Monday, September 27, 2010

The Conclusion of Operation Sweetie Pots

Last week I finally finished Operation Sweetie Pots.  For those who don't remember, we had at least 25 lbs of sweet potatoes to get through at the beginning of the year so I made a ridiculous amount of puree.  I froze half of it and ended up making some awesome things.
clockwise from top left: sweet potato hamburger buns, sweet potato cinnamon rolls, sweet potato pretzels, and Hungarian sweet potato bread

I made hamburger buns, cinnamon rolls, pretzels, bread, and a huge 9x13 pan of spiced sweet potato blondies (from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar).  It took me two days to get everything done, but it was well worth it.

sweet potato cinnamon roll zoomage

For the hamburger buns, I went with the King Arthur's flour recipe I found online, but I tried to do the cool technique I saw here.  It didn't really work out that well.  If anybody can figure out how to veganize that recipe, please let me know because those buns look awesome!

For the pretzels and cinnamon rolls, I simply subbed sweet potato puree for the pumpkin in two very popular recipes.  You can find the recipes for Katie's pumpkin cinnamon rolls and Kittee's soft whole wheat pumpkin pretzels in the provided links.  This was actually my first time ever making pretzels from scratch.  I didn't have atta flour so I substituted more all purpose with a bit of vital wheat gluten mixed in.  I also used sunflower seeds instead of pumpkin because I need to go shopping like woah.  The results, though misshapen, were absolutely fantastic!  Much easier than I thought it would be.

By far, my favorite thing to make was this Hungarian potato bread.  I subbed a generous 3/4 cups sweet potato puree for the russet potato in the recipe.  It was the first time I made bread that came out with a crisp and crackly outside, soft and chewy inside.  It was fantastic.  Even tasted slightly sour.  I'd make this again soon because it was that delicious!

I love this time of year because I get to enjoy orange food.  I can't wait to buy and use my first can of pumpkin.  That's pretty much the way I celebrate the beginning of fall.  Now, if only the weather could catch up to the season...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Canadian Cheeze Soup and Awards

I became a vegetarian around December of my sophomore year in high school.  I was 15 at the time and ate out a lot.  One of my favorite places was a local diner chain called Jim's.  This is the perfect place if you were a) too young to have any late night hangouts, b) drunk beyond belief and didn't want tacos, and c) the type to sit around drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes until the wee hours.

Jim's wasn't really known for it's food.  It was more an atmosphere thing.  In recent years, they completely revamped their menu and even opened up some coffee bars.  I haven't been since the days I was in a comedy troupe, but I kinda wanted to go back there.  Jim's is one of those nostalgic memories that makes me think of being young and stupid.  So I set out to recreate my favorite dish (besides the grilled cheese): Canadian cheese soup.

Canadian Cheeze Soup

First, I want to say that I have no frickin' idea if Canadians eat cheese soup or if this is a popular dish at all.  What I do know is that I loved it because it was creamy, cheesy, and filled with tender vegetables.  Unfortunately, I don't have a recipe today because I have to tweak one or two things.  But I can tell you that this took me back to San Antonio, TX and my young adulthood all the way.  Super thick and creamy.  Really delicious.  It's also low in fat, soy free, and can be easily made gluten free.  I plan to make it again soon because the temperature is finally, FINALLY dropping!  Yay!

salad and telera bread

Sticking with the Texas kick, I also made chicken fried seitan several weeks ago with white gravy.  I can't even remember the last time I've had that dish.  A local vegan restaurant had it on their menu for Father's Day.  However, they used this delicious mushroom-thyme gravy.  That's completely blasphemous to a Texan.  Haha.

chicken (or country) fried steak, white gravy, and mixed veg

I've been awarded a Versatile Blogger Award!  Yay!  So, with my shame face I gladly accept and thank Lacey for the award.  I also pledge to blog much more often (at least once a week). Anyway, I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about myself that you don't know and then I'll choose five seven people to give the versatile blogger award to!

1. I have scars on my face from a dog bite when I was 16.
2. I'm a board game fiend, but nobody likes to play me because I win most of the time!
3. With the exception of maybe two pairs, all of my shoes are Chuck Taylors or look-alikes.
4. I was born in England, but I've never left the country since moving here.
5. My first pet was a goldfish that I named Immortal.  It died three days later and I cried and cried and cried.
6. I think squirrels are the frackin devil!
7. My favorite author is Stephen King.

Versatile Bloggers (in no order)
Vegan Eats & Treats!- I love how Amey eats locally!  She also does extraordinary things like can food and packs her freezer full of homemade goodies.  And you should seriously check out the rainbow potluck she had recently!

Vegan Thyme- Kelly's food is always amazing.  I love how she veganizes things and can never make it through her blog without drooling.

The Vegan Mouse- I heart Kim so much.  She promised me one day we'd have a tea party and I'm seriously holding her up to it.  If you are looking for wonderful recipes and beautiful food, visit her blog!

Lazy Smurf- I love her blog because it reminds me of home.  I'm from San Anto, but I loved going to Austin whenever I could.  And this weird thing happened.  I left Texas right before the huge boom in vegan and vegetarian restaurants.  So now I have to live vicariously through blogs.

Seitan is My Motor- Mihl is a bread/dumpling/pastry genius!  I love to look at her blog.  She really inspires me to do fancy things that I would normally be afraid of.

Wing-It Vegan- River semi-recently returned to her original blog.  She is one of my favorite bloggers of all time because she is wickedly creative.  I first discovered her during VeganMoFo of 2008 where she did amazing Halloween themed things!

Cupcake Kitteh- I love Mandee's blog not only because she loves Scrubs as much as I do.  She also makes a mostly gluten free and soy free lifestyle look easy!

More to come soon...

Monday, September 6, 2010

I Wish It Was a Little Bit Faller

Besides Skee-lo on the brain, I can't help but think of how much I want to get out of these triple digits.  Now, we're only in the low 100s.  Perhaps soon I will know what it's like to wear a hoodie again!

I'm hoping everybody had a great summer.  We spent ours vegging out and watching reality television.  I know somebody who made it on Big Brother, so Era and I kinda became a bit obsessed with the competition.  It ends on Thursday, so we can finally get our lives back!  Haha.  I also spent a lot of time compiling recipes and hope to do something with it all.

Right now, I'm really playing catch up with food blogging.  I have some stuff from last month that was cute and nerdy at the time, so I thought I'd share.  August happened to have a Friday the 13th, and I decided to have a horror movie marathon...but only horror movies that took place in space.  It was awesome!  The plan was to watch Jason X, Alien, Event Horizon, Critters 4, and Leprechaun 4.  I only made it through the first three, though.  Which is fine because I'm totally gonna watch Critters after I finish this blog.

I went with themed food.  For Jason X, I made Campers in a Sleeping Bag (breakfast pigs in a blanket).  I used a pancake recipe I've been tweaking all summer and a really easy maple simple syrup.  It was super frickin great!

campers in a sleeping bag w/ maple simple syrup (plus my favorite piggy mug!)

Everyday Pancakes
(makes 10-12 small or 6 large pancakes)
soy free

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups non dairy milk
3 Tbsp canola oil
3 Tbsp Maple Simple Syrup, agave, or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
nonstick cooking spray

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt until well mixed. Pour the milk, margarine, syrup, and vanilla over the dry ingredients. Whisk until completely smooth (some lumps are okay).

Heat a pan or griddle over medium high heat. Once hot, spray with nonstick spray. Using a ladle, pour batter onto the hot pan or griddle using a circular motion. Flip the pancakes over when they begin to bubble in the center and the edges look dry.  Make sure not to press down on them once flipped because the baking powder will cause them to rise and become fluffy. Serve with more margarine, Maple Simple Syrup, and/or fresh fruit.

  • Hint of Sumthin’: Add 1 tsp of cinnamon to the dry ingredients.
  • Blueberry Cardamom: Add 1 tsp ground cardamom to the dry ingredients, and fold 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries into the batter.
  • Chocolate Chip-Banana: Fold 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 1 roughly chopped medium banana into the batter.

the sausages are Kittee testers and oh-so-good

Maple Simple Syrup
(makes about 16 oz)
soy free
gluten free

1 1/2 cups evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
1/2 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp natural (not imitation) maple extract

Place evaporated cane juice, brown sugar, and water in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Heat until the sugars have completely dissolved and the syrup has thickened a bit, about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir regularly and watch so the syrup doesn’t bubble over. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the maple extract. Let cool for at least 15 minutes, as the syrup will thicken even more as it cools.  Store in a condiment bottle in the fridge

leprechaun hummus w/ pita chips and snap peas

I also made Leprechaun Hummus and a gnarly Android Blood Date Shake (not pictured).  It was a pretty tasty day and I thoroughly enjoyed the movies.  The hummus was just some green veggies thrown into regular hummus and blended until smooth.  Super good, though.

bonus taco salad pic! (baked ww tortilla shell, brown rice, kidney beans, broccoli slaw, tequila lime tofu, avocado, salsa, reduced fat cilantro lime dressing)

Two quick things before I go...  I changed the layout of my blog so it's brighter and looks less like my other blogs.  Hope it's easier to read now.  Also, I added a recipe section.  It's kind of bare right now and mostly recipes I only ever made once, but I plan to be expanding it with the quickness.  More to come soon and Happy Labor Day!