Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let the Gluten Free Adventures Begin!

Since being told I should try out gluten free, life has seemed just a little bit more complicated. There's none of that "I'm tired and don't feel like cooking so I'll just make a sandwich" anymore since, even if I can find a delicious gluten free premade bread without eggs, most fake vegan meat is made with gluten. So I again apologize in advance for a longer period between posts.

But to recap what's been going on lately, here are a few things I've been trying:

A pumpkin spice latte:

Personally I don't drink coffee - don't like the taste, the caffeine, and it tends to make me pretty sick after, but Seth happens to be a big coffee drinker so when I saw this recipe for a vegan pumpkin spice latte I knew I had to try it! I tried a little sip after topping it with Soyatoo and some cinnamon sugar and thought it was pretty delicious and considering Seth drank about 4 cups of it, I'd say it was a hit.

Next up is my organization of all our gluten free flours:

Yes, this is what your kitchen will look like if you go gluten free and yes, you will find yourself searching down countless aisles at the grocery store for mysterious ingredients like Sorghum flour and Xantham Gum. Whether some, or any, of these will help make delicious meals still stands to be seen.

It was a pretty relaxing weekend at our house, for once, and a much needed one at that - but as much as I crave relaxing weekends, when I actually have one I find myself slightly jittery. My foot starts tapping, I start searching around frantically for something to do and yes, I recognize this is probably something that means I need to take yoga or some form of meditation, but regardless, it happens. So what better way to spend a "relaxing" day than by crafting?

My coworker's wife is having a baby and their baby shower is this weekend so a few of my female coworkers and I decided to get together and get them a gift. I took on the task of actually braving Babies R' Us and while I was at it decided to try my hand at making a diaper cake for the first time. Here's how it turned out:

The company we work for happens to have some ties to owls, hence the theme of the cake. They're made of felt and stuffed! Overall I thought it came out pretty cute - maybe I have a future in diaper cake making?

And finally, I'll leave you with our most recent attempt at gluten free vegan cooking: spinach and artichoke souffles from here

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happiest of Halloweens to You (Slightly late)!

So I've been slacking lately on my posts - you know it, I know it, but I promise there's an explanation. I recently got a food allergy test and, while there's nothing I'm violently allergic to, I have a lot of slight intolerances (sesame, peanuts, cashews, yeast, gluten, and wheat to name a few) which have resulted in my doctor telling me to adopt a gluten free diet and avoid all those other little ingredients.

Cue panic-stricken Heather here.

I don't have the slightest idea of how to even begin to go gluten free, yet alone of how to make any sort of cheesy, creamy vegan sauce without cashews or nutritional yeast, and thus I haven't posted anything because I've basically been eating salad and potatoes and cowering in the corner.

But I knew I needed at least one last Halloween post, even if I haven't posted it until November.

Here it is - jack o'lantern personal pizzas on a cornmeal crust

The crust was straight out of the Uncheese Cookbook and these lovely little guys are topped with pepper and pepperoni to make their festive faces.

We also were lucky enough to have the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival this past weekend and to get to sample all of their goodies. One thing we picked up was this adorable gluten free, vegan pumpkin spice cake because I mean, seriously, how cute is that pumpkin on top?

And then, for my first fully gluten free vegan meal attempt, mac and cheese with Tinkyada pasta, balsamic roasted potatoes, and steamed asparagus!

I pulled the balsamic roasted recipe from here and the mac and cheese recipe from here because I'm not quite talented enough in the gluten free world to try to make anything myself yet! But all in all I was pretty impressed with the pasta, though it was a bit mushy and the whole starchiness thing while cooking threw me off a bit. Still, it tasted pretty good!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Brinner, or Breakfast for Dinner to quote Scrubs, is sometimes a necessary event. I'm not a huge breakfast person myself - in fact I'd much rather eat leftover chili or pizza in the morning than any sort of traditional breakfast food, so it makes sense, then, that I'd eat breakfast at dinner instead.

With the craving for hash brown casserole haunting me, I decided to whip up a little Halloween themed brinner.

We enjoyed some spooky eye hash brown casserole, Smart Life bacon strips, and pancakes in adorable Halloween shapes courtesy of our Williams Sonoma mini pancake molds.

The hash brown casserole recipe was copied exactly from Epicurean Vegan's recipe here. Usually I tweak other recipes a bit, but this is so good the way it is thatthe only thing I change is to make my own sour cream because I hate the Tofutti kind. Otherwise, this thing is freaking delicious. Warning: will cause intense cravings at random hours of the day months later and also result in a need to eat the entire casserole dish.

We were in a super big rush so we didn't have time to be all delicate and cautious with our pancakes, but I still think they came out damn cute:

Only 5 days till Halloween!! Are you ready?!?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mummies, Pumpkins, and Costumes, oh my!

This week is turning out to be absolutely insane for us - full of work commitments, Dr. appointments we've been putting off, and ridiculously necessary hair cuts so free time to make dinner has not been readily available. So yes, I'll admit, the recipes this week have been somewhat thrown together and are probably going to continue to be widely reliant on pre-packaged vegan delights. With that caveat in place, I give you last night's meal:

Mummy dogs and jack o'lantern burgers.

The mummies are of course just crescent roll wrapped vegan hot dogs and the Amy's burgers are made festive with some creative cutting into vegan sliced cheese. And what meal would be complete without a ketchup and mustard spider web!

Now I seriously need to get on our costume hunt! Anyone want to throw one together for me?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

This weekend Seth and I decided to take a long, 4+ hour car ride out to Woodstock, NY to visit the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. I had heard about the farm sanctuary from various vegan sites and, after exploring a little more, found that for a $50 donation you can buy a family membership which gets you unlimited visits to the farm as well as discounts at some vegan restaurants in NYC. Plus you get to know that you're helping support the animals, which is always worthwhile.

So we woke up early on Saturday and headed out. It was definitely a long trip, but it was worth it! The tour is informative and interesting. You get to hear the back story of some of their animals as well as see how well they're doing now. It was amazing to see the employees call each animal by its name and to see how much the animals loved them - we're talking pigs that roll over to get their belly scratched, sheep and goats that nuzzle into your hands to be pet, and a dog that paws you when it wants some attention. Seeing how I love cows and pigs, I was pretty much in heaven. Here are a few pics from our trip:

For more information and to help support the farm check out their website. They're also going to have a booth at the Boston Vegetarian Festival this weekend so be sure to stop by!

After such a long drive that weekend, Sunday we were pretty beat so I tried to come up with something Halloween-y that wouldn't have me slaving over the stove for a lot of time.

So here it is, Barbeque Jack O'Lanterns with Forked Adder Tongues and Roasted Ogre Toes:

The sliders are made from Gardein BBQ pulled shreds with BBQ sauce eyes and a celery stalk stem and of course they're paired with steak fries, brussel sprouts, and a spider's web made from ketchup and mayo.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Witch and A Mummy Walk Into A Bar...

Ok, I'm not sure there's actually a joke that starts like that, but it seemed like the perfect way to showcase my Halloween creation for tonight: mummy pizzas and witch hat calzones.

The mummy is just some pizza sauce, strategically placed mozzarella Daiya, black olives and chives. Laying the cheese is the most annoying part and had me desperately wishing for a vegan string cheese alternative, but c'est la vie.

The calzones are crescent rolls filled with a mix of chopped Yves pepperoni slices, Tofutti cream cheese, and Daiya mozzarella that are sprinkled with a basil/garlic seasoning mix and embellished with some cut pepperoni to add a little pizazz to the hat.

Oh AND I just got in a recent order from Pangea! Is there anything this store doesn't have?!?

In case you can't tell from the picture, we got a chicken noodle soup mix, Nacho Mom's Voodoo Queso, two different Dr. McDougall big cup soups, Parmazano, vegan caramels, and three different types of Sweet n' Sara marshmallows - pumpkin spice, mini marshmallows, and that adorable ghost!

I see a lot of soup, caramel apples and hot chocolate with marshmallows in my future and I'm not upset about it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Monster Taco Salad

So last night's premiere on ABC Family was a bit of a disappointment - a Halloween episode of Pretty Little Liars. I don't watch the show, know anyone who watches the show, or have any interest in ever watching the show, so needless to say, I passed.

But tonight is a win! HOCUS POCUS baby! Is there anyone who doesn't like this movie? I mean seriously, Bette Midler, vintage SJP, and it takes place in Salem! It's classic.

And yes, I own this movie. And yes, I can just watch it anytime I want, but there's something more fun about catching it when it's on TV during Halloween!

So in honor of the movie tonight I made up Monster Taco Salads.

I probably should have made something witch themed, but let's not talk about that right now.

The idea was taken from here but obviously veganized and changed a bit.

The Monster Taco Salad is made up of a layer of crushed blue corn tortilla chips, refried beans, Boca crumble mixed with taco seasoning, Daiya mozzarella and cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce.

Assemble the first four layers then stick in the microwave for about a minute to melt the cheese.

Sprinkle the shredded lettuce around the bean/crumble/cheese mixture.

The eyeballs are made out of slices of tomatoes that are filled in with a sour cream/taco seasoning mixture and topped with a sliced black olive.

And the mouth and fangs are just another slice of tomato with plain tortilla chip fangs.

Does anyone else think this kind of looks like Oscar the Grouch? Minus the fangs of course.