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Sunday, September 11, 2016

To Thine Own Elf Be True

WHOA! Do we have some stuffs to catch up on!! LOTS to share and some fun things as well. So, come on in…This will be a blog of Elf-ic proportions!
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First, we were finally able to make our FFVK (FatFree Vegan Kitchen) recipe when we returned from a wonderful visit in North Carolina. We selected the Fettuccine No-Fredo with Broccoli and Sautéed Mushrooms.
Knowin’ how Big Solid is not a big pasta eater (more about the later), we decided to offset the additional pasta calories by using zucchini noodles as an option.

So we had some fettuccine prepared as well as some zucchini noodles.
We used the suggested hand-held blender to cream the cauliflower mixture into the ‘no-fredo’ sauce. Aside from having a substantial portion of the sauce on The Elf’s shirt, it worked fine.
And, being HUGE fans of portabello mushrooms, we doubled the amount of sliced caps.
The end result received mixed reviews but it’s a recipe we will try again.
We were behind in our kinky elfery cookin’ so didn’t TAKE the time to taste/season the ’no-fredo’, so the next time,we will kick it up en elf or two. As for the week ahead, we know not what we will select yet.
As for Big Solid's issue with pasta, his main concern is the calorie density of pasta. So, we are working on ways to offer pasta dishes with vegetable pastas such as spaghetti squash and spiralized noodles. BUT, you still have to have the real thing from time to time! 
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As we left you a couple of Sundays ago, we promised to share our Four Veganamigo fare, and what fun we had! Misty got us started off with some spectacular Jalapeño Poppers that were not only pretty fiery but also delicious.

It seems the plate was empty within 15 minutes of her arrival. Note the nearly empty plate below with Misty (left) and Gigi, hostess with the mostess (right).
Gigi prepared a Penné Pasta Alfredo (which of course was the impetus for the FFVK meal this week) and it was yummy.
Leslie did up a fantastic salad with an avocado dressing that was to die for (and not from)
and your Elf brought Red Beans and Rice with Vegan Andouille Sausage.
Here's the whole spread! And man, was it GOOD!!
For dessert, we had the E.P.I.C. Gluten Free Elfin Decadence with non-dairy ice cream and date caramel sauce which we made into Sundaes or Cookie and Cream 'Sammiches'. Remember E.P.I.C. stands for Eating Plant-based Is Cool.
And no Gathering is complete without a group photo or two!! First, with Gigi, Kevin (Gigi's hubs), Leslie and Misty.
And then, the VEGANAMIGOS themselves! Lest to right, Leslie, Misty, The Elf and Gigi.

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Your Elf left Mississippi on Thursday, September 1 headed for Raleigh, NC to visit her brother, Jud, and his sweetheart, Suzanne. The primary purpose of the visit was to attend a long-running (since 1995) progressive rock music festival called ProgDay. It had been several years since we’d been…like maybe 10 but who’s counting. Anywho, one of the bands appearing is a band we particularly love, Discipline from Michigan (Grand Rapids, we think). When we found out they were making a return visit to ProgDay after an absence of several years, we had to go. Of course, who should pop up that week but HERMINE!! Thankfully, our flights were ahead of her; Friday was a complete washout with predictions of 5+” of rain and tropical storm force winds. And, of course, this is an outdoor festival. As it turned out, the rain/wind moved out early and Saturday (the first day of the festival) dawned to cloudy skies and cool temps. The pending decision to move to an indoor back up venue was tossed and the show went on!!
But, we digress. Thursday after being picked at the airport, we, meaning ALL THREE OF US, got treated to ‘fairy hair’…little teeny ribbons of various colors that are all sparkly. 

Following that adventure, we were starving so headed to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant Jud and Suzanne found called The Fiction Kitchen.

It was late, the restaurant was very busy and lots of talking going on, so we decided on take-out. Well, The Elf is here to tell you that this food is AWESOME!! AND, almost all items can be made vegan as well as gluten free. We were in VEGAN eating heaven and it was hard to decide WHAT to get. We finally decided on the Cornmeal-Fried Local Mushrooms,
the Butterhead Lettuce Wraps,
and the Tinga Tacos.
So, take it from The Elf, if you are in the Raleigh NC area and want a great vegan or vegetarian meal, or hell, just a great meal in general, BY ALL MEANS, try THE FICTION KITCHEN!!
or go to their Facebook page

And, we were able to stop at a local grocery store the next day for a wonderful salad to offset the totally non-vegan food opportunities at ProgDay! 
We leave this topic with a few shots of the festivities that exemplify ProgDay…music that is not everyone’s taste, even less so women. But, here you go. The three folks and an Elf. Left to right, Jud, Suzanne, TE and Dave. Dave has been Jud’s BFF for years and we have had many a fun time at music festivals.

TE with the founder of ProgDay, Peter Renfro
and TE with the brilliant musician and front man for Discipline, Matthew Parameter (and, yes, he is in mime stuffs). 
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OK—thanks for allowing your Elf to share…now on to more food stuffs. We have a couple of new cookbooks and spent the last couple of days preparing a grocery list of things to purchase so we could make some of these wonderful recipes come to life. Unfortunately, it TOOK THREE HOURS to go to FOUR GROCERY STORES in order to find all these ingredients BUT WHAT THE HEY…it’s vegan stuffs, so it’s got to be Elf worthy. Yesterday we prepared two recipes from Isa Does It

and, OH MAN, we hit the mouthgasm jackpot. First was a Kale and Butternut Squash Salad with Lentils. Oh Lord…it’s a bit labor intensive but so good. We short-cutted a bit by purchasing the Butternut Squash already diced because those things can be a b*tch to cut up. It also takes a bit of time to wash and remove the kale from the thick ole stems, then tear into bite sized pieces. Here’s where we took a bit of a deviation…the salad calls for raw kale, which the caveat of really ‘massaging’ the raw kale quite a bit to soften it up. Well, we did that BUT, it still didn’t seem relaxed enough. So, we steamed it about a minute before building the rest of the salad and that did the relaxin’ trick. The end product was simply delicious with a dressing that is outstanding!
Next up was a Wild Rice Soup with sautéed Seitan slices. Fortunately, we had homemade seitan available in the freezer, so didn’t have to make any (however, NOW, we do). We got our ‘mis en place’ with all the ingredients and vegetables sliced. It didn’t take long to put the soup together after that.

The end result, paired with the Kale/Butternut Squash/Lentil Salad was nothing short of wonderful. AND, we have plenty to sustain us for a few more days!!
And we can’t wait to try more recipes now from this awesome book!!

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And so, another week (well, two actually) is in the bloggery archives and we are already looking forward to another week of preparing delicious vegan meals. Some old favorites, a FatFree Vegan Kitchen selection and some new stuffs as well. Until then, you know the drill…
Live every day with joy, love a lot, laugh out loud, make someone smile, eat plants and not animals, be kind and DO EPIC.

Your Elf remembers this day in 2001, seared forever in our memory, our soul and our heart. NEVER FORGET.

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