Thursday, December 1, 2011

More Fall Favorites...

...Just because fall is awesome like that.

How about a super-colorful and uber-tasty main dish salad? Yes, it's the Autumn Root Salad with Warm Maple-Fig Dressing from Veganomicon. I think anything with a Warm Maple-Fig Dressing would taste good, no? It's steamed sweet potato and red potato, sliced baked beets, baby romaine, and...that dressing. Ahhh, that dressing. It's dried figs, garlic, shallots, white wine, maple syrup, salt, Dijon mustard, and white balsamic vinegar. It's simmered on the stoptop and them whipped into submission. It's ambrosial.

I usually top it off with some chopped pecans, but I was out of pecans, so I subbed some chopped hazelnuts. Some plain ol' steamed cauliflower was served on the side.
I also love to bake up some Cranberry Orange Nut Muffins every Thanksgiving. I've used the recipe from Vegan Brunch the last two years and made little mini muffins. This recipe is the bomb-diggity because these muffins pack a flavor punch. Fresh cranberries, fresh orange juice, orange zest, and pecans  all explode in your mouth and say KA-POW! Yeah, they are seriously awesome.
I made 30 mini muffins, and I think I was responsible for eating at least 18 of them. Hey, to the baker belong the spoils, I always say!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fall Favorites

As much as I like trying new recipes, there are certain dishes that I always return to. When the air gets crisp and the days get shorter, I always pick up some chicory and fennel and make the greatest salad known to man, aka the Roasted Fennel and Hazelnut Salad with Shallot Dressing from Veganomicon:

Pictures just do not do this salad justice. It is amazeballs.
Two big heads of fennel (and three big shallots) are roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and S&P.  The fennel is added to a head of chopped chicory, some toasted hazelnuts, and dried cranberries. The roasted shallots are blended with some olive oil, hazelnut oil (I subbed more EVOO), white wine vinegar, maple syrup, tarragon, thyme, nutmeg, and salt. It makes a thick, creamy, savory dressing that is out-of-this-world delicious.
There is only one thing that could possibly make this salad any better, and that is a hunk of freshly baked No-Knead Swedish Cardamom Braid from Vegetarian Times:

This is the best tasting bread I've ever had. Don't just take my word for it - try it yourself. I've made it a bunch of times, and everyone I've served it to has LOVED it.

We washed down our salad and bread with some Southern Tier Pumking beer:

I love pumpkin beers, and this one is in a class of its own. It's fantastic! It was the perfect treat to go with our yummy fall dinner. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm Still Here....

...but Vegan MoFo nearly killed me.

Well, not really. But it sure did make me want to take a blogging break!

I've still been cooking, baking, and trying new recipes. I just haven't been motivated to blog about them :) But here is a sample of what I've been cooking lately:

Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes from Peas and Thank You:

Blueberry Carob Pancakes from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan:

Mini Tofu Frittatas, also from Peas and Thank You:

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili and Cornmeal-Crusted Plantains, both also from EDBV:

Spinach Salad with Persimmons and Spiced Pecans in Shallot Lemon Dressing, with a side of steamed mixed veggies, from Ani's Raw Food Kitchen:

Two Step Southwestern Stew from Vegetarian Times:

...along with some Cowgirl Cornbread from Peas and Thank You:

More cornbread-y goodness: Fresh Corn & Scallion Cornbread from Appetite for Reduction:

Classic Black Bean & Veggie Chili, also from AFR:

A Vegan Bowl from AFR - quinoa, baked tofu, carrots, red pepper, steamed broccoli, and Caesar Chavez dressing:

Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing from Veganomicon:
Perhaps I will be getting my blogging mojo back soon. It is fall, after all, and that means lots of yummy breads, soups, and pumpkin-y foods for me. I definitely need to up my pumpkin consumption!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vegan MoFo: The Wrap-Up

Vegan MoFo is officially over, and I have only one thing to say: I am one tired MoFoer!

But my favorite little lion wants to wish you a happy belated Halloween:

I'm really glad I did MoFo - I tried many new recipes, cooked many new cuisines, met some awesome fellow bloggers, and broke out of my cooking rut. But it was, I have to admit, very, very tiring! Between planning the meals, to cooking them, to blogging about them, scanning old pictures, researching stuff, and everything else, it was exhausting. I'm going to be taking a little hiatus to catch up on some other things, namely: reading for pleasure and watching excessive amounts of bad reality TV on Bravo.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you'd like to see in the future on my blog: different themes, cuisines, or whatever. Tell me what you'd like to see more of (and less of, if it's constructive criticism!) But please, I'd love to hear your comments. Comments mean the world to bloggers! Sometimes we feel like we are just talking to ourselves :) Thanks and peace xo

Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 31: A Smorgasbord of Vegan Food

It's the last day of MoFo, so I wanted to leave you with a smorgasbord of yummy stuff I've eaten the last few days. I haven't traveled to Sweden, but I'm Swedish on my mother's side of the family, so there ya go.

Lemon Lentil Soup from Peas and Thank You:

Oatmeal Bread from How It All Vegan!:
Lotsa Veggies Lentil Soup from Appetite for Reduction:
Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad (with avocado), also from Appetite for Reduction:
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance:
Orange-Date-Walnut Bread from 1,000 Vegan Recipes: 
Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan:
I used black tortilla chips and Daiya vegan cheddar to make it look very Halloween-y :)

I'll be back with a MoFo recap soon!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 29: Washington, D.C.

Today we're going to take a trip to our nation's capital. Even though D.C. is only a 7-hour drive away, I'm ashamed to say that I've only been there a handful of times in my life. Let's just say I suffer from an acute case of Rhode Island-itis. This condition dictates that anything that is more than, say, 15 minutes away is "too far" (or, as we like to say, "too fah.") What do you expect from us? It only takes an hour to traverse our state. We can pretty much have all of our needs taken care of within our puny little borders. Why on Earth would we willingly drive halfway down the Eastern Seaboard? Hmmm...something to ponder.

But anyway...the last time we ventured to D.C. was in April 2009. We drove down for a few days to see the sights and visit my hubby's family.

We were very excited to visit the International Spy Museum:

But, I must admit, we were even more fascinated by the Crime Museum. We got to see the set of America's Most Wanted and shake hands with McGruff the Crime Dog. We also got to see lots of crime instruments and tools, like these:

Yeah, I know - not too exciting, but none of the other pictures came out too well :(

I think the highlight of our trip, though, was getting to visit Sticky Fingers Bakery:

I got a cupcake and a Cowvin, a vanilla cream-filled oatmeal cookie sandwich.
The cupcake was pretty good. But the Cowvin?

We also enjoyed lots of other yummy vegan fare: spicy empanadas at Julia's Empanadas; sandwiches and salads at Java Green; Ethiopian food at Dukem; and pizza with soy cheez at Ella's Wood Fired Pizza. We loved the melting pot of different cuisines available all throughout the city!

In honor of all the multicultural restaurants and foods we enjoyed in the city, I cooked up a pot of  delicious Moroccan Bean Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Figs, courtesy of the amazing Dreena Burton. This recipe will be in her upcoming cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan! I can't wait to get it!

The soup is supposed to have a combination of black beans and chickpeas, but I used big fat fava beans instead. I think it worked really well, and I'll make it this way from now on. This stew was so awesome!

I can't believe MoFo is drawing to an end. I hope you've been enjoying it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 28: Jolly Old England, Part 2

First, a disclaimer: this is a short post. And it doesn't have a whole lot of jolly old England in it. Or jolly old English food, for that matter. But it's October 28, and I have a bit of MoFo fatigue. You got a problem with that? Take it up with this guy:

I mean, these guys:

I pity the fool that has MoFo fatigue!

As you can tell, we did visit Madame Tussauds. And no, we're not proud of it.

We also had to visit Buckingham Palace:

And take a stroll through St. James Park:

I don't remember a whole lot about what we ate on this particular trip, but I do remember ordering Thai takeout, bringing it to our hotel room, and watching Notting Hill on the telly. I mean, why actually go out and see London (right outside your hotel room) when you can just watch a movie of it instead? To quote The Biscuit on Ally McBeal: Pleeeaaase. I can't believe we did that!

Here's a healthier version of the Thai takeout we got in London: a Thai-inspired main-dish salad.

Baby romaine lettuce, carrots, broccoli, scallions, pineapple, red and yellow peppers, peanuts, and chickpeas, drizzled with a spicy cheater's peanut sauce (peanut butter, lime juice, chili powder, and tamari).
It's about as authentic as the waxy Mr. T, but it was tasty nonetheless. Just like Mr. Grant.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 27: Germany, Part 2

I think I got a wee bit carried away writing about Sulzfeld in my last Germany post. I promise to keep it short 'n sweet this time :)

This was the coolest hotel EVER. We spent Valentine's Day weekend 2003 in Baden-Baden in the Black Forest. This is Hotel Der Kleine Prinz. It was so expensive we could only afford to stay one night, but it was so cool. We had afternoon tea at the hotel and then visited the Friedrichsbad Roman-Irish Baths. Later that night, we got gussied up and visited the Casino Baden-Baden. People were gambling here in evening gowns and tuxedos. Very James Bond-ish!

This is a picture we took from our car as we were driving through the Alps on the way to Austria...
This is Schloss Neuschwanstein in Hohenschwangau. King Ludwig II of Bavaria lived here, and it's the castle that inspired Disney's Snow White castle.
A view from inside the castle...

This is downtown Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This town hosted the Winter Olympics in 1936.
 Here's my hubby (the man in the yellow hat...hehe) at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.
This is a photo of Heidelberg. We took a day-trip here to meet up with my hubby's cousins, who were traveling through the area. Lots of cool bridges and architecture here!
This is a picture of the Falterturm ("crooked tower") in Kitzingen. Legend has it that there is a golden ball at the top of the tower that contains the heart of Vlad Dracula, and the tower is leaning toward the cemetery across the street where he's supposedly buried. Pretty cool, huh?!
Of course, one of my favorite memories of Germany is going to all the winefests. Here's a picture of the Kitzinger Weinfest. It's a tad blurry, but hey, I was at a winefest. I think that explains everything.
Here's my Dad, my hubby, and me in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Rothenburg was about an hour's drive away from Sulzfeld, and we visited often. It is such a cool place!
The town gets all decorated for the Easter and Christmas holidays, especially. We took this photo around Easter in 2002.
And finally, a photo of Fortress Marienberg in Würzburg. Würzburg was the largest city close to Sulzfeld, about a 30-minute drive away. I remember once attending a formal dinner in the Fortress for my hubby's military unit. They served cold cucumber soup as an appetizer. Let's just say that it didn't go over so well, although I personally thought it was delicious :)

Let's face it - German cuisine is often all about the meat. I say, let them eat tempeh! Smoky Tempeh & Greens Stew from Appetite for Reduction, more specifically!
 You want some broetchen with that? How 'bout some Fancy Biscuits from How It All Vegan! instead?

Germans also love their cabbage. Here's some Cabbage and Fennel Salad with Apples and Raisins, along with some baked marinated tempeh and mashed carrots and turnips. Das ist gut!