Sunday, November 30, 2008

Argh, got my first cold of the season & piss watch

I must have picked up a bug at the TG potluck. I gave it a chance to grow when I stayed up until 3 AM because we had to take Chippy to the kitty ER. Chippy had some blood in his urine. He seems fine now, but he has to be sequestered so we can monitor his pee action. aka piss watch. Yes, very uncouth of me.

My cold sucks big time. I have a foggy head with mega ear and throat pain. Talking and swallowing really hurts.

At least there isn't any coughing. When I get a cough w/ a cold, it lingers for months after the cold. I finally found a good doctor the last time I was battling w/ the cough.

You're probably wondering why I'm posting instead of sleeping. I needed a break from laying around in bed. I'll be back up in my bedroom prison with Chippy soon enough.


I made Julie Hasson's cobbler last week, and it is really good and most importantly very easy to make - just pour in the batter, then put fruit on top, the oven does the rest. I used blueberries as well as blackberries.


I know I've posted about Pizza Pi before, but it's awesome so you'll have to suffer through another post about them. My evil plan is to brainwash you into craving pizza - not exactly that difficult to do. Hey, I'm sick (wah), so my goals have been lowered.
We went the day after TG because cooking was too much effort. We got a cheezeburger pizza and a meatball pizza with green peppers, green olives and onion. We also got a caesar's salad. I'm really taken with the cheezeburger pizza - can you tell? The next vegan meetup is at Pizza Pi, so you know what I'm getting :)

Andy just sent me this link about cafe flora adding cocktails to their menu. Before they only had 1 vegan wine by the glass, but it was white (bleah).
I'm so boring, I will probably still get tea when I go there. They now use Remedy tea. I had a glass of regular black iced tea and it was really gross. Their earl grey was good which is important because that is what I drink for hot tea.


I caused mayhem in the house because I put some baby blankets around the big cat toy thing making a cabana, though I guess it's a catbana. Each level in the big cat toy is only big enough for 1 cat, but those worms managed to stack themselves in anyhow (Chippy, Peepa, The Judge).

I had to take the blankets down because Tubs would go on the level above it and start beating on anybody in the catbana level through through the hole they are supposed to use to move up and down the toy. Nothing new for this toy, but the blankets trapped them in more.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Potluck and a Thankful Kitty (for all of the wrong reasons)

I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. I went to a vegan potluck and ate a lot of awesome food with a lot of fun people. Some fellow bloggers were there:
  • Yasmin - we had met at an earlier meetup. It was really nice to see her again.
  • The Vegan Ricans, but I didn't have a chance to meet them.
Here's what Andy & I made:

SusanV's Black Bean Hummus. It was delicious and you must make it. I see a 7 layer dip in my future :). I didn't use the optional soy yogurt (because I didn't have any), and I added some olive oil.

I made Hummus using my stepmother's recipe - I put olive oil and paprika on top. She first introduced me to hummus and tofu way back when.

To go with the hummus, I toasted some pitas and also made Celine's cheezy quackers. If you haven't made these crackers, you should do it because they are really great tasting. I just made squares because I'm super lazy and try to avoid cookie cutters if possible. I also made them thin and a little bit browned.

Grapes, oranges and pineapple because who doesn't love fruit.

Here's the food table at the potluck. It didn't have any free space on it (yay). This was the first wave of food. Even more came later on.

Here is the dessert table. The coconut pudding that Vegan Ricans made was really light and delicious (in the large cookie sheet). I also had a pumpkin muffin that Yasmin made. Yummy! The pumpkin pie made by Mary was great. Everybody was raving about the chocolate mousselike cheesecake, but it was gone before I was in the mood for sweets (you can see it on the far right)

Now for the thankful kitty. Of course it's Tubs. You can see how satisfied he is in the pic below. Where is he sitting, you might ask. Hmmmmm.....
Well, he's sitting on the ledge above one of the doors we had installed so that he couldn't get to the other side of the house. He jumps from the countertop to the top of the cabinets (the only cat that can do this in the house), then pushes aside the boxes Andy put on top to block his way and literally walks onto the ledge, then typically jumps into the forbidden zone. I'm sort of surprised that it has taken him months to figure this out. Well, now the spot he is sitting is filled with boxes. Hah!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cafe Flora & Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everybody that celebrates it has a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! I'll be at a vegan potluck, so you know I'll be having a good time :).
Earlier this week, we went to Cafe Flora for lunch. If you ever go there, which you should, ask to be seated in the sun room. It is a glassed in room that has a fountain in the middle and lots of plants. The day we went, it was really warm in there, almost steamy - all due to sun power. Very surprising for a November day.
Cafe Flora is a place perfect for special occasions or a really nice dinner. It's a vegetarian restaurant that has a lot of vegan dishes/options.

I had the black bean burger, which was really good, but sort of overly sweet because of the carmelized onions. Andy had the sloppy joe that was really spicy. I think the sweetness and spiciness should have switched places. That said, they were really good. The buns were perfect. They were served with yam fries, which are good, but not as good as french fries - I'm conditioned to love potato fries.

For dessert we split the carrot cake. It was ok. The yellow stuff on the plate is a cardamom sauce. Andy thought it looked like mustard. The frosting had almost no flavor, but the walnuts made up for it. For some reason, all of their frostings taste like that. It's almost best to get an appetizer, salad or soup rather than dessert at this restaurant. Their non dessert food is amazing. You can always go home and eat some cupcakes :).
December: Tubs, Peepa, The Judge, and Chippy. This is the most perfect worm pile that I have ever captured on film.

Back of the Calendar: a zoomed in part of each month. Well that is it for the 2008 Calendar. Guess I better get motivated on making the 2009 calendars now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pre Thanksgiving Fest

I really wanted to try out some Thanksgiving recipes, so I made the whole deal. Mostly for Andy since he can't get enough of this kind of food.

Starting at 12'oclock & going clockwise:
mashed potatoes and gravy
mashed rutabega
green bean casserole
cranberry sauce
seitan saurbratten (center)
roasted acorn squash (center)

pumpkin cheezecake w/ soyatoo
I used the green bean casserole recipe that I found on SusanV's blog. It was phenomenal. You should totally try it. I used apple cider vinegar instead of wine. I als0 chopped the mushrooms really fine. I used the same broth that I had made for the stuffing. I also made my own fried onions for the top. I dipped the onions in soymilk, then in flour/salt/pepper, then I deep fried them until they were sort of golden. I kept them sort of pale so that they could also brown in the oven.

I used the stuffing from the Holiday Feast class I recently took. I used Dave's Killer bread, which made it really yummy. The other main ingredients are chopped hazelnuts, celery, onions, broth, sage and lentils. I made the broth recipe from the same class. I had used Imagine veggie broth a few weeks ago and it ruined my lentil soup (which I fixed with peanut butter). I won't do that again. It's boring to make stock, but it's totally worth it and it's freezable. If I ever make stuffed mushrooms, I'll use this as stuffing.

I made the pumpkin cheezecake recipe from A Vegan Paradise twice because Andy ate the first one on Thursday (a testimony to the deliciousness of the pie) and the pre TG was on Friday so I had to have one then :). This pie is really really good. Thanks, Roo for the recipe.

The first time I followed the recipe exactly. The second time I halved the soy milk and doubled the tofu so it would firm up faster (I was in a time crunch). It firmed up just fine both times, in case you want to follow the original recipe. Don't worry, I made half batches each time, so it was 2 pies, not 4 :). As with all pumpkin type pies, I covered it with aluminum foil for the first part of baking.

I used this recipe for the gravy. It was really good and I will definitely make it again. The recipe calls for 2 cups of water. I replaced part of the water with 1/3 cup soy creamer and 1/2 cup broth. Later on when I thinned the gravy, I used edensoy rice soy blend. I went for the optional mushrooms which I chopped really fine.


Here is the dog that I would have picked up today to foster, but they found another foster family. I guess that this is sort of good because I'm already fostering 1 dog. If she is not adopted in 2 weeks, she might come to my house. I know the dog I'm fostering now will be happy to play with her.

More of the 2008 calendar.

September: Peepa and the Judge. They are clinging to each other for warmth.

October: Kobie and the Judge. I don't know how the Judge snuck in there.

November: Scoatt. I like this picture because it looks sort of uncomfortable and shows how huge and fluffy he is.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Many Thanks, Beastmomma

I won the book, Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson, in a contest hosted by Beastmomma. Thank you so much, it was really nice of you to share a book that you really loved. I just finished a book and will be starting it tonight.

If you haven't checked out Beastmomma's blog, you should stop by. She has a gift for writing. When I read her blog, it makes me look at my own experiences in a new light.


I made the banana date scones from veganomicon. They were good, but not as flaky as typical scones. Probably because of the bananas - they always give a strange texture to baked goods that I'm only 80% in love with. Banana bread is a different story, it gets 100% love.

They did taste better texture wise the 2nd day. Maybe that's the trick w/ banana items.

I cut the amount of dates in 1/2 because the recipe called for 8 oz, which worked out to be about 40 dates. I really liked the mix of finely chopped nuts and the dates.


Back to the current year's calendar:

June: Tubs - He likes to hide in the grass. He thinks he's being stealth, but I can almost always find him. Though he must have some skills, because on the rare occasion when I let Kobie in the cat cage, Kobie can't find him. So much for Kobie's sense of smell.

July: Chippy - I have a lot of pics of the cats on the concrete stackup. They love it. Makes for a repetative cat calendar :(

August: Faline - You can't see it very well in this smaller version of the pic, but I altered her tag to say "I like to lay around all day and eat catnip". Nobody noticed it in the calendar (where you could totally read it).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Butterfly Award Meme & some food & cats (of course)

I just got a Butterfly Award from Becks at I'm not a rabbit. Thanks so much, Becks. I really love reading your blog, too. And I'm glad that you like mine :)

meme rules & regs:

(1) post about the award,
(2) link back to the person that nominated you
(3) place the award on your sidebar
(4) choose 10 blogs that you think are really cool, link to them, contact each person and talk about why you think their blogs are cool

I could list way more than 10 blogs that I love, but I will follow the rules. I really have to thank VeganMofo for getting all of us blogging and reading more blogs. I know I've totally benefitted from the experience. I love getting to know more about people and expanding my world view.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

A cup of Jo - you have so much energy and you always make me laugh. I love your outlook on life and eating yummy food. My husband even knows when I'm reading your blog because he hears music :) Cheers to you and your little squirrel friend!

BeastMomma - I love that you take the time out of your busy schedule and travelling to blog about what is going on. You express yourself really well so I can really sense what you're experiencing. You should definitely keep writing because you have a gift. Seattle is going to miss you when you move back east - but it is going to be so much fun for you there.

For the Love of Guava - I always have a good laugh reading your blog. I really love your stories and the way that you describe things. Mega props for directing the Vagina Monologues, way to really get involved and do some good. Down with prop 8! Up with dinosaurs!

Here’s What You’re Missing - wingraclaire, you do really cool things and your food looks so good. I'm so happy I found your blog. I have been freezing looking at the pics of the snow you're getting. Hopefully you won't mind me constantly tagging you w/ these memes :).

Kelly's Pink Apron - I love reading about all of the recipes you've tried, I'm sure you've surpassed your goal by now for the year. I have an excel spreadsheet of recipes that I try (so I can remember them). I'm at 105 for this year, though today I'm cooking up a storm, so who knows :) Pink rules!
Married Vegan Yogini - Your blog is awesome. You really open up and write about what is going on in your life and I feel privileged to read it. I think you are a really caring and giving person.

Maybe Local Vegan - Hey there fellow Seattleite, sci fi fan and pantry stocker. I love reading about you, the food you're making and your cool family. PS. I made biscuits and gravy again and I'm reading Dawn right now - it was just sitting on my bookshelf. :)

Nineteen Ninety Nine - I love reading about your cooking exploits and how you like to try new stuff. Right up my alley. You are also the first and only blogger that I have met in person. I hope to see you at many more meetups.
Vegannifer - you have such an interesting blog. I love the way you write about your life and show cool pics of what is going on. You have tons more energy for making lots of awesome food than I do :) Oh yeah, and thanks for the cork floor tips.

veganview - You have such an energetic and exciting life. I'm so happy that you share it. I really feel like I'm in the moment when I read your blog. Makes me think of the wild times I used to have and still have yet to come. I just love the funny pics that you post - like the election signs.


Ok, I had to sneak some food in here. I replicated the cheezeburger pizza from pizza pi, Seattle's vegan pizza place. It came out really well. Though I will still get it at Pizza Pi too. I used a frozen crust because I'm super lazy in the dough department. This is one of those recipes that you're probably thinking, big deal. Trust me, it is. I think kids would love this pizza because it is fun and yummy.

It's very easy to make.
  1. Put a layer of cheeZe on your pizza and some fake hamburger type crumbles. I didn't have any so I cut up a garden burger.

  2. Bake the pizza.

  3. While the pizza is still hot, put the following topping on and eat right away. Tastes good cold the next day (you really can't heat it up unless you didn't put the cold toppings on it)

  4. first layer: drizzle mustard and ketchup on top. It sort of acts like the glue to hold on the rest of the toppings. It doesn't have to be perfectly spread on top of the pizza. I just squrit it here and there and make a mess.

  5. second layer: chopped up onions, lettuce, tomato (I didn't have any so I used red peppers) and pickles.
    I'd imagine anything you'd put on a burger is fair game - like avocado.


Now for the continuation of the 2008 cat calendar...

March: Chippy (his eyes have not been altered like I did in the tub picture)

April: Kobie (taking a break between barkings. do you like the spit on the tongue? I toyed w/ removing it during editing.)

May: Scoatt (VT kitty. That spoon is not used for cooking, just for playing w/ Scoatt. If you rotate the picture it looks like he's dancing.)

Back to the kitchen....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Macrobiotics class

I took a Macrobiotics class at PCC taught by Hai En Mai and Julianne Stutzman Mai. It was a 3 hour intro class where we learned the concepts of macrobiotics and they cooked up some tasty food.

Roasted Autumn Seed Snack. Roasted sesame seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, all roasted, then barley malt syrup mixed in. Very tasty and filling.

Millet mashed "potatoes". Well actually millet and cauliflower whipped together. They served onion gravy on top and gave us a miso dressing as well.

Hijiki with Autumn Veggies and Tempeh. This was amazing. I love hijiki and learned that it is fantastic paired with squash. They left the skin on the squash and to be honest, I didn't even notice it - no rough texture and you get all the nutrients. Of course this doesn't work with every squash because some of the skins are really tough.

Apricot Apple Agar-Agar Dessert. This was basically a kanten. Very tasty if you scraped off the goji berries. Does anybody else think goji berries taste like raisins and squash mixed together (in a bad way)? The apricot and coconut combo was really good.


I'm in the process of making my annual cat calendar, so I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and share last year's calendar pics (greatly reduced in size of course). This year is more exciting because I ordered some 100% recycled cardstock. So once I use up the leftover from last year, I'll be more eco.

They represent the best pics taken during the year. They all have to be crystal clear or I won't use them - except for the cover, that is supposed to be a bit strange looking.

Nibbler makes this very difficult because it is not easy to get even 1 decent pic per year. I won't take pics if they act like they are being harassed - because I will know that I was harassing them every time I look at it.

Here are the first 3:
Cover: Peepa

January: Tubs

February: Nibbler

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ethiopian cooking class & Mediterranean Kitchen Restaurant

I finally attended the class I've been waiting for what seems like forever, the PCC Ethiopian cooking class. There were 2 instructors, Hanna Petros and Theresa Overlund. They are sisters in law and you can tell that they really love each other and have a great relationship. They were really fun and energetic. I learned a lot in the class. If you live in the Seattle area, Hanna and Theresa will be teaching more classes. I totally recommend taking a class taught by them.

They showed us how to make injera and even provided us with starter, which at one point started out as teff, yeast and water. woohoo! I can hardly wait to try it - well actually it lasts about 2 weeks, so I have a ticking teff clock. The pic below has the dishes they made sitting on top 2 kinds of injera. The injera on the top part of the plate is mixed flour (including teff). The injera on the bottom part of the plate is 100% teff flour. You can sort of see a difference in color. I liked them both.

At 3 o'clock there is Ye Ater Kik Wo't (Split Pea Stew/Sauce). This was really great stuff that mainly consists of split yellow peas and onion. It is mild by design.

At 6 and 12 o'clock is Ye Shiro Wo't. This was good, but I would have liked it a bit spicier. I made it at home years ago, but it was a much spicier version. I also get it really spicy when I go out to eat. The main component of this dish is a flour like powder that is reconstituted with water and you add things to it. You make the powder by boiling chickpeas in water for a short amount of time, drying them in the oven for a bit, adding onion and spices, then finally drying them in the oven all the way. When fully dry, grind up the mix - you'll get tons of flour from it. I've done it before and it's easy despite the long drying time.

At 9 o'clock there is my favorite from the class, Ye Atakilt Alitcha Wo't (Fall Vegetable Stew). It is mainly comprised of onion, potato, carrot, cabbage & tomato. It is not spicy at all.


I'm also throwing in a pic of the 1/2 eaten Fool (fava beans are the base) that I last week at the Mediterranean Kitchen in Bellevue, WA. On the side is deep fried pita bread with a lemon garlic drizzle. I love this dish. I forgot to take a pic of the mezze platter that has almost all vegan appetizers. So bonus for me because I got to have almost everything :).


Here's an old pic of Chippy in the tub. He is so nosy. Take a pic OR turn on the water in the tub. hmmmm...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Testing 123 - Sugarfest

The testing part of the title was to get the email subscriptions working. The sugarfest, is well just what it sounds like.

Over the past week or so, I made Jelly Donut Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I used strawberry jam in mine. Very easy way to make a filled cupcake. Yummy stuff.

I also made Isa's chocolate chip cookies from her recent post. They were very very good. Andy had his in a sundae with Soy Dream chocolate ice cream, banana, and peanut butter (that part he didn't eat because he doesn't know what tasty is).

I harassed Nibbler to get these photos. Not exactly perfect, but at least he didn't run away. The second picture is his special message to me on what he thinks of the camera.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shepherdess Pie & Peepa's fur

Lately I've been eating leftovers. Namely this really flavorful Shepherdess Pie that I made from Veganonmicon. I used seitan instead of tempeh. It also had corn, mushrooms, peas, onion, potato and yams/sweet potatoes. Next time I will go a bit more wild w/ the design.

The middle stripe is a mix of potatoes and canned yams. The label said "sweet potatoes", but when I opened it up, I was thinking yams. When I did some digging I found out that I was wrong. What we call yams here in the US are typically orange sweet potatoes. argh! Will I still call them yams? yes. Only because that's what everybody calls them here.

Here are some links in case you're interested... Trust me it's not as exciting as swimming scallops.

Here is a photo story of Peepa's fur growth and color change. He started off as dark gray with almost no fur and eventually willed himself into being a blonde w/ "lots" of fur. Ok, not lots, but more.

2000. Not much fur at all.

2002. More fur. still very dark gray. Peepa will worm up to an unsuspecting sleeping person and contort them to fit his needs. I'm sure Andy's arm hurt after that nap.

2004. Looking very plush. Still has some smudges of gray on his sides.

2008. Way more blonde, well tan/beige with some gray along his spine. I don't have many pics of Peepa that are decent because he doesn't cooperate during picture time.