Alas, I know, I have been away too long. I am vowing to remedy that. I have been a very busy girl over here. With the slump in the economy, our finances have also taken a bit of a hit. I should be greatful that my husband still has work, although his wage is not what it used to be. We have made considerable adjustments in our life. I am consumed with keeping our grocery bill under a hundred dollars, which is no small thing considering we are a home of four including two in diapers. And much to my distress, have cut our cable down to basic, cut the cell phone and *gasp* are going back to dial up. Oh, the humanity! But, we shall survive. I have picked up my wooden spoon, wrapped my little one to my back and decided that I willl fill my time with baking, cooking, nature walks and playing with my children. It’s going to be a good thing getting back to basics. I promise to update here regularly since I will need my fellow vegan bloggers to get creative with our minimalist budget.

I currently have chocolate chunk scones baking in the oven. My three year old will be over the moon since they are her favorite. I’m using Isa’s recipe that I posted some entries ago. I also have to add that I have been delving into the depths of Veganomicon. These past few weeks I have made the cassoulet, cholent, plantain stew and a few other dishes. I have to hand it to Isa, she takes the boredom of of the vegan meal. The stew is a house fave and while I really loved the cholent, I have come to learn that I just can’t digest TVP. I’ll leave that story for another post!

It’s been hectic here with the holidays fast approaching and I just haven’t been able to find the time to post as much as I’d like. I have made some wonderful vegan food these last few weeks and I will definitely catch you up on what I have been doing in the kitchen. Right now I have lavender tea cookies baking in the oven, a favorite of mine from my pregan days that were easily veganized since the recipe didn’t call for eggs. These are perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon or even a cup of chamomile in the evening.

Lavender Tea Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup Earths Balance softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
a little extra sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350º F. In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and EB. Beat in the oil, extract, baking soda, salt, flour, and lavender. Mix well and form into small balls (3/4-inch). Roll balls into sugar and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Not too long ago I decided to have a few friends over for dinner and I tried out some new recipes that looked a little adventurous. The dinner was a complete success and sadly I didn’t take many pictures, but I will pass on the wonderful recipes I used.

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Menu
Vegan Spanakopita
Indian Marinated Seitan Kabobs
Tzatziki Dipping Sauce
Moroccan Spiced Couscous


Indian Marinade

1 c plain soy yogurt
1 tb paprika
1 ts ground cinnamon
1 tb garam masala
1/8 ts cayenne pepper
1 tb lemon juice
6 tb olive oil
1/2 ts freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c grated onion
1 c water
Marinate cubed seitan (I used a version of seitan o’greatness) for 4 hours, skewer and grill for a few minutes.

Tzatziki

1 c plain soy yogurt
1 cucumber peeled and chopped finely
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tb chopped fresh mint
1 tb olive oil
fresh ground black pepper

Put the finely chopped cucumber in a sieve and press out as much excess liquid as possible. In a blender, mix the minced garlic with the salt into a paste. Add in the yogurt with garlic/salt paste, add to the drained cucumbers, mint, olive oil, more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

Moroccan Spiced Couscous
1 1/2 tb olive oil
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground cilantro
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 handful sliced almonds
6 dates, chopped finely
3 tb golden sultana raisins
1 tb dried onion flakes
1 tsp minced garlic
2 1/2 c hot vegetable stock, I made mine using vegan vegetable bullion
2 cups dry couscous
1 tb chopped fresh parsley

When you are ready to prepare the couscous, measure out the correct serving of dry ingredients into a large bowl, preferably the one you will be serving it from. Add the olive oil, mix thoroughly. Add the boiling stock and mix thoroughly – place a clean tea towel over the top of the bowl and leave for 5 minutes. Fluff up the couscous after 5 minutes & add more liquid if needed. Mix & sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro before serving. You could add whatever dried fruits or nuts you have handy, this is just a basic recipe.

another seitanic success

November 25, 2008

It’s been another rough few days in our household. We’ve been sick again. I have no idea what it is, but it keeps coming back like some awful recurring nightmare. The girls are also sick again. Hopefully we can clean the crepe out of this house, air it out, load up on vitamins and finally get rid of this.

My husband has given himself a new nickname, he thinks he’s clever. He calls himself a PTV, part time vegan. Can you see me shaking my head over here? He has been asking more questions about animal rights which is a new development. He’s eaten quite a few vegan meals this week as well. He’s found the seitan love and has had me make a few of the dishes that I made during veganmofo. He’s one of those people that finds what he likes and sticks to it. If he had his way, we’d eat the same things every week. I made another potpie and the country fried seitan this week and we have no leftovers to speak of. I think I’m starting to get to get to him.

Yesterday I decided to try out a new seitan recipe and it’s a keeper. It tastes similar to Bryanna’s turkey soy seitan that I made for my thanksgiving tester meal, but it’s not as much work. I did change a few things with much success, I was a bit worried though. I only used half of the chicken broth powder, 3 tbsp seemed like alot to me. I used applesauce in place of tomato paste, this was the part I was concerned with. I love the seitan o’greatness recipe, but the tomato flavor is a bit much for me at times. I also used fresh ground black pepper instead of white pepper and fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. It was just okay fresh out of the oven, unlike the turkey soy seitan, which was amazing. After chilling in the fridge over night, it is soooo good though! It made a perfect sandwich for lunch today and I’m looking forward to using it in other things. I will be making this again!


2 2/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, not packed + extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
4 tbsp vegan shortening cold
4 tbsp earth’s balance cold
3/4 cup soy/nut/rice milk
2 tbsp molasses

Preheat oven to 375 – *side note here* my oven runs hot, typically 25-50 degrees hot depending on it’s mood haha, so you may need to make adjustments on temp or time for this recipe. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl with a fork or a wisk. Cut in EB and shortening until mixture is crumbly. Add milk and molasses and stir with a spoon until batter is blended and a dough forms. It will be sticky. Pour all of the dough into the center of the cookie sheet round and flatten it until its about an inch or so thick, a little more or a little less is okay. Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Yours may need more time, check by inserting a toothpick into the center. Cut into wedges and serve. These are soo good when they are warm and just as good when they have cooled. Enjoy them with someone you love for the holidays!

Happy Birthday Baby!

November 19, 2008

Today is my baby’s first birthday. I can’t believe that she is already a year old. Where does the time go? We had her party this weekend. The cakes came out beautiful and tasted better than they looked. I made the yellow cake recipe that I tested earlier in the week with a vanilla version of the frosting and I also made a raspberry blackout cake from Vegan With A Vengeance. Along with the cakes, which are of course the best part of the birthday party next to the presents, I made the holiday spinach dip from vegweb. I 86’d the water chestnuts and added artichoke hearts and I also made hummus (my own recipe and I’ll post it if someone requests). I was thinking of making seitan sausages for the grill, but I didn’t have the time so I went with the tofurkey sausages and Boca burgers. No one could believe the spinach dip was vegan and everyone loved it so much that the sides of the bread bowl were scraped clean. Kadence loved the frosting so much she was licking it off her arms hahaha. It was pretty cute. The theme for her birthday was Tinker Bell and I had fun decorating the cake.

be afraid, be very afraid…

November 13, 2008

I risked it all and I tried the Follow Your Heart cheddar cheeze. I was scared, I admit it. It smells funky, it’s kinda rubbery and it’s really orange. It says that it melts right on the package and it did, it melted pretty well. Let’s just say that it didn’t taste as good as it looked. It kind of reminded me of the over processed cheese that you used to get in the school cafeteria. It wasn’t horrible, but I can honestly say, I will not be making any more vegan cheeze ventures. I’ve been happy without it and I think I like it that way. At least I can say I tried it. I also tried the Follow You Heart sour cream and I can say that I did not like it nearly as much as I like the Tofutti brand. Here is the casserole before I cut into it and before I scraped off the cheeze.

Too bad the cheeze didn’t taste as good as it looked. The casserole was amazing and definitley a keeper. I found the recipe on vegweb. The Omni even liked it. I did add chipotle pepper to the mixture because we like it spicy over here and it turned out really yummy! Next time, I’ll forgo the cheeze and stick to the Tofutti sour cream. Eh, you live and you learn.

sounded good at the time…

November 12, 2008

The other night, I still wasn’t feeling well and I had this brilliant idea that I’d try a new raw dish, since I wasn’t really hungry and something light seemed like a good idea. I was wrong, so very wrong. Note to self: never try new raw dishes when ill. I was sooo sick. The thing is, the dish was really good, going down… You don’t want the rest of the gory details. I used a summer squash that I shredded to look like spaghetti and made a raw cashew, tomato “cheese” sauce that was really good. Needless to say, I think that dish is ruined for me, forever.

On a lighter note, Kadence’s first birthday party is this weekend. I can’t believe that she’s going to be one already. I’m still trying to figure out what we are going to serve for food. I will be making a vanilla cake and a raspberry blackout cake, so the important part is figured out already haha! Nate wants burgers and hotdogs, blech. I’m going to have Boca Burgers and Tofurkey Sausages for the vegans of the group. Nate offered to cook our stuff first so that we don’t have cross-contamination, how nice of him. Can you hear the sarcasm over here? Everything else will be vegan and he doesn’t have a say in it. She who cooks, makes the decisions and I’m not making anything with animal flesh or dairy. He is manning the grill, so I can’t really use that rule and not apply it to him as well. I’m definitely going to make hummus and I’m thinking of trying out a spinach dip I found on vegweb. I think with the cake and stuff from the grill we should be good. If not, tough shiitake.