Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sorry no posts...sick kitties

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. Both of my cats have been ill. One has recovered from and the other one still has an upper respiratory infection. The orange one, Teddy recovered fairly quickly, in a little over a week. The other one, Pepe, who also has multiple chronic conditions, has been battling high fevers, swollen and infected eyes and a bad cough for over a week now and has required round the clock care. This is them napping in healthier times in gift boxes from the holidays. They would rather sleep in these than their nice kitty beds. Will be back posting soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vegetable Love Contest Winners

On Valentine's Day, Susan of Fat Free Vegan Kitchen announced the winners of her Vegetable Love contest. All the entries were incredible and I look forward to trying them all out! Check out the winners and all the entries. My personal favorite is the spicy semolina with mixed vegetables by Vegan Treats.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cucumber Water

In the January issue of Martha Stewart Living, Martha writes how she keeps infused mineral water all around to make sure she stays hydrated. She has ones with lemon, lime, orange or cucumber and mint. The last one sounded so interesting to me. Then my mom and sister both attended different catered meals last week that served cucumber water and they loved it. So I gave it a try. It is so refreshing. I sliced up two persian cucumbers for 8 cups of spring water and let it chill. It is such a simple but elegant way to serve water!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Vegan Dining in Los Angeles

My sister's family was visiting this weekend so there was lots of vegan food involved. My sister is a gluten free vegan. My older niece is vegetarian. My brother-in-law and younger niece are omnivores but they happily eat vegan food on occasion! I am a lucky vegan!

I wrote a previous post about M Cafe's new location in Culver City. The first time I ate there it wasn't as good as their other location. I decided to give it another chance. This time was great. I had the Panino Margarita which has tomato, soy mozzarella & basil-almond pesto on focaccia, grilled hot & crisp with kale with a spicy peanut sauce.

On Sunday we ate at Flore in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. It is a tiny vegan restaurant and we had to wait quite a long time for a table but it was well worth it. Everyone loved their food. Here's what we ordered:

Soul Food Special
Macaroni and "cheese", greens, cornbread, vegan margarine and black-eyed peas
This is what I had. It was such good macaroni and cheese and the black-eyed had a pesto like sauce on them-soooo good!

Tacos de Papas (Wheat Free/Gluten Free)
Two potato tacos served on stone ground corn tortillas, topped with lettuce, tomato and cilantro cream. Served with sides of pico de gallo, brown rice and black beans.

Tofu “Egg” Salad Sandwich
Tofu “egg” salad, green leaf lettuce and tomato stacked together on organic sourdough. Served with potato salad.

Avocado & Cheese Sandwich
Sandwich of cashew cheese, green leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, avocado
and sprouts served with eggless mayonnaise on organic sourdough. Served with potato salad.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cupcake. We forgot to photograph the desserts at the restaurant-this is one we brought home. We also had incredible lemon cupcakes and a slice of just okay cheesecake.

It was a great weekend!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Vegan Products of the Week- Lip Glosses and Lip Balms

Finding vegan lip products can sometimes be difficult. Many contain beeswax. Red and pink colored ones often contain carmine (crushed beetles-why do they put this in cosmetics-do omnivores really want to wear crushed beetles???).
A few of my favorite lip products......

Urban Decay has many vegan products, including a large selection of lip products. Urban Decay lists on their website which products are vegan and you can print off their vegan product list to take shopping with you. Urban Decay products are at Sephora (not the whole line though) and many department stores. They have lots of colors of vegan lipsticks as well.

The entire American Girl line at Bath and Body Works stores is vegan. Their line is fun for adults but it is great for vegan teens and children! They also sell the American Girl products at the American Girl stores.


From top to bottom on the left:

Urban Decay XXX Shine Quikie

Urban Decay Shot-o-Gloss Pina Colada

Urban Decay Ultraglide Gash

American Girl Sheer Fruit Punch

From top to bottom on the right:

Eco Lips Lemon-Lime

Splash Organics Orange and Strawberry

LUSH Lip Lime

American Girl Talk to Me Watermelon


Splash Organics are all vegan products that you can purchase online or in New York City and in Pennsylvania at craft fairs. My sister got me their products when she was in New York. The lip balms are really nice and smell great but I have not tried their other products yet.

LUSH products were featured last week and they also make lip balms in cute little tins. All their products are vegetarian and many are vegan. Vegan products state that they are vegan.

Eco Lips is sold at Whole Foods and REI stores and is very moisturizing. This is my favorite one for chapped lips.

If you know some other vegan lip balms and glosses, let me know so I can add them to a future post.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Vegetable Love Contest

Susan of Fatfree Vegan Kitchen is holding her annual Vegetable Love Challenge for Valentine's Day. My entry is a vegetable tian. A tian is pretty much just a layered dish which can be sweet or savory. This one has purple and red potatoes, zucchini , tomatoes and olives baked in a tart pan. In order to lower the fat I used thinly sliced potatoes instead of a traditional crust.

Vegetable Tian

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek, white and pale-green parts, rinsed well, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1-2 zucchini, very thinly sliced (1 cup)
3 plum tomatoes, very thinly sliced (3 cups)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
handful of olives, pitted and halved
nutritional yeast (optional)

Spray a tart pan or 9-inch baking dish with non-stick spray
Preheat oven to 400. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leek and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add wine and cook an additional minute. Set aside.
Arrange potatoes in overlapping circles covering the bottom of the dish. Spread leek mixture on top of potatoes. Arrange vegetables on leek mixture in slightly overlapping circles, alternating zucchini and tomatoes.
Top with 1 tablespoon oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Bake 30 minutes then arrange olives on top. Bake an additional 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

Use whatever veggies you have or that are in season-eggplant, yellow squash, onions, etc. This is what I found at the farmer's market today.

A layer of potatoes makes the "crust". You can also use a pastry crust for a more decadent dish and add layers of nutritional yeast or vegan cheese.

A sweet tian or trifle would be a great dessert to go with this. Use layers of cake, vegan pudding, fruit, soyatoo whip cream and shaved chocolate on top!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bread, sweet terrine, potatoes...

The Urban Vegan's recipe testing is coming to an end. It has been a great culinary experience. She has wonderful and exciting recipes in her upcoming book, The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal-Free Recipes. Here are some more of her recipe tests....

Potato-Beet Salad
Tuscan Braised Beans

Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Rosemary-Olive Bread

Sweet French Terrine

Monday, February 2, 2009

Game Day the Vegan Way

I am not a football fan but I tried to get into the spirit for the Superbowl. We had the Avocado and Pinto Bean Enchiladas from Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, onion dip (a veganized version of Alton Brown's recipe from his Good Eats show), the Urban Vegan's guacamole (test recipe) and a veganized version of Alton Brown's hot spinach artichoke and dip.

The enchiladas had a great flavor but they broke up a lot when I served them (so no picture of an individual enchilada).

Hot spinach and artichoke dip on left and onion dip on right. I love the onion dip. It is really flavorful and easy to make. I don't really like the artichoke dip. I used the Vegan Grated Topping by Galaxy Nutritional Foods to replace the parmesan in the recipe but it was too strong of a flavor for the recipe. The recipe needs to be adjusted a bit-maybe omit the vegan parmesan, increase the amount of spinach??? Here are both of the veganized dip recipes:

Onion Dip
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 -2 cups diced onions
1/4 teaspoon salt (to add to onions)
1 1/2 cups vegan sour cream (I prefer Tofutti brand)
3/4 cup Vegenaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional for extra onion flavor)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (additional salt for the dip)

In a pan over medium heat add oil, heat and add onions and salt. Cook the onions until they are caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Mix the rest of the ingredients, and then add the cooled onions. Refrigerate for a few hours, preferably overnight, before serving. It tastes better once the dip has a chance to absorb more of the onion flavor.
Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
11/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts
6 ounces Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 cup Tofutti vegan sour cream
1/4 cup Vegenaise
1/3 cup grated vegan parmesan (optional)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Warm Tofutti cream cheese in microwave for about 30 seconds to soften and warm. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot.