A home for all things crafty, health-conscious, cake-related, or in need of a wagon!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Krista's Birthday Spread!

So, my sister came out to visit last weekend for her birthday, and what did she do? Cook for like 36 hours! She planned a huge cooking extravaganza for her friends, and it was AMAZING.

The recipe pile

Random ingredient pile (definitely not all of them)

Some roasted leeks and mushrooms, for the pizza below.

A few of the many dishes that were washed in preparation mode.

Japanese mushroom salad (from Nobu), giant pot of basmati rice that I was eating all week...

Baked tofu with bbq or peanut sauce (most amazing peanut sauce ever! From VWAV, usually served with cold udon noodles)

Pesto pizza with roasted mushrooms, leeks, and smoked mozzerella for us non-vegans; no cheese on the other one (this did NOT last long; I'm not a huge mushroom person, and I totally had two pieces!)

Lemongrass tofu, that I ate for two more lunches (also from VWAV, but I'm not sure what the technical recipe is.)

Dessert spread, complete with wine; vegan girl scout cookies (samoas or caramel delights, depending on your era) and macadamia nut ginger carrot cake, with macadamia/coconut frosting (like the frosting for German chocolate cake, but with macs instead of pecans- delish!)

Birthday girl!

All in all, it was a really lovely day, and I got to reap the rewards for most of the next week!

Happy Birthday Krista!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Harvest Fair Today!!

Seattle Tilth's Harvest Fair is today!!! I'm planning to go and a.) buy awesome veggies b.) enter to win a chicken coop or a raised bed kit and c.) get rid of some extra seeds by trading them for new ones! Go if you get a chance!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Do you tempeh?

I never used to like tempeh. I bought a package of it (many years ago) and froze it; I used it as an icepack, but never ate it, and threw it out. Then, my sister made me a recipe from the famous Vegan With A Vengeance, (tempeh sausage crumbles with white bean gravy and biscuits) and I've never looked back.

To be fair, tempeh is kind of a weird substance. It's made from fermented soybeans and other things and looks kind of weird. But trust me, it is delicious!

This is what I had in my house today, and how I majorly altered the aforementioned recipe to suit us for dinner:

1 package tempeh
1 can white kidney beans
1 leek
2 carrots
3 ribs celery
2 cloves garlic

First, chop up the tempeh:

Add it to a pot, and cover it with water. Cook over medium high heat for about 10 minutes or so. In the meantime, mix together your spices:

1 Tbsp. fennel seed

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. marjoram

1 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. dried sage

Then chop up your veggies. (I usually have some onion for sure, but we were out right now, so I used the leek. Feel free to experiment!)
Throw that in with the tempeh, and add a bit more water or veggie broth. (I used some "better than bouillion" to add to the water. You'll probably have about 1 1/2 cups total over the course of the recipe.)

Now, you can serve this over many things. The original recipe uses biscuits. I usually do it over rice, but we were a bit low on that too (see? I need to go shopping sometimes too!) so today I cooked up 6 oz. of pasta. (my tip? I weigh it before I cook it, so I know what the actual servings are; a good way to have pasta but not eat 4oo calories of it in one sitting!)
Oh wait! I also ran out to the garden and got this:

You should really have some fresh sage for this recipe; it's like the only thing I use it for except stuffing at Thanksgiving, but totally worth it! Also had some fresh green beans (that were HUGE!) that I didn't want to overcook, so I saved them for last.

After the veggies are starting to get tender, throw in the spices. Also add:

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

the fresh sage, all chopped (about 10-12 leaves; most of mine were kind of wimpy, so I just did a whole sprig of it)

1/2 tsp. salt

In Isa's recipe, she blends up the beans and a few other things (olive oil and water) in a food processor. I like to have as little clean up as possible, so I just throw in the drained and rinsed beans, then smash them up a bit in the pot with a potato masher.

As you can see, it's still really lovely. Either serve it over your choice of carb, or mix it together like I did here. Magnifique!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Expect the best...

So, we are starting a monthlong mostly tv/video games ban around here- in the hopes that it will make us feel more accomplished and productive. (and less lazy) You should therefore expect that I will be posting more often, and probably filling pages with my crafty endeavors! I've already started a vest, cut out the pattern for an apron, and have bits and pieces of around 10 purses for my shop sitting around. Maybe in time for Christmas??! Oh, and you know I have to make something awesome for Halloween; Lulu already has a fairy costume, so it's up to us to find something to go along with it. (It will really be worth it if I can get John to dress up like Oberon...) :)

Monday, September 5, 2011


I had a crafty day last Friday with my friend Shelley. Apart from doing some sewing, I made this: My jewelry box seemed to be overflowing with earrings, and I am usually pretty late in the morning. I had seen something like this somewhere in my internet travels, and decided that it needed to be made ASAP! So, I went to Ben Franklin, and found a frame that was relatively large (12x16?) and sufficiently "beachy" enough to fit in with my tropical/ocean themed bedroom/bathroom. And? It was $7.

Then I got home and realized that the extra leftover screening material I knew I had was nowhere to be found. After a trip to Home Depot and another $6, we were ready to start. (but now I have enough screening material that if I decided to, I could manufacture these for at least 10 more people)

I tore off the back of the picture frame. Then I cut a piece of screen that was a bit smaller than the frame. I stapled it to the back of the frame, while holding it tight. Then; how to hang it? I pulled out some ribbon choices and settled on the bees (because they are awesome!). Stapled that to the back too. Hung it up with a thumbtack and added earrings.

Done and done!


Yesterday, I made coffee cake, part 2. It was based on coffee cake, part 1; but with several improvements.
First, I added some fruit. Second, I added more oil to the topping, so it wouldn't be so dry. Third, I replaced almost all of the oil in the actual cake with applesauce. (srsly? 1/2 cup of oil? after already having at least 1/4 cup in the topping? Outrageous!)

Here's what I did:

I had 2 nectarines and a bunch of rhubarb from the garden. I chopped the nectarines really small, and put them in a small pot.

Mmm... nectarines!

Then, I chopped up the rhubarb into tiny pieces. Knowing that raw rhubarb is poisonous, I cooked the nectarines, and rhubarb, just to be on the safe side. (and I also wanted to make it a bit like jam in the original recipe) I added 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 Tbsp. of water, and cooked it for about 15 minutes, until it boiled and reduced a bit into syrup.

Now we make the cake! (adapted from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

1 scant cup flour (I took out a heaping tablespoon)
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
about 1/4 c. vegetable oil

Mix together dry ingredients, then add oil small amounts at a time. Knead together with your fingers until it is as crumbly as you like it. Then taste. Taste some more. Marvel at how much it tastes like donuts, and then wonder if you really need to put any of this on top of your cake after all. Try to stop eating it. Mix together cake ingredients, while continuing to sample small amounts of the topping.

3/4 c. soy milk + 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (set aside to curdle)
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. applesauce
1 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. flour (add another 2 Tbsp. after mixing)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add the wet ones, and stir to incorporate. Pour into a greased 9x9 pan. Swirl in fruity jam mixture. Top with topping, and bake at 375* for 45-50 minutes. Check to see if it is done (the fruity bits make it take a bit longer to cook), cool a bit, and EAT!

(photo from Smitten Kitchen)

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I found the camera battery charger!! It was under a pile of stuff in J's office. Am I also keeping the $.50 that I found as payment for cleaning? Yes, yes, I am!