Tuesday, July 30, 2013

the summer of frozen yogurt, part 1

yogurt photos! 
This summer, Jefferson and I have been on many frozen yogurt dates. These are the places/yogurts we've gotten.

Yodiggity - they had pineapple sorbet! I mixed with oreos.
Tutti Frutti - my favorite so far. they have soy milk frozen yogurt - peanut butter flavored, and almond flavored. I like to mix with almonds.
Yogolicious - jolly rancher flavored, and strawberry lemonade sorbet. tangy!
Yogurtland - another tangy sorbet.
Chill Yogurt - 3! flavors of sorbet - hawaiian punch, mango, and strawberry.
Yogurt Etc. -  they were out of sorbet when we went, but Jefferson had original tart and liked it.

More to come, I'm sure. What's your favorite yogurt place?


Monday, July 29, 2013

meatless monday: another peach cake

Last weekend, I volunteered to help cook and serve at the Masumoto's annual adopt a tree picking day. In exchange, the volunteers were given a few of each of their Elberta peaches and Le Grand nectarines.
the elberta peach. a beauty!
The first recipe I made was this peach crumble. I've been craving coffee cake, but, since Jefferson doesn't love coffee cake, I wanted to find something that tasted like coffee cake but looked like regular cake! (sorry hubs, guess I let my secret out).

Either way, this cake was delicious. I halved the recipe and ended up only using 2 of the elberta peaches. Other subs included flax seed egg instead of regular, almond extract instead of vanilla (ran out!), coconut milk yogurt instead of sour cream, and, strangely enough, cumin instead of cardamom powder. 

It was just fine without the glaze, but Jefferson wanted some, so I just added a tiny bit of powdered sugar mixed with a tiny bit of water. I swirled it on with a fork. 


Sunday, July 28, 2013

spinning sunday: a handspun shawl for fair submission

Remember this yarn?

Well it's being turned into a handspun version of a BLT scarf (basic lace triangle).

See the pretty stripes! That's why I did the 3ply on the yarn. The lace holes will open up more, once it's finished and blocked. And hopefully it will earn me a blue ribbon. :-)

Last year was my first year submitting to the fair. I submitted a handspun, handknit sweater, two skeins of handspun yarn, and a handknit shawl. I won second place on all four submissions! This year, I'm hoping to up the ante a little bit and get the big prize. 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

cinnamon basil

cinnamon basil
Lately, I've been leaving a vase of basil on the kitchen table. After the meal is over, I like to eat one leaf as a palate cleanser. This week, it's cinnamon basil. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

meatless mondays - vegan bbq'n

Last Saturday, I BBQ'd.

I've only ever BBQ'd three times in my life, last week being the fourth. I got the weber brand charcoal barbecue from a friend at her moving sale. It was $10, and she threw in a chimney starter.
oooh fire
Still, every time I put the charcoal in, wrap the newspaper around the bottom and light it on fire, I'm amazed. I always remember starting the barbecue to be such a production when I was a kid - and it always seemed to take forever. I remember it constantly going out, and having to be re-lit. And those matches! Those foot long matches that never lit after striking on the box. But I've had some good luck with this barbecue and chimney starter so far (knock on wood.) 

veggies with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and thyme 
Now that I'm no longer eating what the majority of people put on their barbecue, I was a little bit at a loss for what to cook. I knew I could do diced veggies (above) in the weber wok (best purchase ever), and corn on the cob. The veggies were lightly mixed with olive oil, spices, and a splash of lemon juice. They took about 20 minutes on the grill (medium heat I think?), mixing every 7 minutes or so. The corn had the silk removed, and was rubbed with olive oil too. Took about 15 minutes, away from the coals. 

bbq! boca burgers, foil wrapped potatoes, corn, and mixed veggies. 
But beyond that I've only ever barbecued chicken. Can you believe it - vegan boca burgers were the first type of "burger" that I barbecued - and they're quick. 5 minutes a side and they're good. The grill marks are fake though. :-) And the last item was the foil wrapped potatoes. I chopped the baby red potatoes into quarters and boiled them for a few minutes to make them soft, then put them on the foil with some olive oil and whole cloves of garlic. They stayed in the corner, off the coals, for about 15 minutes. 

nectarine cake!
For dessert, I made a nectarine cake, from this strawberry cake recipe. It's a quick, go-to dessert of mine, and it works to use flax seed egg instead of real eggs. 


Monday, July 15, 2013

meatless mondays - a load of nectarines

a load of nectarines! 
Last week, J and I picked up a load of nectarines from a friend that has an old nectarine tree. This is our second year receiving such a wonderful gift, and I had a few recipes in mind already.

nectarine cupcake! OMG!
 The first thing I made was nectarine cupcakes. I used this recipe, which is an adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe (M.S. uses heavy cream in hers, and I can't figure out a vegan sub for that). I used flax seed eggs, and my own buttercream recipe for the frosting (vegan butter, powdered sugar, and usually almond milk. This time I used nectarine juice instead of milk and added a bit of almond extract). The cupcakes are delicious - one thing to pay particular attention to: the recipe says to pour a little batter in the bottom, then add the nectarines, and add more batter on top. I wasn't paying attention and mixed the nectarines into the batter and then poured it into the cupcake pan. This made the cupcakes a little fragile, since some of them got nectarines on the bottom and they didn't have a strong base.

nectarine upside down brownie cake
The next thing that I made was this nectarine upside down brownie cake. I've been craving brownies, especially since I found the pan, but I knew I had to use up the nectarines. I part-jokingly googled "nectarine brownies" and was shocked with this recipe! and it was vegan to begin with! I used nectarines instead of peaches, and used 1 banana and 2 flax seed 'eggs' instead of the applesauce. in addition, I added pecans and chocolate chips! mmm! they are very thick/dense and really really good. 


Sunday, July 14, 2013

spinning sundays - catching up with TDF

I've spun everyday during the TDF. This is my 3rd year participating, and every year I say I'm gonna spin everyday, but I don't. It's a lot easier this year since I'm currently unemployed! whoot. (or something..)
first yarn done!
I've been working on a couple skeins of yarn. The first was the one I posted about previously, which is now on sale in my etsy shop.
midnight sheep fiber
The next one was my goal for TDF. I had 2 4oz braids of this merino that I got from midnight sheep on etsy. They were both dyed in the same gradient - from light blue gradually to darker blue. I spun both the same way, and then plied them together. The resulting yarn has the same gradient - gradually moving from light to dark blue. I haven't decided if I want to keep this one or not, although I'm pretty attached to it. It might end up in the shop eventually.
the many faces of morris the dog, spinning mascot.
The next one that I'm working on is a blue/brown/yellow striping fiber that I got from maude and me. I'm trying to preserve the blocks of color, so I'm spinning it super thin and I'm going to navajo ply it, which is basically hand crocheting while you're plying. It'll make the finished yarn have stripes where the same color matches up, instead of looking splotchy or marbled like the blue one does.

That's it for this week.


Monday, July 8, 2013

on toaster oven cooking, a new cake pan, and vegan carrot cake

mmmmmmmmm carrot cake
I found a new round cake pan at the thrift store. I wasn't sure if it was going to be too big - it seemed to be cutting it close, but for $2, I couldn't pass it up. Luckily it fit perfectly in the toaster oven.

carrot cake!
Today I put it to work, making this version of carrot cake (with some vegan subs, of course). Jefferson said it was a great $2 investment. 

silly mo pup
Even Morris the dog asked for some!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

meatless monday - reflecting on being 6 months vegan

We had a friend over for dinner last night.

Truth be told, I'm a tiny bit overwhelmed at the abundance of food we currently have. We're CSA subscribers, and during the summer, we opt for the extra stone fruit-only box. We usually pick up our box on Thursdays, but since this week is a holiday (July 4th? already? that's a whole other post..), we get an extra early pickup - meaning, we picked up our 2 boxes on Thursday, and then another 2 boxes yesterday (Monday). 4 boxes in 5 days. 2 whole boxes of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, potatoes, cantaloupe and peppers AND 2 whole boxes of peaches, plums, and nectarines. I'm not complaining about the quality (or the quantity, really), it's just the space. Our fridge has precious real estate, and it's already at capacity.

Bringing us back to dinner. I wanted to make ALL the things for dinner. I had a bunch of extra tomatoes from the garden, and a couple HUGE cucumbers from the neighbors garden, so I was thinking pizza and salad.

We got these pre-cooked flatbread pizza crusts from Trader Joe's a few days ago, and they looked like the would work perfectly. I cooked one with minced garlic and oil only, and made a bruschetta-esque topping with cherry tomatoes, basil, red onion, olives, and balsamic vinegar. For the second one, I spread goat cheese on the bottom (I cut a third off to make without cheese for moi) and layered tomatoes, zucchini, crookneck squash, and red onion. I served the two with a plain lettuce salad with a mushy plum on top. Oh, and yes, those are peaches floating in that fancy water.

For dessert, I opted for the classic peach galette - the same one from that cookbook that everyone's talking about ('cept veganized, of course). We had 2 types of coconut ice cream - strawberry, and vanilla bean. And I found soy whipped cream, which is... interesting.

Yesterday also marked 6 months from my 28th birthday, which was also the first day of the 28 day vegan challenge (guess I never got the memo that it was over.. ). In 6 months, I've completely changed how my body (and mind, really) reacts to food. I don't need to go into details, but I used to have these.. bathroom episodes that were not very much fun - seriously, it has been happening in my life for as long as I can remember, maybe every other month or so. I have not had one at ALL (nothing even remotely close!) since February. And my heartburn, another thing I've been fighting for as long as I can remember, is nearly completely gone (still acts up a little bit when I eat too much garlic. sigh). In addition, I've continued to lose weight (J+ I started tracking calories in July last year - you can see there is a big drop in Nov, that was after my knee surgery when I got sick from the anesthesia and didn't eat for 3 days, but there is another big drop in Feb - that's the one to focus on.)

I'm not going to lie - this is hard. There is something that challenges me almost everyday. There are hard decisions that I make regarding food everyday. There are things that I no longer crave (goodbye cheese!), but things that I feel like I will miss forever (hello donuts!).

There's not really a proper way to end this rambling blog post, because this part of my life isn't over yet. It's only been 6 months, and here's hoping to many many more.