Sunday, January 19, 2014

Wrapping Up

Nothing really exciting is going on here in our winter wonderland. I had hopes of pulling out my snowshoes, but that is on hold until things warm up a bit. I'm beginning to think hibernating animals really have the best plan for life.

Despite a relatively boring existence, one must continue to eat. Here's a few snapshots of what that looks like for my life lately.

Stuffed Pepper
Chickpea Pot Pie


Grilled Veggie Panini
Apple Cider
 

Meal Planning

 

The Rest of my Life

  • I finished reading Those who Save Us (it was ok), and Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (funny). I'm about to start The Flight of Gemma Hardy
  • I have almost finished the hat I started knitting for myself last year and I have almost finished knitting a headband I made for myself recently. I'm not good at actually finishing things. I should be knitting my brother-in-law's keyhole scarf but it is uninspiring.
  • The bunnies are pretty much ok, but two of them could use a grooming session...which consists of checking their bum area for poo hardened into their fur. Sounds fun, eh? I bet you even want to volunteer.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chickpea Dip

One of my favourite treats from Christmas used to be crab dip....which no longer works in my life because the dip has crab and cream cheese. So, I decided to test out a vegetarian dairy-free version.

I wasn't sure I would like this with the 'fake' cream cheese, but once I chilled it I didn't notice much of a difference.

I like this stuff well enough that it's difficult not to eat it straight from the container. I have to force myself to eat veggies or crackers with it.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup canned chickpeas
  • 4 oz of Tofutti cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbs of French dressing
  • 1 tbs of ketchup
  • 1 tbs of chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of mayo (you could use a vegan one here)

Directions

  1. Mash up the chickpeas with a fork or a potato masher. Mix in the other ingredients.
  2. Chill for at least an hour.
  3. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Daiya Havarti Style Wedge

I was so excited to find this that I didn't really pay attention to what I was buying. I saw that it was daiya (a cheese replacement) with a Havarti flavour. I thought I was getting cheese slices. I did not notice that it had a jalapeƱo kick or that it was a wedge.

Overall, I much prefer this to the shredded cheese by daiya. It has a better flavour and it has better melting potential.

Unfortunately, I'm a bit of a wuss so I find it a tad too spicy. To compensate, I try to use a little less.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

After some time away from the blogging world, I returned to Feedly to catch up on everything I missed. And I noticed that many writers are sharing their New Years Resolutions. You won't really find that here because I don't really 'do' resolutions. Sure, I'd like to be kinder, thinner, happier, and all that jazz....and I probably shouldn't cut in front of elderly people at the grocery store anymore (uh, it only happened once and it was mostly an accident)....

But really, I believe in continual internal change that isn't dictated by a calendar.

Anyway, can you tell that I've been spending the start of the year bingeing on Dawson's Creek courtesy of Netflix? Man those kids were overly verbose and opinionated.

I really need to focus here. Ok. So as I returned to the blogging world, I realized that I haven't done a 'wrap-up' since October. This doesn't mean that I haven't been eating, baking/cooking, or reading. It just means I was lazy.

As of late, I haven't been creating recipes as much as I have been falling back onto favourites. (which could also mean relying on dull boring routines).

Meal Planning

Grocery shopping is so much easier when you have an idea in your head of what you will be making. This week, that includes:
  • Black bean quesadillas
  • Inside-out Shepherd's Pie
  • Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti
  • Empty the fridge soup (a non-recipe loosely based on previously blogged squash soup recipes)

In the Rest of my Life

  • I reached my goal of reading 45 books last year and have set a goal for 50 this year. I'm about to start Those who Save Us and continue to muddle my way through The Moral Lives of Animals, and The Highly Sensitive Person
  • I spent most of November and December knitting. I will use this month to knit stuff for myself...including finishing last year's January-focus-on-self project
  • Bunny Zayne is doing mostly ok. She needs drops in her eyes daily to reduce irritation. And now in addition to being deaf, she is elderly and pretty much blind. Luckily, she has a bunny companion (Behr) who helps her find her way around.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Baking Review

I had planned to blog about my holiday baking as I went along, but then the holidays got into the way. So I figured I would clump it all together in one post.
 

Vegan Oreo Truffles


 
 
I already blogged about these here. They seemed to be a favourite of the bunch and no one made comments on the use of vegan cream cheese. They will continue to be part of my regular holiday rotation.
 
 
 
 
 

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

I make these every year and continue to be satisfied with how they turned out. I didn't veganize the recipe but I did sub out the dairy ingredients. The recipe is found at allrecipes.com. Click here for a direct link. Sorry for the crappy picture quality.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Caramel Squares

This was my favourite creation. I have a few things to tweak (the chocolate cracked when I cut it and I overcooked the base) but overall, they were delicious. I veganized the original recipe, which is found here. I replaced the sweetened condensed milk using a recipe to condense almond milk. Unfortunately I didn't find that they froze well, which really just means eat them right away. And you will want to anyway.
 
 
 
And then I got lazy with the camera. In addition to the above, I also made Peppermint Patties (which everyone raved over), and Fudgee-o Cookie Bark (it was ok).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vegan Oreo Truffles

These are probably one of my favourite things to make for the holidays. They take minimal ingredients and I only get mildly annoyed with the chocolate dipping.

I can't really take credit for this recipe, but if you are anti-clicking on links, basically you take a mashed up bag of Oreos and mix with vegan cream cheese. (I used Tofutti). Then you roll them into balls and dip them in chocolate. I chill mine a bit first to make them easier to work with.

You can make endless creations. Pre-dairy-free days, my favourite was regular Oreos dipped in white chocolate with crushed candy cane sprinkled on top.

This time around I opted for regular Oreos with vegan chocolate chips with a smidgeon of mint extract and gingerbread Oreos with vegan chocolate chips

Both versions are delicious. Next time I might add a bit of coconut oil to the chocolate so it is easier to work with.

If you are worried that all of this seems to simple, click the links to prove I'm not lying. I've included vegan and non-vegan links:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A year later

So, I've been a vegetarian for over a year now. Things haven't always been easy but I have been lucky to be surrounded by supportive friends and family.

The dairy-free thing is a bigger struggle. I don't often get it right. I keep trying though. Overall, I would say that I'm a lot healthier and way more open-minded to 'weird' food...and as a result I feel better and have found some new favourites.

Going forward, I will continue to try to be dairy-free. I will continue to veganize recipes, even though I'm not vegan. I will make better consumer and ethical purchases.

For the blog, I would like to return to more regular posting again...and for December this will likely happen because I will be doing a lot of Christmas baking.

I would also like to do more product reviews and start doing the wrap-ups again. So, if you stick around, I will be here.

Happy reading!