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i love heeze



learning to love life without an easy bake oven...



Updated: 2017-12-02T05:43:51.158-08:00

 



18 Days...

2007-09-18T19:35:30.732-07:00

Until I am a married woman!

It's been crazy. There are still a thousand things left to do, but I've got a handle on things!

I hope...

I have had a lot of help from my friends. I have to say that I have found who I consider my best pals, they have been so fantastic during this time that words cannot even describe how awesome they've been.

I know you're all dying to know about the food! Well, here's our menu:

Passed Hors D'ouevres
Carmelized Onion and Eggplant Phyllo Purses
Marinated Vegetables on Foccacia
Bruschetta

Stationary Trays
Crudites with Hummus
Fruit Kabobs

Salad
Roasted asparagus over mixed greens and cherry tomato tossed with lemon viniagrette

Appetizer
Fried Polenta Triangle with Basil Marinara

Entree
Vegetable Terrine
Asparagus & Cauliflower Casserole served with roasted root vegetables and herbed couscous

Dessert
Spice Cake
Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookies

And to entice you, here are some pics from our tasting...

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Thank you for all of your well wishes! I wish you could all be there and have some great food too! I promise to post pics when I get them. I will most likely post something before then. And who knows, I may actually post regularly soon!



Time is FLYING!

2007-06-08T19:38:21.388-07:00

I've been a bad blogger. I've been working too late, doing too much for the wedding planning and getting sick at the drop of a hat. This is why I'm not only blogging but I've been taking a bit of a hiatus from cooking. I am so burnt out.

I want to thank you all for well wishes and I can assure you that more food, treats and lots of Sam pics are in store for ya'll who still read me in the future.

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Wedding stuff! It has been a crazy struggle. It took us forever to get a date set (October 6th!) because we had issues finding a reception venue/caterer that actually could accomodate vegan menu items. We finally found a lovely venue that was substantially less expensive than many of the options we looked into and it is doubly fortunate that it is a hotel so our out of town guests can have a one stop shop. Flowers and dress are all set as well. (I don't like wedding dress shopping and I think that I would like to remain married if for no other reason than to prevent myself from having to go through that again).

But...I found out later that my dress is famous. Really. I googled the designer and found this picture:

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Let me assure you that this head piece is not in consideration.

So that's it!

Now, my blog friends. I need your help. I need help finding shoes for said occaision. My predicament is this: I have big feet and need stable shoes. By stable, I mean wedges, platforms or chunky heels. Oh, and I'd like veg*n shoes as well. The big problem is, I have size 11 hooves. If any of you find something great on the web, please let me know!

Thanks! :)



Life sometimes really gets in the way of blogging.

2007-04-04T08:44:09.870-07:00

...and cooking!I've been busy with wedding things, medical issues (I want to return my stomach for a refund), work, gym trips (which don't seem to be making a difference), family things, potlucks (though this is such a good thing) and I haven't been able to post.It's been a long time, folks!I haven't been cooking too much beyond tofu scrambles lately, mainly because it's about all my tummy can handle about 85% of the time. I'm fortunate that I can handle some random spicy yummyness on occaision, but definetely not regularly. Here are some of the dishes generated by my kitchen as of late.Potatoes and Tofu in Miso Gravy from VwaVThis dish is beyond delicious and not too rough on my delicate stomach. If you haven't tried it yet, please do it soon. Be warned though, you might eat the entire pot yourself if you aren't careful.Quinoa Pilaf with Pan Fried Tofu Nuggets and Esme's SauceAnother tummy friendly dish. This was just some quinoa I cooked up with some mushrooms, edamame, leftover broccoli and veggie stock. I molded it to look pretty on my plate and added some quickly pan fried tofu. I topped it with a variation on Esme's sauce recipe, which for me just basically consisted of equal parts lemon juice, tahini, nooch, garlic powder, white miso, water & grapeseed oil.BoringTofu ScrambleThis is my default dinner. It's based on the VwaV recipe, only with less spice and lots of broccoli.Melody's Crazy Delicious Amazing Asian Tofu and Green Beans (test recipe)This was perhaps the most delicious Asian dish to ever come out of my kitchen aside from the VwaV Pad Thai! I couldn't really indulge in this much without a world of hurt, but M ate almost all of it in one sitting. It was really REALLY good. Restaurant quality. I hope Melody does put out a cookbook or cookzine or something. Her food always looks amazing and this recipe was proof positive that she is a goddess in the kitchen!Joanna's GI Friendly and Totally Fantasical Lemon Butter Rice and Collard Greens (test recipes)I've been lax in my recipe testing duties, but these recipes have become staples in my house. The lemon butter rice has this beautifully familiar flavor that reminds me of the Rice A Roni mixes I was addicted to as a kid, except so SO much tastier. The collards are this nice spicy savory bit of yum. Joanna is fantastic. Trust me, when her cookbook comes out, it will be a must have for everyone!The 3,000 Calorie Pizza I have no idea of the calorie content. Nor do I want to. It started off simple. Flatbread crust, jarred sauce, sauteed spinach & broccoli. And somehow I decided to put seitan on top. But plain seitan? Oh no. I had to deep fry it. It was like Paula Deen possesed me or something. I made a batter out of soymilk, panko and baking powder. It came out like tempura. I sliced it and put it on top and wow. I didn't eat any of the pizza. I had a few bites of the seitan and it made my tummy angry. It was okay. M was glad that he had enough for dinner and lunch the next day. So here's the one thing that makes my insides feel really good...There is a local old fashioned ice cream shop that has a non dairy soft serve mix. You can add ANY of their flavors to it. This was strawberry. I enjoyed it on that one fleeting 70 degree day a few weeks ago. Come back Spring![...]



Love is...

2007-02-15T09:10:54.684-08:00

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Spinach Pizza with Red Pepper <3s

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Banana Split Pudding Brownies

I stayed home from work yesterday partly because of the weather and partly because I wasn't feeling well. My doctor thinks I have an ulcer so I've been eating some really bland food lately. Poor M has been suffering through steamed veggies and rice for too long! I had to make him something really fantastic, so I made this great pizza and his favorite brownies. Nothing says 'I love you' like some comfort food, right?

Valentine's Day is an extra special day for us. 4 years ago on February 14th, M asked me to marry him in the restaurant we had our first date at. I accepted and have been playing the happy role of fiancee ever since. We're procrastinators, so we really haven't planned anything for a wedding until the past few weeks. We're looking to get married this October. How exciting!

Now for all of my married buddies, does anyone have any helpful hints for the reception/ceremony/etc? I look to you all for guidance! :)



This is how we roll...

2007-02-07T08:34:40.774-08:00

Last weekend was the first of what I hope will be many Boston area PPK potlucks. Our theme ingredient was the incredible, edible avocado.The ingredient provided a unique challenge for me because aside from guacamole and salad/chili/taco/sandwich toppings, I never really do anything with avocado. I absolutely love it. The texture, the buttery richness... It's quite possibly nature's perfect 'junk' food. After much careful deliberation, I decided to make a variation on an old recipe my mother and other family members have made for years involving spinach, Crescent rolls, and some sort of cheese. There are a thousand ways to make these and they go over wonderfully at parties. And in case you were wondering, Crescent rolls (yes the Pillsbury ones) are accidentally vegan. Spinach Avocado Parcels (makes tons-but the recipe can easily be halved)2 10 oz packages of frozen spinach (I find frozen works better than fresh, but you can certainly use fresh)2 small Hass avocados2-3 cloves garlic, minced finely1 container Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (Follow Your Heart Cheese would work well in this recipe too-I just couldn't get to WF to get a package)1-2 tbs ground cumin1 tbs chili powder1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or use a chili or jalapeno pepper)4 cans Crescent rolls (be careful with the 'store brands' as they tend to contain 'natural flavors')Thaw spinach in microwave (or on counter) and squeeze out excess water. Heat large pan and saute garlic in oil, cooking spray or water (whatever you fancy-I usually use cooking spray and a little water) over medium to high heat. When the garlic starts to get a little color, add the spices and spinach and mix well. Lower heat to medium. You may have to add some water to the pan to keep things from sticking. Scoop out and chop avocado flesh into small pieces and add to spinach mix. Mix well. Add cream cheese in batches, mixing well after each addition. I know it seems like a lot to put in, but trust me, it's delicious. You might have to add a little bit of water to get everything (especially the cheese) to combine properly. The mixture will be a little watery. Cook over medium to medium high heat until mixture starts to thicken. It will sort of look like a spinachy dip. Cook until it is thickened up (you can pick it up with a spoon and it won't slide off) and then remove from heat.AssemblyThe only time consuming part of the process is the assembly.Crescent rolls are an oddly shaped triangle, like so:Now, I like to make bite sized little minis, but if you like you can make little personal pies, like pasties or hawt pockets and you would just use two full sized rolls. Just lay one down on your baking sheet, put some filling on (watch the narrow end) and put another roll on top and press the edges down to seal. Those are easy peasy.The smaller version requires you to cut each crescent into two pieces. Two triangles to be specific. Since the shape is a little weird, try to cut them like this.As you can see, you will end up with one beautiful triangle and one wonky long one. Remember, triangles deserve love too.I drop a small bit of filling into the middle, about say a teaspoon (sometimes less). You have to be careful not to under or over fill. Then fold over your three points sort of like a little diaper. This process is much easier with the 'perfect' triangles than with the wonky ones. My advice to you is to pull up the short bottom point on a wonky before pulling over the long arms.Bake at 350 until nice and golden. These reheat well and are always a crowd pleaser.Here's what the finished product looks like:Bite sizePastie Photos courtesy of Lolo who also hosted our event. It's always nice to see how pretty my food can look if a talented photographer takes a pic!So after making an incredible amount of these little puppies you might be left with a lot of the filling left as I was. What's a resourceful person to do? Make a casserole of course!This was be[...]



I am never too busy to eat!

2007-02-05T19:11:09.279-08:00

Sure, sometimes I'm too busy to post, but I am never and I mean never too busy to eat. My robust form is testimony to that, so without further adieu, I will show you some of the nosh that has been gracing my chipped plates and discerning palate...Vegan Fried Seitan cutlet sandwich (take out from Masao's Kitchen) with Millet-Cauliflower Porridge and Chickpeas with Miso Butternut sauce.Acorn Squash stuffed with Lentils and Quinoa on a bed of steamed Collard Greens and adorned by Arame Carrot Salad and Kim chee.Split Pea Soup, nothing fancy.Ginger Butternut Lentil Soup from La Dolce Vegan. M took the picture next to Voluptuous Vegan because he thought that's where I got the recipe.Spicy Black Beans served on a bed of steamed kaleA Chocolate Chip Pancake yearning to be flipped... Leftover Spinach Avocado Corn Refried Chipotle Casserole with Spanish Rice and an Ezekiel TortillaBlack and Green Lentil Soup with KombuI am nothing if not well fed! And speaking of well fed...I am so cold I have to go snuggle a warm puppy![...]



Flashback...

2007-01-23T13:59:24.650-08:00

...to December!I've been promising to post pics of what I made for my dad's soiree and still haven't quite gotten to it yet!Until now...Here's the menu!Pad Thai from Vegan with a VengeanceThis was received well, but we took half of it home. This is M's favorite, so there was no complaining about that!Green Bean CasseroleI made up the recipe as I went along for this. I used a couple of bags of frozen green beans, some pureed white beans thinned with some soymilk, and lots of garlic, Earth Balance and thyme. I found the French Fried Onions at Trader Joe's and used the entire canister. This was delicious!Portobello Stroganoff (with meatballs) from Vegan with a VengeanceI used the recipe from VwaV for the stroganoff and replaced the seitan with mock Swedish meatballs that I whipped up with some Gimme Lean ground beef style. This came out really well, and people really liked it. People did not like it as much as my real Swedish meatballs, but I have yet to find a convincing version. Give me time.Chickpea Broccoli Casserole from Vegan with a VengeanceI made this because it's easy and I love it. It is one of my most favorite recipes ever. People didn't go for it so much. They thought it was quiche. We told one woman that there was no egg and no cheese in it and she took a big scoop.I had leftovers all week! :)Tourtiere as inspired by my family recipe (with crust from Whole Foods)My memere is very specific about how to make Tourtiere. In our family we only use potatoes, no oatmeal. Of course she also only used pork in her recipe, whereas my other memere always used different kinds of meat. My dad's side of the family were more spicy than my mom's side of the family who only used onion as seasoning. I always loved my mom's side's texture, but loved my dad's side's spiciness.The key, according to my memere is to boil the potatoes with the skin on. So for this I scrubbed 3 medium russet potatoes and boiled them. When they are tender, run them under cool water and gently peel away their skins. Voila!I used a tube of sausage style Gimme Lean and basically sort of boiled it with the potatoes with some garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, and onion. I just dumped everything into a pot and added a bunch of water and let it cook down and mashed it. That's how the meat version is made, so I figured, what the heck! It came out amazing. Wow is not the word. I didn't actually eat any of the pie, but I did have some of the filling.The pie crust was a different story. Crust is the bane of my existence! I tried using a recipe out of Bryanna Clark Grogan's Almost No Fat Holiday Cookbook and it was a bust. I then tried another oil based pie crust recipe off of Vegweb and that failed miserably as well. I called all the Whole Foods in my area and they were sold out of vegan pie crusts, so I settled for one made with butter. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and I didn't feel so bad about it because I was making this for omnis and my dad acutally paid for it. If someone has a good pie crust recipe, please email it to me!Farfalle with Grape Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade from Vegan with a VengeanceThis was something I threw together because I sort of had the ingredients. I subbed farfalle for the orrechiette as that's what I had and they are so fun! I also used grape tomatoes instead of cherry, and only about half the amount. I didn't have Kalamata olives, so I used the can of black olives I had in my cabinet. All things considered, this tasted excellent! I'm sure it would have tasted better without my substitutions, but it tasted restaurant quality on its own. I think that is the big reason I love VwaV so much! I can totally futz with a recipe and it still comes out wonderfully.Indian Spiced Rice from Vegan with a VengeanceThis was yummy. It was like something out of a restaurant. Most of it was gone! I was able to sneak some out, but it was only abo[...]



Goodness...it's been so long!

2007-01-03T18:56:32.029-08:00

First of all, I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season. I was incredibly busy. It started Thanksgiving when I had to make an impromptu week long journey out West to see my mom and grandparents. I'm not complaining, but boy did I get sick during and after my trip! The week after that I had that party to cater for my dad's choir group. It went very well, I have to post about that (next post, promise!). I thank everyone for their recipe suggestions!And then, well, that whole Christmas thing... Family, friends, work, shopping, cooking, baking...it seemed never ending. I made gifts for a lot of my coworkers and boy did that take time!I should also mention that I began a concerted effort to workout at least 3-6 days a week. I joined the gym in my office building and go at least 3 times a week. I've been doing this since just before Thanksgiving and it has helped me to de-stress and fit in to my pants. Both are good things.Sadly, I haven't had the time to do much blogging. Oh yes, I cooked, I baked, I even burnt weird little designs on my hands and fingers from knocking around in the oven and not realizing that my skin has touched a searing hot oven rack (or worse-the door) until after the damage has been done. Goodness, after all the blood, sweat and blisters, I feel I should have more to share!Here are a few of the highlights of my hiatus:Wilma :)She is my mom's little Yorkie/Chihuahua mix. She was the family dog until I moved out! She's 7lbs of spunk and love. She is a little love that enjoys opening doors, stealing the eyes out of unsuspecting stuffed animals and sleeping in the crook of your knee. She lived for several months as a feral dog, the leader of a small pack of strays that lived in the woods for an unknown amount of time. You would never know it now...Emily :)Wilma's playmate. My mother and her husband decided that Wilma needed a canine pal a few years ago. Enter Emily, the toy poodle. Wilma and Emily get along, but are usually just competing for attention. Emily is a kiss monster.Pumpkin Muffins from VwaVYikes. I made these for Thanksgiving breakfast. Everyone loved them. The word 'vegan' was not used, I just told them that there was no butter or egg. My memere loved them so much she wanted the recipe!Road Shots (driving from Vegas to Lake Havasu, AZ)Some of the shots are a little blurry, but please bear in mind that I am an amateur with a digital camera and I was taking pictures through the window of a moving car.Some interesting bits around my grandparents house in AZTheir prickly pear cactus is HUGE! They have a little palm tree they planted in the backyard that is so incredibly cute...And these pretty flowers. I have no idea what they are. I should have asked my memere!GrubMy last meal in Vegas, made with Thanksgiving leftovers. Collard greens, chickpeas, butternut squash and my addictive cranberry sauce.Quinoa with spinach, garlic and tomatoes topped with some tofu pan fried with nooch.Pumpkin hummus (chickpeas, pumpkin & sesame oil) and broccoli for dipping. I think I got the idea for this off of a fellow blogger's site, but it escapes me. Props to you whoever you are!M's second favorite dish, Soyboy tofu ravioli in marinara sauce. Thank goodness for simple pleasures!I found these when I was at the conventional grocery looking for some cheapy baking supplies. They were on the expensive side, but it did mean not getting take out for dinner. In the grand scheme of things, they were really very good, though they were shaped much like fish sticks for those of you who might harbor painful memories of school lunches.I made scrambled tofu & roasted potatoes more times than I could count. It's fabulous as a no brainer stand by. Okay, Sammy was drinking at the time...I couldn't help it, I so rarely get him still while he's conscious!So that was a nice journey down memory lane...Now, l[...]



Back, and needing help!

2006-12-04T07:38:49.096-08:00

I have had a busy and rough couple of weeks! I got a cold/throat thing while in Las Vegas, so my visit wasn't the greatest. I did get to spend some time with my mother and grandparents, so that was good. I was very disappointed with the restaurants I went to out there, with the exception of Chipotle, and really I just ate a lot of steamed greens and chickpeas most of the time I was there. I'm okay with that, it just got a little bland over time.

Food pics are coming, as I did do a little cooking while I was out there and after I came back.

I am now gearing up to cater a party for my dad's choir group. My father organizes a volunteer choir group that sings mostly religious/spiritual holiday music at various nursing homes in his area during the holiday season, and even organizes a special Christmas "Midnight" mass at a local Catholic nursing home on Christmas Eve. It's a great time for the members, and for the residents, and over the years my dad has even persuaded some nursing home residents to join his group. This party is typically semi-potluck, and usually my dad asks people to bring dessert to help me out. I don't think he knows how much I love to make desserts. I am going to keep the menu 90% vegan, and I was thinking of making a bunch of recipes from VwaV as they are fairly easy, always tasty and I feel that many of them could appeal to many of the older, unadventurous palates that I'll be feeding.

So my question to you is...do you have any great fairly easy recipes that you think can totally rock a bland omni's world? Oh, and does anyone have a good vegetarian recipe for Swedish Meatballs?



Thankfully...

2006-11-20T19:41:57.267-08:00

...I've made something to post! The past couple of weeks have been kind of hectic and I've made nothing worth posting. The good thing is that I've been getting aquainted with the gym in my office. The bad thing is that we've been eating a lot of boring food lately.Since M and I are going our separate ways for the holiday, we thought it would be nice if we did a pre-Thanksgiving feast. I toyed with the idea of a Tofurkey, but they're kind of pricey and well...I've heard some mixed reviews. I decided that since we won't be home, we should just use up what we have in the fridge/pantry and make something wonderful out of what we had.The MenuStuffed Tofu I used the idea from Susan's post and just stuffed with a different filling and used a different marinade. I think the only thing that remained the same was the tofu and method of preparation.I marinated my tofu with a little water, a spoonful of Vegebase some thyme, garlic bay leaves and a little sesame oil.Quinoa StuffingI love quinoa. I like it better than rice even, so I thought it would be great as stuffing. Here's what went into mine.4 cloves garlic, minced4-6 scallions, snipped3 ribs celery, finely chopped2-3 medium carrots, finely chopped2 cups veggie broth (I used water mixed with Vegebase)1 tsp thyme1 tsp fennel seeds1 cup quinoaSaute veggies until they start to soften slightly (about 5-7 minutes). Add broth and quinoa and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until most liquid is evaporated.Cranberry SauceEasier than easy, here's how I make mine.1 cup fresh cranberries1 cup orange juice1/4-1/5 cup sugarSet it to boil and then reduce to low. Let it cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and it starts to look like jelly. :) It took mine about an hour... Keep it covered for maximum effect.Roasted BroccoliniI had a pound of broccolini in the fridge that might have been wasted had I not made use of it! All I did was wash it, trim the ends and throw it into a foil pouch and into a 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes. It took the same about of time as baking the tofu with the stuffing, coincidentally enough...Lemon Garlic BroccoliWe had some leftover steamed broccoli, so I just quickly sauted in a pan with a little Earth Balance, some fresh lemon (I used the juice from one small lemon), garlic and dried Italian seasoning. Yum!Herb & Garlic Beer (cider, actually) RollsThis was a mix that I have had forever. No really. I am almost positive I got it at the Duty Free Shop the last time I went to Canada on the way home and I was trying to use up the rest of my Canadian currency so I bought random things there. I love the Duty Free shop...they sell the most random things there (mostly maple syrup, tshirts and alcohol, but still). I decided that the mix should be used, so I mixed the dry stuff with some Magner's (I had no beer, only cider) and baked it in a muffin tin instead of a loaf pan. I'm really not much for white flour, but I knew these would find a place in M's heart (he ate two with dinner). The cider with the herbs and the garlic made a great combo.And here it is all plated!I'll be doing a lot of cooking for the holiday, so stay tuned! :)[...]



Pad Thai leads to padded thighs...

2006-11-09T20:24:16.489-08:00

...or so my jeans tell me! I made Pad Thai from Vegan with a Vengeance tonight. I didn't make it for me to eat because I'm trying to be good and eat in a manner that would make Dr. Fuhrman proud (and/or help me shed pounds, either way it's a win-win, right?). I made it for M as he is totally enamoured with this recipe, and because it makes a ton of food, he can have it for lunches and dinners and what have you over the next several days.

Ugh, this is too good not to eat! I tweaked the recipe a small bit, using sesame oil instead of peanut oil, leaving out the cilantro, and using cashews instead of peanuts as I didn't have any, but it still came out wonderful! I really should work on adding an ingredient or two that I don't like so I wouldn't crave this and dream about grabbing it out of the fridge everytime I walk by...

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Yes, it's hard to be strong when you know that there is a hefty bowl full of that goodness hiding behind your orange juice and carrots. Actually, I think I put it behind a big bunch of kale. Kale will save me, right?

So while M is feasting on that lovely load of carbs, oil, and soy sauce (oh, it's wonderful!) this is what I'm eating...

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Tempeh Sausage Gravy (from VwaV of course) with pureed cauliflower (I meant it to be a mash, but it had other ideas) and grilled asparagus.

Good. Very good actually. But it's not Pad Thai!



Oh well, time to go cuddle a puppy!

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Bananas: Scourge of my childhood, passion of my maturity...

2006-11-08T19:09:27.533-08:00

Little Nikki did not like bananas. Little Nikki didn't like much of anything.

One day, Nikki grew up and her taste buds changed. Suddenly all sorts of food that she did not like before started tasting wonderful. It was like magic!

Nikki met Mr. Banana one day on her way to make a smoothie.

Mr. Banana said, "You should take me with you because I love smoothies!"

"But, while I think you're beautiful, I really don't like bananas."

"Just give me a try, just this once. If it doesn't work out, we'll never have to see each other again!"

So Nikki took Mr. Banana and added him to her smoothie. Sure enough, the end result was a symphony in her mouth. She loved it so much that Mr. Banana became a regular in her smoothies and soon thereafter he became her egg replacer of choice for baking.

Nikki quickly became a little too obsessed and accumulated two dozen bananas. "How am I going to eat ALL of these?" she wondered out loud. Suddenly it hit her!

Banana Bread!

And with all of those bananas there were enough for not one, not two, but three whole loaves!

Banana Chocolate Chimp Bread (courtesy of Sticky Fingers Bakery as published in VegNews in their Oct 06 issue)

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1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 medium ripe mashed bananas
1/2 cup soy or rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream margarine and sugar, mix in flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add bananas, soymilk and vanilla. Mix until batter is moist and sticky. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until top is brown (or passes toothpick test).

This recipe is great. It is very easily adapted to any filling you might want to substitute for the chocolate chips, and is good on its own too. I happened to make one with the chocolate chips, one with pineapple chunks, coconut and sunflower seeds (a tropical banana bread!) and a plain one with a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and quince butter for added spice.

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Getting Autumnal on the Charles (River)

2006-11-07T20:14:42.489-08:00

SaturdaySam: I wanna go outside!Me: [groan]Sam: Please?Me: UghSam: I could just lift up my...Me: Okay already!Sam: I like our pumpkin!Me: Move it, buster.Sam: My shadow is so cool, it looks like another dog!Me: You're so cute! Let's cross the street!Sam: Let's go on the river path![runs and pulls at full grey speed]Sam: Oh look, there's my favorite log to sniff!Me: Oooh, do you see how pretty the river looks?Sam: Yeah, this is great...but I want to go exploring!Me: You're the boss!Sam: HEY! Watch your step!Me: What? Why? Ahhhhh!Me: What is that??!?!?Sam: It's just a caterpillar.Me: My, what a big fuzzy thing...Sam: Oh look!Me: What now?Me: I think the wind must have knocked it over or something.Sam: Can we go back home now?Me: Sure, let's take the stairs to the street.Sam: [sigh] I don't like the asphalt walk home.Me: Look on the bright side...your shadow is back...Sam: Yes! Oh look, our pumpkin has a friend!Me: Looks like it! I think someone deserves a treat!Sam: I'm good with that.This excursion was brought to you courtesy of:My brandspanking new digital camera which I have named Betty. :)[...]



Viva Las Vegas!

2006-11-06T08:49:00.703-08:00

Hey everyone! Sorry for not posting...between being sick and having serious illness befall friends and family members, I haven't been able to do much!

I do have a post all lined up though, I promise.

Looks like I'll be rockin' out in Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. Does anyone have any good restaurant suggestions for Sin City?



Saturday Veggie Saturday

2006-10-29T03:14:04.386-08:00

Last Saturday I shunned all other activity in order to devote my afternoon to the Boston Vegetarian Festival. I'd been excited about this event for weeks, so finally when the day came I could hardly contain myself! M and I had fun trying to find a parking spot (the lot with free parking was a good walk away, we were just trying to get something closer) and discovered all wonderful hidden slices of Roxbury and Mission Hill. [Okay, so it wasn't like a cute sightseeing expedition, it was more trying to find good places to either A. turn around or B. get back on to main roads]Boston is a quaint city. [Quaint being a nice way of saying something akin to 'pain in the tuchus']We walked in and...WHOA! It was great. It was marvelous! I walked in and thought, are there this many vegetarians (or vegetarian friendy) in and around Boston? I couldn't believe it! I was thoroughly amazed. I mean, I feel like we are so gastronomically underrepresented in this area... I can count the number of strictly veg eateries on one hand (correct me if I'm wrong folks!), while the area boasts hundreds of steakhouses. Perhaps I exaggerate a little...It was thoroughly packed when we arrived, and the first booth we went to was Grey 2K. The people there were so nice, and M pulled out his phone and showed off pictures of Sam to the people working the booth and to interested passers by. We spent some time trying to convince a nice couple to adopt a grey as well. This is always common for us...I think when we adopted Sam we also took on the role of 'greyhound ambassadors'.After our improptu PDA assisted "Why You Should Get a Greyhound Now" presentation, we went off in search of food. I had promised M that I would get him a nice plate of Indian food as I knew that Cafe of India was supposed to be there. Sure enough they were, and he got a plate with pakoras and samosas. Cafe of India has some significance for us as a couple because we actually had our first date there four years ago! I know, it's cute. :) I actually remember what I ordered that night, isn't that sweet?Anyway, back to the fest. Tons of really cool products (food) to try! Here are some of the highlights.CheezlyThis is by far the best vegan cheese ever. I can't WAIT until this is sold in the states. It is so rich and creamy and get this...it MELTS!Trader Joe'sTJs had such a dynamic crew manning their booth! They were passing out samples of two of their creamy soups, Butternut Apple and Veggie Medley Bisque which were both really yummy. Not only did they give out little sample cups, but also the full size aseptic packages! Free! Yeah! Unfortunately they do have honey in them, but I will keep them around. Turtle Mountain/Pure DecadentThis was my favorite freebie of them all. Turtle Mountain (maker of So Delicious Dairy Free Frozen Dessert) was giving away samples and coupon books. You could either get a soy ice cream bar, or a soy ice cream cup. I got a cup of the Peanut Butter Zig Zag, which was rich chocolate ice cream with peanut butter swirls. Yes, Belinda, heaven is a place on earth, and then it was in my cup. So good...and the coupons will help me to score more soon! :)Mambo Sprouts gave out these great goodie bags filled with all sorts of stuff (lotions, coupons, chocolate crisps, beauty samples, luna bars, chocolate dairy milk, etc). We each got one and have been going through them slowly, M receiving the non-vegan items.There was this great booth run by a family fortunate enough to have both a chef and a nutritionist in the group. I wish my family could be so fortunate! Their business is called Nutri Ahaar and they run it out of their homes. Their website url comes up wi[...]



I'm not feeling the love...

2006-10-17T19:30:24.257-07:00

Yes, it was love. There was music and poetry. Goodness, you remember the poetry!

It all seemed so perfect. Now I've had the rug pulled out from under me much like your formulaic Lifetime movie complete with smudged mascara.

Folks, I'm left with a dilemma. Now, in the past I know that I have been responsible for contributing to the untimely (well, it was timely) demise of my fresh produce. I would forget about it, or I would feel a little too lazy to prepare a particular item, or take out just seemed more fun... I own up to my faults as a lackadaisical ...

I guess I should stop beating around the bush. I'm thinking about kicking my new passionate love, Boston Organics, to the proverbial curb. I know they send me great things every week. I know that I look forward to Thursdays as if it were a holiday. But... First there were the weeks of the nearly rancid oranges. Fine, I put them on our do not send list. Cool. Then, half of our delivery that we received just before Columbus Day weekend (Thursday mind you, Thursday!) was rotten by mid Monday afternoon. Now I'm not talking getting mushy or slightly unseemly, I'm talking something that causes one to scream out, "Oh dear God!" when happening upon it in the fridge. Let's just say that gloves were involved. I think my last straw was Sunday night when I wanted to whip up two things: 1) Veggie Burgers from VwaV and 2) Lentil Soup. We received a beautiful bunch of small carrots in our Thursday delivery, so I thought that I could use them up between the two recipes and the snacking that I would have to be doing during the cooking process. I pulled out the carrots and went to peel one when I noticed they were limp. Limp is a fairly relative term...but I really don't know how to describe that they felt like FINGERS. Call me crazy, but I think carrots are supposed to be on the hard/crunchy side. It wasn't like I left anything lying around for very long (3 days people!) and everything was refrigerated immediately upon delivery. So what gives?

I feel like it's an unhealthy relationship. I sit and I struggle internally and think that it's just a rut and that they'll make it up to me. Then I think that it's somehow my own fault and that I'm not doing something right. Ugh. I really should call and complain. I feel bad about that because I really support the idea and philosophy of Boston Organics. I don't get it...I've never had produce with such an embarrasingly short shelf life, either conventional or organic.

Am I crazy? Am I wrong? Are there actually types of carrots out there that should feel limp and fleshy like fingers?



Soup started the fire...

2006-10-17T19:25:35.272-07:00

Soup. It's what's for dinner. This is my version of chili. It's the simplest recipe in the world.Easy Chili (Eat 2 Live friendly and wicked fast...watch out Ray Ray)4 cloves garlic4 scallions1 15oz can black beans (no salt is preferable)1 15oz can pinto or kidney beans2 15 oz cans no salt added diced tomatoes (organic is best)1 cup frozen corn (I suggest Trader Joe's Super Sweet Organic Corn or TJs Cut White Corn)1 bunch broccoli florets (about 2 cups) or one bag frozen broccoli (I like the Trader Joes broccoli florets...both organic or conventional)1 tablespoon cumin seeds2 tablespoons chili powdercilantro (I use the frozen spice cubes from TJs)1 teaspoon dried italian seasoningcayenne pepper to tastea few splashes of liquid smoke.Steam fry the garlic/scallions & cumin seeds in a little bit of water until tender. Add tomatoes and beans and rest of spices. Add corn and broccoli and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes or so. Add liquid smoke within the last few minutes of cooking.Oh, and the book the chili is resting on is pretty great. I got it at a company flea market thing we did to raise money for our in house charity. I got that and "Simply Vegan" for a buck a piece. One of my co-workers made sure to put aside the vegetarian books for me. Why anyone would want to get rid of them is beyond me...Last week Emmy posted about this lovely vegetable soup she made. That post inspired me to use up my dying vegetables (spot a trend?)and make my own!I don't have a recipe, but I'll tell you what I put in it...1 bunch kale2 zucchinis3 or 4 carrotsmushrooms1 can of no salt tomatoesgarlic1 vegan bouillon cube (I use Rapunzel)white bean puree (1 can of canneloni beans after a trip to the blender mixed with some water)one bag of Trader Joe's Green Garbanzo BeansDelicious! Totally not soup. It was definetely stew. And SO not stoup. I really don't like that expression. And soup tastes even more fantastic when eaten on a pile of books one has scored from a recent library sale.My new issue of Vegetarian Times arrived today...and oddly enough, there was an entire section devoted to this very topic. There was a quick and simple recipe for 'Creamy Broccoli Soup' that I made but was not impressed. It wasn't really all that photo worthy either. Moving on from the soup...I went to go visit a friend from my hometown up north who just had twins at the end of last month. The boys are wonderful adorable bundles of giggles and poop, and I was so happy to meet them. I did make sure to make copious amounts of baked goods for the new family because I know that they have their hands full and food is ALWAYS welcome. I made them all vegan items, with the exception of some chocolate cookies that I made with regular sugar and some Reese's peanut butter chips. They *loved* everything, and it made me smile because they are both serious carnivores.This is what I brought:1 batch Chocolate Chip Scones (VwaV)1 batch Awesome Chocolate Cookies (Vegweb)1 batch Multi Grain Cookies (Back of canister)1 batch Chocolate Chip Cookies (VwaV)Awesome Chocolate CookiesIngredients (use vegan versions): 3/4 cup margarine 1 cup unrefined sugar 1 egg equivalent 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1/3 - 1/2 cup cocoa 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 cup any kind of vegan chips (peanut butter are awesome)Directions:Preheat oven to 350. Mix margarine and vegan sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, blend flour, cocoa, soda, and baking powder. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix until ev[...]



Ode to Produce (organic, that is)

2006-10-12T09:16:26.845-07:00

"Look at us," the Apples said,
To Bananas ripe and fruity.

"We start off green and end up red,
That is our only duty."

The Bananas they did not reply
Merely chuckling to the Pineapple

Who furrowed its brow and asked, "Now why
Should any of us give a crabapple?"

The Squash did sternly shake its head
And nudged awake the Broccoli

Who snored so as to wake the dead
Nearly frightening the Kiwi.

The Carrots strove to do their best
To ease the conversation

But then the Salad walked around undressed
To everyone's consternation.

The Mango jumped on Zucchini's head
Which made him rather snooty

The Mushrooms simply went to bed
And dreamt of Kale, the cutie.

I can't take credit for this one--this was all M's brainchild! And yes, such a poem does make me swoon! :)



Road Trip!

2006-10-11T19:43:40.060-07:00

We're STILL recovering from a whirlwind trip to New York this past weekend to see some family. Poor Sammy is not the biggest fan of the car, but he stuck it out like a trooper.I think that he 'puts up' with the car ride because he knows that once he gets there there is an unlimited source of treats & people food at his disposal. People who aren't dog owners tend to cave into his undeniable cuteness within about 2.2 seconds. He's such a con man. Also, he remembers that the extended families homestead contains LOTS of carpet, whereas home is hardwood and throw rug. Carpet is much preferred by the Samhound as it gives him something to feel between his paws when he scratches about 50 million times before laying down. Though the above rate beyond wonderful to Sam, they pale in comparision to his passion; the very thing that he desires most in this world...The couch, of course. Since Sam was spending so much time on the couch luxuriating, he left me time to whip up a feast for our gracious hosts. I figure it's the least I can do when I visit...especially when my little one deprives them of such an important piece of furniture for an extended period of time.I decided to make some simple "stealth vegan" dishes that I thought would go over well.1. Lentil SoupThis ended up being the absolute most delicious lentil soup I've ever eaten. It was crazy good. It's also one of those things that is so simple that I don't even have a recipe for it! It's just carrots, celery, scallions, garlic (I used a whole head), veggie broth(whole foods brand-about half a container), veggie cubes (rapunzel), water, lentils and within the last 15 minutes of cooking some fresh rosemary. The trick is letting it simmer for a wicked long time (I did about 3-4 hours).2. Eggplant LasagnaThis is the simplest recipe ever. Three ingredients: Eggplant, your favorite marinara sauce, and one batch of Tofu-Basil Ricotta as prepared in Vegan with a Vengeance-or whatever version of tofu ricotta you like. I just slice the eggplant (no salting, peeling or anything funny) and alternate layers of the eggplant with sauce and ricotta, saving a whole load of ricotta to shove on top. I bake it at 400 for about 45-60 min until the eggplant is really soft and tender.3. HummusThis was a dud. Well, not really, it was REALLY yummy. I just didn't take into account that M and I were the only ones in the house who actually liked hummus. It's okay, I took home the leftovers. Oh, and it was HELL trying to make this in the blender at the house. I really missed my food processor!4. Apple CrispThere was an abundance of apples at the house because there had been mention that there was the possibility of making some pies. I was too darn tired to attempt pie crust, so I did a crisp instead. Very very easy! A little brown sugar, lemon, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and Earth Balance. The apples we used were Macs and Cortlands. I had to fight to get a picture! It was that good...So what was Sam doing all this time I was in the kitchen?Lazy Bug!Monday came around and it was time for us to head home. Sam was again a little unhappy in the car, crying ever so softly...Something tells me I *know* what he's missing... I wonder if any furniture stores will let me bring him in to test out some models?I wasn't feeling too hot when we got home either, but I did have the energy to whip up something so ridiculously quick and simple it would make Rachael Ray jealous. Not so Sloppy Joes! This is just some TVP (I used Bob's Red Mill) rehydrated in some hot water mixed with half a jar of m[...]



C is for Cookie!

2006-10-09T13:50:43.725-07:00

Thursday was so fantastic. Not only did I have my Boston Organics delivery to look forward to, I also had a package waiting for me. Yay!

I got my cookies from Tania and I was totally excited!

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They are so cute, they look like little cookie nuggets. They're very good, some raisins, a hint of something...my boyfriend thinks almond, I think something coconutty.... I don't care, they were really yummy!

Thanks Tania for the great cookies!



What kind of Vegetarian am I?

2006-10-04T13:44:49.575-07:00

You scored as vegan vixen. You're a vegan vixen! You use your good looks and body to encourage people to go veg. You're probably a little perky and a little adventurous. You may have tofu-wrestled, worn a lettuce bra, or are about to do one of the two! If you're a guy, consider yourself a virile vegan (vixen generally refers to women...). Though you may have feminist beliefs, it's fine to use sexual attraction to get people to stop eating animals. More on www.goveg.com

vegan vixen

78%

health-conscious vegetarian

67%

militant vegan

50%

welfarist vegetarian

33%

quiet vegetarian

28%

lazy vegetarian

28%

new veggie

11%

What type of vegetarian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com


Grrr baby, very grrr...

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Bad lighting does a vixen good, I've found...



Treats fit for a SamHound!

2006-10-03T20:34:16.526-07:00

I haven't had a chance to run over to Whole Foods or the specialty dog food store to get Sam his Wellness cookies this week. His treat supply was dwindling and I was feeling so very guilty...then I thought I should just make him some treats!

I based the recipe on a recipe I have for human cookies, but tweaked it a little.

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My doggie treats

1/4-1/2 cup of oat flour (or whole wheat-Sam's allergic to wheat)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I use crunchy)
1/2 cup natural unsweetened applesauce (I used a plastic single serving cup)
1 medium to large banana
2 1/2 cups oats
1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon flax meal (optional)

I used a food processor to do everything. I didn't have oat flour so I just put some rolled oats in my processor and ground it to a course flour. Whole wheat flour would work great, but Sam is allergic! I then added all of the wet ingredients except for the oil and pulsed until everything was combined. I then turned on the processor and added the oil and oats incrementally (I did the oats in 1/2 increments) and kept it going until everything was combined well. The mixture shouldn't be too dry or too sticky. I rolled into balls and baked at 350 for about 15 minutes or so.

This recipe can make quite a few treats depending on the size of the balls you roll. Guaranteed to make your puppy happy. :)



reincarnation or the karma of curry

2006-10-03T20:16:47.390-07:00

Friday night I decided to put my ailing eggplant out of its misery and employed it in the only way mushy nearly bad eggplant can be used in an honorable manner. I roasted it and used it in a makeshift curry.I should have called it "Curry of the Damned" as it contained most of the items in my fridge that were on their last legs, but still clinging. You know, the veggies that you really aren't sure they have another 24 hours left in them. Such was the fate of my mushrooms, my cilantro, my tomatoes, my eggplant, my garlic... I found that steam frying the mushrooms with the garlic and roasting the tomatoes and eggplant until tender provided me with a veritable renaissance of flavor and after adding a can of pinto beans and half a bag of peas, I was left with a rather serviceable dish.Of course, by the time I had finished with it I decided to just eat my left over chili and save the curry for later.Sunday I decided that the rest of my veggies needed to be used before I could buy anything else. Solution? Batch cooking!I made:~Shepherd's Pie (using leftover mashed potatoes and the other half of the bag of peas)~Chickpea Broccoli Casserole~Tempeh Helper (my fancy name for VwaV tempeh sausage crumbles & gravy mixed with mushrooms, corn and steamed collard greens)The Shepherd's Pie (not fit to be photographed, believe me!) was very good! I used a mix of red and green lentils, carrots, cremini mushrooms and peas for the filling. Chickpea Broccoli Casserole is SO good! I got fresh broccoli in my Boston Organics delivery, so I used that and some organic carrots. I didn't use the breadcrumbs or the leeks, but it still tasted fabulous.Tempeh Helper has become my new favorite dish. I think I just love anything flavored with fennel seeds and then adding gravy and CORN on top of that just makes it all better. The greens add a nice touch, and the gravy will get even the pickiest of eaters to dig in! The trick is to water down the gravy enough so that everything in the dish gets coated.I swear, the beauty of left overs/batch cooking is that not everyone has to eat the same thing! M has been eating Shepherd's Pie two nights in a row and was not jazzed about the potential for leftovers for dinner. I promised him that I would do something good...The curry was looking a little dessicated, so I heated about a tablespoon of Earth Balance in a pot and put in some curry powder and cumin seeds for umph. After things got sizzling, I added the curry and some soymilk. I added a little more EB for flavor and let it simmer. I cooked some rice and dug out some Trader Joe's Naan out of the bottom of the freezer. The naan, while very tasty is totally not vegan. Since M is an omni and a naan fiend, this tidbit is a non-issue (the punner in me really wanted to have a go there).And voila! Curry, reincarnated.Oh, and tip for all of you Trader Joe's fiends out there. If you haven't tried it yet, you HAVE to get some of their frozen Organic Super Sweet Corn. Words can't describe how awesome it is.[...]



Kitchen impossible: Restaurant Coup

2006-09-24T21:14:21.334-07:00

There's a restaurant in the Metro West area of suburban Boston that has quickly become one of my new favorites, much to the dismay of the pocket book ;) The whole concept of the restaurant is using local ingredients whenever possible and everything's organic. They are extremely veggie friendly, but do offer chicken and fish on the menu as well. They have great hummus, falafel, salads, pita, stirfries, the list goes on! They also have two of my newest food addictions: succotash and their vegetarian collard greens.Their succotash is this melange of edamame, red peppers, onion, romaine and some little black things that I can't tell if they are some variety of lentil or sea vegetable. Oh. My. Gosh. Amazing does not begin to describe!Their collards are nicely done, sweet and sour and VERY spicy. To be honest, I had never tried them before my first visit, but now I can't live without them!Kitchen Mission: Recreate the goodness of this fantastic place!To acheive the objective I obtained the following from the store:Succotash1 bag frozen shelled edamame2 red peppers1 10 oz precut bag of romainegarlicCollard Greensapple juiceone large bunch organic collard greensred pepper flakesapple cider vinegarRecipe 1Collard Greens1 large bunch of collard greens1 cup apple juice1/8-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar1-2 cloves garlic, mincedred pepper flakes (as much as you can handle)a few splashes liquid smoke1-2 tsp sugar or a scant little bit of steviawater (if needed for cooking)Wash and chop greens. Place in pot with liquids, spices and garlic. Cook covered on medium to high heat for at least 15-20 minutes. Add sugar/sweetener to taste.Recipe 2Succotash1 bag edamame (I believe the one I used was about 12 oz)2 red peppers1 10 oz bag chopped romaine or equivalent of fresh chopped romaine4 cloves garlic1 tablespoon flaxseed mealsplash of braggssplash of rice vinegarMince garlic and steam fry in large pan with a little water. Chop peppers into bite size pieces and add to garlic. Add a little more water if needed. Add edamame and cook until edamame are thawed and 'al dente' and peppers are still a little crisp. Add romaine to pan and braggs, vinegar and flax meal. Cook until romaine is wilted.To complete the meal I whipped up some hummus and made some green beans (just garlic and Earth Balance) and had a meal to be proud of at a fraction of the price.It was *really* yummy! And I'm also very happy to report that it tasted just as good as the restaurant in question, just a little bit different...[...]



Do you wanna get rocked? And a tale of a-cute cookie failure.

2006-09-24T21:11:17.345-07:00

This weekend I went to a concert with a couple of girls from work. This wasn't just any concert, this was a match made in flashback heaven! Journey and Def Leppard! I was never really one for Journey, but I did sing at the top of my lungs to the songs I knew. The guy they had singing was a strange one and we kept on remarking on how he sorta looked like Kato Kaelin (sp?). Def Leppard though...man! I've liked them since I first spent the night at my friend's house in 2nd or 3rd grade and discovered her music collection (which at that point consisted entirely of Madonna, NKOTB, and Def Leppard). They played really well, and I was just so happy that they played one of my favoritest songs ever, "Love Bites"!Love also eats. Like me. :)Today we had originally planned to head over to the LLBean outlet to get some new winter coats, but my other half was feeling under the weather, so I thought today would be a good day to take care of a cooking errand or two. Firstly, I have the cookie swap to do, and I was trying to find a recipe that was a little different and not out of a common cookbook. I really didn't want to make cookies out of Vive le Vegan or Vegan with a Vengeance... Then I remembered that I had printed a recipe off of Vegweb for some double chocolate cookies. Yes, they look good, don't they? They tasted good...but they were incredibly flat and crumbly. I think the recipe needs some tweaking. Needless to say, those aren't going anywhere. I'm looking into my recipe stash for something a little more reliable.I'm one of those people that once I get the baking bug, I kind of can't turn it off and keep going with it...Since the cookies were a failure, I decided to do something easy--muffins! I have tons of carrots that need to be used up in my fridge, so I decided to make some Carrot Raisin Muffins (from VwaV) for my landlord and upstairs neighbors. My landlord lent me her Vitamix to play with so I felt like I needed to do something nice for her. Mmmmmm...success smells so good! :)I also decided to tweak another recipe from VwaV and made some Ginger Date Quinoa Muffins based upon the recipe for the Raisin-Ginger Bran Muffins. Yes! Finally a date recipe! :) But I couldn't stop at just the 'baked goods'! I also made some Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook, green beans with white bean gravy, tofu nuggets, and eggplant lasagna![sweet potatoes & apples, green beans, and veggie riblet...oh my!]You'd think I'd be tired, right?I am! :)[...]