Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Geese X-Ing

So I fibbed a bit. I really haven't been back around, have I?

We're still in the midst of recording our EP and a lot of other crap is going on in my life that is taking up a lot of time and energy. I've decided that I will be taking a little bit longer of a break from blogging. It makes me sad, but I don't want to continue half-a$$ing it. Once recording is finished and I get my life back in order, I will be back on here regularly, sharing and reading about delicious foods and other such projects.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a story with all of you that I knew you could appreciate.

I was on the highway the other day, heading to Andrea's house. It was on 93 North, somewhat close to Lowell.

So I'm cruising at around 70mph when all of a sudden, I see a ton of cars in front of me come to an abrupt halt. I kinda slammed on my brakes... Well, I kept pumping my foot on the brake pedal rather than slam it all the way down because I have this terrible fear that the guy behind me is going to come crashing into my rear.

So I keep getting closer and closer to the car in front of me and it was making me very nervous because my brakes aren't the best. At the last second, I stop just in time, leaving a comfortable space between my car and the other's car's rear bumper.

I'm all panick-stricken and aggravated. I HATE when cars just slow down and stop from 70-0. See, my car just can't do that so easily. I have to slow down a good deal before I can totally stop.

As soon as I get there, the cars start picking up the pace again, continuing on their journey down the highway. I turn my head, thinking I'm going to see a broken down car or a statie or some such when, much to my surprise, I see little feathered friends waddling into the woods.

It was a goose with her baby goslings!

Immediately a grin appeared on my face as I shouted, 'Geese crossing!' (Mike was in the car with me, I'm not that effin' weird.)

It truly did make my day and completely erase the fear and frustration I had from almost crashing into the car in front of me. Cute, little geese were just trying to get across the road.

But the part that REALLY made me happy was that all the people stopped for 'em. This isn't like an elk coming at your window. If you run over a coupla birds they won't be fine, but your car will. So I feel these people were stopping out of the goodness of their hearts.

And that set the mood for my day. :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

To All of You

Today is tough for me, but I wanted to wish all of you who are mothers a very happy Mother's Day and to all of you who still have your mums, cherish today and every day you have with them. Give them a hug for me. :)

Rest in peace, mum.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Miss Me?

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Sorry I disappeared for so long. Not only did I move to a new department at work where internet time is virtually impossible, I am also in the midst of recording with the band. Everything's coming along real well, we're very excited. But more on that later.

Thanks to those of you who checked in on me. I am fine and still cooking away!

In fact, we had a coupla birthdays go by, as you may remember me mentioning in my last entry from so long ago. The first one was for guitarist and friend, Matt. See, his all-time favourite poison of choice is Guinness. It's not for me, but different strokes for different folks!

In honor of his love for the liqour, I made a 4-layer chocolate cake with chocolate and buttercream frosting in the shape of a mug of Guinness!

Matt's cake

(Sorry for the lopsided picture. I didn't mean to force you guys to turn your heads sideways. I forgot to upload the better pictures and they're at home right now! Perhaps I will do a little post in-between posts to show you some better angles.)

I have to admit, I got the idea from something I saw online, but mine is vegan so it's automatically that much cooler. Of course, as always, Mike helped with the label design, made entirely of marzipan and frosting. I shouldn't even use the word 'helped'. He actually did the whole label on his own.

Speaking of Mike, he turned the big 3-0 this year and little did he know, I had been planning a big surprise party for him. It turned out amazing- all our friends and family were there to celebrate with lots and lots of awesome food and he was plenty surprised! Let me tell you, I had TONS of cooking to do. In fact, I took a whole day off from work and was cooking from 9 in the morning to 11 o'clock at night (with minimal breaks). I am like a machine when it comes to this stuff!

Firstly, I am going to do some picture recycling. For the main meal, I made V-Con's Pumpkin Baked Ziti since it's so fabulous. FOUR pans of it!

Baked Pumpkin Ziti

Next, seeing as Mike is a HUUUGE peanut butter fan, I made The Joy of Vegan Baking's unbelievably delicious peanut butter cookie recipe, tossing in some white chocolate chips (an idea entirely of my own).

Peanut Butter cookies

I can't even begin to tell you how sweet and yummy these cookies are. In fact, here's a close up if you need a more visual idea:

Peanut Butter cookie

Did I mention Mike is also a lover of bananas and all things banana flavoured? I could not think of anything more perfect than Vegan Cupcake's Take Over the World's Elvis version Banana cupcakes with Peanut Butter frosting!

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

This recipe came from the banana split recipe without the 'split' part. Isa and Terry suggested taking out the chocolate and pineapples and filling it with peanut butter frosting. Unbelievable! These were the real winners at the party.

Even though Mike was turning 30, we still went all out with silly decorations and things (more pictures later) all Super Hero themed! To keep with it, I purchased Spiderman cupcake liners. How cute are these?

Cupcake wrapper

We also had hummus and tabouli wraps on whole wheat. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of these because I was running around like a madwoman. But let me assure you, if you haven't had hummus and tabouli wraps by now, you're a very bad vegan. Or person, in general. ;) Something sooooo delicious, yet so simple. And it's not even fattening! Who woulda thunk?

We had lots of organic soda, chips, popcorns, salsas, ice cream, etc... (things we rarely ever buy, in fact, much to the joy of our GI tracts). But the best part, of course, was his birthday cake!

I was having trouble deciding what to do because I usually bake the cakes and make the frosting while Mike decorates them. He's an illustrator and a very talented one, at that! I, myself, well... I suck. I can make food taste good, but I have trouble making it look like art.

So I finally decided on a Spiderman design (still sticking to the theme). Using all natural plant-based dyes, I whipped up a few frostings and set to work on my 18 inch German Chocolate sheet cake- my favourite recipe from Sinfully Vegan. I filled the insides with strawberry buttercream and began my journey into the land of frosting art.

Here is what I came up with:

Mikey cake

Mikey cake D

Mikey cake B

In the end, I was very proud of my accomplishments. I was excited to show everyone, but was sorely disappointed when I kept getting laughs and 'that's cute!'. I suppose I have to admit, it IS more 'cute' than anything else, but I was hoping for a few 'really cool's'. This is why I leave the cake design to the art department (Mike) on most occassions.

In the end, Mike really, really loved it and thought it was awesome. And I know that's all that REALLy counts.

Oh, and the fact that this cake was DELICIOUS! And it was also HUGE. I had to send tons of people home with slices.

So I've got a lot more catching up to do with picture posting, but I'll end it here for now.

After all this junk, Mike and I have finally commenced our 'Liver Detox Diet'. I had done lots of research and finally scheduled out an eating plan for the next 4 weeks. I'll be doing a full post on it later, but basically it consists of 2 weeks of eating the best you can (lots of fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts, etc...) with herbal liver support teas as well as FRESH juices, all day long. Lots of peeing will be going on, I tell ya. After the two-week mark, we will go on a strictly fresh juice and herbal tea fast for two days with an all-water fruit diet the third day. This is when the real 'clean-out' begins. Then 2 weeks following the fast, we continue our super, squeaky clean diet. After that, we can go back to eating mostly healthy with a few treats here and there. This is something that should ideally be done twice a year.

I am excited to reap the benefits of this detox! From all my research and the testomials I've heard and read, doing this will give me tons more energy and strength, clear up any acne, make me smell better (not that I smell bad now!!! Well, not TOO bad...) make me feel more rested in the morning, bring my mood way up, put a bounce in my step and just create a bright glow in me all around. I'm also back to exercising, which is always an amazing feeling. This way of living has been a long-time coming. I've still got vocal recording to do, so I'm sure this diet will boost my confidence and help keep up my stamina with long hours in the studio!

Anywho, I will shut the hell up now so I can catch up with all of your blogs. I've missed your guys and your awesome food!

Let's just hope I can get past the tempting desserts...

Friday, March 14, 2008

When Life Gets in the Way

Am I the only one on earth who realizes that March is the month of birthdays? Every month of the year (besides March), I either know and/or hear of 0-3 people with birthdays. Not March! It's one birthday after another! I have 7 close friends and family born in this month, not to mention a surplus of other people I know of that have birthdays in March. I bet a ton of you have March birthdays, don't you? You can go ahead and admit it! ;)

Well, this brings me to why I haven't been very blog-active the past couple of weeks. I've been very busy planning and preparing for birthdays (lots of cooking, you see) as well as an Easter meal that's coming up. Oh, and not to mention... we set the recording date!!! This means we've been practicing our butts off. We actually decided against going with Sanctum Sound, as fancy as they are, because they were waaaay too expensive. We checked out a couple more places and ended up sealing the deal with New Alliance Studio in Cambridge. The producer is really cool, laid back and most importantly- his main shtick is metal! They also have a mastering studio next door (he's affiliated with New Alliance) that will lower our price for going with NA. So we're pretty pysched. You can expect some updates on that very soon. We'll be recording on April 19 & 20 as well as the 26th and 27th. That'll get a good chunk done. We'll be booking future dates to finish it up very soon.

Lastly, my work company is moving! This means that I'm going into a different department where I won't have access to the internet quite as much. Normally I update and read all of your blogs at work, so it's going to take some time to transfer all that reading and writing to evenings and weekends. But I will! I promise!

In the meantime, I made two V-Con recipes to tide you over!

First: Baked Pumpkin Ziti


Yet another V-Con recipe that's been making the rounds! I knew this was going to come out delicious. And you know what? I actually accidentally used the recipe for tofu ricotti as opposed to the cashew ricotta it called for. Whoops! It was still excellent. It was very reminiscent of my mother's baked macaroni and cheese, so it brought back a lot of nice memories.

The only complaint I have is that the pumpkin flavour was a little weak. I know it was more for a bit of sweetness than pumpkiny-ness, but it failed on both counts. It didn't really matter, though- the bread crumb topping was simple yet delicious! I know I could have eaten them even without the ziti. Definitely a must-make!

Second: Chocolate Chip Waffles (with a dollop of vanilla yogurt)


Three words: OH MY GOD! These were utterly amazing! I would say they were definitely more dessert than breakfast. I'd eat 'em after dinner anytime. The chocolate ooey-gooey goodness was complete heaven. Alas, I cannot take the credit. I was going to make them, but got distracted by my NEW JUICER! (More on that in a moment.) So Mike, impatient as ever, started preparing measurements. Then he ended up mixing the batter. Which, in turn, caused him to actually make the whole recipe. I didn't mind. He did an amazing job. So make these! They are like brownies in waffle form. Mmmm...

Now, for my juicer! I may have to do a whole entry dedicated to this. It is truly wondrous. I have to admit, I was a little scared when I first turned it on. The sound it makes is like a horror movie (maybe it's just my model?), but that didn't stop me from throwing in a TON of spinach. The green liquid looked like something from Dr. Dreadful. Does anyone remember that game? I was scared at first to try it but when I did... well, it wasn't bad! It tasted, um, like spinach. So the next morning I got to making a new juice from my juice and smoothie book.


I forget the name of the drink, but I DO remember what was in it:

Fresh strawberry puree (courtesy of my food processor)
Apple Juice
Carrot Juice (homemade!)

It was very good, even better than the strawberry juice from a week ago! I am so excited to try all the different combinations- fruit and veggie alike! It's unbelievably healthy for you. In fact, I firmly believe that FRESH fruit and veggie juice is the healthiest thing you can put in your body. There are many organic supplements and herbal teas and, of course, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc... that are vital to a strong, healthy body, but fresh fruit and veggie juice is vital for... well... EVERYTHING! Not only can they prevent degenerative diseases, they can also get rid of cancer cells, viruses and harmful bacterial infections. Among many, many other things. Consider them a vacuum of all harm for your body. Or a destroyer of harm.

Get a juicer and get juicin'!

I promise I will be back with updates on the band recordings, birthday treats I've made as well as the day-to-day yummies. I am going to do my best to get myself up-to-date with your blogs. The office closes at noon today, so I'll do what I can. I really miss reading your posts! But I'll be back. Sometimes life just... gets in the way, ya know? ;)

Oh, and because I know that many of you can probably appreciate this this month: Happy Birthday!!!!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Just a Wee Post Between Posts

Since the Rocky Horror gala, I haven't been going crazy cooking. Sometimes, with work and all, I need to take a break. Well, I guess it's mainly due to lack of money and the crazy amount of bucks organic and fresh produce costs. In any case, I still had an itchin' to do some home-cookin' that wasn't too time consuming or pocket-emptying.

Saturday night I made my first-ever pesto sauce. I wasn't too sure I would like it, as I had only had pesto once before. I thought the flavour was too strong at the time. But I have this goal where I have to make everything at least once (within my ethics, of course), so out came the fresh basil and parsely!


It may look like green goup, but this pesto sauce was incredibly delicious! I guess that's what happens when something calls for three cloves of garlic (did I ever mention I LOVE garlic?)! The recipe said it yielded 4-6 servings and at first I just couldn't believe it. The pesto filled up a little bowl and no more, no matter how much I scraped at the processor. Well, let's just say I had no idea how very little pesto sauce needs to be spread on one bowl of pasta! The flavour was pretty intense. I actually woke up the next morning with the taste of garlic overwhelming my mouth. It's not very pleasant aftermath, but it was worth it for an amazing and simple dinner.

As a matter of fact, Mike later told me that he woke up in the middle of the night with such a strong flavour of garlic in his mouth that 'forced' him to go down to the kitchen and have a spoonful of ice cream to get the taste off his tongue!

So, yes. I advise just a little dollop of pesto per bowl unless you are man enough and can take the power of garlic! At the very least, garlic is extremely healthy for you- it wards off germs that may plague the immune system AND it wards off vampires. ;)

For Sunday dinner, I whipped up a batch of 'Mocked Clam Chowdah'. I admit, I've never tasted clam chowder a day in my life. Besides the clam part, it always looked so appetizing to me. It's so creamy and smoothe. So luckily I've found a recipe in one of my veggie cook books that makes a pretty damn-good replacement.


It's a lot chunkier than your average chowder, but that was probably my fault because I couldn't bare to puree anymore of the soup. I love chunky potatoes! It didn't matter, though. It was delicious. It contained onions, potatoes, thyme, salt, pepper, carrots, celery and sauteed tofu with tamari sauce and kelp powder all topped with Frontier vegan Bac'uns (bacon-less bacon bits!)!!

The Bac'uns are awesome, by the way. This whole weekend I've been dumping them on just about everything I ate. Buy them. Now. Seriously.

Lastly, I've really been getting into fresh juice. As a matter of fact, my juicer was supposed to come in the mail on Friday. But the stupid company that sent it decided they want me to be there to sign for it directly and I have to have my i.d. proving that I am an adult. I find that irking, purely based on principle: What if I was under 21? In any case, I haven't been home, so I'm going to end up having to drive half an hour to get it on Saturday. So aggravating!

But! When I do get it, I will be quite a happy camper. :)

In the meantime, I've been using my food processor and pre-packaged juices (organic) to tide me over.

First, I present, Apricot Orange Juice.


This had to have been the most delicious juice I've had in a long while! The Apricot Nectar was purchased in the container, but the oranges were freshly squeezed and it really made a difference. The powerful burst of citrus was amazing. I felt like I was drinking liquid candy. I couldn't get enough!

Next, I made a juice called 'Adam's Rib'. Kinda freaky name. But I dig it.


It contained soy milk, apple juice and ten fresh strawberries. At first I thought it was going to be a lot like strawberry milk, but it ended up tasting like strawberry juice. It wasn't a huge disappointment, though. I felt a little healthier about drinking it.

And what's more important than drinking a good cup of health, eh?

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Very Rocky Horror V-Day!

Not to let Valentines Day pass me by without some sort of silly celebration, I decided I was going to have a small party in honor of one of my favourite movies, 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'.

I've always been a huge fan of this zaney cult-classic. This raunchy, ridiculous, hilariously crazy, over-the-top rock musical has me written all over it! After years of watching the movie (and going to the play), I finally decided to celebrate it's unique awesomeness through a showing of the film including themed food, drinks and music. I guess the inspiration truly came from the fact that two of my friends (and band members) had not seen the movie before. Ah, what shame! At least now they can no longer say that.

I must warn some of you, do to the nature of Rocky Horror and the more adult side of Valentines Day, you may find some slightly offensive language and content in the paragraphs to follow. If this type of thing doesn't fit your sense of humour and isn't quite your cup of tea, go ahead and skip this post. I'll be back with a new post next week.

Now, onto the themed food!


To celebrate those infamous lips that sing to us in introduction and grace the cover of the dvd, I made lip-shaped sugar cookies! It's difficult to get a real red color with India Tree Die, so the royal icing is more of a magenta color. It's okay, 'cause it still fits (as you'll see later).


These were the first to be gobbled up. I have to admit, it's the most delicious sugar cookie I've ever made (Joy of Vegan Baking!!!).

Now for characters!

First, we shall start with my personal favourite (and probably many others'), Dr. Frank N. Furter, played by one of my heroes, Tim Curry.


Frank is a transvestite that enjoys the pleasures of both men and women as well as wearing glitter, haut couteur, sequins and platform heels (he also has an amazing singing voice!). However, there is more to this effeminate man than meets the eye. He is a mad scientist! Like Frankenstein, he learned how to create life itself using crazy colored chemicals and god knows what else in his laboratory.

In honor of Dr. Frank N. Furter, I whipped up a batch of Pigs in a Blanket. Only I didn't call them that. This vegan version of an old favourite has been renamed:



I used a homemade biscuit recipe, wrapping the dough around tofu pups and throwing them in the oven at 450 for 15 minutes. They were a huge hit! This title is not only named after the mad scientist, but also falls along the lines of sexual innuendo. I mean, they are wieners, afterall.

Then there is, of course, Frank N. Furter's prized creation, Rocky. Rocky is a buff, strong, muscle man, 'born' the day of Janet's and Brad's unexpecting visit to the castle. His perfect bod gets Charles Atlas' 'seal of approval', according to Frank.


In honor of his name, I purchased some Rocky Road Ice Cream!


Only... they really didn't have vegan Rocky Road. So instead, we had chocolate with pecans and carob with almonds. Close enough! The important part is that it had lots of nuts in it, rocky and bumpy just as Rocky's hard-as-steel muscle and rocks in his head!

Next we have Eddie. Eddie was a no-good, rebellious punk who ran away from home. He got mixed up with the 'wrong crowd' and ended up dying (cause unknown). He found his way in Dr. Frank N. Furter's hands and was brought back to life. He was even crazier in the end after emerging from the freezer on his bad-ass motorcycle.


If you haven't seen this movie, you wouldn't know that this character was played by the famous recording artist, Meatloaf. I'm pretty sure you can guess what food we had in honor of him?

You guessed it- Meatloaf.


My cousin, Robyn, whipped this up from a recipe found online. It was so delicious. I remember hating meatloaf growing up, but this is the veggie version, so of course it tasted ten thousand times better. The seasonings lended a much fancier flavour than your average loaf.

Up next is Dr. Everett Von Scott. He is a professor of physics and chemistry who ends up getting caught in Frank N. Furter's laboratory after snooping around, looking for his nephew, Eddie. Frank believes his true plan is to search for extraterrestrial life (he's onto Frank's plan).


If you know anything about this movie, you'll know that plays and theatre productions always bring in the cult fanatics, wearing boas and glitz and ruby red lipstick. They're most known for the audience interaction, in which there is a well-known script for the fans to shout out during certain scenes in movies as well as throwing items at the screen and getting up and dancing during certain numbers. Well, for Dr. Scott, what better item to throw than toilet paper? Toilet paper really has nothing to do with this character other than the fact that a huge brand name is 'Scott Tissues'.

So, Elly Blue fixed up a batch of cinnamon rolls we named 'Dr. Scott Rolls'.


We ate them with a simple sugar glaze, but to keep with the theme of the night, I sprinkled powdered sugar on one of them to somewhat resemble toilet paper.

The next characters I will present are Brad and Janet. They are an innocent, healthy couple that took a wrong turn on the way to Brad's friend and colleague Dr. Scott's house. After blowing a tire, they decided to make their way to a mysterious castle they passed a few miles back. Of course their lives were changed forever after ringing that doorbell.

Janet is a sweet, naïve woman who is a virgin in dire need of some passion.


A few scenes after cheating on her fiancé with the very persuasive Frank N. Furter, an angry song is sung to her by the Doctor himself in which this line is said: 'Your apple pie don't taste too nice!'

So very appropriately, I made 'Janet's Apple Pie'.


I got this recipe from 'The Joy of Vegan Baking'. If you do not have this book, I strongly urge you to purchase it. I haven't heard too much about it on the blogosphere, and it makes me sad. I've made several dishes from her book and I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious each and every recipe is. Everyone- including omni friends and family- just love these recipes. This was my first pie crust. The author walked the reader through it so perfectly that it came out pretty darn good! So go buy it! Now!

The apple pie, much like Janet, is sweet and sexy. But quite contrary to Frank N. Furter's opinion, this apple pie tasted quite nice!

Brad, on the other hand, is a geeky, overly-confident, egotistical man. He's a quite rude to his fiancé at times. He also took part in some cheating. So it's no wonder he was dubbed 'asshole' by the audience. Every time he appears, the whole theatre shouts it out loud, throwing popcorn at the screen.


In honor of his name, Mike made a 'Brad's Asshole Cake'.

I put this under a cut in case you don't have a sense of humour. The cake is definitely a naughty one, but much more comical than dirty.

Mike used two rounded casserole tins for a chocolate cake. Once they were done, he proceeded to shape and frost the bum cheeks. We used India Tree Natural dye for the frosting, putting in a drop of pink and a couple drops of yellow for a realistic-looking skin color.

Next is my second-favourite, Magenta. She is a 'domestic', or maid, who is a quiet watcher. She sees just about everything going on in that castle- nothing gets past her eyes.

Magenta Full New

To celebrate in honor of the name, very appropriate due to her raspberry red lips and wild red hair, I blended a Magenta Smoothie.


Nothing says 'magenta' like juicy, fresh raspberries!

Onto drinks and the remaining characters! (This is the unhealthy part of the party... so sue me!)

Riff-Raff is Frank N. Furter's lowly servant, brother to Magenta.

Riff Raff

He has a very dry sense of humour, very quiet throughout most of the movie. He's pretty bitter, so you'll find him drinking quite a bit and doing just about anything to foil his Master's plans. Spoofing Frankenstein's Igor, Riff-Raff has a hump on the top of his back, adding some creepiness to the atmosphere.

After looking online, I found a drink mix called, 'Dry Hump'. Perfect, for his dry personality, the hump on his back and, of course, the obvious connotation.


This was a very hard mix of liqours. I only had a small, taste, myself. When I do drink, I am more of a fruit mix kinda gal.

The next drink on the list is named after Columbia. Columbia is Frank N. Furter's groupie.


She's been around the castle for a long time, falling for Frank's original experiment, Eddie. She's a very loud, squeaky, fiery girl, who presents quite an impressive tap dance for us in her introductory song (with a funny tumble at the end). Thus, the drink is called 'Tap That Ass'. Another fun combo of symbolism and innuendo.


It's a very fruity drink with blends of tropical plants and organic cranberry juice. Most loved this one the best.

Lastly, I give you a very general drink, simple entitled 'Transvestite'.

The song 'Sweet Transvestite' is my absolute favourite number. It really sets the mood for the entire movie.


The drink is a blend of lemonade, vodka and peach. This was my favourite as it was very light on the liver as well as the taste buds. I stuck to this until the lemonade ran out!

Thanks for sticking around to the end. If you haven't seen 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show', go watch it, now! You might enjoy it even more if you find a play going on in your area. It's a crazy, wild, nonsensical movie that's not afraid to poke fun at sexuality in all humans and that's what makes it so great!

So good day, my unconventional conventionalists! We really must do the Time Warp again real soon!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dog Music?

Well, now, this is just odd.

According to this Yahoo! news article, '...a song audible only to dogs has topped New Zealand record charts, and is looking to go global.'

It's recorded at a frequency only canines can hear. It's supposed to be soothing to dogs, but there have been cases reported where the dog starts flipping out and going crazy. Other dogs, it seems to have no effect on whatsoever.

Animal Rights activists are against it because of the violent attacks it causes in some dogs. However, sales are sky rocketing. Everyone wants their dog to hear music, apparently.

What are your thoughts on this?

Personally, it freaks me out and I don't like it. Dogs can hear mid to bass tones just fine. That's how they recognize their owner's voice or jump when they hear a bang or a crash. I've never seen a dog get all excited when music was playing. In fact, high pitches usually hurt their ears and make them crazy. Why on earth would some crazy person think this invention was cool or even necessary in the least?

You want to please your dog? Here's what you do. You feed them daily (preferably organic food), give them fresh water, take them for walks, play with them, scratch behind their ears, rub their bellies and tell them how much you love them. Nothing is more pleasing to a dog's ears than the sound of their human pal's voice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nude Valentine Petits

Ah, Valentines Day. I can't tell you how many bitter people I come across who angrily curse this holiday up and down, declaring it a commercial holiday and nothing to be thought twice about. Then there are those who are all about the day, stocking up on chocolate hearts, writing and sending cards, planning fancy dates and wearing pink and red all day long. I don't know if I should be admitting to this... but I am part of the latter group.

For most of my life, I was 'flying solo'- a choice of my own (I had no time for such things as relationships!). Despite how many love birds I saw giving each other flowers and sweets and more than enough ooey-gooey affections, I just could not be bitter about the day. Granted, it's not an entirely important holiday, but it is an excuse for the creative mind to get to work!

I've always loved Valentines day, ever since I was a youngin'. Picking out, signing and bringing in cards for my classmates was the highlight of the month! Of course I never forgot to attach the little lollipops and Sweet Tarts. Once I returned home, my bag filled to the brim with Valentine wishes and candy galore, it was like Halloween all over again (but without the spooky stuff)!

As I grew older, it was fun to exchange candies and cards with my parents, who even went to the trouble of finding vegan candy upon my dietary and lifestyle changes. I'd always find a teddy bear and a rose waiting for me on my pillow after a long day of school and/or work. Of course, wanting a 'Valentine', my close friend, Janelle, and I would always claim each other (being a bit silly about it, of course) as an excuse to get each other yummy goodies and eat out at a fine restaurant on Newbury Street.

These days I have an actual Valentine. :) But that doesn't stop me from my old traditions- As a matter of fact, my other Valentine this year is my 3-year-old nephew, Kenny. He made me a little colorful paper heart (which I hung on my fridge).

Now, of course, comes the best part of this holiday- treats for everyone!

Last year I had made peanut butter balls to share with family and co-workers. The year before I made this awesome creation:

Now this year, I decided to challenge myself even further.

LoLo's Petit Fours!

In my opinion, there are yummy, sweet, happy desserts that everyone can find in just about any cookbook (cookies, brownies, pies, cupcakes, etc...) Then there are those desserts. You know the ones I'm talking about- the kind they serve in high-end restaurants and bakeries, where the flavour is like something from a dream? Not only does it taste amazing, but it always looks like heaven in a mold of sugar- pretty colors from childhood dreams, fluffy white clouds, creamy bliss and perfection. So perfect, in fact, you'd find a similar-looking treat in glittery porcelain dessert decor! This is where white chocolate, ganache, mousse, marzipan, fondant and food coloring (natural, of course) come in.

For a more visual example, those exact treats I'm talking about can be found in just about every frame of Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. I think all of her desserts were pink and white, actually!


These kinds of recipes are so hard to find, especially for a vegan.

However! I checked up on Vegan Yum Yum and found the cutest, sweetest, dreamiest dessert: Petit Fours!


Petit Fours are little, tiny cakes, covered in fondant and often decorated with buttercream, marzipan and chocolate. Just looking at them, one has to wonder, am I in dreamland?

The cake recipe is incredible! It's so simple- vanilla & lemon cake with a raspberry filling. But somehow, after layering and topping with marzipan, it becomes a magickal delight.


Of course LoLo did a wonderful job on the fondant presentation, but I didn't have as much luck. This was my first time making fondant, so I forgive myself for botching it up. I wanted a pink covering, but ended up somehow not having enough to cover all of the squares.

Oh, and it was the wrong consistency. So it looked like candle wax:


I guess I could always call them Candle Fours...

The taste of the cake inside is still devine, and so is the texture, so that is what's most important. All the taste-testers found it to be delicious and wonderous, so I know I passed on that.

As for the remaining baby cakes, what did I do? Well, I kept them naked! (Very appropriate for Valentine's Day, don't you think?) Thus, re-titling them as 'Naked Petits'.


I do plan on practicing with fondant in the near future so I can get my desserts to look as amazing and fancy as the bakery's. I found this site, which will aid me in that. My cousin is getting married in June and I already have some ideas... White chocolate, anyone? ;)

If anyone wants to purchase an extremely belated gift or if you simply wanna jot this down for next year, Rose City has an awesome traditional Valentine Chocolate Heart Box.

The chocolates are all-vegan, Belgian, some filled with creams, others solid, and they are INSANELY delicious. Heck, you should buy from them even if it isn't Valentine's Day!

Whether you are very much in love, dating, or as single as the day you were born, I hope you had a very, very wonderfully happy Valentines Day. Give a friend a hug. Write a card. Bake some goodies. Make a child smile. All in the name of the quality of life. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Usual Weekend

I'd like to start this blog by saying we've finally confirmed our studio! We had our consultation at Sanctum Sound and we were sold right away.


It definitely has a very cozy interior with nice ambiance and atmosphere for getting into the groove. It's gonna cost us an arm and a leg, of course, but hopefully our talents and perseverance will pay off in the end.

Now for the fuel:

Saturdays usually consist of fairly long practices, so I try to have some food ready for Mike and myself since we're the only vegheads of the band. This week I made How it All Vegan's 'S&M Salad'. Hence the name, this salad is supposed to be extremely spicey, mixing in 1 tsp of cayenne or red pepper flakes AND 1 tsp of wasabi. WOW! The salad seemed so yummy but I am not a fan of wasabi in the least. To me, it tastes, smells and burns like rubbing alcohol. So, in the end, I left that out. AND, being that I am a wimp when it comes to hot and spicy things, I halved the red pepper flakes, giving it just the right amount of bite without burning your tongue off.


So I guess we could call this 'Not Quite S&M Salad'. In the end, it was really good. It had sautéed tofu, butternut squash, onion, mushrooms, carrots, red pepper, cucumber, faux parmesan (toasted sesame seeds, nooch and salt blended up)with rice vinegar. It also called for 'spicy Japanese sprouts' but I had NO idea what they were talking about. Someone on the PPK suggested Kaiware sprouts, but they were nowhere to be found. Not even at an Asian market! In the end, we subbed Kaiware with alfalfa and it turned out just fine. We had ours over a bed of brown rice. It was so delicious, we finished it in the car on the way back from the studio!

Sunday afternoon was a great day, for I got back into cardio exercise! This time I was smart about it and didn't go head-first into something my body wasn't used to (I have a lot of horror stories due to my impatience). Instead of jogging right away, I did a little power walking with Mikey. We're doing our best to be active, strong, healthy and filled with stamina (it's key for those stage shows). Despite the wretched wind and rain, we had our 30 minute walk and felt better for it!

As an energizing reward, I whipped up another HIAV concotion: Ban-ini Smoothie.


It sounded so good and sweet, containing frozen bananas, soy milk, agave nectar and vanilla extract that I was quite excited about it. Banana smoothies are so similar to vanilla frappes, in my opinion, but a healthier alternative.

The only odd ingredient was the 3 tbsp of Tahini. Mike was especially wary of it. He thought it would ruin the yummy banana/vanilla flavour. Well, not one to turn down a challenge, I threw in the tahini and blended away.

The result? Well, the smoothie was very yummy and sweet with the tahini lending a very peanut-buttery taste. However, there was a downside. The after-taste was a little strange. Not so much so we couldn't finish off the drinks, but I think I'd put less tahini in there next time.

For dinner, I made lentil soup. The ingredients had called for a can of diced tomatoes and of course I ended up accidentally tossing in a can of tom sauce instead. In the end, I decided I wasn't going to waste any of the soup so we ate it with my mistake in there. It actually wasn't so bad. It was very reminiscent of pasta sauce, but that was okay.


Contains: 1 large onion, 2 stalks celery, 2 medium carrots, green lentils, veggie stalk, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce (accidental), tomato paste, 2 small potatoes, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, chopped spinach & fresh parsely.

Since Mike is all lentiled-out (his mother makes lentil soup for him just about every week), I made black bean burgers as well. This isn't the recipe from V-con. This is actually a recipe my mother had used ever since I first became vegan, five years ago, and I've loved it ever since. Chickpea cutlets? Meh, okay. Seitan cutlets? I've had better. But black bean burgers? Delicious!


Black beans offer so much more flavour in burger form, plus they are extremely easy to work with. Mashing them and forming them couldn't be easier.

Of course I remember Tropical Vegan requested the recipe a while ago- I have not forgotten you! I've just been everywhere at once, but I finally got to it. :) It's posted at the end of this entry.

Lastly, for work lunch, I made V-Con's 'Prospect Park Potato Salad'.


I don't care that it's not summer time. Potato salad is amazing! I had to give all the grains a break and go for some root vegetable. Let me tell you- this isn't any typical potato salad. This is simply because of the addition of 1/4 of a cup of dijon mustard! Now, if you know me, you KNOW I am in heaven! Definitely try it out and do bring it to cookouts for your friends and family to try once the warmer weather hits. You won't be disappointed!

Black Bean Burgers:
Serves 2

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1/4 cup diced and sautéed onions
2 slices whole wheat or multigrain bread, finely crumbled
1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, black pepper and onion powder (optional)
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 cup bread crumbs or cracker crumbs
In large bowl, mash the drained black beans. Add the sautéed onions, crumbled bread, and spices. Mix thoroughly. Add about 1/4 cup of cracker crumbs (or just enough to be able to form patties from the mixture). Using your hands, form the mixture into 1/2-inch thick patties. For a breaded burger, gently coat each patty with more cracker or bread crumbs.

In a lightly oiled non-stick pan, fry both sides of the patties. Serve with a garnish of lettuce, tomatoes, avocado or any other veggie and condiment of your choice on buns or over a bed of rice.