Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm still here

No posts for the entire month of August! My blog took a back seat to: 1) putting our house on the market and house hunting, 2) getting sick repeatedly, I think my body was worn out by training and doing the 1/2 marathon, 3) back to school for Claire! She's in fourth grade! and now, 4) Mother-in-law visiting from England for two weeks!

I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I ran a half marathon on July 27, 2008. I couldn't have done it without Kate, my running partner (pictured). We were both hurtin' big time by mile ten (her knees, my back) but we persevered and crossed the finish line together.

Vegan fuel before the race: spelt toast, almond butter, raspberry jam, a banana.

Vegan fuel after the race: raisin bagel, orange juice, chocolate bar, hash browns, grapefruit juice, tofu/pesto/sundried tomato scramble, spelt toast with raspberry jam.

Also, I slept 13 hours the night after the race. I did the math because I'm really smart that way, and it works out to one hour of sleep per mile run.

There's no picture of me that I like, so here's one of Kate after she collapsed by the finish line.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Gathering 2008

The Gathering: a bunch of vegans from all over the country -- and Canada! -- gathered for food and camping and general merriment this past weekend. I don't have any pictures of ME, but here are some other pictures I took, and a video of just how serious the business of being vegan is. I mean, we don't mess around. Ever.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

I helped Claire with assembly of these cupcakes. They are delicious! Recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lasagna and Raspberry/Chocolate Blondies

Two of my favorite things I've made in the past few months. The lasagna recipe is from Veganomicon, and I probably made it a couple months ago and am just posting about it now. It's a spinach and cashew ricotta sauce, with homemade marinara sauce. It took the better part of a day to make the different ingredients, assemble, and bake, but it was so worth it. We all liked it and I'll definitely make it again. The Raspberry Chocolate Blondies are from Vegan With a Vengeance, and they were dangerously good. I'm not sure I should make these again, because the recipe makes an entire 9x13" pan, and I couldn't stop eating them.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another laptop lunch

I packed my second laptop lunch for work yesterday, and it was perfect for munching because I had a few minutes here and there to eat, but no actual lunch break. Clockwise from top left: raspberries & blueberries, walnut/mushroom pate (recipe in Veganomicon), flax crackers, olives, carrot, celery and cucumber.

I had made the walnut/mushroom dip for the first time the night before, for book club. I'm the only vegan in book club, and everyone liked it except for a lone mushroom-hater, who didn't try it. There's still some leftover dip, which I'm going to use as a sandwich spread. Yum!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Laptop Lunch

Inspired by the beautiful lunches on this woman's blog, I immediately purchased my own Laptop Lunchbox, which arrived today. I had a lot of fun packing my lunch for tomorrow: Rice noodles with carrots and peas in curry sauce (leftovers from tonight's dinner), cucumber and red pepper slices, grapefruit sections, homemade trail mix (I mixed up a tablespoon each of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, goji berries) and sesame dressing for the raw veggies. I love the built in portion control of this kit, as that is not one of my strong suits. Without all these compartments to fill, I'd typically just pack one big plastic container of leftover noodles for work tomorrow, and call it good. This is so much healthier, and it was fun adding bits and bobs of different things in my fridge and pantry to fill up all the colorful little containers. I'm going to pack some lunches for Nigel and Claire too, and if they like it I'll buy them their very own laptop lunchboxes.

Many thanks to veganhomemade for her inspiration, and please pardon my shameless imitation! It's truly meant as sincere flattery.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Caesar Salad from my veggie patch

File this recipe under "Veganomicon recipes I can't believe I haven't tried until now." My family deemed it too garlicky, so I will use one clove in the dressing next time instead of two. This was the first time I've ever made homemade croutons, and we were fighting over every last one of them. So yum!

It felt great to harvest a big head of romaine lettuce from our veggie patch for dinner tonight. Also, I rode my bike to and from work today, and Claire and I rode our bikes to New Season's to get the salad ingredients I didn't have on hand (capers, blanched almonds.) This is all part of my crush on Ed Begley, Jr. I want make him proud!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Home cooking tonight

I'm happy to be home from vacation and back in my kitchen. For dinner tonight I made a cauliflower/lentil stew, curried roasted potatoes, and (not pictured) salad greens from our garden. For this picture, I garnished the plate with foraged cherries from our neighbor's tree, and cilantro from our garden.

Here are my approximate recipes -- I didn't keep track as I cooked, because I'm an amateur. In fact, I think these are the first recipes I've ever posted, because usually I follow published cookbook recipes. But tonight I felt like eating lentils, cauliflower, and potatoes, and this just sort of fell together.

Curried Roasted Potatoes

3 fist-sized potatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. curry powder
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Thinly slice potatoes with a mandolin or knife. (I got to use my new mandolin, woo!!!) Place in a 1-gallon ziploc with olive oil and curry powder, and shake to coat potatoes evenly. If you're like me, the ziploc seal will break while you're shaking the bag, and several slices of potato will fall on your kitchen floor. It's times like this you will be glad you have a compost heap, so you don't really feel like you're wasting those fallen slices. Anyway, spread the non-soiled potato slices onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and bake about 30 minutes, or until potatoes have reached your desired level of brownness and crispness, flipping once during cooking.

Cauliflower and Lentil Stew

1 Tbsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 cloves garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. turmeric
2 cups red lentils
4 cups water
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large-ish pot, add mustard and cumin seeds until mustard seeds pop (it only takes a minute). Add onion and jalapeno, saute until onion is translucent (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and turmeric, stir for a minute, then add lentils, cauliflower, and water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vacation in San Diego

We're one week into our ten-day vacation, and I'm super relaxed. Our Garmin GPS (which I'm SO glad we brought, we'd be lost and cranky and hassling with paper maps otherwise) speaks in a male British voice, and he pronounced Juan "JEW-ahn" and La Jolla "Lay JAWL-ah" -- prompting fits of laughter on my part.

Young women here wear short shorts with high-heeled pumps. What is up with that? You don't see that in Portland, which is just fine with me.

Edited to add on June 23rd: Also today our Garmin called El Cahon Blvd. "El CADGE-uhn" ha ha ha ha ha! I'm not sure why this is so hilarious to me.

I'm missing Portland now. We went to a Whole Foods tonight, and it was the first time I've seen anyone with dreads or significant tattoos since we've been here. What kind of freaky city is this?!

Also we ate dinner at Harar Ethiopian Restaurant, and it was OK, but not great, and the food pales in comparison with my favorite Portland place, E'Njoni. And I miss my dog. So, we've relaxed and had fun and enjoyed glorious weather, but I am really looking forward to going home day after tomorrow.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New favorite recipe

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa from Veganomicon. I'm not sure what to say about this, except that it has everything. Sweet and salty, soft and crunchy. It's all kinds of healthy. It's good hot, room temperature, or chilled. I loved this. I want more right now!

Claire makes more cupcakes...

This is a more autumnal recipe, but this is what Claire chose to make the other day. They were tasty, and went well with the unseasonally cool and wet June we've been having. Recipe from Claire's favorite cookbook, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Vegan buttercream vanilla frosting, and a brown rice syrup-based caramel sauce.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Claire's at it again!

Baking cupcakes, that is. I helped a bit with assembly, and I cooked the cherry sauce. Otherwise these were made by a 9-year-old vegan cupcake enthusiast! Oh, they're also gluten-free, thanks to Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour. Recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, of course.

These are not mere cupcakes. They're more like a fancy dessert, requiring plates and forks. Yum yum yum. Delicious!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Garden update

Garden plot update: our basil was destroyed by creepy crawlies, that's the blank area in the front left. The lettuces, cilantro, and parsley have produced several salads for us, and they are flourishing. Peas and tomatoes growing well in the back row. Pumpkin seeds sprouted in the front right! I wish I had planted things more closely together. I followed planting recommendations, which for some reason have things spaced out way too wide. Live and learn. We just ate another terrific salad of romaine, red leaf, parsley, cilantro, and a vinaigrette made by Claire. Yum!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Too hungry to take pictures!

A partial list of scrummy restaurants meals I've had recently, which I devoured before remembering to photograph. I ripped off these pics of restaurant exteriors from the internet, mostly from other people's blogs -- sorry folks!

Por Que No (3524 N Mississippi, Portland. OR. 97227) Bryan's Bowl, made vegan with a "no dairy" modification. Rice, beans, veggies, guac, salsa, homemade tortillas. Also I always have a pomegranate margarita when I'm here. We're regulars here, especially during the summer when we can sit outside.

Cup & Saucer (8237 N Denver Ave, Portland, OR 97217): For brunch: cornmeal pancake, fruit bowl, lots of coffee. Our favorite brunch spot.

Veganopolis (412 SW Fourth Ave, Portland, OR 97204) Raw platter for lunch today -- organic greens, cashew ricotta, sliced apple, olives, tomato, onion, cucumber, red bell pepper, flax crackers, lemon and olive oil. Bolshevik salad for lunch yesterday -- organic greens, roasted beets, vegan chèvre, toasted hazelnuts, cucumbers, olives, onion, citrus vinaigrette. I avoid the lunch buffet here, which is priced by the pound and ends up costing more than entrees.

Colosso (1932 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232) A tapas place, and I ordered candied nuts, olives, bread with olive oil, carrot & zucchini empanandas, two margaritas. Only the second time I've been here; I was pleased by the experience.

E'Njoni (910 N Killingsworth St. Portland, OR 97217) We're such regulars here that the owner knows us. Ethiopian food, rockin' injera, and I always order the veggie combo. The menu states that all their vegetarian dishes are vegan. Yay! The veggie combo usually includes split pea curry, spinach, beets, lentils, cabbage/carrot/potato dish, and probably more but my memory fails at the moment.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Big Juice

When the 5-year-old son of a friend of mine first saw the ocean, he cried out, "The big juice!" I think of this whenever I think of juice, which used to be practically never, but now it's all the time.

Today I bought a Breville juicer, and about 20 pounds of organic produce for juicing: carrots, celery, cucumber, spinach, chard, apples, parsley, and beets. Twenty pounds! I know. I got a little carried away.

Claire is always game for new kitchen adventures. After school today, we set up the juicer, read the instructions, and made our first juice: carrot, celery, and apple. It was delicious! Sweet like apple juice, but a vivid orange color. We polished that off and made our second concoction: spinach, cucumber, parsley, and celery. This was more subtle. It tasted like cucumber, and went down like water, despite its deep green color (no pics of this one.)

I think I'm late on this juicing bandwagon. Wasn't it a fad years ago? Whatever, I missed it when I was busy getting a Ph.D. and a divorce. Good times!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Veggie patch salad

From our garden patch: red and romaine lettuces, parsley, and cilantro. I added dried cherries, pine nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette. It was good and it was local!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Self-medicating with cupcakes

I have a two-hour break between clients right now, and I'm preparing for a presentation I'm giving tomorrow on postpartum depression. I'm nervous about public speaking! I must have a cupcake to soothe my nerves! So, here I am at Sweetpea Bakery. I already discovered last night that the skirt of my red "power suit of confidence" is too tight, so I might as well drown my sorrows in sugar and fat, right? This beautiful cupcake, which is not only vegan but also gluten-free, has already been gobbled up by yours truly. I might get a second, maybe coconut. I'm really nervous about tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lighthouse Animal Sanctuary - Work Party

Last weekend, Claire and I joined a bunch of Portland friends for a work party at The Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, outside of Salem. It was a great time, and it was hard to stay focused on mucking stalls with all of the adorable goats, sheep, pigs, cows, horses, chickens, turkeys, and more to pet and feed. We had a tailgate potluck lunch after our work, which was beyond delicious. I only wish I had pictures of the food. I forgot my camera, and these pictures are courtesy of Isa, except the group picture is courtesy of Katie. Thanks dudes!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Vegan Paella at The Maiden

My friend Mel hosts a reading every two months at The Maiden (previously called The Maiden in the Mist) at 639 SE Morrison. More info here: 1,000 Words. I highly recommend this event -- local writers and musicians, always good stuff.

Tonight was one of Mel's 1,000 Words readings, and that's what brought Nigel, Claire and me to The Maiden for dinner. I was a little worried that, under new ownership and with a completely new menu, The Maiden wouldn't be as vegan-friendly as when it was Maiden in the Mist. I just love it when my worries prove unfounded! The Spanish, tapas-inspired menu had plenty for me to choose from. In fact, the only paella on the menu was vegan! All three of us ordered it, and we all loved it. See the large orange thing on top of the rice? It's not a carrot, it's grilled cantaloupe, and it was divine. The dish also included potatoes, mushrooms, peas, red peppers, and of course saffron-infused rice. I also ordered warm bread and olives as a starter, which you can see in the second picture. And the pomarita (pomegranate margarita) really hit the spot.

I know we'll be back to The Maiden for the next installment of 1,000 words, but I hope to return even sooner than that.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A cello and dog kind of evening

Nigel left today for a business trip, Claire is at her dad's on Sundays, so it's just me and the dog, Bowlie. I shot this low-quality bit on my digital camera to email to Nigel. I like how Bowlie got involved. Caveat #1: I am a beginning cello student, so expect some squawkiness and out-of-tune parts. Caveat #2: playing cello isn't vegan, because bows are strung with horse hair, but I am not aware of any alternatives.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tofu scramble

It's not pretty, but it is what's for breakfast today and it tasted great! I worked with what I had in the fridge: tofu, corn, salsa, guacamole, cilantro, spices, nutritional yeast. So it's sort of a Tofu Rancheros on the fly. It would have been good wrapped up in a tortilla, but all I had on hand were frozen corn tortillas and I was too hungry to defrost them.

Nigel didn't like the smell of the thyme as the scramble cooked. Personally, I think he's traumatized from living in France several years ago. How else to explain an aversion to such a savory scent?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

My daughter Claire is 9 years old, and her favorite thing to do lately is bake vegan cupcakes. I'm such a proud mama! Here's her latest creation, a recipe from her favorite cookbook, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Eating Locally!

Yesterday it was such a beautiful day, we knew it was time to set up the vegetable and herb patch we'd talked about all winter. Here's the area of side yard we picked out to plant.

This edging was pretty flimsy. We used a staple gun to keep the wood on the webbing. Nigel cut some short lengths of metal with his trusty tin snips to reinforce the corners. We weren't sure if the frame would hold the soil.

Here's the soil, ready for planting.

Our fledging patch! Peas, cherry tomatoes, and Roma tomatoes in the row closest to the fence. Romaine and red leaf lettuce in the middle row. Basil, cilantro, flat leaf parseley, and pumpkin seeds in the front row.

We potted a few things too: rosemary, oregano, and a bush bean seedling.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lovely Hula Hands

Bear with me, this story has a happy ending. I didn’t realize just how NOT vegan is the cozy and well-regarded Lovely Hula Hands until I read their menu tonight. Among its offerings of rabbit pot pie, steak, and pork chops, were one dairy-heavy vegetarian entrée and one incidentally vegan item: a citrus, beet, and avocado salad that I knew wouldn’t fill me up. (Rabbit pot pie?! Shouldn’t that be illegal?!) I inquired about the farro and lentil soup, thinking that I could make a meal out of soup and salad, but it had bacon in it. Without hesitation, the waitress offered to have the chef make me a vegan entrée. My hopes were raised; it sounded like the kitchen was familiar with vegan cooking and willing to improvise for their guests. I love surprises and I have a broad palate, so I didn’t make any specific requests, preferring to see what the kitchen came up with. I was not disappointed. What arrived was a dish of cannellini beans, morels, and broccoli rabe in a savory broth, sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts. On the side was toast spread with pumpkin butter. I ate every morsel and asked the waitress to thank the chef for me. Happy vegan dining! P.S. I also ordered the lone vegan menu item as a starter. It was scrumptious! Red and yellow beets, grapefruit and orange sections, succulent avocado slices, and a light vinaigrette with fresh cilantro. I was right, it would not have filled me up, but it was perfect as a salad.

A group of vegans would be hard pressed to eat here (and would quite likely be put off by the menu.) But if, like me, you are often the lone vegan in your party, there is nourishing food to be found at Lovely Hula Hands.

Lovely Hula Hands
4057 N. Mississippi
Portland, OR 97227

Two of my Favorite Dinners

Here's one of my favorite go-to dinner recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Moskowitz: Chickpea and Spinach Curry. Here I made it with Spicy Indian Rice with Toasted Almonds, from the same cookbook. This picture is from six months ago. I still make this dish, but I no longer photograph it!

Manzana Chile Verde from Veganomicon, by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero. I serve this with corn bread. This recipe was my excuse for buying an immersion blender, now one of my favorite kitchen tools. I was surprised by how much my (meat-eating) husband likes this dish. He might like it more than I do, and I really, really like it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dinner at Vita Cafe

My first time there! Nigel accompanied me reluctantly, owing to his love of meat and his distant memory of a bad Vita Cafe experience several years ago. Claire is always game for anything.

I appreciate that Vita Cafe's menu is overwhelmingly vegan. If you like meat analogues, you won't be disappointed. I don't particularly care for fake meat; I ordered the Lemongrass Noodle Bowl with added tofu. Tasty, lots of veggies, a pretty good meal, but I wasn't blown away with pungent flavors as I'd hoped. Nigel and Claire both ordered the salmon cakes (there is some fish and even beef burgers on the menu) and seemed to find them tolerable. The highlight was the piece of chocolate-strawberry cake we shared. Our friendly waitress informed us that all the cakes are vegan and gluten-free. It was delicious! I found myself shmooshing cake crumbs into the back of my fork and licking it unapologetically.

The only unpleasantness for me was when a customer wandered by our table who reeked of patchouli. But I can hardly blame the cafe itself for this.

Sorry no pics. I just started this blog, and I'm only accustomed to photographing food in the privacy of my own home. Must get over this.

Vita Cafe
3024 Ne Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 335-8233

Enchiladas Nummers

Dinner last night: this enchilada recipe is the bastard child of two recipes from Veganomicon, which if you don't already own, you must go purchase immediately! My apologies and indebtedness to V'con authors Isa and Terry! The filling is from the empanada recipe, but I subbed corn for the acorn squash. I used the assembly and baking instructions from the potato-kale enchilada recipe. I used canned enchilada sauce, which was actually really good (but required reading labels carefully, as many brands use chicken stock). I served it with Spanish rice (from a box, me so lazy!) and guac. Husband deemed it my best cooking ever! He ate two huge platefuls! I have to agree with him, this was awesome and hit the spot for Mexican food. Daughter loved it, too.

Welcome to Vegan Street!

Home of my experiences with vegan cooking, eating out, fashion, and general vegan lifestyle. More to come, including lots of food pics.