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, April 22, 2009

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye...

Enough with the melodramatic! This isn't goodbye, it's just a little hiatus. Yes, my friends, I have cracked under the pressure. I am suffering from a case of road-overload. Wing-it Vegan will return around September when things slow down a bit, but right now there never seems to be enough time or energy to make any blog-worthy meals.

Thank you so much for all the cookbook recommendations! I made a long list and will probably have a nicely stocked little library by September. At the top of my list is Ricki's book Sweet Freedom, and as soon as it's available on Amazon it will be mine! Mine!! Mwahahahaha! *mad scientist*

Something else that will happen by September is that I will join Shellyfish and her awesome Wipsters! No idea what I will be doing, but I will be doing something.

In the meantime, Mr. Wing-it and I will keep on travelling and working hard. One last picture from our travels:

Ha! We spotted this juicy sign in Lehi, Arkansas.

If you ever need anything, I am only an email away at wingitvegan (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you for all your amazing support and kind words. When I started this blog I didn't think anybody was going to read it, and I never even imagined that I would make some wonderful friends. Farewell, my dear fellow bloggers and lovely lurkers. Until September! *curtsies*

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Road Buffoonery, Self-Confident Patties, and a Berry-Eating Contest!

Greetings from... *checking city on hotel receipt*... Milwaukee! It's hard to keep track of where we are sometimes! If you're a clumsy buffoon like me, it's also hard to always remember where the furniture is in every hotel room on your way to the bathroom at night in the dark. Ouch. All kinds of slapstick goes on when you're a natural-born-buffoon in a non-familiar hotel room. No, really. Picture this classic moment from last week:

The lights are already out. Mr. Wing-it sleeps peacefully next to me. I'm trying to catch up on my blog reading until my eyes burn. My eyes burn, so I decide to go to sleep. Ever so gently and quiet as a mouse, I move the laptop from my lap to the ridiculously minuscule night table. The laptop pushes the alarm clock/radio OFF said ridiculously minuscule night table, and the alarm clock/radio lands on the floor in a small gap between the night table and the wall. The radio turns itself on and starts blasting a Lady Gaga song from down there. I, a weird germaphobe who wears slippers in hotel rooms because I don't even want my socks to make contact with the floor, reach behind the night table in the dark trying to find the stupid radio, frantically feeling my way around the floor with my bare hand. Mr. Wing-it wakes up in a serious state of grogginess and confusion: "What's going on?". I promptly emerge from my expedition to explain the situation and I WHACK my head on the wall-mounted lamp above the table while Lady Gaga keeps blasting in the background. There was nothing left to do but laugh!

Anyway, besides the clumsiness and stoogery, I've been cooking some yummy hotel-room dishes. Let's start with the sweets! (shocking!)

Saucepan peanut marble brownies
That was one well lit hotel room wasn't it? That was nice for a change!

These are my Saucepan Peanut Swirl Brownies that I made in Madison, Wisconsin. Our hotel room had a stove top and I had a saucepan, so that worked out. Recipe coming in a couple of weeks along with some other saucepan/frying pan "baked" goods.

Next up are some yummy rice patties topped with white bean sauce and mushrooms. I love these rice patties because they know exactly who they are: rice with veggies shaped into patties. They don't go about life pretending to be a faux meat, flaunting their vital wheat gluten and calling themselves something they're not. That's self esteem. Must be nice! 

Rice patty with white bean sauce and mushrooms

This a formula more than it is a recipe. It's a great way to use up leftover rice and turn it into something different. Just sauté whatever veggies you have in the refrigerator, or add some chunky salsa instead if you don't feel like chopping and sautéing. Throw in whatever you have that needs to be used up before it starts growing fur. Know what I mean?

Self-Confident Brown Rice Patties

1/4 cup vegetable broth or other liquid*
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp salt, if the rice was already salted use 1/4 tsp
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp adobo, basil, oregano, or whatever spices or herbs you have on hand
2 cups leftover cooked brown rice
onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, whatever you find in the fridge that you want to use up before it goes bad, finely chopped and sautéed
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup ground oats
2 tbsp olive oil for frying

1- Whisk together the vegetable broth, tomato sauce, salt, parsley, and your other herbs and/or spices.
2- In a medium bowl smash the rice with a potato masher. Don't turn it into mush, just smash it a little bit to get it pasty and sticky (sounds very appetizing right now, doesn't it)
3-Stir the broth mix and the sautéed veggies or salsa or whatever goodies you want into the cooked brown rice.
4- Stir in the breadcrumbs and oats. If the rice mix is too soggy add more breadcrumbs or ground oats, if it's too dry add more broth. It shouldn't be too dry or it will be all crumbly and hard to eat. I can tell you this after making a dry batch and having to chase pieces of patty with a fork around the plate.
5- Preheat a frying pan with the olive oil over medium heat.
6- Take chunks of the rice mix and shape them into patties. I make 5 medium sized patties, but you can make a lot of little ones as well.
7- Cook the patties until the bottoms are nice and golden brown, flip and cook for a couple more minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown.

Enjoy with roasted veggies or a veggie stir-fry!

* You will need to adjust the amounts of liquids and dry binder depending on what you're using. I've used oat milk instead of broth and they were fine, maybe not as tasty. I've made these with 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of ground oats, and 1/4 cup of ground sunflower seeds and they were great. Chunky salsa instead of the tomato sauce along with some thawed frozen corn kernels works great. Also some smashed chickpeas thrown in there are awesome! Oh, and leave out the breadcrumbs and use a combination of oats and ground seeds or nuts to make them gluten free. So, just wing it! :-)

The Quick White Bean Sauce of awesomeness comes from lovely Diann. If you don't know who Diann is, then remove yourself from under that rock and check out her amazing blog! You'd be missing out on some delicious AND nutritious goodness if you don't.

Now on to our travels and things we've seen along the road. We thought we had found the PPK when we saw this sign...

PPK exit!
Hwy I-44, Bois D'Arc, Missouri.
There was no Isa, no Terry, no PPK crew,
not even one single vegan cupcake taking over Bois D'Arc.
What's up with that?

Here is some adorable birdie cuteness from our stay in Madison. These little Waxwing Birds were eating berries from a tree right outside our window. They were swallowing them whole and just shoving them down like they were on a berry-eating contest. The thing is that it started to snow and the berries froze, so some of them got stuck to their little tongues! They kept shaking their little heads trying to get them off! Poor things! The berries ended up thawing out in their beaks after a few seconds and they were able to eat them, so don't worry - nobody choked to death.

Waxwing bird in Madison, Wisconsin
"Stop taking my picture and give me the Heimlich maneuver, you big idiot!"

Frozen Robin, tweet, tweet, tweet
Frozen Robin, tweet, tweet, tweet

Poor Mr. Robin was trying to eat berries too, but he wasn't very good at it. He was probably able to eat 1 out of 10 out of all the berries that he picked. They kept falling right out of his little beak! He looks so frosty there. Doesn't it make you want to grab him and warm him up in your hands?

Before we say our goodbyes there's something I need to ask you all vegan cookbook connoisseurs. What non-obvious cookbooks can you recommend? I'm collecting cookbooks and after I have all the most popular ones (Veganomicon, Eat Drink & Be Vegan, Vegan With a Vengeance, etc) I will move on to the lesser-known ones. Please enlighten this humble disciple with your invaluable wisdom.

Happy Easter and Passover to everyone who celebrates!