Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World...

is a great cookbook with all cupcakes in it by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
All vegan cupcakes. 75 of them.
All vegan cupcakes that are fan-fribbin-tastic. Honestly.

And the book is cute and little like a cupcake.

I got mine at Pages on Queen West in Toronto. Both they and Type on West Queen West are really good about ordering things in for you if they are out of stock. I am sure any bookstore could get it in for you -- it's pretty popular.

Make a cow happy today and try veganizing that shmiz. Your heart will thank you, too.
So will your pee-pee arteries which are in charge of you-know-what if you are a boy.


Using the canvas bag less often these days -- I forget to bring it with me. I think, "well, we need plastic bags for the garbage anyway". Leaving lights on when I can't be bothered to haul the baby upstairs to turn them off when I get to the bottom and realize I left them on. Not being so religious about only buying organic, etc, etc, etc.

Smog days seem to have gone away for the winter. Did they serve some purpose for me? Fire me on the way the slaughterhouse a block away from my building fires me on in regards to letting people know about veganism and its many benefits for the body, the animals and the earth?

Is it the glorious fall colours? The fresh air? Do these things make me feel, in a way, that the Earth doesn't need my help? The farmer's market is bursting with bumper crops of squash, potatoes, bright orange carrots, deep green kale -- everyone there seems so at peace. The world I have built for myself is beautiful and misleading in that it is in no way a realistic barometer for the state of things for the planet. My work for the environment has been largely lifestyle oriented, local -- do I get more educated about the perils of fall and winter that I don't know about because the air smells so nifty? Do I focus on larger scale or international issues? The factories are still going -- where is all that smoggy stuff going now, anyway?

A real sigh happened here.

Maybe the darker weather wants lighter talk.
Darker weather can't always get what it wants.
But if it tries sometimes it just might find it gets what it needs.

Friday, October 5, 2007

when will it end?

Yet another smog day in Toronto today.

Not running the dishwasher, laundry machines, lights, etc. in the hopes of making some tiny dent in the ridiculousness.

Just saw a news report last night about a proposed garbage incinerator that will be built up in York region (just South of the 401 in the GTA.) How can they even be considering that as a solution? I hope the movement against it puts a stop to its contruction.

On a happier note, I am gearing up for our vegan Thanksgiving. Pumpkin Seed Crusted Tofu with Cranberry Relish (I don't know why I think I need to put that in capitals) and two pies -- Pumpkin (of course) and Apple Pie with Gingerbread Crust (from Vegan With a Venegance by Isa Moskowitz). Naturally, there will also be in attendance seven million kinds of potatoes and at least one green thing. Likely brussels sprouts. Those don't get capitalized.

I like to spend Thanksgiving out smelling leaves beginning to rot on the ground. Ah, leaf rot.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my family and friends, of course, but also I am thankful that this year has seen a big boost in "green-ness", it seems -- when Live Earth happened, I was a little "what's this really going to do -- it's just a concert", but it really seems that it made an impact on the lifestyle element of the issue for people. Now we just need more activity on the large scale activist side of things. Definitely we switch to greener ways of being in our homes, businesses and in the streets, but what takes it even farther is making sure to participate in green themed marches, to write letters to local politicians and businesses about policy, to initiate and participate in boycotts of non Earth-friendly companies. The smoggy sky is the limit. It's true that it takes only a small effort to make some difference -- that tagline has been tossed around alot these days -- but why only make a small effort? This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the increased awareness I was brought to this year in regards to this issue, and I am pledging now to make the next year about going much farther in doing my part to protect the health of the planet and of all the beings who live on it.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, y'all!


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

holy shit perfect vegan scones

just do this.

this is an adaption of the scone recipe from Vegan with a Venegance by Isa Moskowitz. It's an AMAZING cookbook, but the recipe called for soy cream, which I can't find, and I wanted to play with the flour types to make it whole grain, yet still sconey. I adapted the recipe, then ate four before posting this.

set your over to 400, lightly grease up a cookie sheet wth sunflower oil

mix together

1.5 cups of hard whole wheat flour
1.5 cups of soft whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
just under 1/2 a cup (but more than 1/3 of a cup) of white or raw cane sugar -- not that moist brown sugar stuff

then add
1/3 of a cup of sunflower oil
1/2 a cup of coconut milk
3/4 of a cup of plain Natura rice milk that you have added 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to

mix it all up very gently, even a little dusting of unmixed flour on the batter is ok -- just don't overmix (but do try to get all the flour attached to the dough more or less.)

make about 16 scones out of it, each measuring about 1/4 cup when you take them out of the bowl (they are cute little scones.)

shape them into triangles -- you don't have to, but it looks cute.

sprinkle sugar on top

bake for about 20 minutes -- keep an eye on them after 15, but 20 is ideal if they are not burning (at least that's how it goes in my stove.)

take them out and eat them alone or with jam, etc.

I know that I am really specific about what kind of milk to use -- that's because I tried a bunch of stuff and this worked best -- you can try to substitute soy milk or whatever, but I make no guarantees about the results. This recipe is worth persisting with if it doesn't go exactly right the first time. They are so MF good.
I've eaten alot of shity scones this week to get here. :)

Feel free to add almonds or chocolate chips or whatever. I don't think that should change the recipe too much -- stick to very lightly folding in 1 cup of whatever you are adding once the batter is almost mixed together.

p.s. the flour mix is pretty particular -- all soft flour was too muffiny, all hard flour was too biscuity. soft and hard ww flours are available at many bulk health food stores -- Appletree on Queen W in Toronto, Whole Foods probably has it -- it's worth looking for them for the masterful control they give you over the universe.

happy baking. hope it works out for you!

UPDATE: So, soymilk works well, too, now that I know what the vinegar's about -- the trick is (Isa's trick, it took me a while to clue in) to mix the apple cider vinegar in and let it sit while you prepare the rest -- it will curdle and thicken, which is good for the end product -- trust me. This won't work as well with the rice milk because of the low protien content of the rice milk. Anyway, try it both ways. They'll both be great!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Really Easy Veggie Burgers

OK. So, I said I would post recipes here and then went AWOL for a month.
That's because I have been really busy.
When I am really busy I make these...

This recipe is adapted from one I found on vegweb.com (great vegan recipe database) -- I believe that on that site they are called "Quality Tofu Burgers" -- I will update this with an actual name credit (it will be some weird username like carrotface, though...)
I just added some spices to that recipe to make them more flavoury.
Skip the spices if you want, or add your own little twist instead.
These burgers won't win any Cordon Bleu innovation awards, but they are really good for those nights when you are in a hurry and you want something yummy and substantial/comfort food-y.) Like instead of McDonalds. Try them with baked fries and a ginger beer.


Veggie Burgers (or Nuggets!)

preheat oven to 400 degrees
lightly oil a cookie sheet

1/2 block firm tofu
1 cup oats (the chopped up kind -- you know -- quick oats)
1/2 cup of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds -- grind those up in a food processor or a blender would do as well.
1/4 cup of tamari -- try to use organic, cuz then it's non GMO - san ji makes good shit
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of oregano (opt.)
small pinch of thyme (opt.)
pinch of rosemary (opt.)

Wash your hands.
Get a bigish bowl.
Mush up the tofu with your hands until it is pretty uniformly mushed up.
Add the ground up seeds and the oats to the bowl, as well as the tamari and the spices.
Mush it all up with your hands until the oats have absorbed the moisture and begin to bind it all together.
Make 4 patties or about 16 nuggets.
Place on a lightly oiled up cookie sheet.
Bake @ 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes -- keep an eye on them after about 15 min to make sure they are not burning -- then turn on the broiler for a few more minutes, just to get them extra-tasty-crispy.
Remove from oven, and let cool for a few -- they firm up better that way.
Take them off the cookie sheet with a flipper. They should be holding together, but don't lose it if they don't -- life's too short. Try letting them cool a little longer -- that often works.
Make a burger, or, if you made nuggets, dip those bad boys in some sauce you made.

Yves Veggie Burgers can kiss our asses. They are made from GMO soy and Yves was just bought out by one of those huge American thingamajiggers, so who knows what evils lurk behind their cozy tofu exterior. DIY.

Let me know in the comments section if you have any questions or, um...comments.