Monday, November 7, 2011

Reuben of the Gods

Don't that look Slap Yo Mamma good?

So I live in a smallish town.  I mean its not the forgotten city, but its not a bustling metropolis where a dreamy eyed girl goes to make a name for herself.  We have a Walmart, Target, and various fast food we've got that going for us.  What we don't have, is a place to get really good vegan or vegetarian junk food.  If I thought for a second that it would blow up, I would open my own, and grow fat and happy on vegan meatball subs.  But the average age here is 75, so I think its a bust.
So for now, I'll be in my own kitchen whipping up a vegan reuben, and shoving it my face.

What you need:

  • tempeh, sliced into however many slices makes you happy.
  • 2 slices bread- I use a marble rye
  • Vegan cheese slices- swiss flavor is traditional, but you can mix it up...go ahead
  • sauerkraut
  • Russian dressing- I use this recipe
  • Earth Balance- or other vegan butter

What you do:

Slap some butter on one side of each piece of bread, ala grilled cheese of your youth...
put one slice, butter side down (obvs) in a frying pan then lay the tempeh on the bread, the cheese on top of that, then the sauerkraut.  On the other piece of bread, spread the dressing on the NON BUTTERED side ( I really don't think you are all special, but if I don't give specific instructions, I end up with emails about how I should have been more specific  blah blah blah).  Lay that piece down on top of the sauerkraut and grill till its all melty and the bread is golden brown.  

Saturday, November 5, 2011


The title reflects my exact emotion when I was standing in the rice and pasta isle at the grocery store today.  Its one of the many vegan desserts that taste better than its conventional counterparts...and major bonus, its lower in fat..hooray for skinny jeans! ( I really don't know why I wrote skinny jeans, I pretty much wear standard mom issue sweat pants or shorts....maybe because "Hooray for baggy sweatpants!" doesn't paint the same picture.)
Anyway, I digress.  Its like almost embarrassingly easy to make, and if you're like me, you can totally rationalize eating it for breakfast.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or 1/3 cup agave nectar, if using agave, remember to scale back the milk a tad to compensate for the water content in the nectar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

What you do:

In a large saucepan, bring salted water and rice to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is fluffy.
Add the almond milk and sugar to the rice and increase heat to medium. Stirring frequently, cook for 30–40 minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Pour into 7–8 ramekins (or coffee cups, because come on, why would I have ramekins...really?) and cover with plastic wrap if you don’t like pudding skin. 


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone had a fun, safe Halloween... we had a blast.

This was before candy consumption...nuff said.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Un-Fun Day

I dont like cleaning, I try to clean as I go, and break it down into little daily tasks.  But it still sucks.  And with 2 kids, its even Sunday becomes the cleaning day.
If you haven't discovered 8tracks on your own, let this be your formal introduction.  It's a website where you can create your own music mixes or listen to ones other people have made.  You can search by genre, artist, or even by mix theme.  For me, I need music when I clean.  8tracks has a ton of mixes made up just for cleaning.  Go check it out...go on...I still have dishes to do and your distracting me.

Here is one of my faves:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Puppy Parade

Hi, me again.  Don't faint or anything.  I just wanted to share with you more pictures of our weekend adventures.  Today we were in a parade for a local festival, walking dogs that are up for adoption through a local rescue.  We all got an adorable doggie escort and the kids did great until about 3/4 of the way through when I ended up with 4 dogs to walk.  Totally worth it.
 I didn't get pictures of the actual parade, because I was holding one of the fur babies who refused to walk, but needless to say seeing 30+ people all coming out to show off some pretty awesome dogs was inspiring.
Now my dogs are barkin (pun intended) and its time for me to soak them and watch some bad tv.  Hope you all had a fun Saturday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hi.  Several things, first of all if you feel abandoned, you should... I'm awful at commitment.  Second you see that the blog as gotten a new look, its a "less is more" approach... or a "I got bored with the old look" approach, ill let you judge.  Third, the blog hit its first birthday!  I may not post often, but I hit 52 posts in 52 weeks, so that has to count for something!!  Fourth and last, its October in Florida, so its just now getting cool enough to do anything outside, so we are doing it up hard this weekend.  This is the first in a 3 part series of this weekend of madness.  The Things and I took in a high school football game with some friends tonight.  It was the bees knees.  Thing One didn't even notice there was a game going on because she was too busy chatting up all the kids and learning the cheers, and Thing Two has found his sport (which scares the you know what out of me) I tried to sway him by talking up the marching band, but he wasn't buying it.  So 3 hours, tons of popcorn and 1 sore ass (mine) later...we are home, they are crashed and we are ready for the next adventure.

Stay Classy Blogosphere...

Lets go mom!!
I swear I fed them before we left, but when popcorn is involved,
they grow a second stomach.

Go Indians! Action shots with a crappy camera may induce seizures...

U.G.L.Y you aint got no alibi your ugly...yeah yeah your ugly WHOOOO!
They didn't really say that but it would have been funny if they did!

P.S. aint isn't recognized by my spell check, so as an alternative its asking me to use "Taint" ... and being the sicko I am my mind goes directly to the dirty meaning, and I am both shocked and confused that my computer would suggest such a nasty thing.  It gets me, it really does.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nut Butters

If your vegan (like me), raw all or part of the time ( again, like me) or just plain lazy ( very, very much like me) you know that nut butters are a great simple way to get a major nutrient/protein punch without having to cook.  But, have you ever thought about making your own nut butters? It really couldn't be easier, and if you eat raw, it's pretty much the way to go unless you have the ultimate natural foods market where you live.
I don't, so I make my own raw nut butters.  Sometimes a single nut, sometimes I get crazy and mix 2 kinds together.

I am not even gonna bother with a regular recipe format because its that easy!  Dump 2 cups of your favorite RAW (not roasted, salted or messed with in anyway) nut into a food processor and let it rip for 12, yeah you read that right, 12 minutes.  It is going to look like this at first :

Then its it going to get lumpy, don't worry, just keep scraping down the sides of the food bowl.  Then its going to form into a ball and make you think you have done something wrong, again, don't worry.  A few more minutes the nuts will release all their oil and it will smooth out and look just right.

Remember, nuts butter has oil, oil goes rancid... refrigerate that sucker.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Raw Oatmeal

I apologize for the crappy picture, good camera is in the shop!

I know, I know...the idea of eating foods that require special prep or are not typical everyday meals sounds daunting.  But really, adopting a vegetarian, vegan, raw or macrobiotic lifestyle is really no more work than frying eggs for breakfast or making a stir fry for dinner.  All it takes is patients.  Its not easy changing years worth of mental programming.  Believe me, I had more moments of weakness and lost self control at the beginning of this journey than I care to admit.  Food was life, and I wanted life to taste good.
I was living in a dream.  Everything I put in my mouth had an affect on not only my own body and life, but the lives of my children, who were adapting my eating habits, my immediate environment, we were creating tons of waste and the planet as a whole.  I don't expect that everyone will wake up one morning and have an epiphany, most people don't, but I do hope that people, whether it be for personal, ethical or environmental reasons will take a good look at what they are using to fuel their lives.  
And as far as how life tastes now... lets just say that I'm Dorothy...I've stepped out of the black and white world of Kansas (meat) and into the multi-colored world of Oz (vegan) and will never click my heels to go back.  

What you need:

  • 2/3 cup raw oats or oat groats
  • 1/2 cup raw almond milk (or any raw milk you like)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 apple cut up ( i used fuji)
  • 1/4 cup golden flax seeds ( i can easily find flax seed meal, so I used that)
  • a few dashes of cinnamon

What you do:

Throw it all in a food processor and blitz until well chopped up.  You can change ingredients, add more or less milk depending on taste....really its all about you! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Win a trip to Paris!

Totally not food related, well I guess it is if you include all the bread, cheese, chocolate and wine you will be ingesting on a 7 day trip to Paris from Oh Happy Day!  
Go here for deets and ENTER!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ok, blog vacation over...

I am sorry I have been absent. I took a much needed holiday from all things that were not directly involved in my everyday life.  Kids, work, house, life...have all been put in order and organized and I can finally breath a huge sigh of relief.  
In my hiatus, a few things have changes in my little corner of the world.  I have moved from the vegetarian path I was on to a full blown vegan lifestyle.  The changes in my body and Chi have been amazing.  So naturally, the blog has a new direction.  Occasionally you will see a butter and sugar laden treat, but I would like to share with everyone the tasty vegan food I have been whipping up lately.  Maybe the odd non food post will be thrown in there too.  Please bear with me as changes are made and feel free so e-mail me some of your favorite vegan recipes too!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thai Red Curry Chicken and Jasmin Rice

Ok, noticeably, most of my posts are about baked or non baked sweets.  Well I am throwing you a curve ball, because its my blog, and I can do that.  Well really, I am only doing it because this meal is so fantastically good, that not sharing it seemed like a sin....and I don't need anymore junk tacked onto my CON list when I get to the pearly gates.

What you need:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into about 1 inch chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced thin
  • 1 yellow bell pepper sliced thin
  • a handful or 2 of snow peas
  • 2 carrots julienne cut thin
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp red Thai curry paste(more or less to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • small amount of olive oil

What you do:

In a skillet, cook chicken until brown on the outside, but still pink in the middle.  Remove chicken and set aside.  Add oil to skillet and heat over med heat, add garlic and cook until lightly browned.  Add in rest of veggies and saute until softened.  Add chicken back into skillet.  In a bowl, mix coconut milk, curry paste and salt.  Add to skillet with chicken and veggies, and cook over med heat about 7-10 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.

Serve over rice, or not!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Choclate chip brownie cupcakes with malted ganache

I heard a new word recently, I'm not sure if it was on Dr. Phul, Dr. Poz or Smoprah (names changed to protect the innocent). yeah it was Moderation.  It's some fancy diet thing where you eat moderate amounts of everything and nothing in excess.  I dunno, I'm not buying it, it wont stick.  I prefer to eat nothing green ( its the color of mold, and who wants eat mold?) and lots of things with chocolate (antioxidants!), butter (dairy!) and sugar ( its a plant, so there!).  I am planning on writing a book, "The Doughnut Diaries: One Woman's Quest for the Ultimate Muffin Top".  It will probably be in the diet section, but it should really be in self-help, because deliciousness is a life choice.

Brownie Recipe here.

Cookie recipe here.

I used a size 18/8 scoop to scoop little balls of cookie dough into the center of each cup in a cupcake pan, then I filled the rest of the cup with brownie batter and baked at 350 for about 20-25 min.

Malted Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup malted milk powder
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped or chips
Whisk cream and malted milk powder in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, remove from heat immediately and pour over chocolate (that's in a bowl, obviously) and let melt for about a minute, whisk to combine.  I dunked the tops of my cookiebrowniecupcakes in the ganache.

I'm linking to:

Friday, February 11, 2011

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Mousse and White Chocolate Buttercream

So, I very sleepily dropped Thing 1 off at school this morning. I mean like eye crusties still in my eyes, pillow creases on my face sleepy.  I totally made and promptly forgot my coffee too, which meant that my brain hadn't been jolted into action.  Needless to say, when her teacher reminded me (again) about Monday's Valentine's Party, I hit a level of panic.  She then proceeded to tell me that I didn't need to make anything because given the treats I've whipped up for past events, some of the other mothers were feeling bad about their contributions. ( Had I been properly caffeinated, I would have snapped in a circle and been all "oh no you didn't)
So because I fight authority like a 16 year old, I came home, made some of these lovelies, and and am now more excited for Monday than the 4 year old.  I even made enough so the mom's could have some too (read: I could shove them in their  faces).

What you need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 oz. melted white chocolate cooled to room temp.
For the mousse:
  • 1 box vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 3/4 cups whipping cream (sounds like a lot, but your not eating these alone, so calm down)
  • 1 1/2 tsp raspberry extract
  • red and blue food coloring to create the rose color
For the Frosting:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter softened
  • 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-4 tblsp heavy cream
  • 6 oz melted white chocolate cooled to room temp

What you do:

For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with liners (should make about 24).  Mix cake mix, eggs, oil and water with a mixer until well blended.  Add in melted chocolate and mix for 3-4 minutes until well blended and creamy.  Full cupcake lined 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 min, or until the lightly brown on top.  When cupcakes are totally cool, cut a small hole in the top and scoop out a little of the inside, make sure not to go too deep, or too close to the sides.  Fill the cupcakes with the mousse.

For the Mousse:
While the cupcakes are cooking, blend vanilla pudding, cream, raspberry extract and food color (I prefer gel color) until thick like whipped cream.  Put in fridge to cool. 

For the Frosting:
Mix butter and sugar until soft and fluffy.  Add in vanilla cream, and melted chocolate and mix for 4-5 min until fluffy.  Add more cream or sugar until desired consistency.    Frost stuffed cupcakes and enjoy!!!

I'm linking to:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti

There are not many things that I have been reluctant to make. Biscotti is one of them.  I think its the whole twice baked thing.  I'm all "what? its a challenge for me to make cookies at all, now you want me to make some that I have to bake TWICE?  pshaw, not gonna happen"   I think its sheer laziness on my part.
Well I've had an epiphany, and made some biscotti, and the laziness gods be damned.  They are hella (technical term) good.  And you can add just about anything to them, which is good, because I can never make up my mind about which cookie stuffings (another technical term) are my favorite.

What you need:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

What you do:

Preheat oven to 325.  Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  In another bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.  Add flour mixture to cream mixture, in small batches, mixing well after each addition.  Fold in chips and cranberries.
Divide batter into 3 equal parts, and form each part into a 2 inch by 10 inch rectangle on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.  Cut each log into 1 inch slices with a serrated knife, and place on another ungreased baking sheet, cut side down.  Turn oven up to 350.  Bake cookies for 10 minutes, flip, then cook for 10 minutes more...or until well browned and crunchy!

I melted some more white chocolate chips and drizzled it over the cooled cookies.   Prelibato!

I linked to:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nutella Brownies...(Are you drooling yet?)

There are some things in life that are without a doubt comforting...grandma's cooking, Snuggies, cuddling with that certain someone...all three at the same time!  But since my grandma can't cook, I haven't made up my mind whether I like Snuggies or not, and I am currently unattached (am I getting your sympathy yet?), I go to brownies...ok, and wine.
I buy Nutella in bulk, like, monthly.  That's how much is eaten in my house.  The go-to Nutella use is on toasted bread.  Here is an alternative.  NUTELLA ! BROWNIES !....oh yeah, I went there.  And I go there on a regular basis.  I added peanut butter chips, because how do you make chocolate better?  You add peanut butter, that's how.  These brownies are fudgey, chewy and should be added into your regular baking routine, seriously.

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and brought to room temp

What you do:

Preheat your oven to 325.  Prepare a 9 inch square pan by lining it with parchment paper and spraying it with non stick spray.  
In a small bowl, sift flour and salt together.  Set aside.  In another bowl, mix Nutella, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla on low speed until well incorporated and creamy...about 2 minutes or so.   Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the melted butter.    Spread in your pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.  I started to check mine at about 25 minutes.  You want the center to be just set, if you like them fudgey like I do.  

I'm linking to:


Fantabulous Friday!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cakemix Sandwich Cookies...Yeah, I said it

Did you ever have an awesomely awesome idea, only to find out thousands, nay, millions of people have already had the same idea, and are so much quicker than you to make it known?  Ok, maybe I'm alone on that one.
So I am looking through my baking cabinet (I'm not fancy enough to have a pantry)  because not a day can go by where I don't make something loaded with calories just to test my will power and the strecthy-ness of my jeans, and I see umpteen boxes of cake mix.  I like cake, we are friends.  But like all friends, sometimes you need a break, so you don't end up getting on each other's nerves and making out with each other's ex boyfriends.
The wheels (ok, wheel) in my head starts turning, and I'm all "Hooray!  Cake mix cookies!!! With butter cream frosting smooshed in the middle!!!! I'm a stinking G.E.N.I.U.S!!!"  And then I made some, and just to see if I needed to patent my idea, Googled cake mix cookies...and yeah, there are TONS of recipes....
So there is my sad story.  It's ok though, I consoled myself with cake mix sandwich cookies, and I'm all better now.


What you need:

  • 1 box cake mix..any kind you like
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips, nuts or whatever you like (totally optional)
  • 1/2 batch of this butter cream frosting recipe...ok use any you like, ill let you.

What you do:

Mix cake mix, eggs and oil together until well combined.  Fold in goodies of your choice.  I chose to leave mine plain.  Drop by tablespoon fulls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  If you don't have different size cookie/ice cream scoops, get some, seriously.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.  Let them cool COMPLETELY before frosting.  Once the are cool, frost the bottom side of a cookie with as much frosting as you want...then top with another cookie! Holy goodness, Batman!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

Ok, this is awesome enough to need no introduction.  So I won't be bringing the LOL's with some dumb story to start this post.  Eat it up!

What you need:

  • 1 box elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard ( you can use regular mustard too)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese ( ok maybe 3 cups..1 for the top, I mixed cheddar and colby jack)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you do:
Preheat oven to 400.  Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain.  In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk together.  Continue to whisk for a few minutes, until mixture becomes a light brown color.  Slowly add milk and cream, whisking the whole time to avoid lumps.  Add in mustard, salt and pepper, and let it bubble for a minutes to thicken.  Once thick, add 2 cups of cheese, a little at a time and mix well between additions.  Remove from heat.  Mix in cooked macaroni and pour it all out into a 13x9 inch baking pan.  Cover with remaining 1 cup of cheese and bake  for 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown.  YUMMMMMM!

I make a more adult version of this, but subbing gruyere cheese for the cheddar and subbing 1 tsp nutmeg for the mustard.  Either way its crazy good, and comforting.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chalkboard Fridge Tutorial!

I have been meaning to get this up for a while.  But as you can see, I have been busy making marshmallows and cookies.  It's tough work, but someone has to do it.  Anyway, I have an old house, and an old old ugly kitchen, an old, ugly, only partially functional kitchen.  I have one, yes one drawer and base cabinet.  And yucky appliances.  Who knew RCA made both tv's and refrigerators!!??
I am also a single mom, and a corset tight budget.  A kitchen re-do is as far in my future as my only probable retirement.  So I have to do small projects that make my kitchen look refreshed and less, well , ugly.
This time, I opted to paint my fridge with chalkboard paint.  But, I made my own chalkboard paint!  How cool is that...well I thought it was pretty cool.  Here is my little tutorial for a chalkboard fridge.   Oh yeah, if you have stainless appliances, don't do this..not that you would want to anyway!

To start, clean off your fridge of all the kiddos pictures, forgotten shopping list and other random junk.  Take off the handles, and give it a good cleaning.  I used a vinegar/water solution so I didn't leave a chemical residue.

Next, take a fine sandpaper, I used 150 grit, and give the entire front a good sanding.  You really only want to remove the shiny top layer, and create grooves for your paint to stick.  To make your own chalkboard paint, you pick whatever color paint suites your fancy.  Make sure its an interior water based paint.  You won't need that much, so you can get away with a quart.  You will also need some UNsanded tile grout. Choose a white or light color grout, so it wont change the color of your paint.    Mix 1 cup of paint with 2 tablespoons of the grout, and viola!  Custom chalkboard paint!  I only made half the mixture per coat, because the paint thickens in the time it takes for the previous coat to dry ( trust me, i only know because it happened to me!)  In case that wasn't clear, I only mixed 1/2 cup paint and 1 tablespoon grout at a time!

With a small roller, roll on your paint, going with the grain (if your fridge front is textured).  Keep the coats relatively don't need a lot of paint, several thin coats are better than fewer thick goopy coats.  Let each coat fully dry, 2-3 hours, before painting again.  You will probably need 2-3 coats to get a nice slate finish.  Let the final coat dry for a full 24 hours.  When its completely dry, condition it but rubbing chalk over the entire fridge and just wipe it off...All done!

You can still use your lame magnets!  I opted not to put the handles back on.  I think its looks neater with out them.  The kids love using it, and its great being able to see what I need and write it right on the door!

P.S. Sorry for the awful pictures.  My kitchen is a hole, with almost no natural light!


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