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Monday, March 28, 2016

Never Look a Gift Elf in the Mouth

Hey There Elfinistas!! Here’s hoping you had a lovely Easter weekend and celebrated this renewal time of year with friends, family and good times. We had all the intention in the world of kicking back on a rainy Easter Sunday with the Kindle and catching up on some reading. BUT…when your Elf gets something stuck in her head, it’s all over but the doin’. So, we decided to make our weekly double batch of The Gentle Chef’s Chikun (we’d made some sausage the day before). AND THEN, we had cookie makin’ in our head. So, we commenced on that activity around 9 a.m. Toasted up some coconut, then some pecans and wound up making 3 double batches of our E.P.I.C. cookies. We know we could get by with just regular coconut and pecan pieces but, dagnabbit, the toasting just brings out so many flavors! While Annie and Elf-red watched out the window, our dining room was turned into a cookie cooling place; we delivered the cookies just a bit ago!

Our FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe of the week was another WINNER!! We have really been on a roll lately! We prepared Susan’s Mushroom Barley Soup with Cannellini Beans and Cabbage.
It was easy, it was fun to make and it was delicious. Just hit the supper spot when paired with a vegan pimento cheese ‘sammich’.
After we put our Pearled Barley on to cook, we sautéed up some onion

Then we added the garlic and sliced portabellas until they softened a bit. We salted this lightly and added the thyme and sherry, which always adds such a nice flavor.

Next up was putting all the ingredients together to let the soup become, well, soup. The shredded cabbage went in the pot with the barley and then added the mushroom mixture. A brief word about the smoked paprika; we love various flavors of paprika but our FAVE two are pictured below. We go through at least 2 tins of the Bittersweet a month and keep the hot and sweet on hand as well. It’s not cheap, but when it comes to adding great flavor, it’s worth every penny.

We used canned beans that we’d rinsed thoroughly to remove as much sodium as possible and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
By then, it was quite nicely done and ready to serve up.

This is a nice lighter soup that pairs with a sandwich or salad and is light on the calories as well. Thanks Susan!!
Our FFVK recipe for this week is another soup…Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato. It looks yummy; we are HUGE curry fans, so this will be delightful and we look forward to making and EATING it!
One of the things we are thinking about doing soon it looking back on all the recipes we’ve tried from Susan Voisin’s FatFree Vegan Kitchen and picking our top 10! Maybe in a couple of weeks…that will be fun and we may just have to MAKE a few again to test out their delectableness.
A word or two about the vegetable broth we used. We are HUGE fans of Chef Skye Michael Conroy’s Instant Chikun Bouillon Powder from his cookbook, Seitan and Beyond. It’s a dry mix that keeps forever and is so handy for any kind of broth base you might want. We know it SAYS Chikun, but heck, we use it all the time. In fact, we use it so much, we make fourple recipe so we always have some on hand.
THEN, we have FINALLY discovered a vegan cheese that offers a decent opportunity for a pimento cheese sandwich. While we’ve not been huge fans of Daiya cheese in the past, there is a new mild cheddar in block form that really makes a very nice pimento cheese.

This past Saturday night, we went to a ‘new’ place for dinner. We say new but it isn’t really; it’s been around for a few years, just not a place we frequent. So, Saturday, decided we were in the mood for a new venue, Local 463. We almost always eat in the bar area which is typically not crowded until we are long gone—we eat early (and often). Big Solid got their signature fried chicken, which he loved. The Elf got one of their flatbreads (without the cheese) and a house salad. We ate the flatbread damn near in one bite it was so good, so there is no picture of that BUT, this salad was so GOOD!! The Elf LOVES a chopped salad and this one was awesome!
Plus, we took some of our ‘chikun shreds’ that we’d sautéed up prior to leaving home to put on top. We couldn’t eat it all, so brought about half home with us to keep. Well, about 10 p.m., The Elf had a hunger thrown on her, so that salad was history along with a nice glass of pinot grigio. The Elf had a good sleep!

One of the web sites/resources that The Elf HIGHLY recommends is One Green Planet. 
We subscribe to their daily news letter and find not only great vegan recipes but also some wonderful stories (and also some pretty sad ones) about animals, the environment, health issues, and other issues that reflect a focus on clean, healthy living and social concerns. We have found web sites and blogs that we may never have noticed or located without that One Green Planet gateway.
And finally, we leave you with this most recent Mail Order Annie ‘reveal’. She and Elf-red have teamed up for their Easter paradery finest. We found this AWESOMEST hat for Annie at Goodwill for FIVE DOLLARS!! She’s waited for nearly a YEAR to wear it!!
Elf-red was so excited to wear the bunny ears as well. He loves to accompany Annie in the window!

So, y’all, we wish you a wonderful week ahead. We will be Zippity-Doo-Dahin’ with the fabulous Jill Conner Browne and the Sweet Potato Queens.
We’ll be sure to have some cool pictures to share next blog (we HOPE it will be Sunday, but the Elf MAY need a recovery day). Til then, y’all breathe deep, eat plants, laugh a lot, be kind and DO EPIC!
Your Elf


  1. Janne,
    Your blog is a delight. I've been cooking Susan's recipes for many years now, but you seem to focus on ones that somehow I had missed. I credit Susan with my husband's exemplary cholesterol scores and refer her to anyone who will listen. To read about your culinary adventures is like finding a kindred spirit.
    I look forward to seeing your Top 10. I'm thinking it will be hard to limit a list to 10.


  2. Molly, you have NO idea how thrilled we were to see your comment and to find, yes, a kindred spirit! So happy to see your husband's levels come down on a plant-based, fat limited eating regimen as well. We are looking forward to the top 10 as well...just think of all the good food we'll get to re-eat! Keep on reading, we love our supporters! TE!