Sunday, January 30, 2011

Killer Carrot & Cucumber Salad

This side salad is the easiest, most delicious salad I've made in years.  Great in the winter, because the garbanzo beans provide a rich protein and the veggies in it generally taste good year round.

Killer Carrot & Cucumber Salad

1 large grated carrot (or 2 medium)
1 large cucumber, diced in medium sized chunks
2 artichoke hearts, finely chopped (from canned artichokes preserved in salt water- no oil)
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1/4 c rice vinegar
2 T balsamic vinegar (aged is best)
1/4 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. olive oil

Everything can be added simultaneously in a medium sized bowl.  Stir well.  Let sit in fridge for at least 1 hour, restir, then ready to eat.  If you don't have time, this can be eaten immediately, but tastes better after the ingredients marinate in the vinegars.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Winner of Veganville's awesome contest!

Last night I found out that I was the winner of Veganville's super fun 'I got into my account' blog contest:)
Which is really very cool, because my dad bought me a recipe book a few years ago that these awesome recipe cards would fit nicely in.

Veganville makes delicious yummy baked goods on Etsy that have garnered lots of positive feedback.  Her whoopie pies and cupcakes look amazing! To visit Veganville's shop click here 

Many thanks to Gigi from Veganville for throwing this contest!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Ice Storm

Some pics I took while walking over to my friend's studio on Wednesday.  Two more months of this winter wonderland!

The first two pictures were taken of a bush in my front yard.  The rest were taken outside of the studio.

Monday, January 17, 2011

3 Beer Chili on a Cold Winter Night

Nothing better than a steaming bowl of chili to warm you up on a cold winter's night- and it is cold pretty much every night here! I use 3 different beers and 3 different kinds of beans in this vegetarian chili. Delicious with rice or without.

3 Beer Chili

3 15 oz cans beans; 1 black, 1 pinto, 1 red kidney
36 oz. canned crushed or diced tomatoes
1 small carrot, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 c. dried bulgur
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp. chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. minced jalapeno (or more, to taste)
16 oz. beer (I use a combo of IPA or hoppy winter ale, Pale Ale, and Stout or Porter)
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
water, as needed

Can be cooked in a slow cooker (will take at least 8 hours) or in a big pot over the stove. First, saute onions in 1 tsp. olive oil for 2 minutes on med-high heat in a medium sized frying pan. Add minced garlic and saute for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
Drain liquid from beans and rinse. Add tomatoes, beans, carrot, green pepper, jalapeno, onions and garlic mixture and 8 oz. beer to slow cooker. Turn it slow cooker (or set heat on large pot to medium) and stir well. Let flavors meld for 2 hours (or 1 hour in large pot, stirring every 15 minutes), then add rest of ingredients. Add water as needed. Basically cook until the carrots are cooked. Add more beer, water, or spices as needed.
Tasted delish with a side of brown rice. You can try different combos of beer.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Retro Audio Koolness

Musically, 2010 was all about the 70's for me.  I re-discovered how awesome the B-52's first album was and Television, Blondie, the Ramones, T-Rex, and Joy Division went along with me on walks, in the car and at work.
Blue Cassette Tape journal
Along with the retro tunes, my husband and I splurged on a record player.  This Christmas a very merry vinyl one.

Red & Purple Retro Keyboard journal
Inspired, my husband created some rad audio centric retro designs.  Cassette tapes, 80's keyboards, record players and such that he designed were made into stamps so I could create really cool retro journals.  Next, I'm thinking about transferring these awesome designs onto clothing.

Play That Funky Music mini journal

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weight by Jeanette Winterson on a snowy Sunday afternoon

This snowy afternoon found me absorbing all of Weight by Jeanette Winterson while sitting with my kitty.  A retelling of the Heracles and Atlas myth, Winterson delicately balances interweaving the mythology of her own life (and therefor the life of every person) with these two Greek heroes so effortlessly that I felt the gravitational pull of the earth on my own shoulders.
As is common with most of Winterson's work, the words she chooses are so poetic that they dazzle and beautify the prose, but with modesty.  I'm truly in love with the language she uses, it almost doesn't sound like English.  Whereas many writers strive to write beautifully and then fall flat when they incorporate a string a pretty words into prose purposefully, Winterson knows what she is doing.
In this work, she has truly considered the weight of Atlas' fate; the mistakes he made, the isolation he felt, the resignation that finally gave into realization that one must not be forever burdened by the past.  Although we are all products of our past, our inner desires create the world for us anew as well.
Whereas the reader can readily relate to Atlas, Heracles is his foil.  Heracles is all charisma, all action, little thought.  Slaying monsters without reason to fear, the only person he trembles beneath is Hera.  His story is shorter than that of Atlas, as he isn't immortal, yet he finds resolution towards the last moments of his life.
Heracles' ending is outwardly tragic, yet he came to the realization that he was content in love and finally felt the recognition of his father.  The events of one's life story isn't the whole story itself.  It is also made up of our thoughts and emotions.
Atlas' ending was open, as is the story of our own lives.  What happens when we leave the Earth?  Do other adventures await?  When we give up the weight of the world, when fate plays itself out- then we have the freedom and responsibility to create the world anew.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

DIY Gifting: Part 5, Why Handmade with Amy Hornburg Heilveil

Now that the holidays are over, making gifts is probably the last thing on your mind.  However, now that all the brouhaha has died down and the nights are long, I think this is the best time to get ahead on crafting projects.  
So, bust out those needles and knit that hat for your cousin in Ohio or start making a love journal for your favorite valentine.  
Amy Hornburg Heilveil gifts us with her crafting know-how once again and dishes the skinny on why handmade is what the cool kids like.  The cloak she made for her daughter would make a wonderful gift this time of year.  

"One of the things that is so refreshing is how much my daughter adores any article of clothing that someone has taken the time to make for her. I've made her costumes for Halloween for the past two years. Each costume cost me less than $20 in materials and she was pleased as punch with both of them. 

She was also the envy of several other children both times, as they did turn out well. The first year she wanted to be a pumpkin and the second year, Mu Shu from the movie, "MuLan". 
This year for Channukah, I decided that she needed a more formal coat for winter. I don't care to take her to nice dinners at grandma's house wearing her play 'winter coat'.  The outer fabric for the cape I made is a cotton flannel that I'd had for a couple of years, thinking to make something of this sort for her. The collar is a bit of black velveteen that I inherited with my grandmother's fabric stash, and the lining is a low profile purple fleece to help keep her warm. 
Boy, this thing is very warm too; I was amazed.  
I didn't think we were going to get it off of her when we got to grandma's house. Since it was done in starts and stops, the cloak took about a week to make, which translates into approximately 5 hours, at the most and it's unique to her, you can't find stuff like this in a store."

Mila Banana Smoothie

My son and I have been drinking Mila smoothies about every other day for the last few weeks. Mila is basically chia seed that is ground (therefor easier to drink and tastier) but still raw and unprocessed. The extra fiber does us well and chia seeds are touted as a super food.
Usually we make a shake with banana only, but today we added some frozen raspberries. I prefer it this time of year over my usual smoothie because it's at room temperature, whereas most of my smoothies contain a great deal of frozen fruit.
If you want to make a raw shake, use fresh coconut water (not coconut milk from a can).

Mila Banana Smoothie

3/4 c vanilla soymilk (or any milk)
3/4 c water
1 banana
1/3 c frozen (or fresh) raspberries

Add ingredients to blender and blend for about 20 seconds. Super easy and delicious. If you don't add the raspberries, use a large banana or two small ones.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Super Moist Vegan Banana Bread w/ Coconut Flour

Being fairly new to vegan baking, I was surprised when this banana bread ended up tasting absolutely fabulous. This bread is soooo moist! The coconut flour adds fiber and a slightly sweeter flavor. My son loved it and we didn't miss the eggs or butter at all.

3 1/2 cup white flour (unbleached)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
7 mashed ripe bananas
3/4 vanilla soymilk (can sub any other milk)
1 cup canola oil (I only had 1/2 cup, so I used 1/2 olive oil)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Grease 2 bread pans (or 1 large & two small).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix wet ingredients in large bowl and dry ingredients into medium sized bowl.  Slowly fold dry ingredients into wet.  Do not overstir.  Pour into well greased bread pans.  My oven temp swings high and low, so your baking time might differ from mine.  I baked the small loaves for about 30 minutes and the large about 50 minutes.

Vegan Philly Open-Faced Sandwich

I grew up outside of Philadelphia and still feel nostalgic for a Philly cheesesteak.  The rolls were soft with a hint of sourdough; the grease and cheese was gooey, yummy, warm.  At least, that is how I remember it nearly 20 years later.
One of my New Years' goals is to incorporate more vegan and raw meals into my vegetarian diet.  I'm lactose-intolerant, but can't seem to stay away from cheese.
Today's sandwich was an experiment, an idea explored that is far from perfect, yet still pretty tasty.  Normally I would have used cheese, but decided to make a vegan cheez sauce instead.

Vegan Philly Open-Faced Sandwich

One large slice of toast
1/3 cup bite-sized seitan
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
2 T beer
water, as needed
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 slices tomato
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced

Saute onions in olive oil spray for 2 minutes in small sauce pan.  Add garlic and continue until onions are soft.  Add beer, nutritional yeast, and as much water as needed to make your sauce.  Cook for 1 minute and add the soy sauce and seitan.  Cook a few more minutes, letting the flavors blend.
Put toast on plate and place tomato on top.  Pour seitan cheez mixture over toast and tomato.  Bon Appetit!