Friday, September 30, 2011

Birthday Cake in a Jar

Two of my favorite co-workers share their birthdays, and I wanted to make them this insanely cute cake in a jar. Much to my dismay, the coloring didn't quite turn out like I'd planned. The flavor was fantastic, and the centers of the cake were wonderfully colorful, but the outsides weren't too cute. See?

Delicious? Yes. Cute enough to gift to two friends? Absolutely not.

I tried again, going to painstaking lengths to ensure beautiful and even layering... and yielded similar results. So I gave up, make a double batch of vanilla cupcake batter from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, added some sprinkles and dyed buttercream frosting, and called it a day. The cake turned out decent enough to give them away, but I'm hellbent on getting that rainbow cake right... Any suggestions, fellow bakers?

I had enough leftover to pack a tiny one for my lunch, too!

Now it's time to get ready for the weekend, hooray! I'm going to Gettysburg to visit a friend from high school. On the way to work this morning, it occurred to me that Julie and I have been friends for about 10 years now, which just seems crazy to me. I'm looking forward to seeing her, and we've got plans for pumpkin penne and an apple festival!

What are your plans for the weekend? Headed out anywhere? Hanging around the house? Whatever you do, I hope your weekend is fun and safe!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beanloaf Muffins with Kale & Carrots

Beanloaf Muffins from Peas and Thank You, Balsamic Glazed Kale and Carrots from 1000 Vegan Recipes, and a baked potato. The muffin recipe says it yields 4 muffins; I made five, but probably could have made it into six smaller muffins. Pretty quick and easy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vegan MoFo!

Vegan MoFo kicks off this Saturday, October 1, and I'm thrilled to have Charm City Vegan participating. For those who are unfamiliar, Vegan MoFo is basically a month dedicated to talking about all things vegan food, for an entire month. And while that's generally the gist of things here at CCV, I want reader input! So I need your help, because 31 days of posts is a lot. I love to talk, especially about food, but that's a challenge even for me.

This is where you come in! Let me know if there's a post you particularly enjoyed, if you'd like to see a specific recipe, or maybe a kind of food, like gluten-free breakfast options. Do you want product reviews? Are you looking for places to eat in and around Baltimore? I want to hear from you! I've got some ideas kicking around (namely Halloween, because it's my favorite), but not nearly enough for 31 days worth. So help a girl out and let me know what you'd like to see!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

DC VegFest 2011

Yesterday was the annual DC VegFest at George Washington University. It was my first time going, and I was so excited. The anticipation made it feel like Vegan Christmas. Omni Mom and I had a mishap with the metro (read: don't ever let me read a metro map) so we missed the cupcake eating contest, but once we got there, I had a blast! And Omni Mom was the best sport about everything, she's the greatest!

Our first stop was at the Sticky Fingers booth. I got a Daiya Cheese/Tofurkey stromboli and a strawberry cupcake. Omni Mom got a peanut butter cupcake. Everything, obviously, was delicious. I didn't get to snap a picture of my cupcake because I brought it home, but it didn't survive the journey home intact.

Then we wandered around for a little bit. I met a carrot, who later gave us some vegan dog food samples.

And then I spotted an Indian food booth. JACKPOT. I got everything, except the naan.

Chana Masala with rice, samosas, pakoras (onion fritters).
It was then time for Isa Chandra Moskowitz's food demo. She was as funny and charming as her food is delicious. She made gumbo with okra and pumpkin cheesecake. There weren't enough samples of each, but you can bet I made damn sure to get a sample of each. Both were really yummy! A recipe for the gumbo can be found here, and the pumpkin cheesecake recipe will be available in the Vegan Pie in the Sky cookbook! She also passed out a preview with two or three recipes of that book. After the demo, she did a book signing! It felt like meeting a celebrity, and in my mind, she kind of is. She was my lifeline in my early vegan days, so it was great to tell her how much she's influenced my life.

I wrapped up my time there with a plate of vegan nachos from Bread and Brew. I really just wanted the damn frisbee for Dakota, but if I had to buy a plate of nachos to go with it, okay. We made a final stop at Sticky Fingers for cupcakes to bring home, and then made our merry way home!

I bought some of these goodies along the way. I may or may not have already eaten all of the jerky...

Primal Strips Vegan Jerky.
Hickory Smoked and Thai Peanut. I also had Texas BBQ.
The hickory smocked and BBQ were my favorites.
Pasta Valente - Tomato/Basil, Garlic/Parsley, Sweet Potato
V-Dog Food
The DC VegFest was truly awesome. My parents have always been wonderfully supportive, and the longer I am vegan, the more people around me seek out vegan foods for me at family events or the like. I am, without a doubt, so eternally grateful for their support, because there are still people who make snide remarks about the choices I make. Those comments would never sway me in my beliefs, but I shouldn't have to feel defensive about the choices I make, especially when I don't question your beliefs and choices. The support and inclusion I get from my family and friends is wonderful, and I don't think they'll ever understand the immense gratitude and relief I feel when I know I don't have to explain or defend myself over and over again. That being said, I don't think anyone truly understands why I make the choices I do. And while that's not the worst thing in the world, it was great to be with likeminded people who get that part of me. And who am I kidding? The plethora of yummy delicious vegan food that I neither cooked nor cleaned up was fan-freaking-tastic. It'll be a long year until the next festival, but I'm already looking forward to it!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Double Chocolate, Single Chin Brownies

My vegan readers will understand what I mean when I say finding a good vegan brownie is a damn miracle. Too often I've had terrible, dry, hard brownies that warranted a few choice words, especially on days when I just wanted a warm, chocolately, moist, soft brownie.

This recipe from Peas and Thank You isn't exactly the same as non-vegan brownies, but it satisfies my three requirements: soft, moist, chocolatey.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thai Quinoa

Things I love: cilantro. PINEAPPLE. Quinoa. Cashews. When I found this recipe, I knew I had to make it. I think I incorrectly measured the coconut milk or something, because the quinoa was a bit moist, more than I thought it should be. Other than that, this was delicious and quick and easy. Y'all know I like quick and easy. ;]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tempeh Helper

Borderline brain dead, so this is all you get. Tempeh Helper from Appetite for Reduction. A pretty good homage to a meal from my childhood!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Are You Ready for Some Football?

The fact that this post is a week late should be an indication as to how my week went...

The regular season kicked off last Sunday, and I couldn't have been more thrilled! I love lazy football Sundays, and any chance to yell and scream like a maniac in a social setting is fine by me. Like this:

After the Reed interception.

My friend Janelle had a bunch of co-workers over to her adorable new house to watch the game. The company was great, but nothing compared to how amazing it felt to demolish the Steelers. Suck it, Pittsburgh! A week later, it feels just as great. 

"I can make this face." - Nathaniel

I made a batch of the vanilla agave cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Raise your hand if you're surprised. It was my first batch of the agave cupcakes, though, and they were amazing! A nice change of pace from the normal vanilla cupcakes. Getting the shade of purple icing proved impossible, hence the grayish color. I need to investigate my options. Suggestions?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pinwheels & Broccoli Salad

Today's lunch is brought to you by none other than Peas and Thank You. Raise your hand if you're surprised. I made a pinwheel wrap (a spinach, apple, fakin' bacon) with broccoli salad. They were both so. Amazing.

My only complaint is that the dressing for the broccoli salad was super runny. Maybe it was because I didn't use dried cherries, because I can't figure out why else it was so soupy. It was still yummy. 

I was able to find an online version of the pinwheel recipea, lucky you!

6 slices tempeh bacon (i.e., Lightlife Fakinʼ Bacon)
4 La Hacienda de Peas Tortillas (p. 102) or store-bought whole wheat variety
1⁄3 cup non-dairy (i.e., Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese) or organic cream cheese
1 thinly sliced organic apple, any variety
1 cup fresh organic spinach leaves
Cook bacon according to package directions. Lay out tortillas and spread each with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream cheese.
Layer 1 1⁄2 bacon slices, apple and spinach in each tortilla and roll tightly.
Cut into thirds and serve, securing with toothpicks, if necessary.
Nutrition Information per Serving
115 calories, 6 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein

Friday, September 9, 2011

This week. Ohh, this week. I'd be lying if I said I were sad to see this week pass. It rained all week. All. Damn. Week.

The pond at my job flooded.

This video was shot about five minutes from my job.

301 in PG County. This is about an hour from my house; I take this road to get to my daddy's house!

Getting out of bed when it's cold, dark, and raining took more will power than I thought I was capable of. Especially when a natural light show (read: lightening storm) kept you up most of the night. Until about 5PM this evening, I hadn't seen the sun in four days. I hadn't walked my dog in just as many days, and spent too much of my time bailing water out of my flooding basement. The lack of sun and excess of water and humidity put me in a weird funk. It put my students in a weird funk. It was just bad news bears.

Given my general state of grumpiness, I craved warm, yummy, comforting food. And who came to my rescue? Mama Pea! I made her chickpea and dumplings, and my tummy and heart felt so good! This dish has a savory, delicious flavor, and the dumplings were the bomb.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Day Wrap Up

Hello! I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend, and found yourselves doing nothing resembling laboring. I took full advantage of summer's final weekend (in my mind), and my last free weekend until December 21. Between Labor Day and now, I've attended one class and looked at the syllabus for the other (Labor Day postponed the first day of my Monday class). All I can say is this semester is going to be intense. But let's not spoil the mood by thinking of these boring and laborious tasks (har har).

Instead, let's revisit my relaxing and fun weekend. I had a family cookout on Saturday. Getting together at my aunt's house for grilling, pool time, and some volleyball is a pretty typical weekend activity, and Labor Day was no exception! Remember when I talked about my big, fat Jones family? Getting to see everyone is the #1 reason I love said cookouts.

I planned to make cake pops and veggie kabobs, because I love food on a stick. Putting together the veggie  kabobs was so easy, and the marinade was really yummy. And when it came time to grill them, my fabulous uncle put down foil to accommodate his vegan niece. Thanks, Uncle Jimmy!

The cake pops, however, did not turn out so well. The cake was quite moist, and the coating was too runny. The problem may have been that I didn't cool the cake long enough. I'm impatient, sue me. Or, the problem may have been that I dropped a sizable hunk of cake on the floor and had to chuck it. The problem may also have been the fact that I misread the amount of coconut oil required for the coating. 

Frosting... be mixed into the cake.

Looking moist and questionable.

I forged ahead with the cake pops, and then the coconut oil incident happened. After the second cake pop refused to cooperate, I gave up the idea of eating cake on a stick. 


So I ended up just drizzling on the coating and sprinkling them that way. People loved them, and I got lots of, "OMG, these are vegan?!" comments. I guess that's a good sign. But these are so darn cute, I refuse to accept defeat. Expect an attempt at redemption in the near future.

Dakota thoroughly enjoyed her weekend, too. She got to visit her favorite person, my dad. I like how he is the favorite, and yet I pay all her bills, walk her religiously, spoil her rotten, and pick up the poop. I brought her to the cookout, too, and she had the best time getting all the pets and rubs she could ever dream of. 

o hai mama!

I spent Sunday at the Pax River Naval Air Station where the Blue Angels performed. My camera died before they performed, so I was only able to capture some pictures of the other acts. Still, it was neat to see the different stunts and spend time with my family. And I was able to get some sun on my otherwise glow-in-the-dark white skin.

Baby brother!
He only wore sunglasses to protect his eyes from the glare off my skin.
You should probably grab a pair, too.

How did you spend your Labor Day? Any end-of-summer traditions for you? I want to hear about them! As much as I love summer, I'm looking forward to cooler weather, fall produce, and one of my favorite holidays: Halloween!