Monday, June 25, 2007

A Busy Week!

First of all, thank you so much for all your BBQ & tofu salad suggestions. I am so grateful. It's wonderful to share this vegan online community with all of you! I don't really know anything about BBQ sauce, I don't think I've ever had it. I just know that people like it, and that we have a BBQ now... so I look forward to experimenting with it in the coming months.

Also- I made beans! And they worked! Thank you thank you thank you for all your suggestions! I just barely overcooked them, but they were still delicious and easy. Hoorah! You will see them featured in my pictures for the week.

I've had a very busy week, and kept meaning to blog sooner, but it was all topped off with an extra busy weekend - and here you can see the photographic food evidence of my busyness!

One week ago, our special little nephew CW spent the night. We had a wonderful time together. He is such a sweet special little guy, and I am just nuts about him. The next morning we snuggled in bed together with the doggies, went to the beach, and then took him to his summer kids program. I was very excited, because I got to make him a lunch! :) I was chanelling Jennifer Schmoo over at VeganLunchBox! He helped me plan his lunch, and here's what we put in it: a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, a baggie of bing cherries, a Mountain Raspberry Juice Squeee, 2 dried fruit thingees, a Cashew-raisin-chocolate peanut baggie (from Sunspire), and a calcium candy. I know it's a lot of fruit, and no veggies... sigh. Little CW is really NOT into veggies. Although my mom told me later that he'll eat carrots with ranch dip. I'll try that next time. :)

A nice, fresh stir-fry - lightly cooked. It's got broccoli, butter beans, tomato, basil, kalamata olives, and red onions. Yum.

I made the tacos from Real Food Daily. They were good, but it would have been just as easy to make tacos any ol' way. I do LOVE that RFD chicken style seitan though. Also, look what I got at the Farmer's Market: CORN!!! Hoorah! It's sooooo good.

The next night, I had my cousin's husband over for dinner. My cousin's out of town, so it was fun to just visit with him. They are following the Eat To Live diet right now, so it was fun to cook him up an ETL-friendly dinner. We had Tacos again, but with more options (and more corn!)

I cooked up a package of the Lightlife chick'n strips with some carrots, & some zucchini from our neighbors' garden. I seasoned it with the beef fajita seasoning from The Joy Of Cooking - garlic, lime juice, a tiny bit of oil, red pepper flakes... very easy & VERY good.

These are the beans I made all by myself! Hoorah! I mixed in some cumin and fresh salsa for the tacos. Mmmm.

Here's my taco plate: some fajita mix, some beans, some seitan taco mix, some lettuce & salsa. Deeelish!

Here's a picture of my veggie garden! I finally built my planter boxes, & am feeling quite proud of myself. I got every thing planted about a month ago. I have 5 types of tomatoes, basil, dill, cilantro, an eggplant, a pumpkin, two butternut squashes, and hyperactive row of chard. Yum!

I ate a lot of nice meals like this during the week. Some of my beans (yay!), some sliced up collard greens, some carrots, zucchini, cumin, and salsa. Easy, quick, and delicious!

Do you remember those old, irritating ads that said "Don't hate me because I"m beautiful" ? Well, I say "Don't hate me because my grandparents grow raspberries!" I picked about 3 quarts of berries in 1 hour. And, that's after their berries were picked the day before & the day before! I had a lot of baking to do this week... and there was a certain raspberry goodie I've been wanting to make. I was baking for a big charity event called "The Concert In The Orchard" that my mom has helped with for many years. Our mutual friend Toni does a LOT of baking for the event, and makes lots of vegan fruit pies - but I still wanted to help out. Plus, I just really love baking! And spreading the vegan love through baked goods!

First up is the Raspberry-Cornmeal Tart with Raspberry Sauce from "Voluptuous Vegan." It's a very elegant dessert, beautiful & not too sweet. It's got an almond crust, a sweet cornmeal batter with raspberry puree & raspberries on top, with almonds. Lovely!

Next up, a double batch of Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from VCTOTW. I've had my eye on that recipe for a while, and I finally had a reason to make them! They rose more on the outside of the cupcakes, and had a little hollow spot in the center. I fixed it by just pouring a little chocolate ganache into the well & covered it with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Ouila! These were quite a hit.

I also made a double batch of the Hazelnut Cupcakes from VCTOTW. Half of them were filled with the delicious Hazelnut Mocha Mouse, topped with Ganache and chopped hazelnuts. The other half were given the "linzer torte variation" treatment: filled with raspberry jam (made from last fall's raspberry harvest), & topped with ganache & raspberries. Ooooh. I LOVED both of these so much. Amazing!

Here's one of the hazelnut mousse ones, cut in half. I combined two Isa techniques to fill these. I cut out a cone of cupcake from the top. Then I sliced off the cone, so I was left with a flat little lid. Then I pushed my thumb down to make a well for the filling. Put in the filling, & cover up with the lid. Easy & flawless looking with a little ganache on top!

So, that was a lot of baking! When I went to drop off all my goodies at Toni's house before the concert... I spotted a bunch of apricots in her kitchen. In fact, she had two AMAZING-smelling apricot pies in the oven. She offered me a half flat for $15, and I could not resist.

here's my sideways picture! :) We have been eating them NON STOP and loving every bite. They are blenheims. As Toni pointed out, they are often smallish and bit ugly, but totally amazing on flavor. Boy, was she right. This afternoon I used the softies to make a big batch of apricot jam - we got 7 jars out of it!

After dropping off the baked goodies, we took off for our friend Kate's wedding. It was a LOVELY wedding, with perfect sunny weather, great music, lots of love & friendship, and great food. Our mutual friend Talya cooked up an amazing offering of food. She specializes in Ayurvedic cooking, and is really an amazing chef. Here's my plate from the wedding: a warm kale salad full of tasty flavors, a quinoa salad, and some amazing coleslaw. The dessert was frozen banana "ice cream" made with the champion juicer - decorated with edible flower petals & served with homemade chocolate nuggets with ginger, cranberries and almonds in them. YUM.

After all that, I was pretty pooped out last night ... not to mention the two-and-a-half hour yoga class I went to! So, we had an Amy's cheeseless pizza from the freezer with a couple of nice big salads. Such a nice summery meal.

And that brings us to tonight! Tonight I had a bit of a vision... made up of lots of things in my fridge that needed to be eaten! I used my new birthday mandoline (yay!) to slice up an eggplant and a giant zucchini. I put those on the grill and then sauteed up a sliced onion, chard stems (from the garden!), and garlic. I separately sauteed up some chard & collards. I had a barely used jar of Trader Joe's Organic Marinara sauce, so I got that out. I had some of Susan V's White Bean Pesto from yesterday's lunch, so I got that out. And I had half a block of silken tofu, so I made that into some tofu ricotta. In the end I made a noodle-less lasagna kind of creation with white bean pesto, tofu ricotta, tomato sauce, and all the veggies - in lots of layers. I sprinkled some pine nuts on top. It was amazing... I loved it & Musty did too (he had 3 servings just to prove it!)

Hope you've all had a great weekend!


  1. Wow - everything looks amazing!!
    I love your plates!

  2. Anonymous7:47 AM

    Oh my, I'm jealous of all that beautiful fruit. Your meals lately look very colorful and healthy. I love summer with it's bounty of fresh producs.

    Way to go on your garden. Your planter boxes look great. I'm kicking myself for not planting lettuce. Another blogger just posted pics of her salad garden and it's so cool. Next year for sure.

    I love your lasagna idea. I was just looking up a recipe for that last night. Susan V has a pasta-less lasagna and I figured I'd kind of improvise with that recipe but your idea of also using the white bean pesto is great.

  3. Anonymous8:09 AM

    oh my .. this food looks truly good, im starving now!

  4. Hi Jenny,
    Thanks for loving our plates! They are so fun. We have about 10 different "make-a-plates"... they are really fun to make and only cost about $3.50/plate. I especially love it when other people make them for us. :)

    Hi VivV,
    I forgot to mention that we also have lettuce & kale growing. I just planted them, so I nearly forgot about it!


  5. wow - there is just so much delicious food in this one post, it is TRULY a feast for the eyes!!! I'm glad to hear that you were able to cook the beans successfully this time - I still need to accomplish that, haha. great-looking food as always!!

  6. Oh, your planter boxes look great! And it looks like these are in the front yard, which is cool. I love it when I see front-yard gardens on my walks. Your stories in the past about your grandparents' raspberries have seriously inspired by raspberry planting! I planted to bushes last year, and have already been getting lots of delicious berries. I am planning to put in about three more in the fall. There definitely is something about raspberries that inspires envy :-) The hazelnut cupcakes are some of my favorites from VCTOTW, and next time I think I'll make extra mousse because the mousse by itself was amazing. I can't remember whether you made the VCTOTW lowfat cupcakes, but those were great has well with raspberries on top.

  7. Where to begin? Everything in this post looks so tasty & drool-worthy. The rasberry tart is so elegant and I can't believe you have access to all those rasberries and then those yummy apricots to follow.

    I love your planters filled with vegetables- that is so nice to be able to grow your own veggies- how fabulous!

  8. Oh my gosh, Amey! You have been so busy in the kitchen!

    First I have to say that I have 2 nephews I'm crazy over, so I love to read about your time with your nephew. One of my nephews steals broccoli off my plate and the other eats only meats and sweets!

    I'm glad you had bean success. Homemade is easy and so much better than canned. And you can make a bunch and do so much with them, as you did!

    Your treats all look fabulous too. I don't have "Voluptuous Vegan," but that tart, esp. the crust, looks like something I would love. And fresh apricots - yum!

    If it ever stops raining here I want to do lots more grilling. Grilled veggie lasagna sounds awesome.

  9. Wow, you really HAVE ben busy! I won't hate you because you can get freshly grown raspberries, but you can't stop me from being terribly jealous! :) Oh, yes--and HOORAY for you, making your own beans! That's fantastic! I love everything you've shown us... especially thr fruits and the fresh corn and the cupcakes! And your lasagna creation sounds like something I need to make soon, with all the random food I have lying around. How very inspiring!

  10. So many great photos! I shouldn't come here on an empty stomach. That raspberry tart is divine!

  11. Wowie! You might just give me a complex about my cooking - or lack thereof! Everything looks great, mainly the cupcakes! Oh, and the raspberries too.

  12. Oh my - so much delicious food! It's so cool that you get to hang out with your nephew so much - it sounds like you (both) always have a good time. It's weird to think that J and I will never have nieces and nephews since we're both only children.

    Wow - those mousse filled cupcakes look so incredible! Flawless indeed - bravo!

  13. The food looks gorgeous, as usual, but what I'm especially smitten with is your garden! It puts my little container garden to shame. I can't wait to see all the goodies it yields soon!

  14. Wow! You've been busy. Everything looks fabulous.. those berries and apricots.. YUM!

    Congrats on the garden.

  15. holy cow! so much beautifulness! i especially loved the tart and all the cuppers. lovely!

  16. this was quite a post. feast after feast after feast.

    I know what you mean about feeling lucky to share this online "community" of bloggers. I consider all of you my friends. Without the internet, we would all surely feel much more alone.

  17. I love seeing all your good food and fun stories. Gives me lots of good ideas to try out! ;-) And thanks again for having Andrew over for dinner while I was away. He had a great time and said that the food was delicious (but of course).

  18. how do you find the time to cook these marvellous plates?!?! love the raspberry tart!

  19. what a lot of nice dishes. and your garden looks great. probably by now it has grown a lot.

  20. What a spectacular post! Your garden and all the food looks awesome, but I must say that the Raspberry-Cornmeal Tart with Raspberry Sauce is really something special. Now that's spreading the vegan love fer sure! <3 I'll be emailing you soon to set something up -- really looking forward to meeting you!!! :)

  21. The RFD Chicken Style Seitan is my favorite. I've tried the beef style, but it just wasn't as good.

    9 hours of yoga a day - I love it! I've been out of practice for the last year (I started getting migranes partway through yoga), but back in the day, this would have been a dream.



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