Monday, February 28, 2011

The Mostest Action Packed, Happiest , and Saddest Post in the Universe

Hey Readers: you know I'm serious when I'm capitalizing an' shit. Boy howdy, have I been busy! I have been on staycation this week, taking time to get my fill of awesome food, kid cuddles, random chores, and unfinished projects completed this week. My Etsy store is now open, so please stop by and check it out! Click here to visit. Right now, I'm selling Kindle cozies made by hand from vegan materials, but will also be adding special one-of-a-kind onesies made from recycled clothing and materials, as well as some other super fun stuff. The name "FridaPigCrafteteria" is a pun on "Free the pig" because let's face it--I love making stuff, my fellow animal friends, and of course--puns!
Me and Mr. J have not been alone for more than a few hours since child #2 entered this mortal coil. His super cool aunt from Columbus watched the kids this weekend while we had some time for romance and goofing around the city. We didn't have a ton of money to drop on a vacation so we hung out at the Country Inn & Suites, got a king suite with a jacuzzi-(so nice for so little $) and I made sushi.
My rolling skills aren't that great, but that didn't affect the flavor. I made rolls with spiced plum sauce tofu, avocado, red pepper, and cukes.
On Saturday we went to the Columbus Museum of Art--so much fun! After all that walking around, we went to Hal & Al's for some great bar food--ALL VEGAN. We were supposed to meet Tamasin Noyes and her spousal unit for the festivities the night before, but they experienced a really bad storm that prevented them from making it. Boo. We ate enough fried food for the four of us-(say that three times super fast!) Featured above are the chili cheese fries. Mr. J. had the kraut brat. He ate it before I could take a pic. We shared the chili fries, a fried avocado/pickle/shroom sampler, and I had the 8 layer vegan nachos-(also eaten before I could get a decent photo).
Hello gorgeous fried things. Meet my mouth. The dipping sauces tied the whole room together.
My spouse gets very enthused about food in basket form.
Come here, my precious fried avocado wedge. Yes, you heard me: FRIED AVOCADO WEDGES.

al & Al's has been open for a couple of years now, and offers live entertainment, an extensive beer menu, and the BEST VEGAN BAR food for your hard earned dollar. You're not going to get an elaborate presentation with fancy fanned carrot shavings and teeny tiny portions. You are going to get glorious, deep fried, and soul saving goodness served in a basket. This is where you go when you get the big promotion, your heart broken, or you find some money in your pants that you forgot about. THIS is where you meet the person of your dreams by accident when opening up the bathroom door because the other person lacked the common sense to lock it because they were too drunk. If I lived in C-bus, I would hang out there at least a few times a week, playing spades and eating fried brats. Tip: ask for light chili on the fries so you can appreciate the potatoes, and extra sauce for the batter fried dippables.
If pub food ain't your thing, then perhaps sugary goodness is! At Pattycake Bakery, all of your vegan childhood dreams come true. Imagine walking into a bakery where you didn't have to ask the owner about the ingredients because EVERYTHING is vegan! Gluten free? Don't sweat it-(BUCKEYE BARS!), there are several delicacies to titillate the most sensitive of taste buds. I could have grabbed two of everything, but lacked the funds. This place was so awesome, I'm sure the dirt off the floor tastes great.

Cookies, muffins, and cakes--oh my! We tried, the I **heart** chocolate chip-(totally lives up to its name), peanut butter, and snickerdoodle. We also tried the sticky buns which could singlehandedly kick cinnabon's ass.

Menu! You can visit their website by clicking here. This is a must visit and gets an infinite amount of turntables and microphones. Did I mention you could shop online? How cool is that?
They are also hiring. Too bad I live 4 hours away and already have a job, or I'd be all over that like a: (pick the right answer)
  • vegan on a stick of EB
  • vegan on a cookie
  • vegan on a copy of Vegan on the Cheap I will so be blogging about this best kept cookbook secret in a future post.
  • vegan on a misinformed omni
  • all of the above
And finally, here's the sad part. I hope you can respect me for this. I am NOT GOING TO VIDA VEGAN CON. My heart is broken, and so is my wallet. Sure, I could have paid for registration by foregoing the trip to Ohio, but my spouse and I needed that alone time. Anyone who has kids knows how important it is to have time where it is just you and your significant other. The reduced discount ends tonight, and if I paid for that I'd stress out about how to raise the other $$ to pay for airfare, lodging, and meals. I have other expenses that are priorities right now. My pets need to be vaccinated, and my son wants to go to "baseball school"-(teeball lessons). I would love to geek out about the prospect of meeting Bryanna, Robin, Isa, Terry, Mo, Tamasin, Bianca, Tofumom, and so many more vegan rock stars that are infinitely cooler than me--but my family comes first. To ignore the needs of my spouse, children, and pets would be very unvegan. So I will be there in spirit.

If for some reason, I happen to become independently wealthy overnight, I'll make it--but it doesn't look good at all. Sure, I'm sad--but I'm also a member of a team that depends on me.

Be Well, Eat Joyously, and for the love of tofu--stay vegan.

Monday, February 21, 2011

my tummy is wearing a sombrero

(((whistling the mexican hat dance song))) hey friends, your heart will turn into a set of maracas and your tummy will wear a sombrero once you get your mitts on a copy of viva vegan by the muy bonita sra. terry hope romero. i'm so glad mr. j. downloaded this on my kindle--what a great cook book! featured in this entry is the poblano&potato enchilada bake with pine nut crema. most of the time i use tortillas to make a pantry/freezer cleanin' burrito bake every few months and it's pretty easy. this dish isn't too complicated, but it is labor intensive if you do everything the same day, so please follow terry's suggestion and cook your taters and roast those peppers a day ahead. that's what i did, and that really paid off. in the summer i like roasting my peppers on the grill, but since it's the butt end of winter, i roasted mine in the oven. i washed the outside of the peppers, massaged a little olive oil, and put them in a shallow baking dish with a touch of water at 400 degrees, constantly turning them every 10 minutes until they collapsed.
i didn't have corn tortillas on hand, so i used wheat ones instead. still good. i think using the corn ones would have upped the authenticity. NOTE: i used remaining roasted poblanos to make a tic tac toe pattern on the dollops of crema.

my dear friend bianca at vegan crunk gave me a stylish blogger award. how nice! thanks, bianca! it's pretty rad when a much cooler blogger thinks enough of you do something like that. there are much better blogs out there, and i'm flattered when anyone reads mine. P.I.T.A. vegan is kind of the ugly betty of food blogs, if you ask me.

i have to mention 7 things about myself, and give the award to 5 other people. if i do, bob barker will pay for my registration to attend the vida vegan conference in portland this august. isn't that cool? ((((giggling))))
1. i know my writing style indicates a quirky, fun-loving, on-top-of-her-game awesometarian; however i'm really an insecure wuss. my two biggest character defects are a distorted sense of self and jealousy. i'd probably not be jealous of people if i had a better sense of self, duh. examples of things that i get jealous about? academic success of others, other people's blogs, and most embarrassing of all--people who are really attractive or who have $$. i can't believe i'd be so hung up on shallow stuff like that but, whomp! there it is.

2. i have an obnoxious sweet tooth. i probably need an intervention. i found out i have four cavities today because of it. dang.

3. being vegan saved my life. it helped heal the damaged, effed up, and distorted relationship i had with food. i consider this path to be my ultimate amends to the universe.

4. i dig nerds. really dig them. i married one in a simpson's themed wedding in 2003.

5. i am a turtle rescuer. every spring and summer when the little critters wanna cross the road, i'm there risking my life around blind curves and busy roads to help them cross to the other side. i've even tried saving a snapper but it got really pissed at me for trying to help its prehistoric ass and attempted to bite off my toe. seriously--it did a full 360 like kenau in the matrix and got all compton on me. i had to drive away.

6. i'm the first person in my family to graduate from high school and go to college.

7. i quit dying my hair because i want to own my gray and be happy with it. i'm struggling.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

gardein product review

it's been a spell since i gave an official PITAV product review. here they are! i do occasionally eat a prepared frozen or fresh meal if i spot it on clearance. with my busy life, sometimes the last thing i want to do is actually cook. i'd rather reheat and eat. that does to get expensive and for me it negates why i chose veganism. i know i'm preaching to the choir that prepackaged foods are not great for you or the environment. if you are going to go that route, it is better if you can choose a vegan option. it is a lovely and awesome thing that so many vegan and GF options are coming out of the woodwork ready for us eco-conscious folk to purchase. i just hope in my heart of hearts that it is truly for the better good and not another way for one group of people to exploit another group of people to make money.

and i'm not one of those super lucky bloggers that receives elaborate care packages from companies because i'm adorable and have 500 followers. nope. for the record, i am cute. and poor. so i rely on my super thrifty spousal unit to be the clearance and sales watchdog for specialty vegan items so i may consume them and give you my honest opinion. i have nothing to gain from these reviews.

so now onto the review...yves potvin (YES that YVES) has done it again with his gardein line. i've tried the thai trio and the santa fe good stuff and they are both excellent meal substitutes if you're too lazy to cook. if you're one of them vegans that doesn't partake in fake meat or shies away from fake meat that tastes like meat, you might want to pass on the gardein line because they TASTE LIKE MEAT. so much so, i kept doing double and triple takes at the official "vegan" logo because i thought someone was feeding me pork in the thai trio and spicy chicken in the santa fe good stuff. so as far as authenticity goes--well done, yves!
my only criticism aside from the regular retail price is the portion size. when i eat i don't mess around, so i found the portions to be skimpy. again, if you're going to get these--get 'em on clearance. the gardein site offers $1 off coupons, so if you can find a store that doubles to that amount, AND they're on sale--well you can laugh all the way to the bank.

flavor: two tables and a microphone. they know their spices.
price: not worth it! watch for clearance. use coupons.
portion: boo.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

moments that make me feel like a superstar

i can't deny it. it's a pretty rad thing to see a popular vegan blogger plug something i made. bianca, thanks a ton for mentioning the-one-and-only-very-holy-diablo-dog in your blog. you have made me an extremely proud blogger.

now, onto the tacos. the first book i bought for my kindle was appetite for reduction by mizz thang o' thang, isa chandra. i am not a low fat foodie, oh hell no. hear me out fellow fat lovers: this book is NOT A DIET BOOK. as aforementioned, this is a whole foods cookbook that was made for isa by isa--she just decided to share it with the rest of the world. lucky us, right?

i like that there aren't any recipes that call for incredibly obscure ingredients or a ton of fake meats. i like a good commercially produced item every now and then, but that can get expensive and taxing on the environment. not only does AFR focus on whole, but the recipes are darned tasty, and **FAST**! hey you, scarfing that meal over the sink. do you hear me? today's photos are of the black bean and squash tacos with lemon garlic yogurt sauce.

i wasn't sure about the recipe at first. i've had squash in my mexican food before--but never kalamata olives. as i was putting this together, i thought, okay isa. whatever you say. i think this won't work!

BUT IT DOES, it so does work. that lemony garlic vegan yogurt sauce? ties the room together, totally. hot and spicy squelched by cool and lemony. i sliced some avocado on there because i didn't have a side to serve with the tacos. i had to throw some cilantro in the sauce as well, so isa darling-(i write this as if isa reads my blog, guffaw!) please don't hate me for soiling a recipe with my incessant need for cilantro. the sauce makes a nice dip for veggies.
peek-a-boo! i see you you black beans, making my digestive system all healthy.


are you a kindle/nook/other electronic reader owner that wants a homemade, vegan, colorful, and fun cozy for your portable reading device? look no further. you see, i've been making such items and will have them for sale in just TWO WEEKS from TODAY on ETSY. so please, tell your friends. now that i'm working part-time, i need a little oomph to help my family's budget, and so i can go to vida vegan con. if you haven't heard about it, shame on you. it's a festival of vegan bloggers meeting in august, where we'll exchange ideas, get to pick doughnuts from trees, shake hands with bob barker, and make other vegan dreams come true. i have no idea how i'll financially swing this, but i am going to go hell or high water. that's why i decided to start crafting like crazy. for your viewing pleasure is a pic of one that i recently made for my co-worker's lady friend:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

here's an idea

let kelly paloza take over the girl scout's cookie production. lord have mercy! this chick knows her cookie about cookies. the vegan cookie connoisseur was one of my holiday gifts from mr. j, and i'm really diggin' it. so far, i've made the giant bakery style double chocolate cookies, the soft baked chocolate chip cookies-(everyone at the office LOVED these!), and the chocolate peppermint wafer cookies pictured above. these should really have been called fat-bottomed-mints-you-make-the-rockin'-world-go-'round cookies in honor of the late freddie mercury, but who am i? i just eat the cookies. those babies were so good they'd surely kick the GS thin mints ass in a taste test contest, hands down. seriously, if you had one of these and then had the audacity to try to eat a thin mint after wards, your tongue would have arms pop out of its sides, punch you in the face, and say--"aw, hell no! get that panny-assed cookie out of my precious dwelling space and gimme some more of that mizz paloza."

word up.

no worries, there's more to come from this book. i just have to eat real food between all of my cookie meals.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

shake your cinna-bon-bon

on cold wintry mornings, nothing will get me out of bed faster than a pan full of piping hot cinnamon rolls. pair 'em with some strong black coffee and i'm amped like a car salesman. hey there, can i interest you in a chrystler?

us vegans don't have those chemically, un-vegan, and oh-so-convenient pop n' fresh rolls to buy at the store, spring from the can, and toss in the oven. we have to make them ourselves. this usually involves some waiting because one has to use yeast in the dough. for impatient people like myself, this is a recipe for disaster. i'm not a 'let's wait' for cinnamon rolls type gal. i usually want them right then and there.

fear not! i have a solution.

on the night before your roll fest, make the chicago deep dish pizza dough from american vegan kitchen. put the dough in the fridge once it has risen.

the next morning preheat the oven to 400. grease a glass baking dish. on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough in a large flat sheet. slather that with a mixture of 1T cinnamon, pinch of ginger, 3/4 c vegan brown sugar, and some melted EB (0r canola oil). you want enough to make it look like a sauce almost. roll the dough into a big ol' log, pinching the ends. now cut the log into 1/2-3/4 inch slices and set in the pan. bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. ice with a glaze of some more melted butter and vegan powdered sugar. i'm sure the icing would even be better with a little vegan cream cheese too.