Wednesday, December 31, 2008

check out the buzz


i followed CCV's suggestion and joined foodbuzz. it's a great networking site for all things foodie related. it's still very new to me, so i feel frustrated navigating my way around the site and getting the appropriate foodbuzz stuff to paste in the right places of my blog, but i'm sure i'll catch on and it will all be good in a week or so.
i'm having fun with my new cookbooks and have made a couple things: gazebo cheesecake from the ultimate uncheese cookbook and broccoli chickpea casserole from VWAV-(i've had that cook book for a while now.) pictures to be posted later.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

thanks a latke!

i can't believe it, i made out like a bandit this chanukkah. over the past year, my behavior warranted getting new underwear at best--but after eating my lazy assed latkes, good ol' chanukkah charry blessed me with some fine assed vegan fare:

this was from the first night: the ultimate uncheese cookbook, and ween's live at the cat's cradle album/dvd. the cd/dvd set had performances from way back in '91-92 before ween even had a band. back in the good ol' days where they were raw--just the boys, their geetars, and a drum machine. i doubt deaner and gener are vegans, but to gene's credit, he is wearing a chef's hat and goggles on the album cover which is just fine with me.

i also scored veganomicon, vegan-a-go-go, AND the vidalia chop wizard suggested as a must have by vegannifer. in fact, the chopper was the gift on the first night of chanukkah. i ran some onions and baked potatoes through the wizard and made those lazy assed latkes shown above. they were hardly effort in slackerdom. truth be told they were actually labor intensive and not as great as i had hoped, which in the eyes of a jew like me is just right. i call them lazy because i bake the potatoes first. here's the recipe:

jewbacca's lazy assed latkes

5-6 baked taters (smallish)
1 medium yellow onion
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1T garlic granules
2T flour
1/4 c of "milk"
2/3 c. of silken tofu
some oil for a fryin'

take a cheez grater and grate the taters n' onions, set aside. in a blender blend the salt, pepper, garlic, flour, milk, and silken tofu to a smooth consistency. mix everything together, but don't mix it too much--you want the mixture to have the stringy potato/onions intact. make patties, and fry the shit outta them in a little bit of oil. for the love of g-d USE A NON-STICK SKILLET, or you will wind up pissed and sad. top the latkes with sour cream, apple sauce, or whatever floats your boat. if your latkes fall apart, fear not. you have hash browns and can smother them in gravy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

my mug or yours?


i love weird coffee mugs. i scored both of these during separate visits to goodwill. i believe the teddy bear is an antique. they both cost me 99 cents a piece. they're absolutely perfect for my out of this world hot cocoa complete with vegan whipped topping and sprinkles.

jealous?

Monday, December 22, 2008

aluminum chef

sorry for the crappy photo shop job!


if you're a fan of star wars you know that there's no such thing as an aluminum falcon. you become outraged that a non-star wars person would be an ass and get the name of the beloved millennium falcon incorrect, because everyone knows the name of that space ship. any hard-core foodie (omni or vegan) has seen an episode of the iron chef, right? well you know that there's no such thing as an aluminum chef....or is there?
once a month i work at my old job at juvenile detention. i used to teach social skills, but now i just sling hash in the cafeteria. they pay me 1/2 of the hourly rate i used to earn, i have no bennies, and the food i have to prepare for those kids is terrible: canned/frozen/processed gross-ass jail food. so why work there? well, i get to see the kids and i do i miss them. selfishly and more importantly, i get access to a huge industrial sized kitchen all by myself and have a ton of time between meals to do nothing but cook for my family. i bring in my own groceries and become the aluminum chef! i say aluminum because i'll never be as spectacular as the iron chef. aluminum recycles, and i like to use several ingredients and recycle them into multiple dishes:
butternut squash lasagna rolls: i had some leftover lasagna noodles and roasted squash. i cooked the noodles. carefully rolled these adorable babies up, and served them with alfreda sauce from VWAV.
rockin' tha lasagna: i make my own sauce without a recipe. layer the noodles with sauce, roasted butternut squash, smart ground soysage, and follow your heart mozzarella. i know squash lasagna sounds kinda iffy, but it was SO GOOD!

my specialty "ass of fire" salsa. my husband loves this raw salsa so much, he won't buy commercial anymore. during the summer we were able to get the ingredients free or on the super cheap. now that it's winter, he insists on buying fresh ingredients and having me make it all from scratch.
ass of fire salsa topping my ass of fire burrito with soy sour cream, rice, and cheez sauce from Veganomicon.
pictures taken with my new camera. i'm still trying to figure it all out, so sorry the pictures aren't that great.

Friday, December 19, 2008

mommas new shoes!



yo-yo-yo, check it. saucony jazz vegan-oatmeal and black hemp shoes. i bought these babies on line from zappos.com. i realize zappos ain't a vegan store, but they DO supply a nice array of vegan shoes with FREE shipping. for me, price was an isSHOE (get it, issue?) and i felt i paid a fair price for these ($48.95, the most i've ever spent on a pair of shoes). i ordered them on a monday and they were on my porch wednesday. they're super comfortable and go with just about everything i own.

chanukkah harry came early this year and got me a nikon camera on sale at target. once i feel comfortable enough using it, i'll start posting new food porn pics. i'm working at detention this sunday, and i use my down time at that job to utilize the enormous industrial sized kitchen to make meals to take home and freeze. i'm feeling real experimental and will probably make some sort of vegan latkes, persimmon pudding, and butternut squash lasagna. yep, you heard me right. squash lasagna.

btw, thanks for all the love and support. i'm doing much better and at more of a place of acceptance about clairisse's passing. i'm grateful for all my friends, family, my bloggin' buddies, and the PPK. i can't imagine going through this alone, and y'all have helped out so much.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

on the mend


hey vegan bloggin' buddies:


thanks for the tons o' love. i'm still hurting pretty bad. i bounce back and forth from feeling okay to being a complete faucet face. normally, i would distract myself with taking pictures of awesome food i've made but a) my camera died and b) i haven't felt like cooking.


i had google ad sense on my blog for a week or so, and took it off because all it showed were stupid assed diet ads. i thought the ad sense would advertise cool vegan things since this is a vegan blog, but i guess i was wrong. i apologize that you had to even look at them. i drew the line when the ad sense said something about "oprah's secret weight loss plan." gross. not only do i hate diets, but i hate oprah. i know hate isn't a very vegan sentiment, but good lord--have you ever met anyone so self absorbed?


perhaps i'll get a new camera and be back in the swing of things. again, thanks for all the good vibes. i realize clairisse's death will take a while to get over, and that there will always be a part of me that will be sad about it.


xo,

jen

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

grieving


last night i had to do one of the hardest things i've ever had to do. i had to let go of one of my closest friends for the past 15 years, ms. clairisse von twittletoes.

my eyes burn from crying. i can't fucking sleep. i've been up since 5:15am and i feel guilty for the 3.25 hours of sleep i've managed to get. there are too many words to describe how i'm feeling at this moment. the vet was super cool. he explained everything to me as he was euthanizing her, and i was able to hold her and love her as she fell asleep.

this cat was a present given to me in 1993 when i made a decision to stop drinking. she has been with me through every move, job change, hook-up, break-up, illness, hiring, firing--everything. she was an incredibly outgoing cat that would march right up to a complete stranger, jump on their lap, and insist that she smell their mouth to say hello. if the person didn't comply, she would gently head butt the individual until they submitted to her will. she knew when a human being was suffering and would crawl right into the lap of the injured or depressed and stay there until the crying stopped. she played with toys like she was a kitten. she was known to engage in 'stunt eating' when she wasn't pleased with the contents of her food bowl. she was amazing.

and she will be missed in perpetuity.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

TGIAF (thank g-d it ain't friday's)

TGIJ- (thank g-d it's jewbaccas!) you should really click on this photo to appreciate the awesomeness...
artichoke dip with deli olives, kalamata olive bread, and yellow bell peppers
i've only been to a TGIF once (in pregan days, of course) and it was gross. the only sit down chain place i've ever really liked was applebee's but since going vegan i find their fare just as revolting. anyway, the TGIF in bloomington endured a scandal a couple years back: one of the prep cook's fingertips was cut off and ended up in someones salad, no shit. there isn't a link to the story because it conveniently disappeared. gross, eh? so my husband and i have called them TGI Fingers. and yes, i laughed like a teenager as i typed that.

this recipe is for the awesome hot artichoke dip from yer pregan days made into a kick assed vegan version. i promise you there are no fingers in this, but you might be tempted to lick your own:

jewbacca's okeydokeyartichokey dip:
  • 3/4 c. follow yer heart monterey jack style cheez, grated
  • 1/2 c. veganaise
  • 2 cloves of garlic (use a garlic press)
  • 2 to 3 small zucchinis (shredded with a cheez grater) OR use 1 pkg of frozen thawed chopped spinach. make sure all the water is drained.
  • 1 heaping T of crushed red pepper
  • 1 t bragg's
  • 1 small jar of artichoke hearts
  • 1/4 c vegan parmesan

assembly:
  • preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9x9 casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.
  • run your food processor on pulse with the artichoke hearts-(juice and all), veganaise, red pepper.
  • mix the artichoke blend with the shredded cheeze, zucchini, and bragg's
  • bake for 35 minutes. this should get nice and bubbly.
  • top with vegan parmesan and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

pairs well with raw veggies and specialty breads.

Friday, December 5, 2008

rubbing me the raw way

jicima and carrot salad with fresh cut mangoes
i was starving 20 minutes after i ate this.


silly fear of mine, i'm afraid of cooking raw food. yeah, you heard me right RAW FOOD. redonkulous, eh? raw food is so awesome and the name implies no cooking. what could be more fun? a poke in the eye with a sharp stick! (making voice of triumph the insult comic dog) i kid, i kid--i make joke for you!
i'm reading raw food, real world: 100 recipes to get the glow. i've been inspired by some of my vegan blogging buddies to try more raw foods. the book is pretty awesome, but makes me furious with jealousy because i'm super effin' broke and can't afford to buy some of the food, equipment, and other things a nice vegan/raw kitchen has. i found myself with a case of the i wannas...i wanna food dehydrator, i wanna vitamix, i wanna mandolin, i wanna have access to unlimited young coconuts, i wanna pantry full of awesome ingredients.
so, make do with what ya got. i scored some jicima at the food pantry. sliced it up, paired it with some shredded carrots, and tossed it in some lime juice and grapefruit juice. voila, very basic raw salad. i'm eating it for lunch and i really regret not getting bolder with some spices at home. i think a dash of cumin, cinnamon, and chili powder would have made it better.
i'm a sucker for lara bars too. after reading jo's recent blog entry, i think i might give the food-in-bar form a DIY try, of course. i'm just wondering if it'll be cost effective. $30 of ingredients will make how many bars? i was an art major, not a math major. if it doesn't work out, i'm ace at food in cookie and muffin form. i realize that isn't raw though. so i'll eat the batter or dough. guffaw.
another raw thing: eating that way in the summer months makes perfect sense-(smoothies, salads, and juice oh my!), but how do you enjoy raw eatin' in the winter? cold soup? no thanks. i am committed to being open minded about it though because as a vegan you have to have an open mind if you're going to survive.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

we've got a thing that's called tater love...

i kid you not, this photo wasn't photo shopped. i was scrubbing some taters and noticed an unusual pattern in the skin. i thought it was rotten so i peeled it away. lo and behold i was presented with a lovely heart. is my heart in better shape because of my vegetable consumption? i'd like to think so, but i think the message was this: veggie love is earthly love. ever heard of tikkun olam? it's a mitzvah about healing the world, and us jews are commanded to leave this place better than we found it. for me, being a vegan is a huge part of tikkun olam.

my regular camera died-(RIP), so i've been relying on older food porn photos or using my cheap assed cell phone camera. the picture doesn't do this dish any justice, and i'm mad you can't see the gorgeous, bright, and appetite inducing colors. this was a really good dish of mustard greens mixed with corn, tomatoes, and curry spices. i paired it with some simple broiled tofu. it was tasty, but i don't have a recipe. most things i make are on the fly and i should really start writing down what i put in them so i can replicate the flavors and pass on dish ideas to those who like to use recipes.

Monday, December 1, 2008

meek vegans suffer


Pictured above: tofurkey, cranberry sauce, roasted brussells sprouts, green beans, a microwaved red bliss potato, sweet potatoes, and my "miso happy" gravy mixed with the tofurkey mushroom gravy. in the background are fresh bananas and pears that my 14 month old son was not going to eat, so I happily ate them.



In the book "Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World" the authors discuss about how meek vegans suffer, and that a vegan cannot assume that the omni-world will take care of their dietary needs. Making sure your vegan ass is covered during the holidays is super important. I struggled a bit at my in-law's home during the holidays, but I stood my ground. Just look at that plate. Doesn't it look awesome? No animals were harmed while I engaged in some serious un-turkey day nomming.

The struggle was this: we were headed to CO for Thanksgiving. My in-law asked me for a shopping list, and I happily submitted it to her. I was very specific on brand names and where to find these items. I was surprised and super grateful that she was willing to do this for me, because I was honestly willing to do the shopping myself. She purchased some vegan items for me, but it wasn't what I had asked for at all. Again I was super grateful, but how can you can you make a vegan persimmon pudding without earth balance?

I went to the local food co-op and bought said EB and some tofutti cream cheese, no problem. Then came Thanksgiving Day. I was able to get some grean beans to cook with my tofurkey, but when I asked about the presence of milk and butter in the mashed potatoes, she (this is my interpretation) balked and said, "of course." She added, "I was a vegetarian for 20 years and I avoided obvious meat but wasn't so picky about other things." and I stood there quiet for a moment and asked for my own red potato to microwave. I didn't think it was a big deal, but I felt I was treated like it was an inconvenience. I asked about butter in the brussels sprouts and the sweet potatoes. Both were okay, but I could hear the tension in her voice as I asked about the ingredients. "I guess you won't be having rolls either because I made them with powdered milk." Another relative came and brought organic egg nog. "Oh, you won't be having this? Some of my friends take eating vacations just for the holidays." I felt a frothy mixture of anger and sadness because I could have done all the shopping and cooking for myself by myself and not have been such a burden. No, I don't want to take a 'vacation' from my veganism. Lesson learned: even when offered assistance, I will still make my food ahead of time and have it Fed-Exed to the family vacation destination. Or better yet, relax and stay at home with other vegans and let my husband and child hang out with family.

To my vegan blogging buddies I know you can relate, but I want to say something to other omnivores who are trying to be helpful and supportive to other vegans: We sincerely appreciate your effort to help us but WE DON'T WANT BUTTER, MILK, CHEESE, HONEY, OR EGGS IN OUR SIDE DISHES. THEY AREN'T VEGAN IF THEY ARE SERVED THAT WAY. I know it it just seems like vegans are being pains in the ass about this, but we've chosen to be vegan for a reason. While I really enjoy the taste of meat, eggs, cheese, honey, and butter--I can no longer eat these items in good conscience knowing what I know about the factory farming industry. Even "organic" farms abuse their animals. I know that doesn't make sense but that's farming for you. "Happy" organic dairy farms artificially inseminate cows to get them to lactate for human consumption. Once a baby cow is born the cow is often taken from the mother, given formula, and the cow's milk is kept for human use. If the baby cow is a girl, she's pimped off to become a milk maker. If the baby cow is a boy, he goes off to Bovine University as a veal calf or beef cattle. When a momma cow is too old to make milk she is killed, and it doesn't matter if she's raised at a nice organic farm or living in a modern Auschwitz factory farm, it's still murder. The poultry and egg industry is worse. Yes, even "nice" organic hatcheries. This is why I don't want to consume these products. I believe that animals were not meant for us to use and abuse. If you are an omnivore that wants to be supportive of a vegan you must respect this, even if it seems like we're being a pain in the ass. After all, some of us try to be respectful of your odd eating habits.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

happy unturkey day!

hey readers, i'll be off the intertubes for a few days because of the holiday. we're going to CO! don't worry, i'll be back with posts of some great unturkey day food. i hope y'all will do the same! for now, i'll leave you with this picture of some baby wild turkeys. we have tons of these critters running around our neighborhood. the adults aren't as cute, but it's clear that all of them deserve to live.

kisses!

jen

Monday, November 24, 2008

whipped topping and butterflies

i received an e-mail from a reader that asked for clarification about my vegan whipped cream claim. yes, it really exists. yes, it contains no dairy whatsoever--just a bunch of questionable chemicals, which are vegan unless i haven't done my home work correctly. i'll double check with my animal ingredients a-z book tonight. the allergen information specifies this by stating that it contains soy. if it contained milk it would specify that in the allergen information because people get really cooky about their allergies and could/should sue companies that don't print this info on their labels. food allergies are real, yo! the brand name "classic cream" also makes a real whipped cream that does have dairy, but the product i found at the food bank is whipped topping. i hope none of you are confused. believe you me, i looked at the level several times before putting this in my bag.

in other blogging news, i've been awarded ye olde butterfly award by vegan view. (((dramatic award acceptance sobbing))) i'd like to thank G-d, the academy, and my momma.... seriously, i'm flattered someone thinks the blog is great, because i occasionally become plagued with self-doubt and wonder if i should axe this project. after all, i don't have a book coming out and oprah doesn't want to mimic my eating habits. i'd be lying if i said i wasn't a little jealous of my blogging buddies that get a nice patch of traffic. sigh.
so following the butterfly award rules, here are some blogs that i'd like to recognize. NOTE: a couple of these aren't vegan related, i just happen to really like them.
tofu mom- she has an awesome vegan blog, is on a mission to veganize omni comfort food, and takes the time to give little stories when she makes an entry. i really appreciate how she talks about being a vegan parent in her blog and clearly cares for her beautiful daughters. back in the day, i think i would have been a much better vegetarian and stayed a veggie if i had her as a maternal role model. then again, i think we're the same age, so she'd be my peer.
vegan crunk-i love the picture of bianca in the frumpy dress and wig, she posts really good food porn pics, and i can't get enough of her southern anecdotes.
CCV- this girl is ADORABLE. i'm really impressed with her cupcake decorating skills, and she shows pictures of all her meals. she is really good at representing all the vegan food groups, and i have never met someone who is SO in LOVE WITH GRAINS. she's really opened my mind. since coming across her blog, i've never looked at cereal the same.
random hag- i met miki many years ago via an ex of mine. she was a vegan warrior way back then and she's still one. her recipes really rock. she more than likely doesn't remember me, or is actively choosing to not remember me, because i was a major asshole when i met her.

nico's eats- nicole is a really good friend of mine and a fellow bloomingtonian. her site isn't vegan, but she shares my passion for really good food and does make a considerable amount of vegan and vegetarian items for an omni food blog.
whisk it good- this used to be called whisk like a motherfucker, then changed to something else, now it's whisk it good. i haven't known mari for very long, but i really have come to like her! she is a bloomingtonian (for now) but is moving to MI very soon. i'll be sad when she's gone. she is a real demon in the kitchen and makes tasty veggie/vegan morsels. in addition to her mad cooking skills, she is a roller derby girl, and musician! can you say triple threat?
i wish i could put all of you on my list as butterfly award recipients, but i just don't have the time! do know that i wouldn't put you on my roll if i didn't like you, and i come across new blogs that i really like every day. i'm so grateful for the vegan blogging community, because your love and support has really helped open my mind and enjoy my new eating choices.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

chili chili bang bang


my vinnie makes a mean vegan chili. i couldn't tell you the recipe, because that's classified information and i don't really know the recipe. just trust me when i say it's vegan. i like to top my chili with guac, soy sour cream, and some frank's red hot sauce. i also like to take chili and make what i call a "diablo dog"-(something i heard once on Strangers With Candy). Here's the recipe for the diablo dog, sorry I don't have a photo.

diablo dog

1 vegan hot dog
1 vegan hot dog bun, buttered with vegan marg.

topping:
vegan chili
frank's red hot
horseradish
chopped jalapenos
chopped onions
dill relish
mustid (hot if ya got it)
ketchup
fakin' bacon bitz
cheez sauce from vcon

dee-reck-she-oh-nays: cook yer vegan wiener and toast that buttered bun-(GOD that sounds dirty!) place wiener in bun and top with the aforementioned condiments. this will be messy, so you should have some chips to scoop up anything that falls off the dog. tastes great with a cold root beer, or beer-beer if you are into that sort of thing.

triple whipple whoops!

hey P.I.T.A.V. readers: on my way home from getting groceries i realized that i should have brought my cocoa recipe to work with me, because i forgot a couple of ingredients. the first one was turbinado! how can you have delish hot cocoa without some sort of sweetener? was i high? no. just another case of "i can remember it on my own" failed miserably. the second ingredient is a pinch of clove powder. i made the corrections in the "outta this world" entry.

sincerely,

jen (aka jewbacca)

ps-i scored some vegan reddi whip at the food pantry! mostly chemicals, but still vegan. YAY! brand name is classic cream whipped topping.

outta this world

it seems that dedicated readers of this blog want to hear about my UFO sighting. i know it sounds cool, but it is kind of embarrassing to talk about because part of me feels like it never happened and the part of me that knows it happened recognizes the stigmatization that accompanies the experience. for the record, i'm not one of those people that get all crazy about area 51, nor am i a sci-fi geek. i'm just a white chick from the midwest.
anyway, i was either 18 or 19 at the time. i hadn't been drinking and i wasn't high. it was night time and i was driving my brother home. we were on one of the back roads outside three rivers, mi. i think it was fall. out of the complete darkness there was a very low flying aircraft--it was much too large to be an airplane and the lights were much too bright. the light was blinding. then it was gone. my brother and i looked at each other and said nothing. i have no idea if he remembers the incident, but i can't erase it from my mind. every now and then when i'm driving alone at night i hope i'll get to see another one.
that's the story. now go have some hot cocoa!

jewbacca's outta this world hot cocoa
1 c. your favorite non-dairy milk (i like to use home made cashew milk)
2T your favorite non-dairy creamer (cinnamon or hazelnut works well)
3 t. cocoa powder
1T + 1t. of turbinado, agave nectar, or maple syrup
pinch of clove powder
1t cinnamon

whisk everything together and cook in a saucepan over med heat. serve immediately in your favorite mug.
if you haven't made cashew milk, it's pretty easy. i take 3/4 c. unsalted cashews 1 1/2 c. water, 1/2 t. vanilla, and simmer in a sauce pan for a few minutes so the nuts are tender-(heh heh, tender nuts). then i put it in a blender and puree the shit out of it. pour through a strainer and store in the fridge for a week. this makes very thick rich milk. you'll probably get some stuff that settles, so remember to stir or shake your milk before using. use the cashew pulp as an add in for gravy, lentil loaf, or veggie burgers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

yay for carbs!


at work the first friday of the month is 'free food friday' and the company buys everyone lunch. this last friday's lunch was from bucetto's. i ordered the greek calzone (olives, peppers, red onions, and spinach) sans feta. the thing was huge! so big, that it didn't fit in the frame of the photo. it was carberific. it was the size of one of my butt cheeks.
this got me thinking. it seems most ethnic cuisines have their own versions of the hot pocket. i realized that thought process was pretty arrogant, flipped that thought around, and figured that no, it was america that bastardized really awesome cuisine by making the hot pocket.
question: what's your favorite portable food?
ps: thanks for all the commenting love. after discussing this debacle with my spouse, i probably won't go over each and every entry to find all the hot links-(between all 3 of my blogs that would be a TON of work), i'll just quit doing it. again, i didn't know what i was doing was wrong.

Friday, November 14, 2008

quick update

okay, okay--i learned what 'hotlinking' is and how using someone's bandwidth is like taking money from them. needless to say, i have a ton of editing to do. i feel like such a schmuck.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

evening at the improv burrito


i made this burrito last friday night. i scored some yams, chipotle peppers, and salsa verde at the food pantry. i took some tortillas and made a burrito filled with yams, said peppers, and some pinto beans i had in the freezer. grilled that burrito good and topped with tofutti sour cream and salsa verde. holy cow that was delicious! i shall call it the "vegannifer" after well, vegannifer because she is notorious for doing amazing things with the contents of her freezer.

my fellow vegan blogging friends, i recently learned a harsh lesson. apparently i've been posting pictures incorrectly on my blogs-(with the exception of my own pictures). that pretty baked potato from a few posts ago was hot linked-(i don't even know what that means because i am so un-tech savvy) and the person's site it belonged to sent me a message that i construed as kind of shitty. so i posted a different picture of a potato, and continued to happily blog-(posting the adorable pic of the squirrel on skis) and i received an e-mail from this person telling me i was still doing it wrong, and i still thought they were being shitty. that's the problem with the inter tubes...you can't see the person face-to-face to know if they're being shitty or not. anyway, it put me on the defense because i get embarrassed when i make mistakes, and i get angry when i feel someone is rubbing my nose in the pee-pee carpet about it. i thanked her for bringing the information to my attention and suggested she channel her energies elsewhere, because i can't imagine i'm the only one in the entire world that has done this. i don't want to have to go back over every entry i've posted in every blog i write and change all this. isn't it enough to know and understand my mistake and commit to not doing it again? how would you respond to this? why do people waste their time policing other people's blogs?

happy friday. now go make an improv burrito!

good lord....again?


Didn't I mention that I grew up as a fat kid and have never been good at tag? I’ve been Double tagged by Vegannifer and Veganview for a fun meme that asks me to highlight random facts about myself. Here are the rules for the meme:

Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself. If I'm double tagged, does that mean I have to share 14 things? Since I'm so awesomely random, I'll do it.


Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links.
Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.


Here we go!


1. I went to high school with another girl with the same first, middle, and last name as me. It made life very confusing for both of us.


2. I have seen a UFO, only once. There wasn't an abduction or an anal probe.


3. There are many vegans who say that they are grossed out by meat, eggs, and cheese. I am sad to say that I actually like the taste of all three. I became vegan because I care about animals and wanted to be connected with the foods I eat. I can no longer with good conscience eat meat, eggs, and cheese knowing what has happened to animals to get them to my plate. It's the slaughter of innocent animals that gross me out, not the end product. I know, I know--I'm a hypocrite. At least I'm a hypocrite that knows she's one, and I believe I'm living in the solution by abstaining from animal products.


4. My hair color isn't natural.


5. I do not smoke, drink, or do drugs--and do not care to be around people who do, especially smokers. I used to smoke, but since quitting have found myself to be severely allergic to it.


6. My favorite band in the whole wide world is wEEn. They are masters of taking a genre and making it their own.


7. I think Seth Green is the sexiest man alive. I'm sure this bothers my husband. As for women, I think Beth Ditto is the sexiest woman alive.


8. I think it should be law that every sad news story needs to be followed by footage of good news. For example: "150 people died in an earthquake in San Fransisco...and now here's a shot of a squirrel on water skis." and "Another GM plant closed today laying off as many as 85 people...wait--this just in, a little girl in Poughkeepsie just uttered her first words: I love you!"


9. Becoming vegan has made me seriously consider starting a vegan B&B. I don't know when this will happen, but I assure you it will.


10. I just sent a letter to my favorite doughnut company, sweetwater's and asked them to consider making a vegan doughnut. I received a very positive response. No final decisions have been made.


11. I failed driver's ed twice before passing.


12. Gentile funerals creep me out, yet I can't stop watching Six Feet Under.


13. I think I'm addicted to sugar, and probably need an intervention.


14. I'm the first person in my family to graduate from high school.


who shall I tag?









Wednesday, November 12, 2008

yes, i want to go there!


ask 10 vegans the same question and chances are you'll get at least 6-7 different answers. i want to draw attention to the elephant in the living room and ask my fellow vegans a few questions. please answer honestly, i won't judge you. i just want to hear your opinions.

1. sugar, do you use regular refined sugar? occasionally i do, but since going vegan i only buy turbinado or organic sugar. it's expensive! with all the baking i do-(about 2 cups worth a week), i'm considering going back to the good ol' white sugar.

2. honey, do you use it? i've done my best to stay away from things with honey in them, but have occasionally gone to a friend's house where they've made dinner for us and the dish has honey in it.

3. why does vegetarian cheese have to have milk protein in it-(i don't use it), and why does vegan cheese cost so damn much? i hardly use vegan cheese for that very reason. if i'm desperate, then i'll buy some follow your heart, but i found in my pregan days i was far too reliant on drowning everything in ranch dressing or cheese.

4. what about personal care products? what if you get a cosmetic item that's free? my family isn't in the financial position to afford vegan ingredients for food AND vegan personal care items. i use things that aren't tested on animals, and i'm still going to be using some items that i've had from my pregan days. any suggestions on cheapie items-(specifically baby products).

5. what about gossip? i don't think gossip is vegan at all. i say this because i was driven away from the vegan way the first time because a) i became vegan for the wrong reasons, b) i didn't have a good vegan cooking education, and c) i hung around some very self-righteous vegan douche bags that lived for making other people-(including other vegans) miserable. i still find the vegan community to be fairly cliquey, but i'm pretty happy with my blogging buddies.

6. many people view veganism as "radical" or "going too far." what aren't you willing to do as a vegan? for instance, i'm not willing to do crazy protesting things that would get me jailed and taken away from my family. i'm not willing to push for veganism in my family-(i've been given the blessing to raise our son vegetarian, but not vegan) so much that i would divorce my spouse because he isn't vegan.

discuss. thanks for reading and i look forward to your responses.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

what can you do with a....




...baked potato? during vegan MOFO, i've listed baking potatoes in bulk as a wonderful way to have food on hand when you don't wanna cook. when you spend your special day during the week to cook other foods, take an extra 15 minutes to scrub, rub, wrap, and bake some taters. go out on a limb and bake sweet potatoes too. they're really versatile! i like to do the following with them:



  • eat them with toppings. have an official baked potato bar night and fix up some toppings: soy sour cream, gravy, chili, onions, facon bacon bits, caramelized onions, jalapeno peppers, roasted red peppers, cheez sauce, use your imagination! when you use sweet potatoes, you can make sweet toppings: brown sugar n' butter, vegan marshmallow topping, pineapple sauce topping from VWAV. GO CRAZY!



  • grate them through a cheez grater and pan fry for some good hash browns or cube them up and pan fry for some awesome american fries. i use the following recipe for home fries: ms. dash, caramelized onions, and facon bacon bits. get 'em good n' crispaaay. top with some frank's red hot and ketchup.



  • chop them up and add broccoli or asparagus with them in a casserole dish. mix some cheez sauce from v'con and top with french's french fried onions--voila, yer rockin' the casserole!



  • returning to the cheez grater: grate a cooled baked potato and mix with some chopped onion, spices, flour and just enough plain soy milk to hold the mixture together. drop spoon fulls into a non stick pan with a pool of oil. they should look like little bird's nests. latkes! for those of you who don't know what a latke is, it's a potato pancake.



  • cubed up as an add in to stews or soups. then you don't have to wait as long for your stew/soup to cook.



  • sliced up in long wedges, bathed in a splash of olive oil/bragg's, and dredged in a mixture of ground up dry cereal, paprika, ms. dash, garlic powder, and cornmeal. bake at 350 for 20 minutes. mojos! (((imitating billy bob thorton's voice from slingblade))) "some people call them steak fries, but i call them mojos."





Friday, November 7, 2008

it's all gravy!

i have found a substitute for ranch dressing. i now drown my joys, sorrows, and dinner in this fabulous miso gravy. pictured above is the aforementioned goodness covering some napa cabbage with onions and potatoes, a home made red bean burger, and some kale with basil dressing.

i found the dressing on some medical web site of all places. this chinese doctor was discussing the heath benefits of miso. it's a fermented soy/rice product that has a distinctive salty flavor and has beneficial bacteria that will make your tummy and soul happy. i made some changes because i didn't have any garlic or onions around at the time-(the original recipe calls for sauteed garlic and onions), and i'm sure they would have made it even more awesome. here's my version. feel free to tweak it to your own liking.

jewbacca's miso happy gravy

3T white miso
3T whole wheat flour, and an additional T to thicken post-miso
3T nooch (that's what us vegans call nutritional yeast)
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 1/4 c. water (or i imagine plain soy milk would make it richer)
1 1/2 T ms. dash (or generic ms. dash is fine)

heat the oil in a sauce pan. toss in the flour and nooch. brown it a little. pour the water and ms. dash in and whisk to thicken. keep on low heat and babysit your gravy until it gets thick. take the gravy off the heat then add miso. you don't want to cook the hell out of it post-miso because you'll destroy the nutritive properties of it. (nutritious gravy? get the fuck outta here!) add the last T of flour to thicken, but you can omit it if you want. goes great over everything. you'll be mainlining this shit in less than a week.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

all i want for chanukkah...

let me preface this with the following: this ain't no food post. it is a rambling of some vegan shit i want. really. bad.

you know how it is in this country--after halloween has come and gone, every one is promoting the hell outta christmas. well since us jews don't have something as cool as santa, frosty, and rudolph-(we just produce all those awesome shows) we have to play up our lame ass choliday of chanukkah and pretend that it's just as cool as yours. eight nights of candle lighting and fried tater pancakes compared to an explosion of animatronic sparkly lawn ornaments, endless cookies, and a fat man that leaves you presents? the heebs just don't measure up. over the years i've come to making a list and becoming a leech that sucks off the the teat of x-mas. i call the list my chanukkah harry list.

and here's what i want:









cowhugger teeshirt from herbivore.com




bad assed shoes from mooshoes.com












books:
Vegan-a-go-go by Sarah Oh-So-Hot Kramer
Veganomicon by Isa Fuckin' Chandra Moskowitz



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ooops!




actually it wasn't an oops. it was a slip. i couldn't help myself. actually, i could have but i didn't.


i took some non-vegan candy from my spouse's candy bowl AND ATE IT! specifically 2 reese's cups and a snack sized butterfinger. i'm so embarassed. it wasn't worth it.


does this mean i have to turn in my card?


have any of you had a vegan slip?

Monday, November 3, 2008

food review monday

i'm hoping i can try enough commercially made vegan products to do a review each monday. today's feature is the Kashi Black Bean Mango frozen meal. it was pretty good, but (as i say with all frozen meals) i think i can make a version that is better. if you're traveling where there isn't a vegan vittle in sight, taking one of these along would be a smart choice. and i love the grain combination. it's a nice change from just having something over a bed of rice.

i'm bummed that a company like kashi makes meals that have animal products in them. if they are a company that is truly dedicated to healthy living, why would they peddle omni food? i think i'll write them a letter and thank them for providing vegans with options and encourage them to come up with more meals that don't utilize animal products rather than bitching about them selling food with meat in it. it's all about the approach when writing a thank-you letter. i can't tell you how many times i've seen comment cards at co-ops and restaurants that slam the establishment for what they fail to do instead of what they are doing right. i think those kinds of letters make us vegans look like whiny negative assholes.

with that being said, i urge y'all to write one thank-you note to a food company, restaurant, or store for carrying a vegan item. spread the love!

Friday, October 31, 2008

MOFO closing comments

leggo my EGO!

all in all, i think i did well seeing how this was my first MOFO experience. sure, i couldn't get the friggin' logo to display. i learned a ton and feel even more connected to my fellow vegan blogging buddies.


one of the best things i love about being vegan is the improved relationship i've made with food. i've become more adventurous, and much, much, pickier about what i eat. i like cooking for myself and my family. i don't like to eat many frozen meals or get fast food-(there aren't many vegan options anyway). i like knowing that i'm taking care of my body, saving an animal's life, and reducing my carbon footprint with my dietary choices. i remember being afraid of eating certain things because of a fear of getting fat. i don't worry about that much anymore. being vegan isn't a diet--it's a frame of mind and a design for better living.


i say all of this knowing that i'm just preaching to the choir because most of you are vegans. but maybe--just maybe a curious vegetarian or omni has stumbled across this blog and feels that they might try to implement these ideas into their lives. that would be totally awesome. i'd like more people to go vegan, but realistically this won't happen. for now, i'll just settle for others trying a vegan dish, or reducing the amount of animal products they consume.


(devilishly tapping fingers together) then it's just a matter of time before they realize that they're hooked!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

it's pot pie season!

i was raised on a cornucopia of processed foods, and one of those foods was the pot pie. back then i think you could get 5 for $1. we'd pick our pies, carve our initials in the frozen crust, stick them in the oven, wait for what seemed like forever for them to cook, then screamed as our taste buds were burned off by the lava hot contents. good times!

this week was lazy week at our home and i needed some vegan frozen items for lunches. since it's getting colder outside, i felt it was appropriate pot pie weather. i saw some amy's dinners on sale at kroger's and picked this one just to eat and review it for the blog. like so many of amy's dinners i found it to be adequate. the crust is whole wheat, but dry. IMO, if you're gonna eat a pot pie, the crust should be nice and full of buttery-like-flaky goodness. not so here. the insides were good and needed no salt. it was satisfying, but not so awesome that i'd want to purchase it again. it just made me want to make one myself!
the second item in my lunch was a goodbelly shot. i scored two 4 packs at the food bank. i was excited to find a pro biotic drink that contained no dairy! i believe they are also allergen free as well. i have the blueberry acai and the strawberry rose hip flavor. the blueberry was nice and tart. i haven't tried the strawberry one just yet. the containers are tiny--just little plastic shot glasses of digestive health, which is a nice alternative to grabbing a cookie, which sadly i'm usually inclined to do.
i have no pictures for this third review, but kashi has added another vegan meal to their frozen food line. the rancheros beans were yummy and filling and make a nice to-go item if you're someone who doesn't have time to cook. we bought this one on sale too. i would never buy any of these items at the regular price....it's just too expensive!
MOFO question: excuse me if i'm repeating myself, but what are your favorite frozen quick fixes?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi..

sorry i didn't post yesterday. i had one of those day long headaches and just wanted to come home and go to sleep. do i have the beginnings of a cold? i don't know for sure, but i can be proactive by making some killer soup. like most of you out there, sometimes i just don't want to take a ton of time cooking the perfect soup. i want simple.

there will be no food porn shot of said soup. it looks disgusting. it does taste absolutely yummy and is super easy to prepare. you'll be done in less than 15 minutes. so, without further aideu:

Jewbacca's Looks Like Barf but Tastes Like Heaven Bean Soup

1 can refried beans
1 can water
1/2 c. nooch
1/2 t. wet mustard
3T Bragg's
2T lime juice

empty the beans in a pan, fill can with water, and dump in pan. add other ingredients and whisk together. cook like soup-duh. i topped mine with salsa and soy sour cream, but i'm sure this would also taste good with fakin' bacon bits in it. use your imagination, but i guarantee the end result will still look like throw-up.

happy eatin' y'all!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

spoon fed

i love the camera on my cheap ass cell phone. it gives me the chance to take pictures of food porn surprises. the pic doesn't really do this dish any justice, though. i went to the runcible spoon for lunch today, and i didn't have much money. i ordered one of their "sides" from the menu...home fries with veggies for $4.20-(get it?) the waitress came out with a deep dish plate containing what appeared to be a mountain of seasoned home fries in a tasty sauce with tons of roasted veggies on top. i didn't think i'd be able to eat it all, but i did and felt like they should have awarded me with a teeshirt that said something like, "i can't believe i ate the whole thing!" my whole bill ended up being $7 because i wanted a decaf and tipped the waitress. FYI- the runcible spoon is an awesome place to go get a coffee, but you really should go there just to see their bathroom. they have big goldfish living in the bathtub!

Friday, October 24, 2008

where can you find vegans?

no, angela lansbury isn't a vegan...but she's gonna help us solve a mystery!

after my accidental potluck post, chocolate covered vegan presented me with an interesting question: where can you find other vegans when most of your friends are omni? fear not, armed with this autographed picture of ms. lansbury, i can help!

1) women's music festivals. especially if the word woman is spelled as "womyn". point in case: michigan womyn's music festival. http://www.michfest.com/ they only fix vegetarian food and have vegan options. i don't go to that festival any more because they have a really stupid policy that only allows you to attend if you are a "womyn born womyn", which means that you have to be born with the "proper" female equipment, if you catch my drift. i am a biological woman, but have many friends who are not and don't think that is fair at all, so i protest with my pocketbook.


2) speaking of protests, that's another place you can find vegans. think about it: the world bank, the RNC, anywhere good ol' humanist hippie gutter punk protesters are, there's bound to be vegan vittles. if you don't feel like cleaning your plate, you can throw your leftovers to the po-po.


3) college towns. live near one? there's always a vegan constituent there. try looking for the campus animal rights group.


4) anarchist or GLBTQ bookstores


5) a potluck at a unitarian universalist church or a reform synagogue: there are so many people at these places with obscure food allergies everything is labeled and you will find something meat, egg, and dairy free. my synagogue only allows kosher vegetarian/vegan food because it's easier to observe the laws of kashrut that way.
6) the city of portland, OR is one giant vegan. i haven't made it to mecca yet. shame, shame, shame on ME!
so there you go. if you're vegan, chances are you already know this stuff. if you aren't then happy hunting!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

accidental potluck



today we had an accidental potluck at work. i brought some green beans with homemade plum sauce and some butternut squash soup from VWAV to share with my co-workers. my boss (and inspiration for getting back to the veg way) brought some curried lentil and sweet potato over rice dish with the same intentions. BLAMO! potluck happened in the mail order department. this pic isn't the best but it looks great, huh?

so go do it...right NOW. go have an accidental potluck. get those dishes sittin' in the fridge that you couldn't possibleh eat by yer lonesome and go share it with a couple o' peeps who have the same thing. the results could be interesting!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

i croak, you croak, we all croak for artichokes!

i've had the marinated artichoke hearts you get at the store a few times in my life time, but i had never tried to eat an actual artichoke until 7 or 8 months ago. we were at my friend vicki's and she had made some for us to eat. i was thinking it must taste like the tops of asparagus because that's what they kind of look like--abnormally large tops of asparagus. i tried to eat it, but i couldn't do it. i'm sure she sighed as i painfully tried to eat a few leaves, gave up, and left the beautiful veggie sitting on the plate. i couldn't understand why she kept sucking on her leaves and throwing them in a bowl. i was too embarrassed to ask.

then a week later i saw more artichokes at the food bank. i picked them up and looked up an article on how to properly cook and eat an artichoke. i felt my face turn red hot as i realized i wasn't eating them right and that i had wasted such a beautiful, tasty, and expensive treat. my friends mari and tony came over that night to eat with us and mari showed me how to nom an artichoke. i learned that the artichoke isn't a vegetable per se, but it is a giant thistle! since then i've become a born-again okey dokey artichokey head. my favorite dipping sauce is some veganaise mixed with balsamic vinegar and ms. dash. pictured above i used the tahini dressing from VWAV and it was also supremely righteous. you can also trim and eat the stems.

my favorite part is getting to the choke. it looks so obscene! i like scooping the chokey part out and noshing the bottom-(gosh, that sounds so dirty as i type this!). the bottom is completely different from the flesh on the leaves. it melts in your mouth!

MOFO question: what food item have you tried that you didn't really know how to prepare or eat? what did you do? do you like it now?

MOFO survey part deux

look at me, here i am in all my glory talking to a customer. now you know what i do for a living.
anyway, here's the second MOFO survey:
1. If you have to choose between locally grown or organic, which do you usually choose?
most of the time, locally grown=organic. we usually get what we can afford. i score some amazing shit at the food pantry.
2. Favorite way to prepare potatoes:
a few months ago, i would have said "fries", but today i liked baked potatoes.
3. Do you press your tofu before preparing/cooking it (if you eat soy)?
yes. i don't own a tofu press, so i sandwich it between 2 big plates and place a big ol' heavy can of veggies or my aerobic weights on top and let it sit for a while, drain, and repeat until it's nice and dry.
4. Name your favorite recipe that is a tradition in your family:
my family tradition is alcoholism, so i didn't really have a favorite recipe growing up. my mom cooked with the following foods: hamburger, government cheese, SPAM, and veggies came from a can. i do get frequent hankerings for mashed potatoes with the skins on them.
5. Any food allergies?
i thought i was allergic to peanuts and tree nuts because of outbreaks of canker sores that i'd get in my mouth when i ate any products with said nuts in them. i was tested by an allergist and i'm not allergic, but she said i'm "intolerant", like people who are lactose intolerant. when i found that out i went on a week long peanut butter binge! i paid the price with a party of sores on my gums and one on the back of my throat. so looooong answer to short question.
6. When you want to go to a fancy dinner, where do you go?
i've only been to a couple 'fancy' places in my life. the most memorable was the blue nile ethiopian restaurant in detroit, mi. that ws the most amazing culinary experience i've ever had.
7. When you have a cold, what do you crave?
mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and in my pregan days hot n' sour soup.
8. What kind of water do you drink? (Filtered, spring, tap, etc.)
from the toilet. JK-cold tap water or tap filtered. i'm sure my ovaries are radioactive.
9. Name a flavor of soda you'd love to see:
i'm sure it exists but if they made a mexican chocolate soda, that would rock!
10. If the recipes you ate as a child were compiled into a cookbook, what would the title be?
SPAM-(Some Parts Are Meat) A Collection of Trailer Trash Favorites by Judy Fish
11. If you were allowed to grow one food that can't grow in your climate, what would it be?
Avocados
12. Favorite type of mushroom?
i like portobellos and morels-although i haven't had a morel in years.
13. Most frustrating part of your kitchen?
no counter space!
14. Last food you burned?
fronch toast i made this last weekend.
15. Usual response to a veg*n's favorite question, "But where do you get your protein?":
i actually don't get this question. i just get the typical "i couldn't go vegan because i'd miss cheese and eggs too much..." comment in which i reply, "well, a vegan diet isn't for everyone." because it isn't. there are always going to be some people who don't get it. it makes me a little sad.
16. If you were baking your own birthday cake today, what flavor would it be?
devil's food
17. Favorite brand of chocolate chips?
if money isn't an issue, tropical source. but we're broke and we get kroger valu-brand which is totally vegan.
18. You have $200 of your tax return reserved for Williams Sonoma- What do you buy?
who the fuck is williams sonoma? is he related to lillian vernon?
19. Do you plan your menus in advance? Any tips to share?
kind of. i write comments on recipes that i use with a grading system on how it rated with the family. i try not to repeat stuff and make use with what we have around the house or what we've scored at the food bank.
20. You have 3 minutes before you have to leave the house and you're starving- What do you eat?
i'll grab food in bar or smoothie form or have a glass of soy milk. i'm a grazer.
21. If Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, and Rachel Ray got into a fight, who would win?
i think paula deen would kill the two with her heart attack inducing cuisine, chop them up, dredge them in egg, fry them in butter, and then die from choking.
22. If you eat oatmeal, what do you add to it before serving?
turbinado, a pat of EB, and silk creamer
23. If you got to travel to one country and learn all the traditional dishes there, where would you go (ignore commitments in your current place of residence)?
India.
24. Favorite late night snack?
ice cream.
25. Favorite springtime food?
matzos-not because they're my favorite per se, it's just the food i associate with spring because of passover.
26. Favorite food-related magazine?
i don't subscribe to food magazines. i've read an issue or two of martha stewarts living mag and i enjoy the challenge of veganizing some of the food i see in there.
27. Which do you prefer: shoyu, tamari, conventional soy sauce, or Bragg's Aminos?
i love bragg's. patricia kind of creeps me out with her evangelical bible health philosophy.
28. What vegetable or fruit do you dislike the most?
beets are NASTY. so is okra.
29. Name a holiday food you look forward to all year long:
persimmon pudding
30. If you could convert anyone to veganism with your magic wand, who would you convert?
my spouse, because i love him and want him to be around for a long time. i think switching to a vegan diet would improve his health.

Monday, October 20, 2008

i've been tagged!


well, chelsea tagged me. i've never been very good at tag. who should i tag? when i was a child, i was a fat kid and couldn't run very fast so i could never tag anyone.

looketh at my freezer. as you can see there's some vegan representation, but you can also see the stuff my omni husband eats. on the bottom shelf in the plastic ware are all the frozen fruit concoctions that i use for smoothies. the keys are for my teething son.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

name this dish!

seriously readers--name this dish for me. it's one i like to make. i usually call it 'enchilada casserole', but i think it needs something with more zing. i was thinking maybe calling it "the chelsea" after chelsea of vegan mecca girl since she likes to make mexican stuff, but it occurred to me she might not want a dish named after her. it's super easy to make. place the following in a round deep casserole dish: layers of brown rice, black beans/corn, and spicy pinto beans separated by tortillas. bake until bubbly at 350 for 40 minutes. top with my signature ass of fire salsa and some guac.

Friday, October 17, 2008

kiwano taste something good?

the original title for this entry was going to be, "what in the hell is this thing?" i picked up the kiwano at the local food bank last night. it was sitting all lonely among the bruised mangoes that no one wanted.

*sidenote: i go to this amazing food bank once a week because a) we're poor and b) i'm a nursing mom. this food bank takes care to stock shelves with good wholesome food, and lets the customer pick what they want making for a more dignified/empowering experience. most of the time i'll see really awesome things that i love to eat but never buy from the grocery store because they're so expensive. these products get ignored and eventually composted. point in case the aforementioned kiwano, mangoes, artichokes, etc. meanwhile other patrons of the food bank fight over frozen pizza and my pretty pony edition rice krispy treats.

http://www.mhcfoodpantry.org/

when i see these items i grab 'em. that's how i learned about jicima, kohlrabi, and the rutabaga. so when i saw this spiny orb i had to liberate it and see what it had inside. i thought it was going to be a squash, but was amazed by the anti-freeze green seedy goo that glistened once cut. i tasted it and it reminded me of a citrus flavored cucumber. i ran the pulp through my strainer and kept the frothy slimy juice to mix with the mangoes, papaya, and baby bananas i picked up-(also food bank finds!) and put them in the freezer for future smoothie use. that's gonna be a taste bud blowing tropical smoothie!

keep in mind that at the time i still didn't know what this thing was. this morning i took pictures with my camera phone, hoping i'd post them on PPK and find out what this mystery thing was-- and they turned out terrible! so i googled the image for "spiney fruit" and found the kiwano. it is also known as the horned melon. origins are from africa, and as i suspected hella expensive at $4 to $6 per fruit! you're supposed to eat them like a pomegranate, but i don't have time for that so i'm glad i strained the pulp from the seeds.

for now, i'll cross my fingers and hope the pantry will get durians in the future.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

bring me a scramblery!



sometimes i don't feel like cooking. to cover my vegan bases i'll get an amy's entree if it's on sale. you have to read the label to make sure it's vegan--but all vegans know this, right? it cleared. i heated it, i ate it. it was satisfactory. the hashbrowns were not crispy crunchy, but hell--what was i expecting from a frozen dinner? the tofu scramble did the job of making me not hungry, but i wouldn't describe it as delicious. more like suitable. grade=C+ sorry to be so harsh. the amy's dish i do like (but can no longer have to my dismay) is her meatless loaf, potatoes, and gravy. why? honey. who the fuck puts honey in meatloaf and gravy?

MOFO assignment: i know you're lazy, so don't even try to tell me you aren't. gimme a review of a vegan frozen meal or suggest one for me the next time i feel like worshipping my microwave.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

rocking the casserole


i try to do a bulk of my cooking on sundays so the rest of my week will be easier in the kitchen. so far it has worked pretty well, but it has been an exercise in balance. at first i was too ambitious--i wanted to cook 3 main dishes, 2 sides, and a dessert. i would then spend 6-8 hours in the kitchen doing just that and not getting to spend any QT with the fam. this drove us ALL crazy, so i've narrowed it down to 1 or 2 mains, 1 side, and 1 dessert.

something else that has come in handy is baking potatoes in bulk. on said cooking day i scrub, rub with olive oil, and bake 6-8 potatoes and they can be used throughout the week for anything i wish: hash browns, casseroles, or heck--just to eat a baked potato! i used these taters to make cheezy taters n' asparagus.

inspired by vegannifer, i utilized left over frozen asparagus, cubed baked potatoes, cheez sauce from veganomicon, and topped with french fried onions (they're totally vegan, chemical but vegan!). put everything in a casserole pan and baked at three fiddy for fo'ty minutes. i thought it was tasty but to my chagrin, mr. jewbacca thought it could use some real cheese.

MOFO assignment: what casserole do you rock most often?