Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Slow Cookin'!!

Awhile back when in a bookstore I came across "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker". I have a slow cooker that collects dust in the cupboard because I rarely cook any meat. Once in awhile my meat eatin' hubbie will buy a roast or something and he'll dig it out to cook with. Other than that - it isn't used. But I LOVE the idea of a slow cooker - soooooo, when I saw this book I thought "wow, this will be handy". So far I've made some veggie stock, homestyle applesauce (from the apples at our cottage) and vegetarian hoppin' john. This last one I made the other night. I didn't have any black-eyed peas, so I used a can of aduzki beans that had been sitting on my shelf for awhile. The kids licked this dish up. I must admit to not caring for rice in general so I can't really rave about the dish. But since the kids enjoyed it I will be making it again.
I made the Carob Chip Muffins from Vive le Vegan and boy were they a hit! I substituted spelt flour for the barley flour and they were so cakey and moist. We ate 12 of them in 2 days. Some did go out to the neighbours kids that were here playing that day.
Not too long ago I was inspired by vegtriathelete's blog to dig out my juicer. Juicing has been something I've been doing off and on for about 7 years. I've gone through 2 juicers in that time - each about $40 in value. I think when this current juicer 'blows up' I'll try to purchase a more expensive one. I sometimes wonder if I'm getting the most out of my veggies using the cheap juicers. At crazy sexy cancer's blog she advocates green juices so that's what I've been making - concoctions with celery, kale, cucumber, and sprouts. I'll blog another day about my new found talent on sprouting. My kids are even enjoying them - however, they aren't big smoothie and juice drinkers so they usually just take sips of mine - but still - they're getting some of the nutrients.
Ta ta for now.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies and some Eco Purchases

Yes, another pumpkin dessert. I promise to let go of the pumpkin stuff soon enough. I found this recipe on the Post Punk Kitchen website. Instead of white flour I subsituted with spelt flour. They were great except that it called for 2 tbl of molasses and with that in it, the pumpkin flavour sorta disappeared. But whatever, they were scrumdillyumpscious.

Over this past summer I made a few 'green' purchases that were worth mentioning. First when my shower curtain got icky (we've had it for four years) I decided to get another one. I browsed a few sites and decided on a hemp one at rawganique.com. It was rather pricey but since I can get a few years out of mine I thought what the heck. It was delivered in no time! I am disappointed to say that after only several months it has mold on it in places. Now, before you say anything, I do want it to be known, that I ALWAYS leave the curtain spread out so that it can dry properly AND I wash it monthly to prevent mold buildup. Even after washing it the mold colour has stained the fabric. But whatever, it doesn't ick me out....I know it's only a stain. The part that was disappointing was the fact that I thought hemp was resistant to mold....if treated with care...such as I did. Anywho, my next purchase was a pair of Splaff flip flops. I needed a black pair of flip flops and wanted to buy an eco friendly pair. I found them at vegan essentials.com. They are made from recycled tires and tubes. They sure made for some interesting conversations this past summer. I'm happy with them - but a word to the wise - do not wear them for extended periods of time. They aren't the most comfortable flip flops. Lastly, a set of my bedsheets got so badly frayed that it was time to be replaced. I replaced them with a set of Bamboo sheets. And let me tell you - bamboo fabric feels glorious in bed!! I bought them at Zellers (of all places) and they were 30% off that week. So i got them for a real bargain. Zellers was also selling bamboo covered pillows at a discount so I bought a set of those too. I'm very impressed with the bamboo fabric and will definately buy more of it when other sheets get worn out.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pumpkin Muffins

I just love anything pumpkin. So when the pumpkins are ready in the patch I get just plain giddy. We snagged three from a friend who had the most amazing patch this year. He tried covering the ground with plastic and letting the vines grow through holes he cut in the plastic. Anyways, after roasting them, I pureed the pulp and froze 1 cup portions. Most of the recipes I use call for 1 cuppers. So far I've tried Sarah's (Two vegan sisters blog) Pumpkin Scones - they were fantastic! And I pulled a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin recipe off the internet (can't remember which site at the moment) and I veganized it. I used ground flaxseed as an egg substitute and I added in more spices then what it called for. They turned out great - except for the fact that they stick to the paper liners. I bought some halloween themed liners that have smiling pumpkins on them - so I thought it appropriate to put some pumpkin muffins into them. :)
It was a rather blustery fall day so I thought a good soup would do nicely. I'm totally into Catherine's (Food snob blog) soup month thing. So I made the Veggie Peanut Soup from La Dolce Vegan. I've never had a peanutty soup before and it was quite nice. Definately a keeper!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Morrocan Chickpea Patties & Leftovers

I made the patties straight out of Dreena's cookbook several times now and every single time they have not disappointed me. I have never made them with fennel either. It might be interesting to try them with fennel now. I have been eating them each night for dinner with a side of baby romaine. Not all that exciting to blog about - but I've enjoyed them. It's been taking me a few days to finish the leftover pot of Mellow Sniffle Lentil soup I made awhile ago. I have been the only one in the house eating it, so it's taking awhile to finish it.
The other morning I tried the Acai Antioxidant Smoothie out of ED&BV and it is sooooooo good!! It has a chocolately flavour to it. I could even whip one of these up to satisfy a midnight craving in front of the boob toob. Anyways, I've had three now and ran out of the frozen pkgs of Acai so I ran to the health food store this morning and got some more - along with some more bananas. I also snagged some organic juice boxes that were on sale for the kids, some boxes of veggie bouillon cubes also on sale, and another bag of Spelt flour. I wish this store was within walking distance - I would be there daily if it was. Or is that a good thing?? ha ha
I'm still working on the whole attaching picture thing.....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cookies and Soup

You'll see lots of cookies around this place. We have a household of 4 people - 3 of which are male - so we go through LOTS of cookies. I usually make a batch every day or every other day. My cookies tend to be big and I'm sooooo guilty of eating too much cookie dough so I don't get too many out of any batch. HA Yesterday I made the Oatmeal cookies out of Dreena's newest cookbook Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. They were the best darn oatmeal cookies I've made to date!!! And I ate the whole batch myself. My kids just don't seem to care for oatmeal cookies. They love porrige in the mornings but that is as far as their oatmeal lovin' goes. The recipe did say it was for a small batch.....
Today I made the Almond & Apricot Tea Cookies from Sarah Kramer's cookbook La Dolce Vegan. They were decent. I had a couple with some Island Mango White Tea. I'am lovin that tea right now.....that along with a Raspberry White tea. I didn't think my kids would go for the tea cookies because of the oatmeal in them and the lack of 'sweetness' but alas, the 2 year old ate one with a big glass of strawberry soy milk. I finally finished off the big bottle of artifical vanilla flavouring I had. Now I can go buy some 'real' vanilla.

Now for soup - yesterday I made the Spicy Tomato soup out of La Dolce Vegan. It was okay. Too many chunkies of onions/garlic.....but the dill in it is quite interesting. In comparison, her Tomato and Basil Soup from How it all Vegan is far better! When I made it a couple of weeks ago, I did what Catherine did and froze a couple batches minus the soy milk in the freezer for later. I will never have to buy another can of tomato soup again! The Tomato Basil recipe is far superior and so convenient when pulled from the freezer!
Today I made the Mellow 'Sniffle Lentil' soup from ED&BV. I didn't have any curry powder so I made it without. I'm not sure how much of an impact that makes on the soup, but I enjoyed it. I'm still waiting to see if it gets rid of my sniffles or not. ha ha

Well, until I get the hang of attaching pictures etc. you'll have to suffer through without them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog Action Day - Our contribution to the environment

This is a day late - but here it is. Our households contribution to the environment is as follows:

Kitchen - we are vegetarians / aspiring vegans. We do consume eggs and cheese on an occasional basis and someday hope to kick their butts to the curb entirely. But for now it is baby steps in that department. I try to buy as many organic foods as possible, with an emphasis on locally grown items. However, we do live in northern ontario so are quite restricted in the winter months. This past September i attempted to freeze and preserve as many local vegetables/fruits as possible so that they would last us into the winter. Now, being that this was my first attempt at this I wasn't sure how much to do - and alas all those items will likely be gone by Christmas. ha ha I just didn't buy/freeze enough. Next year I know to DO MORE! I did have a small garden in my back yard - the postage stamp size of a back yard. I grew tomatoes, herbs and peas. My grandmother had a fair size garden and she was very generous to us. The rest of the stuff we bought at the farmers market all summer long.
I cook most of our meals from scratch. This reduces the amount of pkging that comes into our house. AS well, we tend to buy in bulk - further reducing the amount of pkging we see. We use our blue and yellow bins faithfully and I compost as much kitchen waste as possible.

Bathroom - All of our personal care items are organic and as natural as possible. We have preserve toothbrushes and a hemp shower curtain.

Bedroom - when a set of our bedsheets was frayed and time to go bye bye, I replaced them with bamboo sheets. Whoa, wonderful fabric let me tell you! This is the only new purchase in that department. The rest of our replacements have come from hand-me-downs from my mother. She is always good to 'pass on' her sheets and towels to us. Any of our clothes we no longer wear have gone to charity or to other family members. We have two kids so the youngest gets the hand me downs. We have also bought the odd thing at a second hand store.

Household - All of our cleaning supplies are homemade - mostly consisting of vingegar, water, and essential oils. Our laundry detergent is also made by yours truly. The clothes get hung outside in the spring thru fall. The cold weather up here in winter time wouldn't be ideal for a clothes line. ha ha All of our lightbulbs are energy efficient ones; our monthly average power consumption is 300 kWh. (the average households kWh is 700); I turned down our thermostat on the hot water tank quite considerably.

Transportation - prior to moving to northern ontario I used the public transportation system to go to work and run errands most of the time. We also walked or biked to most places. However, since moving up here, that has been reduced quite considerably. I still manage to bike when i can or walk when I can.

There you have it - our contribution in a nutshell. It is a work in progress - we can still do a lot more to reduce our footprint on the earth. I am open to suggestions at any time on other changes that we can make.