Ariel our baby cat …and other kitties I miss

Here is Clyde our lovely little guy who was only with us for 2 months before he was too sick to stay with us 🙁
clyde


clyde

Clyders

our old roomates’ cat vaughn aka super cat


hahaha… oh vaughn

and of course her boyfriends cat Jazmine who was the most loveable thing ever

And then there is Ariel our Princess Baby

She just loves this sweater…haha…not really


she loves drinking from cups more than her water bowl

Veganmofo: Cupcakes and Squash

This morning I was very ambituous and I decided to makes cupcakes and roasted squash soup for a dear friend of mine who just found out her father has cancer. She is home right now to be with him and her mom and I decided to make some “lets be positive cupcakes” and some yummy comforting roasted squash soup. I am going to deliver them to her tonight after work, I hope they enjoy them!
Roasted Squash Soup:
adapted from Andrea’s Recipes

Ingredients
1whole butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 whole acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
fresh ground black pepper
kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) margarine
1 onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups of vegetable broth
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1/4 cup plain soy milk
1 T maple syrup

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Cut the butternut and acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Place face down on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool so that you can handle it without getting burned. (If you have a convection oven, do not preheat. Put the prepared squash on the baking sheets and put into the cold oven. Bake at 400° F for 20 to 25 minutes.)
3. Scoop all of the squash out into a large bowl and mash with a potato masher.
4. Melt the margarine in the pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, mashed squash, and herbs and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
5. Pour about 1/3 of the soup into the blender and puree. Pour puree out into the large bowl and repeat two more times. Pour the pureed soup back into the pot. Stir in the soy milk and maple syrup and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
For the Cupcakes:

I added thawed frozen raspberries and saved the juice for the frosting.

Frosting Recipe:

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine, we use Earth Balance

1/4 juice of raspberries

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
INSTRUCTIONS
Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
Add the vanilla and soy milk, and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.

Veganmofo: Yummy Pizza

So we had some yummy pizza last night…I know we were all about the mashed potoates but it just didn’t happen so hopefully tonight it will. But we ran around and didn’t get home until late and then we wanted to watch the debate so we made a quick pizza using this wonderful crust:

It was so good. Not too thick, but not too thin and it held our topings of mushroom, marinara, green onions and sundried tomatoes perfectly.

Veganmofo: Comfort Food

Tonight we are having a big bowl of comfort food- mashed potatoes. Neil received a big bag of potatoes from a guy at work and now we have to use them. The plan is to make some yummy Montreal Chicken Spice Mashed (rather whipped) Potatoes. They will then be topped with vegan gravy, french fried onions and to add a little green we will have some salt and pepper roasted brussel sprouts on the side. I know not the most well balanced meal but we have been craving something warm, creamy and comforting in these last few cold and rainy days in VT.

Vegan Gravy (adapted from Vegetarian Gravy on http://www.vegcooking.com/)
3 Tbsp. Earth Balance
3 Tbsp. corn starch
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (I like to use Veggie Better than Boullion)
3 Tbsp. dark soy sauce salt and pepper to taste
• Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the cornstarch. Stir over moderate heat for a few minutes until the flour turns brown.
• Pour in the water or stock and stir slightly until thickened. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the soy sauce and a little seasoning to taste, if desired

For the Potatoes:
4 potatoes, diced
3/4 cup soy milk
2 Tbsp. margarine
1 T Montreal Chicken Spice (trust me makes all the difference)

Cook the potatoes and then add the remaining ingredients and whip with electric beaters.

For the Brussels sprouts:
1 bag frozen sprouts (fresh if you can)
1t salt
1/2t pepper
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• Defrost sprouts slightly and then cut them in half, arrange in a baking dish, and set aside.
• Mix the salt, pepper, and olive oil and pour the mixture over the Brussels sprouts. Bake in a preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees F. Turn after about 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.
Makes 4 servings

Veganmofo: Dinner Tonight

Sesame Soy Curls with Asparagus and Roasted Garlic Couscous

Serves Four

1 package Dry Soy curls

2 Tbs Oil

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

2t chili flakes (I like mine spicy)

1 box frozen asparagus

2 Tbs Sugar

5 Tbs Soy Sauce/Tamari

2 Tbs Rice Vinegar

2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil

Sesame Seeds for garnish.

Place soy curls in a bowl and cover with boiling/near boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes or so to re-hydrate. Once hydrated, squeeze out any remaining liquid.
Heat a wok over high heat and add oil. Add soy curls and stir-fry until browned. Remove curls from the wok and add garlic, chili and veggies (using more oil if needed). When asparagus is bright green and tender-crisp, add soy curls back into the wok. Add soy sauce, sugar and vinegar and toss well. Drizzle sesame oil over the top. Taste a soy curl and adjust seasoning if needed.

Serve over Roasted Garlic Couscous

I am using Near East Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil Couscous

Friendly Fall Feast


With fall quickly approaching (if not here in all but date only), Lindsay and I have been looking forward to making good, hearty, stick to your ribs type of meals with all the lovely food we have been able to get at the local farmer’s market as well as from our own garden.

As I’ve gotten older, fall has definitely become my favourite season. I love the crisp smell in the air, the changing colours of the foliage (and now that I’m in Vermont, it’s even more beautiful than back home in NB), cuddling close to my lover to keep her warm at night and not to mention being able to wear sweaters and long sleeve shirts again.

Lindsay had a couple of her girlfriends down visiting from Burlington today and we decided to take advantage of that and go all out and make a four course meal featuring all kinds of different local goods. After some searching online, Lindsay found a good inspiration for our fall feast on Vegan Yum Yum. We spent the morning at the Farmer’s Market in Montpelier picking up the rest of what we needed to prepare our feast for our guests.

To start, Lindsay made a green salad using mesclan mix and spicy sprouts and a maple vinagrette made from Vermont maple syrup, dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar. It was a nice light start to the meal.


For the second course, I made a roasted squash soup out of three different squashes that we had grown in our (organic) garden at Lindsay’s parents house in Waterville. The three varieties of squash we used were acorn, buttercup, spaghetti. We cut each of the squash in half, drizzled olive oild over them, and roasted them in the oven for 45 minutes at 425 F. I started the soup by sautéing a medium sized onion and four large garlic cloves (from a local organic farm at the Rutland, Vt farmers market) until they were tender, being careful not to burn them. At this point I added the squash, fresh thyme, fresh sage and vegetable stock and let the soup simmer for some time allowing the squash to become more tender and the flavours to come together. At this point, I used an immersion blender to puree the soup and then added soy cream (which I made using soy milk, flour and some sugar) as well as Vermont maple syrup. After mixing that in, I seasoned the soup with sea salt and fresh pepper to taste. I made the soup a five or six hours before dinner which allowed the soups flavours to develop even more. I think the mix of the different types of squash gave it a nice flavour that you wouldn’t experience if using just one type of squash.

Following Lindsay and I made a variation on Shepherd’s pie using lentils rather than ground meat (obviously) or a meat replacement. The base of the meal was sort of a stew made using lentils, peas, veggie stock, fresh sage, fresh thyme, garlic, carrots, and onions (the last three all from the local farmer’s market). She used a flour and water slurry to help thicken the stew. We topped the stew off with a couple scoops of whipped yellow potatoes that we had gotten from the farmer at the Rutland Farmer’s market the weekend before. It turned out really well and is something we would definitely make again (and I’m really looking forward to eating the leftovers)

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert. And no fall dessert is complete without pumpkin (well, I think so at least!). For our final course, Lindsay had prepared Pumpkin Whoopie Pies from a recipe that she had gotten from Vegan Yum Yum. They turned out better than I ever could have imagined. I think Lindsay was most excited by the fact that she finally got to put our kitchenaid to good use. The flavour for the cookie batter came from the pumpkin puree, molasses, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. She then made a cream cheeze frosting using vegan cream cheeze and icing sugar. Of course being the loving husband that I am, I volunteered to taste test the batter. It reminded me of a molasses cookie but more sweet and rich. The whoopie pies were a great finish to the evening and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow 🙂

We have decided to sign up as members of a CSA with Pete’s Greens and are looking forward to making the most of all the amazing fall and winter vegetables that we will be getting from them.

What a little research will find you….

So I have spent the morning doing some research on restaurants- specifically chain ones. I was just inspecting Uno’s and i found that their Balsamic dressing isn’t vegan:

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

INGREDIENTS: soy oil, balsamic vinegar, water, salt, sugar, xantham gum, spice, garlic, fish oil, caramel, pg alginate, calcium disodium, paprika.

kinda scary to think that balsamic vinaigrette would have fish in it!

CPK has a vegetarian menu and it detials the vegan options:
http://www.cpk.com/menu/vegetarian_%20gluten.pdf

also BE AWARE Panda Express is NOT vegetarian they use a chicken base!

Legal Seafoods:

Vegetarian Box (vegan friendly) 17.95
Asian flavored stir-fried vegetables, Thai red coconut curry sauce, cashews, tofu and brown rice