I got the easy end of it. I live ten minutes away (by vehicle) from my job, so I only had to wait an hour at the bus stop whilst being pelted by snow. There was no real traffic on the road back to my neighborhood (at the time), so I really lucked out.
Those poor fellas. Quite frankly, I felt bad for everyone on the road that day, particularly those with children and even the children themselves, stuck in school and on school buses for hours on end! Oh, and here's the kicker- my town (crappy South Boston) likes to use streets that people live on to empty out for snow emergencies. Not just the main roads, but the tightly packed neighborhoods. If you lived in my town, you would know that there is virtually no parking at all in South Boston because Ben Affleck made everyone and their grandmother want to live here. If you want a parking spot close to home, you'd better get back before 7 pm on any given night.
So, therefore, Mike and my step dad each had to park at a garage about 20 minutes away from the house and walk through the blinding blizzard to make it home safe and sound.
Feeling awfully sorry that there was nothing I could do to help, I tried to make the coming home part ten times better. I spent my day cleaning up the house and cooking, of course. I turned on the Christmas lights in the living room, popped on the radio and proceeded the baking as I chatted with Mike on the phone to keep him company.
I had a real hankering for cupcakes, but with very little ingredients in the house, I wasn't sure what I could make. Taking out my brand new Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, I decided on simple chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting.
Those chicks really know what they're talking about. I've made chocolate cupcakes many times, but they've never come out this good! The batter was very dark and moist. The frosting tasted incredibly rich and creamy. It's amazing what one can come up with using house hold ingredients. A tsp of vanilla extract and a 1/2 tsp of almond extract was suggested, so I gave it a go. I thought it would taste all almondy, but it was quite the contrary! The perfect blends of extracts allowed the almond flavour to sneak in there just a bit so that if you didn't know I put it in there, you might not be able to guess what it was at first. It really added that special something.
Oh, and I got to use my brand new mixer, which made it even more fun!
For dinner, I was going to go with the ol' pasta crap, but then decided to be wild and make a pizza. The first pizza I ever made was a horrible recipe I found online and it makes me nauseous when I think about it. So I like to pretend that this was the first pizza I've ever made.
I actually combined two different pizza recipes from Vegan Italiano, by Donna Klein.
I decided to use a fast-rising dough because I was impatient and starving and I knew Mikey would be as well whenever he got in from the storm. After kneading it and letting it rise, I tried rolling it out with a rolling pin, but it kept shrinking back towards the middle. I then decided to give something a try that I never thought I could do. I flipped the dough, right up in the air!
The first couple of times it fell back on the table in one big plop, but eventually I figured out that you have to flip it at an angle in order for it to work. So I proceeded to do that and it stretched the dough out quite beautifully.
I am very, very proud of myself. When you're a new cook, every little accomplishment is exciting.
There was no sauce on this pizza. Instead, I basted the dough in about 2 tbsps of olive oil. I tossed some sliced tomatoes, drained and diced tomatoes, red, green and yellow peppers, onions, basil, oregano and garlic powder on top of it and slid it in the oven on the bottom shelf at 500 degrees for about 18 minutes.
It sent gorgeous aromas wafting through the house! Of course it was just as wonderful going down the hatch as it was pleasing to look at and sniff. ;) My favourite part was the crust. I think I did a fine job:
So while I give myself a pat on the back, I do have to be honest about one thing. The center of the dough base was too thin. I got a little carried away flipping the dough around, I think... Under the weight of the juice from the tomatoes and all the roasted veggies, the middle became soggy. It tasted just fine, of course, but it was more of an 'eat with a fork' type pizza. Haha Oh, well. I've learned my lesson and hopefully next time it will be thicker and more substantial in the middle. At the very least, cooked dough, when moistened, takes on the look and consistency of melted cheese.
Next time I plan on using sauce and a little Vegan mozzarella for a more 'pizza-ry' kind of pizza.
Alas, the storm ended and it was back to normal activities. I ate a lot of junk over the weekend, so to make up for it, I cooked up a mushroom barely stew.
'Stew' is definitely the right word for it as it is a very thick and substantial meal. I just simmered green onions, peppers, chickpeas, pearled barely, carrots and small mushrooms (about 20) in 4 cups of veggie broth along with some Braggs sauce, a dash of tobasco and salt and pepper to taste.
I accidentally singed the chickpeas slightly when cooking them separately (I always simmer dry beans outta the bag; I hate canned foods), but luckily they tasted as good as ever after having been simmered in the soup.
For work lunch this week, I finally tried the famous Quinoa everyone's been talking about. For the longest time, I was pronouncing it "Kwin-oh'-ah" (c'mon, you know you all did it at one point)*, but thanks to Veganomicon, I now know the correct pronunciation! Keen'-wah!
After cooking up a batch, I mixed in corn, black beans, peppers, green onions, cilantro, celery, tomatoes and avocados. For the dressing, it was simply olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, flax oil, salt, pepper and chilli powder. Mmmm... Quinoa has a very harvesty, earthy taste, but I dig it. I think after all that junk I had consumed the past few days, the whole grain will do me good in cleaning out my system.
So, that's all for now, folks. I probably won't be updating again until after Christmas, but I do want to make a quick note to wish everyone a happy celebration this month. See, the whole 'pc' thing irritates me, because I don't get it. Personally, I would NEVER be insulted if someone said 'Happy Hanukkah' to me, even though I don't celebrate it. I would say it right back and mean it. People get offended too often and too easily these days. Whatever you celebrate, as long as it is in good cheer and means being giving, thankful and spending time with loved ones, then I am happy for you and I wish you the best.
So instead of the boring and annoying 'Happy Holidays' (whatever that means), I give to you the following:
*I also pronounced 'agave' as "ah'-gayve" until this Saturday when friend and fellow Acrasjia web mistress, Elly Blue, made some tea with Agave nectar and happened to say the word appropriately.