Monday, March 31, 2008

Vacation and lots o' food!

So we went out of town for 5 days and before that? Sick. Oh yes.

So I'm going to go backwards and start with vacation! Because it's fresh in my mind and really, who doesn't want to relive vacation?! We went to Phoenix from Wednesday-Sunday because Chad had a second job interview, so we decided to turn it into family vacation time. We were actually in the western suburbs of Phoenix, which was basically all strip malls, all the time. But it was beautiful, the desert, and it was 86 degrees the whole time. And sunny. Did I mention sunny? And 86? In MARCH? I was loving it UP. It smelled like sage and everything just had a crisp spring edge to it. Lovely.

So I was a little worried about being in the land of Mexican food and being vegan, because for all the ethnic cuisines that are vegan friendly, Mexican food is really not one of them. So no little taquerias for us unfortunately. Luckily, we weren't all that tempted because we were mostly surrounded by chains, which can be very helpful to the traveling vegan who has access to the internet! Let me just say that this was the best vegan traveling I have ever done. We had a couple great lunches at Chipotle (fajita burrito bowls with the black beans), and a great dinner at Macaroni Grill (pasta with garlic olive oil, bruschetta with no cheese, garden salads sans cheese and crutons - and a dirty martini!), and some decent bagles with hummus for me and pb&j for Chad for breakfast. We also bought some cereal and almond milk for brekkie to have at the motel, but we didn't have a fridge, so there was a lot of putting the almond milk in the ice bucket in front of the a/c, so after day 2 we decided not to risk it. ;) We also had some of the BEST vegan food EVER at Green restaurant, in Scottsdale. We had the edamame (for Silas) and Spicy Buffalo Wings (OMG!!! Must try to recreate this recipe!), then Chad had the No-Harm Chicken Parm and I had the Texas "moo-shroom" po boy, with unbelievably thin crispy and delicious thyme fries. Then, as IF that wasn't good enough, they also have their own homemade vegan soft-serve "ice cream"!!!!! That they make blizzards with!!! Called tsoynamis!!! Seriously! I had the rocky road with chocolate chips, vegan marshmellows, almonds and chocolate syrup, and Chad just had strawberry, cuz that's the kind of guy he is. It was bliss, pure bliss. I can't get over how wonderful it is to be eating at a restaurant where I can order ANYTHING off the menu and still be true to my ethics! It's amazing.

Whoo. Anyway. We also had some fabulous Thai food, but I have to confess that I'm a bad vegan. I never ask about fish sauce. The first time we had the thai I didn't taste fishiness at all, but the second time I caught a vague whiff of it. I'm going to stop being a lazy vegan and just start asking. Geez! What's my problem anyway? I guess I'm just worried about language barriers and being denied my favorite ethnic cuisine. But I'm gonna do it!

There were also several soy lattes at Starbucks. Good stuff all around. And we even survived the flight home with only access to a regular old grocery store (Fry's) - we found fresh berries, soy yogurt, Odwalla protein shakes and bagels and hummus for breakfast, and made Yves salami and hummus sandwiches on kaiser rolls for lunch. I was pretty proud of our success with vegan traveling.

We also did 3 hikes, visited 2 communities, walked around a couple downtowns, browsed an awesome used bookstore (Bookman's) and generally had a great time.

On to the food!

We had some fronch toast revisted here (with the additions of some vanilla and cinnamon to the VwaV recipe - a vast improvement!), with a side of almond butter sweet mashed sweet potatoes (inspired by Vegan Lunch Box), and some sliced bananas. Good stuff! I love having the sweet potatoes in the morning, it's a great way to get some orange veggies in first thing! The basic recipe is :

Breakfast Sweet Potatoes
1-2 sweet potatoes
1-2 T almond butter
1 T maple syrup (or to taste)
.5-1 T earth balance
salt to taste
cinnamon if you want (I skip it)

I microwaved the sweet potatoes for about 4 minutes , turned them over, and microwaved them another 4 minutes. Let them sit for a minute and then pulled the peels right off. Mashed in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and serve!

Blueberry Coffee Cake from The Joy of Vegan BakingTo DIE for! I made this when we had some omni friends over after dinner out and it was a smash hit! This is a dangerous cake to have around because it is soooo tasty. We finished it for breakfast the next day!

Vegan Pizza Night!

Crust from TJ's, sauteed portabellos, a wee bit of leftover pesto and sliced tomatoes. Oh and just a bit of Follow Your Heart Mozzarella. The cheese was ok - it didn't melt much and didn't taste like much either, but it gave the appearance of cheese, which was fine. Now that I have the cheese in the house, I'll use it, but when we use it up I'm not sure if I'll replace it or not. I'm all about flavor, baby, and not so much for just appearances.

Do you know the magic that is the Magical Loaf Studio? Created by the author of the blog and cookbook, Vegan Lunch Box, this handy little tool can pretty much make a vegan loaf out of anything you have in your kitchen. Ok, that might not be entirely true, but it's pretty close.

My loaf consisted of pumpkin and sesame seeds, lentils, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, carrot, and celery, veggie broth, thyme basil, sage, nooch, veggie Worcestershire, ketchup, flax meal, Braggs, and olive oil. I cooked them in muffin tins, and before baking them I brushed on a combo of ~ equal amounts of ketchup and brown sugar with a dollop or two of more veggie Worcestershire sauce. Yum!

We had these with garlicky southern greens (from Vcon - can't get enough of these!) and baked potato with earth balance and s&p.

We had them a couple times, each time with the greens (they sell giant 1 lb bags of greens already washed and stemmed at TJ's! Awesome).

Navy Bean Cutlets with Mushroom Sauce and Roasted Carrots
Can't go wrong with the chickpea cutlets! I made a double batch this time with navy beans instead of chickpeas, and baked them for the first time (wow, easy and awesome!). This meal was a make-up-on-the-fly kind of thing, which is not my usual thing. I sliced up carrots and tossed them with some olive oil and maple syrup and salt and roasted them while I baked the cutlets. While that stuff was cooking I chopped up a portabello mushroom and sauteed it in olive oil with salt and white wine, then added in some flour and soy milk creamer to make it creamy and a little saucy. Oh and salt and pepper. It was really tasty over the cutlets, not really a gravy, but savory and delicious.

Other Stuff I Don't Have Pictures Of

I also baked up a big batch of cornbread from The Joy of Vegan Baking which was deLICIOUS! Like cornbread you'd get at The Cracker Barrel or something, it was really tender and sweet and awesome. Very different from the usual southern style skillet cornbread I make.
I also made a really great impromptu curry loosely following a recipe from Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet. It was coconut milk, red curry paste, chickpeas, green peas, and a can of diced tomatoes, sauteed sliced onion, carrots, and garlic all over whole wheat spaghetti. Next time I would add a tablespoon or two of Braggs, because it needed saltiness, but otherwise it was really tasty and made a LOT of food, AND the toddler was a huge fan.

Yesterday for a toddler playgroup I made a batch of Cornbread Blueberry Muffins from The Joy of Vegan Baking. These were ok - I was really expecting the tenderness of the cornbread, and these were much heavier/breadier. I was out of yellow cornmeal, so I used white, and I used all whole wheat white flour instead of half-white, half-wheat, so that might have been the culprit. I would make them again using less whole wheat flour because the flavor was good otherwise.

And finally, yesterday I made a batch of the Backyard BBQ Sauce from Vcon. OMG, yum! I slathered in on tempeh and fried it up for sandwiches for dinner last night (and lunch today) on whole wheat buns with a little veganaise and bread & butter pickles. Awesome combo! We had salad on the side.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wheat and Potatoes, et al

Here's what's been on our menu of late!

Fronch Toast with Leftover Scramble and Potatoes

I can't remember if I've made the Fronch Toast from VwaV before, but I was happy with the results. The garbanzo bean flour gives it that weird metallic eggy taste that's missing from most vegan french toast recipes. But the biggest plus of this recipe? It totally didn't stick while cooking. Bitchin'.

Fried Tempeh with Almond Sauce, with Assorted Salads
So I had defrosted tempeh on Monday without a definite idea of what I planned to do with it. I finally decided on some fried tempeh and some kind of peanut-type sauce. So while I fried up the tempeh in peanut oil, I found a recipe for peanut sauce in Vegan Planet. It was AWESOME! Oh, but I subbed almond butter for the peanut, just to see what it would be like (plus, the toddler could eat it without me worrying). I served this over leftover diced baked potatoes (remind me never to buy a 5 lb bag of potatoes ever again - we just don't eat them fast enough!). On the side is Quinoa Black Bean Salad and a basic green salad with balsamic maple vinaigrette that I made up on the fly. A satisfying meal all around, and I definitely need to copy that sauce recipe before I return that cookbook to the library!

Leftovers Extraordinaire
Do you love to transform leftovers into something totally new? Me too. So this is some leftover quinoa with steamed broccoli and peas and some AWESOME smoked cubed tofu (Soy Boy, I think?) with leftover almond (peanut) sauce. Soooooo good! I'm going to have to buy stock in that tofu, it is outrageous, and so easy to deal with - it's ready to eat out of the package. The toddler is also a huge fan, so yay protein. I had this for dinner last night and lunch today, it was THAT good.

Slow Cooker Seitan Pot Roast

It's been a Robin Robertson kind of week here, what with this meal and the awesome peanut sauce recipe from Vegan Planet! Ok, that picture above of the whole deal IN the crockpot looks a little scary (brains!?!), so here's what the plated version was like:

Much less brain-y. It was soooo good! God, there is nothing like having that warm, secure feeling of knowing that dinner will be ready just by lifting the lid of the crockpot! This took about 7-10 minutes to prepare this morning before Chad left for work, and then voila! It was ready when he got home. This was sorely needed today, because none of us are sleeping well since Silas has a cough and was coughing ALL. NIGHT. LONG. At about 15 minute intervals, so you'd *just* fall asleep and then COUGH! HACK HACK! COUUUUUGH!

But I digress. (It's the sleep deprivation). This was an awesome, hearty meal. I will definitely be making this again. It was my first try at seitan in the crock, and I'm really glad it worked out, because seriously, what could be easier? I think next time I'll try to make the seitan dough more "roast-y," this time I made it kind of flat to cover the veggies so it was kind of thin and disc-shaped. Just an aesthetic thang.

Random Baking
Oh, and I did make some cookies that didn't last long enough for photos - 2 batches of Dreena's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies. I think I could eat a batch a day, seriously. I made one with regular chips and one with carob, so the dudes could partake. Chad was very impressed. The carob was actually really good, very malty, not chalky at all. Although now he is wondering if he has a carob allergy because he was getting the fluttery allergy feeling after eating them. ARGH! This chocolate lover can't win. :/

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pizza and some other things

Pizza night! I cheated a little and used a Trader Joe's regular refrigerated crust, and it was dang tasty. I topped it with leftover pesto (VwaV), sundried tomatoes, sauteed portabello mushrooms, leftover pine nut cream sauce (Vcon) and, obviously, sliced tomatoes. It was a really awesome combo. The pesto was nice and fatty and kept it from seeming dry, and the pine nut cream sauce dolloped on was just the touch of creaminess that was needed to imitate some cheese factor. I would most certainly make this combo again, it was deeeeelicious.

Power Lunch
I thought my lunch today was kind of impressive looking, so I decided to photograph it. The funny thing is, it took about 2 minutes to put together since it was leftovers. This is Quinoa Black Bean Salad that I got from Jenny at Vegetarian Adventure over romaine and baby spinach, with a whole wheat pita stuffed with tofu salad and sliced cucumbers. Oh, and some baby carrots. Cuz you can never have enough carrots. I looooooooove tofu salad, and I don't really follow a recipe any more, just add veganaise, relish, mustard, salt and turmeric to taste. I like it super creamy in these pitas, it's the perfect comb. The quinoa salad was a tasty surprise and used up a bunch of stuff that needed using up. And come on, it just looks beautiful and healthy, right? I felt healthier having just looked at it.

Of course, I had to sabotage that all by finishing the last 4 chocolate chip cookies from the other day. They had become really crispy and required dunking, and unsweetened almond milk is THE ticket for that. I can actually drink that stuff by the glass! I've never really been able to get into soymilk by the glass, it always set my stomach off just a little. Not so with my new love, almond milk - that stuff is smooth and fabulous and just the right consistency.

More Pancakes, Cookies and Eating Out

So we enjoyed Carrie's Powerhouse Pancake recipe so much that we decided to make it again - with blueberries! This was a major leap of faith for two reasons: 1)Every freaking time I try to make blueberry pancakes, they end up sticking to the pan and basically disintegrating, which results in much swearing, spatula flinging and general tantrum throwing and 2) we only had frozen blueberries, and I wasn't sure how they would work.

So I whipped up a double batch of batter (using only 1 T of applesauce and 3 of oil because I ran out of sauce). I poured my frozen blueberries into a measuring cup for easy access. And instead of mixing the berries into the batter, I used this magic trick: I poured the batter in to the pan to form pancakes, let sit for a few seconds AND THEN added the blueberries, by hand. I know this seems a little crazy or OCD, but it resulted in AWESOME pancakes that didn't stick AT ALL! This is the best trick ever. I remember reading it in that kid's cookbook by Mollie Katzen.

Pancakes a-cookin'

The finished product! I need to work on my garnish skills, they are obviously lacking, but luckily this did not impact the awesomeness of these pancakes. We did have sliced kiwi with these, but I didn't get them in the photo.And since we had a double batch, we got to have these two days in a row! Nothing like waking up and having pancake batter waiting for your loving attention in the fridge. Say it with me: Gooooooooo, Pancakes!

Eating Out
Yesterday we took an impromptu trip to Ann Arbor, because it was a nice day and we wanted to go for an outdoorsy walk AND I've been wanting to go to Seva, a vegetarian restaurant there. So we got to the walking place first (The Matthai Botanical Gardens) and of course, Silas fell asleep like 2.3 minutes before we got there. So Chad went for a walk and I read in the car while Silas slept. Which was fine, I didn't mind sitting in the sun reading and listening to the Canada Geese honking.

Then we went to Seva. I was so excited, it's a cool little place not far from UM campus, and even though I had been once before it was like 3 years ago and I barely remembered it. Everything vegan on the menu is marked, and so many things sounded so delicious. However, it is pretttty pricey. Like lunch entrees in the $9-15 range! I don't know, maybe I'm just cheap, but those seemed more like dinner prices to me. After much hemming and hawing over what to order, we both decided on getting the lunch special, which was half sandwich and a salad and we also each got a fresh juice from the juice bar. I decided on the BBQ Eggplant sandwich with sweet potato fries and salad with creamy dill dressing, and Chad got the Persea sandwich (open faced with sprouts, mushrooms, onion and guacamole - and he forgot to say no cheese, whoops) with regular fries and thai dressing on his salad.

Ok, so overall it was a fairly pleasant experience. My sandwich was tasty and spicy, and it wasn't something I normally would make for myself. Chad said his was ok, and he thought I could have easily made it at home and probably better. That was one of my big disappointments: a bunch of the stuff on the menu that was vegan I felt like could have so easily made myself. Like one was a tofurkey wrap - um, I make those all the time. They also did a tempeh wrap - same deal. And I don't think they're $9 when I do it. I'm exaggerating a little, because the sandwiches did come with fries AND someone else is obviously doing the work, but still. I don't know, I guess I was expecting some more creativity or innovation or something. Alas, we are still in Michigan, so I don't know why I got my hopes up that high. ;)

Second, I wasn't overly excited about our server (ok, if you work in hospitality, would it KILL YOU to crack a smile? Once? I was so excited to be there, and her energy was a total downer). Maybe she was having a bad day, I don't know. It was just kind of a bummer.

But maybe it was a good thing overall to have a mediocre experience - now I won't be jonesing for Seva constantly, and suggesting we take 90-mile round-trip excursions just for a veggie restaurant.

Oh, but I will say this: the dessert we got was AWESOME. We took it to go and had it last night and it was fabulous. It was a vegan cream tart with mixed berries. When I read tart I expected a mini-tart or pie, but it was basically a slice of vegan cheese cake with berry compote. It didn't look like much, but the cheesecake was rich and delicious and didn't have a weird tofu taste or grainy consistency and I don't know what they did to the berries but they were the perfect complement to the creamy tart/cake.

Neeeewwwww Cookbook!
We also stopped by Borders (we have a $50 Gift Card! I know all about independent bookstores, seriously, put the flame-throwers away!) and looked at kid's books, but we couldn't commit to any. So I decided to mosey up to the vegetarian cooking section (heeheehee) and just happened to find this:

Yayayayay! I've been waiting on hold for this book at my library FOREVER. Months. So I just decided, WTF, I'm using this freaking gift card, dammit! I love cookbooks, and as you know, I've been really inspired by Colleen's podcast, Vegetarian Food For Thought, so I was very psyched to try this book.

So when we got home, I made these:Oatmeal Raisin Cookies! Except I couldn't find my raisins, so I used dried blueberries, to the benefit of all, really. Chad doesn't really like raisins in his oatmeal cookies, and the blueberries were really subtle. This made a HUGE batch, like 4 dozen! I sent a dozen home with my neighbor (heh heh, subtly taking over the world with vegan baking!), and we have 2 dozen baked and ready to go (which should last about 2 days) and I also have over a dozen in the freezer, ready to be baked at a moment's notice! They were really tasty. I think next time I might cut back on the amount of oatmeal just a bit, they were pretty oat-y and dense. But really, really good overall.

There are so many delicious sounding treats in this book, I'm sure you'll be seeing a bunch in the future!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Some Food and Stuff

So we had the east coast flu plague here - in fact, Chad is suffering its effects right now which is why I'm ready to throw the toddler OUT THE WINDOW...but I promise I won't. Seriously.

Vietnamese Seitan Sandwiches with 5-Spice Dipping Sauce
These are my new favorite sandwich. They are so tasty! All the different flavors together - it's seriously like a party in your mouth. The basics are baguette with veganaise (and don't skimp!) then some fried seitan, some cilantro sprigs, some red onion and some peeled cucumber, sliced thin and long (not circles, strips). Then the dipping sauce is some broth, garlic, red chili flakes, ginger and 5-spice powder. It is just so awesome, kind of like having vegan au jus. I love just about anything you can dip, though. Thank you, Veganomicon!!! I never would have come up with this one on my own.

Isa Pizza Turned Vcon-inspired Lasagna

Ok, so the picture really doesn't do it justice, but this was awesome! I was too busy shoveling it into my mouth to take a picture of an individual slice. So I was going to make Isa Pizza - I had TJ's dough to use up. So I made the sauce, pesto and tofu ricotta from Vegan with a Vengeance. I get ready to roll out the dough and I realize it ain't happenin'. I left it on the stove to come to room temp, but it was too hot and the bottom half sort of half-cooked in the bag. Blech! What to do!?! So much work, for nothing! Then I realized I had pretty much what I needed for a lasagna, so I got out my no-cook noodles (god, I love those things) and set up my assembly line. I used a little pesto in the second "cheese" layer, but I have a lot leftover for rice salad or pasta or pizza another night. Then I baked it a while, then added the V-con pine nut cream sauce for the last 15 minutes - the white cracked stuff in the picture above. YUM! That stuff is the bomb. So creamy and delicious. A very satisfying lasagna, I would definitely make it again. I have to remind myself (often) that lasagna isn't really a big deal to make, especially when using those magic noodles. It always feels like it will take 5 hours, but it really takes like an hour and 15 minutes, including cooking time.

Carrie's Magic Powerhouse Pancakes

So I wanted pancakes this morning, but I've struck out the last couple times I've made them. My fellow blogger Carrie at Adventures in Vegetarianism posted a recipe the other day that sounded good, so I popped over there and found it. They were AWESOME! I will definitely make these again, probably doubling or tripling the batch so that I can have ready batter in the fridge for successive days (ever tried that? It's a great trick. The "dough" has time to really relax so the pancakes are awesome and fluffy and magic). We had these with maple syrup and apple slices. Yay for pancakes!

In other news, Chad was able to master the Whatchamyballs recipe and made a batch that we devoured in like 1.2 days.

Oh and just a note - we went to Trader Joe's Today and I got some of those Vegetable Gyoza that I keep reading about over at - and they are SOOOOO GOOOOD! That's all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Ack! I've been tagged.

First, sorry for the no-posts. I got a yucky icky virus, then Silas the toddler got a yucky icky virus so we've been cleaning ourselves up and resting around here.

Second, Carrie over at Adventures in Vegetarianism has tagged me, that wily lass! So basically, I get to share with you 5 things you probably don't know about me. Then I'm supposed to tag 5 people to do the same, but seriously folks, I don't think I "know" 5 bloggers well enough to do it. But I'll do what I can! ;)

Link to your tagger and post these rules.
Share 5 facts about yourself.
Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

1. I sing and play guitar. Sometimes in front of people. Performing at open mics have been known to happen. I started playing when I was 15 and somehow never forgot, even though months can go by where "there's dust on my guitar."

2. I'm a REALLY GOOD burper. Seriously. I can't burp the alphabet or anything, but I've got scary deep, loud burps that would knock your socks off. In fact, I won a burping contest in high school, and I have video footage to prove it.

3. I loooooove science fiction. I'm a total SF geek. I've even been to a science fiction/fantasy conference!!! It's true. It wasn't a trekkie thing, just a celebration of all things geeky and science fiction-y. It was SO FUN. I'm planning on going to another one in April.

4. I was salutatorian of my high school class.

5. I'm naturally very flexible.

Ok, so I tag McMama, even though I think she's recently done a similar meme...and Veganf even though she has no idea who I am...

Seriously, I'm a NOTORIOUS lurker. The blogs I read are either high traffic or I'm lame and never comment, so the authors would be all "WTF? Who is this person?"

So my new year's resolution is to now start commenting on more people's blogs. ;)

Ok, I promise to update soon with food...I have a few new pics to post and I have been cooking despite illness. But right now my services are being requested in toddler form - "Mama! Book! Nigh-nights!" So, nigh-night for now.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Vegan Baking Weekend!

Homestyle Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Mmm, my house smells like chocolate chip cookies! With no animal products! These cookies are so freaking amazing, I think I might have to make them weekly. And let me say that that is a lot of cookies, because I'm the only one in the house who can eat chocolate! Chad's allergic, and because of that we're keep Silas away from chocolate until he's a little older. Luckily this recipe only makes 11-12 cookies, so it's not too bad. They're sooo good, I might only eat cookies today! Seriously, these are like tollhouse cookies, just perfect. I'm so in love.

So how can you enjoy these fabulous cookies? They are courtesy of Dreena Burton, author of Eat, Drink and Be Vegan and Vive Le Vegan and The Everyday Vegan. She also has a blog, eat, drink and be vegan and a recipe blog, Dreena's Vegan Recipes. It all looks delicious!

You can find the recipe for these cookies here. OR! Even better, you can watch a show of Dreena making these cookies here! They are simple and delicious. Make them!

Dreena's Apple Hemp Muffins

As I'm blogging this I've come to realize that I'm having a Dreena kind of weekend. ;) Friday morning I woke up and whipped up a batch of Apple Hemp Muffins, which are awesome. They are tender and subtle, not too sweet, perfect for the morning with a cup of coffee or green tea. Or a snack in the middle of the day with some chocolate almond milk! The recipe can be found in the Mar/Apr 2008 edition of VegNews. I would definitely make these again. Those little hemp seeds are nutritional powerhouses and this recipe is GREAT for using up applesauce that might be on the verge of going bad in your fridge (it uses a whole cup).

Chickpea Navy Bean Cutlets!

So earlier in the week I cooked up a big batch of navy beans (like a whole pound). The original use was for White Been Leek Cassoulet from Veganomicon - which was awesome! But it certainly didn't use up the whole batch of beans, so I've been throwing them in things all week. So last night as I was trying to decide what to make for dinner, I wondered if any other bean would work in the Chickpea Cutlet recipe from Veganomicon....and the answer is yes, navy beans are your friends! I followed the original recipe exactly, except instead of mashing the beans with a potato masher, I blended them in the food processor with the oil - those little buggers kept slipping through my potato masher unscathed. This went a lot faster than mashing, anyway, and I might do this in the future for whatever bean I use. I've also found that these cutlets - whatever bean you use - are improved by being very, very thin. And because they have vital wheat gluten in them you can really pat them thin without the risk of falling apart on their way in to the frying pan. So smoosh the crap out of those suckers, baby! Thinner! Thinner! Yes, really, they can be thinner than that, keep going!

We had these with smashed red potatoes and a side green salad. Oh, and the red wine roux from V-con. Which was kind of a pain to make and not really worth the effort, imho. Although our mediocre results could certainly be from the quality of the wine we used, or lack-thereof as the case may be. It was seriously bad. Undrinkable. I think it was a bargain bin purchase, and now I know why. No legs at all, just so flat flat flat! But other than that, it was a good meal. And some ruby port after dinner was a nice way to quickly forget how bad the wine was.

Oh yeah! One more thing I made that I unfortunately didn't get pictures of....The original title of the recipe was something like Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars, and it's by Collen Patrick-Goudreau out of the Mar/Apr 2008 issue of VegNews. The original recipe is basically peanut-buttery rice crispy treats covered in a layer of chocolate. Ok, sounds awesome, right? Well....Silas isn't eating peanut butter yet, so we subbed Cashew Butter. And Chad's allergic to chocolate, so nix the topping. So after getting everything else mixed together and pressing it into the pan, we realized that they probably weren't going to cut or hold shape without the chocolate topping. So we threw it back in the bowl and rolled them into little no-bake balls instead. OH MY GOD. These things were so freaking good! Chad and I agreed that they taste really similar to the peanutty goodness of the Whatchamacalit candybar. And because of this, we would like to rename our version Watchamyballs. Hahaha! No, but seriously, you have to try them!

2 cups of crispy brown rice cereal, crushed
1 1/2 cups cashew butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup earth balance margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll small balls of the dough in your hands to form whatever sized balls you like. Try not to eat them in one sitting. Store leftovers in the fridge!

For some reason Chad convinced himself that they're healthy so we ate these in no time flat. "What, they're all cashew butter and brown rice! What could be better?" And I'm thinking, yeah, healthy....powdered sugar and margarine, part of the four food groups...But really, it's a pretty good compromise.

So now I've got the house to myself for a while. I'm so psyched! I'm planning on hanging out in my sunny kitchen, listening to cool podcasts, planning this week's meals and cooking. What could be more relaxing! :D