It’s Not Just for the Donuts… I Promise!

Tim and I took a few days off this week and drove up to Seattle to see one of our favorite bands perform. We brought our bikes along and took advantage of some lovely weather and food (donuts and more). We even found a park two blocks away from our hotel that had a Petanque court! How cool is that? Below is a photo journal of the highlights:

Beloved Mighty O Donuts and my new favorite bevvie: Chai! Here you see a Cocoloco donut and a Lemon Poppyseed Donut. Mighty O was less than a mile from where we stayed, so we walked there in the morning (on two different occasions… What?) to fuel ourselves for bike rides.

Tim and his new galsses made from donuts: one Raspberry lens and one Chocolate Peanut Butter lens.

Sipping some tea amongst the lovely fall leaves…

Moving on from donuts:

We also rode our bikes along the Burke-Gilman trail. This is an amazingly pretty trail, especially with the fall foliage at its peak. It’s easy to ride farther than you realize, and there are nice parks along the way to stop and have lunch.

Gas Works Park

Fun ducks and cormorants at Matthew’s Beach

After lots of bike riding, we were hungry:

 

Pizza Pi was also close to our hotel (we stayed in the University District)

Vegan sausage, mushrooms, spinach, olives, garlic sauce, and some Teese, I think.

Ready to play some Petanque! Tim won a game and I won a game. The reward? Donuts! This game is so much fun.

We also strolled through the University of Washington campus and spent some time people watching and remembering the freedoms of college life… Sigh…

It’s hard going back to work after having such a happy vacation.

Even Mr. & Mrs. Duck agrees with that.

Benefit Takes Two

Last night Tim and I attended a four course benefit dinner held at Sweetpea Bakery in Portland. Staff from Herbivore, Food Fight Grocery, Sweetpea, and some helpers prepared and served a most lovely and beautiful meal to forty people. The dinner was held for House of Dreams, a no-kill kitty shelter. The tables were each accented with a kitty knick-knack. This was the second benefit dinner we have attended so far (I posted about the first one here), and the food was delicious! I hope there are more benefit dinners to come. Thanks to Isa and all the good folks who made last night so special!

Here are a few shots of Sweetpea Bakery all decked out and ready for hungry vegans:

 

Tim and I were lucky and ended up sitting at a cozy table in the corner next to a window. I just didn’t get a photo of that or us… Oooops!

Onto the food!!!!!! It was dimly lit inside so I had to use my flash, forgive me…

Soup
White Bean And Roasted Garlic
A puree of navy beans and sweet smoky roasted garlic with leeks and fresh herbs

Salad
Golden Beet And Shallot
Warm roasted golden beets and baby greens in a creamy vinaigrette with caramelized shallots and a handful of toasted walnuts

Main
Autumn Plate
Cornbread and homemade sausage stuffed acorn squash, smoky grilled tempeh in a wild mushroom ragout served with garlicky green kale

Dessert
Caramelized Apples
Warm apples in a caramelized maple sauce, served with crisp gingerbread shortbread and topped with homemade coconut based vanilla bean ice cream

Annnnnnnnndddddd:

Housemade hot chai – so good! My first time having chai, it’s true!

The gingerbread kitties that were served with the dessert were so cute (and yummy). I was lucky enough to get two cookies, complements of the sweet Jess from Get Sconed. Thanks Jess!!!!! Oh, I mean three extra cookies because Josh from Herbivore snuck us a few extras as well!!!! I love cookies, so it’s okay.

This was an amazing dinner; Tim and I really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks to all the people who organized the dinner and prepared and served us an awesome meal!

 

What a Dip.

I mentioned awhile ago that I had a recipe for an edamame spread. Well, I still do! This spread is easy to make, super green, and mighty tasty. It’s a dip really. The recipe was printed in my local newspaper, so I think it’s okay to share it here. Actually, I did pay fifty cents for the paper, so if you make this you have to give me fifty cents.

Edamame Spread (Dip)

Makes 4 servings

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for boiling edamame (divided)
2 cups frozen, shelled edamame
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a medium-sized saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the edamame and garlic cloves. Gently boil for about 5-7 minutes, or until the edamame are tender. Remove from heat and drain.

In a food processor (or blender), puree the edamame, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and 1/2 cup of water until very, very smooth. Scrape down the sides of your food processor bowl or blender jar if needed. You can add more water if you want a thinner spread-dip. Season with the salt and black pepperĀ  if you please.

Refrigerate for at least a half hour to let the flavors make friends (it tastes better the next day… just like curry!). Serve this with pitas, veggies, crackers, or do what I do, and simply sweep a finger through it. Wait… I don’t do that. Enjoy!

Don’t Mess with Popcorn

As promised, a recipe.

Tim’s Chocolate Popcorn

3 T canola oil
2 T unrefined sugar (we use organic evaporated cane juice)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t pure chocolate extract
1/2 oz dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

***It is very important throughout this process to keep the popcorn kernels moving around in the pan to prevent the sugar from burning.***

In a medium saucepan, stir together the oil and sugar. Add in the popcorn kernels and make sure they are coated well with the sugar mixture.

Adjust the burner temperature on your stove to just below high heat (our stove top burners don’t heat evenly, but high heat is necessary for the kernels to pop, so set your burner accordingly).

Stir the mixture over the heat to allow the sugar to dissolve. Add in your extracts. Stir some more. Add in the chocolate pieces. Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir.

Put the lid on the pot. Lift the pot off the burner and swirl the contents. You will need one hand to hold the lid on, and the other to hold the pot handle. Return to the heat for a moment (10-15 seconds, maybe longer depending on your heating element). Lift and swirl… Return to heat… Lift and swirl… See the pattern? Continue to do this until the popcorn starts popping. Pop! Pop! Pop!

Shake the pan a lot once it starts popping to prevent the kernels and sugar from burning and sticking. The popcorn will pop slowly at first, and then speed up, and then slow again. Once the popping slows at the end, turn off the heat, but continue the lift, swirl and return to the burner pattern. When the popping pretty much stops, it’s done!

At this point, Tim and I pour the popcorn into a bowl. It will stick together nicely and have a crunchy, crackly coating. If you prefer, you can spread your popcorn out onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool and break it apart. It will be hot, so don’t dive in and burn your mouth like we did (and still do)!

Phew! It sounds complicated, but really it just requires constant attention and movement in the pan to prevent burning. If you stir the contents well at the beginning and move and shake and keep everything heated, you should have success!

If you are not a fan of chocolate (?!?!!) or cannot eat chocolate, you can make this a vanilla popcorn instead. Just omit the chocolate extract, increase the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon, and omit the chocolate pieces. You could shake on some cinnamon if you preferred too. This recipe is pretty versatile, so experiment and have fun! Let me know if you come up with other combinations, I’d love to hear about them!

A Waffle

This morning Tim and I rode our bikes up to Flavorspot for vegan waffles wrapped around a vegan sausage with maple syrup. This was our first time visiting Flavorspot and definitely not our last. The waffles were huge, and the fillings delicious. It was a cold morning and the hot waffle kept me warm, and left me contemplating a second (which I decided against because riding my bike with a tummy upset is a bad idea). Here is a photo of Tim enjoying his brekkie:

There are lots of other filling options, but they aren’t all listed on the menu and we are afraid to ask about them because we are socially inept losers… Cool losers.

We also took time in the afternoon to make a big batch of homemade pitas. I love how methodical the whole process is; it’s almost hypnotic. I have posted about pitas before, with a lot more photos, here. Usually when we make pitas, we freeze individual balls of unbaked dough. This time, we baked all of the pita dough, and froze about half of them (the recipe we use makes about 16).