Hi! I'm taking a little break and it might take me a few days to reply to comments and emails. I'll be back soon! :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gastronomus Maximus and Juicer Giveaway!

How exciting it is to get gifts in the mail! Amey, the ever so lovely happy-breakfast eater and neighborhood terror was so kind to send a few of us lucky readers a copy of her Gastronomus Maximus - a "cartoony vegan cookbooklet" full of delicious recipes and adorable cartoon characters. Thank you, Amey! So far I have had the pleasure of making these:

Crimson Cabbage Borscht
Crimson Cabbage Borscht (could this picture BE more saturated?)

The borscht was delicious and comforting. It was so beautifully red and chunky too. Even the potatoes turned red thanks to the beets. Magic soup!

Diner Loaf
Diner Loaf (mini loaves with baked potatoes and carrots)

This was a yummy non-mushy loaf. I made little loaves instead of a big one because that's just how I roll.

Grilled Herb Tofu
Grilled Herb Tofu (I am so proud of this picture!)

This tofu was delicious even though it didn't get to marinate for as long as it should have. This might just be my favorite way to eat tofu from now on.

"You Got Peanut Butter In My Chocolate" Cookies

Oh, the cookies! They are ridiculously good and highly addictive. Every bite is a peanut-buttery chocolate dream. These are from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. 

Healthy Juicer Giveaway Time!!
The nice folks at 877MyJuicer.com have asked me if I would like to do a juicer giveaway. Oh, yes I would! So, I will be holding a contest for two weeks, and the lucky winner will get a Healthy Juicer from Lexen Products.

"The Lexen Healthy Juicer is an amazing easy and effective wheatgrass and leafy green juicer, making it the most popular on the market."

If you win, I will ask you to email me your name and address so I can forward it to the 877MyJuicer.com representative and they will ship the juicer immediately. There can only be one winner, and the winner must be in the USA (I'm so sorry, my dearest international readers!) The contest ends Wednesday, February 11th at 12:00 am CST.
We all know how juicing is so good for us and it gives us lots of energy and power and all that good stuff. But what if it gave us SUPERpowers?!

So, to enter the contest, leave a comment answering this question:

If juicing turned you into a superhero, what would your superpower be? Flying? Super strength? Invisibility? Time-travel? The ability to get your cats to actually do what you want every now and then? Don't be afraid to let your superpower get as wacky as you want, or as simple as you want.

If you already have a juicer, or you are extremely generous, or don't live in the US, you can still play and nominate another blogger instead. Just make sure they know you have entered them in the contest. So, say you live in Narnia and can't enter the contest, you can still leave a comment (don't forget your superpower!) and nominate a buddy from the US.

My lovely lurkers, please feel free to come out and play! :)

I could never pick a winner myself, so I will be using one of those random number generator thingies to pick a winner. I will however showcase the most creative superpowers on my future posts, just for fun.

Good luck to everyone!

UPDATE: I'm stealing this idea from Ricki - if you mention my giveaway on your blog and link back to this post you get an extra entry! Just leave another comment on this post to give me a heads up.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Love Your Freaky Face, Your Steamy, Freaky Face!

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments on my previous post! I am having fun reading all your guesses! From hotel inspectors to a traveling circus, all the speculation has been very entertaining. If I ever reveal what it is that we do, it's going to be quite anticlimactic compared to all your fabulous guesses.

Have you heard the excellent news? Ricki from Diet, Dessert and Dogs has been chosen as one of five finalists in the Well Fed Network’s Food Blog Awards for her amazing writing! The official name of the category is "Best Food Blog: Writing." This is no shocker because Ricki's writing is witty and captivating. Whenever I start reaching the end of her posts, I start pacing myself to make them last longer. You know, like when you're eating a piece of chocolate and it's so good that you start swirling it around in your mouth because you don't want it to end? Kind of like that. Oh yeah, and then there's the food porn and the fabulous recipes. And let's not forget about the adorable puppies (they can even type!). Oh, did I mention that Ricki has a SWEET contest going on? Oh yes, Ricki is giving away Ritter Sport peppermint chocolate bars! Chocolate, I'm telling you! If you are lucky enough to live in the Toronto area, then you can also win some of Ricki's amazing home baked goodies from her upcoming cookbook. Check out Ricki's blog and click here to vote for Diet, Dessert and Dogs! Update: Voting ends Saturday, January 24th at 8 pm EST.

Moving on to some non-sweet edibles, I saw that Erin (Vegan Homemade) made some fried quinoa and it looked so good that I got a serious case of the copycats. So that's what we had tonight, fried quinoa with veggies and TVP bits. Thanks Erin for the scrummy idea! By the way, I need to buy me a wok so my clumsy hands don't spill quinoa all over the stove top.

Fried Quinoa

Random Food Mention: I'm a big fan of scones, and biscuits, and biscuity scones! That's what I chose to call these stove top thingies - biscuity scones. Or does sconey biscuits sound better? Anyway, the idea of stove top scones came from Baking for Britain. I made mine with whole wheat flour, flax, baking powder instead of baking soda, and no buttermilk, so I don't quite know if they are scones or biscuits - or neither!

Biscuity Scones

Random Road Picture: Want to see something freaky? This picture is another one of our very many Yellowstone National Park pictures. It's a very steamy little cascade in the hot springs area of Yellowstone. Is it just me or do you see a freaky face there?

Nothing? Here's what I see...

Anyone? No? *crickets chirping* Must be time to go to bed then! Happy Friday! :)

PS: What's with the post title?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Messy Potpourri Post (Whole Wheat English Muffin-ish Stove Top Buns)

Yes, this post will be all over the place. We're busy planning routes and getting everything ready to hit the road so there really hasn't been a whole lotta cookin' goin' on, but when I saw Bianca's Country Potato Soup on her recipe tester blog I just had to make it. Unfortunately, when I halved the recipe I miscalculated the liquid amounts and the soup ended up not looking as chunky as it should. The chunkiness is there though, and it was perfectly potatoey and comforting on this ridiculously cold weather. I topped it with some rice cheese strips, onion, and bac'uns.

Bianca's Country Potato Soup

I won't be getting a "World's Best Recipe Tester" award any time soon, but Jenn will! Check out her blog to see what this soup should really look like, plus other awesome test recipes from Bianca's upcoming book and lots of other vegan yummies.

Remember my Thanksgiving/Christmas mini meatless loaves? Becks at I am not a rabbit very ingeniously adapted the recipe and made them into burgers. I made them following her modifications and coated them with some corn flake crumbs. Please ignore my blurry picture and check out Becks' instead. Really, if you haven't found her blog yet, go check it out and you will become an instant fan. I'm not exaggerating, you're depriving yourself of some serious awesomeness if you're not acquainted with the Rabbit. 

Blurry meatless patties

The recipe also makes good meatballs...

Meatless balls

Let's make some ovenless road food! I made some lazy buns on a frying pan, so if you don't have an oven and want to make your own bread, I present you...

(I-Don't-Have-Time-For-a-Yeast-Dough) Whole Wheat English Muffin-ish Stove Top Buns (longest title ever?)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 tbsp turbinado sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (I like 1/4, but normal taste buds might want them saltier)
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp oil

1- Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
2- Combine the soy milk and water and heat them up to 110 degrees F.
3- Add the oil to the soy milk and water.
4- Stir the water mix into the dry mix.
5- Knead the dough in the bowl for a minute or two. Remember, we don't have time for a yeast dough, so forget all the kneading.
6- Let the dough rise for 30 minutes.
7- Spray a 10 inch frying pan with cooking spray and turn the stove on medium-low.
8- Take six chunks of dough and form them into balls. Flatten them to about an inch high and place them on the prepared pan.
9- Cook covered for 15 minutes or until bottoms look brown.
10- Gently flip each bun helping yourself with two forks and cook on low-medium uncovered for 5 to 10 more minutes until bottoms are brown.

I like to eat these sliced and toasted, with a little Earth Balance and a cup of coffee...

Stove top buns with EB

And here they are on the frying pan, post flipping...

Stove top buns

Now I will leave you with some very insightful animal facts from our travels...

Elk in Yellowstone National Park take the speed limit too seriously.

So do the buffalo.

Ducks in Billings, Montana are headless. Either that or they are very camera-shy!

Seagulls in Texas are very friendly. They fly by your car window and they look in and wave.
*Hey, dude*

Salt Lake City seagulls are not vegan.

Have a happy weekend! :)

(I had to disable comments for this one. For some reason this post is a spammer magnet.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On the road again...

Here's something you didn't know about me: Mr. Wing-it and I have a traveling job and we've been to thirty-five states and several National Parks. We've been on a break for a couple of months and now we're ready to get back out on the road! The nature of our job will remain undisclosed in order to maintain a certain level of mystery between us. Mwahaha! :)

Being an antisocial germaphobe means that eating out while we're traveling is out of the question, so I prepare all our meals in hotel rooms. Sometimes we stay in extended-stay type hotels and we have a small kitchen area with a stove and full size refrigerator, but a lot of our nights on the road are spent in regular hotel rooms. Here are some of our hotel-prepared road meals from previous years:

This was a stir-fry with potatoes, bell peppers, peas, and TVP strips.

Taco salad - the easiest road meal ever!

Stove top pizza made from scratch.
We were staying at an extended-stay hotel that had a stove top but not an oven,
so I made a yeast dough and cooked it on a frying pan covered with a glass lid.

This was when we were traveling with a toaster oven.
I made the pie crusts in the oven, filled them with vanilla custard
and topped them with vegan buttercream and fresh strawberries.

No oven? No problem!
We wanted cake, so I made a few thick cake-batter pancakes and
layered them with vegan buttercream and sliced strawberries in between each pancake.
Bummer, you can't see the sliced strawberries here.

The best part of our job is that we get to visit National Parks and other amazing places on our time off. Here are a few snapshots from the past few years...

Peek-a-boo! This little guy lives in Theodore Roosevelt National Park,
where you can find lots of wildlife and several Prairie Dog Towns.
Prairie Dogs are such cute little dumplings!

Lunch time! Baby and mother buffalo at Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone is the perfect place for wildlife-watching.

Another Yellowstone resident.
This bald eagle reached into the water with his/her foot and grabbed a fish!
Can you see the foot reaching into the water?

Yellowstone Canyon.
This is one of the most beautiful views I've ever seen,
and the picture doesn't even begin to do it justice.
Mr. Wing-it almost fell in there trying to get a good shot!

We've been to Mount Rushmore twice.
To me, man-made things don't even compare to nature-made mountains and canyons,
but Mt. Rushmore really is quite impressive when you see it in person.

Redwoods in California.  I don't remember if this was a National or State Park,
but I do remember how everything was so quiet and desolate,
and all we could hear were the gigantic trees making some sort of percussion sound.

So that's where we will be soon, on the road again. This year is extra exciting because I get to share our trip with all of you!

Happy almost-weekend! :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bring on the New Year... and the cakes!

Happy New Year! A little late, I know, but I've already "seen" most of you and exchanged New Year's greetings. There are so many ambitious New Year's resolutions floating around blogland. Two of my favorite resolutions are Brooke's "to be happy" and Katie's "to enjoy life". So simple, yet so hard to do. So with you all as my witnesses I hereby join Brook and Katie in their resolutions to be happy and enjoy life. Please, feel free to slap me and remind me of this day if I start whining about some ridiculous, inconsequential nonsense in the future.

Here's something else I want to do this year: at least once a month I want to try a new ingredient, or ingredients, that would normally send me into a panic just by thinking about them. Case in point: Brussels sprouts. Everybody is always posting such mouth-watering pictures of their roasted Brussels sprouts but I've been too scared to try them. Then I saw Alice in Veganland tried them and liked them (even after being terrorized by a story about worm-filled sprouts!), and then I saw Denny's lovely sprouts and that did it. I went to the store and bought five of them. That's it. Five little Brussels sprouts. They sat in the refrigerator for a few days before I could summon the courage to roast them, and when I did, they actually tasted good! Shocking!

I ate Brussels sprouts!
Doesn't that soggy asparagus look appetizing?

Speaking of things that taste good, Bianca is writing a rockin' cookbook and I get to be a recipe tester! The first recipe we got to test was Cinnamon Pecan Waffles. I made these as soon as Bianca posted the recipe but I didn't have any pecans, so walnuts were the stand-in nut. The cinnamony steam that was coming out of the waffle maker as they cooked made me want to lick the still-raw batter straight off the hot iron. Glad I didn't. I waited (im)patiently the whole 5 minutes that it took our little Black and Decker to cook them thoroughly. The result? Crunchy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside, nutty, cinnamony little squares of heaven!

Bianca's Cinnamon Pecan Waffles

And now it's time for a random cake recipe that I baked a couple of days ago...

Coconut-apple cake

Coconut-Apple Cake (I do realize I have a coconut addiction)

2 red apples (peeled and shredded)
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat)
3/4 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
2- In a medium bowl combine the apples, coconut, brown sugar and maple syrup. I used a fork to mix everything together.
3- In another medium bowl whisk together the flour, turbinado sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
4- In a small bowl whisk together the applesauce, coconut milk, soy milk and vanilla.
5- Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mix and stir until smooth.
6- Pour the cake batter into the baking dish.
7- Sprinkle the coconut-apple mix evenly over the cake batter and gently press it down with your hand.
8- Bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack
9- Transfer the cake to the top rack and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. I like transferring it to the top rack so the topping gets toasty.

This is the second time I make this cake, I wanted to be sure all the ingredients were accurate before I shared it with you. You will definitely need to eat this cake on a plate and use a fork because the coconut-apple topping is very crumbly.