Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Gardening Blog!

Hello, lovely readers!

Thanks for your input about my blogging venture.

It's official.  In My Vegan Garden is live!

Please visit inmyvegangarden.blogspot.com for a fun blog about veganic gardening!  Take a look at gardening tips, recipes, project ideas, and plenty of photos (of doggles!)  See you there!

Monday, January 16, 2012

this blog is a-changin'

In recent months I've been thinking about changing the focus of my blog.  Admittedly, there isn't currently much of a focus outside the goings on "in my vegan  life", but that's the way I planned it.  I wanted to keep an online scrapbook.  However, I'm ready for a change and I would love your feedback!  I've thought of a couple of themes that I'm excited to blog about and wondered which theme appeals to more readers.

Theme 1: My quest to find the BEST vegan Pad Thai and vegan chai in Portland.
Two of my favorite things.  This is pretty self-explanatory.  I've been on this quest since I've moved here, and thought since I'm searching anyway, I might as well document my experiences to help others!  I would provide reviews and photos of the area's offerings and probably post some recipes too.
Oh man.  This is the best Pad Thai: From Vientiane in West Philly.

Theme 2: My experience as a veganic gardener in the Pacific Northwest.
I love gardening.  And have started documenting my journey from turning a weed-infested outdoor space into the lush permaculture paradise I hope it will be one day.  This is a pretty expansive theme and would cover everything from before/after photos of our patio project to instructional planting posts to product reviews to recipes made from homegrown ingredients and more.  Like the doggle photos?  Well, there'd be more of them in this approach!
Little tomato seedlings from last year.

Whichever theme I go with, I will likely have "random post" days, where I'd post a recipe or a chair makeover or photos from a trip to the coast.  Also, during the Vegan Month of Food, you can expect a departure from the regular theme and instead find recipes galore.

So, what do you think??

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Easy Sugar Cookies with Barely Pink Icing

It must have been a dozen years ago that my friend, Alison, surprised me at my Bubbie's house for Thanksgiving. Along with her came a big bag of scrumptious sugar cookies that she and her mom baked and decorated with a smooth sheen of icing.  This sugar cookie recipe remains my favorite, with minor adjustments, of course.

The beauty of sugar cookies is, granted you don't go overboard with the icing, they're not too sweet. The slightly crunchy, slightly crumbly texture of the cookie paired with the sweet almond-flavored icing makes for a scrumptious treat.  These 3 dozen cookies were gone in a matter of a few days and I wish I could say there were more than two people eating them!

I left the rolling pin and cookies cutters in the drawer, in favor of the easy "log method."  And although I'm providing the full recipe for the icing below, I only made a half batch for my full batch of cookies.

Ethel's Sugar Cookies, veganized!
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer, combined with 4 tbsp water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

1. Beat oil, sugar, vanilla, and "eggs".  Stir in the flour and baking powder, using hands if necessary. 
2. Form the dough into a long log, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 375*F.
4. Make sure that the circumference of the log is the circumference you'd like the cookies to be.  Unwrap the dough log and with a sharp, floured knife, make slices about every 1/4" or so.  You'll get about 3 dozen small cookies.  Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  They don't spread much, so you can probably pack them all in on one sheet.
5. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. If you're going for larger cookies, adjust the baking time accordingly. Decorate with icing when cooled.

Decorator's Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tbsp almond milk (or soy, or whatever, even water would be fine)
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

1. Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth and spreadable.

*To get the "barely pink" icing, I defrosted a few frozen cranberries and squeezed out the juice!  You'll see I got a little cranberry pieces in the mix too.

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.