Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy birthday, DocDufresne!

DocDufresne always wants to do more outdoor activities together and loves hiking, so on Saturday morning we headed out bright and early to the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap, part of the Appalachian Trail. On the way to the summit, we passed a lovely stream and waterfall, the peaceful sounds of which followed us for a segment of the trip.

At the beginning of the hike we saw several wineberry bushes, named for the color of their stalks. We happily carried out our environmental duty and muched on a few delisiously tart berries. Wineberry is an invasive-exotic plant, you see. So the more fruit you eat, the fewer shrubs will repopulate.

As we gained altitude, we started seeing sparse low-bush blueberries, great native plants. We didn't want to take the food of the native wildlife, so we merely sampled a few berries. Further along the hike, however, it was high- and low- bush blueberries galore, so we sampled some here and there! They were the tastiest blueberries!

We spent a few moments at the top, appreciating the view of the Delaware River below and the mountains surrounding us. A hawk soared across the mountain adjacent to ours. Picturesque.

For lunch I packed subs with sauteed mushrooms, green bell peppers, onions, spinach, and tofu in a lemony wine sauce. We were too full to eat the mojo potato salad and gingersnap cookies that I packed.

Just as we were finishing up our lunch, a fellow hiker came up the trail, upsetting a rattle snake just six feet from where we sat! I've never seen or heard a rattle snake before, but I sure did on Saturday! It slithered across the trail into the bramble on the other side. We kept our distance.

As a sweet reward after finishing up the strenuous hike, we headed to Vegan Treats, which was on our way home! DocDufresne and I each got a peanut butter soft-serve cone with rainbow sprinkles. Divine! We also took home a Boston cream donut for later.

For dinner I made Kale and Potato Enchiladas from Veganomicon. (Not the best photo ever, sorry!)

The next day, Doc's actual birthday, DocDufresne's family came into town. I made a lunch consisting of a few Veganomicon dishes including Chickpea Cutlets with Mushroom Gravy, BBQ Black-Eyed Pea Collard Rolls with Backyard BBQ Sauce, and Apple Galettes. I also threw together a salad of steamed (later chilled) collards, kale, and beets in a lemon dressing, and Yerba Mate sun tea. Everything was made to be diabetic-friendly and without artificial sweetners.

As I'm sure you can imagine, we'll be dining on left-overs for a few days. We're not complaining!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dinner at Bacio Italian Restaurante in Mt. Airy

Bacio is a great little restaurant tucked away in a residential neighborhood of Mount Airy, Philadelphia. I first heard about it back in December '08 in a Humane League email noting veg-friendly restaurants in Mount Airy. Although it is not a veg*n restaurant, Bacio features several vegan dishes including appetizers, main dishes, and get this: dessert! The owner is so accommodating that he offers to make a special vegan lasagne when I call to make reservations. DocDufresne and I haven't taken him up on this yet, but I'm sure we will soon. You can watch them make the (egg-free) pasta along with everything else, as the kitchen is in the middle of the dining room.

For dinner tonight we enjoyed...

Bread with dipping oil (I always appreciate free bread!)

Roasted eggplant/red bell pepper/artichoke heart antipaste
(Free because our appetizers were taking a bit long!)

Pasta e fagioli soup

Broccoli rabe (meh)- no photo taken

Eggplant parm (minus the parm and egg) with spaghetti

Pasta e broccoli with capers and olives (the wine sauce was superb!)

(filling made with tofu, and so good!!)

We were prepared with not only our camera, but our to-go containers as well. Suffice it to say we took home plenty of leftovers; enough for two more meals! We'll be back again soon for the great service and even better food!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vegan Treats PPK Meetup

Yesterday I met up with a few PPKers at Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, PA. We gorged ourselves on two rounds of delicious sweets... and then took some home for later! We spent enough time at the shop to...

...witness a few groups of enthusiastic roadtrippers emerge from packed cars with faces reflecting their arrival at the promised land
(similar to our excited expressions after receiving two free donuts),

...brush up on our Supreme Master literature,

...and of course take plenty of photos of food
(well, that which we were able to photograph before it was devoured.)

The extensive (and apparently ever-changing) baked goods case

A cupcake/whoopee pie tier

Vanilla soft-serve with rainbow sprinkles- 4/5 of us got this as our first round dessert!
(my favorite of the day!)

Dynahmite's caramel/pecan brownie (?)

The DE-licious and not to mention ginormous sticky bun that I'm still working on finishing

Another of my to-go boxes: chocolate/peanut butter brownie, glazed donut with sprinkles, chocolate-glazed donut, and cheesecake with cherry topping.

And a few group shots:

Biodancer, Donthaveacow, Dynahmite, Bitterbelle, and me- Andy Dufresne.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Announcing: Vegan Ethiopian Buffet!

I'm organizing a dinner at Dahlak restaurant in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. The restaurant features cuisine from Eritrea (formerly part of Ethiopia) and India. The owners have agreed to plan a special vegan buffet for the occasion.


Date: Saturday, August 8, 2009

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Number of Spots: 20 total

Location: Dahlak
5547 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144

View dahlak in a larger map

Price: $21
(including 7% tax, 15% tip, Paypal fees, and $0.50 donation to Animal Rights Group of Greater Philadelphia). Any amount over $21 will be donated to the Animal Rights Group of Greater Philadelphia (or you can donate in person so that Paypal won't keep 2.9%!). If you need to cancel your RSVP, please contact me no later than August 1st. I will refund half of your money at that point (the other half going to Paypal fees and ARGoGP).

Payment procedure:
1. Send an RSVP email to VeganDinnerAtDahlak [at] yahoo [dot] com
2. Receive a response email detailing instructions on how to pay through PayPal
3. Pay the $21
4. Receive a response from me stating that I've received the payment and you're RSVPed as coming!
5. See you on the 8th!

-Mulligatawny soup ("A traditional soup made with lentils and subtly flavored with delicate herbs.")
-Chat Papri ("Mouth watering mixture of crisps, potatoes and duck peas in tamarind sauce.")
-Naan ("Leavened white flour bread baked in a dry oven served piping hot.")
-Injera (Ethiopian bread)

Indian Main Course:
-Vegetable Jalfrezi ("Stir fried fresh garden vegetables cooked with mild spices.")
-Dal Chana ("Yellow lentils simmered with tomatoes, ginger, cumin, onions and fresh garlic.")
-Aloo Cholley ("Chickpeas and sliced potato cooked in traditional Punjabi style.")

Ethiopian Main Course:
-Yenisir Aldcan ("Lentils in hot sauce.")
-Beets ("Fresh beets, cooked with potato, peppers, onion & garlic in a mild sauce.")
-Spinach ("Fresh spinach broiled with a savory combination of house spices.")

BYO-Dessert, potluck-style! If you're interested in bringing dessert, let me know what you'll be making and how much!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Rescue of a Different Kind

Recently I discovered and one of the projects posted in the "Before and After" section really caught my eye. Ever since I've been on the lookout for a couch to remake into something like Tiffany's Couch. Being without a truck, I had a harder time coming up with something feasible, but walking home from work one day I spotted a semi-hideous love seat on the sidewalk, awaiting trash day. When DocDufresne got home, the two of us headed out on our rescue mission. I got to work right away, taking off the seat cushion covers before realizing I should get a "before" picture. DocDufresne and I spent many hours ripping off foam, filling, and fabric, pulling out stubborn staples and even more stubborn springs, sanding wood, and filling in scrapes and holes with wood putty. What's the deal with dust ruffles anyway?

Andy examines our new addition.

DocDufresne diligently works on removing the stubborn springs.

DocDufresne removes the last of the thousands (maybe I exaggerate) staples.

Andy assisting, yet again.

After spending hours researching upholstery foam and finding that out that it was really much more expensive than I was thinking, I had an epiphany! In anticipation of adopting Andy last August, DocDufresne and I bought a floor model crib mattress in Ikea's clearance section to use as a dog bed. If my memory serves correctly, it was about $20. Well, Andy never took to it. I am still amazed that I thought of using the mattress as the seat cushion. It is an absolute perfect fit!!

Epiphany number two: Why sew a seat cushion cover when I could just buy a fitted crib sheet? They're so much easier to take off and throw in the wash! I decided to buy one from CLGentry, who makes the sheets and sells them on Ebay.

I bought machine washable orange fabric at Ikea and sewed two 28"x28" envelope-enclosure cushion covers.

For the trim DocDufresne and I found an upholstery fabric that we really liked. I also bought batting on Ebay.

We painted all the wood with black paint that we had purchased several months ago for a tri-fold screen project. We also salvaged three planks of wood from a leftover flooring project to replace the springs previously installed in the back of the piece.

For the final touches, I covered 6 shank buttons with the red part of the upholstery fabric, using orthodontal rubber bands to hold the fabric in place. I trimmed the fabric and glued the buttons into the 6 holes on the wooden arms of the love seat.

I created a wall piece to match, using materials I already had around the house: faux poppies, acrylic paints, Mod Podge, and cut circles from the upholstery fabric. I adore the two 14"x14" pillow cases I purchased from Etsy seller, MelissaJVerch.

A close-up of the pillow cases purchased on Etsy.

Total costs:
Couch: free
Crib mattress: free (already had)
2 Ikea 28x28 cushions: $20
2 Ikea 14x14 pillows: $3
3 1/4 yards orange Ikea fabric: $21 (bought more than I needed!)
4 yards upholstery fabric (Ebay): $47.50, w/shipping
2 Etsy 14x14 pillow covers: $28, w/shipping
1 Crib mattress fitted sheet (Ebay): $18, w/shipping
4 yards batting (Ebay): $15.97, w/shipping
Wood putty: $2.40
Black paint: free (already had)
Wood scraps: free
Shank buttons (Ebay): $2.50 with shipping
Staple gun and staples: free (borrowed)
Sandpaper: free (already had)
Mod Podge: free (already had)




I have to say I'm not totally impressed with my upholstery skills, but I can get past that and enjoy the love seat for the brightness it brings to the room. Plus, I love how all the orange fabrics look together. Overall, I think my first excursion into remaking furniture was a success! Beware of spending too much time on DesignSponge, or you too will become preoccupied with redesigning pieces in your head everywhere you go!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lac Memphremagog

DocDufresne, Andy, and I arrived home last night after a wonderful, but too short (isn't that always the case?) vacation.

Every summer my family visits a rustic cabin in Georgeville, Quebec off of Lac Memphremagog. The property has been in my family for generations and it's quite possibly my most favorite place on Earth. The party line rotary phone and sulfur-smelling well water add to its charm, but the true character of the location I attribute to the breath-taking scenery with the water of Memphremagog just steps from the house and Mount Owl's Head on the other side of the tranquil lake. The woods surrounding the isolated cabin add to the experience as well. Oh I just love it.

My friend Tcat came with us. Also on the trip were my three siblings, mom, and DocDufresne's parents.

Tcat's belated birthday celebration with a cake made by DocDufresne.

S'more made from Dandies marshmallows. SOOO good!!!

We spent a day exploring Montreal. It was lovely and aside from a few drops here and there, the rain held. We hiked Mount Royal, ate at a couple of good restaurants, did a little shopping, and saw the sites!

The lovely murals everywhere reminded me of being back in Philly.

Dragon's Beard Candy, purchased in China Town





Notre Dame

Lunch at Sara
I have to get their potatoes whenever I'm in Montreal!

Breakfast at Le Cagibi

AMAZING dinner at Aux Vivres.

Tcat, me, and DocDufresne.

At the end of our trip, we stopped in Burlington, VT on Independence Day. Oh what a lovely town! Lake Champlain rivals Lake Memphramagog in its beauty. My mom is from Burlington, so this was not our first trip there, but it was tcat's. Church Street was alive with street preformers, 4th of July activities, and people enjoying the atmosphere.

Cherry cordials from Lake Champlain Chocolate Company

Mon frere, A. A and me

Me and my momma. Me and Tcat.

DocDufresne and me. Mon frere, En.

Strawberry and "Vegan Monster" crepes from the Skinny Pancake

On our way back to Philly, we dropped Tcat at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, where we ate a delicious dinner followed by raw gelato (pistachio and maple walnut). back to the real world...