occassional creation of sourdough starter! There's just something about the process that makes me feel more fulfilled and, as cheesy as it may sound (though I know you'll all understand), more in touch with my food and the energy provided for my body, health and well-being. For your viewing pleasure, le close-up:Being as bread cannot (or should not) be a complete, balanced meal, I made a hearty winter potato stew as the main course for our weekly Sunday dinner. This stew is chock-full of potatoes, red peppers, mushrooms and veggie broth and seasoned with red pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, basil, pepper and Braggs soy sauce. For a creamy texture, I puréed two ladles of veggies with 1 cup of soy milk. Then to complete, garnished with green onions and homemade sourdough croutons and wallah!Croutons are very easy to make. I thought they'd be more difficult but then, what do I know? I just cubed some sourdough bread, mixed with olive oil, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and a tsp of thyme and tossed it in the oven on 375 for 15 minutes. They couldn't have been tastier!...and because I love to go backwards on here, I will re-introduce the smoothie. I think it was quite a few posts ago that I claimed I'd be back with more smoothie recipes yet somehow managed to forget about 'em. Shame on me! Smoothies- especially of the fruit variety- are so healthy and packed with energy-creating atoms. I plan on making more. I also want to buy a juicer and start growing and juicing some organic fruits. I can't think of a better way to rid one's body of toxic matter and to revitalize and energize!So, here we are. A Sunday morning smoothie: 1/2 cup frozen blueberries1 frozen banana1 1/2 cups organic apple juice1 tsp spirulina1 heaping tsp soy lecithin (you can find this in health food stores)1 tsp powdered psyllium husk for good measureBlend it all up and drink it down!What I love about smoothies is that you can mix just about any combination and it'll end up tasting fantastic. I like to have fun with different mixtures and experiments. As a matter of fact, I have a book called Smoothies, Shakes and Frappes by Sally Ann Berk, which is filled to the brim with different mixtures[...]



The Scent of Seitan

2008-01-28T11:03:19.958-05:00

Well, my friends, I finally cooked with seitan. Actually, I shouldn't say 'finally' because I had done it before. I made some from scratch for a soup a while ago but it was in small chunks and very easy to cook. So I consider last night the actual first moment. I made V-con's Seitan Cutlets, which, I guess, are supposed to be both for consuming after frying/grilling as well as using in other 'meaty' meals. I did 'em up burger style. First, let me just say, that vital wheat gluten is impossible to work with! Maybe it's just me, but every time I would knead, press and stretch the dough, it always shrunk right back towards the center. Does anyone else have a problem with this? Isa and Terry do mention that it will be a little stubborn at first but to keep at it. Well, I kept at it for a while (so long, in fact, my hands turned red) and it was nearly impossible! I ended up making two different batches because the first ones looked nugget-sized. In the end, I mashed the two together and had chunky cutlets. You'd think this would be better, but it made them quite difficult to fry in the middle.I baked them in boiled veggie broth for about an hour then let Mikey handle the rest. He's the master fryer, so while I was cooking up some soup, I let him take care of the rest. With suggestion from the book, he smothered them in flour and tossed them in a pan lined with canola oil. They came out smelling and tasting pretty good. They were very meaty, but had a pork texture to them. I'm glad they didn't taste like pork because I've always found the meat pretty disgusting. They definitely had their own taste and were very reminiscent of the beefy gluten dish Mike loves to get at Grasshopper, but without the seasonings and sauce. Next time I hope I can make them thinner so the inside cooks better. If anyone has any tips on how to tame wheat gluten, I'd be glad to hear 'em!To go along with our dinner, I made a Swamp Soup. The dish is really called 'Spring Garden Soup', but it is filled with every green you can think of, so I'm gonna call it what I like! Seriously, this soup is probably the healthiest soup I've ever had. You boil 8 cups of water and toss in nettles, collards, kale, mustard greens, swiss chard, dandelion greens, a fennel sprig, green onions, carrots and firm tofu. It looked like miso, but tasted nothing like it despite the fact that I actually did put 1/4 of a cup of miso in there. I have to say, the flavour left something to be desired. Firstly, there was no veggie broth. Just plain water. Secondly, other than a little bit of Braggs sauce, there was no seasoning. Thirdly, the tofu was not cooked. Fourthly, it was filled with green! Now, it wasn't disgusting in the least. It had some flavour and was easy to swallow down. I'm sure my body thanked me for the load of health I sent its way. But it's not something I would make if I was looking for a lot of flavour. My stepfather teased me that I always have to do everything by the book, and he's right- the first time. I like to make things exactly as a recipe says to, no matter how odd it may sound, to see exactly what the chef is raving about. Once I've made it one time, then I can change it and spice it up the way I see fit. So maybe some day soon I'll make another swamp soup but switch the water for veggie broth and load it with spices.Lunch time! For work lunch this week, I made a bulgar cannellini salad from V-con. I love cannellini beans, so this definitely intrigued me right away. After cooking the beans and steaming the bulgar, you mix together the dressing: red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, paprika, salt, pepper and pressed garlic. After marinading the cremini mushrooms, beans and onions in there, you mix in the bulgar and some bite-sized arugula leaves. This can[...]



Per Your Request

2008-01-22T13:40:47.557-05:00

Some of you were asking about the butternut spinach lasagna and Kate graciously sent over the link to the recipe. She posted all the info on my cousin's and her foodie blog, which you can find here.

As for the recipe, check out this website.

If the macro shot on my previous post looks like just what you want, do read her blog because she made a few small changes to the original recipe and it came out delish!



Yummy Dinnertime

2008-01-21T11:03:36.677-05:00

This past Saturday my cousin, Reenie, decided to have a little family get-together at her place to exchange very late Christmas prezzies and break bread. Of course us four vegans (me, Mike, Robyn and Kate) had to fend for ourselves, though Reenie did offer to make us something. Not wanting to put the burden on her (and of course because we love to cook), Kate and I took the liberty of bringing our own dishes to share. Unfortunately by the time we got there everyone else had already eaten. Eh, no matter. More yummies for us!To start, Kate made a delicious butternut squash and spinach lasagna. It was very different from the usual tomato sauce and tofutti cream cheese ensamble I often make, but it was unbelievably creamy. The tofu cream sauce was so smoothe and yummy. I'm gonna have to snag the recipe. I'll have to get some pictures of the whole yummy thing from Kate, but for now- Here is the money shot, right here:Since Kate was making the entrée, I decided to make an appetizer (at the request of my cousin). I let Mike thumb through all my recipe books until he found something that looked interesting. Of course the winning cook book was Veganomicon. Mikey chose Acorn Squash and Black Bean Empañadas. It was under 'appetizers', and it makes 12, so I figured it'd be small enough as a side dish. Lo and behold- these babies could make a meal on their own. They are so thick and filling! They kinda remind me of calzones without the cheese.This recipe had a lot of working with dough and dough measurements. I've made many meals with dough, but I always gotta cringe because it takes so much time and focus and even though I've succeeded many times (such as with my pizzas), I can't help but feel a tiny bit of trepidation stepping into these things. Dough can be finicky. So can my fingers.But! In the end it really worked out. Terry's and Isa's instructions make pastry preparation so easy. A lot of cook book authors talk to the reader as if they're seasoned pros, but not these two ladies! They make you feel confident in what you're doing, with simple steps designed for the beginner and advanced chefs alike. The dough was perfect! It held together beautifully and puffed out to just the right amount of billowy goodness. With the addition of cornmeal, the flavour had a resemblance to ritz crackers with a hint of butter (thanks to the veggie shortening). The inside was filled with roasted acorn squash, nummy black beans, sauteéd onions, jalepeños, crushed coriander seeds, garlic, cumin, salt, fresh lime juice and maple syrup. The smell of roasting acorn squash wafting throughout the house is amazing, I must say. I've only ever sauteéd and simmered squash before, so this was a new and pleasant experience for me. :)Now, I had flip-flopped on the idea of making dessert for the get-together since I was trying my hardest to be healthy and Mike is trying to refrain from eating sugary foods until his work-out regime is under way. In the end, we flipped a coin and decided I was going to make brownies. V-con's Fudgey Wudgey Blueberry Brownies sounded quite intriguing, so I went ahead with them.The point of this recipe was to taste an amazing fudge flavour mixed with a tart, blueberry flavour. However, all I tasted was chocolate. The chocolate was great. A brownie is a brownie, right? But I was so looking forward to that hint of blueberry throughout!Before I go and blame the recipe, I believe it just may have been a fault of my own. 1. I didn't use as many blueberries as was suggested. 2. The blueberry spreadable fruit I used doesn't even taste like blueberry on it's own. I just kinda believed that the flavour would cook itself into existence once I placed it in the oven.Well, I was wrong.Regardle[...]



Chickpea Cutlets- the Final Thoughts

2008-01-15T11:40:29.937-05:00

After having flubbed the original V-con chickpea cutlet recipe, I fired up my engines and tried, tried again. Luckily I had quite a bit of cooked chickpeas left over in my fridge that were, thankfully, still fresh and ready to be ingested. For those of you new to the situation, last week I attempted to make these much-talked-about cutlets and ended up zesting a wee bit too much lemon in the recipe. This week, I followed the directions very closely. Actually, I followed them exactly. The result? Well, the over-whelming lemon flavour was gone, but sadly, the cutlet did not excite me. I had added some bread crumbs to the outside and fried them up, which made it more interesting, but I just can't understand everyone's obsession with the recipe. I mean, they were very good, don't get me wrong, but there was no real flavour to them. There was nothing that stood out or especially pleased my taste buds in any way. They were good enough to swallow down after smothering in mustard and whatever other condiments please your taste buds, but they kinda tasted like a whole lotta nothin' otherwise. AND they were still really chewy from the wheat gluten. But, alas, they satisfied my hungry belly.Still having cooked chickpeas left over, Mike decided to try his hand at them. We put our heads together and made a much better cutlet. First, at my suggestion, he added a tsp of dijon mustard to the mix. Then, after having mashed and kneaded it long enough, Mike decided that the gluten was too gluteny and tossed in a bit more veggie broth. That really did the trick. No more nasty strings of gluten! Finally, he squished them out as thin as can be and generously layered whole wheat bread crumbs on either side. Once they were ready to fry, he put a nice helping of olive oil in the frying pan (not a recommended step for the weight-conscious) and did 'em up. When they were nice and brown and crispy, he padded each side of the cutlet with a paper towel, soaking up as much excess oil as possible (so we don't have heart attacks or, at the very least, have to roll out of the bed in the morning). The result? Delicious! The right amount of crispyness and even that 'barbeque' flavour really hit the spot. Even the texture was just right. There was no chewy gluten consistency anymore! Again, there was no real distinct flavour, which is disappointing because I LOVE chickpeas in most forms, but it was ten times better than before. Here they are breaded and ready to go. (Mike is the master bread-crumber, I think.)I would have gotten an 'after' picture, but I was just too hungry smelling these beauts to bother!Conclusion? Personally, I wouldn't go out of my way to make this very often. They are tasty enough to hit the spot, but they just don't have a special or unique flavour to them. Even Isa and Terry suggest smothering them in mustard sauce. They must just be a form of substance rather than a decadent dish on their own.In my opinion, black bean burgers and lentil burgers are far, far tastier. The beans give off enough flavour that one doesn't need anything beyond pepper and a little garlic powder. I'll have to make them again real soon and I would be more than happy to share recipes with any who might like to give them a try.Mike loves 'em, though. I was craving brownies all night and he was craving another chickpea cutlet. That's just because he loves all things fried, I think. ;)Now, of course I wasn't going to let this entry go by without a stew review! To go along with our cutlet dinner, I simmered up a vegetable medley stew. Chock-full of potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, garlic, onions, green peppers and diced tomatoes, this stew was hearty and filling. I just mixed in balsam[...]



Finally, Veganomicon

2008-01-09T11:29:26.192-05:00

So, after hearing all about how wonderful it is and reading reviews and experiments in all of your blogs, I finally started making recipes from the highly acclaimed Veganomicon. I had tried the yuca tortillas (which are really quesadillas) that Kate and Robyn made for my party and they were quite delicious, but I hadn't tried making anything myself. The book had actually been sitting there for about a month before I finally picked it up. And what did I decided to make?Yep, you guessed it. The famous chickpea cutlets! I really wanted to go against the grain and not make them for a long, long time since they seem to be the talk of the town going from blog to blog to blog. But how could I choose to be rebellious when I just might be missing the tastiest meal to come out of a vegan cook book?So I made them, just like the book said, with one small exception. I kinda got lemon zest happy and peeled a wee bit too much. You see, I was using the zester my sister had gotten me for my birthday for the first time and I was like a little kid. I couldn't stop. So I think I may have doubled the required amount.After frying up these babies, the house smelled so good, I was salivating down to my feet. I just couldn't wait to take a bite! Then it happened. I sunk my teeth into it and I tasted... lemon.Lemon really isn't bad and tastes quite fine in some things, but this wasn't one of them. The burger was still edible and tasted mighty fine with dijon mustard or vegetarian Worcestershire sauce so we ate them all over a period of a couple of days. Regardless, I've decided to remake them properly this coming weekend and give all of you my real review next week.The only other complaint I do have, though, is that the wheat gluten made them a little too chewy. Not a great re-heat.Next I made macaroni salad. I've made tons of these because I LOVE macaroni salad and it's very easy to bring to work. This is the first mac salad recipe that required very little ingredients for the dressing (there wasn't even dijon in it!) and let me just say- it was my absolute favourite mac salad I've tried thus far.Oh, it may look plain and simple, but it will definitely tickle your taste buds with absolute delight and glee. Who cares if it's not summer time! I urge you- if you have Veganomicon (and we all know you do) make the Brooklyn Deli Macaroni Salad, pg 91. You won't regret it. Just make sure you let it chill over night because it tastes much better once it's been marinading for so long. Oh, and do be sure to use Vegenaise, the mayonnaise of champions. No other mayo brand will do.So far, that's been all from the book, but I do plan on making much more from it. Right now I've been experimenting with La Dolce Vegan which, in my opinion, is a hit or miss book. Luckily, most of the recipes are excellent, even in their simplicity.I made lentil quinoa stew to go with the cutlets and it was beyond delicious. I wasn't sure it would be. The beans were soaking up just about all of the broth, so I had to add more after it was finished cooking. I know the picture looks like mush, but believe me when when I say the taste was utterly wonderful. I simmered together onions, celery, carrots, garlic, red lentils, quinoa, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and threw half in the blender for a few seconds. After returning it to the pot, I threw in cilantro, tomatoes and apple cider vinegar. The tomatoes and oregano are what really made the soup come together. They were bursting with flavour and complimented the lentils and quinoa so well. For work lunch last week, I made up a batch of 'Sloppy Janes' and tossed it in a whole wheat wrap. While I, personally, don't mind eating it cold[...]



...and a Happy New Year!

2008-01-03T14:32:19.909-05:00

It's finally over! All this holiday hubbub. I love the holidays because celebration is fun, eating desserts is fun and most importantly, spending times with family and friends is fun. However, it left very little time for my band to focus on recording (which we're supposed to be doing) and it exhausted me completely! Now I can finally relax and jump back into Acrasjia, full on.I really don't like to take breaks from my band, actually. And it wasn't a real break. We still practiced and we've been working on a new song. But it's been sloooow. I knew we'd all be stressed to the max if we tried to juggle family gatherings, weddings and birthdays (which all seemed to fall right around Christmas) with recording.So it is over, but band life has started a-new!Now, to recap my New Years celebration:I opted for a small gathering because I just couldn't deal with the pain of planning a huge menu, spending lots of money and inviting people that probably already had other plans. So I kept it to close friends, a couple of which couldn't make it, of course. But it didn't stop me from having a good time.We ate yummy snacks, a hearty dinner, a sweet dessert while all the while Kate and Mike mixed up some drinky drinks. I don't know if I should say fortunately or UNfortunately when I say I didn't even get drunk. I had plans to because I rarely ever drink and I thought this would be a great yearly opportunity, but I was too darn tired! But the food and the company made everything worth while. Again, I made my pizza recipe from Vegan Italiano and it came out divine. Of course, I didn't think to squeeze the tomatoes until my cousin told me to after the fact, so the middle was a little soggy again in some parts, but I AM making progress because most of the pizza was sturdy and able to be held just fine without dribbling onto the dish. I really like to lay the goods on thick! I basted the dough with olive oil, spread on some organic, salt-free tom sauce, threw on some fresh tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, onions, white mushrooms, vegan mozzarella (great stuff) fresh basil, oregano, pepper and a dash of salt. The mozzarella didn't completely melt as the package promised it would at 500, so I am going to broil it next time. I figure if that doesn't work, nothing will.Everyone thought the crust was the best part (I agree, it did bake very well). My cousin said it was the best pizza she's ever had. I think that's a little crazy to say, but she wouldn't lie about such things. She is very honest (she dissed a pie crust of mine once before) so I know she meant it. Then again, she was pretty tipsy at the time! It was very good, though, and I look forward to trying new toppings. All suggestions are welcome!For dessert, cupcakes! And I finally got to use my much anticipated cupcake tower. I can't think of any item on earth less ridiculous, but I LOVE it! I think it works for weddings, formal parties and birthdays if you don't want to make a cake. Other than that, it's pretty much unnecessary. But you know what? I don't care! I love it!It really makes your cupcakes look more professional, even tastier, as it is quite the regal display. If you happen to have some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, I recommend getting one of these and throwing a party just so you can use it. I made the yummy chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World again, this time adding 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract. For some reason, New Years makes me think of mint. Maybe the confetti looks glitzy, which in turn looks sparkley, which in turn makes me think of mint. I don't know. But I made some butter cream frosting from the book as [...]



A Wedding, A Birthday and A Merry Christmas

2007-12-26T14:38:33.346-05:00

Merry Christmas!Between Friday and midnight, last night, I have been going non-stop. Naturally, I made a schedule that could have helped me out a LOT, but after three cake disasters in a row, my schedule was thrown outta whack. I haven't eaten right, slept right or even given myself five minutes to breathe this entire time. But, it is for the love of family, friends, holidays and, of course, food.Let's start with Friday. My cousin and her then girlfriend (now wife) got married on Saturday. To honor them appropriately, I made them a little wedding cake. They didn't request this of me, nor did they expect it, but since it was a very small ceremony with only a dinner to follow, I knew they wouldn't have a cake. Every wedding needs a cake, c'mon!So my plan was to make them a cake on Friday and frost/decorate it Saturday morning. Not to mention, I was also going to commence baking for Kevin (close friend and Acrasjia drummer) 4 different kinds of cookies for his birthday on Sunday. I got out of work early on Friday, so I had almost all day to do this. If all had gone well, I may not be so exhausted today. Silly me decided I would make the wedding couple a white velvet cake with a strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting. Now, I've veganized many a cookie recipe before, but veganizing a cake is pure tomfoolery unless you are a master vegan chef who knows everything there is to know about baking. First of all, I ordered white chocolate extract from Nature's Flavors and upon opening it, I realized it smelled just like hazelnut. I was so disappointed and upset. Never order from there. They're a bunch of liars.Anyway, the batter came out pretty gross and sticky, but I tried to bake it anyway. Of course the middle was purely liquidy and the surrounding edges tasted like burnt butter. So I threw it away and tried again, after having realized I used baking POWDER when I really needed to use baking SODA (I do this all the damn time). Guess what? The second cake came out the same exact way. So after crying and stomping my feet, I threw out the recipe and searched through all my cook books for vanilla cake. Can you believe NONE of them had one except for 'La Dolce Vegan'? So I opened up the book and tried to make a simple vanilla cake. Once again, the batter was weird and sticky. So I threw it and cried some more. Then I tried it AGAIN. This time it cooked all right, but the cake was too thin. Doubling it would make it look like a small pancake, let's put it that way.Poor Mike, who was there to help, had to pull me out of my funk. I was in tears. I was never going to bake again, you see. I sucked and I was no good and I might as well just quit it while I was ahead. I have to laugh, looking back on five days ago. I was using my new heavy duty mixer. At first I thought the mixer was no good then I decided that the mixer was fine and I was no good. Then I thought, 'It's my stove. It's gotta be my stove.' God, it was a mess- about 6 hours of wasting time, energy and ingredients. Finally, after picking myself up, I realized that I was simply going to have to go with chocolate cake. I've made plenty of those from Sinfully Vegan and they were good every time. See, that lady knows what she's doing. I made 2 double chocolate cakes and stacked them. The batter was 'normal' and delicious and they came out beautifully.In the end, I realized the problem was not my awesome mixer, nor was it my lack of talent or skill, nor was it my oven. It was the recipes.Learn from this, you new chefs out there. Learn from this. Don't get sketchy ingredients off the web and don't trust everything you read[...]



Pizza- It's in the Blood

2007-12-17T15:37:29.922-05:00

For all of your Bostonians, civilians of Massachusetts and surrounding areas- all of you know that this past Thursday was about as fun as shoving a pencil in your ear. For those of you who are lucky enough not to know what I'm talking about, I'll explain. We were hit with a pretty massive snowstorm. The flakes came down hard, about 2 inches an hour, all day long, well into the evening. Normally, I'd say whatever and deal with it, but both Mikey and my step father had me quite worried. You see, everyone scurried out of work at the exact same time, causing all roads and highways to back up with bumper to bumper traffic for hours on end. My step father, who normally has an hour ride back to Boston, was in traffic for six hours. And poor Mikey! Mikey, who also has an hour drive from Framingham, was stuck in traffic for 8 hours!I got the easy end of it. I live ten minutes away (by vehicle) from my job, so I only had to wait an hour at the bus stop whilst being pelted by snow. There was no real traffic on the road back to my neighborhood (at the time), so I really lucked out.Those poor fellas. Quite frankly, I felt bad for everyone on the road that day, particularly those with children and even the children themselves, stuck in school and on school buses for hours on end! Oh, and here's the kicker- my town (crappy South Boston) likes to use streets that people live on to empty out for snow emergencies. Not just the main roads, but the tightly packed neighborhoods. If you lived in my town, you would know that there is virtually no parking at all in South Boston because Ben Affleck made everyone and their grandmother want to live here. If you want a parking spot close to home, you'd better get back before 7 pm on any given night.So, therefore, Mike and my step dad each had to park at a garage about 20 minutes away from the house and walk through the blinding blizzard to make it home safe and sound.Feeling awfully sorry that there was nothing I could do to help, I tried to make the coming home part ten times better. I spent my day cleaning up the house and cooking, of course. I turned on the Christmas lights in the living room, popped on the radio and proceeded the baking as I chatted with Mike on the phone to keep him company. I had a real hankering for cupcakes, but with very little ingredients in the house, I wasn't sure what I could make. Taking out my brand new Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, I decided on simple chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Those chicks really know what they're talking about. I've made chocolate cupcakes many times, but they've never come out this good! The batter was very dark and moist. The frosting tasted incredibly rich and creamy. It's amazing what one can come up with using house hold ingredients. A tsp of vanilla extract and a 1/2 tsp of almond extract was suggested, so I gave it a go. I thought it would taste all almondy, but it was quite the contrary! The perfect blends of extracts allowed the almond flavour to sneak in there just a bit so that if you didn't know I put it in there, you might not be able to guess what it was at first. It really added that special something. Oh, and I got to use my brand new mixer, which made it even more fun!For dinner, I was going to go with the ol' pasta crap, but then decided to be wild and make a pizza. The first pizza I ever made was a horrible recipe I found online and it makes me nauseous when I think about it. So I like to pretend that this was the first pizza I've ever made. I actually combined two different pizza recipes from Vegan Italiano, by Donna Klein[...]



More of the Daily Foods

2007-12-12T11:45:46.216-05:00

This month is going to be a busy cooking month, particularly the end of the month. Of course you'll all get to experience, virtually, the dinner, desserts and snacks that will be had by family and friends of mine, but for now I will continue with the weekly soups and work lunches.Most recently, I made a matzo ball soup. Being that matzo is purely wheat and water and I only added 2 tbsps of potato startch, I truly thought this soup would be a little on the plain side. Well, I was pleasantly surprised! The matzo took on the flavour of the broth, simmered with green onions, carrots and peas. It was both hearty and delicious! Oh, and not to mention- nutritious.Next up we have more lunchables. First, I made a coconut curried noodle dish. All it requires is cooking up some rice noodles, simmering shallots, garlic, sesame oil, curry powder (the original called for paste, but I preferred the powder), tamari, turmeric, salt, and coconut milk. After it's mixed altogether, you throw in some some diced tomatoes and fresh basil. For a different noodle dish, I made rice noodles with spicy nut dressing. For the salad, I chopped red and yellow peppers, added some freshly chopped cilantro (and let me tell you- it was the first time using my food processor and I was beyond amazed at how wonderful it is at chopping such food items!) and toasted peanuts. The dressing included peanut butter, veggie stock, rice vinegar, tamari, toasted sesame oil, a bit of sugar, cayenne pepper and a freshly grated ginger root. I prefer the nut dish over the curry dish, personally. I think the sweeter flavour does me right.Next up is a macaroni bean salad. This is one of my faves and I plan on making a big bowl of it for future cookouts.After boiling up some elbow rice pasta, I mixed together some Veganaise (is there any other kind?), fresh minced parsely, red wine vinegar, sugar, basil, celery seed, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder. I combined this with grated carrot, green bell pepper, red onion, and tons and tons of kidney beans. The recipe called for relish, but I'm not much of a fan. Psst... Add some dijon. You won't regret it. Lastly, I give you the typical black bean and corn salad, but with an excellent dressing. Lime juice, flax oil, red onion, cilantro, green onions, cumin, chopped tomato, salt and black pepper made this a very tasty work lunch indeed. However, I think throwing it in some whole wheat wraps makes it even better. So that's exactly what I did.Now for a review: Hemp Milk vs Soy MilkI tried chocolate hemp milk for the first time last week and I have to say, I didn't like it too much at first. It's definitely an acquired taste. Mike described it best: It's like a protein shake. It's grainy, it tastes a little like chalk. But you know what? After a few sips, I started to like it. It is very reminiscent of Ovaltine and I used to drink that stuff by the gallons when I was a kid.However, nothing can win my heart over like soy milk. Certainly not rice milk. Bleck! I love rice, but not when it's all liquidy and gooey. No, no. My heart belongs to the almighty soy, master of several different milky flavours, including vanilla, chocolate, chai, mocha, coffee, spice, nog, pumpkin, chocolate mint, etc... Not only is it delicious and a very good substitute for recipes requiring milk, it is also a pleasant treat in a glass, void of all grain and chalk. Of course I am aware that plain soy milk gives off a tofu-y flavour when consumed by itself, but why drink it plain when you could always have chocolate? :)[...]



Last One in the Chain of Thanksgiving Posts

2007-12-03T16:24:58.276-05:00

First of all- thank you all so much for the birthday wishes and nice comments! :-DNow that I have relished in how kick-ass my birthday was this year, I can move onto my Thanksgiving summary, as promised. First of all, I hopped on the band wagon! It was time to 'give back' on Thanksgiving. Mike chipped in to help me adopt a pretty turkey from Farm Sanctuary. Her name is Cicada and she is living her life peacefully and happily.If you haven't already, you should also consider donating money/adopting a farm animal. It helps support the growth of the farm and continuing rescue and care of tortured factory animals.Cicada says, 'Cruely is buggin'. Go veg.' ;)Onto the food! I will warn you now- this isn't going to be a gigantic post with an awesome feast.Simply because...I am a VERY slow cook.I was only able to prepare a tofu roast and a pumpkin pie Thanksgiving eve, so you can imagine how little time I had to cook on the actual day of Thanksgiving. Luckily, I didn't have to wake up at 6 in the morning to start.My mother passed away this past April, so this was our first holiday without her. Normally, most of the family would have Thanksgiving dinner at her house and the rest would come over for dessert, drinks and a pleasant evening of family 'togetherness'. This year, everyone went to my brother's mother-in-law's for Thanksgiving. I was invited, but truth be told, the only way I'd sit in front of a depressing turkey carcass is if my mother made it. No, it doesn't make it all right that a turkey was tortured, murdered, injected with chemicals and fed to the masses. However, my mother loved spending time with her family and so I stuck around and ate the veggie side dishes and the premade tofurky.This year, of course, was very different. So while most of my family was down in Dorchester, I was making a tiny, little feast for myself, Mike (after returning from lunch/dinner at his parents), my step father and my sister who is, by nature, a grazer and rarely gets full. Now, I can give you a quick run-through of what I made, but there are no close-ups other than my yummy dessert and the cranberries cookin' because I thought it looked pretty. This is because not only did I burn the tofu roast to a crisp, I was also so stressed out and the weight of my mother's death was stronger than ever. I kinda just didn't want any pictures. I wanted to go to sleep. But I'm not going to make this a sad post and bring you all down. The truth is, most of the food came out really great (as tiny as my dinner was) and once my family arrived for dessert, I was feeling really good. As a matter of fact, it was the perfect time to give thanks that I still have a wonderful, supportive family, including some extremely adorable nephews. My mother would have wanted us to be happy and to cherish our time together. If there is, in fact, an after life of any sort, I know she is watching us with pride and love.So! This is what I made with love:Mashed yam potatoes with kale- This was a savoury dish. I'm so used to the boring mashed potatoes with salt and soy butter, so this was quite a pleasant change. I added lots of spices, garlic and dijon (the secret ingredient to all salad and potato dishes as far as I'm concerned) and it was wonderful.Next, I made fancy biscuits- I've made these before, so I'll do some picture recycling. These biscuits are made with green onions and dill. Of course I like the plain white biscuits, but these make my taste buds dance with glee. My sister was a huge fan of these. In fact, most of my family had[...]



A Turkey's Birthday

2007-11-27T15:39:50.484-05:00

My birthday falls on Thanksgiving every 11 years. This year, thankfully, was not one of them. I turned a whopping 23 yesterday, November 26th! My friend, who is only half a year younger than me, teases me that I have one foot in the grave.Well, being that Thanksgiving and my birthday fall so close together, I decided to update on my birthday first because it was so much fun. Then in a few days, I'll do a short update on my Thanksgiving dishes and thoughts.My sister threw a party at her new apartment on Saturday. It wasn't anything huge and crazy, but it wasn't small and sad, either. My bandmates were there, my family was there, my close friends were there. It was perfect. We popped in some Billy Idol, played with the kids, shot the shat and most importantly- chowed down!First off, my poor sister was making a pasta salad meal when she broke a dish and the glass shards mixed in with the food. I felt pretty bad, but she seemed cool about having to throw the whole thing away. And speaking of breaking things, I baked some cookies (they came out huge and flat) but no pictures were taken because Mike tripped on the sidewalk on the way in. What does one have to do with another, you might ask? Well, my sister made the party Star Wars-themed because I love the saga. I decided to add to the decor with my Vader cookie jar. You can imagine the rest, but I'll type it anyway because I love teasing him about it. As we're walking up the stairs, I hear a smash behind me. Sure enough, Mike tripped and broke the jar on concrete. So much for the cookies. And I can laugh (I still am) because he didn't actually fall or hurt himself. He just owes me another Vader cookie jar.I got a lot of good prezzies, mostly cooking prezzies. People love when you get a new hobby. It's so easy to pick things out. I got a wonderous food processor (FINALLY), a heavy-duty mixer, new cutting boards with rubber bottoms, a sharp knife that actually cuts food (don't get me started on my old ones), a new sifter, more measuring spoons and cups (I can NEVER get enough of those), pastry items, a zester, a soup strainer, etc... etc... I was like a kid in a candy store!Anyway, time for foodie pics. My cousin, Bokoluna and her partner and my friend, Elly Blue, made a terrific lay-out. Rice balls, capped with mushrooms:Sushi... ::drool::Dips and spreads for our pleasure:And a beautious lay out it was:But wait! There's more!Quesadillas with yuca:Yummy, buttery bread with a most delicious pesto sauce:...and a garden salad topped with Annies tahini and tomato dressing.All of these foods were especially delicious because they were cooked with love. :)Not to be out-done (but I was anyway), I helped Mike make my favourite lasagna dish. This consists of whole wheat noodles (so you don't feel so guilty about it), organic tomato sauce, sauteed garlic, parsely, steamed carrots, toffuti (I like to cheat sometimes), herbed firm tofu, nutritional yeast and spinach leaves, all topped with garlic and garden pasta sauce. Later, Michael and I sprinkled some Vegan Gourmet mozzarella 'cheese' on top of the left overs. In my opinion, that is the BEST fake cheese they have on the market thus far. Okay, here is the part you've all been waiting for. The cake!You know how I've been going on and on about there not being enough white chocolate in my life? Mike fixed that right up! I sent him a recipe for white chocolate cake that I need to veganize. I don't have a printer at work, so he does the printing for me. Little did I know, he sto[...]



Baby Cakes

2007-11-19T14:29:58.718-05:00

Autumn is a season of birthdays in my family, including my very own next weekend! Two weeks ago, my nephew, Dylan, had his first birthday. My sister, not wanting to introduce him to processed sweets and junk, asked me to make a cake for him. She wanted, specifically, a cake that looked like Elmo (that was the theme, you see). That's easy enough. But here's the rub- Dylan is allergic to soy. Whenever his mum would eat it and then proceed to breast feed him, his face would break out in red rashes. So I was asked to make a birthday cake without soy product. Eeek! How can you ask a vegan to do such things? Every time I thought of ingredients I could use, I kept coming back to 'Oh, but that has soy in it TOO!'Not to fear! I then remembered an 'allergy bible' a friend from a previous job passed along to me. This is a collection of typed up recipes that are wheat free, gluten free, egg free, dairy free and yes, soy free. She had used it when her kids were little because they were pretty much allergic to everything.I fingered through it and found a simple recipe for chocolate cake. Sugar, flour, cocoa, veggie shortening, vanilla extract, white vinegar, salt and baking powder. Let me tell you, it was an extemely yummy chocolate cake and incredibly quick and easy to make.Now, the frosting! I couldn't use a glaze because my sister wanted it to look like Elmo. That meant thick, colored frosting. After searching online for a non-soy butter based icing, I came up with one idea. Veggie shortening- 100% palm oil. I wasn't sure how it would taste in place of butter. I was a little wary.So I tried it and guess what? It tastes almost exactly the same! I will admit, it's not as creamy as butter, but it has a very thick and smooth texture that worked just fine. Now, for the dye. I am against using any chemicals in my food. Luckily, Wholefoods has a brand of food dye in stock that uses plant-based ingredients for color called India Tree. It's a whopping $20! Perhaps that's my most extravagant spend, not the coconut cups. I bought it because I really wanted to make my nephew's first birthday special.Working with the dye is frustrating. Because the colors come from plants, it's difficult to get the exact shade you want. I used the entire red bottle because the frosting kept looking pink and then almost purple. Eventually I got a maroon-ish color. It took a while to get the yellow and red to come out orange too. The yellow tastes like cumin if you use too much. Not a flavour I want on my cake. The red (derived from beet juice) actually offers a hint of a juicy flavour. The blue, however, has no flavour. I had Mike, quite the artist, help me design the face. Using a steak knife, he made outlines of the eyes, nose and mouth. We then proceeded to carefully frost and before we knew it, Elmo was staring back at us!To add a little more to the fun, I baked strawberry cupcakes (using fresh strawberries) and painted them with the yellow and red frostings. Wallah!Needless to say, Dylan love it! It was his first bite of cake- or anything sweet for that matter, save fruit! He stopped crying and seemed mesmorized by each bite!The party was cute and fun.The layout and my cutie nephew, Kenny:I think I was the most excited about these hats (red eyes kept due to the devilish horn hats):Oh, by the way, Mike keeps nagging me to point out just who, exactly, he is. Mike is my closest friend and guitarist of Acrasjia and artist man and wonderful person who hangs out at my house[...]



Palladium Paradise and A Little Meme

2007-11-14T16:50:30.368-05:00

*Update* I should mention that Karin Dailey took these professional photos and an awesome job was done!So all that talk about rocking out at the Worcester Palladium and not a darn picture to show for it? No more! Here are some pro shots we paid a pretty penny for so now we can look like a legite band. ;)So far we are a 4-piece, looking to expand two more members. Being that we're tuned low and play metal, we've been able to get away with no 'lower end' for a while. However! We just might be getting a bassist (after months of auditioning) very soon. His name is Steve and he's grrrreat! Okay, enough with the cheese. For now, here is the band as it has been for over a year. From top left to bottom right: Mike- guitarist, Suzie (THAT'S ME!)- vocalist/crazy lady, Kevin- drummer and Matt- guitarist. Because I didn't want to make this blog ridiculously picture heavy, I asked Mike to make a mosaic. See, he's a photoshop genius, so he does a lot of favours. Tee hee Anyway, because Flickr is totally awesome, you can click on it for a larger view. However, Mikey made some of the cool crowd shots too small! So, I decided to repost them underneath in all their glory.Oh, and don't try this at home:Now, for a meme I found off of Just the Food. You should do it too, even if you don't get all the way through mine. ;) I love reading other people's surveys and such! 1. Favorite non-dairy milk?Okay, it's Silk, sugar-free. I hated it at first, but now it's perfect in everything that calls for milk. Now that I'm used to it, regular Silk tastes too disgustingly sweet. It's odd how your mind can get un-used to things. For a dessert-flavoured drink, however, I will go with Mocha Silk Milk.2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?Pumpkin ziti, roasted tofu with stuffing and white chocolate cake with white chocolate buttercream frosting.3. Topping of choice for popcorn?Earth balance, garlic powder, salt, pepper and tobasco sauce.4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?That would have to be strawberry shortcake. I was a brand new cook at the time. I accidentally put a cup of baking soda in it. You can imagine the rest. My mother was a sweetheart and helped me make a new one. I always have that problem where if a recipe fails, I WILL re-make it immediately, the RIGHT way.5. Favorite pickled item?Don't think I'm a fan of pickled items.6. How do you organize your recipes?There are tons of them floating around, but I plan on getting a three-ring binder and putting them in sections by snacks, drinks, desserts, entrees, etc... in alphabetical order.7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?Well, I want to start a compost but my friend tells me that it will smell bad. For now, I use the trash, saving what I can, but boy do I wish I had a garbage disposal! Someday...8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?Pasta, roasted garlic potatoes and chocolate cake. 9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?Circus cookies! Everyday when I came home from kindergarten, my mother would make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich with circus cookies while I watched my favourite shows. 10. Favorite vegan ice cream?Wheelers Black Label Vegan ice cream. I've only tried it once. But it's THAT good. Buuuut... my favourite flavour ice cream always has been and always will be cookies and cream.11. Most loved kitchen appliance?For now it's my big soup pot, b[...]



More Soups, More Smoothies, More Beans!

2007-11-12T15:34:32.790-05:00

More soups, as promised. Eventually I'll get to making some 'meatier' meals, such as pasta dishes, seitan, tofu, tempheh, etc... For now I'm having fun with beans and veggies. A week ago, I made this lovely tortilla chip soup.The recipe called for chili powder, so I was afraid it was going to burn my tongue off. My fears were allayed upon trying my first bite. Mixing cayenne and chili doesn't have to be as frightening as it sounds. The right amount of ingredients definitely added spice to the dish, but just enough to give it a little kick as opposed to ruining the entire meal (lord knows I've done that before). I just threw together some home made veggie broth, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, onions, tomato paste, cumin, jalepeno peppers (seeded) and chili powder. Once the soup was done simmering, I crumpled up a bunch of un-salted, organic tortilla chips (the fun part) and garnished with a slice of avocado. The avocado, in my opinion, should serve to be more than a garnish; it was so delicious, my step father was going back for more to toss in his soup!Last night I made veggie borscht. For those of you who are new to the cooking world or just don't cook at all but enjoy my blog- you know who you are- here is a definition of borscht from wikipedia: Borscht is a vegetable soup from Eastern Europe, which is traditionally cooked including beetroot as a main ingredient which gives it a strong red color. Other, non-beet varieties also exist, such as the tomato paste-based orange borscht and the green borscht (sorrel soup). My usual taste testers were afraid to try it for different reasons, but thankfully they were both pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I must admit, I was a little skeptical as well. Raw beets smell and taste like... dirt. So I didn't know how this would be. Not to fear! Sauteeing the vegetable in olive oil and simmering with the perfect blend of spices made the soup flavourful and nummy. Isn't it so colorful? I grabbed the green-rimmed bowl, not realizing how Christmas-y it looked. Again, I used home made broth- it really make the difference, I'm tellin' ya! Throw together a small red onion, lots of garlic, 2 large carrots, 4 beets, 1 cup cabbage, 1 cup spinach, 1 can of diced tomatoes, pepper and horseradish mustard to taste. Mmm mmm mmm... It was suggested that the soup was served with a side dish of biscuits and tofu sour cream, but I was too tired by the time I got this soup on the stove. I'll have to try that with the next soup (chive butternut).More work/road lunchables! Okay, this picture may not look that appealing, but I can assure you that it is quite a delicious dish. The original name is lentil and black bean salad, but I think I'll have to call my version 'Lentil and Black Bean Mash'. I cooked the lentils for a tad too long and you know they get rather mushy if you just look at them for too long. I normally can't eat too much bean salad or I'll just get sick of it. However, the right dressing combination can make your bean salad taste amazing. For this dressing, I used olive oil, flax oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, cumin, garlic, salt, black pepper and a tiny bit of organic cane sugar. I think I would like this meal best in a wrap or made into burgers.Chickpea salad is also a great 'take to work' dish. It's very simple and light. With home made dressing, you'll feel very healthy and skinny after eating it. I like to pretend that I'm[...]