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I lost my camera cord! And I lost the internet due to crazy summer storms and their ease at destroying routers! So I’m sitting on a lot of pictures… will you bear with me? I have forgotten which are worthy of blogation, but I assure you, most 94% of it was delicious. Highly chewable. Well… I guess you can’t chew jam. But doesn’t it look pretty? Lame peaches became perfect ice cream topping, even though I pouted and danced all the while my mom made this, because I wanted to eat them raw. But I’m an annoying daughter like that. Yep. :D

And I invented a pizza! Which I would bet anything has actually been done before, but if you get the chance, you MUST try making a batch of samosa potatoes and laying it over pizza on a bed of pureed pineapple. It’s my new absolute favourite.

Oh, and speaking of pizza, I’ve been introduced to Ottawa’s gourmet pizzeria, Pavarazzi’s. It sounds so much like paparazzi!! Paparpizza? They have good taste in vegetarian toppings, though. No lame soggy mushrooms/green pepper combos. Sesames and roasted red peppers, artichokes and olives are the standard. Good show!

**note: I avoided the cheese bits encroaching on my nice side like the absolute plague, and am I the only vegan who takes pleasure in an increasing dislike for the smell/accidental taste of animal products? Cause cheese kind of tastes like fermented fluuuuuuuid to me now. *cough*
Appetizing! You can keep your squishy olives, sis!

Speaking of good taste (haha) and vegetarian accommodations, mum and me broke out this cast-iron grill pan that magically appeared in the pantry sometime between this visit and my last to grill up everything in sight, and some fennel besides. I also get to take the pan home! (vcon grilled tempeh tacos, here we come!). Simple dinner, yes, but I was raised on the good art of arranging a sandwich spread, and forgive me for my stereotypical tastes, but I SO do love a grilled vegetable. I think I ate 3 dinners worth of food here. It was worth it for the rosemary bread. The rosemary bread that was made of olive oil. Droolular.

Bit o’ baking. Ever tried a flapjack? I um…. hadn’t. But I was mad curious, I mean – golden syrup, margarine and oats, plus major associations to my UK heritage, I had to at least try. I succeeded at making floppy oat chews? The fat content alone is scaring me away from attempting this again… but if anyone else wants to try, I CAN highly recommend adding some lemon or lime juice to the mix, cause it makes it all lip-smacking more-ish. Too bad about the melty texture, though…

Banana bread is friendly. It shall redeem me. (yum)

As will peach right side-up cupcakes with toasted candied almond slivers on top (I should think). Which are perfect from the fridge, cold… teeth sinking through the cold fruity layer to moist almond-y crumbs…. acklejackarggggg…. s’good. I got the coveted “vegan baked goods are soooo much better than normal baked goods” comment from not one, but three separate eaters of cake. Suke-sess!

To make thine own, take one pineapple rightside-up cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, replace fruit with appropriate fruit, add almond extract, and enjoooyyyyy. With joy! Man, I love that book, it should be renamed the Little Vegan Cake-Creation Sourcebook.

More to come in part 2!

Small surprise to see corn up there in the first photo again, huh? I have this thing about blogging about food in true chronological order, though. And this week of legume-happy kicked off with the Vcon Creole Stuffed Peppers which were really nice, by the way. We had them with the Messy Rice and some steamed kale with liquid smoke slashed on for fun, and it was nom nom nom.

See, we’ve been eating like this because P is taking a break from soy and sugar, so it’s been a lot of soaking beans from the pretty little jars that line the counter. And about time! It’s been bugging me lately that we haven‘t been eating beans, cause they’re pretty much my favourite food ever – like, “what’s for dinner?” …. duh duh duh….. “Beans!”

So we made the Vcon Jamaican Yuca Shepherd’s Pie. ZOMG. You need to try this! It’s so so good, familiar and yet not, really wonderful.

And we had it with a pureed mango-lime dressing, cause I’ve been experimenting with “pureed-stuff-on-salad” (it’s been going well). Note the gimpy radish rosette, as I was apparently channelling some fifties housewife during the 10 free minutes that the casserole needed to cook.

Oh yeah, and I take back everything I said about posting in order, because mentioning pureed dressings reminded me of what I had for *lunch* that day – SusanV’s tofu omelette, which was spooky spot-on, and possibly even better than an egg omelette since it had that beautiful savoury-mousse kind of thing going on. And I got to use tabasco and tarragon in an omelette, which takes me back a few years, I can say that. Anyway… it was full of onions, mushrooms, zucchini and tomato and it was the lunchiest lunch I’d lunched on in forever – HIGHLY recommended.

And it came with salad. Weird salad! But weird-good. There were all these carrot tops in the crisper, so I pureed up a carrot with some ginger and soy sauce as per this recipe (minus the mustard), because why not, right? It didn’t make a dressing so much as a piquante veggie condiment, but it did the job, I liked it.

Then the next day for dinner I headed to the kitchen with the intention of opening myself a tin of tomato soup – tres gourmet, je sais – mais! Somehow between thawing out peas and shuffling through jars of cumin seeds I skipped right over the soup idea and made a freestyle aloo gobi that was so spot on, I am seriously proud of this one. Especially cos I don’t think I’ve even had aloo gobi before, but I double checked on a few recipes, and mine was virtually identical to the authentic-looking ones. Wee! Also served with that plum chutney I made a while ago, which mellowed and turned pretty wonderful in the fridge. I could get to like this curry + chutney business! It’s like an excuse to eat spicy jam with dinner.

Leftover kidney beans? Meet new life as kidney cutlets with oats and worcestershire and a heckuva lot of green peppercorns. I had these on a chapati wrap with mango and lettuce and red pepper and chipotle mayo and it was SO good, reminded me of childhood/meatloaf. Except better.

Drunken baking……………….. upside down black sesame plum cake, and oat/banana/chocolate loaf. Both made without refined sugar. And to my tongue…… the less said about them the better, eek. :p

And bean-week ends with the easiest most bestest use for beans ever – load up a humungous salad on top of leftover legumes and munch away on pure goodness. Topping it with fresh mint, dates, toasted almonds and avocado doesn’t hurt a salad either. I had this again today for lunch, actually, could be my new favourite food. Anyway…

That’s the week! We’re making pasta tonight, I have no idea what kind, but that’s kind of cool since we don’t make it very often. Oh yeah, and I opened the abalone-flavoured wheat gluten – it tastes like cat food and comes dripping in oil – YUCKKKKKK. So yeah, experiment fail, but still interesting. Til next post! (my 100th, actually)

Oh, and I almost forgot! I tried a chinese saucer peach last week, too! I was like “oh, it’s a gimmick, it must be – a peach that won’t roll off the counter, of course.” But you know what? It tastes like honey and flowers and is very very nice and completely different from a regular peach. Experiment success!

It’s funny when you don’t eat during the day, how certain activities grow in fascination to replace the habit of cooking. Case in point: cat watching. Oh, Satchmo… curled up with the collected works of Lewis Carroll… so peaceful. I spent a lot of time reading over those ten days (a LOT), drawing, walking around late at night with legs that felt oddly leaden but powered by this strange eternal sense of energy. I even went to a party on the weekend stone-cold sobre, swizzled my lemonade and had a blast. Near the end there was a definite natural high going on, and I could see how people could continue for 14, 20, 40 days….

Not that I was going to. I’d have to take out real estate to manage all the recycling!

P (hereby referred to as “Pomme”) came off the fast one day before me, so we went to work together making a pottage of soup with about half a garden in it, it was the most nourishing amazing thing I’d ever seen… (turnip, celery, carrot, zucchini, sweet potato, leek, onion, cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, green beans, wakame, brown rice and barley). It was so tempting, in fact… that 3 AM of day 11…. I crept out of bed………….. and had a bowl of it!

I know you’re supposed to wait and spend a whole day drinking orange juice to break the fast…. but I am not patient! And my trusty guts of steel worked like a charm! It was delicious, and sat perfectly. (I’m not recommending this to anyone, though – I almost ate it in the spirit of science, to see if I doubled over in crippling cramps or something equally bad, and that might still happen if your stomach is sensitive)

This is my first real meal! On day 2 of breaking the fast, I woke up to the most enticing smell ever, and Pomme had made the most perfect and delicious (and spicy!) dhal, which we had for dinner with brown rice, steamed veggies, salad, and this very cool sesame coleslaw I made weeks ago that magically started fermenting all on it’s own. I’ll have to see if I can recreate that…

And then, after dinner, because we are daredevils after all…. we made a raw pie, and (oh dear) ate the whole thing between us! Okay, I had most of it. ;)

It had a walnut/almond/cinnamon crust, and the filling was a blend of banana, cashews, mango, blueberries and maple syrup, and it was pretty amazing. Raw pies are especially fun to make because they involve using the blender a lot! And they’re easier on the post-fasting tummy, too.

So that’s pretty much it! There’s loads of other things I could talk about the fast, but it’s already kind of fading in my memory… it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be at all. I was positive I’d give up somewhere around Day 3. I did spend Day 3 reading every dissenting opinion on the cleanse that I could find, and almost thought of stopping. But I didn’t, and I’m so glad, because the real treasure I got from it was I SUCCESSFULLY QUIT SMOKING, I’m free! There was no craving, no coughing, no weight gain, no insomnia, no irritability… it’s basically the most perfect way to quit, ever. I hope anyone who wants to quit tries this method, I can’t recommend it highly enough! And little things like pickles and curry taste like absolute heaven afterwards. :P~~~~~

(next post: my veganversary and I finally get to try tempeh!)

Well, I’m back! I’ve scrubbed the dirt out of all my crevices, uploaded a billion gorgeous pictures of natural beauty and human wackiness, rubbed my belly after meal upon meal of delicious vegan forest food, and now I’m finally ready to get back to city life… and update my blog!

So this is the humble kitchen, rather unassuming by day (though inviting), and positively radiant by tiki torch at night. There was always fresh fruit and whole grain breads around, and a steaming gigantic decanter of yerba mate for the lacking-in-energy camper to drink copious amounts of (4 mugs a day, anyone?)

One afternoon Star and I even discovered sushi being made! Forest sushi! It took all of 3 seconds for her to jump into the kitch and start showing off her fantastic rolling skills. There was even apparently onigiri with pickled plum being made later, which I unfortunately missed, but still… that’s damn cool.

Here’s me (on the right), grabbing some killer miso soup from The Great-Smelling Pot of Giganticness. I always had to stand on tiptoes to see what was inside!

And here’s the bounty of fresh herbs and vegetation at the right of the kitchen, which gave the food this wonderful vitality. (note to self: donate something that is green and growing in a pot next year)

The tea tent! It was this dear little spot, glowing white and smelling of herbs/the always-lit iron stove that kept the kettle boiling outside. There were teas for everything — lung cleansing, ephedra-energizing if you wanted it, lucid dreaming, even getting in a sexy mood! With agave nectar, fresh citrus to cut, ginger, books on herbs, and just a great atmosphere all around.

The fact that I could stumble down to the kitchen area, grab my colourful breakfast and realize I was munching in front of killer art like this was all part of the fun.

And E-balls! E for energy, of course. Yum, yum, yum, and I have a new appreciation for hempseeds now. Especially the crunchy black unhulled ones, they’re SO much fun to eat!

Okay, onto the plates. (every attempt I made to take night photos got thwarted, so none of the dinners got photographed, but rest assured they were pretty involved and distinctive and delicious, even moreso than the first two meals of the day. ah well.)

This was my first breakfast – note the conservative portions, before I realized I could totally take my fill from the table – morning quinoa with hempseeds, soaked/raw whole wheat granola, and spicy applesauce.

First lunch – creamy coleslaw with fresh herbs, split pea dhal, bannock, and fruit salad.

Yay, oatmeal! I loved the announcement of breakfast that morning – the whole kitchen in unison shouting “Gruuuuuuuuel!!!!!”

Oops – this is the one standout meal that sucked for me. 1 out of 21 ain’t too shabby at all, though! Another split pea dhal with much much less flavour, and saltless dry millet. Still – totally healthy.

This was way (way!) better! Quinoa with fresh oregano, vegan caesar salad, and a beautiful hearty bean and vegetable stew, with beets, wakame, squash and barley.

Most colourfullest breakfast EVER, and it tasted even better than it looked! Tahini-dressed salad, quinoa with star anise and clove, apple chutney, pickled carrots, fruit salad with papaya, pineapple, watermelon, pear, orange and honeydew, and one of those awesome E-Balls.

Maybe my favourite lunch, too – miso soup with gorgeous huge pieces of seaweed, whole juicy shitake mushrooms, roasted squash seeds and my new cracker obsession, rye Wasa.

And the last brekky – creamy rice pudding with apricots and sunflower seeds, sugarless (yet sweet) cocoa apple crumble/granola, a citrus-y salad, and a slice of dense rye with apple butter. Plus a view to totally die for…

More often than not, I skipped the smoky campfire scene and hiked a few minutes away to a secluded sunny rock with my meal to listen to mild ripples and rustling trees instead. You could have given me a half-eaten Boca burger in that setting and I would have been in foodie bliss anyway… but really, in conclusion, I got totally inspired by the spices and innovation that I saw at Om, and the dedication that the kitchen organizers had to keeping 500+ people fed and nourished all day, every day, for a whole week! For one – I’m gonna start respecting the “mere” salad a heck of a lot more, play with grains and seeds more, put tahini in more stuff (because tahini = AWESOME), and basically just focus on health and colour instead of rigidly following silly things like recipes all the time. I’ve even put it into practice at home, but that’ll have to wait for the next post. ;)

( Oh, and I wish I could have taken a picture of the meal that I helped prepare, it was my favourite of all the dinners (maybe I’m biased, but it WAS amazing). Just imagine saffron-coconut apple soup, fried bananas, truly spicy aloo gobi, and cardamom-almond rice. OMG. I weep for the lack of picture! :O )

Just a quick update, a couple photos that have been on the computer for a few days…

In retrospect I think this was turnip, but the mashed rutabaga recipe from Vcon was nonetheless amazing, especially with corn (lime, coconut + corn? yes!)

And I’m really not exaggerating when I say this is my favourite tofu marinade yet – it’s a Swell Vegan tester recipe for maple-mustard-chili tofu, and it’s awesome. The salad paled in comparison, and the second half of the batch got eaten straight up, with glee, much like a plate of chicken nuggets of yore or something. Total make-again recipe!

And more pizza! I’m pizza-obsessed! J says I’m also crust-bubble obsessed, but he’s quite allowed to say that because… I am. This is only my favourite crust-bubble, and there were many, each with a photo… I am a nerd. :D

And J is still staying with us, and my new roommate is a kitchen-goddess in her own right and works at the best vegan restaurant in the city, so we’ve been collaborating on dinners! Her own component of a brown rice macro bowl was so delicious there wasn’t a speck of leftovers to take a photo of the next day (imagine perfectly cooked rice, confetti-bright vegetables and toasted sesames everywhere), but there was a little bit of my curry around for lunch the next day, so here it is. Aloo paratha, gajar salad, lentil sprouts and a really nice katirikka rasavangi (south indian eggplant curry). I think I might explore this south indian thing a bit more, I’m adoring the heat and the coconut.

And woo! Blackberry-lemon verbena sorbet success! I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I had to nurse this stuff over the course of a few days, stirring it constantly and waiting for my wonky freezer to make it scoopable (I also had to add a bunch of water to help with the freezing, but I was really happy to do that, it was a little sweet in the beginning). Anyway, I’m totally hooked on this sorbet thing! It’s so refreshing, and the herbal bit was transcendant. I’m thinking of trying vegan addict’s Black Hole Sorbet next – it looks sooo decadent. yum!

Moving day this weekend. And moving day again, and again and again… my two best guy friends J and W moving to different apartments and a new roommate for me. It’s been change! And a lot of fun, actually, even though I’m pretty sure my arms have doubled in size due to a constant and unending parade of boxes and audio equipment.

There’s my man J, taking a well deserved break (silly man was so excited to move that he didn’t sleep the night before and became Zombie J of the Wobbly Muscles). Note the wrought iron and the heavy-ass keyboard cases that evidently weigh about as much as 13 me’s. (what, 1.3 tonnes?? okay….!)

You know what eases all this pain though? Vegan ice creamables. Well, not ice cream, and I admit I gazed longingly at the green tea gelato, but opted for the best of the options available to me, which was a nice mix of mango and strawberry sorbert. I’ve had better sorbet (namely, stuff that has flavour beyond “sweet and vaguely fruity”, but still, the treat was super nice.

And then when all was finally done (okay, when the guys were done moving at least) we felt this huge empanada craving, so we headed to La Chilenita on St. Laurent ave, which does this otherworldy good Chilean food. I got the burrito grande, which I (eloquently) described later as “melt-in-your-mouth-face-stuffy”. Everything I was craving and more.

I don’t remember precisely what was in here, but I think this bad picture might refresh my memory… okay, Chilean black beans, slurpy sweet onions, rice, avocado, spicy red sauce, and YES YES TOFU! Not to mention multiple hot sauces on the side for slathering, which was particularly awesome because on the way to this place I specifically wished for rice in a burrito with multiple hot sauces on the side. There must have been restaurant fairies in the air.

Not vegan, but pretty funny — J couldn’t decide which nacho was the most ultimate of nachos worthy of becoming his last bite, and the competition between the two chips got a little out of hand, becoming what I can only describe as Mount Nachos (or alternatively, they kinda look like boobs).

(the one on the left-hand side was declared the unequivocal winner, by the way)

After the dust settled J stayed with me for a few nights before his own plans got worked out, and I took the opportunity to get some real food into his system. Can I mention here that getting food on the table is a whole ‘nother world compared to all-day creative culinary noodling? I thought I did okay here, though. I made Vwav braised cauliflower with 3-seed sauce, chickpea cutlets curry-style (cumin, cayenne, turmeric, lime juice and cilantro), and some peas, for the green factor.

And then a mess of vcon brooklyn macaroni salad, which disappeared over the course of today, amidst a lot of slurping and crunching and digging into tupperware containers. No radish to be had, but I think I prefer it this way with red pepper and scallion instead!

Finally, my new roommate P showed up and we helped her with her own load of boxes, and an offhand suggestion of brownies to commemorate the occasion got followed by the fastest baked good I think I’ve ever thrown together – a nice half-batch of Vcon blueberry brownies. And I think you can tell that patience was none of our virtues and warm gooey blue choco-cakeness was needed in our mouths, and who needs tidy edges anyway? For some crazy reason blueberries and chocolate marry like epic lovers here. I’d ask “who knew?”, but obviously a lot of people did. I’m just super glad I’m in on it now.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! Okay, now I sleep forever, and ever and ever and always. Except not, because I’m up tomorrow at 6 for school. But shhh! There’s brownies for breakfast. And that makes everything very OK. :)

There’s this elusive flavour I can never seem to get from recipes. Simple and rustic – maybe old-school hippy if you want to call it that – but utterly delicious in it’s own way, the food of the flaky potlucks I went to in my formative food years. (with roasted veg and homemade bread and vinaigrettes and lasagnas and OMG a trampoline in the backyard???)

Anyway, this pie is so it. Maybe all I had to do was not use a recipe and just try to make lunch, ha! It has millet and leeks and swiss chard and tomato and next time I’ll put walnuts in the crust for nuttiness, but it was really light-yet-satisfying anyway.

And yes, those are garlic-stuffed olives. I am also a fan.

Pictured here are probably the worst (looking) cookies I’ve ever made, but for future reference it’s good to know I can whip up a batch in less than 20 minutes. I halved the sparkled ginger cookies from VwaV, didn’t have molasses, didn’t wait for them to cool, and ran to a picnic, but they were awesome anyway (3 of us wolfed these down in an hour, which should be telling). I think it was the cloves that really wooed me.

Oh, and I lucked out the other day and picked up a whole bunch of super cheap cookbooks at chapters, including Moby’s Teany book, which is impossibly cute and has recipes like matcha-chocolate pudding and plum french toast I really want to try (hurray for cleverly disguised vegan pseudo-cookbooks – it doesn’t say vegan anywhere on it, but I knew. Oh, I knew). The first thing I made was the tvp chicken salad, cause like… sandwich-y crumbly fillings are the best. It needed a lot more mayo and I added basil and bell peppers, but it’s a pretty good base and tasted great on the last of my homemade bread (yay freezers).

And Indira has done it again – I think what I adore most of all about her recipes (besides how easy and downright delicious they always are) is how clean they taste. I didn’t even realize this was her take on Hoppin’ John until I was halfway through making this, but it’s oh-so south indian and SO ADDICTIVE. Like, “please hide the spoon from me” addictive. I love how all of the heat is from black pepper, too, it’s neat. (and it has bok choy instead of mustard greens, so um… that’s three points of the globe coming together for a pottage of homey happy rice? excellent)

So here it is! I went a little all-out, but I had two leisurely days to do it, so it was actually a great lesson in NOT stressing over food. From right to left, there’s Aloo Paratha (spicy potato-filled flatbread – kind of my specialty, I might post the recipe later), Tamarind Lentils, Gajar salad (carrots with lemon and toasted mustard seeds), 5-Minute Mango Chutney, lime-pickled cucumber, Matar Tofu (tofu marinated in this), more Aloo Paratha because it’s basically the best bread-type food in the world, and v-con Masala Roasted Vegetables (brussels sprouts, carrots, parnsip and onion). And it was all gone in 10 minutes. I give flying colours to everything!

I ran to the kitchen to get a good shot of everything. Soooooo gooood. I’m especially in love with the mango chutney and the matar tofu – Indira’s recipe is so fresh-tasting and comes together like magic in a few minutes if you have everything prepped.

I made some cashew-dates and toasted almonds for good measure, but really who cares about that when you’ve got…….

V-con Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake! OMG make this cake! It’s so moist, and so good. Everything that everyone’s been saying about the crispy outside is bang on, and the inside is all zingy and coconutty and kinda melts in the mouth. I’m having more for lunch. With vanilla pudding on top, I think. And I broke the top because de-panning cakes is hard when you’re impatient, but icing sugar (and a little bit of careful surgery) is a girl’s best friend, I’m discovering.

(the sound of the dinner table, btw ~~~ “mmmmiammm munch munch sigh SO GOOD mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm snarf snarf pass the chutney zomg mmmmm”) :D

Okay, first off — I LOVE going home and I LOVE finally being in a house that practically inhales food faster than I can make it! It’s so gratifying, and I can cook up a storm like I could never do for just myself. And there’s a big ‘ol feast I’m making tonight, so I have to throw up all the other pictures first so I can post about the dinner later. Anyway…

Peanut butter banana ice cream (based on ED&BV’s Cashew Banana Ice Cream). This was the last meal I had before I got on the bus. Nice meal, eh? Ooh, I want to let *every* banana in the world go overripe and then freeze them all and make creamy nutty soft serve. ALL the TIME.

And this is the leftovers I brought with me on the bus — the cauliflower curry and saffron garlic rice (both from the Veganomicon). The rice would be better with the chickpeas romesco I think, but it’s still the best rice I’ve ever made, so I shovelled it all up anyway. Does anyone else feel like they’re totally indulging by using white rice instead of brown?

I also brought a big container of tofu salad with me, because I make a really mean tofu salad, and I feel better travelling with a huge amount of no-brainer protein. It basically incorporates half my fridge door — braggs, lemon juice, nayonnaise, dijon, bbq sauce, garlic, paprika, turmeric, thyme, oregano, pepper, nooch, diced pickles and red onion. Oh, and a niiiiiice loooooooong squirt of sriracha, ’cause I roll like that. It’s so good. I had to fight my mom away from this sandwich.

So then my sister says “I’m hungry…. lizbeth, go make me something.” and I’m like “YES. This is called the V-con. What does your heart desire?” and she goes “Chocolate Chip Brownie Waffles” and I’m like “You rule so hard I can’t fathom your rulingness. Where’s the cocoa?”. These are basically the best thing to ever come off of a panini press, which we had to use instead of a waffle iron but that hardly matters because you could fry this on the sidewalk and it would still be good. They’re all fudgey… but not too fudgey. Pleasantly mid-fudgey. *drool*

I can’t believe I’m closing with vegetables. But I’m really proud of myself! I made a squash soup worthy of rivalling those little expensive pseudo-gourmet boxed soups. Nothing out of the ordinary, regular squash soup stuff like apple vinegar, almond milk, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon, salt. A *tiny* bit of soup powder (but this kind was organic and actually tasted really nice). And a bit of maple syrup, and a bit of coconut milk. I didn’t even warm it up, I just blended the roasted squash with everything and put it in the fridge to reheat when I need it, and it’s, dare I say it, lovely.

So that’s the spread, but there’s a whole wack of goodies happening tonight, I spent all yesterday blending spices and prep-cooking pastes and making chutne—- oh, I shouldn’t say anything else. (I made a cake!)

Okay, I’m done. :)

(oh, and my sister actually DOES rule the universe, and keeps bringing me home treats from her job at the health food store — Belsoy puddings (chocolate and vanilla), asafoetida, gluten flour, thai ginger kettle chips, organic sesame-spelt bread, organic millet and red quinoa, vitasoy soynog (which is amazing, btw), carob chips, a jar of raw cashews about as big as a cat, lots of produce. Most of it free/about to expire. Quelle yay! I wuv her.)

Spring’s coming, I just know it! It might just be the feeling of health increasing with every passing morning, but today there was real sun, and slush, and I chose to take a long walk, for the first time since maybe december. It was *glorious*. And I felt like celebrating, so I knew dinner had to be spicy and full of fruit!

Before that, though….

Nothing says spring to me like nurturing small things like yeasty-beasts to life. Totally inspired by Ashasarala’s beautiful whole wheat sourdough bread, I decided to mix together my own sourdough starter. It already smells so very alive! I also started some sprouts yesterday, but I forgot to take a picture (and it’s pretty much just lentils in a jar at this point).

My first foray into boiling seitan – I was soooooo tempted to change up the spices (recipe’s from the V-con of course), but I left well enough alone in the name of seitanic science and I am yes yes very glad I did! Strangely, the simple flavouring is full and nice enough just as it is, and I even love the texture! It’s softer and more chicken-y, and perfect for what I wanted to make next —-

Okay, it’s just the mis-en-place for what I made next – Naughty Curry’s Pineapple Couscous Curry (and I was led to the wonderful NC site through the FatFree Vegan Kitchen, thank you so much!). Can we say fun to make? Fiery cauldron action, popcorn-loud mustard dances, chile-fire bubblin’ brilliant colours, yum yum yum!

And sooooo worth it, flavour-wise. I wish I’d had the full 1 1/2 cups of pineapple juice, I can definitely see where an extra bit of juiciness would push this over the edge, but certainly it was festive enough to actually make me turn off my ever-present music blaring and let the flavours riot on their own. This is the kind of thing excellent dinner parties are made of. Orange food! Anyway… I’m still holding strong on my vow not to buy any groceries for one full week and you know what? It is way way more fun to cook like that. Necessity and invention and all that.

(I can still buy oranges and catfood, though. Some things you don’t mess with. ;)

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