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Archive for August, 2009

There’s not a whole lot there but what is there is pretty clever.  Hopefully the person will keep it going as it appears that nothing has been posted for about a month.  Check it out anyway: Dumbledore’s Vegan Army.

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and don’t really have all the how-to’s and why-for’s of it all, here is a good site to visit.  I recently stumbled across the website due to another vegan blog so I thought I’d share it with my limited amount of viewers. =)

Since I’m vegan I need to be careful of what I consume to ensure I am getting all the nutrients I need.  This, however, shouldn’t be limited to us herbivores.  I may be a little overboard sometimes on the whole food consumption thing but being informed is never a bad thing.  Give The World’s Healthiest Foods site a whirl and see what awesomely nutritious foods you can incorporate into your daily diet!

P.S. The website isn’t limited to plants, beans, and nuts by the way; there’s even [gasp] meat on their list. =)

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I should be studying for my Italian midterm right now but instead of doing that I’m typing up this blog.  Guess everyone has their priorities…

I actually made something without a carefully planned recipe to hold my hand.  Yep, this one’s all me!  I’ve been randomly looking at vegan spin dip recipes for about the last year or so but haven’t ever attempted one as most seem to call for vegan mayo and/or sour cream and for some reason that just doesn’t float my boat.  A month or so ago I made vegan pizza dip from Tofutti and tofu so I thought I’d give it a go with some leafy greens and prickly hearts – I decided to get a fresh artichoke versus a can of them, funky little suckers they are.

spindip2

I know I haven’t had spinach dip in well over a year but this stuff was damn tasty!  I was actually impressed with the way it turned out, which doesn’t typically happen – usually I find something to pick at in my cooking (a trait I inherited from my Grumps).  And yes, that’s just plain ole toasted bread on the plate.  We already ate the mini Italian bread loaves I made earlier this week and I haven’t the time yet to make more.

So here is my recipe for vegan spinach & artichoke dip.  If anyone out there decides to make this, play around with it and let me know how it turns out for you.

  • About 6oz (half a block) of firm or extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu) pressed
  • 8oz (whole tub) vegan cream cheese like Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 10 – 12oz package of frozen chopped spinach (or fresh if you prefer)
  • the heart from a whole artichoke (or canned will do, drained and rinsed)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 1/3 cup whole almonds
  • 1/4 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 T lemon juice
  • 1 2 T olive oil
  • About 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • basil & oregano, or other seasonings, to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375.

If you’re going the fresh route on the artichoke hearts, watch this first or something similar if you’ve never dissected this hairy hearted vegetable before.  Once I got the artichoke heart to my liking I decided to saute it and the spinach for a bit in a few speckles of oil on low heat while I prepared the rest of the dip (this is also how I thawed the spinach as I forgot to take it out of the freezer soon enough).

While that’s going, grind the almonds up in a food processor or blender until they are almost as fine as powder.  Place the almonds, tofu, and Tofutti in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except the spin and artichokes, and blend again until smooth.  Add the tofu mixture to the pan of veggies and mix everything together.  Transfer the dip to an over safe dish and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a little browned on top and bubbly. Serve with chips or some homemade bread, or pizza dough.

You could probably add some more ground up almonds on top, or whatever you use for “parmigiano” to make it more cheesey.  You may want to also try upping the ante on the nutritional yeast to bring out the “cheese” flavor a little bit more.  I would also experiment with different nuts, like cashews, and perhaps even some tahini and see what happens.  And if you don’t care about the fat content, add some more almonds and olive oil as I bet it will taste even better with more of these things.

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So I, um, haven’t written anything in, um, about two weeks.  Whoops!  In my defense I had to move two weekends ago, in [3-4 consecutive days of] 100+ degree heat (without air conditioning at either apartment).  During said move my couch got maimed by a rogue nail sticking ever so slightly out of our narrowly cornered stairwell.  [Insert sad face here]100_0979

Anyway, a few days after the move I had visitors in town, so I had to play tour guide (follow the flower).

On top of this ever so hectic schedule I am still taking my Italian classes.  I really like the language and am thoroughly enjoying learning it, but 8 weeks of 3 hour, 4 days a week classes have  my brain running on about 2.37 cylinders (hence my lack of creative blogging energy).  So here I am, on August 14th, not having written anything since July.

Aside from attempting to memorize the 5.83 thousand verb tenses of the Italian language I’ve been doing a fair bit of baking lately.  I stumbled upon the focacciaGluten-Free Goddess one night after a fleeting thought left me feeling like I consume too much gluten.  I successfully baked her gluten free focaccia bread and some miniature (because I had to use a muffin pan for lack of ability to locate English muffin rings) English muffins.  Both were pretty darn tasty.  I also tried to make these vanilla brownie things but they were, um, difficult to eat.  Perhaps it was an operator error but they seemed to have too much margarine in them and hence had a tendency to crumble upon EnglishMuffincontact with one’s fingers.  Secondly they were a bit over the brown sugar top.  In spite of these 2 inconveniences they did taste fairly yummy (probably because of all the margarine), I’ll just be modifying them next time I attempt the gluten-free.

I also tried to make these gluten-free buckwheat wraps.  This little adventure in the kitchen ended with me almost tossing the bowl of batter out the hobbit window of my 2nd story kitchen.  I don’t know what in the world I did wrong but these little buggars won’t be making an appearance in my kitchen again.  I know I’ve only been cooking for about a year and a half but I’ve never had something go so horribly wrong as these did.  We almost didn’t have dinner that night as I was so distraught.  So, if you boldly go where no buckwheat has gone before I suggest you proceed with caution (and have a backup plan).

On a happier note I got to make cupcakes again last weekend.  Always look for a reason to make cupcakes!  My brother-in-law (who was visiting) evidently has a sweet tooth, which I was happy to oblige as I don’t bake sweets too IMG_1893often because I tend to eat most of what comes out of the oven.  You just can’t go wrong with oreo cupcakes; again from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!  If you don’t own this cookbook you should be ashamed.

Today I went on a little walkabout to downtown (which is conveniently located just under 2 miles from the new hobbit house (which I will explain in a later blog)).  I had 4 objectives: to locate a silverware caddy small enough to fit into a drawer only 9 & 7/8 inches wide, a coffee tumbler that will keep my coffee hot for a couple hours, an oven thermometer because I’m convinced my oven has it out for me, and 2 mini spring form pans (for cake of course!).   Evidently only one manufacturer makes a caddy that small, and they are located out yonder by the airport so I struck out on objective 1.  I did procure a coffee tumbler, though I’m not convinced my coffee will be warm far into the day but at least I donated a dollar to the Global Fund.  I was able to track down a thermometer at Macy’s for only $9 (which I actually thought was a little high but whatever).  And last but not least I did NOT find my mini (under 9 inches) spring form pans.  Well, I could have found them at Williams Sonoma but of the few dollars that are in my bank account $24 of them cannot go solely to cake pans.  I did, however, find some MiniUpsideDownCakecute little oven safe ramekins at Ross; 4 for a total of $8.  Wahoo!  Now I can make personal desserts for all the guests we [don’t] entertain… I’ll just have to actually invite people over now I guess.  I went ahead and did a little test run on the ramekins though (and to also test out my backstabbing oven with the thermometer).  The result?  A blueberry upside down cake.  Yep, it was good.  And actually it wasn’t very bad for you.  Hardly any oil in it (leave the canola, take the applesauce) and no frostin’.

Ok, that’s about all I got.  Happy weekend to all!

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