Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Carrot Muffins and Linkage!


Because I can't bear to post without pictures, here are some of yummy Carrot Raisin Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance. This was the first time I've made these. I don't know why I skipped them for so long. The VWAV muffins are my very favorite muffins to make. Yum! For some reason I expected these muffins to be super sweet like carrot cake, but - they were very nice and breakfasty, not cupcakey at all. The muffins I ate the next day were awesome cut in half, toasted lightly in the toaster oven and smeared with Earth Balance. Sooo good.

And even if you eat like 6 of them in one sitting, you can just tell yourself how great it is that you're eating so many carrots while you're doing it. Because we all know that carrots are good for you. So how can you go wrong?


Now for the getting down to business portion of the program. I need to add some links! Because I am quite forgetful and potentially distracted by shiny objects, give me a comment if you're not in my links and would like to be. :D Or you can just comment to tell me how freaking cute alpacas are. Because they are. Yes they are!!! Stop it. You're wrong. They're cute, so there. I knew you'd see it my way.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


There are so many pictures of my cat, Piper, on the blog. I do have two other cats, so I wanted to show them being cute, too. Whenever I'm cooking, Piper loves to be in the kitchen. She usually sits on the top of the refrigerator and watches me. Sometimes she jumps down and tries to help, too. ;)

The other two pretty much decide to go in the living room and be as cute as possible in hopes that I'll leave the kitchen and give them lots of pets. It's a tried and true cat method. I mean, seriously. How could you resist this?


Or this?


:D And I wanted to share how beautiful Vancouver is in the spring. These pictures are from two weeks ago. If you can imagine, there are actually more trees bursting with blossoms now. It's amazingly beautiful. Even the air smells fragrant in some places.



Check me out. Two posts in one day! :D

Strawberry and Mango Cobbler


Some days I binge on Food Network. I actually really like Food Network Canada better than the programming in the states. Rock on, Canadia! (Yes, I did mean to spell it that way. :P) One of the shows I enjoy the most is Chef at Home. The cool thing about Michael Smith is that he's actually trying to teach people how to combine flavors and how to cook. Even when you look up one of his recipes on the website, he prefaces it with this:

"A recipe is merely words on paper; a guideline, a starting point from which to improvise. It cannot pretend to replace the practiced hand and telling glance of a watchful cook. For that reason feel free to stir your own ideas into this dish. When you cook it once, it becomes yours, so personalize it a bit. Add more of an ingredient you like or less of something you don't like. Try substituting one ingredient for another. Remember words have no flavour, you have to add your own!"

Awesomeness. So anyway, I'm watching his show one day and he's making this amazing strawberry and mango cobbler. Holy crap, yum! And then he did something really cool that I had never thought of before. Instead of melting margarine and mixing it in the dough, and instead of cutting in small cold pieces of margarine, he froze the dang stick and grated it in! What a freaking awesome idea. I think this could work for biscuits and other stuff like that. Especially if you don't have a pastry blender or if you get annoyed by trying to use one. I had some Earth Balance sticks that I just stuck in the freezer for whenever I felt like making something like this.

So after scribbling down the recipe (okay, who am I kidding. The OCD part of SaraJane wrote it down neatly in my cooking journal), I was kind of excited about trying this new technique with the EB. I was going to just substitute some of the fruit for others and THEN the market across the street from work put cases of mangos on sale for $7.99. Oh hell, yes. I totally carried that box of mangos home on the bus. Heh. That was kind of funny, I have to admit. Mangos are my all-time favorite food, so I was stoked. After forcing myself to stop eating nothing but mangos for days, I managed to save a few to cut up for this cobbler.

He used frozen fruit on the show. I froze mine and then had to thaw them out to use them. They were so juicy, I sort of had a block of mango in the freezer. Between the freezing and thawing and baking, they sort of liquified. Weird, right? They're still fine and the cobbler still tastes really good, but it looks a little weird. I guess either use frozen or fresh, but don't thaw the frozen ones.


Strawberry and Mango Cobbler

2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
2 cups fresh or frozen mango
1/2 cup cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup margarine, frozen (one stick of Earth Balance is 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup soy milk

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Place fruit into a large bowl and toss well with the flour, sugar and lemon juice. Put the fruit mixture into a baking dish. I used one of those square pyrex ones. It's best if the fruit fills the dish but doesn't rise above the edges. You don't want to get hot bubbly fruit running over the edge of the dish as it cooks.

For the topping, stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Grate in the frozen margarine and mix the dough together with either a wooden spoon or your fingers.

Pour in the soy milk and stir until mixture comes together and forms a rough dough. It'll be a bit dry, but that's what you want. Either use a spoon or your fingers and put the dough in pieces over the fruit, covering the entire top evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Things That Are Awesome: Green & Black's Hot Chocolate

I've decided to start a semi-regular thing on my blog. Things that are awesome. Frequently I find gadgets or yummy packaged foods that I think everyone should know about. First up - chocolatey yumminess.


I have a love affair with Green & Black's chocolates. They're all fair trade and organic and almost all of them are vegan. You have seriously never tasted chocolate this amazing. You don't want to chew it, just put little pieces in your mouth and let it melt on your tongue. It's really unfair to yourself to eat it faster than that. Plus, the chocolate lasts a little longer that way because you'll end up eating less each time.

Green & Black's is a UK company and they have some flavors across the pond that we can't get over here. I've actually had a friend of mine from over there send me some because she knew how much I like it. And let me say this, too: I'm not a chocolate fiend. I don't eat chocolate very often, I have to be in the mood for it. I'm more of a salty craving gal. Give me some fries or plain potato chips or Tings over chocolate any day. Unless you're going to offer me some Green & Black's.


Loving Green & Black's the way I do, I was intrigued when I saw that they had hot chocolate. I actually found this the first time in the drug store. Sometimes it pays to walk down an aisle randomly. I never ever buy hot chocolate because I'm rather partial to the way I make it from scratch. It's so easy to do it yourself and hot chocolate mixes always pale in flavor in comparison to homemade. Until now!


Check out what it looks like, too. This is no wimpy powdered mix, this is little tiny pieces of chocolate. You know what else is awesome? If you ever wish you could have hot chocolate when you're not at home, you can use this. Get some of those little single servings thingies of soy milk and keep them at work along with this and you can have a nice afternoon snack.

I actually really like to cut up some Sweet & Sara marshmallows and let them swim around in the chocolateyness. That is a fantastic way to give yourself some dessert after dinner without eating those last 3 cupcakes that are calling your name.


Even Piper wants some!