Monday, December 28, 2009

Cooking Roundup

Here are a few of the dishes I've cooked up the last few months:

Veggie Stir-fry: This was just a combo of things I had in the fridge (bell pepper, olive, pineapple, zucchini, onion, tofu, tomato, cashew) and served over quinoa.

Pesto Chik'n Sandwich: I was trying to replicate a Loving Hut sandwich I love. You can see the pesto MorningStar Chik'n at the edge there. For next time, I need to add more seasoning and marinate it longer. I also need to research how Herbivore does it for their shawarma (I'm pretty sure they use MorningStar too, but the way they season it is so good and soft and yummy!)

Vegan Pizza: A trip to Rainbow always means pizza is in our future because we'd pick up Daiya cheese. Woohoo! I use Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza (note: thin crust is vegan but regular crust is not). Toppings include tomato, bell pepper, zucchini, olive, onion, and artichoke hearts. I once tried to use a pre-made dough called Lamonica's that I got at Whole Foods -- big failure! It turned out so tough and nearly made the whole pizza inedible. Nearly. ;-)

Chapati and salsa: I had a craving for a wrap but it's hard to find vegan burrito wraps in store, and even when I do, they come in packs of 10 or 20 and I just can't eat them all before it expires (hubby is not a wrap person). So I thought the next best thing was to make my own and I saw chapatis were relatively easy to make. I must have done something wrong though because it ended up too tough (fire too high?). But it worked for this light meal.

Corn fritters: I had no idea they were so easy to make. Very simple and yummy, but oily. Has anyone tried to bake fritters?

Sloppy Joes: We found vegan burger buns at Trader Joe's (hooray!) and that inspired me to make sloppy joes. I used VeganDad's recipe, and subbed the tempeh with crumbled up Boca Burger. It was a hit! This one is a keeper. :-)

Vegan Lasagne: I used Veganomicon's recipe for basic lasagne. Their Almesan topping made a big difference and made it extra special. Sorry, no picture for this one!'

What shall we cook up next? :-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Doggie Goodies!

A few months ago, a pair of canine siblings entered my life through adoption from an animal rescue group, Shelter Dogs Needing Homes. This wonderful group rescues small dogs from overcrowded shelters in Southern California and then brings them up to Northern California where there's high demand for them.

I wish I could say I adopted these darlings, but the truth of the matter is they belong to close friends (and my guinea pigs would say "thank goodness" to that!). One of the dogs, Sunny, I get to see every day at work when he comes in with his papa and the other, Happy, I get to visit fairly often. I absolutely adore both of them and consider myself their "auntie". And as any good auntie, I take my job seriously to spoil them. ;-)

As we're all vegans, the dogs transitioned to veganism too with Natural Balance Vegetarian Food. One excellent resource if you have a vegan dog is Molly's It's a Vegan Dog's Life. She has vegan recipes and natural, eco-friendly tips for keeping your vegan dog healthy and happy. Molly recently published a book based on all the useful tips on her blog and I was fortunate to win a copy through (thanks Molly and Whitney!). I highly recommend it to anyone new to dog parenting, vegan or not, as there really are a lot of things to consider to take good care of your dog. You can order a copy through Etsy. I'll be passing my copy to one of the doggie guardians. :-)

It's been a challenge finding a vegan treat the dogs like. I picked up a box of CloudStar's Buddy Biscuits in Peanut Butter Madness flavor at Whole Foods. Sunny liked it a lot in the beginning but for some reason has stopped eating it after 10 biscuits or so (and we only gave him one a day). Then I learned of Olive, an online store that sells eco-friendly products for our canine friends. They offered a few vegan treats as well so I took advantage of their holiday free shipping special and ordered some in hope they will go over well with "my" dogs.

I love Olive for what they stand for and what they do and I loved them even more when the package arrived.

The products were wrapped so prettily with such care and love, I felt like it was a Christmas present! And there was a note stating that all the packaging used earth-friendly, non-toxic, recyclable materials. Awesome!

Then there's a little brown paper bag with my invoice and a personalized, handwritten note thanking me for my order, and a few sample treats. The awesomeness continues!

Here are the things I got for Sunny and Happy. The Huck and Tux toys were a lot heavier and bigger than I thought so I'm not sure how well they'll fare with my little ones. Hopefully they'll take to them and the treats too and then we can begin some fun training aka Victoria Stilwell style. (I love her show!)

I get to dog-sit Happy tomorrow so she'll be the first tester. We'll see what happens!

12/20 Update:
Happy turned her nose up at both treats and didn't play with any of the toys. Oh dear! Here's to hoping Sunny likes them or else I'm stuck with dog stuff and I don't have a dog! :-D

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tempt Mint Chip Ice Cream

I love ice cream in any kind of weather so you'll still catch me buying vegan ice cream in the dead of winter if I stop by Rainbow or Whole Foods. It's a luxury I can't resist.

My usual buys are Turtle Mountain's So Delicious or Purely Decadent (I just realized they're from the same company, ha!). They're often on sale and they have great flavors, my favorite being Butter Pecan. They have a line of coconut ice cream too, but since I'm not a fan of coconut, I happily stuck to their soy versions.

That is until I found THIS:

Living Harvest's Tempt non-dairy frozen dessert made with hempmilk. In their words:
"Mint Chip Tempt combines the coolness of mint with chocolaty bits, blended into deliciously smooth Hempmilk - one of nature's most perfect, planet-friendly foods."

Holy moly, I have found the vegan equivalent of my favorite non-vegan ice cream of yesteryears. What won me over? Not that it's mint flavored, which other brands also carry. Not that it's made of hemp, which is definitely unique and yummy. My dears, the magic touch was the chocolate chip flakes that's in every bite. Please note I said "flakes" because that's what makes this different from the chocolate "chunks" in other chocolate chip ice cream. These delicate flakes offer a super chocolately pizazz before melting in your mouth with the ice cream. The taste and texture is heavenly! And there's LOTS of them, so you're guaranteed a burst of chocolate with every bite. Perfect. Just perfect.

Sorry, the ice cream disappeared before I got to take a picture. It happens.

Tempt comes in several other flavors: Vanilla Bean, Coffee Biscotti, Chocolate Fudge, Coconut Lime.

Give it a try if you see it in your market. According to them, hemp contains no known allergens. And it's a nice addition to the soy and coconut options.

Vegan food rules!

Coupon alert! Just found this $0.75 coupon on any Tempt product. Expires 12/31/09.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coupons: Kikkoman, Santa Cruz Organic

Santa Cruz Organic® has two coupons:
75¢ off any Santa Cruz Organic® Celebration Beverage
75¢ off Santa Cruz Organic® Peanut Butters

Note: Be sure to put your real name down because it's noted on the coupon: "Check ID: Coupon for use only by the [your name] household."

That's the first time I've seen that!

Kikkoman has a Buy 1 get 1 free deal soy sauce coupon. Click on the top right circle saying "Get your coupon today!"

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SF Vegan Bake Sale, take two

So last Saturday was stuff-your-face day @ the second SF Vegan Bakesale held in front of Ike's, this time to benefit Save a Bunny and the Food Empowerment Project. Thankfully this was before the frostbite weather kicked in and the bunnies were able to be out and about for all of us to ooh and ahh over. I even got to pet them! Hope they found good forever homes.

Hubby once entertained the idea of adopting a rabbit and letting it run around the house, but once I said he'd be in charge of cleaning up after it, he decided two guinea pigs were enough. ;-)

So on to the goodies. Last time I came rather late and missed a lot of stuff so this time I made sure I got there right when it started. And let me just say, WOW! They really outdid themselves!

I happily filled up one box of goodies and thought I was done but while I waited with my friends in line at Ike's, I saw MORE goodies being delivered. Apparently, the bakers were on a schedule to come at a certain time so goodies kept coming and coming...and I walked away with another box! This time it was full of Cinnaholic's cinnamon buns, which was baked on their wedding day and delivered by their best man. Talk about dedication, folks! They offered four flavors, which were teasers for the 30 they have planned for their upcoming storefront. Can't wait!

I'm a bit bummed I missed out on Sugar Beat Sweets (they came after I had gone) cuz I love love love their cupcakes but there's always next time (and a storefront coming soon)!

By the day's end, the bakesale raised $4,200 for the chosen charities. How awesome is that, considering there's a recession with a 10% unemployment rate? Behold the power of vegan baked goods! Mad props to all the dedicated bakers and money pouch ladies with amazing math skills.

Next SF event will be in Feb, but before that, the ladies of Fat Bottom Bakery will be hosting an East Bay Vegan Bakesale on January 9th in Oakland. We shall conquer the world one city at a time, yes indeedy!

Lastly, I'll sign off with this. Laloofah, this one's for you:

Cinnaholic's Smores Cinnamon Bun, aka Heaven-in-your-mouth

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Up for Adoption @ SFACC!

We adopted Bert and Belle from San Francisco's Animal Care & Control. ACC maintains a listing on their website of the cuties that are in need of a home. I like to check the small animals listing every now and then, just because. :-) They always have bunnies, many of whom end up at the Save A Bunny shelter if they're not adopted within a certain period. Sometimes guinea pigs, pigeons, parakeets, and the occasional iguana would show up too.

Here are two pair of guinea pigs available for adoption now:

Do have a home for them? Visit SF Animal Care & Control if you do!

MorningStar $10 coupon booklet

Had to make a late night run to Safeway to get lettuce for the little munchkins and I saw this posted on the fridge door in front of MorningStar products:

The back of the booklet has 5 coupons worth $2 each for any MorningStar product. Expires 12/31/09. They have several vegan options. I like to marinate their Chik'n Strips in pesto sauce, fry it up, and then stuff it in a sandwich or wrap. Yum!

And if you haven't gotten your $.55 off Silk Soymilk coupon yet, you can still do so HERE. Also expires 12/31/09.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Guinea Pig Massage

I'm always on the look out to find new ways to interact with my guinea pigs. Aside from lap time and floor time, I was out of ideas. Then I saw on YouTube another guinea pig guardian doing this to their guinea pig so I had to try it for myself. It's called the guinea pig cheek massage, which they apparently enjoyed very much!

This is the side view:

This the front view:

I love the round bottom lip! So cute. :-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

SF Bake Sale

Guess where I'll be this Saturday?

Eat yummy goodies for the bunnies! Does it get any easier?

In cooking news, I made Pineapple Fried Rice from Eat. Drink. Better. No pictures because it really didn't look pretty (or even funny) but it did taste good! The recipe included all sorts of vegetables (I just included whatever I had in the fridge) and the special touch was the pineapple cubes and cashew, which added a pleasant taste and crunch to the dish. Yum! Try it for yourself!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009