Monday, December 31, 2007

Resolutions for a New Year

I am thinking that telling the blogworld my New Year's resolutions will somehow mean that I actually carry them out. We'll see how it goes, I have quite a few (in no particular order of importance)...

- Improve my piping skills (this means lots of practice cupcakes :-)
- Learn how to knit and be more crafty in general
- Volunteer at FNB once a month
- Find a job that I love (or at least one I don't hate)
- Learn how to use my new camera!
- Be a more effective advocate for veganism
- Visit someplace I've never been before
- Eat more green leafy things
- Clean the stovetop right away when something boils over
- Run and do yoga more regularly
- Wear sunscreen and floss everyday
- Recyle more and drive less
- Be a more supportive, caring friend, sister, daughter, and wife

We are about to head to dinner then on to two different parties. Not wanting to come empty-handed, I made black bottom blondies and peanut butter bombs, both from My Sweet Vegan. I snuck a taste of both, and OMG, the bombs are in fact, the bomb. I think I saw someone describe them as Reese's in cookie form (or maybe it was in the recipe, I should go look to reference correctly, but I'm too lazy), they are better than that. John and I even ate one raw and loved it. These should get mowed at the party (but if not, fine, more for me!)

Hope everyone has a wonderful beginning to 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sheep's Wool in Your O.J.

One tidbit I forgot to mention about Christmas Day that was a bit shocking and quite odd... my mom offered me some orange juice when I woke up. I am not typically one to drink juice, but it sounded like a good way to sweeten the morning a bit while opening presents. I picked up the jug of juice, H.E.B. brand, fortified with calcium. Sounded fine, right. Well, I read further and saw that it was fortified with Vitamin D3. I remembered vaguely from reading Becoming Vegan back when I first went vegan that there were two sources of Vitamin D, one plant-derived and one animal-derived. I couldn't quite remember which was which so I did a quick google search and sure enough, Vitamin D3 is sourced from sheep's wool (bleh!). My mom was shocked, how can juice not be vegan? Crazier things have happened I suppose. So no O.J. for me....

Sorry for the random story. I go back to work tomorrow, which I am pretty sad about. So this morning after a run (trying to start my New Year's resolutions a bit early :-), I made myself my favorite Sunday breakfast; french toast. I have stuck to one recipe since going vegan, but figured in the spirit of the new year I should branch out a bit. Take a guess where I got this one from....

That's right! My copy of My Sweet Vegan, which I really can't put down, I'm having so much fun just drooling over the photos. This one uses nutritional yeast, and I thought it turned out delicious. I wish I'd had some thicker bread, but thankfully since I was instructed to toast the bread before dipping it in the batter, it didn't come out soggy. To make up for the lack of O.J. from Christmas, I had clementine wedges on the side.

Dinners the past few nights have focused on new recipes as well. On Friday night, my parents and sister came over and I decided to test out two new V-con recipes on them: the pumpkin baked ziti with caramelized onions and sage crumb topping that so many people have raved about and the roasted fennel and hazelnut salad with shallot dressing. Along with the leftovers, last night we also tried the mustard crusted seitan from Yellow Rose Recipes.

All three of these dishes got a thumbs up from everyone. One thing I would change about the ziti... next time I would use about half the breadcrumbs called for. Not sure if it was because I was lazy and used store-bought breadcrumbs, but there were just so many of them and they seemed to overwhelm the flavor of the pumpkin/cashew ricotta filling. The salad was a huge hit, my parents loved the fennel and hopefully now they will introduce a new veggie to their repertoire! The toasted hazelnuts and the dried cranberries along with the shallot dressing were a perfect compliment. And the seitan was a yummy new discovery as well (I also used her recipe for seitan, which was a bit moister than other recipes I've made). If you love mustard, you need to try this easy way to fix seitan cutlets.

So now I guess I need to go think about some resolutions for the New Year. Plus I need to make a grocery list so I can make a few goodies to bring along to the two New Year's parties we'll be attending....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Saint Nick Delivers

Our stockings were hung by the chimney with care... in hope that yummy vegan treats soon would be there.

And what do you know, maybe I should start believing in Santa Claus! Christmas day dinner with my family was full of new, yummy vegan treats. For the main course, I made the Festive Chickpea Tart (thanks to Dreena) from the November issue of VegNews.
I loved the different textures of chickpeas, paired with crunchy walnuts, tart cranberries, and the green (festive!) parsley and spinach. We topped it with a balsamic maple sauce as Dreena suggested, but since I didn't have ED&BV with me, I just made one up (combined some maple syrup and balsamic vinegar (duh) with olive oil and whole grain mustard). The whole family loved this one, and I'm kinda sad that it's already gone :-( Maybe I'll make some more before the winter season is over.
The rest of the dinner was rounded out with twice baked potatoes (topped with FYH mozzarella), broccoli, homemade bread, and a green salad with raspberries and strawberries.

And another new recipe for the holidays... I got my mom (and myself, shhh) a copy of Hannah's My Sweet Vegan and perused it for quite awhile trying to figure out what to make for our holiday dessert. The answer was obvious when I saw the Mocha Devastation Cake. Two layers of moist chocolate cake with a mocha buttercream frosting and crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans in the center and topped with chocolate ganache and more chocolate-covered espresso beans. Wow.

I think maybe I should have crushed my beans a little more because mine didn't look nearly as pretty as the one in the book. And I made a little booboo with the ganache. I got unsweetened dark chocolate, and didn't notice till I tasted it halfway through frosting. Whoops. We ate it anyway and just discarded most of the ganache. Oh, it was sooo sooo good, and I don't even like coffee.
We brought it along (since it made a huge cake) when we went to see my more extended family yesterday. It got devoured. And of course you should have seen the look on their faces when I told them there was tofu in it! I will definitely be making this cake again, but hopefully with the right kind of chocolate, I'll bet the ganache would have made it even better.

I had a wonderful time the past few days hanging out with my parents and brother and sister, this is the best part of the holidays. Since we are all grown up now, our family is cherishing those moments we can spend together as getting everyone in the same place at the same time gets harder and harder.

Sad to say, but I'm back at work today (but I have tomorrow off again). I'm so excited though because John returns home this afternoon!! Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday meals with family and friends. Now it's time to start turning our attention to the New Year... and of course what treats we'll be making to celebrate!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

And in the bayou city, vegan cupcakes were spreading happiness, so yummy and pretty.

Last night I had my first experience with the Houston chapter of Food Not Bombs. The local Society of PEACE group that I belong too helped volunteer for the evening. We gathered on a chilly (for Houston) night to serve up yummy vegan food to Houston's homeless in front of the public library. I had known a little bit about this group, but after going last night I think it is truly amazing what they do. They are out there four nights a week feeding those that are less fortunate. It is so close to my house and such a noble cause, I will be definitely making an effort to volunteer more regularly. And of course, I had to bring some vegan food to share as well. I made the Tempeh Shepardess Pie from V-con (with sweet potatoes as I had previously), since it sounded like a warm, hearty meal for a cold night. And of course, I brought some christmasy-themed treats: mini-cupcakes!

There were 24 vanilla cupcakes with chocolate mousse (this is great stuff, I was pretty skeptical with the tofu, but no one has noticed at all) and 24 chocolate cupcakes with vegan cream cheese frosting, topped with some mints (which ended up giving a nice flavor to the frosting).
I even managed to spread vegan education awareness; one man asked me if I still ate fish, since vegetarians do (so he thought). I replied that people that eat fish are "flexitarians". He was pretty amused with that answer :-)

And luckily all the cupcakes and nearly all of the shepardess pie got eaten up, because when I arrived at my parent's house for the night, look what was waiting under the tree for me...
That's right, my sister brought these yummy donuts for me!! Those Mighty O's traveled mighty far from Seattle to Houston.
The flavors were: chocolate with mint frosting, chocolate with peanut butter frosting, pumpkin, plain with vanilla frosting, chocolate with chocolate frosting, and cinnamon sugar. I think my favorite is between the mint and the pumpkin, but they were all delicious. I tried a bite of every one with my breakfast (alongside a tofu scramble). And yes, I reluctantly shared with the rest of my family. I highly suggest you get your hands on some.
Hope everyone is having a peaceful, relaxing holiday season!! Santa should be making the rounds shortly....

Veganizing a Christmas Tradition: An Experiment

Every Christmas morning I can remember, following ripping open all of my gifts (as a child) or enjoying seeing my parents and siblings open what I got them (as an adult), we sat down as a family to my mom's almond puff. There's something about the crispy base crust, the moist puff on top, and of course the almondy frosting on top. Last year for the first time, I didn't get to consume this traditional treat... alas, it is made with eggs!! So this year I was determined to come up with a suitable veganized version that I could at least enjoy along with the rest of my family. I decided to test three different egg replacers (I also replaced the butter with non-dairy butter, what a genius I am): Ener-G, silken tofu, and soy yogurt. Below are my resulting mini- almond puffs topped with pecans (I know, why not almonds? not sure, but probably because my mom loves pecans)...

An up close look at the puff made from Ener-G egg replacer. The dough seemed to have a similar consistency to what I remembered.
And my first bite... I was pretty skeptical. I was somewhat expecting that the puff part on top would be dry, not moist like it should be. But I was pleasantly surprised. Not sure if it was all the frosting, but it tasted remarkably similar to my mom's traditional version!
Can you tell which one's I liked best? The Ener-G and tofu versions were the most authentic with the Ener-G just squeezing by the competition. Unfortunately, the puff made with soy yogurt browned on top and became a bit dry. Glad I tried the other two, because this was going to be my only experiment at first!
And here is the recipe, so you can start a Christmas morning tradition as well!

1/2 cup non-dairy butter, softened
1 cup flour
2 T water
1/2 cup non-dairy butter
1 cup water
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup flour
egg replacer equivalent to 3 eggs (I was pretty generous with the Ener-G egg)

Preheat oven to 350. Cut 1/2 c. butter into 1 c. flour. Sprinkle 2T water over mixture and mix with a fork. Form into a ball and divide in half. On an ungreased cookie sheet, pat each half into a 12x3 inch strip. Strips should be 3 inches apart.
In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 c. butter and 1 cup water to a boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in almond extract and 1 c. flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Beat in egg replacer until smooth. Divide in half and spread evenly over strips, covering completely. Bake 60 minutes. Cool and frost with glaze, sprinkle with pecans.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 T non-dairy butter, softened
1 - 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 - 2 T warm water

Experimenting in the kitchen was a fun way to spend yesterday, since John left for Boston to be with his family for the holiday on Friday. But on Thursday night before he left, we had our own little Christmas meal to celebrate the holidays.

Dinner included our first Tofurky and the Caramelized Onion Butternut Squash and Roasted Chestnut Casserole from V-con. I was pretty happy with the tofurky, especially since I hear so many mixed reviews. It was an easy main dish, with plenty of leftovers. The casserole is so rich and yummy, the chestnuts just melt in your mouth. Surprisingly, I couldn't find pre-shelled jarred or frozen chestnuts, so John was a huge sweetie to take care of shelling them for me! Give this recipe a try before chestnuts disappear from the shelves till next fall.
No photo, but we had some frozen wedding cake for dessert (for our 3 month anniversary, which is actually today :-) It froze remarkably well! We definitely won't have that in our freezer for the next year....

I have been baking away again today. Hopefully I'll get in a post tomorrow about what I've been up to. Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Getting In The Spirit

The holidays are all about giving for me (and spending time with loved ones). So for Christmas gifts for family, friends, and coworkers, I headed into the kitchen and did some serious baking. In preparation, I got out all the ingredients for each of the seven kinds of cookies that needed to be made. Then I separated my measuring cups and spoons into those for dry ingredients and those for wet (this greatly decreased the amount of dishwashings in between batches). And of course, I put on my DTV apron and cranked some tunes (Amy Winehouse, I know... I think her parents asked us to boycott the album so she'll get help with her addictions, but I really like cooking to it).

All in all, I think I baked up something like 120 cookies, and that's not counting the biscotti. Here's what I made: chocolate hazelnut biscotti, pistachio cranberry biscotti, chocolate chocolate chip walnut cookies (all from V-con), sparkled ginger cookies, non-gigantoid peanut butter oatmeal cookies (both from VWAV), white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (ED&BV), and homestyle chocolate chip cookies (Vive Le Vegan). I packaged them up in cute holiday boxes and shipped them out to family and friends, hopefully they won't be stale by the time they get there! (a definite bonus for the biscotti, since it's supposed to be crunchy). I was happy with the way it all turned out, especially since the biscotti, ginger, white choc/mac nut, and choco chip cookies were all first timers for me. You can't even ask me to pick a favorite, I just won't do it.... though of the leftover the chocolate chocolate chip ones were the first to go.
In addition to cookies, I decided to make mini-breads for my coworkers. I made the pumpkin spice bread from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I tried both the no-fat (applesauce instead of oil) and not no-fat versions. I found that I baked them quite a bit longer than the 30 minutes suggested for mini-loaves. The result though was a moist, pumpkiny bread that was perfect for the holidays. I wrapped them up and included a handcut, handstamped tag. Though you can't see it from the photo, on the back of each tag I stamped one of my favorite quotes " Be the change you want to see in the world" -Mahatma Gandhi. Oh, and the green tinsel inside marked those that I made with walnuts, since there are a few of my coworkers with nut allergies.
And finally, to help me get more in the spirit of the season, here is a picture of "Our First Christmas" ornament I ordered from Serendipity Crafts on etsy. We don't have a tree, so it's just hanging in the kitchen, but I figure maybe someday we will (and actually, we aren't even spending christmas together, John heads to Boston tomorrow :-( And also I have a Christmas meme that I saw on zippiknits blog. It was kinda fun to fill it out, you should too (even if you're somewhat of a scrooge)!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? The last two years I have been using cloth gift bags. I got mine this year from the Ole Bag Lady on etsy.
2. Real or artificial tree? Neither. And eventually when I do put one up in our house someday, I'm not sure which to choose. I've seen arguements for both sides. What do you think is more environmentally sounds?
3. When do you put up the tree? Since I don't put one up, and there's lots of other questions about the subject of trees in the meme, I'll answer for my mom (plus I helped her put it up this year anyways). Shortly after Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take it down? Shortly after New Years.
5. Do you like eggnog? Bleh bleh and bleh, but I'll take some chocolate peppermint soymilk please.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Tough one, especially since I have a horrible memory. It was probably some of my stuffed koalas since I loved them so much as a child.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope
8. Hardest person to buy for? My dad
9. Easiest person to buy for? My mom
10. Worst Christmas present you ever got? Oh I can't say, that's just too mean for the holiday season... now where are those tacky christmas sweaters....
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Until this year, I never really sent out a card, but this year I did (a photo from our wedding, a faux pas I know) and it was sent via postal mail (of course now I feel guilty for this).
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer... didn't you read my Island of Misfit Toys post?
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually in October, and I shop right up until the last possible day (I'm just slow, or as I'd like to think of it, thoughtful)
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Can't really recall. I'm sure eventually I brought clothes to Goodwill, after all fashions change!
15. Favorite thing to eat on Christmas? Every Christmas I looked forward to my mom's almond puff for breakfast. This weekend I'm going to do some testing to veganize it, I'm trying to be hopeful (but it has lots of eggs:-()
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Always colored. Although I think white ones are classy, I find them a bit boring.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Not a huge fan of Christmas music, but if I had to pick, the Petrosky version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (that was my elementary school, we had our own fun noises and words mixed in) .
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? At home in Houston this year, although for awhile there our family went skiing for several years (Washington, Colorado, Switzerland).
19. Can you name all of Santa's Reindeer? You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.... and of course Rudolph.
20. Angel or star on top of tree?My mom has an angel that moves, the noise the fabric or plastic makes is kinda creepy I think.
21. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning? Always one present on Christmas eve then the rest in the morning. Since all us kids have become adults, we've also instituted a new tradition, instead of everyone ripping open their presents at the same time and being done in two minutes, we go in a circle and let everyone open one present at a time, rotating around till everyone is out.
22. Most annoying thing this time of year? Driving, everyone is especially crazy in their car during the holidays. Oh, and I always hated the Christmas music at the Gap (thank goodness I don't shop there anymore!).
23. Do you decorate your tree in any theme or color? Every year growing up we bought or made a new ornament. The tradition continues and that's how we decorate our tree!
24. What do you leave for Santa? Not much these days, but certainly the standard when I was growing up.
25. Shopping? I've done it all online this year and 80% handmade. Thanks goodness because I really couldn't handle the malls right now.
26. Do you decorate outside for Christmas or just inside (or at all?) We have some white lights strung outside that have been there since a xmas party two years ago, does that count? Inside I have our "First Christmas Together" ornament hanging in our kitchen (since we have no tree). Dang that reminds me I have some Christmasy holly stuff I can put on the table, be right back!
27. Favorite Christmas cookie? Okay, much more festive. Now, cookies. I know it's not a cookie but my favorite is fudge. A definite tradition at our house.
28. Do you own Christmassy clothing or jewelry? Definitely not. Does that make me a Scrooge?
29. Do you believe in Santa? Oh how I wish I could....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Paradise Found

We're back! Our honeymoon on St. John, USVI was more than perfect.... it relaxing, romantic, adventurous, and refreshing. We weren't even aware of Tropical Storm Olga, even though there were plenty of remarks from locals that the amount of rain and wind was unusual (but there was plenty of sun everyday). Of course, now the hard part is getting ready for the holiday season and being back at work, but I'll give you a peak at our vacation before I get back to reality....

We bounced around quite a bit on St. John for only being there for a week. We rented a Jeep, which was a good move, but watch out, the roads are crazy steep and narrow in places (plus they drive on the left....)! For the first two nights, we stayed on the less populated southeast side of the island at Estate Concordia. It is part of a larger eco-resort (we stayed at the other one the next two nights, Maho Bay). We stayed in a studio that was solar and wind-powered and built from recycled materials, how cool! There is even a natural garbage disposal, hermit crabs living on the hillside (guests were encouraged to put there food waste out for them)! The only downside is that there really was no hot water for showers, but that seemed like a small price to pay for this view....

We arrived late that first night but got there in time to enjoy their cafe for dinner. I was so excited to read on their blog that the chef is interested in organic and vegan cuisine! No photos, but we had a wonderful salad (greens grown right on that side of the island!), grilled tofu, and jambalaya stuffed red peppers over polenta with green beans. Definitely one of the best meals I had on the island. I would highly recommend staying here if you're looking for some isolation from the rest of the world and some seriously unspoiled beaches.

Our first full day we took a hike out to Ram's Head, the southernmost point on the island. Views were incredible and I was amazed at the blue blue water. Also surprised to see plenty of cactus, but I guess this was the dry side of the island.
Afterwards we relaxed on Salt Pond Beach. Not very crowded and it was even a weekend. We had so much fun walking down the beach looking at the different corals, shells, and rocks on the shoreline (we're geo-nerds). What amazing variety.
After a beautiful day we drove into Coral Bay, a lazy, quiet "town" on the east side of the island. We stopped at a local bar for a few rum concoctions. John had a rum and Diet Coke while I chose something a bit fruitier, a raspberry rum colada. This is what vacation is all about....
Next was dinner at a restaurant called Sweet Plantains. We had stopped by earlier in the day to inquire about vegan options and the owner was more than helpful. To start I had a pumpkin soup (no photo, turned out even more horrible than this next one). Then I enjoyed a West Indies curry with tofu and broccoli served with basmati rice and of course the restaurant's namesake, deep fried plantains, mmmm. The dinner was very enjoyable, so if you make it out to Coral Bay, stop by this family-owned restaurant!
The next day we set out for another hike on Reef Bay Trail (except we started from the southside), this one wandered through the forest into the central part of the island and ended up at some interesting petroglyphs made by Taino Indians. The rain got us a bit wet on this hike but by the time we returned to the beach (Lampeshur Bay), we had some more sun to enjoy.

I was surprised at the variety of animals we saw for such a tiny island. Of course, then we read that the only native mammal on the island a several species of bats (which of course we didn't see). What we did see was the following: donkeys, iguanas, honeymooning insects (open the photo and you'll see what I mean), mongoose, mini-hermit crabs, and chickens roaming around!

We then moved north to Maho Bay, staying in their Harmony Suite. The hot water was a bit improved here. But the number of stairs increased five-fold! It was a good workout getting down to the beach, but especially getting back up (my hamstrings are still tight). We had a bit of a rainy day, so we slept late and then lounged on Maho Beach and did some reading before eating dinner in their cafeteria (I finished reading The Good, Good Pig and highly recommend it. Let me know if you want to borrow my copy! Haven't finished the other two I brought along). They have a vegetarian option every night (overall, the island was very vegetarian friendly, of course, this does not always mean vegan), and the theme for the evening was Caribbean cuisine. Luckily it was a vegan meal, vegetable roti topped with a red pepper sauce served with rice with lentils and some more fried plantains. I took a picture, but it was really horrible. I think if you give the cafe advanced notice, they can accomodate vegans even on Italian (= lasagna with cheese) night.

The next day we drove west to Cinnamon Bay to enjoy another beautiful beach. Right away we noticed how protected from waves all of the other beached we had been to were compared to this one. Supposedly you can surf at this beach during the right season. There is also an archaeology center that has information about many of the native cultures on the island, which was fun to read about.

Across from Cinnamon Bay are the Cinnamon Sugar Mill ruins. Here we went on a short walk that included interpretive signs discussing the history and plants and animals on the island. Our hike got cut a bit short by some rain. We had fun running through the forest getting a bit wet.

That night we drove into Cruz Bay, the main city on the island (though still very small), for dinner. I had searched St John on Happy Cow for vegan restaurant options and the only one that popped up was Satyanuma. So we gave it a shot.... sad to say it was pretty disappointing. It is more of a takeout place located in an outdoor mall, no ambiance at all. I can forgive that, but the food was pretty awful. I had a pineapple tofu curry that was poorly reheated, had no flavor, and the rice seemed like it was glued together. John's dinner was slightly better, really the only good part was the falafel (and it was deep fried, go figure). The hummus tasted like nothing and the salad was unimpressive. Bummer, I was expecting more.

After our last night at Maho, we moved further west on the island to Caneel Bay. This was our splurge for the last few nights of the honeymoon. We decided it was worth it (although, if we return to the island, we will likely stay at Concordia as our first choice). It was nice to have drinks on the beach and lawn chairs to relax in. Here is a view of Caneel Beach and the incoming ferry.

We also walked over to Honeymoon Beach (how appropriate?) and spent some quiet time there near the end of the day. There was almost no one around, perfect for honeymooners :-) I took some photos of our footprints in the sand that I thought were somewhat artistic.... (at least for me)

Our first dinner at Caneel Bay was at their fanciest restaurant, Turtle Bay. We called ahead so they knew a vegan was coming. Unfortunately, another disappointment. The meal wasn't bad (sauteed shitakes over plain plain plain tofu with broccoli and a grilled portobello), but it certainly wasn't worth what they charged. (we also ate at their casual restaurant one night, I had a reasonable pasta dish with veggies)

The next morning we had our first official breakfast on the island (most of the time we woke up pretty late and I would just snack on Luna bars anyways). Fresh fruit, english muffin with apricot jam, and soymilk! It was a delicious start to the day. Too bad we forgot to check prices before we ate, needless to say this was the only breakfast dining we did at Caneel.

The most famed beach on St. John is Trunk Bay (pictured below). It was certainly the most crowded, but the views were spectacular and the snorkeling was good (so John tells me, it's not my thing).

That evening we went on a sunset cruise, a wedding gift from good friends of ours. It was one of most enjoyable evenings. The crew (a couple living on their boat) was friendly and we enjoyed the conversation. Most of all, there was an amazin sunset and beautiful views of St. John and the surrounding islands. We even saw the official beginning of the Atlantic Ocean!

For our last dinner on the island, we tried Caneel's third restaurant, the Equator (near some interesting sugar mill ruins). Luckily, the third time was the charm and I enjoyed the curry dish with lentils, tofu, and various veggies. I think my favorite was the balsamic glaze that was on the plate, I sopped up as much of it as I could!
We were both sad to leave St. John, I think we both could have used another week of relaxation. I am sure we will return to St. John someday though. At the end of the vacation I wrote down a long list of moments to remember on some Caneel Bay stationary and sealed it up (not showing John). We will open it on our one year anniversary, Sept. 23, 2008, to remember all the special moments of our honeymoon. :-)

(I thought this was photo-worthy of next year's holiday greeting card.)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Fly Me To The Moon

Our honeymoon that is! We leave tomorrow morning for St. John and will be gone the next week. Maybe if my phone works I'll send a few pics to the blog. Here's a peak at a few essentials for the trip...

Food wise there are Luna bars, Crispy Cats bars, primal strips, nuts, sesame sticks, and a bag of clementines (not pictured). A vegan has to be prepared. There's also sunblock, a bathing suit, and some books that I've been wanting to read (The Good Good Pig, Mad Cowboy, and Making a Killing). See yall in a week!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Island of Misfit Toys

Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nit wit. You can't fire me I quit! Why, don't I fit in?"

A few nights ago I watched an old childhood holiday movie favorite of mine, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Somehow I always connected with misfits Rudolph, Herbie (the elf that wanted to be a dentist), and Yukon Cornelius (and ha ha, I'm a rock hound just like he is!). I sang along to all of the songs with John giggling (and probably rolling his eyes wishing I'd change the channel) by my side. This made me think of all of the yummy vegan food that I've photographed with the intent of posting, but somehow it didn't look good or I had nothing interesting to say about it. So I am now going to post some of that misfit food. May it remind you of the Charlie in the Box, the elephant with spots, and the train with square wheels....

Let's see, there are countless numbers of tofu scrambles (I always eat mine burrito-style)

Tofu Marsala with roasted brussels sprouts

The amazing chickpea cutlets from V-con.

Vanilla soy yogurt with mango, raspberries, and almonds.

Salad with avocado, mushrooms, tomato, pine nuts, and hemp seeds.

Muffins (from so long ago I don't remember what kind)

Baby Bok Choy with Caramelized Green Onions and Ginger from V-con.

Mustard-Maple Glazed Green Beans

Spicy Peanut Eggplant Soup from V-Con. So awesome. I added kale and red lentils to make it seem a bit healthier (plus I like really thick soups).

Banana Bread, recipe from Vive Le Vegan.

Dinner out at Field of Greens, their macrobiotic platter with tofu quiche, steamed veggies, pinto beans, brown rice, and steamed kale with gingery sauce.

Aloo Mattar Paratha from Madras Pavilion.

Sammie with mashed tempeh (recipe for Spicy Tempeh Rolls in V-Con), tomato, avocado on toasted bread with roasted okra.

And so you see, these misfits found their place after all. And the movie ended happily with the Abominable Snowman (aka Bobo) having his teeth removed by Herbie so he can never eat meat (or any other animal product for that matter) again! Oh yeah, and Rudolph helped guide Santa's sleigh and all the reindeer loved him (especially Clarisse). Show your misfit food some love and post it on your blog or mention it in your comment :-)