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Kristina
29 May 2008 @ 05:37 pm

It has been less than super exciting. I have been making "real" dinners pretty consistently, mostly from Vegan Express... Some of which I took pictures of, but I forgot to bring my camera, so I cannot share them with you. Baking has been less frequent though -- Tim says I was making too many cupcakes... :)  But I did make the Vanilla Yogurt Pound Cake from Veganomicon for Mother's Day. It's ten times better than any of that crazy radioactive-ly yellow stuff you get at the grocery store.

So there's the update for now!

 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
 
 
 
Kristina
23 April 2008 @ 10:14 am

Peach-Mango Tart

Okay... False alarm... We're not cancelling the internet until tommorrow, because when I was gathering all the cords together, I noticed the cats had chewed the ends of one of them. Which means we'll have to pay for the replacement -- and I have no idea how much those things cost. So we're waiting until I get paid tommorrow in case its something ridiculous, like $50.

I had been planning on making a Peach-Mango Pie after reading Beth's post about pie like two weeks ago... And this was what happened. The final result was.... Eh. First of all, I tried to make a pie crust from Witch in the Kitchen, and that turned out horrendously... It wouldn't roll out or anything and I had to use twice as much water as the recipe said. So I tried the other pie crust recipe in that book, which actually worked, but may be a better crust for a savory pie. But I didn't have enough "fat," either in shortening or Earth Balance form, to make a crust for the top. So now this is a tart. A not very sweet tart (even after I dusted the pie with powder sugar, after the picture was taken), but it's probably healthier that way. Anyway, here is the recipe, and you can alter it as desired to make it sweeter or whatnot.

Peach-Mango Tart
makes one 9" tart

For the Crust (altered, but originally from Witch in the Kitchen by Cait Johnson)
1/2 c. whole wheat or graham flour
1/2 c. flour
dash of sea salt
1/3 c. Earth Balance, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 tbsp. sugar
3 to 4 tbsp. ice water

For the Filling
8 oz. frozen peaches, mostly thawed
8 oz. frozen mango, mostly thawed
1/2 c. sugar
3 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. flour

Powdered sugar, for dusting the top, if desired

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9" pie plate and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flours, sea salt, and sugar. Cut in the Earth Balance using a pastry blender, two knives, or your hands. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball.
2. Lightly dust your counter with flour and roll out the crust until it is 1 inch larger than your pie plate. Place it in the plate and pinch the edges to make it pretty.
3. To prepare the filling, place the peaches and mango in a medium bowl and mix in the sugar. After the sugar is well-distributed, stir in the cornstarch and flour, mixing until all of the fruit is coated.
4. Pour the peach mixture into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges of the crust are lightly browned.
5. Let cool for a few hours before serving. Dust the top with powdered sugar immediately before serving.

Note: Apparently if you refridgerate all of your pie crust ingredients(even the flour!), you will have a flakier crust. I would know though because I can't plan that far ahead...

 
 
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
 
 
 
Kristina
22 April 2008 @ 11:19 am
So.... I mentioned like a month ago that we were going to cancel our internet either then or at the end of April. And lo and behold! It is the end of April. And obviously I didn't cancel at the end of March. I'm going to give them their modem and cables back today (that's how you cancel at Time Warner... you say "Here's your junk... Goodbye!").

This doesn't really mean farewell, it just means that my already pretty infrequent posts will become more infrequent, as I will have to check mail and whatnot from my parents house in the primitive land of dial-up. Ugh. (Sorry Mom and Dad, but its true!) Don't be too sad... Here's a picture of happy budding trees to look at!

Yay for Spring!
 
 
Current Mood: pensiveambitious
 
 
 
Kristina
11 April 2008 @ 07:28 pm

Quinoa with Corn and Scallions

Dinner last night was Quinoa with Corn and Scallions from Vegan Express. The recipe makes a ton, so you may want to halve it if you aren't using it to accompany dinner for a hoard. Initially I was wary because it contains cumin, which seems to ubiquitous in these vegan recipes, and I'm kind of getting sick of its taste... But it doesn't really taste very... um... cumin-y? So that's a plus. The only change I made was to add a little bit of lemon juice (maybe two tablespoons for the lot) to brighten up the flavor.

 
 
Current Mood: soresore from work
 
 
 
Kristina
10 April 2008 @ 11:26 am
 

May 1996 -- April 2008

Penelope passed away Tuesday night... Probably from kidney failure. Her decline happened within just a few days, her passing quick. At least she was able to enjoy that last year and a half of her life with us, where she wasn't constantly being chased and didn't have to creep around the house in fear.
 
 
Current Mood: sadsad
 
 
 
Kristina
06 April 2008 @ 06:33 pm
French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme

I know... I know... The title's a mouthful, but I'll say it again... Friday night's dinner was French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme from Veganomicon. And it was a recipe that I actually followed used all the ingredients for! Almost... I used regular lentils instead of French lentils (to be quite honest, I don't know what the difference even is). It doesn't look very tasty -- my co-worker even said "Ugh! That looks nasty!" when he saw me eating the left-overs for lunch today. But rest assured, its very good! Especially with a big hunk of pumpernickel bread.

We're enjoying a lovely warm-up today... Or at least Kiba and I are. Jack is too afraid of all the noises coming from the window to go anywhere near it and Penny is content with basking in patches of sunlight on the floor. "Daddy" is at work and probably not getting to enjoy any of the weather. Here's Jack enjoying the fresh air from the safety of the computer desk, about 15 feet from the window... And my foot.

From the safety of the computer desk...
 
 
Current Mood: contentcontent
 
 
 
Kristina
02 April 2008 @ 10:59 am

 Aloo-Stuffed "Naan"

This is basically an Americanized (sort of) version of an Indian dish. I found the recipe at Happy Herbivore and have just elaborated on her recipe to clarify cooking times and whatnot.

Aloo-Stuffed "Naan"
serves two

1 very large baking potato
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. coconut oil
1/4 c. water
2 whole wheat pitas

1. Cut the potato into small dice.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the coconut oil. Add the potatoes and stir to coat.
3. Add the water and spices, stirring to cover all of the potatoes. Cook until easily pierced by a fork (you may need to add more water).
4. Cut the pitas in half and separate each half to form a pocket. Spoon the potato mixture into the pitas and serve!

Notes: You may want to double the spices.

 
 
Current Mood: happyhappy
 
 
 
Kristina
29 March 2008 @ 10:33 pm

Vegan Easter Cookies

Decemberunderground Anyone? 

These are my first completely vegan cut out cookies that I've attempted! They have been slowly transitioning to completely vegan since Halloween, where I didn't use eggs, then Christmas with almost vegan cookies and dairy frosting, to Valentine's Day with only white sugar to ruin the fun. White sugar is not considered vegan because bone char is used in the whitening process. I adapted the recipe from my mother's (Thank you!)...

Cut-Out Cookies
makes 6 dozen, feels like 200 when you're frosting them though...

2 c. vegan granulated sugar
1 c. Earth Balance, softened
1 c. rice milk, soured with 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Ener-G "eggs"
5 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
6 c. flour (to stiffen)

1. Cream margarine, sugar, milk, "eggs," and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl. Sift dry ingredients together and gradually add to sugar mixture.
2. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for about 1 hour in the refridgerator.
3. Lightly flour cutting surface and roll out a portion of the dough to approximately 1/2" thick.
4. Use floured cookie cutters to cut out cookies and place on an ungreased cookie sheet 1 1/2" apart.
5. Bake at 325 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes, until golden.
6. Frost when cool!

Notes: These cookies are frosted with 1 recipe of Vegan Buttercream Frosting from VCTOW. I haven't experimented with it as of yet, but silken tofu could probably work as an egg replacer in this recipe instead of the Ener-G "eggs." Apparently, Ener-G egg replacer leaves a chalky taste (can't say for sure as I haven't compared anything myself). In VWaV, Isa Chandra Moskowitz recommends 1/4 c. whizzed (in a blender) silken tofu to replace 1 egg. Cookies can end up overly fluffy though, so she says adding 1 tsp. starch (cornstarch or arrowroot) can prevent that.

I was pretty mad about not being able to try using tofu eggs (although I don't know if my father would have eaten them if I did...) because I bought silken tofu just for that purpose. But I didn't have any starch and didn't want to experiment without it as I was making the cookies for dessert for my family's Easter dinner.

Oh! The rabbit-shaped cookies reminded me of the rabbits on AFI's Decemberunderground album cover, so I couldn't resist arranging them like than and taking a picture! Although they are considerably more... happy... than that album.

As far as non-food things are concerned, I have a couple of updates. The first is that the Witchy Wagon is about ready to keel over and die, so we are getting a new car -- an '06 Kia Spectra! Pretty exciting. I'll spare the gorey details, but we're getting a pretty awesome deal on it. The second update is that because we will have a car payment and an inevitable rise in the cost of insurance, we'll be getting rid of the internet to help save some money. It will either happen Monday/Tuesday or... at the end of April.... Not sure which yet, as I have already paid for next month, but if I can cancel before April happens and get my money back, I will. So if I randomly disappear, its because, yes, I was able to get my money back. :)

Bon Voyage!

 
 
Current Mood: nauseatednauseated
 
 
 
Kristina
18 March 2008 @ 12:19 am
 Measuring Cups and Spoons!

This is pretty exciting for me... The measuring cup set that I've had since we first moved in together was in serious need of replacement -- the 1/4 cup is used for measuring out Penelope's food and the 1/3 cup is used for Jack and Kiba's food. So I am left with the 1/2 cup and the 1 cup for all of my baking and cooking endeavors. The measuring spoons have not fared much better... Especially since I "garbage-disposed" the tablespoon the other night. I was left with just the end part and no handle.

I have been eyeing these up at Wegmans for awhile, but they were a little bit more than what I wanted to pay. Then I saw that they were marked for clearance when I was meandering through the kitchen section last night. That pretty much did me in...

Sometimes I wonder if there ought to be more to life at this age than being excited over measuring cups...
 
 
Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
 
Kristina
Apple Crisp Muffins

These muffins are deceptive -- you wouldn't guess (aside from their slightly chewier than the norm texture) that these are fat free... Sugar is another story though, so I wouldn't quite label these healthy. At least they're healthier than cupcakes! The original recipe was from Happy Herbivore, but I made a few changes which are noted at the end of the recipe.

Apple Crisp Muffins
makes twelve muffins

1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. raw sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
few dashes nutmeg
few dashes ground ginger
pinch sea salt
3/4 c. + 1 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
2 Ener-G "eggs"
1 heaping cup apples; peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. pecans or walnuts, chopped -- optional
Extra brown sugar and oats for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the muffin pan.
2. Combine all ingredients, except for apples and nuts, in a medium bowl.
3. Gently fold in apples, then the nuts. Take care not to over-mix with fat free desserts, you're more likely to end up with a brick than a baked good.
4. Spoon batter into the muffin pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and oats over the tops of the muffins.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.

Notes: I substituted 1 c. all-purpose flour + 1/2 c. whole wheat flour for the whole wheat pastry flour, as I didn't have any on hand. Regular (unbleached) granulated sugar seems to work well in this recipe, although raw sugar would probably contribute better to the overall texture of the muffins. I left out the nuts, as Tim does not enjoy them, and didn't use oats in the topping.

Chickpea Cutlets with Easy Gravy

The Best Hummus You Will Ever Eat

And here is the rest of the cooking-with-chickpeas adventure. Pictured above are Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon doused with Nava Atlas' Easy Gravy from Vegan Express. There's some simple couscous from a box on the side... The cutlets and gravy complemented each other well, but the gravy was a little saltier than ideal. Maybe I should listen to the recipe next time and use low-sodium soy sauce. :) I was also pretty excited because I got to try out nutritional yeast for the first time (in the gravy)! I'm liking it and might try a recipe where it plays a little bit more prominent role. Below the pic of the Chickpea Cutlets is hummus -- made using "A Hummus Recipe" from Veganomicon. This is seriously a million times better than anything you can find in a store. The homemade chickpeas probably helped with that. It was all I could do to stop myself from eating it by the spoonful as soon as it was done...
 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired