I had a big bag o’ taters that I wanted to cook up before they started get all sprouty and happened upon this recipe on Facebook. It was shared by the Vegan Ireland FB page and you’d be hard pressed to find a recipe more Irish than this.
So, my results weren’t perfect, and certainly don’t mirror the pictures of perfection that accompany the recipe here: Vegan Potato Cakes. But, I ate three cakes the first day and saved the three remaining for lunch the next day. I had no troubles with the recipe. My only suggestion is that when following the recipe, the part where it says to add the flour, don’t add all the flour in at once. Maybe start with half and see how dry your batter gets before mixing in the rest. My potato/flour mixture was not fun to work with, so I’m thinking it was a little too dry. I mean everything still worked out, I just think next time I’m going to try with a little less flour and see what happens.
The filling was super easy and because I love mushrooms so much I probably tried to stuff too much into each cake! I actually liked leaving the ‘shrooms and onions to saute at a lower heat – I didn’t have to watch over the stove and could do other things while they were cooking.
When I first sampled my potato cakes, I ate them with just a touch of salt and pepper. But, when I had some for lunch the next day I had a little Just Mayo and ketchup mixed together for a dip to add a little extra flavour.
I was craving something sweet yesterday. Like, real bad. I’d actually been craving vegan donuts all weekend, but because I couldn’t make it to the south side to indulge in Frickin’ Delights donuts at the Strathcona Market. So, I decided to give the good ole college try with this vegan cupcake recipe I found on Babble: http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/the-best-vegan-cupcakes-ever/
Now, I’m not going to say that my cupcakes were the best ever. In fact, they were far from perfect. Next time I’m going to bake for a couple of minutes less as they were just a touch overdone. And while the icing was delicious as is, I wasn’t a fan of the colour, so I’d add some food colouring just to make the cupcakes a little more festive. Otherwise, my favourite vanilla on top of vanilla taste combination was more than satisfactory. My cravings were sated, and I still have cupcakes left to last me the next few days!
And, because its loosely related, I found this song on iTunes and its currently my favourite.
It feels weird to have a good day on Remembrance Day; I can’t help but think I should spend the day being contemplative and sad. But, today, I got to do all of the wonderful things that make me truly grateful for the sacrifices that have been made by those who came before me, and I am thankful for it.
I got to sleep in, curled up in bed with my puppy. I had a bad dream that my boyfriend helped chase away with kisses before he left for the office. I used the energy that is usually sucked out of my soul by my job to fold and put away laundry, to wash dishes, to sweep the floor, and put errant objects in their proper places. I took Annie for a walk in the beautiful but brief period of sun we had this afternoon; the air had a bite to it but it only made me feel more alive. Then, I watched cartoons while texting my best friend.
All of these activities must seem pretty insignificant to you real go-getters out there, but, to me they are the stuff of life.
You see, I’m currently going through a pretty intense depressive period. Things have been steadily declining – save for an inspiring and soul-saving trip to NYC that I’ll blog more on later – and its to the point where I am having difficulty just getting through the day in one piece.
I can’t help but wonder what the soldiers who fought in the world wars, who have fought in any wars on the side of good at any point throughout history, would think about me and my mental health. I wonder if they would judge me negatively for suffering from this invisible disease that so many people still dismiss. I spent years feeling guilt for not being as strong as everyone else, and I still feel the guilt on days like today. But, I try to focus on my gratitude, and make a stronger commitment to finding the beauty in every little thing. Cause, people died for these little things. For me. Thank you.
Name: Annie Forman
Age: 2 years, 10 months
Aliases: Tugboat Annie, Annabelle, Poodle, Baby, Sweetpea, Angel Face, Fur Face, Furry Butt, The Mad Pooper, Turkish Delight
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Likes: potato chips, ear scratchies, and trying to french kiss everyone she meets
Dislikes: other dogs invading her space, not getting her required daily amount of belly rubs
Last seen: pooping outside like a good girl
Approach with caution… and with a treat.
It has been awhile since I’ve posted so I thought I would check in. I am getting really excited- in about a month and a half I will be New York City bound! This trip has been in the works since last year so it is hard to believe that the wait is almost over.
My reason for visiting the most exciting city on this continent is to participate in Victoria Moran’s Mainstreet Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator Program. I first heard of Mainstreet Vegan through a post in one of the vegan Facebook groups I belong to. Its a fantastic organization and the woman behind it all – Victoria Moran – has quickly become a shining example for me to follow.
My vegan journey has been going great. I have almost none of my old cravings for animal-derived products, and when I do get a pang for something all I have to do is think of where it comes from and then there’s no more yen for the verboten. I have cleaned out any clothing and personal care products containing animal products or that were tested on animals. My home feels so much better already. And my body feels amazing!
But, I have to admit that there is something missing. I am tired of being a mere witness to what is happening in this world – I want to focus my life on actually doing things, making a difference. I just don’t know where to start. Most vegans who are making a living based on a compassionate life have something special to offer. There are nutritionists, chefs, raw foodists, bakers, cake masters, life coaches, fitness experts, bodybuilders and fitness models, smoothie mixologists, motivational speakers and writers, artists, musicians… and I am none of these things. I’m praying that being a part of the VLCE program will help me find my niche, a way to make a living by doing work that aligns with my moral and ethical beliefs.
Other than preparing for my trip I’ve just been working, enjoying the summer weather with my dog Annie, and trying to get fit. I am thankful for every day that I wake up, I am thankful for my body, my senses, everything good in my life. And every night I pray for a sign to let me know what I can do to contribute to changing this world for the better.
So, I’ve been absent from the blog for a little while; I sincerely hope I haven’t lost any regular readers. You know that saying, life gets in the way of life? Well, that’s how things go. One good thing to come out of the last couple of months is my new favourite lunchtime, freezable and keep-for-later-able, meal. I looked everywhere and I could not find the original recipe that I based this veggie rice bake on so my apologies, but it is such an adaptable collection of ingredients and techniques found in a zillion different rice casserole recipes that I don’t feel like I’m stealing from any one person.
The vegetables, which make up the majority of the dish, can pretty much be whatever veggies you have available at hand. I diced an onion, five stalks of celery, a green pepper, and a red pepper, and sautéed them for a few minutes in olive oil.Then I threw in as many fresh sliced mushrooms as I could fit in the skillet. Mushrooms mushrooms mushrooms!!!
Once everything was soft and slightly glistening I added a cup of rice and browned it just a bit. Then, I transferred the whole jumble into a glass baking dish, and added about two and a half/three cups of water (I just eyeballed it). I also threw in some salt and pepper, a shake of red pepper flakes, and some basil, but you could literally put any spices you wanted in – it’s all a matter of taste! After stirring things up a bit to make sure everything was moistened and the spices were evenly distributed, I covered the dish with a sheet of tin foil and then popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for just a touch over an hour.
The result was a tasty, hearty, damn good meal. I pan-fried some tempeh strips and put a few in each of my lunch containers along with the rice, just to get a little more protein in there. So, so, so good. It’s all I’ve been eating!
One of my clearest memories of spending time with my mother when I was a little girl is sitting at the kitchen table with what (at the time) seemed like a gigantic silver bowl, a sturdy fork, and a pile of bananas that needed mushing. While my mom puttered around the kitchen taking care of a hundred other things that needed doing, I would sit there and press the tines of that fork into chunk after chunk of over-ripe banana, as gleeful as if I’d just been given a hundred quarters and dropped in the middle of an arcade. Finally, my mom would have to take the fork away from me before a) the bananas were turned entirely into soup and b) the table was covered by any more flecks of banana flesh that had spattered across its surface due to my over-exuberance. My mom would turn my handiwork into a delicious loaf of banana bread using a classic recipe from the Joy of Cooking cookbook her sister Karen had given to her as a wedding gift in 1980. That Joy of Cooking was a staple in our kitchen as I was growing up, and after, and when my mom passed away in 2012 it was the one possession of hers that I was almost desperate to make sure I reclaimed.
Now that I’ve gone vegan, the Joy of Cooking recipe for banana bread is off limits. Sure, I could try to adapt it on my own but I am not experienced enough in the kitchen to try that level of master cookery. Instead, I kept my eye out on the internet for a simple but tasty-looking recipe to try. Thank heavens for One Green Planet, whose Green Monster newsletter dropped the perfect recipe right into my inbox! The recipe (and the picture just below) is from the vegan maestro at iheartcrapkitchen.com, and be warned – visiting her site is like going down a rabbit hole of ridiculously tempting vegan yumminess! My tummy still won’t stop growling.
You can view the recipe as I first saw it in its entirety here on the One Green Planet site. I only made a couple of alterations. Firstly, I used plain all-purpose flour. Then, I did not include the desiccated coconut that the original recipe calls for, simply because I did not have any in my kitchen at the time I fancied baking this up. And lastly, as you can see from the pictures, I opted out of making the chocolate ganache. Instead, I simply sprinkled vegan chocolate chips across the top of the banana bread, and I found that just doing that made the banana bread extra chocolate-y enough for me! Just a note: I found the cooking time was spot on – I kept my bread in for the full fifty minutes and it turned out perfectly. And, using a little vegan Becel to coat the loaf pan before pouring the batter in allowed the bread to slide perfectly out after I’d let it cool down completely.
After cutting off and savouring an end piece just to ensure quality control I brought the rest of the banana bread loaf to work for a snack day in honor of a couple of departing staff. It is the first time I actually brought something homemade, and boy was I proud of myself. While I didn’t announce to all that it was vegan, I was happy to have brought something that a couple of my coworkers who have specific dietary restrictions could eat and enjoy. And the reviews from the omnis that were present? “Yum!!!”