Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Proper beach attire

I am very lucky.  Although my family lives thousands of miles away, my three siblings, mom, and mom's boyfriend all came to visit us last week!  We had fun spending time together: watching movies, exploring Portland, playing board games, cooking at home.  We also took a day trip to Cannon Beach, which is a lovely place to visit any time of the year.  One doesn't go to the Oregon coast to sunbathe in December, so we occupied ourselves in other ways.

After my family flew home, Matt, the doggles, and I took a short trip to the Olympic Peninsula.  We found a cottage in Forks, Washington, not too far from the Olympic National Forest and some breathtakingly beautiful beaches.  It rained, as expected in the rainiest part of the country.  We were in a rainforest, after all.  It was glorious.

The four of us donned our raincoats and set out for our first hike together, not encountering any beast or person for the entire two hours on Christmas morning.

What a beautiful part of the country!

Happy New Year!  I hope 2012 is filled with happy surprises, time spent with loved ones, and new opportunities for us all!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A very good veggie burger!

Do you remember Heathen Vegan's Spicy Cajun Lentil Patties from Vegan MoFo?  It was one of those recipes that I instantly bookmarked to try post-MoFo.  However, I found it calling to me during MoFo, so I gave in and made these delicious burgers.

Following the recipe, my first batch of the patties came out really tasty, but crumbly- like the consistency of a dry sloppy joe- even with added gluten.  I baked my patties instead of pan frying for ease and to use less oil, and maybe to warm up the house a little.

A bit crumbly, but totally delicious!

Last night I made a batch, deciding to use mashed squash (squashed squash?) instead of the vital wheat gluten.  That made the mixture too wet, so I ended up adding in wheat gluten.  The consistency still wasn't perfect.  I'll need to continue to experiment.  However, both attempts yielded really satisfying burgers, especially with all the trimmings and some super great buns I found at the store.  If you're in Portland, check out Portland French Bakery's Pub Buns, available at Whole Foods.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Veggie Sushi!

Recently, my friend Carly (whom you may remember from this MoFo guest post) and I got together to plan our Thanksgiving menu.  And Thanksgiving menu planning is no good on an empty stomach, so we decided to make lunch.
We made a lovely assortment of veggie sushi, which included various combinations of red bell pepper, dill pickles (my favorite ingredient!), cucumber, avocado, cilantro, Tofutti cream cheese, and parsley.  In some of the rolls we used quinoa in place of the rice. 

We dipped the sushi into spicy mayo (Sriracha + Veganaise) and tamari and ate it with split pea soup and a nice spinach salad with roasted cashews and miso-tahini dressing.

A lovely lunch with lovely company!  Never made sushi before?  Check out my step-by-step instructions that I posted a while ago!

Friday, November 18, 2011

What do Papa Tofu and I have in common?

A love for Ethiopian food!

This week I've been doing a little cooking from Kittee's Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food.  Kittee has done a great job of explaining techniques, ingredients, and recipes in this adorable zine.  She worked really hard on both the designs and the recipes and it shows.  I'm super happy to have it in my collection.

The recipes I've tried so far have tasted really authentic, but even more importantly, yummy!  It was hard to decide on just a few dishes to try this week.  I'll be cooking through these pages, until I've tried every recipe, and then keep going!  The most fantastic thing about zines is that the number of dishes to try is manageable.

So what have I made this week?

Don't mind the horrible state of the injera.  I wasn't gentle with the ripping.

Here you'll see (clockwise from top right): Ye'abesha Gomen (mild collard greens), Ye'miser W'et (red lentils in a spicy gravy), mushrooms sauteed in Niter Kibbeh (seasoned "butter"), and Selata (tossed salad) with Citrus Vinaigrette.

The Ye'abesha Gomen was gingery and really on par with greens dishes I've had in Ethiopian restaurants.  I loved the Ye'miser W'et the most.  I actually made that one in the slow cooker, minus the initial sauteing.  We've had variations of the salad for three nights in a row.  The citrus vinaigrette is really simple, but I love it.  It's definitely going to become a go-to dressing in my house.

Tonight I'm going to make Keysir Allecha (Ethiopian style beets) to go along with leftovers of the other dishes.  It's been really easy to prepare one dish every night to add to the plate.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Super Breaded Tofu Dinner and a Thank you!

The full title of this meal is "Super Breaded Tofu 'Fried Chicken'-y Dinner" from Rabbit Food Cookbook.

Now that's a big lunch!  (And I ate it all!)

Vegan MoFo gave me the kick in the butt I needed to cook more from this cute little book.  Last night I made the above meal, which I loved.  It contained four components:

Breaded Tofu
The tofu was wonderful!  I don't know why, but I've never done the "shake 'n bake" thing which involves throwing the ingredients for the breading in a baggie, tossing in the cubed tofu, and shaking it up.  It worked out so well.  I did stray from the recipe just a bit by baking the tofu at 350* for 40 minutes (flipping half way through) instead of pan frying it.  The result was crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, peppery goodness.

Sauteed veggies
This was pretty straight forward- just green beans, carrots, and onion.

Mashed potato
Again, pretty straight forward.

Brown Gravy
Deeeelicious!  Again, I sort of strayed from the recipe.  Instead of using the exact dry ingredients listed in the recipe, I just threw in what was leftover in the baggie from the tofu.  This was a really, really good gravy.  There was almost this mustard taste, but there was no mustard in the recipe!  (Please excuse the 'gloppiness' in the photo- these were my reheated leftovers, which I was too lazy to heat separately.)

Also, I wanted to extend a big thank you to the lovely folks that honored me with a Liebster Award last month.  I'm going to be playing catchup in the weeks (months?) to come and will be sure to post links to some "under 200" blogs that I love.

Thank you so much:

Dawn from Veg-Am
Glauce from  All About... (vegan) Food
Christine from Christine Eats Gluten-Free And Vegan
Jeni Treehugger from Heathen Vegan

Aaaand the winner is... has decided that the winner of one pink jar of grape jelly is Number 9: Amberle.  Amberle, please send an email to inmyveganlife a t gmail dot com with your address!  Congrats!  I hope you enjoy the jelly!

Thank you for all the ideas, everyone!  I'm definitely going to try some of them soon!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Collard Wraps and a Wrap-Up

It's the last day of MoFo!  Although I'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief, I've also enjoyed the immense amount of vegan goodness shoved in my face this month.  I'll miss it!  I've enjoyed reading so many new blogs as well as old favorites.  I look forward to continuing to read throughout the year until MoFo 2012!  On my own blog, I've been able to blog every day, with the help of a few friends, but I didn't succeed in blogging about greens every day.  Oh well!

Just a little roundup of some of my greens dishes this month! Try the collards soup!

For my last Vegan MoFo 2011 post, I decided I really needed to go out with a greens dish.  I give you "Collard Wraps with Sunflower Seed Spread".

Sunflower seed spreads are really versatile.  A creamy texture is achieved by soaking and blending the seeds.  You can add whichever herbs or flavorings you'd like.  In this version I've flavored the spread with rich miso, garlic, and parsley.  The spread is accompanied by leftover majadra, shredded beets, carrots, and red cabbage, and sliced onion and cucumber.

Collard Wraps
6 collard leaves
sunflower seed spread (recipe below)
shredded or sliced veggies of your choice
prepared rice, quinoa, beans, or lentils of your choice

1. Bring a pot large enough to fit a collard leaf to a boil.  Blanch each leaf for about 20 seconds.  Rinse under cold water.  Set aside.
2. Fill the rolls with your fillings.  If the leaves are large enough (unlike mine), roll them up like a burrito so that the short ends are folded in before you roll the long side up.

Sunflower Seed Spread
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked in enough water to cover for about 1 hour, save 1/2 cup soaking water
1 tbsp miso
1 tbsp raw tahini
1 small clove garlic
pinch pepper
pinch smoked paprika
several leaves parsley (pulse a few times into it)

1. In a food processor, combine the sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup soaking water, miso, tahini, garlic, pepper, and paprika.  Process until smooth.  Add the parsley and pulse a few times so that the parsley is distributed throughout the mixture, but remains in bits.

Here are some photos of the wraps I made last time.  You'll see the leaves were a little bigger, so I was able to make wraps that retained their contents a little better.  Last time I filled the wraps with quinoa, black eyed peas, bell pepper, tomato, parsley, carrots, and the spread.

Here you'll see the leftover contents of the wraps, as a salad with the wraps in the background!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for homemade grape jelly! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

IMVL's first ever GIVEAWAY!

Update: Amberle, you're the winner!  Please send me an email with your address to inmyveganlife at gmail d ot com. 

Friends, I made a big batch of grape jelly for the first time, from grapes I picked from my own yard.  I used mostly green grapes along with several bunches of deep purple grapes, which yielded this fantastic pink color.  See the original post here.

Up for grabs is a little jar of this delicious pink stuff.   I'm not going to lie.  There's a lot of sugar, but that's jelly for you.  Three simple ingredients: organic grapes, organic cane sugar, and pectin.  There was a lot of pulp straining involved, but it was worth it!

Grape jelly for you?

What will you do with this jar of jelly (besides the obvious pb&j sandwiches)?  Well, that's up to you.  So far, I've enjoyed it best, slathered on a homemade biscuit with Earth Balance, as pictured below. 

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below.  You earn extra appreciation points if you tell me what you intend to use the jelly for.  I'm looking for grape-y inspiration!  This giveaway is open to EVERYONE everywhere, but there is only one jar up for grabs.  I'm saving the rest as holiday gifts for friends and fam.  A random winner will be chosen at 10:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday, November 1.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dovetail Bakery is Love

I love this place. It's my favorite bakery and on weekends one has the option of the super delicious biscuits and gravy with tempeh bacon.  Did I mention Dovetail is one of (at least) three vegan bakeries in Portland?  My friend and I stopped by this morning and had a serving each before I drove him to the airport.  I didn't have my camera with me.  I did, however, get some treats to go, which are photographed below.

Morgan, from Dovetail was one of the competitors in Vegan Iron Chef earlier this year.  And I was excited to hear that a more extensive menu (sandwiches! soups! salads!) will be rolling out of the bakery on NE Alberta St. soon.  I hope they stay in that spot forever, as it's really convenient for me :)

Oh the soft, moist goodness.
I usually love Dovetail's scones most of all, but today the lemon poppy seed muffins and cinnamon rolls beckoned to me to take one of each of them home.  Matt and I will enjoy them, along with some green tea, while working through a Halloween movie marathon based on some of the recommendations made by Katie from Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk.  Have you been following along with her Vegan Dinner and a Horror Movie theme?  It's fun!

I guess we're not really following Katie's dining suggestions, with the beautiful baked goods and all, but her recommendations are really imaginative and some of them sound downright delicious!

Yum Yum Yum Lentils and Rice

Majadra is a Middle Eastern dish consisting of lentils, rice, caramelized onions, olive oil, and salt!  Simple!  I think it's comfort food at its finest.  I've posted about this easy and satisfying dish before.  I saw this episode of Everyday Dish (doesn't Rose seem like the sweetest lady?) a while ago and have made it a few times since, tonight being one of those times.  It's great!  Perhaps the best thing about eating this dish is that it's an excuse to turn on the oven and heat up your kitchen a little after spending all day trying to fix your furnace to no avail.

You should give this a try yourself!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rabbit Food Cookbook: Lentil Soup

I picked up a copy of Rabbit Food Cookbook when I visited Portland three years ago.  (I actually got it for a friend, but decided to keep it myself!  Shhh.)  It's an adorable little book with hand drawn pictures.  I love it.

Being the vegan cookbook collector that I am, I haven't gotten around to trying many recipes.  I have, however, tried the lentil soup recipe, which is now my go-to favorite.  It's quick and hearty, and as I've discovered, adaptable.  Last night I made a half batch, which will provide the two of us with at least two meals a piece.  I didn't have potatoes or celery on hand, so I left out the potatoes and used carrot greens in place of the celery.  Delish!

I noticed this little book is making its rounds on the vegan blogosphere.  Check out Kittee's post at Cake Maker to the Stars, which features the falafel recipe from the book (I'm going to have to make this soon!) and a GIVEAWAY, ending tomorrow morning.  Also, be sure to visit the other blogs mentioned in the post to see some of the other recipes from the book.

I have all these plants, post-mofo, which now include cooking through this little book.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Grape Jelly!

Do you remember these grapes from Monday's post?  Well, guess what.  They're now jelly!  This jelly is lighter in color than traditional grape jelly because most of the grapes were green.

Take that you grapey beasts!

Making jelly sure is messy, but I think the time spent making my kitchen sticky was worth it.  I now have 22 jars of grape jelly to give as gifts to friends and family.  I'm thinking about offering a jar as a giveaway the last day of MoFo.  Is that strange?  Would people not really be into a homemade jar of grape jelly?  Tell me!

22 jars of homemade grape jelly!

Tonight I had my first "real" taste (this excludes what was happening as I was cleaning up the stick jelly-cooking pot!) of the grape jelly on a homemade biscuit with some organic Earth Balance.  I base my biscuits off of the recipe found in Vegan Comfort Food, but I use canola oil instead of margarine, and just mix the wet ingredients right into the dry.  Also, I don't actually measure the anything!

Oh man!  This was really good.  I'm thrilled with how the jelly came out and, really, this was the perfect way to enjoy it.  Although, I'm thinking about making grape jelly scones this week too.

UPDATE:  I forgot to link to the recipe I used for the jelly.  Here it is!  Also, I'm replacing that horrible nighttime photo with one taken this morning!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lovely Outing with the Lovely Celyn

Do you know Celyn?  She blogs over at Miso for Breakfast and during MoFo, she's doing a giveaway EVERY day.  She's kind of insane.  She's also really sweet and a pleasure to spend time with, so I was thrilled when she invited me to grab lunch at Green Wok, a vegan Chinese restaurant in SW Portland.

After lunch we headed to Barbur World Foods.  If you know Celyn's blog, you may have seen her tour of the grocery store.  It was the baklava that got me!

Oh man, I filled my basket with some tasty treats like...

Zaatar pizza!  I couldn't resist gobbling up a slice before Matt got home for dinner.  It's pretty simple, just a thin-crust pizza with zaatar on top, but they make it fresh while you wait.  It's crisp and has all that zaatary goodness, which is a little difficult to describe, but contains thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and olive oil.  Only $3.50 for the whole thing too! 
Zataar pizza.

Want a bite?

 Baklava!  I haven't yet sunk my teeth into one, but I am so excited for dessert tonight!  I think I grabbed one pistachio-filled and two walnut-filled.
One for me, one for Matt, one for good luck!

Falafel!  Baba Ghanouj!  Hummus!  Barbur World Foods makes the falafel fresh, to order, too.  You'll see their house made baba ghanouj, hummus, and tahini dressing on the left.  I also picked up some cherry tomatoes and huuuge pita bread.

 To that I added fresh kale and collards from the garden, carrots and onion.  Look at me, being all "greens theme."
A mighty fine sandwich, methinks.

Lastly, I decided Matt and I would have a mini root beer taste-testing.  Plus, Celyn sold me on the rose lemonade.  I look forward to trying that tomorrow.

I had a great time!  Thank you for introducing me to a new and great place, Celyn.  I enjoyed teaming up to discuss veganism with a curious employee.  I hope this person will try some of the great vegan spots in Portland that we suggested.  (She started the conversation with us and I could see here wheels a'turnin.)

Now, Matt and I are going to sit back with our falafel sandwiches and watch some Dexter.  Cheers!

PS- Grape jelly tomorrow.  I ran out of time and sunlight today!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grapity Grape Grapes

After doing yard work for several hours today, I decided I'm not going to go crazy with an intricate meal for dinner tonight, and am instead going to throw together a big salad.

What was I doing out in the garden you ask?  I started off planting some new native plants we picked up over the weekend.  Then, looking up for the umpteenth time at the neighbors' horrific grape vines, and being annoyed for the umpteenth time that they do nothing to maintain the, in my opinion, noxious weed, I rolled up my sleeves, got out the ladder and loppers and started hacking away.  I wish I had taken a before photo so that you could be appropriately impressed with how dutifully I freed our fence and the other neighbor's holly tree.  This shot of our huge yard waste roll cart will have to do!

You can see the grape vine clump on the other side of the fence, which appears to take up their entire yard!

Okay, okay, so what does this have to do with VeganMoFo?  Grapes!  In the process of warring with the neighbors' grapevine, I collected a big box worth of grapes.  For now I leave you with a photo of the grapes.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll have the finished product.  Can you guess what I'll be making with all these grapes?

Why yes, very fresh.  Interestingly, both varieties taste the same!

It was a beautifully crisp and sunny fall day today, so I was happy to be outside, even when picking through the uneven ground and leaf litter below me to find every last scrap of grape.  Did you know grapes (and raisins!) are extremely toxic to dogs?  Our dogs don't.  I'm hoping I didn't miss any grapes out there!

Not every recipe is a winner

I set out to make a really delicious "greens themed" red chard quiche, homemade crust and everything.  I threw in a bunch of stuff I thought would make a magnificent dish (tofu, soaked cashews, miso, mustard, tamari, tarragon, red pepper flakes, daiya, nooch, chard, onion...) and really couldn't eat more than one slice.  It was too rich, too salty, too soft, just too much.  I liked the crust (I used Julie's recipe from Vegan Diner), but wish I had twice as much.

I think I went wrong  with the cashews, miso, and tamari.  Maybe I even put in too much nooch.  I think I'll leave quiches up to the professionals and stick to following tried-and-true recipes in the future.

I couldn't even make it look delicious.  I think the hot sauce made it worse!

Matt, on the other hand said it was good.  Lucky him- he gets to take the rest for lunch this week!

Quiche fail.