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You know what? I like when muffins sink in the middle. It kinda makes you want to lean your head in right up to the pan and wonder… is it berry? Is it chocolate? Some other wondrous dark goo from the deep of the muffin? Okay, in this case I’ll fess that it’s blueberry, and I think you can even see the lavender flowers under it’s chewy crust. I totally bombed making these muffins correctly; they had sunken middles, gooey middles, “over-done” edges, and the aforementioned mysterious depths – BUT I called them blondies and just let the yummy work itself out. Actually these are fantastic, my baking skills notwithstanding. (lemon blueberry lavender muffins from Extraveganza, for the record)

I’ve also been greatly enjoying an open can of coconut milk. Why didn’t anyone tell me coconut milk was made of bliss? Man… it made teaching my little brother how to make tofu very very easy. And honestly, I think he may be better at it than I am! Those tofus in that thai coconut curry are succulent tofus – properly breaded and evenly browned. And I know that I’m not alone in considering the ability to make bean curd taste awesome is a necessary life skill to anyone, vegan or otherwise. I kinda felt like I had the ‘good sister’ hat firmly on.

Sorry I have to interrupt with an entry into the Liz Holding Food gallery.

MUFFIN VISION! SEE THROUGH!

I am horribly amused. :)

Entry number #2 in the gallery: Vietnamese spring rolls, which I’ve decided to live off of from now on.

Mostly because I can’t imagine anything that sits better in my stomach. I haven’t figured out why a handful of lettuce and noodles is so gosh darned filling, but there you go. It also could be that they’re a thinly veiled excuse to eat loads of peanut sauce, which might be indeed why they are so filling. But seriously… favourite food ever? Rolls are close.

Reality though? This is what I eat every day. Practically these days. Hummus and salad, basically. And can you even believe I’d never made tabouli before, ever? I’m a VEGAN, I’m not sure how that’s at all possible, but I managed to make it taste right, or better than right, because I put raisins and toasted walnuts on top and bulgur > couscous in my mind.

All right. I am obviously scattered today! I could blame the light food! I could blame Valentine’s day! I might be in love. But that’s another story! :D

I have to mention this specially. I can’t not mention it. It’s a service to tongues everywhere to spread the word that Jamaican Stew is where it’s at!! I didn’t really plan it but it came together so magically, and I’m really happy at how my first “giant pot of something that should ideally feed me through the week” turned out. I even did up the last handful of my jasmine rice in celebration.

Incidentally I’m running out of pantry supplies like there’s no tomorrow and I’m only replacing the basics because I want to buy paintbrushes and hang out with a certain valentine. And that’s okay! I’m still cooking, it’s just adding a different spin on it.

Anyway, seriously seriously make this, it is really comforting yet sprightly (and delicious!)

Pseudo-Jamaican Stew

1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 turnip (baseball-sized), peeled and diced
1 large carrot, sliced
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 bell pepper, diced (I used yellow)
2 whole red dried chiles (or fresh scotch bonnet if you have it!)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp ground allspice
loads of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 – 1 tsp salt (check and add more if needed)
2 cups water (or broth)
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 16 oz. can red kidney beans
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
a few generous shots of tabasco

jasmine rice (for under!)
green onions (for over!)

1. Soften the onion and garlic in a large pot over medium heat (with the oil of course), until they’re translucent and aromatic.
2. Add the turnip, carrot and cauliflower and cook until things look slightly tanned.
3. Add the bell pepper, all the spices, and cook another minute.
4. Add the water and canned things. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer, partially covered for at least half an hour, or until the turnip basically is cooked through and the liquid looks broth-like.
5. Stir in the vinegar, tabasco. Check for salt and pepper. Serve over rice with lots of finely chopped green onion on top.

(I’ll be licking the tupperware when that moment comes!)

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