Dinner & Dessert

Happy, happy, happy Spring!!

I worked all day today and came home exhausted, especially after riding my bike straight into some fierce wind. You would think with a change of seasons the wind and rain would go away (even if just for one day). Apparently Portland is holding on tight to dreary weather a little longer…

Tim was a champ and made dinner while I battled the mighty winds (Mother Nature’s winds, NOT gas!):

Quinoa, Tofu, and Kale with Walnut Pesto from Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

I completely forgot to add the kale to my bowl before I photographed it – ooooops! This meal was so simple, clean, and delicious. We’ve made several recipes from Colleen’s new book and have enjoyed them all.

The woman I work for brought me a to-go meal from Blossoming Lotus before I left to head home (thank you!). That will most certainly be lunch for Tim and I tomorrow. It is the Southwest Bowl, which consists of brown rice, butternut and black bean chili, avocado ranch, roasted red pepper sour cream, and scallions!! Sounds incredible, right? Hopefully I can take a photograph to share with everybody.

What about dessert? Well, hand pies have been flying out of my oven lately:

Strawberry Hand Pies! The recipe is courtesy of Kittee, who is diligently working on her next cookzine (click here to order her first cookzine, Papa Tofu) – guaranteed to be amazing. She has a knack for sweets and ethnic foods – total treasures for your tummy!

I made some chocolate pudding hand pies as well, but they erupted in the oven. They were still enjoyable, just too messy to be considered a hand pie (more of a spoon and fork pie!). Oh well!

Hope you all enjoyed the first day of Spring. Send me some sunshine (please)!

Awarding

Back in February, the lovely Kelly of Seitan Beats Your Meat (and author of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur) awarded several folks the Stylish Blogger Award. I was amongst the chosen and slacked (until today) at providing a proper post in response. Ooooops! Thank you, Kelly, for recognizing my blog and keeping me motivated!

The rules connected to the Stylish Blogger Award require bloggers to post seven facts about themselves and then pass the award on to bloggers of their choice. My life is pretty boring, but I am going to sift through my mental files and create a list that (hopefully) won’t put folks to sleep:

1. I am 34 years old and still suck my thumb. I have been sucking my thumb since I was an infant. My parents tried many approaches to get me to quit, but obviously nothing worked. Despite what my doctors and dentists told me, my teeth are not crooked and I didn’t mess up my mouth or get goofy illnesses. So there.

2. After I graduated from college in 1999, Tim and I traveled to New Zealand. We spent a total of nine months backpacking many of the amazing trails on the North and South Islands. We both agree that we truly learned to cook when we were in New Zealand. Some of our favorite foods to make while in the backcountry included pizza, scones, cinnamon rolls, and caramelized bananas!

3. When I was a kid, my gymnastics class had a headstand contest and I won. I stood on my head for 8 minutes. Unfortunately, when the season was over, I didn’t advance to the next level class. My response? I cried. The teachers felt bad and decided to advance me anyways. Tears can be effective when you are a child!

4. I don’t know how to swim. I took lessons growing up (even in high school), but somehow never quite mastered the proper coordination. It was terribly embarrassing for me when gym class took place in the pool. My teacher was nice and let me swim the width of the pool instead of traditional laps like the other students. Of course, I could only make it halfway across before I panicked, lost form, and had to be rescued by another student. After that, I was dismissed from swimming class. My teacher gave up on me!

5. I am obsessed with making lists. I love being organized and tidy. I even write things like “bike ride” on my list. If I do something during the day that wasn’t on my list, but should have been, I will add it to the list and then cross it off. Grocery lists, to-do lists, money management lists… I love them all.

6. I do voice-over work in my spare time. I don’t get paid for it; I contribute vocal requests to a website called The Freesound Project. Most of the requests come from DJ’s, but I have also provided vocals for relaxation cd’s, iPhone apps, songs, video games, and casino games! The oddest and most enjoyable request was for a British Theatre play where I provided the voice of a blow-up talking sex doll. It wasn’t inappropriate – just good, solid British humor!

7. I have a massive crush on Beavis (from Beavis & Butthead fame). In college, I had his picture adorning my dorm room wall. Most girls had rock stars and movie stars on their walls. I know he’s a cartoon, but he’s still pretty awesome.

That’s it! Facts you can forget about!

I am supposed to pass this award on to other bloggers now. SInce I am terrible at making decisions (fact #8!), I am just choosing one blog: The Verdant Life, which is written by Cat. Cat shares incredible recipes and beautiful photographs. She incorporates lots of healthy living tips into her posts as well. If you haven’t seen Cat’s blog, go and visit her!

And just so this isn’t a food photo-free post, take a peek at these yummy sweet potato hand pies Kittee made! They are gluten-free, vegan, and absolutely perfect. I wanted to eat two. I think the recipe will be featured in her upcoming zine!

Cracker Snacker Part II

Vegan Cheesy Crackers

My favorite savory cracker recipe was created by my good friend and fellow blogger, Celine. She has a knack for developing delicious and unique recipes, all beautifully photographed. When I am craving savory crackers, I often turn to her Cheezy Quackers recipe for satiation. They are incredibly addictive and it’s easy to eat an entire batch because they are so tiny.

The crackers pictured above are adapted from The Vegan Lunch Box blog. I substituted whole grain flours, increased the nutritional yeast, added garlic powder, and topped them with poppy seeds. Otherwise I followed the recipe as posted. They definitely remind me Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, but obviously way better for you (and homemade!). They take some time but the results are worth it. I think they need a bit more seasoning so I may adjust my next batch.

If you are craving savory crackers you should give the above recipes a try!

Cracker Snacker

Graham Crackers from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Crackers. I have a troubling obsession with crackers. It doesn’t matter if they are square or round. It doesn’t matter if they are savory or sweet. What matters is that they are in my possession, whether that be in my pockets or in a box. I love crackers.

When I woke up this morning I decided it would be fun to make some graham crackers. My plans were halted by a lack of ingredients. So Tim and I waited patiently until the steady downpour of rain stopped and hopped on our bikes for a ride to the co-op. A few minutes later we found ourselves riding into solid sheets of rain mixed with nasty gusts of wind. I like to think I’m a tough cookie, but I was clenching my handlebars so tightly that my fingers went numb. We arrived at the co-op and dripped puddles with every step. We rode back home in the rain with ingredients for crackers. I spent the rest of the day in my jammies making graham crackers and cheesy crackers.

Now I am full of crackers and quite content. Foul weather can’t keep me from crackers.

Burger Mania

Goodness, it certainly has been a long time since my last post. I have two good reasons for my absence from the blog world: (1) I got a new job – more on that in a moment, and (2) I spent the last two weeks dog-sitting for my dear friend Kittee. Since Tim and I don’t have companion animals of our own, it was fun to spend time with Vee:

Vee loves pumpkin, smoked tofu, sweet potato, and treats. He also loves long walks and company. He grew so fond of Tim that near the end of our time together he completely ignored me! It should be noted that most dogs want to attack Tim (once when we were backpacking a dog met us on the trail and shredded Tim’s shorts). Vee is the only exception – so far…

You’re probably wondering why this post is entitled “Burger Mania” when I am rambling on about dogs, right? Well, when Tim and I were at Kittee’s we ate some pretty delicious food. Kittee left us some homemade vegan burger patties in her freezer and we enjoyed them for lunch on our first day:

Kittee’s Amazing Vegan Burger

I already knew Kittee was a spectacular cook/baker so it was no surprise when I declared this “the best burger ever”. Seriously. We topped our patties with mayo, pickles, ketchup, mustard, spinach, and Follow Your Heart cheddar. Amazing. This photo was selected for and appeared on the Flickr blog on March 3, 2011! Vegan burgers for the win!!

Needless to say, Tim and I were sad when Kittee’s burgers met their final day of consumption. We flipped through cookbooks at home and decided to make our own burgers to keep our tummies happy:

Beet Burger

The recipe for these hearty, healthy, delicious burgers is in Color Me Vegan by Coleen Patrick-Goudreau. They are incredibly quick and simple to prepare. I added a few tablespoons of almond butter to the mix and they turned out perfectly. The recipes makes enough burgers for leftovers and they freeze well. Once again, vegan burgers for the win!

And finally, I got a new job! I was actually hired back in February but haven’t had much time to mention the news sooner. I am working for an amazing vegan woman (!!!) as a personal assistant and organizer. The job is part-time and I can ride my bike to her place. The hours are flexible and I enjoy what I am doing. I am really happy that my patience in the pursuit of career satisfaction paid off. It’s about time. Plus, I can cross my goal of “Find a Job” off my list for 2011. Check!

Life is coming together nicely. Hooray!