Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

It's finally almost here - 2008 is just around the corner!!
I am truly excited to begin my first full vegan year. I still can't quite believe it took me so long to get to this point, but here I am at last!

For me, 2008 is going to be a year with compassion at its core. I want to make a conscious effort to live kindly and reflect my values actively. To be the change I wish to that old saying goes.

Wishing you a happy, peaceful and kind New Year!

Stay Vegan, Friends!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

You Know You're Vegan When....

I'll confess: I can be a bit 'precious' about things, especially when they are new. I don't crack the spines of books, allow metal utensils near my nonstick saute pans or turn a blind eye when one of the pups is having his evil, lascivious way with one of the new futon cushions. However, today I reached a new high - or low, depending on how you see it - of preciousness. I was making a batch of doggie cookies for the boys. The idea is mainly to use up the remaining mozzarella cheese (yes, non-vegan, which is why I'm not posting specifically about the cookies themselves) skulking forlornly in the deep dark recesses of the fridge. Since my change to veganism was so comparatively recent, I am still finding the odd item or two of meat and dairy and just want to be rid of it. I thought that making les gars some cheesy cookies would be an excellent way of achieving this, in this case. So I assembled the ingredients and realised that I could not use our new food processor for the job. I simply couldn't bring myself to put the cheese in it. It would have sullied it in my eyes, I guess, so I cranked the things out by hand instead.

Bottom line: the Kitchen Aid remains vegan and pure.
Second bottom line: this is a one-way transition for me.

There is no going back!

Stay vegan!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday Evening with Dreena

Well, this year Father Christmas was kind indeed to me - I guess I must have been a good girl after all. Or perhaps Old Saint Nick is a herbivore too...!! As a gift (from My Beloved, I suspect from the inscription) I received Dreena Burton's 'Eat, Drink and Be Vegan', from which today's dish was created.

My Beloved and I adore Caribbean food, it must be said....well, we adore the Caribbean - the sun, sea, sand, diving, cocktails, swinging in a hammock in the shade of a coconut tree, fish, turtles, rum....yeah, you get the idea. So anyhow, when I clapped eyes on Dreena's Blackened Tofu...I just knew it had to be tried!

Here it is, in glorious, sumptuous technicolour:

And here's a saucy close-up....

We served it with Cayman-style rice n' beans which is both spicy, fiery and rum-soaked all at the same time. The heat comes from the habanero chilli (aka 'scotch bonnet' pepper), the spicyness from the mix of scallions ('green onions'), garlic and coconut, and the rum...well, it's an integral part of Caribbean cuisine, don't you know?????



Am returning to the table soon for a slice of the remaining carrot-ginger-coconut cake....Life Is Good!

Stay Vegan, Friends!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Xmas Dinner

So what is a vegan foodie blog sans vegan food pix porn? Yeeeesssss, I hear you cry, we want pictures! So here we go....this was our Christmas dinner:

Skipping merrily past the massacred carcasses of our animal friends, we opted for a good stuffed tofu, lemon roasted potatoes, and a medley (as they would say in restaurant-speak) of vegetables in a baked acorn squash. Relying heavily upon Isa, Colleen and Sarah we managed to produce the following...

Marinated and stuffed tofu:

The tofu had been marinated in a 'beef' stock from Sarah Kramer's book 'La Dolce Vegan' and we stuffed it with TVP, brown rice and sun-dried tomatoes. Next we made the lemon and red onion roasted potatoes and baked the acorn squash:

These were ridiculously simple to do, but the presentation is really cute and there's something fun about being able to eat the bowl your vegetables come in! Anyhow, we sauteed off a batch of mixed veg - sweetcorn, edamame, onions, garlic, etc etc etc - and stuffed it into the baked squash.

See here:

and ta-da!

But this is the end result:

Smiles all around! Bon Appetit!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Post Christmas Merriment

Hello Folks!

Christmas was the best this year! My Beloved and I decided to step out of the shopping madness and just enjoy each others company for a change - with a few gifties thrown in, of course! We 'did the social thing' with our good friends Dave and MaryEllen on Christmas Eve eve (if you can follow that) and introduced them to vegan scalloped potatoes which, I think, were quite the hit. The recipe is from Susan over at FatFree Vegan (click here to make your day!) and is, without doubt one of my top 10 new favourite foods.

We also came up with a remarkably creative fix for that tricky Xmas problem: the unreciprocated gift. Here's what happens: you are normally at the house of a friend or loved one. You have settled into the nice warm, comfy glow brought on by good company and free-flowing vino. People are stopping by and sharing a glass or two, perhaps a lard-free mince pie, you get the picture....Then, HORROR! Someone whips out a card and giftie for you. Which is normally a great thing, except that you have nothing to give in return. A half-stick of chewing gum, wadded in the bottom of your jeans pocket....a crumpled dollar, nothing worth giving back anyhow. So all possible scenarios rush through your head but you know it's too late and you are busted. So you smile in that self-depracating (-defecating???) way and mumble something appeasing while your face glows the shade of a certain reindeer's fabled nose...

Take the shame!

So this year, rather than navigate that particular circle of Hell, we decided to play a game. Having purchased some placeholder cards, we made 'promissory notes' for everyone likely - or indeed unlikely - to be at the 'do' and from them created a 'lucky dip'. This is not a concept widely understood over on this side of the pond, so the novelty factor carried it through. Each person got to pick a sealed card out of a Santa sack, along with a choccie (non-vegan from a previous incarnation), and munched on the choc as they learned their fate. On each card we'd written something like 'one dozen margarita cupcakes' or 'one dozen ginger sparkle cookies', to be redeemed at any time during 2008. Our phone number was listed on the card and they simply call up and I will bake whatever it was that the person 'won', deliver the goodies to MaryEllen's house where the lucky recip can collect them. That way, I don't have to drive around Western Mass like an idiot in my ailing Volvo, but I still get to make good on my promissory notes.

Neat, no?

It certainly seemed to go down well and am thinking that next year I may well introduce them to the other Brit game: musical chairs....Not sure how to get vegan goodies into that, but at least I have a whole year to work it out!

More soon....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Welcome, Welcome!

Hi Guys!

This is the placeholder entry for my new blog - Cackleberry!

It's going to be all about this new vegan journey I'm on - recipes, news, frustrations and successes.

And it'll be full of oddities too - starting with the title itself!
What the heck is a cackleberry?????

I'll let you know soon!