Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Family and Thai Food

Hello! So, it’s April, and my April Resolution is to actually keep up with this baby-blog even though I’m not cooking or doing anything super fantastic or interesting.

It’s currently Sister’s spring break, and she and Mom flew out to sunny southern CA to visit me and get tan. I love having them here too much for words.

They got here Sunday evening, and we decided to go out for dinner. Confession: I don’t go out to dinner often at all. And by “not often at all,” I mean that I went once when my dad was visiting in February. But that time, I liked the restaurant we went to: Bua Thai Cuisine.

Not only is their food inexpensive and tasty, they are also very vegan friendly! I nearly had a conniption when I saw that they had on their menu the following disclaimer: “All vegetarian dishes will be prepared with fish sauce and/or oyster sauce, which are animal byproducts, unless it is requested that light soy sauce be substituted.” I squealed with vegan glee. Not only are they warning me ahead of time that their food has these things (meaning I don’t have to bother asking), they’re completely open to making my meal cruelty-free. However, said sauce kind of drowned my stir fry. Didn’t ruin it by any means, but this is a review-ish thing. My mom and my sister (both vegetarian) got vegetable pad thai, and the waitress actually asked if they wanted egg or not.

So, if you’re ever in Claremont, I would totally recommend Bua Thai.

Today, I’m done with classes very early so the three of us are spending the day being touristy at the Santa Monica Pier. We’re going to dinner at a vegan restaurant called Real Food Daily. Tell you all about some point in the near future!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Break o' Baking

Well, I'm back at school (unfortunately). I had a fabulous spring break, thanks for asking, and got much baking and cooking done! I also have successfully convinced my mom, sister, dad, boyfriend, and grandparents that vegan baking can be and is, in fact, delicious.

I meant to update this blog a few times during the break, but alas, I was having too good a time to be at a computer for more than a few minutes at a time. This means that you, dear reader, will now be bombarded my many pictures! Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on you point of view), I forgot to take pictures of some of the things I made.

Blackberry waffles (some recipe I found online, highly modified. Unfortunately, I didn't make note of the changes, so I can't be super-cool and post a recipe):

Lonely last blackberry scone (from VWAV. Made with my friend who gave up sweets for lent in mind. I love loopholes! Scones are breakfast food, and these have fruit!)

Sparkled ginger cookies (VWAV), which my mom is addicted to, and chewy chocolate chocolate chip cookies (

Peanut-butter filled chocolate cookies (recipe here)

Rosemary focaccia (Vcon)

Homemade vegan sausages (recipe from Vegan Dad)...

...served with herb scalloped potatoes (Vcon)

And we used the rest of the sausage on pizza with zucchini and mushrooms

I also bought myself The Joy of Vegan Baking, because I can't restrain myself in bookstores. I ended up making three things from it in two days, and every one of them was a total hit. I'm so very in lurve.

Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and raspberries, for my boyfriend on his birthday

Gingerbread scones

And also raspberry oatmeal bars, which I somehow forgot to take a picture of.

I made a tasty-delish vegan dinner for when grandparents came over for dinner on Thursday, and if they and my mom can be trusted, it was a big success! That whole night, most unfortunately, makes the forgot-to-take-pictures list. I was too busy freaking out about cooking for people who weren't my immediate family. I made Vegan Dad's light and lemony pasta (recipe here), served with the above focaccia and the ginger cookies, chocolate chocolate chip cookies, and unphotographed raspberry oatmeal bars for desert.

Also making the list of the unphotographed: Vegan Dad's crispy cajun chickpea cakes (recipe here), which were very tasty; nachos with seitan (turned into ground beef) and cheezy sauce (both recipes from Vcon), and we were unfortunately a little underwhelmed with the cheezy sauce; and oatmeal raisin cookies from a random online source that I don't recall (sadly, hadn't yet gotten JoVB).

I also used flax seeds as an egg substitute for the first time, and it worked quite well! We had a heck of a time figuring out how to grind them, though. They just spun around in our food processor like it was a flax-seed carnival ride. A blender eventually did the job, but not before I tried violence:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Trip to the Farmers Market (Or: The Fine Art of Hummus Seduction)

So, I realized recently that I hadn’t thoroughly explored my local farmers market! Well, not the one where I go to school, anyway. I go to the one at home frequently. Anywho, I decided that I should see what sorts of organic/local awesomeness they had going on. So, super-pumped and doing my best to ignore the daylight saving sleep lag, I walked myself down into the Village (i.e. the off-campus part of town) to see what there was to see.

I admit to being slightly disappointed. I was under the impression that a SoCal farmers market would be way more extensive than one in say, suburban Northeast Ohio. It was about half the size. Also, about half of the fruit/vegetable sellers didn’t say that their produce was organic. I don’t know if this is an oversight, or if there is just a dearth of organic produce at this market. I also could have done with fewer pushy cookie-wielding Girl Scouts. However, the market still had some pretty cool things.

I got a pair lovely looking organic pears (haha, a pair of pears!). They’re not quite ripe, which is excellent, because they won’t go bad before I get a change to eat them this week. They can just sit on my desk in all of their not-stolen-from-the-dining-hall glory (alongside the decidedly not organic, but pilfered, apples and oranges).

I also walked by a booth called “Mom’s Specialty Foods: Mediterranean Appetizers.” As I perused the impressive selection of homemade tabbouleh, fresh feta cheese, and kalamata olives, the lovely man working at the booth offered me a sample of artichoke hummus on one of their homemade pita chips. It was fantastic.

It was a hummus seduction. I had to get some. Then, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted their regular whole wheat pita, their lemon pita chips, or their garlic pita chips. I finally decide on a tub of the artichoke hummus and the pita bread, and the man tells me “Oh, you can get another tub of hummus for $2 more.”

Like I said, misbegotten hummus temptress. So, I ended up with basil and sun dried tomato hummus as well.

All and all, I’d say it was a success. Here are more pictures I took:

Top to bottom: Strawberries; an adorable little girl selling someone vegetables; the place where I bought my pair o' pears; homemade soaps (smelled delish); lovely plants

I also saw a hummingbird and a very confused woodpecker who had landed on a metal streetlamp, pecked once at the bulb, looked quite offended, and flew off to an actual tree.

The whole experience really made me want to be home so that I can get some organic local veggies from our market and actually, you know, cook things. I have supplies and kitchen at home. Not so much in a dorm. However, my spring break is in a week (yay hooray!), which means that I will soon be home cooking/baking up tons of vegan goodies. Expect many, many posts.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In the beginning...

...I really should have been doing my physics homework. Instead, I was trawling the internet tubes for fantastic vegan blogs. Really, torque, you can take a back seat for the evening.

I became a vegan in my first semester of college (after being a vegetarian for 5 years). For my birthday, I received the wonderful 'Vegan with a Vengeance' and 'Veganomicon' (I love my mom for being so supportive). I've never been much of a cook (i.e. I have lit toast on fire), but I realized that to be healthy and vegan, I would probably have to learn.

Little did my family realize that they were, evidently, releasing the vegan monster within. I cooked or baked some new vegan recipe nearly every day over my winter vacation. I quickly went into good vegan food withdrawal while back at school (there is only so much peanut butter, salad, and hummus a girl can take). In my desperation, I started reading through Isa Moskowitz' blog. Her blog linked to other blogs, and soon I was awash in a plethora of vegan recipes and ethics.

I rashly decided to make my own.

Most of the blogs I've been reading are by people who have been vegan for years, are wonderful cooks, and/or are incredibly knowledgeable about the ethics of food. I am none of these things. However, all of the above are quickly becoming passions of mine, and so I decided to begin a chronicle of my "learning experiences" (aka: random life events that will possibly center around veganism).

I hope everyone enjoys!