Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Best of 2009

I worked for two afternoons on this great "best of 2009 post," only to be thwarted by (insert curse word here) Blogger. My typing fingers somehow deleted the entire post right before the autosave kicked in and saved the newly-blank page. And now, I can't even upload a few photos to add to this meager post. So....the Best of 2009 will have to wait for another day when I have more energy. I just wanted to say Happy New Year and I can't wait for another wonderful year of yummy vegan foods!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let it Snow!

What better excuse to make Cinnamon Rolls from The Joy of Vegan Baking, than a snow day? Here in Virginia, we got nearly 20 inches of snow on the ground, starting this past Friday night into Sunday morning. With the winds and blowing snow, it was categorized as a blizzard. Stuck in the house, too pregnant to shovel much, what's a girl to do? Well, these rolls were the last things to make on my New Year's Resolution foodie list, so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

They are best right out of the oven, of course! The only changes I made to this recipe (which my sister swears is better than Isa's recipe in her new brunch book - I may have to test that one, too!) were to use half whole wheat pastry flour (couldn't tell a difference and just a little healthier for baby!) and half the icing. I was worried I'd have leftover icing that would have to be thrown out (or inhaled) but actually, I could have used the whole batch. There was JUST enough to cover all the rolls nicely. But, the more icing, the better, I always say.

There are several steps to making these babies, from making the dough, to letting it rise, to rolling, filling, and slicing, to letting it rise again, and finally to baking them. So, I had to have one for lunch. Along with some carrots, I swear! Despite some burning (my fault), they were four stars, for sure ****!

Speaking of veggies, a fellow blogger noticed that I was back to putting dried fruit on my morning cereal, and yes, I'm back to fruit and veggies full swing! Here's a perfect example. Nausea kept my love of greens at bay for a couple months, but now I can chow down on beautiful salads like this one here: baby spinach, sliced Bosc pears, pecans (too hungry to toast them), drizzles of white balsamic vinegar and agave nectar, olive oil (sprayed on with my Mist-O - a must have!) and a grinding of fresh pepper. Yum, yum, yum. Doesn't get easier or more delicious than that! Another four star recipe ****.

But sometimes you want a warm, more hearty meal this time of year, and that's when Vegetable Paella with Tofu from Vegetarian Times (Sept 08 issue) comes in handy. This was pretty quick and easy to make. It has tons of veggies in it, too, including onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, corn, peas, and tomatoes. Brown rice and my own flavored tofu (diced really tiny!) rounded out the meal in a pan. Three and a half stars - ***1/2.

After making cinnamon rolls on Saturday, Sunday was the day to make a nice big meal, to fill up Mr. PLV after hours of shoveling the driveway (they still haven't plowed our street!!). This consisted of a very easy Bulgar Nut Loaf from Friendly Foods Gourmet Vegetarian Cuisine, which was shared at a recent Veg Group meeting (the loaf, not the book), along with some rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes (so cute! but not much different in taste from regular potatoes) and garlic roasted Brussels sprouts. We just can't get enough of the sprouts! Mmmmm....The loaf was a little crumbly, as you can see by the picture, but it was still very flavorful. Not "meat like" in taste but definitely nutty and you could also taste the barley miso (salty good). Mr. PLV said he didn't care too much for it, but he did go back for seconds (smile). We'll be eating these leftovers until Christmas, I'm sure! Three solid stars ***.

But sometimes you just don't have energy or time to cook (even when you plan ahead) and sometimes things call to you from the freezer section. Case in point, these SoyBoy Roasted Red Pepper and Tofu Ravioli. I hardly ever buy prepared foods, but these were 100% worth it. I ate them along with some of my mother-in-law's delicious homemade spaghetti sauce with some spinach wilted in.
But to be honest, they were perfectly amazing on their own! The filling was creamy, savory, and spot on. The dough was tender and perfect. The serving suggestions actually state that they are best with a light, barely-there sauce, and they are right! Wow. Four stars **** and thank goodness I didn't have to make them! Now, it's off to make Christmas cookies and sugared pecans for gifts! Happy Holidays, everyone - and Happy Winter Solstice!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Soups On

One of the best things about fall and winter, is tummy-warming soups. In my first trimester, soups were the only veggie thing that didn't make me nauseous, and thus were a great way to get my nutrients. Now in my second trimester, we've continued making soups, but also stews and chilis, and I'm not tired of them yet, because there are just endless possibilities!

Tonight, we enjoyed this Black Bean Soup, from Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes, by Robin Robertson. It was really nice. Three solid stars ***. A nice base of onion, garlic, and red bell pepper, along with some spicy Tabasco sauce and sherry (I left that out of my portion). Mr. PLV liked this more than me, but it was still nice and warming.

Last week, we really enjoyed this Minestrone Soup with Mini "Meatballs," also from Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes. It was supposed to be like Wedding Soup, but it was nothing like it. Real wedding soup has escarole and not much else in terms of veggies. However, this was still excellent and the mini "meatballs" were super easy to make (just thawed Amy's veggie burgers, reformed with some nutritional yeast and pan-fried). Three and a half stars ***1/2 and quite delish!

This past week, we made a great chili, funnily enough, from a Wegman's grocery store magazine! It was called Cashew Chili and it was really superb. We subbed canned beans for the dried ones to save on time, and used one can of dark red kidney, one of black, and one of pink beans, for the all three red kidney it called for. I like variation in my beans! We both agreed that the cashews really made this dish distinct and enjoyed leftovers throughout the week!

Of course, even we get sick of leftovers, and one night we just popped this Celebration Roast from Field Roast into the oven along with some baked potatoes. It was really quite good! Funnily enough, Mr. PLV said he liked this more than the usual Tofurky we enjoy on Thanksgiving, while I thought it tasted less like meat and more like meatloaf (in consistency)! I did like the flavors very much. Three solid stars for this nice, meatless roast ***.

Although muesli has carried me through months and months of breakfasts, I was ready for something a little different last week. I whipped up some steel cut oats, courtesy of some online recipe (don't know where from), called, Apple Pie Oats or something like that. It was pretty good and made a nice batch for a few days in a row. (Note to self: apples and blackstrap molasses do not go. Agave nectar is way better).

This past Sunday, I had to make time to do some baking, for my mid-morning snack. These Zesty Cranberry Crumb Muffins from My Sweet Vegan were not only pretty easy, but healthy with whole wheat pastry flour, and delicious! Four stars ****. Light, fluffy crumb to the muffin. I left the crumb topping of butter and sugar off the top, though, to make them a little healthier. The best part is the way the dried cranberries are cooked in orange juice - very zesty indeed! They taste more decadent than they really are.
Last but not least, these Pumpkin Molasses Bars from the Have Cake, Will Travel blog were pretty easy and very seasonal! They are dense and very filling. Oh, and easy and pretty healthy (without the icing). A nice change from muffins and quick breads. Three solid stars ***.

OK - that's it for now! We don't have many more cooking plans for the calendar year, as we get ready to travel and will be busy with wrapping presents and making cookies, which I will be sure to blog about - yay!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Catching up with some great food

I can't believe it's been so long since I last wrote here...that's how I used to begin all my journal entries. Now, I just am happy that I'm writing at all. Same goes for this blog, I guess. With exhaustion, nausea and all that wonderful stuff that comes with pending motherhood, I'm happy to have gotten to my monthly Veg Group meeting today. With the lovely first snow we're having here in Virginia, it's a fine day to stay inside and ruin my eyes on the computer.

This first photo is what I took to the meeting. Cookie Dough Scoops (chocolate chip variety), from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. These are only the second cookies I've made from this cookbook so far, but they are awesome! Freezer cookies - not the best option for a cold almost-winter day, but still...yum....Three and a half stars ***1/2 only because they got "melty" after a few minutes out of the freezer. They're best eaten straight out of the cold - and so amazing, too. Almost too rich! But, that's what you get when you eat raw cookie dough. Great reason to be vegan - no worries!

However, these Magical Coconut Cookie Bars, also from VCIYCJ, were even better. Similar to seven-layer bars (although I can't count seven layers), they start with a graham cracker crust (Nabisco makes vegan ones), baked and topped with a coconut milk-brown sugar mixture that's been pre-boiled (similar to condensed milk), followed by a layer of chocolate chips (Tropical Source are my favs!), then a layer of sweetened coconut and pecans. Oh yum. Coconut and chocolate - what is better than that? Four wonderful stars **** These are also best when chilled but NOT better as dough/batter!

It makes quite a lot. There were extras besides what's on this large platter. Scarfed up at work within a few hours.

A surprising four star **** recipe this week were these Garlicky Black Bean-Broccoli Burritos from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. I wanted something quick, easy, and with greens and protein. These fit the bill, especially as I didn't bake them, but ate them like fajitas. With vegan cheddar cheese, they were heaven. The flavors were amazing! The tortillas (gluten-free ones) sucked. They cracked all to pieces. I made this again last night with several modifications: a box of button mushrooms that needed to be eaten (SOON) instead of the broccoli, just threw in whole black beans and corn, and just drizzled the seasonings straight into the frying pan. Mr. PLV tasted the mixture and pronounced - "Hey - I would eat this!" (that's a compliment by the way - but he had already gotten Chinese takeout - something I'm trying to stay away from at the moment).
One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is this Hominy-White Bean Chili from one of Robin Robertson's books that I don't own. I think it's the Vegetarian Slow Cooker one. Anyway, I copied the recipe last year from the book at the library (free!!), and as we were painting the living room one recent weekend, threw this into the pot for an easy dinner. Mr. PLV really liked this, too. I just love the corn smell of hominy. Ummmm.....

As the year draws to a close, I realized that I needed to get cracking on my resolutions list. One of the meals I resolved to try was Samosas. Mr. PLV and I love Indian food, and we especially love samosas. With the 2nd trimester well underway, I finally had the energy to attempt this multi-step dish. I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. First, you peel and boil the potatoes. Then, you fry them with lots of seasonings, carrots, and peas (her recipe called for edamame, but I'm a traditionalist)

Then came the pain in the ass part - well, that's what Isa said, but it wasn't really a pain in the ass. The dough was pretty simple to make (turmeric made the nice yellow hue), but they did take a while to roll out, cut, and fill. They were pretty small, and not really shaped like real ones, but they came out just fine. I'd say, oh, three, maybe three and a half stars ***. A little too much dough for me and not quite as good as the traditional fried kind :) We ate them alongside this Chana Masala from The Vegan Table, but we didn't care for the chana dish. Not spicy enough. Two and a half stars **1/2. (Lots of filling leftover.)

Later in the week, I ate the leftover samosa filling with this nice Indian dish of black beans, chickpeas, and kale, but I can't for the life of me recall where I got the recipe from. Really. I have no idea what is was or anything, except that it was pretty good. And, my boss thought it smelled like crap. But it was really very tasty. Three and a half stars ***1/2.

Thanksgiving was a busy, busy day for me. I was stupid enough to try to make the entire traditional meal myself, when it was just Mr. PLV and me eating this year. But, when there are a few dishes that you each can't imagine the day without...well, let's just say we ate about four hours later than expected.

This Apple Pie from The Vegan Table was the first reason for the lateness of our meal (and my exhaustion). The crust kept sticking to the counter and I had to paste it all together over the filling. Not the prettiest pie in the world, but I haven't made a whole lot of pies...

Then, I burned it a bit when I adjusted the oven. You see, our oven typically runs about 25 degrees higher than what the outside indicator says (we have an oven thermometer inside, so we know this), so I always have to turn it down a little bit. Well....I turned it UP a little bit. So, the first half hour it sizzled. Luckily, I caught it on the second half. The top actually is cinnamon, not burned. The filling collapsed a ton, so there was a large gap between filling and upper crust (I swear I packed those apples in!) but in the end it was very edible. Local apples made it a treat! Three and a half stars ***1/2.

The other reason why we ate late that day was the chestnuts. I have roasted chestnuts before, so I was surprised when I 1) sliced my thumb while scoring them and 2) had such difficulty peeling them. They were just not peeling whole! The insides were all crumbly. It took me a half hour or more to peel these. Luckily, the recipe they were intended for needed them chopped anyway. Just a bad batch of chestnuts, I guess.

This Chestnut-Sausage-Sage Stuffing from Vegetarian Times was a hit last year, and was amazing once again this year. In fact, maybe better! I used less liquid, so it wasn't as mushy AND I found these amazing Smoked Apple Sage sausages from Field Roast at our local Wegman's.

Well, we ate stuffing and streuseled sweet potatoes, and homemade cranberry sauce (all recipes from last year!), along with canned corn, Tofurkey (still good!), mashed potatoes, and that apple pie (oh, and Mr. PLV had that green bean casserole, which I can't eat and don't care for anyway - although I do love those crunchy onion things) all week long. I was pretty done with Thanksgiving by this weekend. But, we have another Field Roast product in the freezer and nothing else to eat (Ok - so that's a lie - I am too tired to cook) until I get to the store, so it's a veggie roast and baked potatoes and canned green beans for tonight. Oh well - we are so incredibly lucky to have the amazing foods that we have and the life that we have here in America - I am blessed. Stay tuned in the next week or two for "The best recipes of 2009" and the conclusion of my resolutions!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Back in Business

I never thought the day would come when I would have a) no energy to cook, b) no desire to look at recipes, and c) no taste for sweets. Luckily, those days are quickly fading, although Baby to Be is still giving me the woozies over sweets, bitter greens, and too much citrus too early in the morning. I feel like I'm one of Pavlov's dogs, and I'm a little slow on the uptake, learning what I can and can't eat!

Anyway, I was psyched that at least problems a) and b) are a thing of the past, although I'm often still too tired to cook much. However, I was able to crack open my new Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Moskowitz and Romero, in order to make my first treat from this brand new cookbook: Pumpkin Pie Brownie! Yes, it was as good as it sounds and looks. Funny thing, though - I'm not much of a chocolate person! Anyway, the pumpkin on top was "just right - not too much" as confirmed by a friend who's not big on pumpkin, and the brownie part was deliciously fudgy. It was pretty easy, too.

The perfect fall dessert! Three and a half stars ***1/2, only because I thought the topping came out too dark and again, that chocolate thing of mine...

On a healthier note, after a recent Veg Group meeting, I was inspired to buy and try opening a pomegranate for the first time! As suggested, I scored the fruit's skin, then opened it up in a bowl of water. As also predicted, the seeds fell to the bottom and the rest floated to the top where I could skim it off!

It took a little bit longer to dig out all the seeds, but there was basically no mess and no cleanup! Yummy treat in no time. The seeds are crunchy but sweet and tangy. Great antioxidants and just plain good!

I haven't really craved anything with this pregnancy, but sometimes I'll think about a past meal and think, "I really want that again!" Despite my aversion to greens (I literally gagged and had to walk away while cutting up the spinach for this dish), I really wanted this from Palak Soyabina Paneer from ED&BV. It is pretty easy to make (just marinate and crisp up the tofu cubes, which Mr. PLV said tasted very similar to the traditional cheese) and then wilt the greens with some spices and tomatoes, puree, and add the tofu back in. Not too spicy and a good way to be sneaky with my greens (although not very sneaky - this is pretty obvious).

Meanwhile, we had some pasta sauce to use up, so I snuck some gluten-free pasta (rice, amaranth, and quinoa) into Mr. PLV alongside his highly praised Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon. These are much better if you bake them (much more firm) but still, they are eerily like cutlets of an animal form, or like eggplant parm. Still, a familiar meal on a night with no time and little energy. The cutlets are wicked fast to make and can fry while the pasta is boiling. Three and a half stars ***1/2 - better if baked but we don't always have that kind of time! :)
I had to work this past Saturday - ugh - but really it's not so bad when you come home to a home-cooked meal by your hubby! He was craving these Tempeh Reubens that we've made several times before, so I gave in :) I had mine on Ezekiel bread (toasted with Earth Balance) and it was just as good as other breads I've had it with. The dressing was a little runny, so the photo isn't that great, but it was a comfort meal, to be sure! Marinated, grilled tempeh, hot sauerkraut, homemade Thousand Island dressing, all on toasted bread - so warm and crunchy! Four stars **** even with the sub par dressing. Well, that's it for this week's post. I was sick last Sunday (had just overdone it the week before) so I had tomato soup for dinner, not the Indian meal we had planned, but I'm going to go rest now, so that I'll have the energy to make samosas tonight! :) We'll have those alongside chana masala and hopefully a spinach/tomato dish. I'm full just thinking about it!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Two Exciting Things

Two exciting things to share today...
I was pretty excited to get this new cookbook in the mail the other day. I already have the Vegan Cupcakes book and it's amazing. Usually, I would have already baked at least one thing by now. But life sometimes has other plans...

I'll cut to the chase and share the other exciting thing, which basically blows the excitement of a new cookbook out of the water...we're expecting a baby in May!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) Yeah, I'm finally past the first trimester, and after last year's miscarriage, it's been an extremely anxious 13 weeks. Well, we didn't know for the first four weeks, but let me tell you - the rest was very long!! I'm so happy to be able to share this with people now, and even more happy for our future! Of course, the big question is, will this be a vegan baby? Well, the joke is, it has no choice for the first 9 months!

At any rate, I haven't had any particular cravings with two exceptions: 1) I want hot, comforting meals and 2) I want soup. The sad part is, I have actually had an inability to eat two types of things that (for me) literally make life worth living: 1) dried fruit and 2) greens and some veggies. I mean, I live on those things!! I also have been nauseous when eating sweets, which is actually a great thing for my health! Weird, though, to lose your sweet tooth.
Unfortunately, we add a third confounder: I have had no desire to cook. Yes, you read that correctly. I have had no energy to cook, to desire to look at recipes, and just want to open a can and eat. Luckily for me, Amy's Organics makes some great soups! Now that I'm feeling a little better,
I've been back in the kitchen as a sneaky pregnant momma, sneaking these foods into my body so I don't get nauseous and I keep getting my nutrients. As you can see from the above photo, Popeye Pasta is one way to get your greens in. I followed this recipe from ED&BV, which calls for wilting spinach into the pasta sauce. I even cut the work load for me (boy - evenings are rough!) by using jarred pasta sauce. And, I appeased Mr. PLV's craving for all things white, by using "regular" white pasta. This was sooo good and so easy! Four stars **** and very sneaky...

One afternoon, I had the energy to whip up these Walnut-Miso Green Beans, which my body still didn't care for at dinnertime, but was able to enjoy at lunch. I've made this recipe tons of times (gasp!) and just love the salty, nutty flavors. Plus, it's wicked easy. Four stars, as usual! ****
This would be a great dish for Thanksgiving.

Since soups were on my "yes" list (and a great way to get my veggies in - so sneaky!), Mr. PLV chose Creamy White Bean Soup from The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook. This wasn't one of our favorites. It was good the first time around, but, unlike most soups, didn't really get better as reheats. It was just too thick and didn't have enough flavor. Too plain for me. Two and a half stars **1/2. Not very sneaky, either.

Now that I'm getting past the, "I just want soup," phase, I still want to cook things that are quick and easy, because I'm just so tired in the evenings. Saturdays and Sundays are now our big meal days, and the rest of the weeks it's leftovers! These Gimmi Chimmis, also from ED&BV were certainly easy! Not so quick, as we pan-fried and then baked them, but the flavors were great. Basically, a spice, zucchini, tomato and bean filling, wrapped in tortillas. I absolutely recommend squeezing some lime on them as you eat, and we also added some cilantro and avocado. Yum! Three and a half stars ***1/2, only because we had to adjust the cooking temperatures and times because they were burning. Mine came out OK, but poor Mr. PLV had some black stuff to eat.

So tonight, after the football games (because really, I do NOT feel up to mopping the kitchen floor!) and some other blogging, we'll try to make Indian samosas, one of my few remaining New Year's resolution challenges, alongside some chana masala. Oh, and I don't think I'll get to cookies today, but the Pumpkin-Brownies are calling my name! Meanwhile, I leave you with a really cool picture of Brussels sprouts on the "club" from my local farmer's market. How cool!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Comfort Food

These past few weeks, I've really been craving warm, comfort food, even though it hasn't been that cold. Last night, on Halloween, it was still in the 60s as the last trick-or-treaters came to our door! Today, the first day of November, however, is quintessential fall weather - cool, dreary, drizzling...which makes the leaves too wet to rake - oh well! :)

Last weekend, Mr. PLV wanted vegan meatloaf, so vegan meatloaf it was. He was out of town, so this was my project. I actually made it the day before, since, according to the directions, it is more firm after a night in the fridge. Well, I'm not sure that it was really that much more firm, but it was certainly delicious! It had a great texture, good flavor and tasted awesome with ketchup! Our only critique was that it was way too salty. I followed the first version of this recipe (from Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen, by Bryanna Grogan) which called for vegan "ground round." I'm not one much for using fake meat things, but this was pretty tasty! But I guess with all the salt in that, plus soy sauce and table salt, it was just too much. As you can see by the photo above, Mr. PLV also doused his with (salty) homemade (vegan of course) gravy. Oh well. It was easy, yum, and definitely comforting! Three solid stars ***.

By far our favorite dish this week was this Vegetable Soup with Corn Dumplings from Cooking Light. I made this when it was published in their magazine eight years ago (gasp!) and decided that (drum roll here)...I wanted to make it again. Yeah, yeah, I know - what a shocker - me making a meal twice! Actually, I think this could be the third time I've made this. It's not that difficult and has lots of veggies: corn, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, zucchini, onion, garlic...and of course the tender, chewy corn dumplings! These tend to fall apart in the soup, so be careful about the mixture (add more flour than called for and don't let it simmer too hard). We both agreed that this is one of our favorite soups ever! Spicy, salty, sweet, savory - just about perfect. Go follow the link and make it soon! Four stars ****.

Last but not least, I had a craving for grilled cheese and tomato soup. Unfortunately, Campbell's tomato soup contains high fructose corn syrup - yuck. But I made do for now. Chreese makes a very good cheese mix, which you cook up on the stove. Mine was a little thick, but once you reheated it, it was fine. On Ezekiel bread, toasted in the pan, it was perfect! Creamy, crunchy, gooey, warm, yum. Don't forget to dip it in the soup! Four stars ****. Tonight's comfort food? Creamy White Bean Soup and roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic. "Is it hard being vegan?" someone recently asked me. "No," I replied with a smile, "It's delicious."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Soup, chili and a bit of catch up

It's been a busy weekend, but I managed to get a hot meal on the table to match the cooler weather. Dreena's Monkey Minestrone soup from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan has been a favorite ever since Mr. PLV made it for me when I was sick. I was hankering for a good soup and for some greens when I saw a minestrone recipe in Better Homes and Gardens. When I compared their recipe to Dreena's, I knew there was no comparison! Hers has so much more flavor and spice! Anyway, I did take BH&G's advice and added zucchini (well, summer squash) in lieu of the green beans, and several cups of kale instead of one of the cans of beans. I did use some great gluten-free elbow macaroni. The results? A huge pot of delicious comfort, ready to sustain me throughout the week! Four stars **** and one of my fav soups of all time. Just bursting with veggies (carrots, onion, garlic, corn, squash, kale), plus the pasta and kidney beans. A meal in a bowl!

Meanwhile, Mr. PLV was craving a chili, so we opened up Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes by Robertson and found this West Coast Chili. It was delicious! I left off the olives - that was just too weird for me - but the avocado and sourdough bread on the side were perfect! Nice and filling and very easy. Four stars ****.

Finally, I was trying to use up a box of seitan I had accidentally bought (I rarely buy it because it's so expensive - over $4 for an eight-ounce box! Compare that to a couple of bucks for about 5 pounds homemade...). Thus, our own seitan stir fry was born. Just browned the seitan (yum!), stir fried the veggies in toughness order (i.e. broccoli first, mushrooms last) and added some Bragg's for flavor! I also added some hoisin sauce at the end on my portion. Served atop brown rice, although Mr. PLV prefers white!
Some older photos from the month...these are from the presentation I did for Vegetarian Month, back in early October. These are just some of the books that our library system owns! All vegan or vegetarian cookbooks and some animal rights stuff, too.

Of course, you have to lead them into temptation with dessert! This chocolate peanut butter pie with peanut butter pretzels on top is a cinch to make. Recipe in Vegetarian Times magazine.

This coconut fudge is a mainstay at any sweet gathering for me. Wicked easy and so rich! From My Sweet Vegan.

I also made Snickerdoodles, Cookies and Cream cupcakes, Pumpkin Oatmeal cookies, and Macadamia Nut Blondies. Phew! Some people went home with stomachaches, they ate so much :)

And last but not least, it was thrilling to attend the D.C. Green Festival, sponsored by Green America and various other great organizations. It's a yearly event, held throughout the U.S., featuring speakers and tons of booths with fair trade, organic, sustainable, earth-conscious groups and businesses. All the food there was vegetarian or vegan (because it's the best for the planet - yeah!), and there were no trash cans - just recycling, compost (all plates, etc, were biodegradable), etc. There were tons of great groups there, including Food Not Bombs. I had an amazing piece of Hemp Baklava - wow!- among other things. This restaurant here is Soul Vegetarian, which features southern-style home cooking. I opted for Nirvana's Indian fare and it was hot but excellent! Can't wait for next year - I'm going to go both days this time instead of one, because there was just so much to see! Happy Halloween!