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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cookin’ My Ass Off and Lovin’ It!!



It seems like we just did this little blog yesterday and HERE WE ARE a WEEK LATER!! At the risk of sounding like Anastasia Steele, “Holy Crap!” I have had such a FUN week in terms of cookin’ ! So here you go! I don’t have much of an ass (although I've been told I can BE one) but what I do have is gone…cooked completely OFF!!

Y’all know I’m a Yoga devotee, having re-engaged a practice that stagnated for a few years. This past Saturday, July 26, the high-end yoga clothing Lululemon folks held a trunk show at JoyFlow Yoga in Ridgeland. I offered to make sone snacky stuffs and wound up making several dozen vegan cookies of varying type as well as a big bowl of ‘Jerk Roasted Chickpeas’.  The supreme compliment came when one person took one of the ‘Little Kiki’s’ (crème filled oatmeal cookies) to someone who swore, “this cannot be vegan”. Made my day! Barely had time to set all the goodies up before Ana (one of the instructors) took us through a blistering flow series for about 75-90 minutes. There was not a dry molecule on any of us…loved it, felt strong (tired strong) and happy to be able to do it, well, MOST of it.
Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies from Chloe Coscarelli

'Little Kiki's'

Yoga Cookies from Chloe Coscarelli

Jerk Roasted Chickpeas

Next up, putting on my thinking/plotting cap to take vegan food to a weekend festival in north MS (Water Valley to be exact; Big Solid’s home town). We both knew that the likelihood of finding vegan fare was pretty remote. So, the leap from ‘what can I fix for myself’ to ‘what can I fix for EVERYBODY’ wasn’t much of a stretch. Our host called to ask what he should buy and what was available which was too sweet of him. I gave him some suggestions when he INSISTED that he find something (e.g., almond milk, some veggie salads) but also told him that it would be my pleasure to bring some things that we could all sample. The compromise was reached.

With a new purpose, the cooking began. Y’all know I rely HEAVILY on Chef Skye Michael  for many of the plant-based meat replacements. Since this is the south, sausages rule so that was an easy decision.  Spent the day on Monday preparing a double recipe of The Gentle Chef’s Andouille and Italian sausages.  Made with Vital Wheat Gluten as the base, these sausages are awesome. I KNOW they are not the real thing but damn, they are fine. So, now we have an abundance of sausages for folks to sample (or to bring home and freeze if noses are turned up).  (http://thegentlechef.com/)


    
Freshly Steamed Andouille Sausages from The Gentle Chef

Freshly steamed Italian Sausages from The Gentle Chef



Yesterday (Wednesday 7/29) was spent baking bread to take. Two loaves of pumpernickel and one loaf of the Sandwich loaf found on another favorite site, Vegan Richa.  Actually, we’ve already sampled the sandwich bread, so it will more than likely be mostly gone by the time we pack the car on Thursday. Guess we’ll leave enough for the house-sitter to have while she’s here.

I also made two batches of cookie dough to keep in the ‘frig all night and bake today as I have a bunch of other stuff to do today.  Made the ‘Little Kiki’s’ dough/crème filling and the Espresso Chocolate Chip dough.

Popped out of bed early this morning with baking COOKIES on my mind!! Fixed breakfast for the girls (not an uneventful process), then for Big Solid (breakfast sausage, egg whites and toast) and me (chopped tomatoes, toast and jalapeno/cilantro hummus).  Following that, the ovens were pre-heated and the doughs removed from the outside ‘frig. Baked the Little Kiki’s first without a hitch. BUT, when I pulled the Espresso Chocolate Chip dough out, it had frozen (stupid outside refrigerator)…so I am letting it soften/defrost. Turned off the ovens, covered the dough and will get busy with other things.

We ordered three pounds of Whole Foods TO DIE FOR “Chicken Fried Tofu” to take for folks to sample…we figure if it’s fried, they’ll eat it without question. That will be picked up at 2:30 today.

The Espresso Chocolate Chip cookie dough has softened enough to bake and now we have a few dozen sinfully delicious cookies to add to the WV Vegan extravaganza.  We will most definitely take pictures and share the results with y’all next week.
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THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF SPIDEY-NURSE

Spidey-Nurse herownself
Day 15...all's well and good, except the day I decided it was better to go along and get along than to stick to my (harm-none) guns. Having "Linner" at a large California chain seemed a safe bet, until they came back, minutes before bringing our food and said, "You just don't want the Mexican cheese on top, right? Cause the Jack is already mixed in and we can't serve it without the cream sauce." What?? But not wanting to make a scene at the restaurant that just accommodated us and our two dogs in their outdoor seating or tick off my omnivorous (and starving husband), I said, "sure, don't worry about it." Cramps all night...but "cheese is good for you" right??

SO! Other than my poor choices one day, the 15 day trek has been relatively smooth despite crazy work schedules. I must admit I did invest in a week of vegan food delivery service (www.veginout.com) to make sure I had no reason to stray, but honestly, I still have half of it in the fridge. It is awesome, I highly recommend it especially if you are busy, single and can afford it ($160/week outside LA).
Right now, the recipe is...
  • Breakfast: My workday breakfast is unsweetened (store-bought) raw juice/smoothie, almond milk and RAW protein. On the weekend, I played around with vegan sausage sandwiches. I was worried about our favorite breakfast place (where we go EVERY Sunday) but turns out they have a BLT with avocado on wheat that is simply awesome with the bacon in a To-Go box for my furry children!
  • Lunch: Been packing up a green salad with the vegan soups sent from VeginOut (usually pretty bean-protein heavy) and I'm set for the day with an apple for a snack.
  • Dinner: This is always a wide spectrum of options in our house and my most trying time. If we eat in, there are veggies, beans and faux-chicken to keep the munchies away, but eating out with a drink or two...sigh, the challenge remains and carbs prevail.
My "yes!" moment of the week was tonight. I played golf with some friends after work and then there was a party at one of the girl's houses. "You don't need to bring anything" was ringing in my ears as I pulled off into a supermarket parking lot to ensure I didn't arrive at the party empty handed. This ended up being a moment of sheer brilliance as there was NOT ONE VEGAN ITEM ON THE TABLE until the salad came out later. My hummus and pita chips were a big hit (the first thing empty) and it and a big green salad were more than enough to let me blend in, but stay true to who I want to be.

I don't have any great wisdom to share with anyone this week except Stay True to Yourself and Cheese is Evil.  AHIMSA
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An additional site that needs to be mentioned this week as excellent resources for vegan recipes and information. There are some great recipes and ideas from this site...check IT OUT:

The Minimalist Baker  http://minimalistbaker.com/

And there we have yet another fun-filled week of cooking and stuffs like that. I am sure that after this weekend of food frenzies in Water Valley, I will find my ass has returned.  Until next week, when you have a chance to be kind or do something kind, take it because you won't get that one again and there's just no tellin' what an impact you may make.



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