Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spoiled Little Vegan

This weekend, I was lucky enough to be a spoiled little vegan. My first surprise was a replenishment of my fruit supply (costco size -- wahoo!) ... and MORE! Not only did my mom and her fiancee get me my usual strawberries and blackberries, but they also got me more blueberries (still such a luxury), some fresh mango (I haven't had fresh in a very, very long time) and kiwi (which I don't get often but enjoy so much). I definitely want to take this opportunity to say thank you to them again. I was more than happy. Naturally, I incorporated my new lovlies into my eats quickly.

First, traditional fruit mixes...

Yummy bowl of fruit (all the goods minus the not-ready-yet-kiwi)

Strawberry&&Blueberry Brown-Rice Protein Smoothie

Then came chocolately oatmeal conncoctions (for some reason chocolate oats works better with oatmeal than oatbran so I naturally I had to experiment this weekend)...

with blackberries...

up close and personal

An oatmeal creation I've been working on: mint chocolate (aka Girl Scout Thin Mint) with bloobs

the microwave swirled the golden flax so beautifully, I just couldn't resist

With all this fruit, I noticed I was lacking in the veggies. Can you believe they read my mind again? The following day I woke up early to go to the farmer's market downtown with them. I haven't been to this specific farmer's market since I was very young. Back then, I didn't exactly have quite this much appreciation for my leafy green friends. Since it's winter, the market is a lot smaller but it is still so wonderful. I was in vegan paradise.

Veggie wraps and sammies were in abundance...

Garlic, rosemary, thyme, paprika and Braggs roasted chickpeas (though another day I used roasted cannellini), with steamed asparagus, zucchini, and yellow squash


Roasted chickpeas (roasted as above) with an abundance of spinach and carrots

Homemade seitan&bean bacon, tomato, spinach, and baby cucumbers

...grilled up panini style (so the veggies get all warm -- yumm)

And my kabocha prayers were answered...

roast it realllllllll good

match made in heaven (discovered today)

Well that's about it lovies. I'll leave you with the much over-due sweets part of the "Sweet Treats and Vegan Eats"

chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

from The Joy of Vegan Baking (one of my first vegan cook books)

made for my friends at school, with love and almost all vegan ingredients (didn't have enough vegan chocolate chips or earth balance on hand so i used non-vegan choco chips and smart balance (which is almost vegan but has whey))

Have a lovely day!


p.s. snackface is having an absolutely insane giveaway. check it out noww (&&you'll be glad you did). also, here's a larabar giveaway. two giveaways in one post, how exciting!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dreaming in Food

I woke up this morning to see none other than my old friend Snow outside my window. When I went outside, I noticed my other friend Cold came along, too.

Needless to say, I wanted to be transported to warmer places. My only hope was by food. And thus started my world food adventures for today...

Channeling my inner Columbian, I made Mango Tango Oats (or Tropical Sunrise, if you prefer... honestly, I couldn't decide either.) I still remember my Columbian friends teaching me a song in spanish all about growing mangos. It was so fun to sing it with them since they were always raving about their mangos back at home. This morning I just wanted to be in the warm Columbian rainforest.

With my Tahitian Vanilla Hazelnut tea in hand, I pretened I was in a much more tropical place instead of the reality of putting on Scottish wool socks (thigh-highs at that!)

For lunch, I transported myself to India with a green lentil dal (unpictured because I was at school.)

I continued my world voyage with a Mexican-inspired dinner. I made a seitan fijita and let me just tell you, if the spices didn't warm me up enough already, my tummy was sure happy enough to deem this the best Mexican I've ever had.

-1/4 yellow bell pepper
-1/4 red bell pepper
-1 very large organic carrot
-a few tbs corn (i'm not a big fan but i thought it would give it authenticity)
-1/2 tsp dried shallots
-1 seitan cutlet
-1/4 tsp chili powder
-1/4 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp paprika
-1+ clove garlic
-pinch of salt & taco seasoning
-glob of sweet onion salsa
-1 wrap (which I later put in the pan to warm up... yum!)

After a wonderfully empowering yoga class, I enjoyed one of my favorite summertime treats: frozen yogurt. This was what I was worried about the most with becoming vegan (it's silly, i know) but I solved that problem thanks to Shelby. Whole Soy & Co. blueberry yogurt in the freezer (then defrosted in the micro a bit) + 2 tbs golden flax seed + 1/2 cup cascadian farm organic cinnamon crunch + 1/4 cup puffins = amazing. The only problem was the realization that I was wearing those thick socks and a enormous sweater while eating it. Oh well.

If summer can't come now, at least I can dream of it in food :)

What's the most exotic thing you've made before?

Bon Voyage,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Need for (Kabocha) Relief

Yesterday was the first day of the second semester. After a much-deserved four-day weekend, I was not exactly in the school mind-set yet.

Lukcily, my world history class made me excited for the weeks to come. We will be studying Haiti and the current events surrounding it. Of course we will study historical context, too. I think this is very important because Haiti's current situation is even more devastating due to their fragile state previously. It makes me think about why we didn't help them before and what other countries might be in need of our help that we're overlooking.

What are your thoughts on propaganda and the US's aid? Where do you think we should be focusing our efforts around the world... or even here at home?

But enough politics. I know you all want to see some foooooood :). Sticking with the theme of relief for Haiti, I found some relief of my own. Since I usually cook for one and hate wasting food, it's been another clean-out-the-fridge extravaganza.

First, may I introduce you to my good friends oatbran and fresh fruit. What a lovely couple! They relieved me of my tiredness and feeling of cold (that's what I get for living in Michigan) by filling my tummy up with warm happiness in a bowl. This paired nicely with my feeling of relief when I woke up early yesterday. To my surprise, I remembered that this semester I have an extra free hour: 1st. That means I get to go to school an hour later. Score!

I also got my grades yesterday. I won't go into it, but let's just say it was definitely a relief. Biology is not as bad as I thought. I give my studies all I've got and truly have pride in my schoolwork. My grades definitely show it :).

When I came home from school, I was tired from getting back into the swing of things and not exactly motivated to do my homework yet. A lovely package came to relieve me of my duties. Thanks, Tasha!

There's just something in recieving mail. It always seems to charm me. Don't get me wrong, I adore getting email, and dance around my room every time I get comments on my blog (I'm not joking, you're words mean very much to me!) but snail mail imparts a certain mystery and tradition behind it. Packages are like little gifts to unwrap and letters are filled with beautiful words.

Lovely Tasha sent me both! I won her wonderful lavender cookies in a giveaway a week ago. These delicate little cookies clearly were made with love. Of course I had to try one! I'm not one for sweets, but when I knew so much care went in to them, I just couldn't resist. I opened the container quickly and shared with my family. My grandmother even tried one and said they tasted like something her mother would have liked. My great grandmother was born in England so you bet these were good if my grandmother thought they would have her seal of approval for tea cookies.

For dinner I wanted some veggies. I take that back. I wanted lots of veggies... but when do I not? I seemed to have followed that trend tonight as well.

Yesterday was a seitan stir-fry with asparagus, green beans, carrots, and the like. I used Elise's recipe for quick seitan and it was super simple. Now I don't have to make it such an event and can have seitan whenever I please. Thanks, Elise! I stir-fried it up with ginger and garlic, my fav! Along with ezekial bread spread with a ginger/garlic spread (meant for stir-fries but I use it on bread instead hehe) and cauliflower&&brocc and I had a wonderful pre-yoga dinner.

Tonight was a revival of white bean hummus. Basically a large snack plate, but oh so satisfying. I'm loving the organic carrots and asparagus, as you can see. This girl always gets her greens and oranges. Taste the rainbow, you know ;). Of course there were more unpictured veggies, and snacks, but they were the usual subjects (*cough cauli&brocc cough*).

Sadly, relief did not come where I wanted it most, in my favorite snack. When I cut open my kabocha tonight (yes, I use a very large knife and mallet... girl power rawrr), I could tell something was up. It wasn't quite as beautifully orange as I'm used to... more like a brownish color. I was disappointed already but didn't give up hope. My never-fail roasting method can fix most disasters.

Unfortunately, it didn't not remedy it completely and I was forced to preform kabocha surgery. That entailed the microwave and lots of water. The result? It actually puffed up like egg whites (not that I would really know, but from what I've seen). It looked funny and I wanted to take a picture but it's hard to see. Oh well.

All was not lost tonight but the only problem is that this strange squash event has occured before (but in reverse since the color was much too light inside and taste could not be fixed). Now I'm asking for some relief.

Where, oh where, will I find relief in some good kabochas.... or at least not pathetic ones like these :( ?

Please help, my taste buds are in need...

Anyway, I wish you all a lovely rest of your week and happy kaboca-ing. Remember, tomorrow is vegan thursday :).

Goodnight, lovebugs.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Inner Toddler

I channeled my inner toddler today since I must have been in a finger-food mood. Not to worry, though, I didn't get started until lunch. Oatmeal without a spoon? Now that's plain silly.

Instead, I started off my day with my favorite oatmeal combination: brownie batter :D. I thought it would be a nice celebration to the end of midterms (yep, I'm still celebrating). I use cocoa powder that isn't dutch-process so I get all the antioxidants. Oh yeahh, I like my chocolate black.

For lunch I had another favorite: V'con's chickpea cutlets. Instead of bread crumbs in the cutlets, I toast the bread ends of my ezekiel. I have this recipe literally committed to memory. Anyone else love the smell of toasting ezekiel?

Since cannellini beans are probably my favorite beans, I knew I had to make the white bean hummus with thyme and basil from ED&BV when I saw it this morning. I used fresh thyme and basil, as it requires, and it looked beautiful. The fresh herbs really made the hummus come alive. This summer I will be growing fresh herbs. I'm super excited!

I served it along with a whole wheat pita (toasted in the oven to make pita chips), green beans, dino kale, and carrots. Of course I had a bowl of spaghetti squash and a bowl of cauliflower and broccoli, too. This girl loves her veggies!

For dessert, I made Katie's agar-agar pudding. I used unsweetened chocolate almond milk and added my own stevia later. Let's just say I made a double batch tonight since I made it last night and it disappeared ;).

Here's a picture of last night's before it "disappeared". I made it with unsweetened vanilla almond milk with extra dark cocoa powder instead so that's why it's so dark.

I was so happy when I saw Katie posted her agar agar pudding as an alternative to silken tofu ones. Although you've probably seen a lot of tofu on my blog lately, I honestly do watch my soy intake. It's mostly because my nutritionalist warned me about too much but since I've been watching Food Inc., I'm starting to question how natural soy really is.

What's your take on soy?

Well, on that note, I'll leave you with my dinner from last night. (Finally!) the last of my tofu on a steamed dino kale salad with asparagus, mushrooms, and ezekiel bread.

Have a lovely day!

P.S. I'm still working on my "About Me" page. If you misted the first part of it, check it out here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Girl Behind the Blog

In Process...

Heya, I'm Mandiee and I'm almost 16 years old (April 25th, wahoo!) I'm just a small-town girl who's on a mission to be the kindest she can be to herself and the world around her.

For me, that means being vegan and following my dream. And what's that? Simply put (although there's nothing simple about it), it's to unite different cultures through friendship and understanding. Sound a little hippy-ish to you? Maybe. But I've got to admit I'm definitely a realist and natural-born analyzer, too. I have big dreams but I'm ready to back them up.

It all started with my first international exchange at 11 years old. I traveled to Germany to meet up with 11 other countries' worth delegations of the same age and make-up as ours (two boys, two girls, and a leader). We all lived together for a month and played games that allowed friendships to flourish. Having such a strong connection with the other delegates and learning of a bigger world was truly a life-changing experience.

Since then, I have done a few other international exchanges, including ones with Denmark, Greece, and England. This summer I am hoping to go to the Faroe Islands to be a junior councilor for a group of 11 years olds. All of these experiences have shaped my personality and outlook on life. Because of this, I hold certain values very close to my heart. Kindness is needed for peace so naturally I hold that in high esteem.

That's where veganism comes in. I believe in kidness in all aspects of my life and one day I realized that the food I eat was not exempt. I'm not saying that meat-eaters are horrible or anything like that and I fully recognize that some people just run better on certain diets. Anyway, this was the right choice for me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sweat it Out

I'm sure you've probably heard of "sweating out toxins". Maybe it was in an a cheesy (well that's not very vegan, now is it? haha) infomercial or on posters for saunas and so-called health clubs.

Well my sweat tonight was real. I'm talking yoga, folks. After a long week of midtermes and the numerous hours of being locked up studying, I finally released my tension. I lived in the moment through every inhale and exhale, I even loved every long-holding chair and boat pose (but I always do, hehe). I opened my heart in all of the poses while opening my mind to newfound clarity. Oh yeah, it felt good.

To keep me nice and warm while not at yoga, I sipped on many a cup of tea. It kept me and my papers company during studying.

Luckily, I've been enjoying some comfort food during this week for an equally comforted belly, too. Well I don't know about you, but when I think of comfort food, I think of the South. Maybe it's a Mid-West thing, but don't you think warm cornbread fresh out of the oven sounds good? Yumm. I'm also a tried-and-true broccoli fan. Yes, I admit to eating it every day. Sometimes I'm embarrassed of my vegetable obsession, but that's another post (how many times have I said that now, haha. I feel like Alton Brown).

Naturally, a mix of my idea of comfort came in the form of Broccoli Polenta courtesy of Veganomicon. Again, Abby inspired me to make this. To be honest, I've always looked at this recipe in V'con but it was never on my radar to make. Thanks, Abby! It seems like this girl is becoming my vegan role model. All of her food looks absolutely scrumptious.

I can't believe I've never tried polenta. It was soo good! And the X, O, and heart shaped mold made it even more fun. Apparntly all my random molds for cooking are finally coming in handy. I think I have Valentine's Day's plans now ;).

This was surprisingly filling so I didn't make tofu like I planned. Instead, I was a good little vegan and added lots of nooch to my marinara sauce after I took the picture. Originally I thought nooch was too strong but it's growing on me.

Wonder where the tofu went instead? There it is!

So cornbread is pretty traditional, but tofu? Southern belles are probably cursing me right now seeing them in the same sentence. Sorry, ladies, but hopefully there are some Southern vegans out there ready to back me up on this one. And apparently I'm on a tofu kick. This new baking method is genious.

Here's what I used to make two perfert comfort-sized cornbread pieces (the serving in the picture is half of the recipe. It's generous, just how I like it!)

It's based of Veganomicon's Skillet Cornbread but with Mandiee swaps. Somehow now matter how much I change, the recipes in V'con always come out good. Gotta love Isa and Terry for that!

-1/2c unsweetened original almond milk
-1/2tsp apple cider vinegar
-1/2c cornmeal (I swear by Bob's Red Mill for most of my cooking needs)
-1/2c whole wheat flour (this would probably too dense for most but ww is the only way to go for me)
-1 packet non-bitter stevia (the brand I use isn't very strong)
-1/2tsp baking powder
-1/8tsp salt (I used a little less)
-4tsp unsweetened applesauce

First put your sprayed little cast iron skillet in the oven at 350F to warm up while you get the ingredients ready. Simply combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar until it curddles (just a few minutes will do).

Meanwhile, put the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the liquid to it and mix until just combined (lumpy is fine, especially if you use ww flour and coarse ground cornmeal, like me).

Put it in the oven at 350F and in about 30-32 minutes (or less if your skillet gets really hot) you have yourself two slices of wonderful comfort food. I've found that if you take it out a little early and cut it in half then put it on your oven rack for a minute or two, the outside gets nice and crusty but not overly so. It's lovely.

Now that I'm done with exams, I think I'll finally have time to do the "about me" post. I just don't know what to write! Also, I'm planning on watching Food Inc. and the new Fame to celebrate.

How do you treat yourself? However you do, I hope you have a lovely day!


P.S. Monica is having a yoga mat giveaway. They are absolutely gorgeous so check them out!