Pickled Treats Last Longer

The diet move of an all-American eater to one of compassion.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I'm moving...

...The blog, that is.

I've been thinking about it for a while, because blogger hasn't allowed me to move my blog to beta, but it allowed me to set up a beta account. Now I think I'm left with two different accounts, but I can never merge them.

I'm in the process of editing my new blog and will let you know when it's ready, but in the meantime, please update your links, bloglines, etc. with the new address:


I know, I know...I couldn't come up with a better name and I liked my old one.

This new blog isn't going to be anything really new, just more of the same in a different place - I hope you'll join me!

Also, I haven't updated the links of the "blogs I read" section in a while - if you're not on there, please comment and let me know so I can move it to the new one.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rachel Ray Show

I'm at home - skipping class again and not studying for this crucial Spanish quiz (the reason I told myself to skip class in the first place) - and the Rachel Ray show is on. I don't have cable, so I have some limited TV options. I usually just watch PBS, but it's cartoon time right now.

RR replaced Dr. Phil on ABC at the 10 a.m. EST slot and it's such a weird show. The only parts that seem natural or not forced are the cooking segments, but now that it's in front of a live audience, she's starting to act like Emeril, which annoys the CRAP out of me. Everyone starts cheering when she drenches some butternut squashes in maple syrup...and she makes weird noises while adding seasonings..it's really bizarre.

Although, her butternut squash thing seems kind of interesting. She greases cut-in-half butternuts with tons of softened butter, but us veggies could use EB, then she pours maple syrup over them, salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg. Then I guess she bakes them, cut side up. Sounds like it could be interesting.

But everything else she makes is gross and drenched in chicken broth or bacon. I do like how quickly she makes everything. I'd love it if she was vegan.

What celebrity chef would you love to see go vegan?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Food of late...

I'm sitting at home right now skipping class (I am going to my Spanish class, though).

I don't have any pictures right now, but I have been cooking. However, I had some unfortunate cooking mishaps.

I tried making the Tofu Vindaloo recipe from Robin Robertson's "Vegan Planet" book and was super pissed off. I tried frying up the extra firm tofu after I pressed it extra good, but I guess my cast iron skillet isn't seasoned well enough, so everything stuck. Then the tofu tasted really weird, and I think it was because it was in the fridge prior to "the freezing" that occurred before we got the new fridge..and I think it may have ripped open. I didn't realize the tofu problem until after I added it to the stew. This was a total disaster - and I won't be making it again!

I did take a picture of it, but I don't even want to remember it..haha.

I did make some super quick and easy chili from "Vegan Planet" that was a great success. It was gone in two days, because it was that good. I also made Wolffie's cornbread from "La Dolce Vegan." I still have a ton of it in my fridge, so I'm thinking about making more of that super quick and easy chili. Next time I'll make it in muffin tins and just freeze a few of them for later.

An awesome lunch idea? I heated up some of the chili and put it in my thermos. Then I crammed a big hunk of the cornbread down into the thermos with the hot chili. This was awesome! If you love to drench your cornbread in chili - this is for you!

I think I made something else, too, but I can't remember.

I've got plans to make more chili tonight, as well as make some potato cauliflower soup because I need to use up this head of cauliflower. I'll save the potato soup for later in the week. I'm also going to make some tahini dressing (VWAV), blend up some stale WW bread for some breadcrumbs, and maybe make the alfreda sauce from VwaV for later in the week as well.

I went to the farm market this weekend and got two great butternut squashes (I'm brainstorming how to use these) as well as some sweet potatoes, onions and apples.

Well - I'm off to class, then to work until about 5:30, then the gym, THEN some of this bulk cooking that I'm talking about. I really want to get into the habit of cooking things for the week and I think trying out some sauces for the week is the way to go. I'm loving this "packing-my-lunch-everyday" thing, because I plan out my pre-workout snack along with it. Wish me luck!

And I promise - I'll post some pictures.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

This weather....

...is absolutely beautiful!

It's making all of my errand-running and housework a little more bearable. I've got all the windows open and the blinds cracked to get as much light in as possible.

It's 77 degrees here in Norfolk, VA!

(yeah, I know, it's global warming...but let me bask in the sunshine in the middle of November, okay?)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Blah to blogger...

I tried to post this two nights ago....

I have to admit, when I first bought "Vive le Vegan" by Dreena Burton, I thought the recipes looked too difficult, or sounded too bland, or (a popular reaction on my part) contained too many ingredients that I didn't have pantry-ready.

However, I have changed my tune for sure! As part of the November cookbook challenge over at Veggin' Out, I was determined to make use of this still-fresh-looking vegan cookbook.

My first recipe, which I'll admit isn't that easy to do in a blender (even if it is a Vita Mix), was the Sunflower Lentil Pie.

I had one mishap - my lentils absorbed all the water sooner than I realized and burned to the bottom of one of my pans - total mess! But I managed to get it cleaned up quickly. However, once the lentils were done, the food processor/blender does the rest of the work. Be prepared for many stops and starts, as this is a very sticky mix. Many different things season the pie, including ketchup and tamari (I used Bragg's).

I had some steamed, haricot vert green beans (frozen from TJs) and some mashed sweet potatoes - my favorite! - along with the meal

The pie was absolutely delicious. It also makes a wonderful, week-long meal. I've been cubing it up and putting it in my lunch box. I swear it tastes like meat loaf, minus the meat. Although, I think the similarity comes from the sweet, ketchup looming in the background. This still keeps some good crunch to it as well.

Here's a picture of my lunch. I've been taking something simliar every day this week.

I made the recommended sesame mustard dressing for the pie - and it was perfect. A tangy dressing featuring tahini, dijon mustard, agave nectar, garlic and apple cider vinegar really added to the mellow flavors of the pie. Also, I used my immersion blender for the first time in a while - I've been missing out!

I also made a dessert - the Pineapple Lemon Bars. These were yummy! Although, I can't seem to find unsweetened, shredded coconut, so I had to use some with sugar - I should have just decided to make something else, but I really wanted these. I may look into ordering coconut online, because I like baking with it. I didn't post any pictures of this because I didn't get any good shots.

I've also been getting creative with my side salad plate presentation. It's fun to make simple things pretty for yourself. I'm in the process of using up this bagged salad from TJ's - and I'm not getting it again. It's the herb salad mix and it just had too many flavors mingling for my taste in a salad.

In other news - as I mentioned in my previous post - we got a new fridge! I'm getting used to the shape. It's a little thinner than our previous one, but sticks out more. Look at how much more ridiculous this makes my kitchen look:

I like the way the fridge part is arranged:

But the freezer is a little tight:

Okay, really tight.

I'm very intrigued by the extra space this gives me to the left of the fridge. It's completely hidden from view, which has its pluses. I bought two cheap, particle board cubby shelves and put them together over the weekend. It fit perfectly and still offered some space for the recycling bags. I hate seeing unused space.

This is a crappy picture, but the cubby shelf is almost as tall as the fridge and I'm planning on placing my small appliances (mini processor, immersion blender, etc.) along with some other stuff. Haven't quite figured out exactly how I'm going to organize everything. My goal is to get my kitchen organized and as efficient as possible, because it's very small, which makes for crazy cooking sometimes.

Another update - my gym habit is going well. Although, just as I was keeping to my promises, which include going to the gym every day after work and packing a healthy, vegan lunch everyday, I came home after work today and bought some Thai spring rolls (veggie, of course) from my favorite spot and a soda - ack! I'd done very well for the past week, but it's time for my period, which makes me weak for fried spring rolls. I didn't go to the gym tonight either, because I'm so sore from a workout yesterday. I tried working out with one of those blow up balls that you balance on, and lemme tell ya, it's not easy. I have new respect for the balance ball.

Whew...that was a very long post, but I had plenty to update. I may have some more exciting news soon, as well as more food posts - stay tuned!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Grocery shopping - new fridge!

So, if you've been reading my latest posts, you'll know that we've been without a refrigerator lately. For almost two weeks. The fridge had turned into a giant freezer ruining and freezer-burning lots of produce.

Well..they brought me a new one! David just happened to be here when the two, sixty- or seventy-something men, tried to move our giant fridge and move another (bigger) one into the apartment. David said they probably couldn't have done it without his help...plus they just showed up and he had to go through our freezer and move everything.

Needless to say, it's a very nice fridge. the freezer is a little tight, but so was the last one. I just need to make a dent in all of my frozen fruit and bananas. It's a GE, white fridge, and I like the lucite shelves rather than wire shelves. I'll post pics later, because I want to show how absolutely ridiculous it looks in my little kitchen.

Also, David and I were eating out a lot because of the lack of food around here. We couldn't store leftovers, so we didn't want to cook anything, but that's over! I went to Trader Joe's with David last night (he did some separate shopping for things like garlic oven fries, frozen pizza and waffles) and got some much-needed produce and pantry staples. I've been trying to always buy organic, but it definitely takes a toll on my budget - if you can call the way I managed my money a "budget." Also, I wasn't even able to get all the things I "needed" for the things I want to cook this weekend. Oh well, I'll make do.

I have plans to cook the following this weekend:
- potato cauliflower soup from LDV
- coconut lime cookes from VLV
- sunflower lentil pie (VLV)
- sesame mustard sauce (VLV)
- basic chocolate cupcakes from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World"
- vegan fluffy buttercream frosting (VCTOTW)
- twice bakes potatoes or scalloped potatoes from VLV
- pineapple coconut bars (VLV)

Why so much Vive le Vegan? Well, there's a Dreena Burton cookbook challenge over at Veggin' Out. Check it out!

I still need some ingredients, but hopefully I'll be avoiding a grocery trip for a while. I still have to get some pricey ingredients - like protein powder and my acidophilous vitamins!

Midweek Munchies, a veg*n meme!

Midweek Munchies: What Mary is contributing this week

*an asterisk denotes organic!*

TJ's Grade B maple syrup
cocoa powder*
confectioner's sugar*
stone wheat crackers (these are for a co-worker)
Barbara's Spoonfuls cereal
bagged salad*
canned artichokes
canned black beans*
head of cauliflower
celery hearts*
whole carrots*
3 plain soymilks
2 cherry tomatoes*
5 Lara Bars (I've got to make my own cashew date bars)
soft whole wheat bread*
whole wheat pizza dough
corn tortillas
Dixie peach juice (a new flavor we're trying)
4 jugs mango passion juice (the old standby)

David's stuff:
plain yogurt (he mixes it with honey)
garlic oven fries
vanilla soymilk
frozen pesto pizza
uncrystallized ginger candy
chile pepper dried mango
2 boxes blueberry waffles
12-pk blueberry beer (he likes blueberries)

TOTAL Spent: $112.00
That's with both of our bills. Even though this is high, I'm attributing it to things like Lara Bars, maple syrup and cocoa powder plus all the organic finds!

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PURPOSE of Midweek Munchies: Put together by a small group of Veg Women, we hope to spread the word about healthy vegetarianism while obtaining idea starters for meals, recipes, learn about new products, and meet other female veg*n bloggers. Visiting and commenting on other participants lists are encouraged but not required.
Have fun and Go Veg!

Monday, October 30, 2006

A goodbye to Milo....new cookbooks

I went to visit with my mama earlier this evening. Our family dog, Milo, died this past Thursday night. He was an 11-year-old miniature doberman pinscher and he was the runt of his litter. He started out being my little brother's buddy, but Milo really adopted my mom. When he was a puppy, my mama would put him in the pocket of her house dress and he would sleep while she did stuff around the house.

He went quick. We've never been the kind of family to put our animal buddies on life support. We've been the same with our human family members, so Milo was no different. Of course, if he was in pain, we would have taken him to the vet. When my mama and step dad realized he was going, my mama wrapped him in a blanket and sat with him on the couch and kept him warm. She said he sort of drifted off into what looked like a coma. After being in this unconcious sleep for a while, he went.

My mom said he went the way he wanted - in her arms! He would always whimper at her feet to be held. I'm looking for some pics of him to scan, because I really want you to see him. He was so cute. My mom, of course, is really sad. Unfortunately she had to go out of town to DC the next morning and she really really didn't feel like it after the night she had with Milo.

But I've had a good cry and I know Milo is in a much better place.

I engaged in a bit of retail therapy this afternoon after I left my mom's house. It was much sadder looking at his little bed with his blanket that he's had all his life...I needed to get my mind off it, so I went to the bookstore.

I picked up "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" for some reason. I don't even really like cupcakes (eegad!), but I really want to make and decorate them...does that make sense? I called David and told him about it, and...luckily....he told me he likes cupcakes more than cakes, cookies and pies. So...someone will eat them!

My worst fear is that they are really delicious and I fall in love with cupcakes suddenly...good thing I got that gym membership.

I also picked up "The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen" by Donna Klein. The real draw for me on this one was the statement that none of the recipes call for things like soy, tofu, soymilk, etc. I love things that don't require meat or egg/dairy substitutions and I adore Italian/Mediterranean food...so this seemed like a logical purchase for me. She also has a book called Vegan Italiano, but I wanted to start with her first book. If I like the stuff, I'll definitely pick up the Italian one.

And the last one (yes, I bought three cookbooks tonight - good thing I have a discount card) is "Real Vegetarian Thai" by Nancie McDermott. Another impulse buy, I think, because Asian food really scares me in the kitchen, but I'm determined to try some of the recipes. I'm just worried about unique ingredients. There's this great Asian-American market in Virginia Beach, but I'm never sure if I'll find something when I get there. I'm going to ask the folks at my favorite Thai restaurant where they shop for ingredients.

And...I lied...I actually, technically purchased four cookbooks this week. Jennifer McCann, of The Vegan Lunchbox blog fame, just opened her cookbook up for preorder. I already ordered mine (www.veganlunchbox.com) and can't wait for it. I think it should show up sometime mid to late November. I mean, I don't have kids, but who says I can't have an awesome lunchbox?

Read on - this is my third post of the day - I've got lots of food pics below.

Baking - hits and misses

As part of a cookbook challenge over at Veggin'Out, I picked up VwaV a little more and for some reason I was just drawn to the sweet stuff.

Here's a bit more food porn...

That there's black gold on dem cookie sheets...I swear. These are the sparkled ginger cookies from VwaV and they are delish. Also, it's really fun rolling them into balls and pressing them into sugar (that's where the sparkles come from). This was a huge hit at work and my favorite recipe from the book so far.


AFTER: These are the Lemon Poppy Seed muffins from VwaV and lemme tell you...I was quite disappointed. Before I started this attempt at veganism, I made a mean lemon poppy pound cake, so I guess my expectations are sky high. However, I added extra lemon zest and these were still quite bland. Maybe it was the lemons? They don't taste bad...they just don't taste much like anything.

These are the chocolate chip cookies from VwaV. Again...so so. I took these to my public speaking class this morning as part of a "how to" speech on vegan baking. I used carob chips, because I was worried about possible allergies in the class, so I guess that effected their outcome. These were good...but I had some from La Dolce Vegan that were better, albeit way oily. I guess my search for delicious vegan cookies continues...I'll try it next time with chocolate chips and not carob, I really think that was the issue.

Read on below for more cooking pics!