Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lumbar Strain and Magic Cure

On Monday I had a terrible muscle spasm and somehow strained my lower back.  The pain was some of the most intense I've ever felt and was unrelenting.  Needless to say I didn't do much besides sit around, wishing I was in less pain so I could start getting my to-do list done.  Today after two days of ice, heat, ibuprofen, and feeble attempts at stretching I am starting to feel somewhat close to normal.  I did perhaps over exert myself today, as my sore back is now reminding me, but I am determined to keep going with Vegan Mofo as soon as I can stand without being in pain.

Until then let me leave you with this one awesome technique that I've used for injuries.  When done properly it works wonders for pulled muscles and other injuries involving swelling.  As always consult your doctor before trying this, etc.

Magic Cure

1. Apply a cold compress to area for 20 minutes.

2. Immediately after removing the cold compress submerge area in very warm water (think warm like a hot tub).

3. Leave the area submerged for 20 minutes.  Gently remove from the warm water.  Relax.

I use this for my back all the time and it really works quickly.  You may have to do this a few times a day if your swelling is really bad.  Use common sense of course, be careful, and don't be afraid to ask your doctor if this is right for you.  (ok enough of the spiel)

Time for a gallery of interesting photos:

Raw Nut Pate Wraps

Our Vibrams on a Summer Hike

I collapsed after finishing the hike and realized the tree I was under was pretty.

Me feeding the goats during a trip to the zoo in the Upper Peninsula, MI
Well there are all the random photos that I have the energy to post.  Sorry there's not food recipes this time.  Tomorrow is German Feast or Oktoberfest with friends so I will make sure there are lots of recipes then!

Enjoy your hump day! I'll be doing my best to be up on my feet with a healed back by tomorrow!

Friday, October 21, 2011


I've been making this recipe for quite a while now.  Thanks to the lovely chica that writes Sugarlaws I found this wonderful and easy recipe for delicious, fluffy, and crusty baguettes.  Because in all seriousness, what is more sensual than the smell of fresh baked bread?

Baguettes (Adapted from Sugarlaws, Yields two loaves)
2 1/2 C. Bread or all purpose flour
1 C. Warm water
1 Package of yeast (11 grams)
1 T. Vegan Sweetener (I used honey, but others will do)
1 t. Salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Dissolve yeast in sweetener and water. Let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy. (This is called proofing the yeast)

3. Mix flour and salt. Add water mixture to the flour and knead until blended.

4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, coating all sides of dough. Cover bowl with saran wrap, and let rise somewhere warm for 60 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.

5. Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough flat into a 12″x18″ rectangle. Cut dough in half to form two 12″x9″ rectangles. Roll up each half of dough tightly, creating a 12″ log. 6. Place each roll 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches. Cover with saran wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes, or until doubled again.

7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tops of loaves are just starting to brown.

Baguettes rising before being baked.

Notes: I never get too crazy about step 5.  I just roll it out enough that I can roll it up and it comes out fine. If you want a thicker, and more crusty loaf put a small dish of water in the oven when you put the bread in to bake. This rarely makes it more than two days in my house but once the bread cools completely you can put in into an air tight container to store it.  If you have leftovers that have gone stale you can always make bread crumbs!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Salsa Verde

 Last night for dinner I ate bread and (vegan) butter with cinnamon.  Not much of a dinner right? Today I hope to make up for that by making whatever strikes my fancy once dinner rolls around but first lets talk salsa.

Since it's vegan MOFO I've been trying to think of a theme but, honestly, my life is too chaotic for anything to stick so I guess the theme could be "impulse cooking." I try to have some kind of special theme dinner once a week and invite some friends and family over to relax and enjoy.  This week was the Indian Feast, next week I think might be Taco night, so in preparation I'm making some delicious Salsa Verde.

Salsa Verde
3.5 pounds Tomatilos, husked and rinsed
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 white onion, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 C. Cilantro, packed
2/3 C. Lime Juice
1 T. Salt

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2. Spread out tomatilos, garlic, and onion on a cookie sheet.  Roast for 20-35 minutes.
3. In smaller batched blend roasted veggies with the cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
3. Fill canning jars, leaving 1/2" of headspace, finger tighten the lids.  Waterbath can for 15 mins, allow to sit in the water for 5 minutes (with the stove burner off) remove from the water and allow to cool.

Notes: If you want to enjoy this salsa right away or within 5-7 days there is no need to can it, just refrigerate in an air tight container.  It will be very lime flavored in the beginning but will mellow out over time.  Goes great on enchiladas, nachos, or just as a dip for chips.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apple Raspberry Bread

Every once in awhile I get something stuck in my head that I just have to make. This bread is one of those things.  I thought about it over and over, compiling what ingredients I would use. When I actually got around to going in the kitchen and making it I of course did it completely different that what I intended.  But it came out so good!  This bread is moist with a slight spiced apple flavor, and wonderful pockets of intense raspberry flavor.  I use raspberries that I picked and froze on a cookie sheet so the raspberries are not stuck together but I think ones from the store would work.

Apple- Raspberry Bread
2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Coconut Milk
1 1/2 C. Apple Pure (about 4 small apples)
1 t. Baking Soda
3/4 C. Honey (or other sweetener)
1/4 C. Agave (or maple syrup)
1 T. Ground Cinnamon
2 T. Flax Meal
1/2 t. Salt
1 C. Frozen Raspberries

1. In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients except raspberries until combined.  Fold in raspberries.

2. Bake for one hour at 350 F in a greased loaf pan.  The bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean.  You might need to add 5-15 minutes depending on your oven.

3. Allow to cool before serving.  Enjoy!

I usually store this bread at room temp in an air tight container.  I have no idea how long it will last that way though because each time I've made this it's only lasted 2-3 days.  Obviously storing it in the fridge would help to preserve its freshness but it's not required.  I eat this bread plain, no need to any butter or spreads!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Raw Food Love

So back during the time that Dan and I were raw I asked him to make dinner for me once a month since our options for eating out were so very limited.  I just wanted one meal each month that I didn't have to make and preferably was a surprise.  Dan of course did an amazing job each time, and even surprised me.  He didn't pick all simple things either, he really went all out.

Typical Snack
I absolutely loved it when he made me surprise foods.  It didn't matter what he made or even if it tasted good.  The only thing I cared about was that Dan cared enough about me being happy to make me food (and put up with my craziness).

Raw Pizza

Blueberry Cheesecake
So if you're ever trying to stick to a diet, don't be afraid to ask someone to cook you something that adheres to that diet every once in awhile.  It made all the difference for me, and I'm sure Dan got something out of it too :P
Raw Carrot Cake
So when your significant other (or friend) is having a hard time/week/month/year. Don't be afraid to show come home cooked (or uncooked) love! You'd be surprised what a difference one meal can make! Oh, and a little red wine doesn't hurt either!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Indian Feast! (Recipe Round-up)

The whole spread!
I've been meaning to post my Indian food recipes for awhile but last night the opportunity presented itself.  I feel that to really appreciate a food blog you need pictures. Everyone loves a little food porn right? Well, last night some family came over and I made a great Indian feast. 

Happy Vegan MOFO!

Palak (Pureed Spinach dish)
24 ounce bag young spinach leaves, washed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T. Nutritional Yeast
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 t. Garam Masala
1/2- 1 t. Curry (adjust for how spicy you want it, I use hot curry)

1. In a medium stock pot saute garlic in a little olive oil until slightly golden brown. 
2. Add spinach to stock pot and heat until the spinach is thoroughly wilted, stir often.
3. When its all wilty put it in a blender and puree until its as smooth as you want it.  I personally like mine pretty smooth.

Potatoes before being boiled

Curried Coconut Potatoes
5-6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
1/2- 3/4 of a can of coconut  milk (depends on how much sauce you want)
1 t. Curry powder
1 t. Garam Masala
1 t. Tumeric Powder
1/2 t. Garlic Powder (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Boil potatoes until cooked through.  Drain and set aside.
2. In a separate bowl whisk together the other ingredients.  Add the potatoes and mix to combine.

Boiling the cauliflower

Baked Curry Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
3/4 C. Frozen Peas (optional), thawed
1/2-1 Can of coconut milk
1.5 t. Garam Masala
1 t. Hot Curry (more if you like it extra spicy)
1 t. Dill
1/2 t. Chili Powder
1/2 t. Garlic Powder
1 T. Tumeric Powder (you can add more if you want a more vibrant yellow color)
2 T. Arrowroot Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.Boil cauliflower until tender. 
2.In a separate bowl whisk together sauce ingredients. If you want a thick sauce transfer to a sauce pan and heat until reduced, stirring occassionally.
3. Combine the cauliflower and the sauce with the peas.  If its not hot enough I put it in the oven at 200 degrees until the peas are heated through.

Finished Curry Cauliflower

Pumpkin Chickpea Masala (Chana Masala)
3 (15 oz) Cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 C. Pumpkin ( I was a little generous)
4 T. Ketchup (again, be generous)
2 t. Garam Masala
1 t. Hot Curry (I like it spicy)
1/2 t. Chili Powder (optional)
1/2 a Can of coconut milk (3/4- 1 cup approx.)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a medium saucepan whisk the sauce ingredients together. Simmer for a few minutes.
2. Add the chickpeas.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes more or until the sauce thickens slightly.

It didn't take me long to make all of these dishes and they all go great with naan.  This fed five of us with enough for a lunch the next day and several of us had seconds too.  This meal also pairs wonderfully with red wine! I like to cook these dishes when I'm entertaining because the food is new and fun and everyone can mix and match what they like.  Works great for a family dinner!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Raw Vegan Food Gallery

Once upon a time not too long ago my partner, Dan, and I were raw vegans.  Being a raw vegan is alot like being vegan with the addition of not eating anything heated above 118 degrees (the exact temperature is under some dispute).  We were raw vegans for about six months and it was probably the best thing we ever did.  Even though we went back to eating cooked food we had an entirely new outlook on what we put into our bodies and what ingredients we used in food.

Peaches from a neighbors tree

Raspberries are a staple food in my house!
Raw Banana Creme Pie
Breakfast Salad from Vegan Brunch
Mini Flax Pizza Bites
Walnut- Garlic Soup from Ani Phyo
Pesto and Carmelized Onion Pizza
Close up of the Pizza (those onions are so addictive!)
So obviously I have made all these things and they are delicious! Some do require a dehydrator (like the pizza) and most of them take some forethought to start the day before but they are all worth it.  If you are curious about raw food I suggest you check out Ani Phyo's website.  I'm not crazy about all her recipes but there are definitely a lot of gems in her Raw Food Essentials cookbook.  Of course you will like some of her recipes more than others depending on your tastes but I would say that she offers alot in that cookbook for the price.  I still use raw recipes when I entertain because they can either be made in advance or are quick and easy because there is no cooking involved.  It's also nice to have a fresh component when serving a cooked meal.

I'll try and find that banana creme pie recipe.  It's really amazing!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kitchen Review- The Blend- Tec

Even though I am super busy with Vegan MOFO (day 10!) I've had time to reflect a lot lately.  Maybe its the fact that my kitchen needs constant cleaning because I've been cooking every day or maybe its the never ending pile of dishes.  I'm not sure.  What I am sure about is that I couldn't do alot of what I do in the kitchen without my Blend-Tec.

I've owned alot of hand-me-down blenders in my day.  Most of them were freebies, all of them broke within a year and never worked well at all.  At one point I was a raw vegan (no cooked food or animal products) and a blender was a vital kitchen appliance.  Even though Im back to just being vegan now I still use this blender almost daily.  Let me give you some examples:

I made all those things and more with a blender.  Now on to other important matters.  I would say some pro's of this blender is that it will blend everything you may ever need to blend while cooking and it will do an amazing job at it. It's also really easy to clean and easy to use a spatula in order to scrape out whatever it is you blended.  The wider base makes it more effective at blending thicker things like filling for a cheesecake (its the only way I make cheesecake filling now because its so fast!), or nut butters.  I've blended ice, and even frozen bananas (for my ice cream) with ease.  I have yet to be disappointed with this blenders performance.  The biggest thing for me is that the base is really easy to clean, just wipe down with a sponge or paper towel.  It has a digital screen and flat buttons that make it a breeze to clean up.

I would say the only real con to this blender is the noise.  Unfortunately, I haven't seen a blender this powerful that wasn't noisy.  Some claim the Vitamix brand is less noisy but I call b.s. on that.  All I can say is that I'm so happy with how well it works that I can forgive the noise.  It's so nice to have smoothies without berry seeds in them (the blender grinds them up) or random chunks of ice.  I can even make a quick soup in minutes.  The convenience of this appliance is a huge benefit.

Well enough about the blender.  If you're in the market you would love the Blend Tec, worth every penny.  Now I have to get back in the kitchen and clean because tonight we are getting started on making hard cider! I'll post all about it tomorrow!

One final thought: What do you use your blender for? I'm looking for new ideas!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Our First Pineapple Baby!- Michigan Pineapple

We are pleased to announce that after 4 years of nurturing we have grown our first pineapple! It's hard to believe that only four years ago I planted the cut off top of a pineapple from the store and now it's made a pineapple of it's own! 

For the record it was delicious and juicy but we only got about a 1/2 cup of pineapple.  It was well worth the wait though and we are excited to see what the plant does next!

In other news today is my 6 year anniversary! My significant other, Dan, is an important part of what motivates me to write this blog and is also the one who suggested we become vegan almost 3 years ago.  Without him I have no idea where I would be but I can't imagine I would be as happy as I am now! 

Fayette, MI
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies
                                      - Aristotle