Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The first thing I made with my Teese was a panini full of fresh summer vegetables. I sauteed some onion, chopped artichoke hearts, and slices of yellow squash just enough to cook them through. I even made my first homemade roasted red bell pepper for this panini! I don't know why I haven't roasted bell peppers before- they're so easy and way more delicious that the jarred ones. Anyways, back to the sandwich. I layered all of the veggies and some sliced Teese on one slice of bread and topped them with some fresh basil that my brother and I are growing in our garden, and then slathered the other slice of bread with a garlicky sweet mustard sauce I made earlier (no real recipe- just some spicy brown mustard, Veganaise, agave nectar, and roasted garlic). Thanks to my panini press, this sandwich turned out perfectly crisp and all of the layers really blended together, with the fresh basil and sweet bell peppers still standing out more than the others. Everything tasted so fresh and wonderful and the Teese added that extra melted goodness that made this panini special. I can't wait to think of how many other types of paninis I can whip up now!
The next dish I decided Teese would be perfect for was the Bean and Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado from ED&BV (I was inspired by Dreena Burton's post on her blog featuring this dish.) While mine didn't turn out quite so photogenic, it certainly was everything I hoped it'd be and more! While I was curious about the avocado layer being baked into the lasagna, I was making this for my family and I knew that warm avocado may be too different for them so I just made some guacamole to top the lasagna instead. I'm officially addicted to this dish- the spices were perfect and the crunchy tortilla chips on top created such a contrast in texture. Of course, the Teese really shined through here because of the tangy flavor and my parents couldn't even tell it was vegan cheese on top (which is always a good thing since vegan cheeses have such a bad reputation). The portion of this lasagna are HUGE, but not too filling, and my only complaint was that I didn't have more leftover! My mom and I were starving and both went back for seconds (and maybe thirds....)- hey, I told you this was addictive. And, yes, I did serve this with more corn on the side, but I had just gotten home from work and was feeling lazy so I think it's okay!
Finally, I made some refried beans, green bell pepper, and Teese quesadillas on a whole grain tortilla with a big ol' dollop of peach mango salsa on the side. Yum! While I find cheeseless quesadillas perfectly satisfying, these ooey gooey ones were quite a treat. The Teese melted really quickly and got a little too melted because it oozed out the sides of the quesadillas when I cut then, but I didn't mind and just licked it all off! Believe it or not, I still have about half a pound of my Teese left so expect to see it reappearing in some more meals I'll be making :)
Friday, August 22, 2008
My family celebrated my dad's 21st sobriety anniversary this Thursday so I, of course, offered to make a cake! Being the simple guy he is, my dad chose a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream (I used the recipes from VCTOTW) but that was fine with me since I got to decorate it. I posted this thread on the PPK boards to help me think of decorating ideas and got some great advice. While I would have loved to make a wagon-shaped cake or one looking like a stack of AA chips, I really wanted to make a rectangular cake for some reason and I was a little crunched for time, so I went with a basic design and wrote "Yay! Good Job, Daddy!" (using Alton brown's recipe for writing chocolate) on it. I was pretty happy the cake turned out and, even though the writing was crooked and the I cut the layers were unevenly, it was great practice for me. Not to mention, it tasted great and my dad was so thankful for it. Just doing my job as a daughter to make him happy :)
This week, BitterSweet posted her vegan version of the Omnivore's Hundred on her blog so I took on the challenge and will pass it on to you. Here are the rules:
1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. (I will only bold items that I've eaten the vegan versions of)
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I'm just going to put them in italics since the crossing out font thing is not working right....)
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu Scramble
6. Creme brulee
10. Baba Ghanoush
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo Gobi
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (all alcohol items will be in italics since I plan on never drinking)
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
24. Rice and beans
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de Leche
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
35. Root beer float
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam
38. Vodka Jelly
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw brownies
42. Fresh Garnazo Beans
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
48. Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
51. Prickly pear
55. Cotton candy
57. Piña colada
58. Birch Beer
60. Carob chips
62. Soy Curls
63. Chickpea Cutlets
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped Cream, straight from the can
77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
84. A meal at Candle 79
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
89. Matzoh Ball Soup
90. White Chocolate
93. Butterscotch Chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with Chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti
97. Potato Milk
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough
Now it's your turn!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The first yogurt I tried was Turtle Mountain's new So Delicious soy yogurt. I bought the blueberry, cinnamon roll, and vanilla (pictured above) flavors to try and decided to start with the vanilla for breakfast since I had been waiting to try another new (at least to me) product as well- Honest Foods Granola Planks.
I was on the lookout for these granola planks every since reading Vegan_Noodle's review of them on her blog, Walking the Vegan Line. I have only tried the blueberry vanilla variety, but they are delicious! They crumble easily into yogurt or nondairy milk for a quick breakfast or snack and are not too sweet at all- they are actually a little salty which tastes awesome with the nuts and dried fruits that these bars are full of.
Anyways, back to the yogurt! The So Delicious vanilla soy yogurt was very good and creamy (though it did require some stirring to get it that way) and was great mixed with a crumbled granola plank and fresh blueberries. However I found it way too sweet for first thing in the morning, or even an afternoon snack. I then tried the blueberry and cinnamon roll flavors, but as dessert with some Soyatoo on top and that's what these yogurts are perfect for! I will definitely continue to buy So Delicious soy yogurts and am looking forward to trying the other flavors, but I will save them for a healthy dessert.
Turtle Mountain's newest products are their new line of coconut milk yogurts. While I am surely NOT a coconut lover, I couldn't suppress my curiosity about this yogurt and bought a cup of the passionate mango flavor. The texture of this yogurt was a little creamier than the soy variety and I could not detect any coconut taste, which is a good thing for me! My only problem with this yogurt was that the passion fruit and mango flavors made it a little too sour for my liking, but I have not tried the other flavors and look forward to doing so to see if those are less tart. Like the previous yogurt, I thought this one would also be better suited for dessert rather than breakfast because it was still too sweet, even through the tartness.
Now I know that the Whole Soy & Co. line of yogurts are not new, but I've never tried them before so I guess they are to me. These were on sale at the store when I went, so I sure stocked up! There were so many flavors to try, but I stuck with my three favorites: peach, strawberry, and vanilla. I tried the peach one day for a quick snack and I was amazed to find that it is even creamier than the So Delicious coconut yogurt! The sweetness was perfect and I knew immediately that it would be perfect for breakfast. I had the strawberry flavor (even better than the peach!) with some more crumbled granola planks the next morning, but then I got thinking and realized what I needed to make next with my new favorite yogurt.....
....a parfait! I layered some vanilla Whole Soy & Co. yogurt with homemade granola (for another post, I have a few recipes to share!) fresh peaches, blackberries, and raspberries. Wow- that is all I can say! This was truly the kind of breakfast parfait that I have been dreaming of and I was finally able to make it thanks to this new yogurt I've found! Of all of the new varieties of yogurt I tried, Whole Soy &Co. was the clear winner for me because it's not too sweet and is perfect for breakfast, but I will definitely still keep my fridge stocked with several So Delicious soy and coconut yogurts to enjoy after dinner for a sweet treat! So really, they are all winners (I know....how cheesy....)
Monday, August 11, 2008
One awesome breakfast I enjoyed this week was the Polenta Pancakes from ED&BV. I realized that I had a few tubs of prepared polenta I bought from Trader Joe's that needed to be up because I felt bad that they were just sitting there all alone in my cupboard, so I remembered this recipe and decided to try it. Yum, yum, yum! This breakfast will be a regular of mine because it's so easy to prepare and so so so good! The cinnamon sugar coating on the sliced polenta caramelizes when they are cooked on the griddle, so no syrup is needed for this treat (and trust me, I'm a strong believer that pancakes must be topped with some sort of syrup- always). Instead of Dreena's suggestion of making banana "sandwiches" with these pancakes, I just served some sliced banana sprinkled with cinnamon on top and it was perfect! I can also imagine that these would be delicious topped with a blueberry syrup.......I'll just have to try it and see.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
The view from our hotel room was absolutely breathtaking- we were able to look out and see the Water Tower, which is beautiful during the daytime, but is even more fascinating lit up at night.
While walking around, my sister and I noticed these really cool statues made by students from various colleges in Chicago. They were all so unique and I loved admiring the diversity of the designs.
No trip to Michigan Avenue would be complete without a stop at Water Tower Place. While I'm not much of a shopper, I did manage to find one store that really caught my eye:
As my sister dragged me into LUSH, I doubted that I would buy anything since most cosmetic stores contain products full of non-vegan ingredients. However, after reading a few signs I practically jumped up and fell on top of my sister when I realized that many of the products were labeled as vegan and that this was the LUSH that I had heard of! I had such a heard time deciding what to buy but ended up purchasing a Nutts Massage Bar which smells like warm, nutty chocolate and melts right into your skin. Knowing my reaction to discovering how many vegan products this store carries, you can imagine my excitement when my sister told me that there is a LUSH store in our local mall!
As I sat in the John Hancock Observatory sipping my Jamba Juice, I realized how truly massive this building is!
Since I had to wait for my sister to wake up before going anywhere the next morning, my mom surprised me by ordering a fruit plate from room service and leaving it for me to enjoy when I woke up. All of the fruit was amazingly fresh and sweet and this plate was the perfect, refreshing breakfast after a heavy meal the night before!
Alright- now that my summer traveling is done for now, I'll be able to get back into the kitchen and post some home cooked meals on this blog since it seems to be lacking as of lately!