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Archive for September, 2009

If your mind took a sharp turn south you can now retrieve it from the gutter.  🙂

The quarterly blood drive at PSU is coming up on October 19th and 20th from 11am – 4pm.

It’s a simple matter really.  You come, sit down, read of bunch of fine print, testify that you don’t possess anything vile which can be transferred, sit (or lie in my case – I tend to faint) in a chair, let a kind volunteer who hopefully has a cheery disposition gently prick your arm with a tiny little needle, do some more sitting, get a neon colored bandaged wrapped around your arm, and eat free cookies.  That’s right, f-r-e-e cookies.  Granted they aren’t monster sized, gourmet cookies from a local, organic bakery, but they’re still free.  And that’s not the point anyway.  The point is that people need blood.  We have a little extra lying around.  We should give it.

So go sign up and help save a life!  Go here, and type “Portlandstate” in the search box.  Pick a day and time.  Voila!

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Some of us like to go on walks to look at flowers, get some fresh air, spy on the neighbors, but there are some, namely one, who like to walk for other reasons.  Awhile back my uncle, Dennis Crowley, began a walk that ended up taking him all the way down Route 66 (and no, it wasn’t to spy on the neighbors).  While to some the idea of such a walk seems absurd and downright weird, Dennis isn’t necessarily one you would categorize that way.  The following excerpt from his website, walkingamessage.com, helps put into perspective this idea of walking America’s historic highways, an endeavor now called Cross Roads.

Cross Roads is a unique undertaking with a single purpose and a simple message. By promoting America’s historic highways Cross Roads seeks to call attention to our country’s Christian heritage. The purpose for covering these highways on foot is to make the statement that America needs to return to and walk in her spiritual “old paths.” Simply put, Cross Roads is “Walking a Message” to America.

You can read more regarding Dennis and how this first walk came to be here.

You might have noticed I just said “first.”  That’s right, his first walk was Route 66.  Dennis felt called to embark upon another journey and has thus set out to walk across America via The Lincoln Highway, which stretches from Lincoln Park in San Francisco all the way to Times Square in New York City.  He began this second walking adventure in September of 2008 and is currently walking another leg of it as I type.

If you wish to know more about Cross Roads and the message behind it, please visit the website and take a look around.  Contact information is also available on the website should you have further inquiries or simply the desire to speak with Dennis or offer any words of encouragement.

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Typically I’d have some witty repartee to greet you with, or I think I’m witty… anyway, but as I’ve just spent far too many minutes simply typing out the recipe, my brain is shot.  Tonight’s dinner:

IMG_2149

  • 6oz silken tofu
  • ¼ C whole, raw cashews or almonds
  • 1 T olive oil or grape seed oil
  • 1 C soy milk, or other non-dairy milk
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ C white wine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Rosemary, oregano, basil, to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Red pepper flakes, optional
  • Onion powder, to taste
  • ¼ C water, if it appears to be too thick
  • Dab of mustard
  • ½ C nutritional yeast (large flake)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 T rice flour (or sorghum, wheat, white, etc.)
  • 2 T ground flaxseed and 6 T hot water
  • 10oz frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 jar or can of artichokes hearts, drained and rinsed
  • Half a large zucchini, sliced
  • Bread crumbs from 1-2 slices bread mixed with a little oil and spices
  • 8oz spaghetti

Geez that’s a long list of ingredients!  I had no idea…  You can imagine me spinning around in my kitchen grabbing all these things at various points in my cooking soirée this evening.  Perhaps you can’t actually since you don’t know what my kitchen looks like…  Anyway, the other day, or month rather, I made this pasta pie dish from the Goddess.  It wasn’t bad but the sauce wasn’t quite to my liking.  Due to my recent excursion with an ice cream maker I had half a block of silken tofu sitting in my fridge, begging to be done with – something, anything, it didn’t care.  So we talked and it agreed that tonight it should become a part of dinner.

Let us commence.  Ahem..

For the sauce: place the tofu, cashews, olive oil, and ¼ cup of the soy milk into a blender.  This is where you’re going to connive your way into using the food processor but trust me, the blender gets it better, more smooth that is.  Puree the above until smooth, likely after scraping down the sides a few times with a spatula.  If you’re using rosemary and it’s not already ground up, throw it in the blender as well. 

Spray a little olive oil in a sauce pan over medium/ low – medium heat.  Sautee the garlic for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add the rest of the milk, tofu mixture, wine and stir.  Add the seasonings and mustard.  If the sauce appears too thick add some water, I added ¼ cup.  Next stir, or whisk, in the nutritional yeast.

This would be it for the sauce but since this is going to end up as a “torta” we must make it sticky.  Whisk the ground flaxseed with the hot water, or use Ener-G for 2 eggs.  Add it to the sauce as well as the baking powder and flour.  Now this caused a few lumps in my pan so you may want to consider sifting in the baking powder and flour.  Stir until combined, let simmer a moment, and remove from heat.

Moving on, if you haven’t already cooked your pasta, now’s a good time to do that.  Drain.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350.

If you didn’t previously thaw the spinach, heat a pan over medium heat and put the spinach in to thaw.  I cut the artichokes into eighths and added them to the pan of spinach.  Sautee for a few minutes with some salt, pepper, oregano, etc.  Remove from heat.

You should use a deep pie pan or pyrex, or a spring form pan worked well for me.  Place the drained pasta into the baking dish and add about half the sauce.  Mix it well and try to get the noodles to be spread somewhat evenly.  Arrange the sliced zucchini next in the pan, and dabble some sauce over it.  Next add the spinach and artichokes, cover with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle the breadcrumbs.*

Bake for about 25 minutes, then turn the broiler on for just a few minutes to brown the top.  Let cool.  Slice.  Enjoy.

*I never buy premade breadcrumbs – it just strikes me as silly.  Toast 1-2 pieces of bread in your toaster and then tear it into pieces and place in a mini food processor, or a blender.  Add some seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, etc.) and a little olive oil and pulse it until crumbly.

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So I’ve been doing a fair amount of baking lately… ok, maybe fair isn’t quite accurate.  I’ve been doing a somewhat excessive amount of baking lately, at least compared to the rate of what normally goes in and out of my oven.  School starts next Monday and I think I’m feeling my freedom slipping away.  Soon I’ll have no time to bake, or blog, or breath.  I’ll merely be struggling every day to absorb more Italian (which has definitely slipped my mind of late) and read all the other 15 books I’ve been assigned this term.  **sigh**

IMG_2085Anyway, while we were visiting family in WI I happened to see a recipe in a magazine for parsnip bread, my interest was piqued.  Of course it wasn’t vegan, but never mind that.  I awoke one morning shortly after we returned and decided to take a go at my own version, which included pumpkin and cranberries, but a sudden whim caused me to be desirous of a gluten-free version.  So, I hopped on over to the Gluten-Free Goddess to borrow a flour concoction that would hopefully do for the autumn muffins dancing around in my head.  I think they turned out quite well.  They’re dark because of the buckwheat but one should not judge a muffin by its cover.  I didn’t really follow her recipe to a T, or really much at all, but if you would like to know what I did holler at me and I’ll relay it to you.  I’d type it out now but I’m feeling a bit lazy.

chocochipcookies

On my next endeavor I made these chocolate chip cookies, which I thought were quite superb even in spite of their cake-like consistency, which was entirely my fault.  In my ever going battle to make bad things not so bad for you I shucked half the oil and added applesauce and subbed in some wheat flour, which is likely the reason for their fluffy demeanor.

I also made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which turned out much OatmealChocChipbetter then their cakey predecessor (I didn’t use the applesauce).  The recipe for these came out of none other than one of the most superb cookbooks of all time, ok maybe not all time but at least in my time – Veganomicon.  Isa and Terry are actually at it again by the way.  Soon your cookie jar will be invaded by what I’m entirely positive will be some splendifferous cookies.

Recently I became the owner of an ice cream maker (I ❤ Craigslist)!!!  My life is now complete…  My first batch of ice cream was chocolate, with some strawberries mixed in towards the end.  I kind of wanted to make something vanilla-ie but since I bought chocolate soy milk on a whim I had to figure out something with which I could do ChoIceCreamwith it.  I think it turned out very well, I just have 2 pints of it to eat now.  The recipe also came out of Veganomicon but if you google around you’re sure to finds tons of free vegan ice cream recipes.  This one was comprised of coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, tofu, etc.  If for some reason you aren’t satisfied with the free recipes there’s quite a few ice cream cookbooks running amuck out there, buy one.

Though I’m told the following item resembles a cow pattie I’m still quite proud of it.  I guess a parent can’t tell IceCreamSandwichwhen their child is ugly… same goes for cooking.  The oatmeal cookie and the chocolate ice cream happened to come to fruition on the same day, so I thought it best to combine them.  If you’ve never compiled an ice cream sandwich before it’s actually a bit harder then you would imagine to make it look “pretty.”  My version obviously needs a makeover judging from the supposed “cow pattie” resemblance.  Practice makes perfect I guess.

And last, but by no means least, I made cinnamon rolls last night (because I thought I needed to cram one last sweet and fattening goodie into my less than accommodating fridge).  So how do vegan cinnamon rolls taste anyway?  Freaking awesome!  These cinnamonrolls2were so damn good.  Non-vegans would never have an inkling of suspicion that these were of the animal friendly variety.  Novel Eats also has a chocolate version, which I didn’t make but judging by how delicious the cinnamon ones were they are most definitely heavenly.  I’m thinking next of making them with a strawberry compote and chocolate shavings.  Oh, note to self: let rolls cool prior to applying icing.

Alrighty then.  As you can see, I have a fair amount of sugary calories to burn off, I must to the pavement (which means running in case that was in some way unclear).  Tootles!

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One in eight women are or will become diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.  Being that there are a lot of women running around out there, myself included, it’s likely that we all know somebody that has/ had/ or will have breast cancer.  The Portland Race for the Cure event is happening this Sunday, September 20th, down at the Waterfront Park.  If you’re able to walk or run, click here to register.  If you are not able to attend for whatever reason you can still donate and help save a life.  You can even donate on my behalf if you would like by clicking here!! =)

9/22/09 Update: To you who sponsored me, thank you very much for your care and support.  The run went well.  I finished the 5k in just under 26 minutes, which averages out to be about 8.36 minutes per mile.  I run a lot these days but I spend a lot of time at crosswalks and what not, waiting.  Running the straight 3.1 miles without any pauses made me realize I have A LOT of work to do before entering a marathon!  Not to mention 8.36 is a wee bit faster than my typical 10 minute mile.  Time to hit the road!

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I’ve been playing around with some gluten-free flours lately, which doesn’t always end happily ever after for me.  Today, however, the flour gods were on my side.

About 6:36 this morning I awoke, laid there for a second, thought to myself, “I should make waffles,” and proceeded to hop out of bed and into the kitchen.  What resulted from my early morning breakfast epiphany was this yummy, gluten-free, low fat, blueberry smothered goodness in the form of waffles.

PumpkinWafflesWithBlueberries

This is basically a gluten-free version of these waffles, but I couldn’t really taste the pumpkin for all the blueberries – which isn’t really a big deal.   I only made a half order but to make matters easier I’ll give it to you in full.

Gluten free pumpkin waffles with blueberry-maple syrup/ compote

For the waffles:

First whisk 2 tsp apple cider vinegar into 1 & ½ C non-dairy milk (I used hemp, soy or rice should work too).  Let it sit and curdle.

Mix the dry ingredients together (I like to use a fork) in a large bowl:

  • ¾ C buckwheat flour
  • ¾ C sorghum flour
  • 3/8 C millet flour
  • 3/8 C potato starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda

In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients:

  • 1 C canned pumpkin
  • ¼ C brown sugar
  • ¼ C applesauce
  • Milk mixture from above
  • 2 T ground flaxseed pre-whisked with 6 T hot water (or Ener-G replacer for 2 eggs)

Add the wet to the dry and mix with a fork until not many lumps remain (if any).  Pour batter onto a preheated, greased (as in non-stick spray) waffle iron and cook as directed.

For the blueberry topping:

  • 2 overflowing cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ – 2/3 C or so of maple syrup
  • ¼ C water
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 2-3 T brown sugar
  • ¼ – 1/3 C sugar

Mix the above in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir frequently until it thickens.  Serve immediately or warm it back up a little when you’re ready for it.

I also crumbled up some cinnamon graham crackers (which are NOT gluten-free btw) for a finishing touch because I like their texture.

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So yesterday I was feelin a little left out with all this Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte business (since it’s not vegan apparently even when you ask for soy – moo milk in the pumpkin syrup is what I’m told) so I started googling some recipes – they call for pumpkin spice.  Off to the store!

Well, I get to the store and a jar of pumpkin pie spice the size of a ping pong ball is no less than $5.89.  Wtf!?!?!  Seriously?  But, since I was feeling left out, I thought oh well, I’ll rarely use it and it will last forever.  About 0.76 seconds before I was to walk towards the never ending racket of “bings” at the checkout counters I decided to look at the back of the jar to investigate what is in this stuff that makes it so darn pricey.

Wait for it…..  Cinnamon. Ginger. Nutmeg. Allspice.  Yep, that’s it!  Needless to say I put the exceedingly overpriced, ping pong ball size jar of spice back on the shelf.  “Riddikulus,” I say to myself, “I’ll just make my own.”

I’ve yet to create my homemade pumpkin spice latte, when I do I’ll post it, but if you’re in the market for all things pumpkiny and don’t feel the need, or have the excess cash, to spend a stupid amount of money on an itsy bitsy jar of spice, the proportions below should do the trick.

Pumpkin Spice Recipe

  • 4 parts ground cinnamon
  • 2 parts ground ginger
  • 1 part allspice
  • 1 part nutmeg

Mix and be merry!

Update 09/15/09: Regarding this pumpkin spice latte, I’m not so sure you need the spice.  I’ve made three different pumpkin lattes in the last couple days and the one I’ve liked the most was simply espresso, soy milk, canned pumpkin, and sugar.  So here’s my advice for a homemade pumpkin latte:

  • 2 shots espresso
  • 1/2 C soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1-2 T canned pumpkin
  • 1 T sweetener (sugar, agave, etc.)

Mix the pumpkin with the milk prior to steaming it.  Steam your pumpkin milk, pull your shots, throw it all together and sip it with a smile knowing that you didn’t spend $3.95 for it.  You want some spice?  Ok, but I wouldn’t put more than a sprinkle or two in it, and definitely not more than 1/8 tsp (unless you use more milk).

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