Attack of the Crazy Pantry

Hello, hello!

I was recently gifted an entire pantry’s worth (or more) of food from a friend who moved out of state. After several hours of reorganizing my cupboards to make the bounty fit, I sat down and concocted my weekly meal plan based on my new stock of food. I’ve been on a much-needed break from the brownie book but hope to get back into the act since I now have plenty of cocoa powder, sweeteners, flours, and even raw cacao nibs! Hooray!

Anyways, one of my favorite meals is the Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions from The Kind Diet. The recipe calls for pecans which I never seem to have since nuts cost a fortune these days. Part of my pantry stash included hazelnuts, which are a perfectly acceptable substitute in my opinion. It also, obviously, calls for brown rice which I now have mountains of in my cupboard.

This recipe is incredibly versatile. You can switch up the ingredients and be completely satisfied with the results. For example, I am one of those crazy people who has trouble eating a meal without one of the components being green. I usually add kale or broccoli to this dish. Tonight I chose peas for the green ingredient. Everything combined (parsnips, carrots, onions, peas, pumpkin seeds, rice, and hazelnuts) made for a delicious, relatively quick dinner.

If you own The Kind Life and haven’t made this recipe yet, you should! And then have a ginger cookie (or three) for dessert!!

For the Chimps!

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This past Friday evening, Tim and I went to a four course benefit dinner for the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest held at Sweetpea Baking Company. A lovely group of folks prepared and served about forty diners an amazing meal – perfect for the chillier autumn weather (although it was kinda warm in Portland on Friday!). I have always had a deep fondness for chimpanzees and couldn’t be happier to help support such a wonderful sanctuary. Please check out their website to learn more and to meet some very special chimps (I love Burrito!).

THE MENU (taken from here)

Bread Basket
Mushroom walnut pate, carrot ginger spread, baguette, matzoh, flatbreads

Salad
Root Vegetable & Caramelized Figs
Mixed greens, endive, creamy garlic dressing, cilantro pesto drizzle

Entree
Butternut Rissoto
Cashew creme, roasted brussel sprouts, toasted hazelnuts

Dessert
Apple Pie with Peanut Butter Caramel
Homemade vanilla bean ice cream with a creamy coconut cashew almond base

Chimp Benefit 1

Chimp Benefit 2

Chimp Benefit 3

Chimp Benefit 5

Thanks to everybody who helped prepare and serve such a delicious, filling meal!!!

“D” is for Dessert

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Last year I had the brilliant idea to open a vegan restaurant called Dessert First – a place where people would order the sweets before the main course. Obviously I never really followed through, but sometimes I revisit the temptation. Dessert makes me mighty happy!

After riding our bikes home from my office Friday evening, Tim decided dinner at Blossoming Lotus was necessary – who am I to argue? Blossoming Lotus is an amazing all-vegan restaurant in Portland with two locations, one just a few blocks from our apartment. The softly lit, fancy-ish interior isn’t the best setting for quality photos when the skies begin to darken so I put all my energies into making the dessert photos count (we did eat main courses too, but I didn’t make much effort with the photos). We actually chose two desserts to share: a live chocolate mousse cake and vanilla soft serve with grated orange peel – perfect for this scenario: Bite of cake, spoonful of soft serve, bite of cake, spoonful of soft serve… Repeat until both dishes are clean.

Live Chocolate Mousse Cake

Vegan Soft Serve

I’m still full.

“S” is for Squash

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Last week I picked up some gorgeous delicata squash at the farmers market a few blocks from my office. I placed them on top of my fridge with the intention of using them for a creamy soup. However, I found a recipe for roasted squash that really appealed to me, so the soup will have to wait! The recipe for Delicata Squash Stuffed with Cherry-Apple-Almond Couscous is in the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook and it is total comfort food. Tim and I served the squash with some garlickly Brussels sprouts fancied up in our cast iron skillet. It’s not even cold in Portland right now, but this meal made me wish it was.

Delicata 1

Delicata 2

Oh, and there’s still time to enter my giveaway!!!