Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Presents for the kitty cats!

Guess what my spoiled kitties got for the holidays? Not one, but TWO cat trees! I got them one, and Jesse's parents surprised me and got them one, too :) . They are in kitty heaven! Zoey was declawed by her previous owner (we adopted her from the Humane Society), so I was concerned about her being able to get up them. Unfortunately, the 6 ft. one is just too big for her to get up on top of, but she's loving the top of the 5 ft. one! There's a little cutout in the bottom of the bed part for her to jump up through. Happy kitties!

Once she got to the top, Zoey didn't want to share!

She eventually gave in!

It's ginormous! I custom ordered it from a guy that makes these in his spare time (let me know if you want his contact info - they are really cheap!) and I think I should have put one more ledge on it... whoops!

I tackled the cinnamon rolls from JoVB - pretty good! I subbed whole wheat pastry flour because I was out of all purpose... so they were a little heavy. Still tasty, though!

My favorite present! These are soooooo Chelsea! Jesse's little brother always gets me awesome gifts :)

Have a fun and safe New Years Eve everybody! Jesse and I are going to see his friend's band play and I don't know what else afterward... 2009, I can't believe it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My latest obsession - pancakes!

It's been snowing like the dickens here in Portland! Actual snow is a pretty rare occurrence here, so the city basically shuts down when the roads get slick. PSU was closed for 2 days last week, and had late openings for 2! It was sort of annoying because my vacation is supposed to be most of this week and all of next week (we're closed for children, so it's optional inservice time), and now I'll have to make some of that time up or just not get paid... I was planning to go in tomorrow, but I just found out we're closed again! Yikes!

One awesome perk of being around the house unexpectedly last week (other than frolicking in the snow) was that I actually had time to make breakfast! I read on one of your awesome blogs that Bisquick is vegan (sorry don't remember which...), so I decided to pick some up and try it out. Pancakes have always been a big frustration for me; I've tried a ton of recipes and they've all turned out like crap! Recently I had a breakthrough with the basic recipe from VWAV, and finally figured out what the batter is supposed to look like and when to flip the damn things (thank you so much Isa!). I have a dinky kitchen with NO counter space, so I thought I'd try the Bisquick out to cut down on dishes to wash and all that. Oh man, is it easy! And the Heart Smart kind doesn't have any weird crap in it. I've found that replacing the egg is totally unnecessary, just use equal parts Bisquick and soymilk. Here are some of my recent pancakes:

Chocolate chip soynog pancakes

Strawberry blueberry pancakes with tofu scramble and hashbrowns in the background

Strawberry flax walnut pancakes
I recently moved the living room furniture around a bit to make space for the Solstice Tree, and the kitties seem to love it! I actually really like it, too. It isn't a whole lot different, but I moved the big cozy chair into a corner where you can't see the tv, and it makes a really lovely spot for reading, and also creates a view out the window in a different direction than I've really looked before.

The cuties!

Lights on!

Lights off! Yay!

Happy Holidays everyone! Peace, love, vegan, and all that good shit :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Melting Pot update, and SantaCon!

So...I forgot to bring my camera to The Melting Pot. Whoops! Though I didn't get any faux fondue, the meal was definitely filling and pretty good, though the price was pretty outrageous (still full price of $50 something for me); luckily I wasn't paying!

We were a group of 11, seated around a large table with 4 fondue pots in the middle. The first course was 4 different kinds of fondue accompanied by bread, tortilla chips, apples, carrots, and broccoli. The server thought there was some vegan mushroom pate for me, but it sadly had sour cream in it. Next up were our salads, mine was a mix of baby greens, walnuts, and raspberry vinaigrette. It was pretty tasty. My parents in law ordered a different salad which came with a shallot vinaigrette and was served in a gravy boat, which I stole and used to dip the leftover bread in. I wish I would have thought to ask for oil or something while everyone else was eating fondue!

Next was the entree course. The server was really nice and always asking, "how's my vegan friend? Getting enough to eat?" and made sure everyone at the table knew not to dip meat in the pot in front of me. Each pot had a different broth in it, and I got a huge platter of good stuff to cook in mine. Tofu (frozen and thawed), mushrooms, eggplant, potato, broccoli, asparagus, and Jesse had the vegetarian plate which also included some cheese ravioli. It was a LOT of food and I was totally stuffed. And then there was the final course... dessert!

There was a large menu of chocolate fondues, and many of them included dark chocolate. I was very hopeful that I would get to chow down, but sadly, all of the chocolate fondue had dairy in it. The server made me a beautiful bowl of fruit, though, which pretty much made up for it. Bananas, strawberries, and blackberries, tossed in a sugar glaze and garnished with mint leaves and powdered sugar. Everyone was jealous of my blackberries! Overall, it was a very nice (3 hour!) meal, and they went out of their way to accommodate my veganness. I would definitely not recommend seeking it out for a special vegan dinner, but if friends or family invite you there, have no fear - you will leave stuffed like everyone else!


Santacon is a worldwide event that has many different incarnations depending on locale and culture. Here in Portland, it's a fun-filled day where thousands of Santas take to the streets, interact with strangers, do crazy (but legal) things, and get drunk. I went to a baby shower that afternoon, so I could only go out for the evening, but it was fun! I went with my girlfriend who it took a few drinks to even get a Santa hat on, and we started out at the Holiday Ale Festival. I had already been with Jesse on Thursday, so we didn't need to buy new mugs, and I ended up not having to spend any money at all! How is that possible, you wonder? While we were waiting in line to get in, 3 different people came up and gave me their extra tickets as they were leaving. At first I was kinda shocked and just said, "thanks, uh, ho ho ho!" but after a few people I became more comfortable with my alter ego. More people gave me tickets inside, and I had so many I even gave my friend some! I took lots of pictures with tourists, started a few Christmas carols, and had quite a jolly time. Yay Santacon!

My last minute Santa costume!

Mmmm Barleywine!

All that beer made us hungry, so we ventured to the Tube for nachos, tacos, and ham and cheese sandwiches (all vegan, of course!). Oh, and whiskey. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Melting Pot

Super quick post ahead! So, my sister in law is getting married tonight. Very small ceremony with a justice of the peace. We're not even going, it's that small! But, we are meeting up with them and the parents and grandparents afterward for dinner at The Melting Pot. MP said that they can accommodate a vegan... I'm so curious what they'll feed me! Fake cheese fondue? With tofu veggie kabobs to dip in it? Or will I get an entree that's not fondue-y? I just hope I can have some chocolate fondue...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A very tasty Thanksgiving

So, I didn't end up making those cookies... I got lazy and roasted my veggies in the morning instead of the night before so the oven would be free for baking - but that was ok! I still had plenty to eat!

Field Roast, mashed taters and mushroom gravy, stuffing, roasted veggies, candied yams, dinneroll with jam, and there was pumpkin pie on the other plate :)

The next day I woke up bright and early for Fur Free Friday! It's a worldwide event, and the march here in Portland attracted around 200 people! We had a bloody fashion show, lots of Radical Cheerleading, a march route that stopped at places that sell fur as well as a few places that have stopped (!), cake at the end, and then a smaller group of us went to do a demo at Ungar Furs (the last exclusive fur store in Portland).

Some of the crowd

Radical Cheerleaders for AR (that's me on the left)

Two of the fur hags and me in the middle

Good job, Portland!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I will learn to bake, gosh darn it!

Life has been a little crazy lately! I've been having classic hypothyroid symptoms (well, for like 10 years, but I didn't know all my weirdness could be a medical condition until recently), and trying to figure out crazy blood tests with my doctor. Fun! It looks like I have "subclinical hypothyroidism," but my B12 is on the low end of normal, so the doc wants me to take mega B12 doses and then re-check my thyroid in January. I may need to start medication and drastically cut down my soy intake... but we'll see.

Enough of that! Two of my awesome vegan blogger buds, VeganView and Vegan Crunk, have awarded me the Butterfly Blog Award! Woohoo! Thanks, ladies! "I'd like to thank the academy, and Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and Sarah Kramer, and Food Fight, and Herbivore, and, and, and..."

So onto the baking portion of this blog post! I didn't grow up in a home that ate fresh food or really cooked at all, so I never learned to cook. I've figured out how to prepare a decent meal as an adult (thanks in large part to my husband who spent a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen as a child, and has parents who are great cooks!), but following a recipe is still a little tricky for me. I'm working on it, and VeganMoFo helped a lot! And then there's baking. I have attempted to bake things a few times a year since I became vegan almost four years ago, and very little of it has been tasty. I think part of the problem has been that I tend to use random recipes off of vegweb, and part that I don't understand the lingo or have natural instincts with baking. I have a very limited sense of smell, so I can't tell when something is burning. I have no idea what pancake batter should look like compared to cookie batter. I don't have an electric mixer or one of those contraptions that mix together powdery stuff. But, there is hope!

I recently bought Vegan with a Vengeance and started using The Joy of Vegan Baking that I got for the holidaze last year. Both of these books are very patient with the novice, and have lots of pointers, tips, and tricks that have been REALLY helpful to me. Here are a few of my recent accomplishments:

Basic Pancakes plus blueberries from VWAV
Look! These look like tasty pancakes! And I made them! Isa included a whole page of pancake tips, the most helpful being to cook them on one side for about 4 minutes. I have a timer for my french press that goes for 4 minutes, which totally came in handy. I also discovered that I have probably WAY overmixed every other pancake batter I've ever made.

Chocolate Brownie a la mode from JofVB
I like that there's no soy ingredients (if you don't add the chocolate chips), and these brownies use flax seeds and applesauce for their moistness! There weren't any special tricks, but this just seemed to be a fool proof recipe. These were so tasty that I took them to work!

Peanut Butter cookies (some plus choc. chips) from JofVB
These cookies were delicious! The first batch I baked was perfect, but the second batch came out a little burnt. I think it was because I had a little less dough, so the cookies were smaller, and I should have adjusted the time a bit more (or made fewer cookies, but made those regular size). The tip in this recipe that really helped is to whip EnerG egg replacer in the blender, rather than by hand in a tiny bowl. Or at least I think it helped. It definitely looked more like egg consistency than when I usually make them!

Chocolate Chip Scones from JofVB
These were absolutely amazing. I still can't believe I made them! Colleen made very clear in the recipe exactly what the dough should look like, and how exactly what to expect from the dough as you add more ingredients. Can you tell I like chocolate yet??? Well, I AM a woman, afterall!

Four recent successes... pretty exciting stuff! Tomorrow morning we're going over to my mom's for breakfast, then over to Jesse's parents' for the rest of the day. I'm going to attempt the Sparkled Ginger Cookies tomorrow morning from VWAV :) Tonight I'll be roasting a bunch of root veggies and making Cranberry Salsa which I've made the last few Tofurkey Days and is always a hit. I serve it over Tofutti Cream Cheese with crackers. Field Roast's Celebration Roast will be my centerpiece, and Jesse's mom always makes me a vegan version of the mashed potatoes, stuffing, candied yams, and gravy. Awwww!

Have a happy, relaxed, and tasty Thanksgiving everyone! xoxoxo ~Chelsea

P.S. Don't forget Fur Free Friday! This annual event will be happening in cities all over the world, and the Portland one will be starting up at 11:00 am (meet at Pioneer Square, west side). Compassion is the fashion, don't buy fur!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Romanesco - the coolest vegetable ever?

Romanesco is a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower, with a fractal pattern that almost makes it too pretty to eat! I bought it at the farmers market last week, and a few nights ago cooked it up in a panang curry. I'm crazy about the Thai and True curry pastes - they are easy to prepare and there's no need to try to replace stupid fish sauce! In Portland, they're available at the farmers market, Food Fight, and many of the local food co-ops, or you can order them online! I use half the jar with a can of coconut milk for a good sized pot of curry.

Panang curry with tofu, romanesco, green beans, carrots, and red pepper

The romanesco was actually the best part of the curry, and I'm usually all about the tofu! Jesse snuck back in the kitchen to pick out all the leftover romansesco from the pot and add it to his dish!

But that's not all!

I've been tagged by the fabulous VeganView!

1. Link person who tagged you and post rules on your blog
2. Share 7 random/weird facts about yourself
3. Tag 7 people at the end and include links
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving comments on their blogs

All righty, let's give it a go:

1. I can't smell most things. I remember losing the sense when I was in 3rd grade and shared a room with a persian cat that my grandma was always powdering, but now I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it. I can sometimes smell really potent things.

2. I grew up living with my grandma, who I loved, but she was crazy. By the time she stopped drinking she was pretty senile, so there wasn't much difference. We always had around 10 cats, and she insisted that her favorite cats had their own bedrooms (hence me rooming with Esmeralda).

3. I hate bathing. I must have been French in a past life, right?!? I don't like swimming pools or hot tubs much, either.

4. I don't know how to swim!

5. I have a phobia that bothers me so much I can't even type it.

6. I don't have a dad.

7. I play World of Warcraft, but I'm not a nerd, I swear! It's my husband's fault!

Now I get to tag 7 of you:

Agnes of Agnes' World of Vegan Pleasures
Bianca of Vegan Crunk
Jen of That Pain in the Ass Vegan
Jess of The Domestic Vegan
Jessy of HappyVeganFace
Melynda of Veganic Adventures
Shelby of La Belle Vegan

Cookie says "hello vegan friends!"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Grocery Outlet is the shiznit!

Oh man, if you have one anywhere near you and you haven't been yet - get your ass there, stat! I saw mention of one in the Hollywood district that I didn't know existed on VeganShizzle's blog, so I got my girlfriend to drive me over there this morning. The stuff they have changes frequently, so you can't count on anything sticking around, but it will always be an adventure in cheapness! Sadly, there was no Wildwood garlic aioli, but I did score all kinds of other amazing deals. They had LOTS of good quality wine for $4-6, and Stephanie even got a crazy 4 bottles worth boxed shiraz for $2.99! I went a little nuts on Tasty Bite style Indian meals (I bought 7), but omg they were only $.99 and they had 5 different vegan varieties! Take that, Trader Joe's! Some other highlights: $.99 spiced tofu, ginormous organic peanut butter for $2.99, Health Valley to-go soups with those funny plastic tops for $.99, 32 oz. Naked Mighty Mango for $1.99 (I usually pay $2.99 for the dinky one!), raspberry Tropical Source bar for $.50... the list goes on and on! At the end of your receipt, it tells you how much you saved by shopping there, and mine was $62.54, after spending $63.51. Booyah!

As if that wasn't enough to make my Sunday totally awesome, we had breakfast at Sweetpea first! It was McBrunch day, so there were hashbrowns, apple turnovers, tofu McMuffins, McMuffins with pancakes instead of english muffins, and some kale for us iron-deficient vegans (ha!). The idea of a McMuffin scares the shit out of me, so I ate my pancakes like a normal person with syrup, and my tofu and seitan on the side. (I still love you, weirdos!) I seriously cannot believe I got to eat so much for $10. Portland love!!!

The first brunch serving, after I wolfed down my kale...

Seconds. I totally ate it all!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The end of veganmofo

To the awesome vegan blogging community,

I have really enjoyed getting to know so many of you over the last month. Veganmofo has pushed me to pay more attention to what I eat, cook more, document my life, and meet vegans worldwide! After this, I will go back to posting more like once a week, but I will be looking forward to another veganmofo (and possibly a spring veganmofo?) and regularly checking out all your thoughtful blogs. Thank you so much for your support!
xoxoxoxo and peace and animal liberation, Chelsea

P.S. What are you guys doing for election night? There's a big party at a bar I'm considering, but if things go badly I don't know if I want to be around people...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Anybody wear Danskos?

Specifically, the vegan ones? There's a pair in my size pretty cheap that I'm really tempted to get... the vegan felt Danskos were only made for a short while and are no longer manufactured. However, after Dansko recently ended their partnership with Sanita, who has always been the maker of their clogs, Sanita started selling their clogs directly to customers while Dansko is having their clogs made in China. Sanita now has one vegan clog as far as I can tell, which is really cute but too new to come down in price :)

Maybe next year! Here's the still expensive "Sanita Professional Vegan Clog"

Thanks, ladies!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beets a roastin'

I roasted some beets this evening while I was watching Obama's infomercial. Wasn't it great? It had the cheeze factor with the background music, the issues and solutions discussed plainly and with text, showed Obama in an Oval office-looking format, had the emotional highlights from his campaign speeches (when he talked about his mom dying of cancer and having to figure all the insurance stuff out, it totally broke my heart!), and on top of all that, really highlighted the people of America that will be helped by an Obama administration. How could anybody be undecided after that? Right?!?

Oh yeah, back to beets. They're good. I always thought I hated them because of the crappy salad bar canned kind I'd had, until I tried them for real at the Farmers Market a few years ago. The beets I roasted were from the market, and the cute old vendor (he had to be like 70!) told me to take as many as I wanted when I asked him about how many a pound is because I only had $3 left. How sweet is that? When they cooled down and I got to skinning them, I was delighted to find that I had an orange, a yellow, a red, and a deep purple beet. Woo hoo! My salad was quite beautiful.
Here's Cookie napping. She's extra fluffy because she just had a bath today - the poor kitty needs them fairly often because with that long hair, she gets some major dingleberries! She's currently licking the Goddess dressing remnants out of my empty salad bowl...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tofu memories

I tend to think about random things in the shower, and today what should pop into my head but the first time I ate tofu! I was 13, a fairly new vegetarian, and lived off of salad with ranch dressing, cheese pizza, and jo-joes. To make a long story short, my home was not a happy place, and I usually used babysitting money to buy my own food or ate meals at friend's houses. One of my newer friends, Alicia, had been raised vegetarian and I always got a good meal at her house!
One evening I was over and they decided to go out to dinner and invited me along. I was surprised to learn that we were going to a Chinese Restaurant because I thought that all Chinese food had meat in it. Luckily, Alicia's mom ordered the food because I didn't know what any of it was, and when it came there were all these plates of weird vegetables and a few plates with these big chunks of whitish stuff that I didn't recognize. I remember being a little embarrassed and wanting to just eat plain rice, but they told me it was just made out of beans and tasted like the sauce so I tried it.
And just like that, I was converted into a tofu lover! I didn't eat it often until I was in college and had my own kitchen to cook in (there weren't veg restaurants around Portland when I was in high school), and it's been a staple in my diet ever since. I really need one of those shirts that says "I &hearts tofu!"

P.S. Alicia's still one of my best friends. Awww!
That's us in May at the Sasquatch Festival :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The unbelievable happened - I ate faux meat and liked it!

I was shopping for some fake meat for Jesse to try today when I noticed that the Tofurkey Beer Brats are a little different than most: they are made of organic tofu, vital wheat gluten, herbs, and spices. Not a bunch of weird ingredients, but two simple ones. I talked myself into making one for myself for dinner, instead of making something different like we sometimes do. I almost wimped out at the last minute ("it looks like meat! Ahhh!") but I was brave in the end! And guess what? It was totally good! I wish I would have made two for myself! I think all the condiments and especially the sauerkraut really helped. So if you're a faux-meat-aphobe like me, try these out! I was pleasantly surprised :)

Do grilled onions and sauerkraut make anything delicious?

P.S. I found a bunch of pics of us cheering at the march online and added 'em to my Sunday post :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall is here - time for crisp!

Mmmmmmm criiiiiiiiiiiisssssp! I think my favorite is the classic apple crisp, but I had organic pears in the fridge that I got on sale and needed to use up. I used this recipe from vegweb, and added a handful of blueberries. It smells so good in the apartment!
Pears and blueberries, ready for some crispies!

Ready for the oven!

Ready to eat! P.S. I have a better picture, but blogger is loading it sideways! Annoying!

Cookie girl says hello!

March for Farm Animals!

This morning the Radical Cheerleaders for AR performed and kept everybody cheering and chanting during the annual March for Farm Animals! It was really fun and there was a great turnout - I'd guess 75-100 people marching. Yay for Farm Sanctuary! Marching is always a fun change of pace for us because we get to do different cheers than usual (more chanty than movementy), like this one:
One and one, we're havin' some fun
and march on, all day and all of the night
Two and two, we wear vegan shoes
and march on, all day and all of the night
Three and three, eat at Sweetpea
and march on, all day and all of the night
Four and four, kick cruelty out the door
and march on, all day and all of the night
Five and five, shop at Food Fight
and march on, all day and all of the night
Six and six, eat carrot sticks
and march on, all day and all of the night
Seven and seven, vegans go to heaven
and march on, all day and all of the night
Eight and eight, LIBERATE!
and march on, all day and all of the night
Nine and nine, vegans are fine
and march on, all day and all of the night
Ten and ten, never eat meat again!
and march on, all day and all of the night!

Woo! I didn't get many pictures because I was busy jumping around and cheering and all, but here's two. I didn't get one of myself!

2 cheerleaders and a bunch of marchers

Cheerleaders in between chants...
and lots more marchers behind!

And here's my dinner...

Edited Oct. 27 - I found a bunch of pics online of the march that were just uploaded, here's a couple :)
"My name is Vavoom, and you know what I got?"

The whole group - 120 strong!

"I'm too sexy to eat meat, too sexy to eat meat, so sexy and sweet!
I'm too sexy to wear fur, too sexy to wear fur, rather go naked - brrr!
"Well I'm a cheerleader, green vegan machine! And I'll fight for animal liberation!"

So many signs!

Friday, October 24, 2008

My vegan food "a-ha!" of the day

Do you know what happens when you put frozen bananas in a juicer? It makes banana ice cream! I'm not really an ice cream person, but I was amazed to watch a frozen banana go in the top, and ice cream come out the bottom. How fucking cool is that?

That's all I've got for today. It's been a long one. I just got home. Tomorrow is the big march for farm animals, and we're cheering at it bright and early. I'll try to get some pics.

Happy weekend, mofos!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dinner and a movie

So I've had this film, Whisper of the Heart, on my Blockbuster queue FOREVER, and it finally came! I love love love Hayao Miyazaki's films, and although he only wrote it and didn't direct, it had the classic Miyazaki trademarks of the young girl heroine who relies on her own intelligence and wit to save the day, the importance of nature, and the fantastical in the everyday. Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle are still my favorites, though. :)

For a quick dinner to go with my movie, I whipped up some whole wheat spaghetti, marinara and meatballs, and garlic bread. I got the meatballs on sale at Whole Foods, and though Jesse freakin' loved them, they were way too meaty for me! For the garlic bread, I just Earth Balance-d some baguette, sprinkled on some garlic, basil, thyme, and paprika, then popped 'em in the oven on 250 until the pasta was done. Yum!

Nom Nom Nom - Cookie liked it, too!
I didn't get a picture of that, but here's a recent one of her and Zoey:

She's getting so big! She still thinks she can fit in there with Zoey, though :)