Friday, April 29, 2011

Waiting Patiently For Spring

Spring is taking it's sweet little time here in Portland.  We're getting teasers of warmth and sunshine , but we still have our typical blanket of grey skies and rain showers.  I made this strawberry mango smoothie to encourage some Spring feelings, and I guess it sort of worked.
Our one 70 degree day last week was awesome!  My sister and I found a cozy place to sit outside and enjoy some adult beverages.  Cherry cider and sunshine is a good combo for inducing a summer-like experience.
 Poopers loves to go out in the sunshine, too :)
It cooled off after a day, so we had a pizza party.  This one has boyfriend-made pesto with zucchini, artichoke, mushroom, and sundried tomato.  Actually, bf made all of the pizzas.
Red sauce, cabbage sauteed in rice vinegar, mushrooms, capers, and seaweed.  Soooo gooood. 
Sunday morning called for vegan pancakes with real maple syrup. This one has banana slices.
This one with strawberries and chocolate.  
Lemon-rosemary whole wheat gnocchi.  Tangy and savory and delicious.
Hot and sour cabbage soup made with miso broth.  Very warming.

Those were the highlights of my week.  Spending time with my loved ones has kept me busy and happy! I'm going to embrace the last (fingers crossed) of our winter-ish weather and spend some time cuddled up with a book and hot tea.  Hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Family Kitchen Time: Cupcakes & Soup

More Vegan Cupcakes!  Today I got to spend some quality kitchen time with my mom & sister.  This is wonderful because my sister lives a billion miles away from us, and she's here for a visit.  We made two kinds of cupcakes.
Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes with Kahlua chocolate buttercream frosting.  Awesomely decorated by sister.
 And super lemony cupcakes with pink lemonade frosting.  Decorated for Spring with natural jellybeans, by me.
Sister decorating her cute cupcakes.
Wearing our matching snowman aprons.  I love Christmas stuff all year!
Mixing up the medicine.  Cake IS medicine.
Vern is here!  Lickin' up the scraps.
For dinner we made a yummy rice noodle soup with veggie broth, "beef" strips, tofu, veggies, and mushrooms sauteed in sake.  Very warm and satisfying.
 MMmm soup.
The animals were hanging out in the kitchen with us, looking cute, waiting for the crumbs to fall.  Meet Fred, my mom's adorable cat.
I wish I could take credit for this one, but this amazing plate of deliciousness was served up by the talented boyfriend on Sunday morning.  Just something that he "threw together" aka the MOST heavenly breakfast ever.  <3!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Comforting Sweet Potato Casserole

Ah, Sunday.  I'm lounging in my new robe, watching Chopped, and feeling lucky to be surrounded by so much love.  Some sad news got my weekend off to a rough start, so I spent some therapeutic time in the kitchen.  Making food is really comforting to me and a good distraction when I'm feeling stressed or anxious. 

Last week I picked up a copy of Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm.  I've followed her blog forever and love her food photography and inspiring recipes.  One of the dishes I was really excited about was the Creamy Sweet Potato Bake.  What's more comforting than a creamy, warm casserole full of sweet potatoes and kale? 

This casserole recipe is soooo good!  Sweet potatoes, kale, and pasta with a creamy vegan alfredo sauce.  Of course, I can't seem to ever follow a recipe exactly, so I ended up adding caramelized onions to the filling and instead of topping it with plain breadcrumbs, like the recipe calls for, I mixed the crumbs with melted Earth Balance margarine, oregano, and chopped green onion.  We ate this for dinner, breakfast, and lunch, and felt very sad when we scraped the last bits out of the baking dish.  

Some other eats from my weeks, on the lighter side:
Banana Chia breakfast pudding topped with raisins and local raw honey from my farmer's market.  I blended the chia seeds with a banana, cinnamon, honey and water.   Yum.
Salad with Trader Joe's spiced soybeans, dulse, and left-over cheesey sauce from making kale chips. 
Meet Poopers!!! Poopers is my boyfriend's sweet & handsome cat.  He was lounging next to me as I wrote this post.  He loves fresh catnip from the farmer's market and eating from his treat egg.  He also has the best purr I have ever heard, kind of a rumble and squeak.... so cute! 

Hope everyone has had a nice weekend :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Vern's Recovery & My Vegan Pizza Fixation

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and left good wishes for Vern.  After two heart attacks, a grand mal seizure, several long trips to the vet, and a few days of not feeling well, it seems that he's turned the corner and is doing much better.  He still has some recovery time ahead, but my sister reports that he's in good spirits and she's having a hard time keeping him in low activity mode.  She also says that every day with Vern is a gift.  This is a photo of him with his brother, Merle the cat, and sister, Niko the dog.  They're all coming to visit in a week or so and I'm so happy that Vern will be making the trip, too! 

 I've been a little obsessed with making pizza this week, mostly because my boyfriend is the KING of the home-made vegan variety.  He made a delicious version of his specialty last weekend that's left me craving a slice ever since.  So twice this week I've made my own, neither as good as his, but pizza is pizza is usually yummy no matter what.  True?
Mine are simple.  Crust, sauce, nutritional yeast.  Maybe a topping, but usually not.  Fast, easy, yum.
I've been doing pretty good with starting my day with some sort of green drink.  Getting back into that habit has been a little hard with the ongoing cold weather, but I'm getting one a day down for now.  This is one of my old faves.  Mango, grapefruit, and spinach smoothie. 
Hopefully I'll get some young coconuts this weekend so I can make my ultimate green smoothie with spinach, coconut, and mango. 
It may be cold, but the sun has been making some guest appearances, flowers are blooming, and Pixi spent a few hours by an open window yesterday. 

Happy Friday!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

RV Ice Cream, Kale Chips, Gnocchi, and LOVE to Vern!

Lemony Vanilla Ice Cream Cupcakes (RV)

Happy Sunday!  I meant to post much sooner, but Friday was (finally) sunny and I went for a 3 hour walk instead.  The highlight of the weekend has definitely been my first Spring batch of raw vegan ice cream.  As usual, I used Heather Pace's Ultimate Ice Cream Cake ebook.  I started with her vanilla ice cream recipe (the base is cashews) adding the juice & zest of 2 lemons. I froze it in silicone cupcake cups, which are great for serving and portion control, unless you take 4 out of the freezer at a time, ahem.  The recipe made exactly twelve and less than 48 hours later I'm not sure if we have any left.  They're so good.  Seriously WAY BETTER than any store bought dairy free ice cream.  I've used this recipe over and over again, adding all kinds of flavors, fruits, nuts, and powders, and it always turns out amazing.  And it's super quick and easy to make, and uses really basic pantry ingredients.  So, go ahead and eat 'em up.

 Tahini Kale Chips (RV)

I finally fired up the Excalibur and made a batch of tahini kale chips.  Yet another one of those super easy staples that cost so much more at the store and usually don't taste as good as home made.  I used regular green kale and tossed the leaves in tahini, lemon juice, agave, and sea salt.  Most of these disappeared the first night.
 Creamy Tomato Gnocchi (V)

Trader Joe's whole wheat gnocchi is a totally new discovery for me.  It cooks in less than 5 minutes and tastes good tossed in just about anything.  My creamy tomato sauce was a combo of marinara and canned coconut milk.  That's it.  So fast, so creamy and warm and yummy and vegan.  The sweetness of the coconut milk really compliments the tomato.  Try it.

 Daily Greens
Yep, still eating my daily greens. And still using a tahini dressing every single time.  Once I find a salad dressing recipe I like I will eat it for months on everything.  This week's salad toppers have been pickles, daiya cheddar shreds and dulse. 

Sleepy Pixi Cat Naps

Other great things from this week have been cat naps with Pixi, visiting the Farmer's Market and getting local raw honey and some awesome vegan chipotle flavor cheese made with hazelnuts, then having the boyfriend turn it into some of the best vegan mac-n-cheese I've ever tasted, a sleepy Saturday, a visit to Powell's, a new vegan cookbook that I've wanted for a while, and the discovery of a super tea house in my neighborhood that has a bazillion blends of chai. 

Vern - Best Little Dog Ever!

Meet my sister's dog, Vern.  She adopted him a few years ago as a sick and abused stray and he's turned out to be such an awesome dog and has added so much love to our family.  He's about 13 years old and has had some health struggles the past few days.  We're all wishing for you to feel better and pull through Vern!  We love you!!!