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Wooooaaahhh !!!  I just lucked out, it’s the sale of the century and I had enough toonies in my pocket to come home with the goooooold!  I don’t know why they were selling all these fantastic teas for $1 a box (haunted? peed on by raccoons?  somehow decades old?) but I’m going back tomorrow regardless, because apparently they have MORE. *faints*

(clockwise from center)
japanese flower mushroom tea
mint with chrysanthemum and honeysuckle
60 spirulina capsules !!!!!!

organic ceylon lemon
relasin (for nerves, insomnia and eyesight, perfect!)
yunnan tuocha green (for digestion and… hee hee, lowering cholesterol)
soolim (didn’t realize it was one of those slimming teas, oh well)
organic meadowsweet with devil’s claw
I’m drinking the mushroom tea right now and it’s so awesome.  I would never ever ever serve it to company, ever, but it’s deeply awesome and strange and OMG probably amazing with pizza !! 
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Testing for Terry’s latin cookbook has been loads of fun so far!  Everything is so much in line with what I like to eat anyway – whole foods, simple but interesting preparation, loads of lime and cilantro, and all the recipes mix and match very well, so every meal is a new surprise. 

Yellow Rice with Garlic ~ Columbian Style Red Beans
I had this for lunch today and it’s probably my favourite thing so far!  They both take the exact same amount of time to cook, the prep is maybe 10 minutes, and ohhhhhhhhh it’s good.  There’s annatto and plantain in it and it manages to taste light and warm and sweet and earthy all at once.
Pickled Red Onions

These take possibly no time at all to make and they are delicious on sammies!  And burritos, tacos, the end of your fork, eaten right out of the jar, draped across the side of a heavier bean-y or fried dish… ultimately, they are good, and a welcome addition to the pickle collection my fridge has got going.  They are without doubt the prettiest member at the moment, too.
Mango Jicama Chopped Salad
I’m pretty sure that jicama is my new favourite vegetable, and this salad may be my favourite way to eat it… loads of lime, sweet mango, fresh herbage… mmmmm yes.  
So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce
See, I told you jicama was my new favourite vegetable!  I broke out my mandolin to do it up right.  I’ll spill that there’s lettuce in this sauce (among a myriad of other wonderful things), so it’s kind of funny to think that this lettuce is dressed with itself but it works.  Oh, it works.  This sauce is pretty magical: zesty, creamy, spicy, cooling, and obviously an incredible shade of emerald.
Cilantro Lime Rice ~ Tofu Chicharrones ~ So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce
Ultra-fried smoky chewy chunks of porky tofu?  YES.  YES IT IS.  And you waaaaaant it.  Also, that rice has addictive properties.  All the rices so far have been hard to stop eating, actually.

Simple Sofrito

The basis for a few other dishes, it’s super slow-cooked sweet browned onions + other things, and I am so glad I know the secret of this sofrito thing now.  It made a quick after-school meal taste like it had been cooked by experts all afternoon, just by me scooping some of this out of the container in the fridge and adding it to the pot.  Instant awesome!  Neat trick.

Next up I’ll be trying some Pumpkin Soup and maybe the Mashed Potato Pancakes with Peanut Sauce (!)

I’m inspired again!! It happened very suddenly, I think a warm breeze passed through my kitchen and the walls turned sunny-orange in a way I hadn’t seen in months, prompting a small whirlwind of culinary tinkering, and I haven’t stopped since. I made raviolis, even, which I’ve always wanted to do! They’re roasted beet with rosemary and toasted walnuts, made with wonton skins, so they’re not pasta exactly, but I prefer the chewy dumplingness of the skins, actually. Because that way I’m allowed to eat them with my hands. They also coincided with a small disaster that resulted in something wonderful …….

— my fridge has sucked for years. It’s been replaced 3 or 4 times since I’ve lived here, and each one has been more small, old, fragile and smelly than the last. Have you ever seen a fridge where the freezer was INSIDE the box, and there was only one door? That was mine, until last week when it started to leak freon and smell rather horrifyingly chemical. I tried eating an apple from the crisper and my mouth started to tingle… I didn’t repeat that. O_o

The building quickly replaced it, as usual, except that this time – it’s a real fridge, white and sizeable, with a real freezer door! It makes a very satisfying sound, and my smoothies taste like ice cream now because the ice is so cold. Amazing! Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because while I rescuing things from the old icebox I pulled out a huge bag of peas and was like, “uh… I should eat these somehow”, which led to a most delicious puree to go with my raviolis. I just threw the peas in a blender with some garlic, basil, mint, balsamic, oil, tamari and pepper and it was shmancy-perfect-face-stuffingly-delicious. woo!

I also made some sandwich bread last week, to celebrate the white flour purchase. I’d never made sandwich bread before! It’s so useful, and tasty. This one was whole wheat rye, made with a bit of molasses and caraway and I had no trouble eating it up, especially shmeared with spicy homemade apple butter, yum! It inspired me to make a real salad. And it inspired me to have reubens for lunch all last week – holy batman that’s a good sammich!

For the ‘meat’ part I made lentil patties with pickle juice and gluten flour, breaded them in breadcrumbs and baked for 30 minutes, flipping once. Then loaded on the sauerkraut and homemade 1000-island and munched happily away!

These are testers for Terry’s new Vegan Latina book: black bean and plantain pupusas with a latin tomato sauce and a Salvadorean slaw, all delicioso.

And a great chard recipe with capers and raisins that’s a new favourite around here. Sweet and salty and complex!

Finally – to celebrate the spring equinox, and in anticipation of finding good things in life, I baked a lemon poppy seed bread yesterday, studded with little treasures. Rings, crystals, little coins, it was so much fun to bring this to a potluck, cover it with fresh berries, and slice off little hunks with surprises inside! The bread itself is moist and more-ish, too – super citrusy, with a sparkly sugary crust, and soaked in a lemon syrup = win!

Springtime Lemon Poppyseed Bread

1 tablespoon lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water (could use milk)
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

3 tablespoons raw sugar (for sprinkling on top)

optional: little metal trinkets

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a loaf pan.
2. Combine the wet ingredients in a large bowl, lemon zest through water.
3. Sift together the dry ingredients, then add that to the wet and stir just until combined.
4. Pour half the batter in the pan, dot the batter with metal trinkets (if using), then add the rest of the batter, sprinkle the top with raw sugar and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Don’t take it out of the pan yet though! While it’s still warm, make….

Lemon Syrup

3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

1. Mix lemon juice and sugar together in a bowl, microwave on high for about 45 seconds, stir to dissolve into a syrup.
2. Poke a bunch of holes in your lemon bread with a skewer or a toothpick, then pour the syrup over top and let it soak in for about 20 minutes. Then take it out of the pan and let it cool. Slice, warn people not to break their teeth on anything, and bask in the party game + dessert combined. :)

I’m a huge advocate of switching around protein in any given recipe. As (I believe) most Canadians can tell you, tempeh is a little bit dear up here in the north, so I almost always substitute tofu and that usually works just fine. A little less… fermenty, but more sproingy*. In this case of the VwaV Sausage Crumbles I think it may have needed that extra bit of tempeh pungency, but anyway it was nice in a pita for lunch. Fennel is win, all the time.

(*look up “sproingy” in the dictionary and I guarantee there will be a nice block of tofu pictured there!)

Second favorite is for sure chickpeas, and I’ve even started to eat them out of cans, I love them so much. I should probably start soaking some now, actually… anyway, I was sick and in dire need of vegetables and honest food, and Dreena’s Sweet Potato, Tomato & Chickpea Curry (real name?) was soooo tailor-made for the job. I added a dried chili for heat, replaced the zucchini with loads of kale, and sopped it up with some only slightly burnt brown rice. (my nose wasn’t working very well and anyway, I like it crunchy! :P). I actually felt at least 63% healthier after eating this.

Leftover rice became little baked rice balls, from Extraveganza. They have tahini, ground almonds and dill, and I messed up by stirring the almonds right in instead of coating the balls, but fixed that with bread crumbs. Mmmm delicious breadcrumbs…

I had a hard time keeping these shaped – the mixture was very very sticky and err… ricey, but the flavour was really nice, and went super well with Tangerine Chipotle-Basil Hummus (my own special favorite concoction these days, and inspired by Mel, for sure).

I promised sweet, aaaand —- here’s the white flour I bought! Say “Hi,” White Flour! (“Hi White Flour”). SO YUMMY. Dreena is cookie queen, they always come out with that great chewy bakery texture, and Anise Almond 5-Spice really *was* a nice break from chocolate, which was her selling point in the book. I think she needs to write a cookie book, because they’re not giant fussy affairs to make, usually healthier than most, and always taste like something a bit more special than a mound of sugary dough. Mmm, I wish I had another one right now…

OR: “Long Ago Foods I Happened to Push Around in a Bowl For a Few Minutes In A Manner That Kind Of Resembles Cooking But Is Lacking Any Real Inspiration” :)

Hee, these blondies kind of look like those tile puzzles where you push around the little flat plastic squares to make a picture of… a tiger. Or a monarch. Or a guy with a lasso. I wasn’t really caring about putting the pieces back in order after the food-porn was taken, and delicious things can be all rearrangey, sure.

I took the basic standard (awesome) blondie recipe from the ppk and made it all fiesta with lime juice and coconut. This was the first damned thing I’d baked in weeks!! No joke! And then they came out of the oven and I remembered why vegans have to bake – that is, to eat baked goods with melty buttery qualities. I distinctly recall deciding to gain a pound or two in honour of these things.

But really no cooking was I doing. Don’t believe me, here’s the proooooooof:::::

RICE FOR BREAKFAST! I ran out of oatmeal (and a small island in the pacific winked out of existence due to the illogical tanglement surrounding THAT). So I had to make do, and given I have patience in the morning to stir things and not do much else, I made some brown rice pud, with raisins, whole cloves, and cinnamon and it was… actually pretty great. Not oats, but every few years I’ll shake up the morning routine a little. Oh, and I put brown sugar in it! Speshul.

Next evidence of no cooking: SLAW. Wooo! Blog-worthy mostly because it’s a gorgeous shade of crimson and I happened to grate up a pear inside of it. I recommend the pear thing. (look close and you’ll spot the fourth time I’ve made the World Fusion cauliflower soup. Fourth time!)

Last, last… I give thanks to the wonders that is the VwaV fronch toast *guideline* and how it enables me to eyeball the various flours involved. And it still results in this, which is way more carby-sugary than I usually like for lunch, but I had to use up old bread and um… Caramel Sauce. Kisses Everything! With Gold. squee.

In better news, the weather has gotten downright inspiring the past few days and my eyes are lighting up at the sight of spring markets and my poor little brain is starting to tinker with foods that make moods and involve wonderful, premeditated things like capers. I believe I’ll be making seitan tomorrow. (!!!!) I see reubens and latin food…..

(psst the hottie ain’t me, it’s my sis)

(I am kicked out of veganism for this decorating job. of pure awesome.)

I’m still alive, I swear! I blame a flu for holding me hostage and making me kind of hate my own kitchen – a flu that has lasted for a month and is STILL CAUSING WHEEZY DEPTHFUL COUGHINGS IN THE NIGHT. Argh I say. I’m only sort of (maybe) remembering what an appetite feels like.

Chocolate PB banana smoothies + popcorn for dinner much? Anyway.

I turned 25 recently! And this year I insisted that a cake be made for me, because ha ha I was hating the sight of baking tins. Me mum made an amazing spice cake that I really want the recipe for – it was like eating a ginger cookie, except in cake form, and with plum frosting (and the best decoration job this side of my sister’s taste level). Amazing, and I polished a good chunk of it off with actual soy ice cream, which I haven’t had since high school. Happy birthday to me!

Later at home in montreal I had a wee shindig on my actual birthday, and flexed my rusty pastry muscles to pull off… the mushiest cake EVAH. Haha, it was good, but completely not cooked in the middle. (my oven is also teh sux, but we take responsibility for our disasters, yes?). I used the banana split cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and probably trying to make a full cake out of it accounted for the mush (also I only had whole wheat pastry flour, which is good, but not THAT good, you know what I mean? Forgive me but I like 50% white flour in cakestuffs).

At any rate the company was the greatest in the world, and I got a japanese unicorn mug, a pineapple, a decoupage candle-glass, a drawing of fish, some chamomile and ylang-ylang oils, and uhhh… my own tupperware back! Huzzah.

I also treated myself to a 10 kg bag of good old emptily nutritive white flour this afternoon. Aw yeah. :)

(^ psst that hottie is me)

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