Whatever Happaned to Sunday Dinners : The General, Mihl & a Monday suggestion (if I may…)

Before we get all food p*rny, I’d first like to apologize to Mihl of Seitan is My Motor. She is beautiful, talented, makes the most amazing cookies ever and shares delightful German recipes and cultural tidbits. Reading her blog is like taking a little trip to Dresden, and if you haven’t been over there lately, you should!

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gummies

Why am I saying I’m sorry? Mihl so sweetly sent me super-delicious vegan Gummy Bears and an adorable handmade card decked out with origami animals and despite my best intentions, I inadvertently left her out of my Happy Mail round-up. I officially suck and will hang my head in shame as I compose the rest of this post

It’s almost Mardi Gras!!! Wooot! Here in France we don’t get as crazy-wild-fun as does our friend Kittee (I can’t wait to see pictures of her in her costume!), but it does mean crêpes! Love it! But wait, mardi is Tuesday…whatever will we eat on Monday? May I suggest you make yourself some extraordinary New Orleans Style Red Beans? I made these last Monday and good grief did my house smell amazing all morning while those beans were simmering!

monday-beans

Delicious, simple beany goodness served over a mix of wheat berries, wild rice and whole white rice. Leftovers were enjoyed rolled up in tortillas. So easy, so nutritious and so affordable!

And now on to Sunday Dinner, which is brought to you today by the letter “K” as in Krys of Two Vegan Boys. She served up some General Tao’s Tofu the other day and it got me craving take out Chinese again (what is up with that?). The recipe is here though I just used it as a guideline : I doubled the sauce, played with the spices a little, cursed the fridge gods for not having any peppers or green onions, and thanked them for the broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, cauliflower and carrots I did have. Oh yum. Thanks for the inspiration, Krys!

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This was the first time I dipped tofu in an egg replacer before giving it a good cornstartch coat. I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure if it was necessary. I think just giving it a little dip in some non-dairy milk or even just a smidge of water would have worked fine. Just sayin’.

Happy Mail ! “I’m just lucky, I guess.”

While were not big on television here at the Fish household, we are movie fans, and we recently acquired the film “George of the Jungle” with “want to spread him on a cracker and eat him cute” Brenden Fraser playing George. Pardon my sexist aside, but yummy.

Guppy loves this movie, and while I’m not going to lend deep socio-cultural significance to a (BLEK!) Disney movie (shudder), I love the zen nature of George and his very Buddhist take on life. Despite spills, loss, separation and other tragedy, George remains true to his Buddha nature. He is cheerful, acknowledges that yes, sometimes the negative does happen, but then something good always happens, too. “George just lucky I guess.” is his refrain, his mantra if you will. While I’m obviously not watching this film in the same way as 3 and 1/2 year old Guppy, I so appreciate his underlining the lucky side of things, though it would be just as easy to highlight all the negative. I also thoroughly enjoy the fact that the protagonist thrives without the infectious encumbrances of Capitalist consummation, and once he and Ursla are finally united, they chose family and freedom in the Jungle rather than Nintendos, MP3 players, cheaply made, inferior quality clothing and all other bounty the free-market economy provides… I do hope they brought some aspirin and penicillin with them, though. You know, because they’re in the jungle and stuff.

Go George.

I’ve been pretty lucky of late as well. No, Monsieur Fish hasn’t taken to weight lifting and parading around in a loin cloth (sigh). I believe the following goodies delivered to my mailbox will illustrate my côté chanceux :

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These cute little kitty cats arrived from the sweet Krispycheks, proprietor of the most excellent nom! nom! nom! blog. These little cuties are decorating my sewing area, and I just love them!

vegemite

My dearest Jumblefriend of Jumbleberry Jam fame has been doing a stellar job de-cluttering her home, and she decided to share some of her many tubes of Vegemite with the blogosphere, i.e.: She had a little giveaway and I won! So excited was I. Monsieur Fish was amused by the Vegemite that traveled from Australia to the United States to France, and the beautiful paper her hand-written note had also traveled an amazing amount : from Tibet to Ireland to the U.S. to France. Wanderlust runs through my veins, now literally!

I’m hooked on this stuff! It is indeed an acquired taste – reminds me a bit of blue cheese in my Omni days. First time I’d tasted it I shuttered, but, oddly found myself wanting more. It’s the same thing here people, but unlike blue cheese it’s cruelty-free and really good for you! I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a curse, because I needed another favourite something to slather all over a fresh baguette like a hole in the head. My new favourite thing to do with the Vegemite? It is amazing for boosting an anemic gravy – and the B-vitamin goodness… love it!

books

cards

Here is my ultimate loot from the book exchange Carmen organized. I felt so spoilt, because Carmen included handmade cards along with these great books! She is so talented, and if I lived near her I would be hanging out at her house until she shared all her great handmade card tips with me! They are just beautiful, and it’s not going to be easy to send them off to new homes because I want them for me! Oops, selfish moment there. Ok, all better.

Thank you ladies for the wonderful mail! I’m off to go make myself a little Vegemite tartine with some faux E.B. and baguette. Yum!

W.I.P. Wednesday : Felty Heart Pins, Pin Cushions & Stitch-Along Progress

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Hello Crafties! It’s already Wednesday, can you believe it? I am losing the battle to stay on top of things, so I’ve decided to stop fighting and just be like water and flow! Woosh!

hearts-in-progress

Have you seen this Valentine Pins tutorial? I’ve been making tons of these cuties. Most everyone I would usually make sweet heart-shaped sugar cookies for is watching their weight, so rather than taunt them with pink royal icing and cookie love I think I’ll give them some sweet (and calorie-free) crafty love instead. These are really easy and fun, and gratifying for those moments when you feel like you want to complete a project. Of course I don’t know what that’s all about…

One thing that’s been occupying my time has been these :

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pin-cushion-linen-lavender

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These pin cushions are really fun to make, and a wonderful way to use those favourite fabric scraps that are too cute to end up into the “scrap bag”. I’m also really loving the unique vibe they each have, which is why I love giving them as little gifts. No two look alike, though they may share similar DNA. Or weave. Whatever.

I’ve been so busy playing making the cushions o’ pins, that my Love Bear progress, well, isn’t. Progressing I mean. I’m down to the wire with my last one (ie: it’s hardly started) so if you’re not quite done, you’re in good company. But hey, Valentine’s Day is Saturday, and it’s only Wednesday, so there’s still tons of time left to get stitching, right? If you’ve been stitching along with us and would like to have your little Love Bear included in the W.I.P. Stitch-Along round-up on the 14th, just drop me a line with a link to your blog, your blog name and a photo! Voila!

I’m super excited about next week’s W.I.P. post because it’s a fun tutorial that I can’t wait to share with you! I just need to be patient and hold tight until these three P.I.F. winners receive their goody bags. Don’t want to spill the beans or anything. (Katie and Trina, once you’ve chosen your P.I.F. winners I’ll send you some goodies, too!). And I’ll be having yet another P.I.F. drawing soon because I am a lucky ducky and won yet another P.I.F. drawing! Betcha can’t wait?!?

The Wipster List is growing! If you’d like to play along, just leave me a comment here and snag yourself a beautiful logo à la VeganLovlie. Also, don’t forget about our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Group - show us your gorgeous masterpieces! You know you want to! Don’t be shy, this is fun for everyone!

Celine’s Chocolate Breakfast Cake & Happy Mail

chocolate-breakfast-cake

I love chocolate. I love cake. I love Celine.

I am a huge fan of any holiday, festival, day off, etc., but one of my favourite things about the Winter holidays is the relaxed, lazy mornings sipping coffee and hanging out in pajamas, munching on brunchy food and of course the goodies.

We were at my brother-in-law’s for les fêtes de fin d’année, and my in-laws once again gave me free reign of their kitchen. Love them! One of my breakfast contributions was Celine’s lovely Chocolate Breakfast Cake. Holy deliciousness, Batman!

breakfastcake-closeupMelty chocolate fantasticalness!

I love baking for omnis and hearing the ooohhs and awes as they feast on the cruelty-free goodness. This isn’t even as sinful as it looks, which is always good around the holidays! The chocolate flavour is dense, satisfying and it’s just sweet enough to feel like a treat, but the sweetness isn’t too much or an A.M. treat.

Speaking of sweet, check this out :

magnets

Like a million years ago I won these adorable magnets from the very talented Melanie of Creating Nunde. They arrived just before we left for the holidays, and I didn’t have a chance to snap a photo before leaving, so there they are! They look good enough to eat, don’t they? Thank you, Melaine!

And hey, speaking of giveaways (notice a theme here?) head over to Maggie’s Blog – she’s celebrating her blogaversary with a very sweet giveaway!

Birthday Recap Time, Kids!

Thank you from the bottom of my little vegan heart for all of your love, electronic and virtual well wishes and other forms of birthday cheer. Birthdays are generally a very big deal for us- we normally celebrate “Birthday Girl (or Boy) Week”, but it’s been a bumpy little time here in Fishland, and my birthday was all but brushed under the rug – until some super friends and blogging buddies like YOU came along to make me feel all special and stuff. I won’t blather on, just know that I feel so grateful for you all. (Snif, snif).

It wouldn’t be a birthday without cake, right?

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This scrumptious carrot cake from Vegan With A Vengeance has been all over the blogosphere of late. I’m usually a lemon cake or tofu cheese cake kind of gal, but when I saw Virginia’s carrot cake from VWAV last week, I gave into the peer pressure. Know why I’ve never made it? I can’t find vegan cream cheese here, and I didn’t want to make it without “right” frosting! Sillyfish. I opted for an almond & coconut buttercream, which wasn’t too shabby. I added about 1/2 cup crushed pineapple to the cake (because for me, if a carrot cake is sans pineapple, it’s just a wanna-be) and used a little less pineapple juice – it worked out just splendidly!

Now for the gifts!

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I asked Monsieur Fish for this Japanese Couture book from Pomodor24 (Highly recommend her! She has a shop on Etsy, too). He seemed incredulous and felt obliged to remind me I don’t read Japanese, but when I insisted that I’d be able to understand the diagrams and patterns, and that many other stitchy folks who lacked the Japanese skillz managed to sew some beautiful dresses from this book so why not me, he did acquiesce (though I didn’t know it! I was indeed a happysurprisedfish when I opened the mail). Look at how beautiful some of these are!

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Now I just need to find me some perdy fabric and I will be all over this! That being said, have any of you made anything from this book? Cause, you know, it’s in Japanese! Ahem. I’ll figure it out, duh! (whispers: but you can email me if you’ve made something so I can see it on your blog & bug you with questions, right?). Whew.

And you need these to cut fabric for a new dress, right?

moms-gift

My sweet parents sent me these! They actually came in a few days before my birthday (meaning I’ve been able to use them) and man, they cut through four layers of cordoroy like non-dairy buttah, baby! Just shows you, getting by with any old tool is possible, but using the right tool for the job makes it so much easier!

I also received two very surprise gifts which made me feel so special!

new-crewel1A book, the new crewel : Excuisite Designs in Contemporary Embroidery by Katherine Shaughnessy. I made my way to the mail box thinking I’d find the light bill, but instead was this lovely book sent by my sweet friend Natalia!

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My other suprise gift was a book card! Everybody’s favourite Texas Vegan Mum Krys, and her Two Vegan Boys, Arthur and Adam sent me a gift certificate so I can treat myself to one of my very favourite things – a book!

I am so moved by the friendships that have grown out of our little blogging community, and Natalia and Krys, you are both so special to me! And you made me feel special – hey, come on, group hug everyone! Thank you!

Happy Mail! Blogger Buddies are The Best!

I’ve been trying not to let “my left foot” get me down, but I admit, it’s not easy. While I am aware that there are people dealing with problems terribly more grave than a broken foot/torn ligaments, I’ve been laid up 4 weeks now (2 more to go with cast…) and my arse is getting sore from all this sitting! (It really is.)

I had to paint a gray picture of my little bobo in order to contrast it with the sunshine that arrived thanks to some unexpected “Happy Mail” I received last week from two beautiful blogging buddies : Ricki, of Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Libby, of The Allergic Kid. You two are the best, seriously!

The first happy letter was Ricki’s :

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inside were the most adorable get well card and sweet stickers! Ricki said that since she couldn’t sign my cast in person (helas, we could have gone on a holiday chocolate binge tasting à la française!), she designated Guppy to be our official cast decorator.

This was such a sweet attention for Guppy, who is still rather stressed by our accident & seeing me laid-up (I have daily shots & a nurse has to come twice a week to draw blood…a lot of newness for a 3 year-old). Ricki’s surprise gift subverted the negativity surrounding my cast and turned it into a little girl’s artist canvas! Bravo, Ricki! You are fantastical!

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I had to add a bit of tape to keep them down…

obamaSorry about the glare, I wanted to get the “vive obama” that one of my students wrote on my cast!

This was a difficult picture to take – good thing I’m flexible!

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My cast is so spiffy now! It grows fancier every day…each evening we add a few stickers (and replace those that couldn’t make it). This was a beautiful idea and such a thoughtful surprise. In the words of Guppy when I told her my friend Ricki sent us the stickers, “We love Ricki, she’s cool! Right, Mumma?”. Right, Sweetpea.

Just two days later, yet another sweet surprise arrived from North America! This time, it was Libby’s package that made Guppy’s (and my) day!

Libby’s son is as crazy about dinos as Guppy is. I’ve not found any dino-shaped cookie/sandwich cutters here, and I couldn’t help gawking at hers a while back. Libby decided to right this horrible wrong by generously sending us this…

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But wait! There’s more…

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Libby also sent us some adorable Autumn cookie cutter shapes, and…

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(sorry about the blurry photo – my hand model was frankly not as thrilled about the rice as the dino & leaves and wanted to get back to playing with them! Go figure.)

Wild Rice! Turns out Libby is a Minnesota native, and she graciously shared some “home grown” wild rice with me! I *love* wild rice, but it is a North American crop, and it is sometimes difficult to find, of questionable quality or pricey. I can’t wait to make something delicious with it!

Thank you Libby and Ricki for such wonderful “Happy Mail”!


Vegan MoFo Day 25 – Happy Mail & I’m Proud to MoFo!

I’ve been watching with secret envy as many of my fellow bloggers have been receiving Happy Mail… but low and behold, what is this I see? A package of love from Germany from the lovely and fabulous Mihl! Her blog, Seitan is My Motor is one of my favorites – she is articulate, funny, shares the most beautiful photos and delicious recipes (like her most recent post, Norwegian Cinnamon Buns. Good grief! Save me from my own gluttony!).

Guppy, photo-layout assistant & cookie lover

My super package of love contained not one but two kinds of homemade cookies wrapped beautifully with care, a sampling of Mihl’s favourite dark chocolate and a gorgeous post card :

The cookies traveled beautifully (at least the cold weather is good for something!). They are delicious!

blurry photo due to fighting off 3-year-old cookie monster…

Even if you didn’t get some Mihl vegan cookie love in the mail, you too can enjoy the cookie goodness! You can make the Almond Chocolate Cookies found in her recipe index. Mihl, is the recipe for the Chocolate Cookies with White Chocolate Chips up, too? Let me know & I’ll link it! I didn’t see it, but I was distracted by the cookie-induced nirvana I was experiencing…). Merci mille fois, Mihl! I’ll have my revenge…just you wait and see…

Can you believe it’s already Vegan MoFo Day 25? Personally, I can’t. This month has flown by like the Wicked Witch of the West on her bad-ass broom. I continue to discover new vegan bloggers and am inspired by so many groovy folks living compassionate lives. With much political debate around the impending elections in North America, I have to chuckle when I come across the occasional “I’m not going to get all political on you” type comment on vegan blogs…I understand what the person is trying to say, but the fact of the matter is that everything is political, like it or not, and being vegan is one of the most outwardly political things you can possibly do. We are living our convictions, whether you arrived in Veganland to fight speciesism, because of your concerns about the environment or for personal health reasons – or heck, all three, you are living your beliefs every day and I think that’s the most amazing thing a person can do. Vegan MoFo has allowed us a wonderful arena to showcase the delicious delights of vegan cuisine and food preparation, and to really concentrate on getting the word out about what it is we love – nourishing, tasty food sans cruelty. Beautiful.