Sunday, December 14, 2008

I am ready to cook the shit out of some food. I have 3 days left of school for the semester and after that I am going to cook up a storm. I haven't really been eating very well or healthfully lately, so there's really nothing to report here. Hopefully soon I'll be able to entertain you all with delicious food posts.

I miss good food!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pad Thai Review #1

You're probably wondering what I had for Thanksgiving this year, huh? Well, I'm not telling you just yet! Trust me, it's nothing special, it's just that I've been meaning to do this for quite some time now.

This is my first Pad Thai review in a series of... a few. This one comes from the lovely freezer section of Trader Joes.

It says "Traditional Thai Style rice noodes in a peanut base sauce with tofu, scallions and carrots."

As you can see, the description is dead on:

There are a few chunks of tofu and some shaved carrot pieces. I really used to like this PT bowl, but I was disappointed the last two times I bought it. There needs more vegetables and sauce. When I heated this up I threw in about a cup of frozen (then cooked) pepper strips and also a tablespoon or so of peanut butter. It's really lacking in the flavor department.

Additionally, this pretty tiny bowl contains 600 calories. Really? For some noodles in sauce? That is pretty much half of the calories I would need in a day, only to be devoured within 5 minutes.

Needless to say, I would buy this again if I was craving Pad Thai really badly and was near a Trader Joes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I just came across this awesome article about retail rip-offs you should avoid.

I'm going to paste a few here for your reading pleasure.

Pre-cut fruits and vegetables
Pre-cut fruits and vegetables didn't even exist 10 years ago, but Americans spent more than $600 million on prepared salads alone last year. According to Information Resources, Inc., pre-cut vegetables are the fastest-growing category of produce.

We understand that grabbing pre-cut fruit and vegetables can help cut down on your time in the kitchen, but that small convenience carries a big price. It's safe to say you are paying at least double the cost for pre-cut produce versus buying their whole counterparts. Another negative – you aren't getting all the vitamins you think. Tests have shown that pre-cut vegetables, for example, start losing their vitamin C once they are cut!

Anything at eye level in the grocery store.
Here's a great inside tip that we got from a store manager: You'll pay more for items at eye level on the grocery store shelves.

Products with the highest markups get that prime shelf space because the store gets a share of those fat profits. Less profitable products get high and low shelf space at the supermarket, so that's where you are likely to find the best bargains.

Bottled Water
Did you know that the two biggest brands of bottled water in America --Dasani and Aquafina -- are nothing more than purified tap water? In fact, estimates are that 40% of all bottled water is tap water. At close to $2 a bottle, bought alone, that makes bottled water one of the biggest retail rip-offs.

For the price of one bottle of Evian, a San Franciscan can receive 1,000 gallons of tap water. According to "Message in a Bottle" by Charles Fishman, bottled water can cost 10,000 times more than tap water -- about $10 per gallon for high-end brands. And more than 90% of that cost is in the bottle, lid and label -- NOT producing the water.

If you are concerned that your tap water is not as clean as bottled water, buy a water pitcher with a filter or install a filter on your faucet. Then buy re-usable bottles to fill and take with you when you are on the go.

Produce at organic groceries
The huge boom in buying organic produce has led to a huge boom in prices. You'll pay 30 to 50% more for organic produce -- sometimes more if something is not in season. Now, that may be completely worth it to you, but if you are looking for ways to save, here are a few ideas.

First, shop at your local farmers markets and look for farmers growing organically. They likely won't be charging big markups. Next, consider not buying organic when you are shopping for types of produce that use very little pesticide. The top 10 types of produce with the lowest pesticide levels are (starting with the lowest): onion, avocado, sweet corn (frozen), pineapples, mango, asparagus, sweet peas (frozen), kiwi and bananas.

Non-organic produce at organic groceries
Just because produce is being offered at an organic store, does not mean it's organic! Be sure to check the signs and labels before you buy. Non-organic produce often still carries a hefty mark-up at specialty stores.

You could end up paying 30 to 50% more for the same non-organic apples or tomatoes you could get at your regular grocery store. Buyer beware -- read the labels!

Coffee mark-up is insane. And we're not just talking about the fancy "mocha grande latte with soy" kind of coffee. A plain ol' cup of joe can carry an absurd markup.

A plain 16 oz. cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts costs $1.75. You'll pay at least that for a much smaller cup at most restaurants. Consider that a plain 16 oz. cup at home will cost you about $.55.

We're not telling you not to enjoy that occasional coffee run. But just one cup of coffee a day at home rather than buying it could save you $438 a year.

French fries at restaurants
French fries are a big profit maker for restaurants. A 10 ounce potato makes about 90 french fries (that's about the serving size for large fries at a fast food restaurant). That potato costs about 30 cents, but brings the restaurant about $1.75.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two posts in one day? What the heck is going on?

I updated my blog list to this fancy new one. If I missed your blog and you read this, let me know! I'll add you to it.
Well, it seems as though I've been tagged by that pain in the ass vegan. So I guess this means I have to post 7 weird and/or random things about myself. Since I'm not good at tagging people, I'm not going to.

1. I've had the same pair of ruby earrings in my ears since I was about 7 (I'm 22 now). I almost never take them out, not even to clean them. It's not that gross though because they don't get crusty or anything anymore. I almost wish they did because I'm gross and I like the crust. Also, I used to have about 8 earrings in each ear but a few years back I cut it down to just one.

2. I have an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts and I am seven classes away from having a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition. I have taken at least a semesters worth of classes that don't even count for anything, including microbiology. Awesome.

3. I went skydiving last year and I would rather do that again than go on a roller coaster. I guess to me it's better to keep falling one way than go up and down over and over again.

4. I've met some of my best friends online. I met one friend 11 years ago in a chat room either because both of us liked No Doubt or hated Hanson, I can't remember. He ended up being born the same day and year as me in the same hospital, and lived right down the street. So naturally we became friends. He was also recently on Paris Hilton's My New Bff (NOT Onch, the other boy), so that was cool to watch him on tv.

5. On more than one occasion I have fallen asleep while trying to, ahem, pleasure myself. I then woke up and tried to keep going, only to fall asleep again.

6. I have a hard time focusing on anything. If I'm doing homework and the computer is on, every few minutes I'll go over and check my email and any other website I can think of. I check my email compulsively, about 20 times a day I think. I don't keep track and I really don't want to.

7. My room has been messy for so long. Now that it's finally clean, I do everything I can to keep it that way. I sleep better when my bed is made, especially now that it's getting cold out.

See what I mean? It looks COMPLETELY different now. You can see all of my floor, I have a new desk where I can actually put my laptop on it. The color of my walls makes me super happy whenever I go in there.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I failed at Vegan Mofo. I didn't post as much as I had wanted to and I never did a big wrap-up post. Ah, well. It has inspired me to keep posting more often though. So fear not my fellow readers, I will start posting more often that I was before Mofo, but not as often as during Mofo.

No go forth and drink some Apple Cider while it's still in season.

And since I'm under the impression that Buttershots Schnapps is vegan, you can add a little bit to your apple cider to make it taste like a caramel apple. (If you see somewhere that shows it's not, let me know!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

I started typing up a big entry about how heavy I am, and how I shouldn't be because I'm a nutrition major, and that it's hard for me to motivate myself, and blah blah blah.

Instead of that, I'm just going to have to deal with it and start eating healthier. I plan to wake up a few minutes early so I can make a milkshake out of some 8th Continent Light Chocolate Soymilk and frozen bananas and maybe a little peanut butter. I'm going to cut up my Honeycrisp apple so I can munch on it during class instead of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos from the vending machine EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE DELICIOUS AND VEGAN. I will stop at the grocery store on the way home from school and get salad to eat before work that I will top with beans and reduced calorie dressing. I will probably stop at the store again on the way back from work to pick up something else delicious and healthy.

What are some of your favorite healthy recipes?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I cleaned out my room, and it seems as though I have some sort of critter sharing my space. I found a mini larabar that I had gotten at last years Veg Food Fest in the corner of my room, as it had fallen off my desk months ago. There was a hole in the corner and the wrapping was in shards surrounding it. The bar itself, however, was largely intact. Apparently little critters don't like vegan energy bars.

At least it wasn't like last time I had a phantom critter. That time, I was looking through my bottom drawer of my bureau and I found about 3 dozen acorns. You should note here that I do not store acorns in my room, nor do any of my other family members.

Personally, I do not like Larabars. I pretty much hate dates and that is the main ingredient of all of them. If I am going to eat a meals worth of calories in one bar, I usually go for Cliff Bars. If I want less calories, I'll eat a Luna Bar. Here are a few of my favorites...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Today I got vegan treats from Germany! My friend Xina moved there earlier this year. It stinks for all of us here who love her, but I know she's happy in Germany. She sent Stephen a marzipan chocolate bar and some chocolates filled with cognac, I think. I got some Pfeffernüsse cookies and some chocolates filled with coconut. She also sent some little nips of Jägermeister and some other kind of unknown alcohol. I'm excited to try the cookies, but I think they need to be accompanied by a nice cup of coffee. I need to get on the ball and buy some real coffee soon. I have a nice french press that I use on occasion, but most of the time I drink shitty instant coffee. I don't drink coffee too often because it makes my tummy all rumbly, but I do like it once in awhile.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh boy, I've really been slacking on the posts this past week. Since I'm still not eating too healthy, I'll talk about some more snacks!

I took a trip to Whole Foods this weekend and managed to only spend about $30. I had a $5 off coupon for my whole purchase, a free coupon for any Tofutti product, and $1 off of So Delicious.

I got some Tofutti Cuties. I tried the mint chocolate chip for the first time and I really liked it. I've never seen them anywhere else, so I figured I should pick them up. I've never actually had any cuties that I didn't like.

I also got some Purely Decadent bars. I can't find them online to include a picture, but they were vanilla coconut bars, covered in chocolate and crushed almonds. Mmm! I thought these were pretty good. You can definitely taste the coconut, but that's not a bad thing. My only complaint is that they're too small! I'd much rather be eating a Tofutti Marry Me Bar because they are so much bigger and more satisfying.

I ALSO picked up an Endangered Species chocolate bar. This time I got the Dark Chocolate with Deep Forest Mint. I really need to stop buying this one. I always think it's the one with the mint crunchies in it, but it's definitely not. It just has a minty taste to it. I like my chocolate bars with STUFF in them. Next time I should get the dark chocolate with blueberries.

Besides snacks, I did buy some real food. I picked up some soup (for eating), more soup (for making green bean casserole), tempeh and english muffins (which I already ate with Egg McVegans, of course).

Since I want to keep this recipe in a place that I'll never lose it, I should post it here. It's originally from the blog Yeah, That Vegan Shit (link is above). I used this recipe last year and it came out perfect. Can't wait to make it again this year!


1. Combine soup and pepper in a 1 1/2 qt. baking dish; stir until blended. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French's French Fried Onions.

2. Cover and bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until hot. (Make sure you've thawed the frozen green beans out sufficiently if you're using them--otherwise expect a longer baking time.) Check the casserole and see if the soup's thickened up enough--if not, add a couple teaspoons of flour and mix in. Stir.

3. Sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup French Fried Onions. Bake 5 minutes or until onions are golden.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

This is my favorite time of year. Do you know why? Because of the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival! It's usually around the end of October/the beginning of November. This year it's Saturday, November 1st. I've gone the past two years and they've been really fun*. There are tons of free samples, you get to meet lots of cool people and you get to bond with your fellow vegetarians.

*Last year kind of sucked, but only for personal reasons. I KNEW my boyfriend was going to break up with me, and he totally did the day after. At least he waited so I could try to enjoy the fest even though I was pretty much crying all day.

Here are the details for you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008
10 AM – 6 PM
Reggie Lewis Athletic Center
1350 Tremont Street, Boston Massachusetts
Free admission - Free food sampling
Free parking - Subway stop across the street

Speaker Schedule:

10:45 AM — Vegan Travel Tips and Q & A with Sarah Kramer
Cookbook Author (of a million books)

11:30 AM — Meat Production's Impact on Climate Change and the Environment
Danille Nierenberg

12:15 — Cooking Demo: Favorite Whole Foods to Energize You Throughout the Day
Jae Steele, RHN (author of Get it Ripe!)

1:30 PM — Understanding the Evidence for a Plant-Based Diet
T. Colin Campbell, PhD (author of The China Study. Holy crap! )

2:30 PM — Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals
Karen Dawn (author of Thanking the Monkey)

3:30 PM — The Latest in Human Nutrition 2008
Michael Greger, MD (author of Bird Flu and Carbophobia)

5 PM — Passionate about Dessert
Hannah Kaminsky (author of My Sweet Vegan; fellow ppker!)

I'm really bummed because I work until 1pm, and then would have to drive for an hour to get there. I'm going to be missing a bunch of people I REALLY want to see, like Jae Steele and T. Colin Campbell. I want to see them especially, because as a Nutrition major, I love listening to people talk about nutrition stuff. I'll DEFINITELY be there in time for Hannah, so I'm happy about that. I'll probably end up buying Get it Ripe and My Sweet Vegan because I've been wanting to get those for awhile. I'll also nerd it up and have them sign them too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I am getting a little sick of pudding, but thankfully I'm starting to be able to eat more solid food. Last time I got the Kozy Shack Soy Pudding, I only got the chocolate flavor. I got a coupon for $1 off my next purchase of two packs, so I went back and got another chocolate and a vanilla. I can officially say I really super like the chocolate one. The vanilla one, not so much. It's not awful, but I don't enjoy it on its own. When I did eat it, I ate it along with a chocolate one to balance it out. I'm not sure what it is that I don't like about it, so don't let my opinion sway you either way. If you typically like vanilla pudding, you should go out and pick some up. This will encourage Kozy Shack to keep making this, and maybe in the future they'll even make butterscotch? Oh that would be a fabulous addition.

Another product I've been eating the hell out of lately is Sweet Nothings Fat Free Non-Dairy Fudge Bars. Whew, that's a mouth full. After looking these up online, I realized they are put out by Turtle Mountain, which are the same people who make So Delicious ice cream. No wonder these are so good. They are fudgsicles, but super healthy. Check out their Nutrition Facts:

Servings Size 1 bar (75g)
Servings Per Container 6
Amount Per Servings
Calories 100 Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0g 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 12%
Sugar 12g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 0% Iron 0%

These are great if I want something like ice cream. I can eat 1 for 100 calories, or I can eat the whole damn box for 600 calories. Not that I would necessarily go that wild, but if I DID I wouldn't ruin my calorie intake for the day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mofo Survey (#2)

I've had a pretty lousy weekend, so food is the last thing on my mind right now.

1. If you have to choose between locally grown or organic, which do you usually choose?
It depends. I'm not going to choose an organic tomato from California over a local tomato from a town near here.

2. Favorite way to prepare potatoes:

3. Do you press your tofu before preparing/cooking it (if you eat soy)?
Yep. Since I usually use it in things like Egg McVegans or Buffalo Tofu, I like to get out as much water as possible before putting it into hot oil.

4. Name your favorite recipe that is a tradition in your family:
Poutine râpée. My grandmother and grandfather used to make this a lot when I was younger. It's not the fries covered in cheese curds, but rather a snowball shaped potato thing. We always served it with butter and salt. MMM.

5. Any food allergies?
Not that I'm aware of. I did see to have some weird things going on after I ate that pesto a few weeks ago, but I'm not sure if the basil had anything to do with it.

6. When you want to go to a fancy dinner, where do you go?
Grasshopper or Nancy Chang.

7. When you have a cold, what do you crave?
Wonton soup.

8. What kind of water do you drink? (Filtered, spring, tap, etc.)
Filtered tap water.

9. Name a flavor of soda you'd love to see:
Anything I like is already out there.

10. If the recipes you ate as a child were compiled into a cookbook, what would the title be?
Scrambled Hamburger and Kraft Mac n Cheese: Two recipes to delight you every other day of the week!

11. If you were allowed to grow one food that can't grow in your climate, what would it be?

12. Favorite type of mushroom?
Ugh. I can only stand mushrooms once in a while, so I can't answer this one.

13. Most frustrating part of your kitchen?
There is no room to do anything. The only space I have to prepare things on is the kitchen table, which is always at least half-covered with my mom's junk.

14. Last food you burned?
When I made Tofurkey last week, a bunch of onions fell out of the dish onto the bottom of the oven.

15. Usual response to a veg*n's favorite question, "But where do you get your protein?":
Um...protein is in almost everything...

16. If you were baking your own birthday cake today, what flavor would it be?

17. Favorite brand of chocolate chips?
I usually just get the Price Chopper brand of semi-sweet chips.

18. You have $200 of your tax return reserved for Williams Sonoma- What do you buy?
A heavy duty food processor

19. Do you plan your menus in advance? Any tips to share?
Not at all. I'm awful at that, though I hope to one day get better. I think it would be easier if I lived on my own and not with my parents.

20. You have 3 minutes before you have to leave the house and you're starving- What do you eat?
I don't. I'll just drink some water or juice and have a rumbly tummy all day.

21. If Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, and Rachel Ray got into a fight, who would win?
Probably Martha. She did spend time in jail. I'm sure she learned a few things.

22. If you eat oatmeal, what do you add to it before serving?
Soy milk.

23. If you got to travel to one country and learn all the traditional dishes there, where would you go (ignore commitments in your current place of residence)?

24. Favorite late night snack?
Chips and salsa.

25. Favorite springtime food?
Fiddlehead ferns. I wish they were around longer.

26. Favorite food-related magazine?
Veg News? It has some food-related stuff in it.

27. Which do you prefer: shoyu, tamari, conventional soy sauce, or Bragg's Aminos?
Conventional soy sauce is what I typically have on hand.

28. What vegetable or fruit do you dislike the most?
Eggplant. Everything about it disgusts me.

29. Name a holiday food you look forward to all year long:
I've been meaning to veganize my mom's sweet potato pie recipe. I should get on that this year finally.

30. If you could convert anyone to veganism with your magic wand, who would you convert?
Oprah. That woman has entirely too much power. I know she "went vegan" for a month, but it was more like a cleanse.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mofo Survey

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
I usually just get a small container of plain Price Chopper brand soy milk. If I have a lot of cooking to do, I'll get a half gallon.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Egg McVegans, pizza on my new pizza stone, pad thai

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
Hmm...I haven't had popcorn in a pretty long time.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
I can't remember making anything that tasted too foul, but one time I made crepes. Before I was able to cook them, I dropped the bowl of batter on the floor and it all went down into the heater vent.

5. Favorite pickled item?
Dill pickles! I also enjoy pickled beets.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
I have the top shelf of my bookshelf in my room filled with cookbooks and zines, then I have a few in the kitchen, and I also have a 3-ring-binder with printed out recipes in it. It's all very unorganized and I tend to reprint recipes because I can never find what I'm looking for.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
I try to compost at much as possible. We have a compost bin in the backyard for our garden.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
Ribz, pad thai, pizza

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
My mom making her homemade mac and cheese. She would always add diced tomatoes to it at the end, and now I almost always do that when I make my own version.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
Tofutti Marry Me Bars. Whoamigod.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
My blender.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Garlic/onion powder

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
Probably the Vegetarian Times cookbook, though I've never made anything out of it.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
I choose not to choose one. I think I use tofu the most, then tempeh, then seitan, but I love them all.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
My crappy food processor, random recipes, hazelnuts that I need to use eventually, other really random stuff

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Banana slices, mixed berries, lots and lots of peas.

20. What's on your grocery list?
Fruits and vegetables, english muffins, pasta sauce

21. Favorite grocery store?
I like Price Chopper because it is so close to me and has vegan butterscotch chips (and I get gas discounts there), Shaws has a good "natural foods" section, Trader Joes has some good cheap stuff, and Whole Foods has so much variety. I also like Price Rite because it's so effing cheap.

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
Shit meat! My stepmom used to make this stuff, and my dad can't pronounce it so he always calls it shit meat. It was so good. I have the recipe waiting for me to try it someday. I'll probably use seitan when I do it.

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa's because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
Get Sconed! Vegan Feast. Kittee's blog.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
I love those dark chocolate truffle bars from Trader Joes.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
I haven't bought anything lately except pudding.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Future cooking

I'm still not in the mood for chewing, though boy am I hungry. Since there's no way I'll be able to cook and eat real food for at least the next few days, I decided today was a good day to talk about recipes I would like to try eventually. I've been on livejournal since I was 13. I've gone through a few journals, but the one I'm on now I started saving recipes in my memories since 2004. It was through VeganCooking that I found Isa's recipe for Raspberry Blackout Cake. It was my go-to cake for a long time. When I opened up VwaV for the first time, I was so surprised to see this recipe in there! Then I made the connection and have had a girl crush ever since.

Future cooking endeavors!
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Lattice Top Apple Pie
Roasted Garlic Dressing
Peanut Butter Eggs
Beef Stroganoff
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Seitan Philly Cheese Steak
Traditional Tasting Tofurkey
Meatloaf (2)
Melty Cheese
Chocolate Martini
Chana Masala
Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce
Roasted Garlic Potato Leek Soup
Beef Stew
Swedish Meatballs
Jalepeno Poppers

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Well, today I got 3 wisdom teeth taken out. It was such a weird thing. I got there, sat in the chair, and got strapped to all sorts of things. The oral surgeon was impressed that I didn't even flinch when they put the needle in my arm. She said that so many people come in who have tattoos and then get freaked out by the needles. True, they are different types of needles, but I have never had a problem with getting blood taken or any of that stuff. So after a few minutes, I guess I passed out. They didn't have me count down which seems to be a common thing people do (at least on television). I just remember waking up and getting in a wheelchair and being brought to a little bed to lay down in for awhile.

So, as you can imagine, it's relatively hard to eat. I prepared myself yesterday by buying the new Kozy Shack Soy Pudding. I got it in chocolate, but they also have vanilla. I've heard of it around the internet, but I finally found some at Shaws. I tried it on Wednesday night, and I thought it tasted a little weird. Kind of a chalky taste. BUT today I ate the other 3 that were in the package and I really liked them. I'm not sure if it has to do with the fact that I just sort of sucked it down because that was the easiest thing to do. Since I got a coupon for this pudding after I checked out last night, I'm gonna buy some more. Needless to say, I am super grateful that I found a relatively popular brand of pre-made soy pudding. Sure, there is ZenSoy pudding, but I can only get that at Whole Foods, which is 45 minutes away, or at Living Earth, which is currently going through tons of renovations. I also definitely wasn't in the mood to make my own from scratch.

I also made pancakes today for dinner. I was able to eat 3 or 4 small ones, and I have a few left over for breakfast tomorrow. I also had a can of Progresso soup that was delicious!

I'm on some pretty powerful painkillers right now, so I think I'll end this now before I start babbling too much.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Misfits Cake

A few weeks ago my boyfriend turned 21. For this special occasion, I decided to make him a cake that he would really like. Apparently he's not much of a cake person, but that wasn't about to stop me from making one. He loves the misfits, so I thought it would be fitting to incorporate that somehow. I'll be honest: I totally copied this idea from someone else. I can't remember who it was, otherwise I would give them credit.

I made the yellow cake from VCTOW. I found that one recipe of cupcakes = one cake pan. So I doubled the recipe so it would be a double layer cake. I added WAY too much turmeric though, and while it was cooking it looked red, and when it came out of the oven it was brownish. Then I covered it with chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache. The white was leftover frosting from my moms birthday. It was just store bought canned frosting that happened to be vegan. I printed out a picture of the skull and just freehanded the design. It was pretty easy since the design doesn't have crisp lines or anything.

Also, I baked this for as long as it said to bake the cupcakes and it came out perfect. You might find that you need to cook longer.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I haven't blogged all weekend because I've been wicked sick. I did cook a good amount, though. On Friday night I made a Tofurkey roast with mashed potatoes, kale and roasted veggies. Well, they aren't really roasted. You see, on the Tofurkey website, they have a recipe for a glaze that consists of 1/8 cup orange juice, 1/8 cup soy sauce and some brown sugar. What I do is use 1 cup of juice and 1 cup of soy sauce. I pour it all over the roast and the veggies, and when they are done cooking they are so tender and sweet. And the leftover liquid is so good poured over the whole plate. This time I used carrots, onions and celery. It was such a good meal. I can't wait until it gets closer to Thanksgiving when Tofurkey goes on sale at Whole Foods. I'll have to pick up a few.

Saturday was a bit of a blur. That was the day I really started to get sick. I remember I worked, ate at the vegetarian Indian restaurant in Shrewsbury (Udupi), and went to bed early.

Then Sunday morning I made Fronch Toast (from VwaV) and a pot of blooming tea in my french press. I got this tea from someone in a swap over on the ppk. I also had two cups of orange juice. So basically I was lounging around and peeing all day. Then at night my boyfriend and I drove down to New Haven, CT to see Jenny Lewis.

I hope to get back on track with cooking and eating. I have a feeling it won't get back to normal until next week since on Thursday I'm getting 4 of my wisdom teeth out. I guess I can always make a post about smoothies and pudding.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hot sauce glazed tempeh

Tempeh. A fermented soybean cake. How anyone figured out that this would be delicious, I may never know. Thankfully someone did, though. I really like tempeh. I find it super easy to prepare since it just comes in a block that you don’t have to drain or press or anything. Some recipes do require boiling it first, but that takes just a few minutes. Draining tofu can take way too long, especially if you are hungry right at that moment. I tend to do that way too often. I’ll wait until the very last minute to cook, and by that time I’m ravenous.

Lately on the ppk we have been trying to make use of our cookbooks. This week’s book is Veganomicon. I’ve made a good amount of recipes since I was a tester (my name is in the back! I’m so special!). I’ve made the smoky grilled tempeh a million times, but for some reason I never tried the hot sauce glazed tempeh. I decided it was time to buckle down and just do it. I had tempeh in my fridge that expired a few months ago. But really, how can tempeh expire if it’s already basically just moldy soybeans? Since tempeh comes very well packaged, sitting between 2 or 3 layers of tight plastic, there wasn’t any problem with it when I opened it. I also finally had a use for some wine that I had taken from my brothers apartment when he moved. I didn’t want to drink it, but I wanted to use it for some kind of recipe. This one uses a half cup, though I did add extra just so it would cover all of it. The tempeh I’ve been using lately is the Soy Boy brand. It’s usually the cheapest one at Whole Foods so I always grab a few. For some reason, this brand is super thick. I find that the outside and the edges marinate pretty well, but the middle never does. I think from now on if I keep using this brand that I will cut it into smaller pieces so everything can marinate well.

Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh
By Isa Chandra Moskowitz

8 ounce package of tempeh

1/2 cup wine (whatever kind you've got on hand, just nothing sweet, or use vegetable broth and a touch of wine vinegar)
1/4 cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil.

Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a bowl large enough to fit the tempeh slices.

Cut the tempeh in half widthwise then cut each of those squares diagonally to form 4 large triangles. When the water is boiling, add the tempeh, lower the heat and steam for 10 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the tempeh and then immediately place them in the marinade bowl for 1 hour, flipping them every now again to cover with the marinade.

Preheat a greased grill pan over medium high heat. To grease it, brush lightly with olive oil or if you have a spray bottle of olive oil, that works, too. (Get a spray bottle of olive oil already!)

Grill each side for 5 minutes. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.

Alternative broiling instructions:
Preheat the oven broiler. Place tempeh in a rimmed pan (I like to use my cast iron pan for such purposes). Spoon some of the marinade over it and broil for 5 minutes. Flip it and spoon some more marinade over it and cook for another 5 minutes. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Whoa, it's already day 2! I'm used to posting once every few weeks, not every day, so this is going to take some getting used to.

This spring, I convinced my mom to grow some basil for me. She does all the gardening in the house, so it didn’t seem like it would be a big deal for her to add that to her repertoire. Thankfully she went along with it. So this pot of basil has been growing on the back porch all summer, and I finally got around to using it. I plucked off about 3 cups of it to make some pesto. I kind of followed a few different recipes because I tend to not have everything in one particular recipe. I think it turned out pretty good, except afterwards I felt kind of sick. Then I felt better until I ate some more, and then I felt a little sick again. I think I either added too much olive oil, or I’m not good at digesting basil. I think I’m going to have to make it again sometime with less oil to see if that was the culprit or not.

-3 cups of basil
-1/2 cup or less of olive oil
-Handful of pine nuts plus some raw sunflower seeds (that’s just what I had). Probably about a half cup or so
-garlic! I have that jarred minced garlic, so I put in about three scoops
-course salt
- 1/3 to ½ cup nutritional yeast

So what I did was put the basil, nuts, garlic and salt in the food processor and mixed it up. Then I slowly added the olive oil. Then I added the nutritional yeast and mixed it all together. My food processor is awful though, so I kept having to stop it and scrape down the sides.

There are so many pesto recipes out there that you don’t really need to stick to one. I think next time I might try some arugula pesto to see how that is.

Basil straight from the garden.

All together in my crappy food processor.