Vegan MoFo Day 4 : Lovley Leaves & Hawt Dogs!

I grew up around the forest, taking long walks with my family when I was a child, in awe of the “Fall Colors”. I was very blessed as a youngster because my parents spent time with us outdoors nearly every weekend (or so it seems to my 30-something memory). Sometimes it would seem we’d just drive forever along densely tree-lined highways until we’d reach destination : an abandoned logging site in Northern Ontario, a semi-isolated island, waterfalls rushing with fascinating red-colored water for the tree sap, clay and decaying leaves in the water…

Of course now that I live on the edge of the largest forest in France, I’m still a forest baby. I’ve never been much for doodling or drawing – I usually would jot down phrases or words – but for the past six months I can’t stop drawing, and now embroidering, leaves…

This little journal made its way to the U.S. recently as a birthday gift for my brother. It was accompanied by these cute and random things :

Aranzi-Aronzo inspired coin purse & card holder for him and these…

went to two little girls, ages 11 and 13. I never dreamed I’d be making gifts for people I love. Who knew?

And speaking of making things for people I love…I had this flash back not to long ago to an after-school snack my mum used to make for me when I was in primary school. They were hot dogs – well, she did use turkey dogs – wrapped in crescent rolls & baked up golden brown. I used to love these things as they were the closest thing to fast food my mum ever really made for us. Maybe it’s this Fall weather, but I remembered these, and thought how much Guppy (and M. Fish) might like them.

Days later, I was looking through my new copy of the most excellent Vegan Lunch Box and there was a lovely little recipe for “Pups in a Blanket”, the veganized rendition of my much-loved childhood food!

Try as I might, no matter how I photographed these things just look phallic – I’m so sorry, maybe it’s just me. Either way, they were a huge hit with ma petite famille. I do admit to using tofu-dogs, which I don’t often buy, but I think next time I’ll try them with homemade doggies… yum!

Oh, and thanks for all the great suggestions for the sinus infection…I ordered a Neti pot today. Hope that helps!

Vegan MoFo Day 3 – We Have Our Winners! We Have Cookies!

VeganMoFo is rocking the blogosphere, people! I can see it’s going to be hard to keep up with all this MoFo love… but hey, that’s a good thing, right? We need to take over the Web with our Vegan Loving Kindness the way that an Evil Imperialst Empire would take over and occupy another country…but, you know, we come bearing cupcakes, cookies and seitan, not bombs, guns and god.

So first, the cookies :

I’m thrilled to be a test baker for the ever-classy Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs, who is publishing a delicious cook book Sweet Freedom. These cookies were amazing! They smelled so good I hardly was able to get a picture of them! Why? Remember me mentioning my in-laws being chez nous for a visit last week? After I took these beauties out of the oven, my adorable brother-in-law was standing on one side of the table with the serving platter, and M. Fish on the other side, and they were both snatching cookies to bring out to the living room to serve – making a photo-op nearly impossible!

The CMCC Cookies were deep, decadent, rich, and GONE after our goûter – I’d hoped to freeze some for later, but there was nothing left but some lonely little crumbs. My brother & sister-in-law are generally not big on sweets, but they asked me to make another batch before they left! I of course obliged (twist my arm). They also loved the lasagne I made from VCON. Let’s not forget, these people gave me carte blanche in their kitchen when we stayed with them near Toulouse last Spring – they weren’t really sure how to cook for a vegan, so they let me run the cuisine. They are très cool.

And now, for the winners of the cute felty-love pouches…

I wrote down everyone’s first name and put them in a hat – M. Fish pulled out the following 3 lucky winners (I know I initially said only 2, but I’m such a softie) :

Liz aka Veggie Girl and Mihl from Seitan Is My Motor and the aforementioned Ricki! (The fact that he loved your cookies had no sway. He didn’t know your name or anything like that!). I’m so excited for you! I wish I had more time (and more of a fabric stash) to make more gifts for everyone. I’m so glad M. Fish accepted to help me, because I’m so lame when it comes to choosing “winners” (and grading, too…). I’ll be doing another gift-away before the holidays because it just makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside – and because I wuv you all so much!

So ladies email me your addresses post haste…well, you can take your time. I’m in bed, slammed with another evil sinus infection, so, I won’t be getting these off to you for a few days… and if you have any suggestions for dealing with the sinus infections, please please share! I don’t eat dairy for pete’s sake, this shouldn’t be happening! I never, ever had sinus infections, then last fall I had about three or four (or just the same one) from September till late December. Any help/suggestions would be appreciated!

Blessed Eid ul-Fitr & Shana Tovah Kids! Raw Vegan MoFo Thursdays!

Don’t you just love how all the big holidays just seem to happen at the same time? Sundown tonight marks Eid ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, we’re also “fêting” Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and we just celebrated the Fall Equinox – oh, and it JUST HAPPENS TO BE VeganMoFo…coiencidence? I think not!

The Universe has all its ducks in a row to help us feel a bit of union with our fellow wo and man, Vegan or otherwise, and that just makes me feel all fuzzy-happy-granola-handing out daisys-ish.

And before we get all wrapped up in our Raw Thursday excitement, let’s not forget about the big Vice-Presidential Debate happening in the United States, either. Ahem, Vote Democrat People, ahem.

Anyway, I just love a good Raw Thursday, so let’s get started!

Breakfast :

My morning began with a lovely smoothie – a frozen banana, a small pear, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, a big handful of fresh chopped parsley, and about a half cup of fresh apple juice. I have no picture, because at 6 a.m. in my kitchen there is no light save the orangy-glow of my ecologically-friendlyish lightbulb. Just imagine it was pretty and it tasted fresh and crisp like the autumn morning.

A.M. Snack :

The Raw Thursday post-run mid-morning snackie-poo was a Raw Banana Bread Bar. You know when you do something so obviously simple, yet it turns out freaking perfect? Well kids, that’s what this was all about for the Shellyfish. I wanted to re-create some of the Fancy-Over-Priced-Raw-Bar goodness, and I did it all by my self! Sorry about the crappy picture, but I took it while eating, so there you go. Here’s the so easy recipe so you can make them at home and feel very proud of yourself, too:

RAW BANANA BREAD BAR

  • 100g  raw almonds
  • Three dried bananas, chopped
  • 150g pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • water

I put the almonds in the food processor first to grind ‘em up a bit, then added everything save the water, which I slowly added to help make a paste. The consistency is still a bit sticky, so maybe next time I’ll use less dates & less water, and maybe throw in some walnuts…but the taste is dead bang, kids. Wow!

Lunch :

A humongous salad  with fresh battavia lettuce, freshly grated carrots, corn (frozen, well, thawed frozen, duh), and my usual “I’m not paying attention to what I’m doing” vinagrette which is usually apple cider vinegar, some olive or other oil, a clove of garlic, some tahini, maybe some fresh herbs, etc. I also had me an “Almond Flaxseed Burger” from Brendan Brazier’s The Thrive Diet. Oh how I lament that talented professional athlete and vegan Brazier caved to the marketing whimsies of his publisher and dubbed this book a “Diet” book. Grrrr. It’s not really a diet book, though it does have a very high-raw meal plan and a very small selection of recipes in it. It’s a good read if you’re vegan, raw-curious, and an athlete. I picked it up last Spring after Jen suggested it – thanks Jen! – it’s handy because it does have recipes for making your own energy bars and recuperation puddings and such.

P.M. Snack

The afternoon snack is really key for me on my Raw Thursdays because I do feel rather peckish around l’heure du goûter or snack time, not to mention that I don’t eat dinner until nearly 8 p.m.  Yesterday I posted the recipe for Tahitian Almond Dip (by popular demand), and that got me craving it, but as I was taking out the ingredients I decided to not leave good enough alone and change it up a little. Holy freaking Almond Dip Batman! I am so glad I decided to play with this, because it is so darn good…it has this amazing Fall-Carameled Apple feeling to it (though I’m sure nothing like Maggie’s Vegan Caramel Apples, drool, drool). Try this, you will not be disappointed!

THE SHELLYFISH FALL ALMOND DIP

  • About a cup raw almond butter (I just eyeballed it, because it is so annoying to measure nut butters and have them get all sticky on the measuring cups.)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved & scraped a bit
  • fresh apple juice – I have no idea how much, maybe 1/2 a cup? I just kept adding it until it was creamy enough.

I put everything save the juice in the food processor, then started adding the juice when things got gummy.

Dinner :

I haven’t acutally had dinner yet! I can tell you, though, that I’ll be having another huge salad – this time with shreaded zuchini and raw beets, and I’ll be having the other “Almond Flaxseed Burger” because the recipe makes 2, really 3, small patties. I know if I wait until after dinner the chances of my getting this post up today are drastically reduced…so better now than tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow, stay tuned! It’ll be the big drawing for the felty-love pouch! I’m so excited!

Hey baby, do you dip?

I totally forgot that it’s Vegan Mofo!! I guess I better get with the programme, dudes!

I’m thrilled by the overwhelming success of September’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge – Lavash Crackers & Vegan/GF Dips & Spreads. Co-hosting with Natalie of Gluten A Go Go was really such a thrill, for so many reasons, and I love the positive reaction from my fellow Daring Bakers who threw caution (and pre-conceived notions) to the wind and embraced GF & Vegan cuisine!

That being said, I was negligent in my Challenge post because I didn’t share my dip recipes (bad Shellyfish). Because so many of you kids have asked…here are the recipes I used for my dips this month. Nothing ground breaking, but really yummy!

Tahitian Almond Dipping Sauce

by Robert Yarosh and Lisa Soto, from The Complete Book of Raw Food, Lori Baird, Editor.
  • 1 1/2 cups almond butter
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (you may want to add more juice or add some water, depending on the consistency you like).
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agave syrup

Blend all ingredients together until smooth (in your blender or food processor). Serve with your favorite crackers and fresh fruit.

Salsa

This is my one-and-only salsa recipe. It’s a modified version of the recipe my best friend’s husband Brian have me after I left the baked pueblo for France. He wanted to be sure I had some of the desert with me…

  • 4 or 5 tomatoes (or more, just up the other ingredients)
  • 3 or 4 green onions, tails & têtes (heads) diced up
  • 1 or 2 (or 7) hot peppers – whatever is local for you. I used jalapeños in the desert.
  • the juice of 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • green chilies if available in your area, about 1/4 cup
  • salt

Put everything in a large, air-tight bowl and refrigerate at least 8 hours or over night

Smokey Black Bean Dip

This was something I came up with on accident when making black beans way back. We love it!

  • 2 cups dry black beans
  • reserved cooking water
  • 1 tbsp cumin (powder)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 (or more) teaspoons Cayenne
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (I can’t get it here, but this tastes fine without it!)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt to taste

Cook your beans (I always do the quick soak method – put them in about 1 litre or more of cold water, bring to boil for 15 minutes, then drain & rinse, then back in the pot with another 1 1/2 litres of water, simmer until cooked, checking to make sure you don’t need to add more water.

When cooked, put everything save the reserved cooking water in the food processor and just add about a 1/4 cup of water at first. Blend into a paste, and add water to achieve the consistency desired.

I’m so sorry this post is sans photos, but at least I got these recipes up for you! See you tomorrow for Raw Thursday!