Wednesday, August 30, 2006

one potato, two potato

I wish there was some explanation for why I have been such a grease monkey this week! First falafel, and now latkes! It's probably because one of my neighbors has been frying potatoes several times this week, and the grease just smells GOOD. Tonight's dinner:
Emergency BBQ Tofu, Two-Potato Latkes with soy sour cream, and a big green salad.

What's my recipe for latkes? No recipe, really. Chuck in a bowl:

a small sweet potato/yam, peeled and shredded (this is added to improve the nutritional content somewhat)
two small white potatoes, scrubbed and shredded
about half a small yellow onion, peeled and shredded
salt and pepper
a spoonful or a little more of flour
a splash of water if the mixture looks too dry

Plop 1/4 cupfulls into a cast-iron skillet with a decent layer of hot oil in the bottom. Squish the latkes reasonably flat with your flipper. Cook, flip, cook, drain on paper towels.

Now, I'm not Jewish, so I cannot attest to the authenticity of my recipe, but I think they taste pretty darn good, so that's how I make them. :)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

question answered

Well, it seems as though I was able to answer my earlier question with a little more digging. Blogger is only letting a few people upgrade to Beta at a time, and when it's my turn to upgrade, a link will appear in my dashboard. Sheesh.

So, those of you that have upgraded, know that I'd like to be leaving you comments right now, but I can't! Ack.

help please!

How in the world do I upgrade to Blogger Beta? Those of you that have, I can't leave you comments any more! Sheesh. I wonder whether that's a fault of Safari, or because I haven't upgraded? Puzzling. Any advice/tips/suggestions are more than welcome.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

muffin madness!

I made some strawberry muffins last night, using my homemade mix . . .
(The photo's a little blurry . . . my apologies!)

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Yum. I devoured "Mt. Falafel" for dinner tonight!
Wholegrain pita with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, tahini sauce (made simply of tahini, lemon juice, water, and a little garlic salt,) and Fantastic Foods falafel.

Balls or patties? Baked or fried? Let the great falafel debate begin. I will add my opinion in the comments later.

Weekend Whomper Munchies

Since I've been out of town for a week, I needed more than a few things today!!


A few important shortcuts:

FT = fair trade
O = organic
FTO = fair trade and organic
L = local
LO = local and organic
C = had a coupon
S = on sale!

1 loaf Rudi's 100% whole wheat bread (C)

a little over half a pound of Twin Cities blend FTO Peace Coffee

8 count "totally vanilla" Tofutti Cuties
SnoPac O whole strawberries (S)
1 Amy's non-dairy burrito (C)
O coconut fruit popsicles
16 ounces Purely Decadent Cookie Avalanche

about a tablespoon of whole O fennel seed

Cascadian Farms O Honey Nut O's (C)
Cinnamon Puffins (C, S)
15 ounces Eden O chickpeas
15 ounces Eden O cannellini beans
Endangered Species FTO raspberry-dark chocolate bar (C)
Sorrel Ridge strawberry all-fruit spread
Celestial Seasonings peppermint tea (the 40-count box!)
Mori-Nu O firm tofu
O pumpkin puree
O Lite coconut milk
4-count 7th Generation TP (C)

Avalon O Lavender shower gel (C)

LO romaine head
1 LO cucumber
2 O bananas
1 O avocado
1 O mango
1 O lemon
1 O lime
1 O bartlett pear (S)
1 O nectarine
1 O white peach (S)
LO button mushrooms
LO "torpedo" red onions
1 LO yellow onion
1 LO red bell pepper
2 O small russett potatoes
1 O yam (S)
1 bunch LO red radishes
1 package O strawberries
1/4 O watermelon
LO baby spinach bag
LO grape tomatoes clamshell box
LO sage
LO thyme

12 ounces Tofutti better than sour cream (S)
8 ounces 3-grain tempeh
10 ounces Follow Your Heart vegan cheddar
14 ounces House O firm tofu
64 ounces enriched RiceDream
4 WholeSoy yogurts (peach, apricot mango, lemon, and mixed berry)

all things considered . . .

Considering I haven't been to the co-op yet, I managed a pretty fabulous breakfast today!

Blueberry pancakes with strawberry-peach syrup and a side of soy sausage (and coffee, of course):
All I have to say is, I am very thankful for frozen fruit this morning!

I also wanted to share my favorite photo from my trip with you:
I have no idea what kind of butterfly this is, but my best guess at the flower is Engelmann Aster, thanks to the awesome wildflower field guide I bought at the airport on my way home! (The backside has trees and shrubs, and it is nicely laminated.)

And, before you begin complimenting me on my photo-snapping prowess, please note that this photo was a very fortunate accident. :) The butterfly just happened to cooperate!

Off to get dressed and go grocery shopping -- yay for food! More later.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm ba-ack!

Hello! I'm back from the trip, tired as sin, but back. It was an adventure. And I'll leave it at that.

By the way, you may notice some past posts are missing . . . and more may be missing in the future . . . I'm going to try to refocus my blog on food, especially since I do have the camera now and can show you my cooking creations! I'm going to the store tomorrow, so be prepared for big food fun. :)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Who knew the T.L.T. could be improved? Well, add avocado to just about anything, and I like it more, so thus, the A.L.T.T. (Avocado, Lettuce, Tempeh, and Tomato) sandwich was born!

I love that the new sandwich is an ALTT-ertative to the more traditional BLT. :) Too cute? Maybe. But too tasty, too.



Drooling (wait, that was me, not the tempeh):

Monday, August 14, 2006

veggies for breakfast

Tofu scramble is about the only way I can easily eat a bunch of veggies for breakfast. I felt like something hot today, and had a partial pack of tofu in the fridge, so I scrambled away! Side of toast with strawberry all-fruit, and a cup of coffee, of course.
Happy Monday, Everyone!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Party of One" Freebie!

I made a pasta salad tonight that is so easy, quick, and tasty, it's going in the cookbook. It's the most pathetic, simple "recipe" ever, so I'm including it now -- a "freebie" for you all! Test away and give me feedback!

Greek-ish Pasta 'n Veg Salad

1 cup dry whole wheat pasta shape of your choice (I used fusilli)
1 cup no-salt added canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup quartered water-packed artichoke hearts
1 cup sliced and quartered cucumber
1 cup quartered mushrooms (such as button or cremini)
1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes (or seeded, chopped tomato of your choice)
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette (prepared or homemade)

1. Boil the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse it well under cold water. Give it a couple of good shakes to get most of the water out of it.
2. Combine everything and fold it gently until the vinaigrette is evenly distributed. Eat.

If you are so inclined, feel free to add some olives and/or feta to this as well.

I just had a big bowlful -- a nice bedtime snack, if you ask me!

meals -- one out, one homemade

I did manage to snap a quick photo of my meal out at Psycho Suzi's with Ann and Michelle last night. They both gave me crap for taking a picture of our dinner, but they'll get used to it. :)


The great thing about Psycho Suzi's is it's so trashy, it's awesome. Dark, dank, biker-tiki-bar atmosphere, with awesome pizza and crazy appetizers, drinks that light on fire, and beer and cider in cans. We ordered onion rings and tater tots to start, and then a white pizza with tomatoes, spinach, and artichokes. (Hmm . . . I think it's official title is "The Fastback.") Unfortunately, our tots and rings arrived at the same time as our pizza, which did help with the photography purposes, but made for an interesting meal. ;-) Our rings were also significantly overcooked -- dark brown and ultra-crispy (not really a good thing,) and the service was painfully slow. Usually, we have an excellent time at Psycho Suzi's . . . last night was definitely an exception to the rule. (And P.S. I did not eat vegan. They don't have soy cheese, although I'm sure they'd make a cheese-free pizza.)

Next, my lunch today! Barbecued tofu, whole-wheat couscous (with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt,), and a big salad of romaine, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, red wine vinegar, and extra-virgin olive oil. Chai (made with rice milk) to drink, and a chunk of Green and Black's chocolate for dessert (not pictured.) Yum.


I did not plan ahead, so I made "emergency BBQ Tofu" instead of my regular version, which involves pressing and marinading the tofu for several hours. I sliced & blotted the tofu, pan-fried it in a bit of canola oil, blotted off the excess oil, tossed the slightly crispy strips in barbecue sauce, and called it lunch. I think I might like this version even better than the labor-intensive one . . . !

a Thanksgiving miracle!

Yes, I realize it's a little early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, but I made an awesome, incredible, near-to-the-real-thing vegan pumpkin pie last night!!!! I thought I was going to have to either forego the pie, or eat dairy and eggs, but no! Awesome, tasty, and my friend Michelle (who is an omnivore who likes tofu) said it was great, too. It was also incredibly easy to make -- I think I had the pie in the oven in about 7 minutes. (I used a prepared piecrust. I have made my own pastry many, many times in the past, but I have had bad luck making wholegrain ones . . . bah. So I bought one this time 'round -- it's fabulous!)

Here's the recipe, originally from (but slightly adjusted by me and a few others):

Tofu Pumpkin Pie

16 ounces pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup natural granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
12-ounce package firm silken tofu, obvious water poured off
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell (preferably whole grain)

1. Preheat the oven to 425.
2. Dump all of the ingredients except the pie shell into your blender and process until completely smooth. (Alternately, you can dump everything in a mixing bowl and use a hand blender to puree it all.)
3. Pour the pumpkin filling into the pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. Turn the heat down to 350 and bake for an additional 40 minutes.
5. Cool the pie one hour, then chill completely before serving.

And now, some photos . . .

On it's way into the oven:


I couldn't wait until it chilled to try a piece, so it broke a little bit (but held together well after fully chilled):


cat camping

Oliver is really enjoying all of the cardboard leftover from the stuff I received in the mail this week . . .

I promise sometime soon I will tire of sharing silly Ollie photos with you. Until then, bear with us.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Marathon Munchies (shoes hidden, too!)


I have a tale of marathon munchies this weekend -- with accompanying photos! Christine and I ran errands together today, and here's what we did:

1. I tried to sell some coats at Everyday People -- they didn't want to buy any of them, because they weren't "vintage-looking enough." Boo on them.
2. We both donated bags of clothes (and some kitchen stuff and the coats, of course) to the Goodwill.
3. We went to the post office so I could mail a package (had to return a camera piece I ordered that I didn't end up needing.)
4. We went to Patina so Christine could pick up a birthday present for her friend Karla. I almost bought another purse. Christine helped me put it back. :) Thanks, Christine.
5. We had lunch at Urban Harvest. They have wonderful sandwiches, and I can actually eat vegan there! My lunch:
A hummus, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red pepper, red onion, cucumber, and sprout sandwich on 8-grain bread with salt and vinegar potato chips, and a big glass of water. I didn't eat my pickle, because it was wobbly and looked smushed and a little funny. This was a tragedy, because I LOVE pickles. But the sandwich was excellent, as always!
6. We went to Target and I picked up a few travel essentials for the trip later this week.
7. We popped in Famous Footwear, because I've been searching for a new pair of black heels. I found some! They are on the left:
Also included in this picture are the orange and cream Chucks and the brown flats by Soda that I bought a few weeks ago. Gotta love new shoes. Sneaky, sneaky kitty.
8. We went to Home Depot so I could have a copy of my new front door key cut for my favorite cat-sitter. Thanks in advance, Tony!
9. We finally made it to the Wedge, and here's what I bought:


roasted, salted mixed nuts (travel snacks)
half a pound of organic and Fair Trade Twin Cities Blend Peace Coffee

whole wheat and trans-fat-free pie shells (a pack of 2)

Fantastic Foods falafel mix (had a coupon)
six organic fruit leather (travel snacks)
1 box firm organic Mori-Nu silken tofu
8 ounce bottle Annie's organic balsamic vinaigrette (had a coupon)
15 ounces organic pumpkin puree
1 chocolate brownie Clif bar (travel snacks AND had a coupon)
2 Clif Nectar bars (travel snacks AND had a coupon)
2 Cherry Pie LaraBars (travel snacks)
1 bottle Nantucket Nectars apple juice
1 4-pack of Seventh Generation TP (had a coupon)

Merry Hempsters vegan peppermint lip balm
Tom's of Maine lemongrass soap (had a buy 3 Tom's coupon)
2 Tom's of Maine peppermint shaving cream
Nature's Gate original herbal shampoo
2 Preserve toothbrushes
Alba dry skin lotion (had a coupon)
Burt's Bees garden tomato toner
Burt's Bees garden tomato complexion bar soap

2 organic, local cucumbers
1 organic avocado
1 organic mango
1 organic black plum
1 organic yellow peach
10 organic, local button mushrooms
1 organic, local red onion
1 organic, local heirloom tomato
1 package organic romaine hearts
1 package organic baby carrots
1 box organic, local red grape tomatoes
a quarter organic watermelon

1 package organic 8-grain tempeh
HolyLand whole wheat pita bread (made with organic flour)

Planned cooking projects for this week:

tofu pumpkin pie
tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado sandwiches
a Greek-type pasta salad with loads of yummy veggies and chickpeas
falafel or barbecued tofu (or both!)

Off to see Cloud Cult play tonight, and later, The Hopefuls! I will take the camera and hopefully take some pictures.

Friday, August 11, 2006

recent arrivals

The camera's here! The camera's here!!!! THE CAMERA'S HERE!!!!!! Unfortunately, my kitchen's a mess and I have no food in the house. Major, major bummer. However, tomorrow, I'll clean the kitchen, go to the store, cook something, take some pictures, and post them!

Until then, I leave you with my crabby kitty:


Oh -- my L.L. Bean stuff also arrived! It's all perfectly perfect. :) Just have to wait for the parka to come back into stock at the end of September, and then I'll be more than all set for winter! Let the snow fly . . . !!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

no food, but books!

I apologize for the lack of posting on my part lately, but it's been a busy week! Another week of working late/eating dinner at work with the kids, so I have no culinary adventures to tell you about. (I guess this is a good thing, because my kitchen's a mess again, of course! No room to cook right now.)

I'm leaving town in a week, and went to Magers and Quinn, this great used bookstore in uptown, to pick up some books for the trip. I wanted at least four new books, but six would be better, because I tend to read A LOT when I travel -- especially when travelling with other people (it's a nice escape. Hard to argue with "I'm going to bed!") I did find six! Here's what I got:

Summer Sisters (Judy Blume)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers)
Every Boy's Got One (Meg Cabot)
Saul and Patsy (Charles Baxter)
Bodily Harm (Margaret Atwood)
Surfacing (Margaret Atwood)

Now, I usually prefer to go to the library, but I don't like taking library books with me when I travel -- they are often too heavy and take up too much space in my luggage, and there's always that fear that they will get lost and I'll have to pay for them anyway in the end! Also, if I finish a book and need space in my luggage for something else, I can always leave it behind somewhere -- all of the books were pretty cheap and thus, slightly disposeable.

Hopefully, six books will keep me plenty busy!

Monday, August 07, 2006

tasty experiment

I decided to warm up some leftover PPK French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme for dinner tonight, and dug around to see what kinds of veggies I had on hand to supplement my meal. I found a container with a handfull of random quartered artichoke hearts that need to be eaten up soon, so I decided to eat those. While I will always eat artichoke hearts straight-up, I decided to be slightly adventurous and chuck them in the bowl with my soup.

SO FABULOUS! I will definitely be adding artichokes to my soup the next time I make it. Mmmmmm!!!!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Weekend Munchies -- Late Sunday Edition


My shopping this week was more of a "quick run to the store for special low-maintenance dinner and also gently toss a few random produce items into the basket" edition. Hence, MWM, the Late Sunday Edition. Spoils:

a hunk of vegan walnut apple crisp from the deli (SOOOOOO tasty)
one Matthew's vegan burrito
two Cherry Pie LaraBars
two organic, fair-trade bananas
one organic yellow peach
half an organic canteloupe

And with this week's edition, a funny story:

I went to the store with my friend Afton (hi Afton!) and she used my member number, which is totally kosher at my co-op. When she got her reciept, we chuckled that I saved her a whole eleven cents. Our cashier joked, "yes, but I gave her 30 cents!" (i.e., her change.) We laughed some more; I said, "well Afton, you should be happy to know that you are worth eleven cents to me." Again, all three of us laughed. As my cashier rang up my groceries, he asked me, "do you happen to be vegan, by chance?" I replied, "well, very nearly. I eat cheese on occasion, and only when provoked." We exchanged the "I know what you mean" roll of the eyes. He commented that he's had to pretty much stop eating out since he went vegan, and then we talked about how difficult it is to find vegan options at restaurants, etc. I paid for my groceries, he gave me my change and told us both to enjoy our evenings, and we were off to the parking lot.

When we got to the car, Afton says, "he was flirting with you and you totally missed it!" Now, I'm just not sure about that one -- people are usually that friendly at the co-op, especially vegan to vegan conversations. Perhaps I really missed the boat on that one . . . ?? Who knows.


Earlier today, Afton and I wandered around the Uptown Art fair, and I got some really cool free stuff! I didn't actually buy any art, but there were two really awesome booths -- Stonyfield Farms Organic had a huge display about the benefits of organic farming, and then the "Organic and Natural Experience (ONE) Tour" had a booth with tons and tons of free samples, and free coupon books! I got coupons for the following:

Alba Bath & Body
Annie's pastas/crackers
Annies dressings/marinades
Avalon Organics Bath & Body
Cascadian Farm Organic
Clif Bar
Clif Mojo
Clif Nectar
Dr. Bronner's & Sun Dog's Magic
Earthbound Farm Organic
Fantastic Foods
Garden of Eatin' Tortilla Chips
MaraNatha nut butters
Muir Glen Organic tomato products
Nature's Path products
Organic Valley soy milk
Pacific Natural Foods
R.W. Knudsen juice
Santa Cruz Organic juice
Seventh Generation
Stonyfield Farm yogurt
Utne (Understanding the Next Evolution) magazine (I also got a free issue -- I'll let you know how it is)

Watch for the ONE tour in your neck of the woods, so you can score these goodies, too!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

shopaholic in 'da house!

I've done a considerable amount of shopping over the past few days, thanks in partial part to my property tax return! Here are the spoils:

First, the shoes . . .

Yes, I needed a new pair. Desperately. The old ones had ginormous holes all over the place, the rivets were falling out, and the shoelaces were fraying. Sad.

Now these, I did not need. But boy, are they pretty. (Pretty cute, that is!)

I stuck this picture up here so you could see the embroidery detail -- I didn't purchase this exact pair of shoes . . . I believe mine are completely out of stock in the universe, but they are cream with orange embroidery in this pattern.

Also, I purchased a pair of mary janes by Soda that I can't find a picture of. They are brown with pink stitching, two tiny straps across the front, with a very small bow. All man-made materials, too! Awesome.

Next is new outwerwear (yeah, I lost weight last year and never bought new coats) . . .

My new fall jacket! Hooray for green corduroy!

My new "normal life" winter coat. I've never owned a not-black-or-grey peacoat before. I'm excited. :)

My new "playing in the snow with children and skiing" winter coat.

And some new boots. I have mixed feelings about these. I have been eyeing these boots for quite some time -- they are allegedly super-warm, lightweight, and pull-on, which is a triple-bonus. The downside? There's a little leather. My problem: I haven't found non-leather boots that look like they will stand up to a winter of walking to and from work, the grocery store, and everywhere else in Minnesota. I'm mad enough at myself for this purchase, so no need to be hard on me. As soon as veggie cold-weather footwear catches up, I'll buy a pair of cruelty-free boots!

L.L. Bean is a great company. They have their paper-conservation policies up on their web, as well as their commitment to non-sweatshop clothing. Neat. I also ordered some new long underwear and a new gaiter!

And finally, the last, and most exciting purchase for you all . . .
Be excited . . . be very excited . . . finally, I can consistently post photos on my blog! Hooray, hooray, hooray! I can't wait for the camera to arrive in 7 to 10 business days. Mark your calendars!!!!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

fat-coated fat

I made a Thai peanut-coconut type stir-fry for dinner tonight, and It's fabulous! Probably from all the fat: peanut butter, peanut oil, toasted sesame oil, (lite) coconut milk, and yes, even tofu has a little fat! There are other healthy ingredients in it too, like tamari, rice vinegar, red curry paste, carrots, onions, garlic, broccoli, and mushrooms. Lots of mushrooms. Mmm. All slopped over soba noodles. Mmmm.

I never really liked stir-fry as a child, and I still don't care much for it as an adult . . . but the one exception to the yuk-stir-fry rule is the fat-coated fat version. :)

Ah, well. Sometimes, you just gotta live a little.

A.M. couscous

I have been working on revising/changing a recipe originally from Cooking Light titled "Breakfast Couscous" in order to include it in the cookbook! I have made several modifications, including reducing the amount of sugar (and changing the kind of sugar to something less processed,) cutting the portion size (down to 1, obviously,) using whole wheat instead of regular couscous, and using the milk type thing of my choice instead of powdered nonfat dry milk. I'm having it this morning, and boy is it tasty! Ingredients:

whole wheat couscous
dried fruit (I used chopped apricots)
chopped nuts or seeds (I used sunflower seeds)

YUM YUM YUM. Less than 10 minutes to the table, and super-duper filling. A winner, in my opinion, at least!

However, I have a conundrum. What to title this recipe? I'm thinking something along the lines of "A.M. Pilaf," or "Couscous in the Morning," or, "Couscous in the A.M.," or "Morning Pilaf" or something. Anyone have any brilliant opinions or ideas? Do share.

Also, I wish to apologize to the many who offered to test my roasted red pepper and corn soup -- because my Dad is going to test it for me! Thank you all, though, for your enthusiasm and offers of help. My parents have been asking to help, but not with anything "too weird." :) I thought this one fit the bill, plus my Dad is an awesome soup chef. They make a gazillion different kinds of soup at boy scout camp all the time, so this one could be added to the repertoire, eventually!