30 April 2006

More Kale & Tofu Stir-Fry

First of all, thank you to all of the wonderful people who left such kind comments regarding the jewelry, I really appreciate it. I will keep everyone posted on whether a website is happening or not. For now, here's food.

I made all this a few days ago and just haven't posted it yet. The kale is long gone (and all the other veggies by that matter) but this was a good dinner and worth posting. You see, I had leftover red (which is really purple) kale and I wanted to incorporate it into a stir-fry. I did just so. I actually decided to steam the kale because I like steamed kale. Simple as that. But I did get way in over my head and added a bunch of stuff (what I do best) into the wok and concocted a wonderful meal. I also steamed the broccoli with the kale but that's because the broccoli was frozen and I was being lazy and I just threw it into the steamer and then it looked soooo bright and "perfect" and green-how-it's-supposed-to-be--green, and I stopped the cooking with cold water. I let the broccoli sit while I made the rest of the stir-fry. I threw it in the wok at the very end for a quick stir. As you can see the one on the right has chunks of onions and has a larger portion. That means it's Ray's bowl.

Steamed kale on the side. I added it to the stir-fry while eating, not cooking.
Steamed Kale Ingredients:
red kale, lemon juice, hint of olive oil, raw cashews, sea salt, black pepper, splash of tamari.

Rest of the Stir-Fry: firm tofu (marinated for a short time in tamari, brown rice vinegar, hoisin suace), brown rice, more tamari, garlic, onion (I just like the flavor, I don't eat the onion chunks, yuck), crushed red pepper, cayenne, broccoli, red-yellow-green bell peppers, raw cashews, about a teaspoon of fresh squeezed peanut butter, fresh lemon juice, gamashio topping. I'm probably forgetting something.
This is just a closer look at the final product. I like stir-fry's because they're super-quick, usually easy and very tasty. You can really add whatever you like to it, just heat it up for a few minutes and toss a few times.

26 April 2006

Midweek Munchies & *Jewelry*

This is a preview for what is yet to come. First you all have to sit through Midweek Munchies. I have 33 minutes until I am "late" for munchie day and who knows what time it'll be by the time I'm done. (edit to add: finished post, I have 12 minutes until the "deadline") For now, I have a grocery list to contribute. No code, but "here's what Leslie's contributing for the week"...

Trader Joes: Yep, I live super-close and I'm happy about that. For some reason I don't go there as often as I end up wanting to. It was a good random change and here's what we (Ray and I) got.
Nature's Path Optimum Cereal- the best powerhouse next to my treats
apple granola*
frozen broccoli*
frozen cherries (Ray's, as I don't care for these)
brown rice*
trail mix cookies, Trader's brand (supposed to be like Uncle Eddies but not even close to as good, sorry people at TJ's)
light coconut milk
peach white tea
cheese for Ray
hot jalepeno sauce
roasted cashew butter (not organic, but $3.99 and I am super-happy about that price)
baked teriyaki tofu*

From Whole Foods (random days)
2 huge rosemary bread loafs (last post)
purple kale*

And now for the stuff that you all have been buggin' me about. It makes me a bit shy to show all of this (especially without a price tag, usually I am strictly business, not *showing off*, although I am open to orders as always). I am not shy about eating, talking about food, expressing passion about something, being silly, or many other things, but showing my jewelry is taking some guts. I am very shy in this department! It all started as a hobby that turned into an LLC. I have already been sharing food, recipes, ideas, kitchens, etc with so many great people that I am ready to show *some* jewelry. Enjoy.
This bracelet above is three types of wood, painted with a toggle clasp. Oh, and all of these were taken at least a year ago and before I discovered the macro-mode on my camera (thanks Miriam!).
Above: Chinese turquoise bracelet and earring set. Sterling silver clasps and hooks.
Above: Peridot and quartz necklace with tri-amber/sterling silver pendant. Sterling silver clasp.
Above: I can't remember what the first keychain with the peace sign is beaded with. Most likely rose quartz dyed. The second from the left is my favorite of these. It's flourite and the blues and purples blend together. Third we have just a simple glass with plated silver beads and a pewter frog pendant. The final keychain is made with handblown glass and a few other beads that I can't place. The pendant is a Chinese symbol (correct me if I'm wrong). All of these keychains are on my lower-end of products.
Above: Carnelian necklace with sterling silver clasp and carnelian turtle pendant.
Above: Large serpentine stones with labradorite square fillers. Toggle clasp.
Above: Jasper earrings that took me forever to make because they have three dangly layers. Sterling silver hooks and they're about four inches long.
Above: Agate stones with glass and sterling silver fillers. Sterling silver and labradorite pendant.
Sorry this is so cut-and-dry. It is a slim selection, as I have made hundreds over the last 6 years and always come up with something different (and each one is unique, no two the same- ever). I can give more information about these such as size, sales price, types of stones, etc, but please comment and ask. I would much rather "type" about food, but I am happy to share all this. I hope you have enjoyed looking at all this and I have no idea why the computer is not letting me un-italicize these words!

25 April 2006

Bread-Bowl Sloppy Lentils

I had soup in a bread-bowl last week for the very first time in my life. Even as a vegetarian who ate dairy most of her life, I never liked creamy soups, such as cream-of-broccoli or along those lines. In that case, most of the bread-bowls I've ever seen had nasty soups like that in it.

I had the Curried Rice and Lentil soup in a Sourdough bread-bowl at the WildFlower Bread Company last week. I was sitting with Ray staring down at this amazing idea. Soup in a bowl that you get to eat, what a concept! Plus, I was enjoying eating "the bowl" while I ripped off pieces of bread to dip in the soup. As we're eating Ray said, "this would be perfect for Sloppy Lenties". Boy, he was right!

For the last few day's I've been dreaming about my own personal bread-bowl at home. I planned on having small rolls, which meant small bowls, maybe even 2 each! By the time we got to the store for the rolls, it was late and the bread selection was slim. We opted for the cheapest, yet HUGE rosemary-garlic whole wheat breads that ended up being way too much food. See how big these bowls are?
We could have easily shared one roll, but that would have defeated the purpose of the bread bowl. We also could have waited to eat this idea until smaller rolls were at the store again, but I don't know what was wrong with us! I ended up feeding our whole neighborhood of birds with the leftover bread (while feeling guilty about hungry humans). I'm sure some other animals/living beings ate it too. Overall, Sloppy Lentils in a bread-bowl, no matter how HUGE, is awesome!

I made Sloppy Lentils the same way I always do (see other posts). This time I bought "red kale" which is actually purple and I have no idea why I have never bought this before. It's so much prettier and most likely healthier since it has the deep purples and greens. I think I'll keep buying this kind, at least for a while.
I even ate the stems... how couldn't I, they're so vibrant with purpleness.
Guess who loves to mooch? Yep, an appearance by Killian once again. He was super-happy when this piece of just-washed kale went flying out of my hands, onto the floor. He's super-cute eating his greens.
What a pig. I mean, cat.

23 April 2006

Computer Nerd

I came home last night only to find that there is more than one computer nerd living in this house. Ray's not one of them...
What a super-cuteness! I just had to take some photos as my camera was right here for uploading FOOD photos. Sorry, no food for this post, just to show you all how cute my guy is. I love food, but I love Killian so much more!
He changed his stance (position) three times in about 1 minute. He just knew how cute he was (and always is). He likes to shove his fatness into small and low places...
He likes to put his paws on the mouse too!
And showing off his tum (and he likes when I rub his chin). He looks skinny here because I was patting down his poufiness. He is very furry and fat but these photos take off a few pounds!
I can't get over this cuteness. You can call me the nerd too!

20 April 2006

Spring Treats and Awesome-ness

I check out The Vegan Lunchbox http://www.veganlunchbox.blogspot.com site almost daily because I love seeing what Shmoo's up to eating-wise. Easter is celebrated a la casa de Shmoo and wonderful children's treat recipes were shared. Many ingredients used in his Easter treats are ingredients I just so happen to have in my pantry (almost at all times). I was more into the creative aspects of the meal, and as it is springtime... flowers have now bloomed, bugs are crawling about and it is no longer colder than 65 degrees F here and still not warmer than the 90s. I wanted to get creative and if kids like it, I'll like it (hee hee, usually!).

A comment on the site mentioned "bird's nests" with shredded wheat, coconut and chocolate but I couldn't find any more information (a few days later). Instead, I came up with my own ideas and (sorry, no recipe) just threw a bunch of stuff together.
Ingredients used in the Nests: shredded wheat, shredded coconut, peanut butter, chocolat chips and a splash of vanilla. Starburst Jelly Beans (yes, they are vegan) were used as "eggs" in the nests. They were super-sweet and in my opinion, more enjoyable just to look at. It was a good concept (for spring) though.

And we have bees. Well, they are supposed to look like bees. These were fabulous. Go to the link posted above and there is a recipe page with these "No-Bake Bees". They are easy to make (but not when you double the recipe like me and stay up standing for 2 hours until 2-something in the morning).
Ingredients used: oat bran, shredded coconut, almond butter, cocoa, sunflower seeds (for eyes, not in original recipe, I thought the bees needed to see), sliced almonds as "wings", agave nectar, brown rice syrup (and maybe something else too)... I highly recommend trying these, and you can really shape them into anything you'd like. It was more fun than my Almond Oat Balls, only because there was creativity involved here, not just squishing a bunch of stuff together. These keep well in the fridge.

Are you thinking "holy @#%*"? That's what I was thinking at first... I got this awesome idea from Shmoo's page (once again, the vegan lunchbox). I happened to have some of these fruits and I specifically bought more apples as well as the grapes to make this. There is a lot of fruit left over now (I wasn't going to just leave Mr. Fruit-Bunny out for days...). I know this is EXTREME but it was fun to do and I certainly had a good amount of fruit for a while. I tossed most of the fruit in a mix of lemon juice and OJ. The whiskers and mouth are black licorice (which I don't care for). Everything else was pretty good although I'm not a fan of canned mandarin oranges (or canned anything, really) so I didn't touch those. These were good and fun spring treats. It was a laid-back weekend and I stayed home because Killian had cavities extracted Friday and I stayed in to take care of him. Lots of food was produced in this time...

Anatomy of Mr. Fruit-Bunny:
ears- bananas, eyes- kiwi, nose- strawberries, whiskers and mouth- black licorice, inside ears- red apples, face- green apples, bow tie- mandarin oranges, dots in tie- black grapes

Moving on... (this is the Awesome-ness part).
This was our dinner the other night. Ray's plate is the blue one and the only difference is that he had chips (Kettle sea salt + pepper) and I didn't want all that. What's on the plates are carrots, black bean hummus (more to come on that below), parsley, and CELEBRATION FIELD ROAST HAZELNUT CAKES! Yes! My favorite pre-made food!!! These are awesome and WFM only gets them once in a while for different "holidays". They should just forget the holidays and provide these all the time.

Take a closer look and see what the awesome is about...
Ingredients: Hazelnut Herb Cutlet Celebration Field Roast
filtered water, wheat protein, organic wheat flakes, yellow onions, barley malt powder, yeast extract, garlic, lemon juice, organic unbleached flour, lentils, garlic powder, yellow pea flour, onion powder, carrageenan, breadcrumbs, toasted hazelnut meal and nuts, chives and herbs (that they will not disclose). There are a lot of ingredients but this is super-tasty. Serve warm/hot.

I like to buy these and specially ask the people at WFM to get me some un-fried ones from the back. I like to cook 'em up at home, myself, with my own olive oil, at my own pouring discression. Plus they only take about 10 minutes each side when they are frozen. These are costly (about $3 each) but a few times a year they are great and easy and convienent... oh, America.

And this is the black bean hummus that we had with it. I tried this kind and liked it better the first time. When I ate it with this meal it tasted "smokey" and I don't like that flavor. Have you all ever heard of this brand? It's local to here but I'm curious to know if it is nation-wide known(or even overseas, but probably "yeah, right"). This company makes great products and this is the smaller size tub they offer. There are a variety of dips and spreads and I have for the most part, liked them all. Ray brought this home as a suprise (with breakfast) one day and I thought the combo of black beans, peanut butter and spicy stuff would be interesting. And it was. There you have it, Spring Treats and Awesome Hazelnut Cakes.

19 April 2006

Midweek Munchies (4-19-06)

Harmonias Midweek Munchies Meme

Midweek Munchies: What Leslie is contributing for the week

This past week (Saturday) I shopped for groceries at Whole Foods Market. Nothing exciting, just stuff on a long-ongoing list. This shopping trip was a bit special, yet still not unique within ingredients, because I purchased items to be used for ideas I've been having lately and I haven't branched out with ingredients. I will be posting photos and recipes (or knowing me, just ingredients) soon, my "treats" and foods came out well. For now, I am actually posting a Midweek Munchies on the day it is supposed to happen!

* (*)means organic *
gold round crackers 365 brand (for Ray's cheese)
shredded wheat cereal
a different type of 365 cracker (whole wheat)
*breakfast blend coffee (just a bit for an emergency)
dubliner cheddar cheese (for Ray's platter)
supreme brie, cotswold, romano cheese (again, Ray's)
*puffed rice cereal
*rolled oats
*Silk Vanilla Soymilk (2)
365 chocolate chips
licorice bar (2)
*gala apples
raw sugar
agave nectar
frozen blueberries
frozen strawberries
raw sliced almonds
*red apples
*apple juice (365 unfiltered awesome kind)
*brown rice syrup (2)
*maple syrup
*pasta sauce
seedless black grapes (organic not local now)
can of mandarin oranges (ended up being nasty)
*oat bran
unsweetened cocoa
*organic lemons
*peanut butter (I squeezed there)
*almond butter (same as above)


-0.30 bag refund!!!!

And about 30 minutes ago I arrived home from going to the Sunflower Market to get our coffee. It's where we usually go for coffee as it is tasty, inexpensive, various types to choose from and nearby. We only go to WFM when we get one or two day's worth just for an emergency. It's just because we're there already. There wasn't any coffee here this morning and it was unusual. We were not happy (bad, I know...). We almost had no coffee again for tomorrow morning. At the last minute Ray remembered... We ran (well, drove) to the store with 10 minutes to spare before closing and grabbed three bags of coffee. Yum to tomorrow morning.
That's it.

Links to other Midweek Munchies

Click here for the Midweek Munchies code
Click here for Harmonia's blog

A special thanks to Running2Ks and Rift for all of their help with coding, graphics, and encouragement for this project.

PURPOSE of Midweek Munchies: Put together by a small group of Veg Women, we hope to spread the word about healthy vegetarianism while obtaining idea starters for meals, recipes, learn about new products, and meet other female veg*n bloggers. Visiting and commenting on other participants lists are encouraged but not required. Have fun and Go Veg!

15 April 2006

A Collection of Books (Food, Nutrition, & More)

A fellow Blogger gave me the wonderful idea of sharing my books to the world. You see, I love going to other people's homes and checking out their bookshelves. I often head straight towards people's books... It says a lot of a person and even more if they don't have any books (by choice, not economics). I encourage guests to my home to browse my books but I think it's me who's more interested in books at the time. My favorite types of books are reference books, cookbooks and nutrition books.

I have decided to share my book collection (probably minus a few in the car, closets, lost, stolen, etc.). I hope I can start another "trend" just like my Where the Magic Happens kitchen post.

I am showing you all the above books because they are my most recent purchases and I bought them a few days ago after I photographed my shelves. I am so excited about the sea veggie book. At first I was more interested in the sprouting book, but I seem to not be able to put down the Sea Vegetable Celebration. (Personal side note to Dreena: I bought these on the same day you made your Kelp-amole, as I call it, and funny how you wanted to get into sea veggies more too!). Sea veggies are super-healthy and I'll probably do a seperate post later. In the meantime I bought lavar, kelp and dulse, yum.
The above cookbooks are not on my bookshelf. They're on the shelf above the sink in the kitchen. An old friend from high school gave me the holder. It says, cow: "eat chicken". pig: "eat chicken". sheep: "eat chicken". chicken: "eat dirt". He he. I love all these cookbooks. I keep them here because it's better than a pile (in which I am good at creating). The black binder is my recipe book. It's printouts, cut-outs, my own made up recipes, etc, and I keep them all organized. Not as organized as Jess' folder, so-I-hear.

Not pictured is "The Art of War", some dictionaries, Spanish-English dictionaries, and some little books. Moving on to the real bookshelf. It's also in the kitchen, but in the "dining area" which is our basketball-playing-area. Let me know (in the comments) if you can't read any titles/authors and you want information. Also, feel free to click on the photo for a larger view...

Note: below there are 2 books not mine: the cigar book is Ray's. He collects cigars (well, and smokes them but he doesn't buy crappy ones). The other book was for Ray's history class or something like that, the Slave Narratives book. I haven't read those two, but I have thumbed through the cigar book.

The books below are in the computer room. They are some of my college textbooks (I'm graduated). I saved some others but these are my most relevant to "real life" and I love microbiology too.
And all these magazines are a combo of a few: Vegetarian Times, Veggie Life, Eating Well, Animal Times and about a 4-year Nutrition Action that I got for free for my mom subscribing to it. I also have some AJCN (clinical nutrition) journals.
How come when I go to the library after so much time I think to myself, "why do I let so much time go by before coming back here?". Maybe because I forget of the wonderful and joyful feeling of being in the library, getting to rent up to 50 items at a time, and all for free! I just took what I could carry. Plus, I plan on going back more often, and next time branching out from the food/cooking isle. These are the books I rented:
*Made with Love stories, recipes and crafts from Grateful Dead fans (all foods cooked on the road at festivals, awesome stuff)
*Freelance Foodcrafting I got this book because I may want to check into renting a kitchen around here (or commercial space in someone's kitchen) and starting another business.
*Main-Dish Grains this book was super-cute and little and has simple whole-grain dishes with minimal ingredients. The book is only about 50 pages
*The Uncheese Cookbook I just wanted to see what all the hype was about (from fellow bloggers, vegans). I decided I am glad I don't own this book but I may try one recipe. I don't miss cheese.

*Raw This is a great book for recipes and the coffee table. The photos are wonderful and I don't have a dehydrator, but now I want one. I recommend checking out these recipes or at least see how artistically prepared these meals are.
*3 Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery - sounds awesome, is awesome.
*The Enchanted Broccoli Forest -I've seen this book before and I like the recipes a lot. I also like the particular font used in printing, and it looks as if someone with great handwriting wrote the whole thing out.

*Hungry Planet I am so happy that I found this book. I asked 3 people for it for my birthday. Didn't get it. I also couldn't justify buying a book for $40 that wasn't a textbook for school, and I'm done with school. I love this book and read the whole thing yesterday. The photos are vivid and there's details, broken down information about foods, money, culture, customs, etc. Please go to the library or bookstore and check this book out. It's the best book I've looked at (minus cookbooks) in a while. It made me do a lot of thinking (more like reminders I already knew) and I'll save my thoughts for their own post some day. I feel strongly about the contents of "Hungry Planet". It's by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio- so you all can read this book.

Edit to add: In the first photo of the whole bookshelf I forgot to mention the newspaper(s). I have some NY Times saved from 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, certain scientific discoveries, and a few other things that I am forgetting to mention. I also have thin little books on vintage clothing, Scientific Vegetarian (which is a super-thin but very awesome book), and more...
Back on to the rented books.

Edit to add #2: I made the bookshelf that my books are on. Well, I didn't make it. Rather, I bought a really crappy bookshelf, bought some latchy-things to hold the shelves better, sanded almost every square inch, and painted the shelves. If you look close I also hot-glued some shiny guys to create some flare. Not that a combo of purple and hot green isn't enough flare for me.
Back on to the rented books... for real this time!

One of my favorite books in which I will someday own...Fin.

10 April 2006

Psychic Stir-Fry & Tofu Pie

It seems as if us vegan food bloggers have some sort of stir-fry telepathy going on. I have been dreaming of this stir-fry since Thursday, but I didn't want to cook for just me so I waited until Sunday (last night 10:30 pm). What you see above is the stir-fry cookin' up in the wok. I have two wok's and this is my smaller one. I have no idea how I have 2, hmmm...
Les' Special Stir-Fry Ingredients:
*note: I was just sitting around outside in the 90 degree weather + sunshine and decided to make a running list of what would be super-awesome in the stir-fry. There are a lot of things, but it's interesting how I could still specifically taste each and every individual flavor, veggies, spices, etc. I wish I had broccoli, but I used only ingredients that I already had, I was not doing a special trip to the store for 1 or 2 items. Ok, on to the ingredients, and no "recipe" because if you know me, I just like to toss a bunch of stuff in.
*Note #2: I marinated my tofu for the very first time in 7 years of eating tofu. How have I never done this before? Was I too lazy? Do I just think that Jess (Let's Get Sconed) has amazing ideas and Dreena (Vive le Vegan) too and they marinate their tofu so shouldn't I? Well, from now on my minimum marinating time is 2 hours. This was wonderful, so flavorful and bursting with goodness.

Ingredients (for real this time)
Brown rice
pre-baked tofu: marinated in rice vinegar, tamari, hoisin sauce (2.5 hours marination)
baby bok choy (see family below)
red, green, yellow bell pepper (pre-cut, frozen, $1.99/big bag, easy year-round)
ginger, freshly grated
Italian squash (I ended up buying this thinking it was the cutest little baby zuchini, woops. It turned out to be good anyway and it was my first time ever even hearing of this veggie.)
handful raw cashews (I love love love these in stir-fry)
gamashio (sea veggies, kelp, etc.)
agave nectar
tamari (more)
olive oil and toasted sesame oil (olive at first, finished with sesame)
spoonful of peanut butter
chili flakes
hoisin sauce (again)
fresh squeezed lemon (to finish)
Yep. I'm awesome.
I prepped the above around 7:30pm knowing it would take a while to cut everything. I also knew that Ray wasn't going to be home until after 9pm, so I didn't want to do all of this prepping later and then eat super-later than I already do. I did all of this, placed appropriate veggies in water for a while, others exposed to air, and was happy in the end that I did this earlier.
Above is what I took out from the pantry and fridge prior to the wok getting hot. After all, heating on a hot wok only takes a few minutes or so. Also, I of course didn't use all these cashews (I spooned some out).

And below you will see my Baby Bok Choy Family. I really liked that cute little one. It's the size of my thumb. You can see I was not in a hurry to cook this meal!!!
Moving on... I really wanted a mocha pie. I was too lazy to make more coffee for the day. I decided to go with a tofu chocolate, peanut butter, pecan pie with graham cracker crust by Arrowhead Mills (organic and awesome).
This pie is more like a pudding that didn't firm up into a pie. It's still really tasty though.
Ingredients: silken tofu, chocolate chips, cocoa, peanut butter (just a small bit), agave nectar, maple syrup, vanilla, water, pecans, graham cracker crust. Yum.
And some more weekly treats... I always have these (and I always say this). This time around I placed some in snowman muffin cups so I can give them away to some people and it's handier.
This is my tarragon spice house. It's from a complete spice villiage and the lids come off and you store the appropriate spice in them. My boss received them as a gift, asked me if I wanted the whole set. Guess what?! I was super-good, held back and said NO to introducing more crap into my house. I'm not saying this is crap, I just have little "things" and I don't need a whole spice villiage, especially a cute, impractical one. Instead, I took the only one I really liked, because it's green, and it was the only green one. I do like tarragon, but I wansn't picking based on my favorite spice. That would have to be cumin.

Fin. Whew.