Monday, January 31, 2011

A Jane Austen Weekend

Whenever I'm feeling a bit stressed out, tired, sick - or just a bit out of sorts, it always seems to make me feel better to watch some good ol' fashioned Jane Austen!

I found some time to FINALLY relax a bit this weekend, and it was really wonderful. First I watched Jane Austen Book Club - which was the inspiration for my mom & I to start our own book club (which has been an ongoing thing for the past 2-years now! Wow!).

I don't care what anybody says - I love this movie. It's cute, funny, warm, and Hugh Dancy is adorable to boot! I always get annoyed with the "beauty lesbians" that are littered throughout (one character seems to meet a gorgeous lesbian at EVERY turn) - not that they're gay of course, but because they're so stereotypical of Hollywood's view of how lesbians should be (never butch in the least - god forbid!). And the fact that every girl she comes in contact with throughout the movie just *happens* to also be gorgeous and gay. Whatevz!

But I digress. I still love it. It makes me happy and always renews my love for good books, good friends, and good conversation!!

Next up was Persuasion, based on Jane Austen's book. This was shown on PBS, and filmed in the UK with the lovely Sally Hawkins in the lead. Again, if you haven't seen her in Happy Go Lucky, you absolutely must. She's utterly hilarious.

Anyway, this one has quickly become one of my favorites. The story is wonderful, and the acting is divine!! Oh, and it doesn't hurt that the lead is played by this guy...

Yum. :)

Next up on my playlist? I'll give you a hint - it's not Jane Austen, but it's from the same time period, and by another famous female author. OK, I'll just tell ya. Jane Eyre. Check out all these films / books. You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Sigh, if only that were the case for me right now!

Sorry about the lack of posts lately - I've been going through a bit of a "life change", and I'm figuring out how to deal with all of it. Veganism is still going great, but due to an unforeseen medical issue, I also need to cut out anything with sugar in it for the next few weeks - which needless to say makes things even more difficult!

On the flip side, my work situation has been very frustrating lately, and I'm finding it more and more difficult to stay in the position I'm in at the same pay I'm receiving. I've begun the job hunt all over again, with hopes to take a step up into a more focused career - at a place that pays me what I deserve, and covers my health insurance too!

It's been a struggle to balance all of these changes, derby practice, social time (which has been very little lately, unfortunately), boyfriend time, me time, and just finding an hour to do my laundry is hard.

I'm trying to stay positive though - just knowing that a good job is out there for me somewhere and that desserts will be on my horizon again soon certainly helps to keep my head up!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Black Eyed Pea Croquettes

Over the weekend I tried my hand at some Vegan Black Eyed Pea Croquettes from The Kind Diet book. Have I stressed how much I love this book enough? I LOVE IT! :)

Above you can see the picture from the book, and my own version. Mine certainly weren't nearly as pretty, but they were DELICIOUS!

The first attempt I accidentally cooked the beans/peas first (even though the recipe didn't say to). Needless to say, they disintegrated the minute I put them in the oil. The second time I just soaked them overnight and did NOT cook them (as the recipe said the first time around, der), and they turned out great!

They were very easy to make, even though they looked very decadent. I just pulsed the soaked black eyed peas in my food processor, added some seasonings, formed 'em in to little cakes and fried 'em up in oil! DONE!

OH, and the delicious dipping sauce.....ughhhh.....SO GOOD. The recipe called for sweet rice syrup, but I just used maple syrup instead. You heat it on the stove with some dijon mustard, and voila! Yummy nummy dipping sauce (that you won't be able to resist licking from the bowl).

After I finished with the croquettes I realized I had no lettuce to make a big leafy salad (which I imagined to be the perfect accompaniment). So instead I warmed up some frozen peas & corn, seasoned them with a little salt & pepper, and mixed in Tofutti sour cream. YUM.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

She Eats Bears... and opens a restaurant

Another quick post for today!

I was so inspired as I caught up on one of my favorite food blogs, She Eats Bears. Apparently I'm a little behind, but that lovely blogger has very recently opened her own restaurant, Edgar.

I just found it so thrilling, and such a wonderful inspiration! It just amazes me all the time when people take something they love (cooking, skating, snowboarding, singing - whatever!) and make a career out of it. I hope to do the same someday.

Click HERE to see some awesome photos of Edgar, and some of the amazing & delicious looking creations!!

Vegan Pizza and a yummy easy breakfast!

Last week I had a hankerin' for a pizza - BIG time! So I decided to make my own vegan version, with whatever fixin's I had in the fridge.

First I took a large 13" tortilla (these are the ones that I loved so much from the Farmer's Market - I bought a good supply of them to last me through the winter, and froze them), and laid it on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Then I slathered it with low-sodium tomato sauce (I like mine chunky).

I put a good helping of arugula on top (since I knew it would wilt), which made it even healthier!

These mushrooms are AWESOME and a great topping addition! You can find 'em with all the other 'shrooms at Whole Foods - I just like that these are a little different than the usual button mushrooms, and they have so much flavor and texture!

Don't even bother choppin' them. They're delicious just the way they are!

Next I whipped up some Vegan ricotta "cheese". This is the same stuff I used for Alicia Silverstone's recipe for Vegan Stuffed Shells - although I just realized I forgot the lemon juice. Whoops! It was still really yummy without it.

Basically you just mash up some firm tofu with nutritional yeast, salt & pepper, and garlic powder until it becomes a ricotta-like texture. I find using my hands is the easiest way to get it all mixed in evenly!

Dollop it all over the top of your pizza and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5-8 minutes. My old rickety gas oven cooks it in just 5 minutes, which makes for a SUPER quick & easy dinner!

This is another Kind Diet recipe that I really really enjoyed. Another super easy breakfast recipe!!

Basically you just take some leftover rice, dump it in a pan, top it with some dried fruit (I used currants), and cover it with water. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the water is reduced (I ended up straining mine to remove the excess water), then enjoy!

I topped mine with unsalted pumpkin & sunflower seeds for some extra iron, and gave it a splash of Vanilla Almond Milk. I think next time I'll add in some cinnamon at the end - YUM!

It's a really nice & easy way to BREAK the FAST of sleep. :) Very gentle on the tum-tum.

I had some fun editing this pic of myself too - I think it turned out pretty cool! Katy got me those awesome purple earrings for Christmas - love them!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Three Bean Salad & Vegan Dinner

I made this 3-Bean Salad on Sunday, and have been nom-nom-noming down on it all week! It's SO easy to make (if you can buy ingredients, chop, and stir - you're good!), totally healthy, and awesome on top of stuff (as you can see with my lunch idea listed below).

Try to get everything organic for bonus points!

Three Bean Salad
Adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch recipe

2 tbsp red wine vinegar (I used some old red wine that turned)
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt & pepper (to taste)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup frozen corn (thawed under warm water)
1 cup shelled edamame soy beans (thawed under warm water)
1 15-16oz can red kidney beans (rinsed & drained)
1 15-16oz can white northern beans (rinsed & drained), or garbanzos if you prefer
1/2 small yellow onion OR scallion (finely minced)
1/2 a red bell pepper (chopped)
2 tbsp dried Italian seasonings (or fresh basil / cilantro)

Add the first 3 ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
Add all of the other ingredients to the bowl with the dressing, and gently toss.

DONE!! Yep, I told ya it was easy! Here's a quick & easy way of using that beautifully colorful 3-Bean salad for lunch during the week (I ate it this way both yesterday and today).

Step 1 - layer the bottom of your dish with leftover brown rice (I love making a big batch of whole grains to use in my meals throughout the week. It makes my life so much easier!)

Step 2 - layer on some peppery arugula (my new favorite), fresh spinach, or spring mix.

Step 3 - drizzle on some balsamic vinaigrette (not too much! The bean salad has lots of flavor!)

Step 4 - top with your 3-Bean salad, and take it to work! YUM!!

This is a photo of the deeeeeelicious apple curry veggie soup that I mentioned yesterday. I never make soup (EVER), and I've made this soup 3 times since I discovered it. It's so easy, and SO delicious.

This is what I had for dinner over the weekend! I totally made it up, but it was REALLY yummy and hearty. Perfect for a cold winter evening! Here's what it is:

Beth's Thrown-Together Beany Vegan Stew
whole grain pasta
white northern beans (drained / rinsed)
diced red pepper
vegan Italian sausage links
Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup (I used this because it was sitting in my fridge, and wanted to use the leftovers. It was SO yummy, but you could totally use pasta sauce instead w/ a splash of soymilk)
Tofutti sour cream (optional)

Cook the pasta according to package directions, and use that at the base of your bowl. While the pasta is cooking, cook the red pepper, mushrooms, and "sausage" in a pan until lightly browned. Add the beans & soup (or sauce) to the pan and heat through. Dump over the pasta, and top with a dollop of Tofutti sour cream.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 1 of Veganism - and the first day of the rest of my life!

The last time I read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone (and posted about it HERE), I didn't actually READ the entire thing to be honest...I just skimmed, then went straight for the recipes!

Well, I got the book as a Christmas gift this year, and now that I'm really reading it word for word, I'm even more in love! It has really inspired me to GO VEGAN again, and to give it a real shot for the rest of my life. I've gone back & forth on the idea for a while now, and I'm really going to do it. Shoot, if I can quit smoking and go vegetarian... I can do ANYTHING! :)

Today for breakfast I had a slice of Ancient Grain Spelt toast topped with Tofutti sour cream, arugula, and vegetarian baked beans. I even made a smoothie with a banana, a pear, frozen blackberries, ground flaxseed, and iced green tea. Who says vegans are missing out? NOT ME! It was DELICIOUS.

For lunch I had an Apple Curry Veggie soup that was SO easy to make over the weekend, and is so ridiculously delicious that I'll be eating it all week! I got it from the How it All Vegan cookbook that I utterly adore, and wrote about in this post.

Tonight is book club and I made my favorite Vegan Shells & Cheese recipe to share with the girls. I hope they love it as much as I do!

I have some pics coming soon too!