Sunday, May 30, 2010

i'm a better american than you because i spent memorial day weekend on a farm.

This weekend I went to the Midwest's largest farmed animal sanctuary, SASHA farm, with friends from Mercy For Animals - Heather, Alexis, Lee, Andrew, Amelia, and Meghan. For those of you who don't know, a farmed animal sanctuary is a farm for animals who have escaped or have been rescued from factory farms. They are taken care of by volunteers and allowed to live out their life as they please - not for food consumption. I fell in love with every animal there along with Michigan's country side. We left Chicago super early and arrived in Manchester, Michigan around noon, which was then followed by a tour and some good ol' hard work. We cleaned the horse's pasture and helped fill the barn with hay. We finished the day off with a vegan potluck, which included vegan frittata, bbq seitan, noodles, rice, chips and salsa, and my dish - peanut butter and jelly bars. Then we sat back, drank a few pbr's, had a bonfire, and looked at the stars.




If you haven't pet a turkey's really need to.

I love them goats.

A bonfire was definitely in order to celebrate that shit ton of hay we put in the barn.

I already miss SASHA farm and have decided that I would love to work on a farm sanctuary for a small amount of time hopefully in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I write about vegan mac & cheese waaaay too much

A few nights ago I made a really yummy vegan mac & cheese from the clear creek co-op's cookbook. I added some mozzarella daiya to the mix to make it really cheesy and creamy - it ended up being the richest vegan mac & cheese i've ever put in my mouth, and that's saying a lot. I accompanied it with tofu, which I spread a locally made sweet and spicy honey mustard on. I really love comfort food and I feel kind of guilty when there isn't anything green on my plate. I decided to steam some kale and I somehow tremendously failed. I swear, for a vegan, I truly suck at cooking vegetables. In this case, I put way too much salt on the soggy kale that I over steamed...but the rest was good! Once my metabolism slows down, I'm going to be the fattest vegan in the world.

I also made some chocolate chip cookies out of the The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. I had just finished my exit loan counseling and decided that I needed to console myself through baked goods.

In other news, Michelle bought me a cup that has my name on it at a garage sale. I have a crunk cup. The end.

Sushi Haze

After going to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Evan and I decided to cook up a storm of vegan Japanese food. We trekked over to an asian grocery store, called Tai Nam, which is on Broadway right off of the red line Argyle stop. I was really surprised at their variety - every type of noodle you could ever think of, really tasty mochi, lots of Japanese staples, and even fresh produce. I stocked up on rice and bought a jug of soy sauce the size of my head - it was amazing. While I made inari sushi, Evan made some fancy maki rolls stuffed with avocado, cucumber, and carrot, along with sesame seeds sprinkled on the outside. We made little nori faces for the inari sushi and decided we had to fill the bento box Evan had just bought at Kawaii on Halsted. We finished the meal off with anko and taro mochi. While I've only had taro in a bubble tea, it is equally delicious as a filling in mochi.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chicago's Green Fest

free faux mustache i got from upton's naturals!

i really like chicago

This weekend was Chicago's annual Green Festival and Evan and I decided to check it out yesterday. It was located at Navy Pier in this gigantic event hall jam packed with vegan food, recycled apparel, and a cause for everything and it's mother. Some veg Chicago restaurants, such as the Chicago Diner and Soul Veg, were selling some wonderful looking food, but I suppressed the desire to buy anything in order to save some money. Plus, there was enough free samples of chocolate, juices, snacks, and granola bars to fulfill my appetite. My favorite booth was the cliff bar table, which provided a bunch of really yummy samples, and the t-mobile station, which gave me a postcard advertisement that would sprout into wildflowers if I planted it :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

why hello, chicago

fuzzy chicago

Hey, y'all, I moved to Chicago! I lived here last summer during my internship at Mercy For Animals and thought that it would only be appropriate to move back here to start the next chapter in my life. It's a great place for vegan food and you'll probably be seeing more posts about vegan restaurants that I eat at rather than food that I cook myself. Well maybe not because I don't have any money...but I might just do it anyways!

homemade pizza and a reuben with roasted veggies

My first night in Chicago was kicked off by making vegan pizza with Michelle and eating it with friends from mercy for animals - nathan, lee, and johnathan. We put broccoli, green peppers, onions, and boca crumbles on the pizza and topped it off with a hefty layer of daiya cheese. While living in the veganless areas of Indiana, I've almost completely cut out vegan substitutes from my diet, but thanks to the shit ton of Whole Foods in Chicago, I can know stuff my face with wonderful daiya cheese. The next day, Suzanne and I went to the Chicago Diner and I ordered my usual, which is the radical reuben. Best damn thing on this planet, even my dad raves about it. I failed to take pictures of the food at the time it was prepared, so you guys get to see the next day leftovers.

Other restaurants I went to were "the loving hut" and "lula cafe" in logan square. Yes, "the loving hut." This may sound like I'm up to some promiscuous activity, but it is actually a strange cultish vegan restaurant that is centered around the supreme master. On that note, you should go there!

While searching for apartments with Gwen in logan square, we dined at "lula cafe." It was really yummy and reasonably priced. I got a vegan breakfast burrito, which had some cilantro lime marinated tofu with lots of fixings like avocado, tomatoes, a yummy salsa, and potatoes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

it's gonna rain...let's go to the beach!

This whole week has been rainy, so the first glimpse of sunshine inspired me, sarah, and meryl to go to the beach. Unfortunately, it took roughly 20 minutes for looming thunder clouds to roll in after we made our plans. Whatevs!

hello, beach!



We packed the car with bubble wands, sweatshirts, music, and good snacks. I made homemade vegan focaccia from colleen patrick-goudreau's the joy of vegan baking. I put a lot of rosemary and diced sun dried tomatoes in it, which gave it a little pizza flavor. I think next time I will bake it on a wider, flatter surface so that it's more like a flat bread rather than a hefty wheel of bread. The hummus turned out amazing. I soaked chickpeas for a whole day and then simmered them in a crockpot for about the same amount of time. Maybe you can do this in a more speedy process, but I don't mind going slow. I whirled the chickpeas in my food processor and added tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, olive oil, and water. It turned out really really yummy and it made a ton!

goodbye, beach!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

pie on a rainy day

While I was driving back in the car to South Bend, I decided that I really needed to make a strawberry rhubarb pie in my sunny kitchen. I would wear a summer dress, ride my bike to the farmers market, bake a pie while listening to andrew bird's bowl of fire, and have the pie cool on the windowsill. May sound ridiculous, but I live for this sort of shit. Well, today ended up being pretty cold and rainy, but I decided I would still make the pie.

Vegan Eggs Benedict!

First I made a vegan eggs benedict for dinner. I mixed olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt and poured that over extra firm tofu, which I then baked for 20 minutes. I also topped the english muffin with tomato, steamed spinach, and a vegan hollandaise sauce. I used this recipe as a base for the sauce, but added a bunch more nutritional yeast, dry mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cornstarch to make it thicker and creamier.

lonely pie in a big oven

the pie other pies pick on

but sarah seems to like it!

After dinner, Sarah came over to help me make a strawberry rhubarb pie. I bought the rhubarb at the farmers market and added strawberries, lemon juice, white sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, and some cinnamon. I made the pie crust from a recipe off of chooseveg. I think I should have doubled the crust recipe in order to tame the heinous amount of filling that we made. It was sloppy and sticky - as desserts should be in the summer time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

it's summa time y'all!


My stove top going CA-RAZY!

Mac and Cheese got a little burned - I always forget about the broiler

Mashed potatoes in the pot I've made mashed potatoes in since I can remember!

BBQ Seitan!

Four corners of absolute goodness!

I've been vegan for over 3 years and I've never made my own seitan from scratch. I mean, it's always been such an intimidating food to me and it has always seemed impossible to cook, and if it were possible, I thought it took like 5 hours to make. Shit, it took me the same amount of time to figure out how to say the damn word, and I'm still not sure if I'm saying it right.

Today was my first official day home in South Bend and I really wanted to cook something good to celebrate my liberation from college. I decided to turn to Beth Bee's Rabbit Food again and attempt to tackle the seitan recipe. It was extremely easy! All of my preconceived notions surrounding seitan disappeared in the matter of minutes it took to make it. While I let it simmer, the best smell ever filled the house, and it reminded me of mac and I made mac and cheese too. I used clear creek co-op's recipe again and accompanied this with wonderful mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus. I poured an alabama style bbq sauce, which was made by Helen's mom, over the sauted seitan. Everything turned out really well, but I think I needed to saute the seitan a little longer. It was a still a little moist due to simmering in the broth for 2 hours. I think more sauteing will remedy this, but I'm not sure, I'll have to experiment.

I didn't have enough energy to make a dessert, but you better believe I'm making one tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Since I have a lot more free time on my hands and I bought a shit ton of flour, I've been experimenting with some cupcake recipes. I'm at this point where I have to say goodbye to a lot of people I've worked with at not-for-profits in Richmond, and a lot of them have never eaten a vegan cupcake. I had to bake them a few before I left. I thought I would try and make strawberry shortcake cupcakes because strawberries are in season and they remind me of summer. All of the recipes I found told me to make the "Golden Vanilla Cupcakes" out of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The cornstarch and the butter make these dense and taste like cornbread...not a cupcake. So instead, I found this recipe off of Jennifer McCann's blog, who is the author of Vegan Lunch Box. I whipped this up and added some chopped up strawberries. I then made "Old-Fashioned Velvet Icing" from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and it turned out terrible. I remember trying to make this same recipe a year ago and it didn't work out then. I should have known better. It turned out really really runny instead of fluffy like the whipped cream texture I was going for. It really takes a lot to make me angry, but I tell you what, runny icing is up there.

In order to redeem my messed up batch of strawberry shortcake, I made Jennifer McCann's recipe again, but added sprinkles and topped it with a really thick chocolate icing. I think I subconsciously made this icing insanely thick because I was so pissed off about the runny icing. My all time favorite childhood cake was funfetti. I was really surprised that I had never tried to make it before, so I did it today! It turned out really well, and if you look at Norah's cupcake sandwich, you can see the swirl of wonderful colors!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Weekend of Art

Last Friday I finished up my time with Centerville Junior High School's photo club. We didn't get to print a terrible amount of photos, but I think we all learned a lot about how to use the camera and make our own prints in the dark room. I talked to the librarian at the Centerville Public Library and they let us display our work. There are a few photograms and some pictures we took around town in antique shops.

This past Saturday was the womyn's center spring art show. Women identified students were invited to submit their art and perform poetry, music, dance, etc. We worked really hard getting the space well lit and inviting, and I think it really paid off. The art was absolutely beautiful and the performances were amazing. I was a little worried since we only had a few scheduled performances, but lots of people volunteered to read poetry and some even led us in some rounds. WE DID ROUNDS. how cute is that? It really seemed like there was an intentional community present and it made me really happy.