Monthly Archives: July 2011

Vegan Diner

I just got Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson in the mail, purchased with an Amazon gift card I received for Mother’s Day, aren’t kids great!  First things first…the pictures in this book are gorgeous.  Makes you want to make every single recipe.  I took a pan of the Ooey-Gooey Brownies when we went to visit our friends at their Crystal Cove cottage.  The cookbook is right…these “scream chocolate”…they were super rich and fudgy and well…ooey gooey.  Next up Great Smokey Mountain Cheeze, yummo!

Things I’m liking today:

  1. Averie’s summer in a box giveaway – Lot’s of fun summer stuff.  The day cream alone should make you want to enter.
  2. Orange County Fair – First weekend and the theme this year is Let’s Eat; could it get better than that
  3. Animal Acres – I want to make it to their next volunteer day!

And I leave with an Ooey Gooey Brownie – sadly it’s only virtual and at the point the picture was taken it was sans the chocolate glaze (use your imagination)

And two very cute kitties who normally spit at each other if they’re anywhere in the same vicinity


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It’s a Holiday Again

Who forgot to tell me it’s National Chocolate Day today…What, you didn’t know either?  And here I am, alone and still sweaty in my gym clothes with not a bite of chocolate in the house.  Well, that’s not entirely true I do have some chocolate chips in the freezer, but I’ve never been able to eat a handful of chocolate chips right out of the bag.  Come to think of it I believe I have a half a bar of dark chocolate lurking in the egg holder thing in my fridge.  This is what you put in the egg holder thing if you don’t eat eggs.  Back to the National Holiday and all, since I have no edible chocolate in the house I’m just going to share the recipe for an excellent chocolate pie that I’ve made and fooled people with.  If you don’t like tofu, you will like it in this pie.  If you can’t eat soy, then just stop reading now and click next on your google reader.  Here you are:

Chocolate Ganache Pie (source: long forgotten, but it’s so easy after the first couple of times you won’t need a recipe.  If I’ve stolen your recipe, I apologize, my bad…no harm intended)

  • 1 prepared chocolate cookie crust – I think I used Keebler or Erewhon
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 12.3 oz package Mori Nu Silken Tofu – Firm
  • 1/2 cup Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, or if you don’t have one put a small saucepan with your chocolate chips in a larger pan of hot water.  Be careful not to get water in the chocolate though or it will seize.  You could probably melt them in a glass dish in the microwave too, your choice, so many options.  I have a really cute mini double boiler just for this, I found it in an antique shop, like you needed to know that.  In the meantime, if you haven’t forgotten what you’re doing while reading these instructions, process the tofu, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a blender or food processor.  I always use the Vita Mix because I didn’t have a food processor, now that I do, I might just try that.  Add the melted chocolate to the tofu mixture in the blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into the crust and chill until firm, at least an hour.

See how easy that was?  I like strawberries or raspberries on top with a little whipped cream (SoyaToo).  It should look something like this when you’re done, and no, that is not me in the picture, although I do look a little like Alton Brown.

P.S. It’s also National Strawberry Sundae Day so if chocolate is not your thing, make yourself a Sundae, tell them I said so.

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Gettin’ Real in Whole Foods

Gotta love it…if you don’t make fun of yourself who will???  $80 for 6 things, how true!

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Spare Some Change Mister?

So talking about change…well not really, but I’ve been thinking about change and talking about it to those who care to listen to me.  I had an epiphany or if I was cool, I would say I had an “Ah Ha” moment about change and what I can and can’t change.  If I made a list of all those things that I do have the control to change, the list would be quite long.  Now maybe some of those things might not be something I can change overnight but I can put a plan into action and move towards a change.  S.M.A.R.T. goal setting has been around for a while but I think it’s still a good tool to use to affect change in your life.  Instead of cleaning the whole garage in one day break it down into sections, instead of losing 100 pounds set your goal at 10 pounds and go from there.  Making it attainable is really key isn’t it.  I read an article recently on The Change Blog and I really like what author Ali Luke says about getting out of the victim mindset.  How easy it is to blame circumstances or others, instead of just taking the step to make the changes I want to make.

So I’m making a list, setting some goals, and getting started on changing some things in my life…but first I’m going to eat a peach.

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Red White and Blueberry Bars

For a 4th of July sweetie I came up with a berry crumbly delicious bar to serve with ice cream or not.

Red White and Blueberry Bars

Crumb Crust and Topping

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup Earth Balance butter sticks – chilled and cut into chunks

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

Pulse everything together in a food processor or cut chilled EB into dry ingredients with a pastry blender.  I used both methods because my food processor was a little small for all the ingredients and I didn’t want to end up with paste.

Berry Filling

3 cups mixed berries – I used 1 cup each fresh blueberries and raspberries and 1 cup frozen cranberries that I coarsely chopped in the food processor

Zest from 1 lemon

1/4 c lemon juice

1 T corn starch

1/3 c. agave syrup

Mix the berries gently together in a saucepan with the lemon zest.  Heat over low heat to bring out the juices.  Mix lemon juice agave and cornstarch in a measuring cup and pour slowly into the simmering berries.  Heat and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Press two-thirds of the crumb mixture into a 13×9 inch pan.  Pour the berry sauce over the crust.

Top with the remaining crumb mixture by just crumbling over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until lightly browned.  Mine took 45 but it really depends on your oven.  Serve chilled or warm with a little vanilla bean ice cream.

Happy 4th of July!

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The Heat is On

Yes, it is hot here in SoCal this wonderful 4th of July weekend.  A trip out to Pasadena for a sandwich at Great Harvest Bread Company (of course that meant I needed to pick up a loaf of Dakota for the freezer), and a stroll around Old Town was on the menu today.  I love days spent wandering around places we only get to visit once in a while; checking out new shops and restaurants.  We totally slept in today, I never sleep past 9:00 and I mean REALLY SLEEP.  Flying from coast to coast on nearly back to back days can really throw the old internal clock out of whack and D. had hot, exhausting jobs this week so a few extra zzzzzz’s helped get us back to our usual cheery and chipper selves.  I bought some prizes for myself while out wandering which is also a little out of character, I usually look but don’t buy.  At Sur La Table I picked up two ice cream starter mixes, one for Butter Pecan and the other Salted Caramel.  The ingredient lists are short, it’s really just sugar…and yes I know I could just as well have bought a bag of sugar and made my own ice cream starter, but, but, but…okay I don’t have any good reason why I bought these.  I just did, so nah!  I also picked up a set of storage bowls at Crate and Barrel.  These are stoneware with plastic lids and the real reason I bought them was for the HUGE salads that I make for lunch.  I’m going to admit here, because it’s all about honesty, right?  I eat my salads out of a mixing bowl.  Granted it is the smallest mixing bowl in my set of three, but a mixing bowl nonetheless.  Don’t judge, my salads consist of nothing but veggies and oil free dressing or salsa, I just like a lot of it.  Anyway these bowls have some really cute graphics and I actually left the store without them and after pondering it for a bit went back and bought, so it wasn’t an impulse buy.  Really it wasn’t.

Catching a little shade in Old Town


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She’s Baaaack

So yah, I took a bit of a blogging break.  Not for any one particular reason, rather a whole combination that built up to “blogger’s burnout”.  Keeping a paper journal is a little different, you write in it before you go to bed (or whenever), and then you put it in a drawer until the next night, when you write again.  Not very many people pass their handwritten journals around to friends and family members asking for comments and hoping for affirmations about their daily bowl of oatmeal.  I’m the sort that often starts something with great enthusiasm, but then it becomes a chore due to pressures that I alone put on myself.  If I’m going to do something, I want to be the very best that I can be at it…this also explains my loathing of any sport that requires me to hit a small ball with a large object that I have to grip in some unnatural manner.  So blogging started to make me feel bad about myself when I couldn’t come up with something awesome that I had baked or an artful salad that I threw together made from vegetables grown in my backyard, and dressed with olive oil I pressed from olives hanging outside of my 1920’s craftsman’s cottage that I fully restored to its former glory single-handedly, and all served up in my hand thrown pottery bowl.  You get the idea.  I don’t cook every night, sometimes I eat the same thing for breakfast for a month, my garden consists of a gigantic tomato plant (that claims it’s a cherry tomato plant), an eggplant, and a couple of green pepper plants.  I was too lazy to start my greens so they never got planted.  My house is messy, with baseboards that I never finished and cat vomit stains on my cheap Home Depot rug.  But this is my life and I guess that’s really what blogging is about; instead of comparing myself to others and their charmed lives, I need to relish all I do have, and all the opportunities that have landed on my doorstep.  I have a fantastic BF who actually likes to wander around Farmer’s Markets and antique stores, how lucky am I ???  My kids are most excellent and Special K is my heart.  So even though this is a blog about my vegan journey, I think I’m about more than just what I eat.  I’ve decide I’ll write about whatever I’m thinking about that day, it may be food or it may be my latest craft endeavor.  P.S.  I still have plans to open on Etsy in a couple of months…so there’s that.  Anyway that is a long-winded way of why I took a break and where I want to take this blog.  And on that note I leave you with Funky Monkey Mango–These rock (yes I do use out dated phrases, but that’s just me…when I start saying something is “boss” just roll with it).

A little crunchy, a little sweet, a bag is one serving (not 3, which I usually find out after I’ve scarfed down a whole bag of something and realized I’ve just consumed my entire weekly caloric allowance) and only 90 calories, but who’s counting?



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