“W” is for Winner of My Giveaway!!!

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This is a lazy, lazy post. I just wanted to thank everybody for entering my giveaway! It was fun reading about all the different ways people enjoy the fruits of summer and fall (and all seasons!). I used a random number generator to select the winner (and have no clue how to show the little box with the number, so you’ll have to trust me here) and the winner is: Commenter #13 (oooooooooh and today is the 13th!), Gina!!!! Hooray, hooray, hooray!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations Gina! I love Gina’s blog and I am mighty excited to try her Baked Falafel recipe with Tahini Sauce, since tahini is my most favorite stuff on the planet.  Go visit her blog and see all her fabulous posts for Vegan MoFo. And Gina, I will contact you via e-mail to make arrangements for your prize – you can choose between a homemade pint of either Vanilla Bing Cherry Jam, Maple Pear Butter, or Blueberry Jam!

I will be having a different giveaway next week that will be open to everybody (meaning international readers as well), so stay tuned!

A Sweet Giveaway!!!

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I spent a nice, hefty portion of my summer canning jams, preserves, fruits, syrups, applesauce, and pickles. I have since moved on to apple butter, pear butter, and soon, roasted pumpkin butter and cranberry butter. My cupboards are stuffed full with little room to spare. So, I think it might be time for a small, sweet giveaway!! It’s pretty simple: Leave a comment letting me know your favorite way to enjoy the fruits of summer (or fall!). I will randomly select a winner on Tuesday, October 13th. The winner will receive one pint of homemade goodness. The winner can choose from the following: Vanilla Bing Cherry Jam, Blueberry Jam, or Maple Pear Butter. ***This giveaway is open only to US residents, but don’t fret, because I will be having another giveaway soon that will be open to international readers as well!!!***

Berried in Berries

I am suffering from a bit of an addiction: berry picking. Summer is the time of year when I can restock my cupboards with homemade jams, cram my freezer with frozen berries (for smoothies, pancakes, waffles, etc), and fill my dehydrator with local fruits. I love picking berries and often always find myself bringing home a much larger stash of fruit than I had planned. Not to fret! It’s easy incorporating berries into daily meals/snacks/desserts!!

So far, I have dehydrated cherries, strawberries, and blueberries -primarily for snacking, but some will get tossed into a batch of granola eventually. I have also been making mass quantities of jam because somebody I know lives off of PB&J sandwiches. Homemade jam also makes a great gift for family and friends. One of the more recent jams I made was a blueberry jam with subtle hints of orange.

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Other jams taking up residence in the panrty:  raspberry, vanilla bing cherry, strawberry, and cherry syrup. Phew! Next up: dill pickles!!!

I have also started testing recipes for vegan cookbook author Brian McCarthy, who is working on a new cookbook!

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Blueberry Cobbler – subtly sweet, full of blueberry goodness, and simple to prepare

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Seitan Fajitas – Peppers, onions, and spicy seitan strips cozied up in a warm tortilla

If it weren’t so steamy and hot outside, I’d totally test the raised, glazed donuts recipe next!!! Although, we all must make sacrifices…

One Crazy April

Well, the weather here in Portland, OR has been a blend of four seasons over the last few days. This seems to be a worldwide trend, and I kinda like it…I know, I know, who likes hail, snow, rain, sun, wind, and cold all in one day? I do. I grew up less than a mile away from Lake Erie in Pennsylvania, and this is a welcoming memory of childhood…Anyway, weather that is as temperamental as my mood leads to lots of fun in the kitchen! So that’s good…

First up, I made a huge batch of granola. The recipe is adapted from The Big Book of Vegetarian, which happens to have a ton of yummy vegan recipes (and veganizable vegetarian recipes). This is the Spiced Vanilla Granola, made with considerably less sugar than the recipe calls for. This is a very versatile granola, you can add any combination of nuts and dried fruit, and it still turns out perfect every time!

After the granola, I made pita dough (again). I think I’ve become a pita fanatic. Pita is awesome because one batch makes enough dough for at least 16 pitas, and you can freeze the unbaked dough balls for later! This pita dough is for tomorrow night’s dinner: FALAFEL!!!! My favorite part of making any yeast dough is watching the yeast get all foamy! As I have mentioned in a previous post, talk to your yeast! Say things like “Hey lil’ yeasties, it’s time to go for a swim!”…

Once the pitas were finished baking, I was hungry. So, I made a snack with a chickpea spread from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook (my very first vegan cookbook!), and cut a pita into triangles. This is one of the most addictive spreads around, and my pita was psyched to not be naked anymore.

Once I finished my snack, I went on to making more jam, with the last of my berries in the freezer (picked…2 summers ago!!!!). Lemon juice is essential to jam-making.

A Strawberry-Raspberry Jam:

Next up: Tuscan White Bean Soup, also from The Big Book of Vegetarian. This is a hearty, healthy, delicious soup (especially on a day when the weather keeps you indoors).

Maybe you are wondering, where’s the dessert?! Well, I can’t go a day without some sort of tasty treat, so today (and many days) I made Chocolate Pudding, courtesy of Fat Free Vegan (my oh my, this is sooooo gooood!!!!).

And lastly, on Wednesday I received a little package in the mail from Hannah (aka Bittersweet). I was lucky enough to be one of the winners in her bunny contest. So, you don’t have to guess who was hiding in the envelope! That’s right! A sweet little pink bunny, who I have named Krames (after a sneaky spider who lived in the hallway of my building, until he ran off with another spider named Willis, who lived in my apartment…). Thank you Hannah! As it turns out, Krames loves vegan cupcakes (go figure!). On Friday night, my boyfriend and I were desperate for a treat, but I had no sugar anywhere! I did have some soy sweetened condensed milk. I ended up making vanilla cupcakes without a recipe (a little of this and a little of that), and topping them with some homemade hot cocoa mix I had in the cupboard. They actually turned out very well, not too sweet, with a lovely texture and crumb. But the “recipe” only made three cupcakes. One for me, one for Tim (my boyfriend), and one for Krames. Perfect!

Jam Time and Other Fun Stuff

This is my very first post! Yay! I made raspberry jam over the weekend with some berries I had picked last summer. I am slowly making more space in my freezer, until this summer’s berry picking season begins…

I also made some cupcakes. These are the S’mores Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (of course!). The molasses and cinnamon in these cupcakes gave them a subtle spiciness…they were yummy, and did not last long at all. My decorating skills need a bit of work, and I didn’t have quite enough frosting because I ate most of it with my fingers…

I do  like veggies as well, so I made an udon noodle bowl with kale, mushrooms, roasted red pepper, and a miso broth. The recipe for this tasty meal came from Veganomicon. Instead of onions, I used the red pepper, because onions creep me out. I am slllooooooooowwwwlllly learning to eat a bit of onion here and there…

My next post might just have a cookie recipe…maybe.