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...