Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's mother pumpkin muffin time!

Yay, fall! All the cliched fall things are here, and after 4 years in Texas everything is new and exciting again. Changing leaves! Meals from a crock pot! Pumpkin in a can! No wait, pumpkin in a can isn't very exciting. Until now! *cue high temp Euro pop music and imagine me dancing* I am going to impart to you what is promised to be "The best pumpkin muffin" recipe, and so far the hype has legit. I got this book from "Vegan with a Vengeance", which in my humble opinion is the very first book you should add to your vegan cookbook collection. This recipe is at least marginally healthy, and if you swap the white flour for whole wheat, half the sugar and use apple sauce instead of oil- you can eat it for breakfast guilt free. Or just make it as is and eat 4 for breakfast because you deserve it :)

The Best Pumpkin Muffins
From Vegan with a Vengeance
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/4 TSP salt
1 TSP ground cinnamon
1/2 TSP ground nutmeg
1/2 TSP ground ginger
1/4 TSP ground allspice
1/8 TSP ground cloves
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 TBS molasses
Preheat oven to 400f. Lightly grease or line a twelve muffin (or mini muffin but reduce cooking time accordingly) tin. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, soy milk, oil and molasses. Pour the wet and dry together and mix. Fold in a cup of chopped walnut/fresh or dried cranberries/combo/or not. Fill cups and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick or knife in the center comes out clean.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What the Kale?

This post was supposed to be a chronicle of the most amazing veg themed road trip of all time, but instead I'm following through on a promise to my awesome cousin Leslie. (Recipe at bottom as promised :)

Carol J Adams wrote a book titled "Living Among Meat Eaters" that revolutionized the way I functioned in a very non vegetarian culture. It came to me at a time when I desperately wanted to change my life to align with my values, but couldn't wrap my head around how on earth to function in social situations-they all focus on food! This book was invaluable, but I'll gush more about Carol J Adams in another post as we happened to meet her on our epic trip. So to make a point here, the book she wrote had lots of great tips for decreasing the awkwardness of social situations. Things like: don't discuss why you don't eat meat when people are currently eating a piece of meat. Along the way, I've come up with my own unofficial rules-most of which pertain to the kinds of food I serve omnis. There are a few on the no fly list. For people not used to vegan cuisine-no tempeh, tofu, leafy greens and for the love of god no nutritional yeast. This summer, during a big family reunion I broke one of my own rules. I was introduced earlier this year to the most amazing, fantastical, flavor bursting Kale salad. Kale? What the hell is that? Kale is a dark leafy green (you know that crap they always tell you to eat more of but you never do?) that is bursting with nutritive properties. Most of the time when I eat leafy greens, I saute it with my old buddies garlic, lemon, sesame oil and soy sauce to mask the healthy taste-so I was sure that I would hate this salad. Moral of the story is don't be afraid to try new things! This is about as healthy as it gets, and I could eat it for every meal! I'll probably talk more about why raw fooding is awesome at a later date-we're currently still getting acquinted. I can't claim this recipe as my own, but after countless interwebular searches I can't find the origin. So you can credit "random poster X" on if you feel the need to thank someone!

Rawsome Kale Salad

2 Bunches of organic Kale

1 Ripe Avacado

1/2 Red Onion Chopped

1 Apple Chopped

2 Tsp Minced Ginger

2 Tsp Minced Garlic

2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Tsp Soy Sauce/Tamari/Braggs Liquid Aminos

1/2 Cup Raw Cashews, roughly chopped

To prepare Kale, wash well and use a pairing knife to cut the leaves away from the tough stem. This often leaves them in nicely sized pieces, but if they are larger than bite sized-feel free to take care of that. Cut your avocado and scoop the fruit(meat, green part, flesh, whatever you want to call it) into the bowl with your kale. At this point you want to love up your kale and avocado, and you're going to do this by giving the kale a nice deep tissue massage. Get your hands in there and make sure the avocado gets into all the nooks and crannies of the greens. In a separate bowl, mix the ginger, garlic, oil, lemon and soy sauce together. You can now add that to your loved up salad, and love it up just a little bit more to coat everything. At this point, add all your other chopped ingredients. Mix and serve. Voila! Now you can sit back and let the compliment start a comin!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vegtacular road trip!

I've been meaning to write this up since September-it's Feb now, so I think I'm still on schedule LOL! By now, I've probably forgotten all the important details and won't do it any justice at all-but I have to put the pictures somewhere so here goes! I got wind through VegNews (my favorite vegetarian lifestyle magazine) that the biggest vegetarian event in North America (The Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair) was going to be within two hours of me! Road trip! Now I just had to find someone who would share my enthusiasm for a vegan themed road trip, ha! It happened to be right around my birthday, so I was able to guilt my best friend Jules into going with me. Jules is a DJ, so she mixed us a great road trip mix and we were off. After getting lost three times, and paying $20 for parking-we arrived in downtown Toronto. The event was huge, live music, vendors, samples and FOOD!

Vegan food the likes of which I had never dreamed of. I am chronically indecisive, so often only having one or two options on a menu is actually a benefit to me. Not here, and making choices took forever! We finally decided on an amazing Asian bonanza. Faux shrimp, "pork" skewers, curry buns and on and on. In addition to glutinous sampling, we had chocolate churros, vegan baking.There were all kids of cool things to check out-the country's only vegetarian food bank, vegan grocer, farm sanctuaries, charities, bed and breakfasts, b12 shots, books, clothing, and a farmers market!
One of the hardest things was choosing what to spend your money on!

They also had things like people in chicken costumes-it's how you know it's a party!

First up was a cooking demo with Terry Hope Romero, who co-wrote some of my most worshiped cookbooks! Her newest "Viva Vegan" is full of Latin lovelies, and we got to sample coconut pumpkin soup. She did autographing after her demo, but I was too yellow bellied to go up and talk to her. I was worried I might cry, barf, pee, get verbal diarrhea or some other stupid thing that one does when meeting one of their heroes. Next, we sat in on a lecture by Harold Brown-once a farm boy and now a vegan advocate. To be honest, we initially went in because we were hoping to get good seats for the next talk, but he was awesome! I have roots in cattle farming too, so it was great to hear from another who was even more involved. More info on him is here!
Next up was a talk by Carol J Adams, the author of the groundbreaking work "The Sexual Politics of Meat" and a vegan since way before it was cool. Carol was wonderful, intelligent, and brought up so many issues that I hadn't even thought of. She is amazing and inspirational and I'm so thrilled we got the chance to meet her. As the night wore down, we kept seeing people walking by with these amazing looking ears of grilled corn and knew it was our destiny. We stood in line, and enjoyed the ambiance of the tent-Reggae music, Rastafarians and corn chowder-it doesn't get any better than that. Grilled corn, earth balance vegan butter and "love spice"-perfection! Here's where I'll end it-full tummies, soft breeze over the harbor, surrounded by beautiful people who share my passion, twinkling lights and the big city skyline.