Monthly Archives: December 2010

Bye Bye 2010

Ahhhh, after a week of being sick, I’ve finally gotten my taste buds back and am craving something other than toast.

What a year it’s been. Evey year when I think back on all that’s happened I’m always surprised at the many ways I am blessed each day. It’s all the little events of our daily lives that add up to one spectacular year. I’ve always liked the saying “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by every moment that takes your breath away”, sappy as it is. I’ve had many such moments this year:

Graduating from college, and not just graduating but getting my diploma at Radio City Music Hall!

Welcoming my first granchild into this world. Who knew such a little person could make your heart grow so large.

Many wonderful and romantic trips…everywhere D and I travel turns out to be wonderful and romantic.  Our trips included visiting family who has scattered far and wide.

Manzanita Cottages – Laguna Beach

Meeting another darling family member for the first time.  Hello little A, pleased to meetcha!

Oregon – – First time to visit Food Fight in Portland as well as spend a long weekend with the brother and sis-in-law.

Monterey with D’s brother, niece and nephew.  Everyone keeps getting taller and taller!

A promotion at work. Instead of losing my job as I had anticipated our department expanded to include a promotion for me.

Looking forward to more fun, food, and fantastic times in 2011! myspace graphic comments
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Peppermint Snow

After a 12 hour baking frenzy, my kitchen is semi-reorganized and I’m ready to clean myself up and get ready for a relaxing evening with all of my favorite people. 

I will leave you with this…Chocolate Peppermint mini-cupcakes with peppermint snow sprinkled all over.

Glitter Graphics

Merry Christmas Glitter Pictures

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Veganizing Tradition

I notice a lot of the blogsphere is chatting about holiday traditions;  so I thought I would chime in.  One of our family traditions is the Swedish Tea Ring that my mom bakes every year.  It used to be she baked one for the family but as the kids moved out and the family expanded she would bake one for each family.  That is a lot of baking.  One year we all left the house on Christmas Eve to scatter to our own homes and no one remembered the Swedish Tea Rings, so mom and dad were stuck.  I think they were given away that year.  What a Swedish Tea Ring is, basically, are cinnamon rolls shaped and baked in a ring.  I guess with our Scandinavian heritage it seemed an appropriate holiday bread to bake. 

The recipe is in an ancient Betty Crocker cookbook (ancient means published in 1956, must mean I’m ancient too since I was published a few years later).  I think the family story goes that my dad’s mom gave my mom this cookbook in hopes that she would become a better cook, so my dad wouldn’t starve.  My mom still has her copy and I inherited grandma’s with her little notes jotted in the margins.  The recipe covers three pages plus a fourth for the icing recipe.

Since the Oregonian’s are down for the holidays, I took the baking task off of mom’s hands…little do they know I’ll be veganizing these things.  Fingers crossed they turn out!

Ever seen this book?


Pictures showing you how to form the Swedish Tea Ring

I made mine in foil cake pans instead of on a baking sheet so I think they kind of overflowed.

Dripping with icing

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Cookies and a Brilliant Idea

Okay, first the cookies.  Dinner at mom’s tonight and I was in charge of cupcakes.  How does that relate to cookies you ask?  It doesn’t, it just means that I ran out of time to make cupcakes due to work so cookies were the next best thing.  As if anyone needed more sweets this time of year.  From last years Veg News’ Holiday Cookie Collection I selected White Chocolate Oatmeal Spice Cookies.  I felt it was appropriate since my stash of white chocolate chips came from Food Fight in Portland and these were being made for the family from the same state which we were visiting at the time.  Really this all made perfect sense to me at some point during the cookie selection process.  I whipped them together and they went into the oven.  The didn’t look exactly like the picture in the cookbook, which kind of resembled a nice crumbly shortbread, but I had high hopes for oven transformation.  Nope!  They came out looking the same as when they went in.  Taste-wise they were just ok.  None of the spices really came through and to me they were just an oatmeal cookie with white chocolate chips.  Oh well, that is all I have time for…I suppose I could bring over my opened box of Peppermint Joe-Joe’s from Trader Joe’s and try to claim them as my own…tacky?  You’re right!

All ready to bake

This is the cookbook photo, do mine look anything like these?

Uhhhhh, No!

Whatev…Oh and the brilliant idea.  Why not portion out cookie dough onto a pan using the ever trusty cookie dough scoop, then freeze them and pile them up in a tub to be baked one or two at a time????  Like those expensive fund-raiser dough balls???  Brilliant?  You’re probably thinking, “Yah, where have you been, Martha taught us to do that 5 years ago”.  Ok, in my mind it was a lightbulb idea and I have to take those when I can.  They are few and far between these days.

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Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

And on everything else in Southern California.  My friend from Washington is headed down here with her grandkids for their first ever trip to Disneyland, I feel incredibly guilty that it has been raining for three days straight now.  As if I can control the weather 🙂 I have to admit there are advantages to working at home on days like today; such as hanging out in sweats and slippers all day instead of sitting on rain clogged streets and fighting with people who think they should drive super fast when it rains.  Maybe if they drive fast enough they can dodge between the raindrops, who knows.

So this is what my house looked like today:

and this

and I made this bowl of comfort for dinner.  Polenta Stuffing from Appetite for Reduction (love this book).  Just perfect to cozy up with and forget that it’s raining out.  I threw some of Trader Joe’s baked tofu in for an added protein component and phew this stuff was just perfect!

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Rainy Days

The morning view from my front door looked like this…

So breakfast looked like this.  Fluffy pancakes with bits of dried mango to try to capture a bit of sunshine.

Still no sun by noon so lunch looked like this, a little no chicken noodle soup by Amy’s.

More rain predicted so we’ll see what else is on the menu.

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Lets Go Bowling

OK, so maybe giant cookies and beer are not such a good idea.  I literally could not get to sleep last night with all that chocolate and sugar rushing through my veins.  I finally crashed with a headache percolating behind my eyes.  Remind me again why I’m trying to cut down on the refined stuff?

So today was healthier choices…Pumpkin Smoothie (Soy Milk, Vanilla Chai Vega, and frozen pumpkin cubes), leftover Potato-Spinach Curry for lunch, a beautiful honeycrisp apple mid-afternoon, and finally a filling bowl for dinner.

This bowl consisted of brown basmati rice

Topped with chopped and lightly steamed collard greens

Then some pan seared baked tofu.  Just a half a package of Trader Joe’s Teriyaki Baked Tofu.

And finally some creamy deliciousness in the form of Caesar Chavez Dressing out of Appetite for ReductionI had to make it in my Vita Mix because it had to process for 5 minutes and my little Kitchen Aid food chopper doesn’t have an on/off switch just a pulse button that you have to hold down.  I was afraid I’d blow the thing up if I let it run for 5 minutes.  The problem with making it in the Vita Mix is that it heats it up running that long (that’s how it makes soup) and it’s hard to scrape those last tasty little bits out from under the blades.  So this is the second time this week that I’ve pondered the necessity of having yet another appliance such as a Magic Bullet or a full size food processor.  My poor little kitchen is running out of room with all the gadgets and dishes I’ve collected, not to mention my cookbooks.  Such problems!  Anyway back to the dressing it was super tasty and made this bowl go from a bit bland to bravo!  And don’t forget to serve your bowls in something you can snuggle up with like a Buddha Bowl from Uncommon Goods.  Now I feel better.

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