Monday, December 10, 2007

Vegan Feasting

Of course, the holidays bring much feasting! I brought three dishes to my work holiday party. I figured at least this way, I could eat something besides veggies and crackers.

So, I made the Seitanic Red and White Bean Jambalaya from Veganomicon, like I've made before. I used my own cajun spice this time (Bayou Magic - the best!), and I think it turned out even better. Although there was a good dent made in it at the party (and I loved seeing meat-eaters chow down on the seitan!), there was plenty left over to eat for dinner all week. It's so delish and easy to make!

Of course, I couldn't resist making something sweet! I've made these Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream before, but this time I think they were even better! I chopped the crystalized ginger even more finely than last time (some goes into the batter) and figured out that in order to get cupcakes that don't look like they belong to midgets (there isn't a lot of batter, so they are very flat!), I put the batter in only 10 tins on the muffin tray, and they were perfect! I even used blackstrap molasses with success, although I think that the lighter molasses looks more like gingerbread - these almost looked like chocolate! Light, fluffy and decadent.....
But then I couldn't stop there and wanted to make an appetizer, too. So, I sought out a new recipe in Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. I ended up making the White Bean Dip, which was amazing! I loved the different taste of white beans (versus chickpeas in hummus), and the lemon flavor really perked it up! But I didn't have time to get fresh thyme or basil, so I used up a sprig of fresh rosemary I had laying around and WOW! I just love white beans and rosemary. Yum, yum, yum... lunch with those leftovers, too! Unfortuately, I ate it all up before I could get a pretty photo :( Now, go cook something for someone! Maybe you'll have leftovers, maybe you won't!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Eat, Drink and Be Less Wasteful!

Look at that glorious, vegan cookie! Don't you just want to hug it? OK, or eat it....This is one of Dreena's new Gluten-Be-Gone Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies, from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. Our local Vegetarian Group (wish it were a vegan group, but everyone has their own path!) had their December meeting with the topic of Gluten-Free Diets and Celiac Disease. It was educating and yummy all in one! I brought these cookies, which required some special purchases: brown rice flour and xanthan gum. I was pleasantly surprised with the results, although they didn't flatten out much and the batter tasted a little funny! That may have been because I had to substitute potato starch (Ener-G-Egg) for the tapioca starch (which I later found at the store). Still, everyone was asking for the recipe!

To continue the hits with ED&BV, I made two of Dreena's chilis.
With hubby out of town for the weekend, I made something with flavors he'd never go for: Cocoa-Coconut Chili! It didn't taste like a Mounds bar - sorry! But it did taste incredibly rich, dark, and thick. Delish! I think the only change I would make would be to have more veggies in it, and fewer beans. I like that in a chili!

Speaking of which, here is a chili more to my liking - and surprisingly to my husband's! It was the Sweet Potato Lentil Chili. Yum, yum and more yum! I loved the flavors and textures, and it filled me right up! You can't get much more healthy than sweet potatoes, black beans and red lentils!

But enough exclamation marks. I leave you with something to think about this week, as you make holiday preparations and perhaps do some Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa shopping....
Although the Green Movement is just hitting it's stride (again), I have been a life-long environmentalist. I have always used cloth bags, recycled, and tried to purchase items with less packaging. My local bulk-store, BJ's, however, is the worst offender for excessive packaging. If it weren't for the great buys (and my small salary), I would quit that place today! Here is one disgusting example. I purchased a flash drive (aka thumb drive, aka key drive) for my computer. Here is the enormous, hard plastic package. It was over a foot tall.

Here is the packaging after I attacked it with scissors. Notice that there was ANOTHER plastic package within the larger one!

And here is the product that I bought.... small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. Ridiculous!!! I understand that the larger package allows companies to advertise their product, and to protect it during shipping and in the store. But wouldn't it be great if they had it in a very small package and marketed the earth-friendly reduction of waste??? I am so disappointed in the company, and in myself, for not buying this elsewhere. I hope that as you make your holiday purchases, you think about these things.... To leave you on a brighter note, here is a link to a beautiful, organic cotton, reusable bag, perfect for someone on your list! Better yet, get a membership with the National Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, or other green organizations, and you can get a reusable bag for free, while helping the earth at the same time!