I quite enjoy blog posts that are simply about recent meals a blogger may have eaten. I find I often see recipes that I would have sworn up and down weren’t in a certain cookbook, but that definitely sound delicious. So, a few meals I’ve enjoyed recently:
Vegan YumYum’s Broccoli Daal:

Appetite for Reduction’s Butternut Apple Soup

The Uncheese Cookbook’s Broccoli Rice Casserole:

Appetite for Reduction’s Sundried Tomato-Walnut Dressing over salad, quinoa, roasted potatoes, zucchini, and tempeh, and glazed beets. And finally, I made the fortunate (unfortunate?) discovery that it is possible to find mainstream Christmas candy that happens to be vegan. If I eat half my body weight in liquor filled chocolates over the next few days, I can’t be held accountable!

Um, yum. 🙂

-Eve

I am doing a smidge better on my gift list; we are now at 1.5 gifts! Hey, its a 150% increase – great success! 😀 In other news, in case you happened to be wondering, deciding to do 300 jump lunges as an exercise safeguard on your day off is a bad idea unless you are planning on not moving around the day after. However if you do, you can look forward to everyday activities like going up and down stairs and sitting on the toilet (and furthermore, getting back up off it) becoming monumental acheivements. Of course, I’m not speaking from experience or anything, just thought that was a useful tidbit of information to share in the spirit of giving for the holidays. 😉

Okay so yesterday we covered the foodies on your list. How about the fashionista? Possibly a difficult individual if vegan, or even if you just are and don’t want to compromise your beliefs with your purchases.

Under $100:

Jewlery. This can basically fall into any category, so go take a peek at the links in the over $100 category. Etsy is also a great place to look and it’s wonderful to be able to support small businesses and artisans.

Cosmetics are another good bet, and more and more vegan brands are able to be found locally. Try Sephora or MAC for makeup and other higher end products, if you are looking for a local store. Also, here are a few of the more common brands to look for that are vegan:

Giovanni

Some Burts Bee’s products (more if you are okay with bee byproducts)

Jason

Natures Gate

Urban Decay (not all vegan-look for the pawprint)

Accessories are another good bet to find locally (since that is quickly becoming the only option for us last-minute folk). Think scarves, gloves (though beware of leather!), mitts, etc. and if you are crafty, you still have time to whip up a lovely handmade goodie or two.

Over $100:

Jewelry is always a good bet. The earrings shown are from Brilliant Earth which touts eco-friendly metals and cruelty-free diamonds. Something from here would definitely be a splurge (of varying proportions) but they do have really nice looking products and you can even design your own ring, which I think is pretty exciting (though I don’t even want to think about how much that would probably cost). Some other, potentially less costly options for vegan jewelry are:

http://www.snootyjewelry.com

http://www.christyrobinsondesigns.com/default.html

I am also partial to the offerings from this Etsy seller, however the products aren’t specifically vegan so it depends on where you draw the line.

A beautiful vegan winter coat. These are hard to come by but Vaute Couture has you covered (and often you can find sportswear coats that are vegan as well).

Shoes! Most fashionistas are big into shoes, but depending on the individual it might be a difficult thing to buy for someone else. However, if you are (or maybe this is your gift to yourself?) take a gander at my previous shoe list or investigate a few of these vegan retailers:

http://charmone.com

http://www.novacas.com

http://www.beyondskin.co.uk/

http://formandfauna.com

http://www.terraplana.com/index.php (not all vegan)

http://www.simpleshoes.com/index.aspx (also not all vegan)

A bag. Matt and Nat is a great all-vegan brand to look into and if a bag is too pricey, they also have wallets and belts that are more friendly budget-wise.

-Kathleen (I figured that after over two years, I should stop hiding behind just a letter! ;))

So, it would appear that we are 9 days out from Christmas (which may or may not be putting me into a mild state of panic- I have one gift and it is in progress; a scarf for my brother that is about half knit) and I have been meaning to post some gift suggestions and I think it is pretty much now or never. If you happen to be like me and still have a list of folks to buy for, maybe I can be of assistance. Today, we are covering the foodie:

Under $20:

How cute are these whisks? And at $10 these would be a great stocking stuffer or small gift for a friend (hostess gift?) They also come in a bird variety.

Cookie Cutters are always fun and there are endless varieties and you can pretty much always find cute ones locally. This set is from amazon but Ikea and Michaels both have nice sets as well.

A silpat! This one from amazon is $18.07, which seems quite reasonable (I recall seeing them in stores for much more than that) however for those of you trying to purchase from stores I am pretty sure Williams Sonoma carries them (and probably other fancypants kitchen goods type stores) but I would guess it will be pricier. I have a silpat and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. Greasing baking pans is pretty much the bane of my existance, and with the Silpat ‘t you don’t have to and you needn’t worry about having to chisel burnt cookie bits off your pans either. It’s great for roasting veggies too! Needless to say, this comes personally recommended.

A good silicone spatula that won’t melt. Another thing that would be pretty easy to find locally, a fun stocking stuffer type gift, and really who can’t use another spatula?

$20-$100:

Ice cream maker. You can really choose how much you want to spend on them. The one pictured is very similar to the one my parents have and it works quite well, albeit does require some planning as the insert must be frozen for at least a day before you can use it. It would also be super cute to gift this with a vegan ice cream cookbook inside.

Cookbooks are always a good bet, especially if it comes personally recommended and you have favourite recipes to tab. Or how about a cookbook with a favourite recipe highlighted and the ingredients to make it? Some of my favourite cookbooks are Veganomicon; Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan; The Voluptuous Vegan (I really like the desserts that I have made from it, but definitely more time consuming); Vegan Yum Yum (Eve has been cooking up a storm from this one lately); Vegan Cookies InvadeYour Cookie Jar (a cookbook of cookie recipes, need I say more? Not health food though, just saying! ;))   

 

Over $100:

A Vita-Mix. Okay, so this is an awfully pricey gift, but really, Vita-Mixes are all kinds of amazing and if you are looking for a big gift, you should definitely consider one. Eve and I each have one and we use them all the time, and in our current living situation we have them on either side of the sink- duelling Vita-Mixes!! Amazon sells them and I know Costco has had them as well from time to time.

Food Processor. I have a Cuisinart, which is what I grew up with and I have been really happy with the quality (I think my parents replaced theirs after 20+ years of heavy use)  of it and I love the attachment blades. I got mine as a package from Costco a few years back and it came with two blades, a slicing and a grating blade, and I use the grating blade all the time! I linked to a really expensive combination pack on Amazon, but you can definitely find way cheaper options out there, so do shop around.

Happy Shopping and here’s hoping you are further along than I am!

-K

Without further ado, the winners of our tea giveaway are……..

Congratulations to Elly, aaaand….


Nicole! I hope you both enjoy the tea!

Thanks to everyone who entered! 🙂

(If anyone’s wondering, I only counted ‘real people’ comments on the contest post- ie, no ping backs!)

***Have you checked out our tea giveaway yet? There’s going to be two winners, and the prize is awesome! The contest ends tomorrow, so go enter now! :)***

This past Sunday I made caramels, and took pictures! I also learned a few things along the way:

1) Making candy is exciting! Really exciting!

2) I can’t be around delicious candy without eating too much and slipping into a sugar coma.

3) Therefore, candy is best left un-made or shipped to unsuspecting individuals post-haste.

I used this recipe for salted caramels from CHOW, and made a few alterations. I used Silk coffee creamer for the cream, Earth Balance for the butter, and cut the salt back to only 1 tsp. to compensate for the salt in both those products. If you make them, make sure NOT to freeze the sheet of caramel ‘rock hard’ like the recipe instructs, because it will shatter everywhere if you try and cut it! Now, pictures:

Boiling the cream....

....and getting ready to add various sugars (and eventually butter/vanilla).

Boiling caramel with a desperate/ingenious thermometer grasp, and a wooden spoon/back of a spatula handle. Classy.

Scraping the caramel into a dish to set and harden....

...and form a most unwieldy slab!

The slab was portioned into ~1M. little cubes. The recipe claims it makes 85, but I know better. The hand I used to push the knife through the caramel still hurts!

I attempted (and succeeded?) to temper chocolate in my ghetto double boiler.....

....and make a rather unholy mess of the kitchen, and myself. I had chocolate everywhere from my forehead to my socks. True talent!

If I were a conscientious blogger, this is where there would be an amazing, out-of-the-kitchen photo of the finished caramels, but I can’t say I took any such pictures. 😦 Nevertheless, they were delicious, and I hope that the tin I sent to my family will be thoroughly enjoyed! 🙂

-Eve

***Have you checked out our tea giveaway yet? There’s going to be two winners, and the prize is awesome! Contest ends on the 15th, so go enter now! 🙂 ***

I’d never tried a smooth mushroom soup, and although I don’t mind the texture of mushrooms, a chunky soup just didn’t sound at all good in this particular instance. The smooth soup I came up with turned out very well, despite its admittedly off-putting appearance. (Off-putting? How about swamp muck!) I used a potato to thicken in lieu of making a roux (can you even make a gluten free roux?), which I thought turned out pretty well. The boyfriend deemed it “definitely blog worthy” (hooray!), so here is the recipe!

Smooth Mushroom Soup (Cream of Mushroom Soup?)

-1 onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
-2 stalks celery, diced
-2 carrots, peeled and sliced
-1 potato, diced
-10-15 mushrooms (or about 3.5 cups sliced), sliced
-2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
-a few grinds of black pepper, or to taste
-about 4 c. water or vegetable broth
-1 c. or a little more of almond milk (or another non-dairy milk)

In a soup pot, saute the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent. Add the veggies, spices, and broth, and cover and simmer until the carrots and potato are tender and cooked. Use a blender to puree, and then dump back into the pot and thin with non-dairy milk until the consistency is to your liking. Bring back to a simmer before serving. That’s it! 🙂

-Eve

***Have you checked out our tea giveaway yet? There’s going to be two winners, and the prize is awesome!***

My apologies in advance for the lack of colour in this post – I swear I do eat brighter looking foods!

I thought I’d do an ultra-quick recap of two of the fantastic recipes I’ve tried from Vegan YumYum. I’m sure that this cookbook has way more to offer than the handful of recipes I’ve tried from it, but the things I’ve made (including the two things in this post) are so delicious that I come back to them again and again.

This is the hurry-up alfredo sauce, which is a mainstay in my quick lunch or supper repertoire. It’s perhaps not the healthiest thing in the world, but it sure is good. I mix it up a bit by omitting the nutmeg and adding way more nooch, to make it less alfredo and more mac-n-cheese. I toss it with whatever brown rice pasta I’ve got on hand, and serve with a bucket of ketchup and hotsauce. Mmm, sodium.
These slices may not be much to look at, but I’m sure they’d be much more presentable tucked into a sandwich (which is where they appear in Vegan YumYum) or cubed onto a salad. This is the smoky miso tofu recipe, and it is seriously amazing. If you like miso and tasty things, you should probably go make this right now. I would never have thought to put miso on tofu (or to make miso smoky!), but I guess that’s what cookbooks are for! I love to bake the slices on a cookie sheet, so that they get crispy around the edges and chewy in the centre, but make sure you’ve got someone around to coerce into scrubbing clean the burnt sauce after the fact! 🙂

Tomorrow I have big plans to make caramels (and maybe rum balls and truffles? We’ll see!), and I have great intentions of photographing my experiments. It should be fun! I hope everyone else is having a great weekend 🙂
-Eve

***Have you checked out our tea giveaway yet? There’s going to be two winners, and the prize is awesome!***

 

I ended up choosing to make cookies for my non-vegan potluck last week. These caught my eye a while back, with their festive colouring and this seemed like the perfect reason to veganize the recipe, which really wasn’t hard at all. As I was going for maximum vegan decadence I didn’t make any of my usual recipe alterations, so this truly is a dessert cookie; not much to go on in terms of convincing yourself that they are good for you (unless you want to go the antioxidant route- pomegranate and dark chocolate, knock yourself out! ;)). Alas, mine didn’t end up quite as pretty as the original as I opted for dark chocolate due to the general absence of vegan white chocolate in these parts.

Pomegranate Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from here)

1/2 cup earth balance

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour

3 tablespoons water (or milk alternative)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup rolled oats (I used quick but I do think that old fashioned would be better)

1 cup dark chocolate chips (you could probably go with 3/4 of a cup – I found that I had an awful lot of chips that wouldn’t mix into the batter)

1/2 cup pomegranate arils

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place earth balance and sugars in a medium mixing bowl. Whip (or stir with a wooden spoon- I was going for fluffy so I whipped them with beaters) until fully combined. In a small bowl, mix the first measures of baking soda and powder with the water/milk and flour. Pour into butter sugar mixture with vanilla extract and beat again to combine.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, stir to mix. Pour into wet ingredients in two or three batches, stirring between additions. Stir in chocolate chips and oats. Scoop out about tablespoon sized balls, squish five or six pomegranate arils into the ball and place on baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove from oven and leave on cookie sheet for a minute or two to cool. You could also stir the arils into the batter with the chocolate chips to save time but the batter would likely get stained with burst arils.

So the verdict seemed to be pretty good regarding the cookies as people couldn’t believe they were vegan and they were definitely a plate real estate contender despite the other offerings being an eggnog cheesecake and a lemon poppyseed cake. A success in my books!

-K

***Have you checked out our tea giveaway yet? There’s going to be two winners, and the prize is awesome!***

Sometimes simple soups are best, and this catch-all soup is something I make at least a few times a month. It’s great for using up leftover grains and wilting veggies, and it tastes good, to boot!

The roasted garlic is really good here, and I usually roast mine a day or two in advance (while I have the oven on for something else) so I don’t have to wait for the garlic to roast when I want soup fast! If you’ve never roasted garlic before, here’s a good tutorial, though I would add that you don’t need to have the oven set as high as it recommends – 350 works fine! A couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast in the broth adds a delicious savoury taste and makes the soup less watery, but if nooch isn’t your thing, feel free to leave it out!

Garlicky Greens, Beans, and Veggie Soup

-1 onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 head roasted garlic, minced
-2 stalks celery, sliced
-2 carrots, diced
-1 potato, diced
-2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
-1 tsp. dried basil, or to taste
-1 tsp. dried oregano, or to taste
-a few grinds of black pepper, or to taste
-1 bay leaf
-4 cups vegetable stock
-3/4 c. cooked quinoa
-2 c. pre-cooked cannellini beans
-about 3 c. greens – I used 1/2 bunch of slivered collards, and about 3/4 c. of sliced frozen spinach

In a big pot, saute the onions and garlic until translucent, and then add the carrots, celery, potato, roasted garlic, spices, and broth. Simmer until the veggies are tender, and then add the greens, beans, and grain and cook until the greens are softened. Add more veg. stock/water if desired and serve alone or with hot sauce, if you’re as addicted to the stuff as I am! 🙂 Serves 3-4, maybe?

-Eve

***Have you checked out our tea giveaway yet? There’s going to be two winners, and the prize is awesome!***

For those of you who’ve been reading along for a while, you may have noticed that only K has been updating recently. Although I’ve let her shoulder the weight of MoFo (and um, most of the last 6 months…) of blogging, I’ve decided that I should get back on the blogging train. If you’re a newer reader, there are two people who update this blog! Originally it was our way of talking about vegan eats with each other when we lived in different provinces, but I moved this past summer and we now live in the same city! It’s all very exciting, but unfortunately it ruins our blog premise and we’re not sure how to fix it yet. 🙂

Even if this new-to-me coastal ‘winter’ has been rather balmy so far, I’ve been satisfying my cravings for all varieties of soups, so expect to see lots of them posted here! Recently, I tried the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup from Vegan with a Vengeance, which was a welcome departure from the curry that I usually flavour squash soup with.

I’m not sure if this is a new product, but recently my local health food store started carrying Cocoa Camino almond and peanut butter filled dark chocolate. Of course, I jumped at the chance to try the peanut butter flavour, and it was totally delicious. If a Reese’s peanut butter cup was veganized, had its quality improved, and was made into a bar form, I think that this is what you’d end up with! Next time I’m going to try the almond butter bar!

-Eve