Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Testing for Isa's New Book

Isa, co-author/author of such awesomeness as Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan Brunch, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and the brand new Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (good God, she can pump out cookbooks!) is currently in the process of writing a weight reduction/healthy cookbook. I tested previously for her for V'con and I hope to be doing a bit better (i.e. testing more recipes) this time around. So far I have liked every single thing I've tested, with a lot of love for some of them. My favorite definitely is the awesome Curried Corn Chowder. So! Good! Y'all should be in great anticipation for this new cookbook!

My most recent testing was for Pasta con Broccoli. With a whole head of garlic in it, this isn't for those who dislike this pungent vegetable. I didn't follow the recipe exactly since I didn't have all the ingredients, but I also added Gardein Seasoned Chunks that I had found on sale at a Safeway. I've had Gardein once or twice before and had just thought they were ok. I wasn't blown away like Ellen DeGeneres seems to be. I like that they seem to be made from all natural ingredients and healthy for you, but the texture is sometimes weird. So I tried them again. I added the chunks to the pasta recipe.....and they again didn't blow me away. I think I need to cook them longer so they get more firm. 

This pasta dish turned out pretty good. I think next time I'll cook the garlic longer and use a little less. I ended up throwing out quite a bit of it because the garlic slices ended up kinda big and I didn't like the idea of eating it straight up. The only time I don't mind that is when it's been roasted, then bring on the whole cloves! 

I used spinach bowtie pasta that I had picked up at Grocery Outlet. I love bowtie pasta and I love spinash pasta, so it's like a match made in my own private heaven!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh, Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree...

Last year at this time Portland was buried in snow, my flight had just gotten cancelled and rescheduled for 5 days later, and I was in the start of a much-needed 2 week vacation from work. The times...they are a'changing....

I've got two jobs that totally 14-19 hours a week and no snow in sight. I'm going to Florida (aka home) the end of January with my sister and brother-in-law and very much look forward to the (Lord willing, since a couple years ago I went in January and there was a COLD SPELL!) warm sunshine..and, you know, friends and family. 

I have been pondering going overseas again. I haven't gone to another country (besides Canada) since 2003 when I had lived in Germany for a year and done lots of roaming around. I had been thinking about it, but what really got me thinking of it for real was the book Eat, Pray, Love. I didn't really like this book, but it made me think. I remember when I was in Edinburgh, Scotland and I wrote down in my journal (or a letter...I don't remember...I don't normally journal much though) that I wanted to come back to this city some time and stay a couple months to work and play. I feel like right now is my chance. Technically this summer would've been a smarter time to go.....but right now I still don't have a "real" full time job, I'm not on a lease and I have a friend that could be move into my room while I'm gone. We, along with my roommate, had talked about getting a place together. So hypothetically, we would look for a place when I get back and until we find something, I could live with my sister. She's been wanting me to move back anyways.  :o)    

Does anyone know of any good programs/jobs in Edinburgh or Australia? (I've been thinking of going to Australia since I've never gone and a lot of my friends have and really liked it)

Foodwise: Last night I made 3 adorable small loaves of Pound Cake. I frikkin' love that stuff! When I was younger I would get my mom to buy the Sara Lee frozen pound cake and I would eat the shit out of it. I can't believe that I wasn't fat as a youngin'. I was a bit on the chubby side, but not quite. I ate a lot of veggie-less macaroni salad, hardboiled eggs (including deviled eggs), pound cake, McDonald's and Burger King, trail bologna, cheese, and lots of soda. 

The pound cake I made was from Veganomicon (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romano). I don't know if I've ever made it exactly as the recipe states. I never have the citrus extracts and rarely do I have the zest needed. I use whatever flavor soy yogurt I have on hand and the first time I made it I didn't have the amount of arrowroot asked for, but it came out good anyways! This time I used Key Lime yogurt that had expired last week. (Previously I've also used cherry....really almost ever flavor would work) I had thought I would give them as small gifts to a couple people so I used my aluminum miny loaf pans Missy had convinced me to buy at Grocery Outlet. They turned out delicious and, dare I say, moist! 

I just have to say, thank God for Isa and Terry! 

Thursday, December 17, 2009 freakin' way!

I was reading one of my favorite pop culture blogs the other day and he (Rich) gave a link to a blog that follows the life of a 4 year old cat named Chase who was in a accident when she was 3-5 weeks old. The accident injuries eventually led to the kitty having no mouth, eyelids...face. She does have eyes, which is extremely odd since SHE HAS NO EYELIDS! According to the blog, the cat is in no pain and when she wants to sleep she usually goes under the bed or in a dark room. But, seriously, you have to see these pictures! On an empty stomach! It will blow your mind. It reminds me of Mike the headless chicken a bit.

Did I ever tell you that I love Jen Corace's art? Well, I do. I forgot that I used to follow her blog until I thought of her the other day (all my bookmarks got erased awhile back when my friend reset everything on my computer). She's the one that drew the infamous Cowhugger design that I can't get enough of (I have the sticker on my car, the long sleeve green and the deep v-neck purple, my favorite) and she used to do a lot of illustrations in one of Portland's alternative weekly papers, The Mercury. When I first found out about her art, I contacted her, saying I was interested in getting a tattoo designed by her. She said she was good with a trade, but I don't really make/do anything specific and soon after I heard she had an idea for me....I never heard from her again. I did meet her in person once when she was here for a gallery opening at Motel downtown. She was nice but I think we're both pretty awkward with strangers so we didn't talk much. (just so you know, I don't blame her for never getting back to me. She's very busy with her art and if I were her, I may have done the same...I just wish I could've found out what she thought of)

Well, I have a ladies night (theme: manly poker night) to get to!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Ok, so a loooooong ass time ago, I was given some frozen waffle products by Nature's Path foods. One was the Homestyle gluten free and the other was one of the fruity varieties. I accidentally left the fruit ones at work and my bosses and their kids ate I didn't get to try them.  :o)    But from what they tell me, they were tasty!

So, I did get to eat the gluten free ones. I'm always skeptical about gluten free bready things. They usually end up with a weird taste and quite dry and crumby. So I was pleasantly surprised by these waffles. I toasted them up in my toaster oven, smeared a little peanut butter, drizzled it with maple syrup and ate them right up! There's no strange flavor, just a nice yummy waffle. I was wondering what to have for breakfast yesterday and I was wanting something warm, that's when I remembered I still had 2 of these in my freezer. After several months opened in the freezer, they were a little dry and crumbly, but the taste was still good!

A couple months I was sent 3 boxes of Nature's Path Granola. I had previously tried, and loved, the Pomegran Plus. It was some dried sour cherries in there, as well as coconut. So good!!
I'll review them in order from least liked to most liked.

The one I liked least was the Agave Plus. It had sunflower seeds in it and just had this weird taste to it. I like sunflower seeds a lot, but they tasted strange here. I would never buy this one. Even if it was 99 cents a box....

Second best/worst was the Vanilla Almond Flax Plus. I'm usually not a huge fan of vanilla flavored granolas, I think they end up tasting too cloying. It's like the vanilla flavoring is kicking you in the face, daring for you to ignore it. This granola was no exception to my rule. It had a strange flavor to it. I wouldn't say I hated it, I would eat it if given a bowl of it, but if I had other options (such as the Pomegran Plus!) I wouldn't choose it.

The best in the bunch was the Pumpkin Flax Plus. Of course, the name insinuates there's going to be a pumpkin flavor to doesn't. It just has pumpkin seeds in the mix. Good ole pepitas! There is some cinnamon in the granola, which is maybe why I like it. I like this granola and would definitely buy it when the granola mood hits. Well...if they were out of the Pomegran Plus   :o)

Oh, I just remembered that I've also had their Hemp Plus granola! I was on a kick for awhile, getting that stuff a lot. I think I stopped getting it after the Pomegran Plus hit the market. I'm a sucker for cherries, what can I say? The Hemp Plus has a sorta strange taste, which I think is due to the hemp seeds. Those little guys just have an odd taste, but I love them and have acquired a taste for them.

Thanks so much to Nature's Path for the samples to review!