Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Bake Sale was a Success!

We had such good turnout for the bake sale on Sunday at Ten Thousand Villages to benefit Food For Life’s work in Haiti. There was Red Velvet Cupcakes Oatmeal Cream Pies, German Chocolate Cupcakes, Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cookies, Magic Cookie Bars, Thyme Spiced Nuts, Rice Krispie Treats

Pistachio Rosewater Cupcakes

And the donuts that I madeand there was tons of other stuff, It just kept coming in all day.

Arthur was overwhelmed with the decisions

Molly from Scratch and Sniff also got on News 8 Austin!

Everyone raved about the baked goods, actually my friends were still talking about what they ate just this morning. In the end we still had stuff leftover that Jessica took to Food Not Bombs who was feeding people in the park.

The best part is that we raised enough money to feed 2880 Haitians a healthy vegan meal.

Here is Sarah, who did such a great job making all the posters, with the checks for Food For Life

I was thinking that maybe we could have another one over SXSW! Let me know if you are interested ūüôā

Thanks to everyone who helped and who bought something!!!!!!!!!!

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Austin Vegan Bakesale Recipe Round-up

Mmmm doughnuts.....

This Sunday, January 24th, we are having a bake sale to raise money for victims of the earthquakes in Haiti at Ten Thousand Villages on South Congress from noon to 4 pm. I am thinking about making doughnuts. A lot of non vegans are a little mystified about what to make so I thought I would share some recipes that I have had success with. I am more of a savory cook but I enjoy baking too…. well eating baked goods anyway. Unlike my regular cooking I try to follow a recipe as close as possible so I use some of my favorite blogs and cookbooks.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World is a terrific little book with tons of ideas and recipes with lots of baking advice if you are interested in a book you can pick it up at almost any bookseller in town. I have made the Mexican Hot Chocolate, Mucho Margareta, Chai Tea, Chocolate, Apple Spice, Jelly Donut, Green Tea and who knows how many other cupcakes. The Earl Grey variation that we made for the Star Trek feast has been my favorite so far!

Mr. Smurf is kind of a cookie fanatic and he makes these chocolate chip cookies from the PPK blog all the time. They are delicious, easy, and use mostly ingredients that you probably have around. Over the holidays I became obsessed with these mint chocolate chip cookies from Readymade magazine. The recipe yielded a ton and at least one person said they were the best cookies that he ever had! I made lots of cookies and one of my personaly favorites was these chocolate chocolate cookies with peanut butter insides. My friend said they tasted like something you find at a bakery! The recipe was from the fantastic “Cakemaker to the Stars” where the wonderful kittie has tons of great recipes and advice. I have made the buckeyes and the peanut butter filled whoopie pies which would be a GREAT recipe to try because my friends will pay serious money to eat those whoopie pies!

Another fantastic recipe that I just adore is the Triple Chocolate Chip Brownie. This recipe has some pricey ingredients but a spicy, gooey, chocolate brownie is really something to sing about.

Another great source of recipes are the Cupcake Punk, especially if you like really creative baking recipes with alcohol! And many are gluten free! I really want to try her Cheesecake Bites, Kahlua Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies, and¬† Chocolate Espresso Cake. Finally, a great online resource is the Bittersweet Blog. The author Hannah Kaminsky has a book as well called My Sweet Vegan. Her blog has tons of great look recipes like Cinnamon Buns, Zucchini Babka, and even dog biscuits, you don’t want to leave the pups out! Mmm bake sale….

The Freakin Vegan at Taco Deli

I love Taco Deli. It is one of those places that I regretfully didn’t try for a long time. We take our dogs to the Spyglass greenbelt access point sometimes and I had seen Taco deli for years but I didn’t stop in until a couple years ago and then I was soon hooked. The whole place has kind of¬† a summer camp at a strip mall kind of feel to me. Maybe because we sometimes hike there but also because there are tons of trees around it and on summer days everyone is sitting outside looking active and happy with their dogs.

today was not a summer day

I noticed the breakfast tacos seemingly everywhere around town but they were always eggs, bacon, & cheese so I didn’t think that they would have a lot for me. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Taco Deli is one of the most veg friendly taco joints in Austin.¬† They have 5 vegetarian tacos on the menu and most can be easily veganized. The black beans are vegan so you can choose the Frontera Fundido Portabella (no cheese) it comes with roasted poblanos, saut√©ed peppers, and onion strips or the Florentino which comes with saut√©ed spinach, mushrooms, and peppers or the Veggie Taco which is their veggie mix of shredded cabbage, carrots,¬† zuchini, mushrooms, peppers, celery, and onions saut√©ed in olive oil and sherry. They also use the veggie mix in the burrito and the tortas.

The most fun part is that they have a secret vegan taco. I heard from someone somewhere that¬† this off menu item is called “The Freakin Vegan” and now this is what I typically order. At first I was a little hesitant. What if I ordered the freakin vegan and they looked at me like I was just making shit up? So far, that has never happened so I happily get my black bean, avocado, verde sauce, and pico taco on a corn tortilla.

I also highly recommend the chips and guacamole. You get a ton of chips for only a few dollars with some of my favorite guac in town.¬† You can also get rice, beans, guac, or roasted peppers with any order. I wish that every place had the options of Taco Deli. They really only have two things that I wish I could change. One disappointment is that they don’t use tofu, tempeh, or seitan which, for me,¬† is kind of sad. The non-vegan menu is really creative and I think it would be so easy to sub fake chicken or pressed tofu in any of the chicken tacos with fantastic results. Also, they close at three every day and that can be pretty early for us to make it there on the weekend but that isn’t really a problem since most people aren’t that lazy. So the next time you sleep over at your favorite south Austinite’s house and you are cruising up mopac stop in for a taco. Studies have shown that it only takes 5 minutes and your happiness factor will enlarge by approximately 67 percent. And 67 percent isn’t the kind of number that you can laugh off.

Carribean Breakfast: Gallo Pinto, Tostones, and Tofu Scramble

It has been so cold here that people have taken to wearing ski masks. The local news shows people frantically buying earmuffs and warning parents that this is the coldest their children have ever seen. If you live somewhere where it snows we Austinites look pretty ridiculous in the winter. The threat of snowfall consumes news coverage for a week ahead of time and the eventual hint of snow flurries sends children running outside to try to make snowmen.

I have a hard time dealing with the cold. My main problem is that my house was not built with winter in mind. Floor to ceiling, poorly constructed windows make all the walls let cold air in and you can feel a breeze in the living room. The beagles can’t stand it either. They get excited to put on their sweaters and they spend a great part of the day under covers cuddled with each other and us. If you sit down in my house you will have a beagle next to you within a minute, cuddled up. The only way I could get out of my warmer bedroom over the weekend was to remember this time last year when we were in Costa Rica. We would have Gallo Pinto for breakfast every morning, usually with a side of plantains. I usually either bake plantains or cut them into long pieces and pan fry them but this morning I decided to try to make tostones. First you cut the plantains into circles and fry them.Then you smash them flat. I used a tortilla press because I could do several at once.

unsmashed

smashed

Then you fry them a second time. They were really good but they didn’t turn out perfect. I am having a lot of trouble with my stove so I am going to blame technical difficulties since I couldn’t get the oil hot enough. They were really yummy.

I was out of coriander so I made the gallo pinto a  little different from my usual recipe. I used a little bit of allspice and some ginger and cayenne. It was delicious! I also tried a baked tofu recipe that my friend Wes came up with. I loved the shake & bake method for tofu scramble, it was ridiculously easy and tasty. I think I will make my spice mix next time because there was a little too much cumin for my taste. Finally I made a yogurt cream sauce to go on top of everything. I blended yogurt, cilantro, and lime together then added a little bit of asafetida. I loved it! If you are feeling beaten down by the weather I completely recommend this spread. Caribbean Breakfast makes everything better.Pura Vida!

Staying Alive

At the first sign of illness my instinct is to completely panic. Luckily, those who know me know this well and are good a providing calming influences. After flying on planes, dramatic changes in weather, and a lot of stress I started to succumb to flu-like symptoms earlier this week. I talked to my friend who is extremely knowledgeable in health and she gave me some tips.

1) Don’t Panic! Take a deep breath. Get some cozy clothes and blankets, have Mr. Smurf make you soup with lots of ginger and garlic

2) NO SUGAR & NO CAFFINE & no dairy (the latter one is easy!)

3) Drink Ridiculous Amounts of Water

4) Strong Herbal Tea

4) Herbs. My problems were in my lungs so Sandra recomended Elecampagne, a lung compound tincture like Lung Eazy, a formula called “wellness formula” it comes in capsules and liquid it WORKS, and “wild cherry bark, elderberry” cough syrup if the cough gets worse.

5) Get lots of sleep

I love it when people tell me to get lots of sleep. It is just the excuse I need to spend a day in bed watching James Franco on General Hospital and asking Mr. Smurf to bring me things. He really outdid himself with the miso noodle¬†soup on a smurf tray, with a smurf glass! So far I haven’t gotten really sick and I think it is because everyone is taking such good care of me.

Welcome to Miami – a vegan on the beach

It took awhile for me to fall in love with Miami. I had some initial trouble finding internet sources from my usual haunts for good eating besides the Happy Cow (which I made a map from), so I was kind of on my own. Plus, I was traveling with all non-vegans and no car, staying by the airport (don’t do it!), and had shows to go to every night in downtown Miami so time for hunting down restaurants was extremely¬†limited. After I returned I did find a great website, Meatless Miami, so check it out if you are traveling to south Florida. I learned some valuable lessons that I thought I would share.

The Airport District

Lesson 1: Call ahead. Especially if you don’t have a car and it is the holidays.

The first day I tried to go to the Prana Health Store to have lunch and pick up supplies. They were closed for new years!¬† We checked out every other place in the strip mall but all the Cuban and Peruvian places were veg-free so we got stuck with Chinese food, lucky for us the server was incredibly friendly and gave me the low down on the best vegan dish. It was really good and of course I don’t know the name, it wasn’t the ma pa tofu. After we finished eating Mr. Smurf checked out the bus situation while I happily digested and wrapped up my leftovers. Suddenly, he came running in saying we had to go right now¬†to catch the bus or wait an hour for the next one! We ran down the street to see the bus waiting ahead of us but we couldn’t make it on time. For an hour I sat on the dustiest¬†most industrial road you ever saw in your life, across the street from a prison waiting for the bus to come. Qu√©¬†l√°stima!

The day got much better as it went on, though, and later that night everyone had veggie burritos in a parking lot.

Little Havana

Lesson 2: Don’t be afraid to look ridiculous

After accidentally sleeping until 2 pm the next day we were off to a Cuban restaurant recommended to me by a friend in Little Havana called La Carretas. I made a plate from the sides and I had more plantains than ever before in my life! They also had yellow rice with no meat and mashed yucca. Unfortunately, I ate way too much and then we decided to walk ~50 blocks to downtown.

At first, walking through Little Havana was really fun. In Cuba the symbol of the rooster is significant so all over little Havana they have giant cocks decorated differently. We took lots of pictures for cock tour 2009. I made a very bad decision to dress for the show instead of the walk so I was wearing poor (but cute & vegan) walking shoes and a very light dress. I was really cold so we slipped into a Cuban store to find a sweatshirt. Instead I found a blanket with the Cuban flag that I draped around me for the rest of the walk. I felt a little silly walking but at the end of the night the cab driver totally gave us a huge discount because we had the flag! Which reminds me that in Miami the buses do not run late so plan accordingly.

South Beach

Lesson 3: Be open-minded

The next day the boys went to play disc golf while Amanda and I went to¬† meet with our friend Trisha at her better¬†hotel on South Beach. It was called¬†the Starlight and it was practically on the beach. I didn’t think that South Beach would have much for a person like me but it turned out that I really liked it. The art deco is a lot of fun, the beach was beautiful and Caribbean¬†blue, there are people from all over the world staying there and it didn’t seem overly cheesy like everywhere else I have been to in Florida. We even found an Indian store on Hispanola¬†street that we loved filled with really inexpensive beautiful dresses. It was amazing and totally unexpected.

There was a lot to laugh about as well, like the slam-tight leggings painted to look like designer eurotrash jeans and a lot of the mannequins with really big boobs. We also saw a lot of really tiny dogs that appeared to be used as Paris Hilton-style accessories. I almost cried looking at the baby puppies in an all pink pet store because I felt so sorry for them and angry at their situation and simultaneously completely overwhelmed by their excessive cuteness.

We ate a Peruvian restaurant that I didn’t get the name of. They didn’t speak much English but assured me that tallarines¬†verdes¬†was free of animal products. I later looked into it and it seems that there are¬†indeed¬†vegan versions of the Peruvian dish although I don’t think mine was. Basically you cook onions and garlic with basil and spinach¬†and then blend so it is like a cooked pesto. I want to try to¬†make it when basil is plentiful later this year because I liked it more than regular pesto. I also got a pineapple¬†batido with water and felt like I left¬†the United States was far behind.

Little Hati

Lesson 4 Ital is Vital

Everything got better each day we were in Miami, the food, the weather, the concerts; so it was no surprise¬†that New Year’s Eve Day was, without a doubt, the best day of the trip. By this time we had the bus system totally figured out and I convinced everyone to ride out to Little Hati to check out an all vegan¬†Rastafarian place called the Garden of Eatin’. This is the kind of place that I dream¬†of finding on vacation. It was tucked away behind another building with little kids playing soccer in the parking lot. We had two choices, vegan chicken or jerk tofu with sides and that was it.

I opted for the curry vegan chicken with the vegetables and the rice & peas. The inside was a little small and dark. I asked if they had any outdoor seating since it was gorgeous outside and they immediately¬†set up a table outside for us which¬†was very friendly. The food was unbelievable. For such a small amount of money you get a gigantic portion of¬†glorious vegan food¬†that makes me want to move to the Caribbean. The curry chicken had amazing flavors and wasn’t too hot but there was a really spicy chunky salsa type sauce that you could add to punch it up if you were so inclined. I just needed the tiniest bit and it spiced everything. The vegetables were a mix of cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, and onions and were delicious. I wish I could eat it again every day. I read that they sometimes have fried Jamaican patties and other fun items as well that I wish I got to try. The Jerk Tofu was good too and Mr. Smurf also had the kidney beans which were just fantastic and I wished I could eat them all.

After we left the Garden we ended up walking through Little Hati since it was such a beautiful day. We went into quite a few different shops and it was like another world. I read that in Hati the slaves used the Christian symbols to practice voodoo undercover and it is really interesting to see the two melded together. We went into shops that were filled with bottles of herbs with handwritten labels. Everyone was so friendly and the barter system was very much alive.

After the walk we took the bus (we finally learned about the all day pass) back to South Beach for some final 2009 beach time. One thing that I didn’t know about Miami before is that there are no open container laws and the bars never close. Unless it is happy hour is really expensive to get drinks at the bar (although you can barter and find deals) so it is cheapest to buy your supplies and take them with you. We made bloody mary’s and met up with friends on the beach just as things were starting to really rage on South Beach.

And then we took off for the last show of the New Year’s run. In a lot of ways it was the perfect trip. I love Miami and I hope to go back for future New Years’ now that I have the whole transportation¬†and where to stay thing all figured out. There is still so much to see and I can’t wait to go back.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† .

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Happy New Year!