Tag Archives: cookies

i love you, alberta

8 Oct

No, Alberta is not a person (although I work with someone by that name, so that could be weird). Alberta is a street in NE Portland and it’s quickly becoming one of the tastiest streets in town.

Homegrown Smoker is the vegan BBQ foodcart that opened a couple of months ago. They used to be 4 blocks down the street from their new location at 27th and Alberta. The new location seems better equipped for Portland weather and even has a heated eating tent. Excellent.

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There is food that is good and then there is food laced with addictive flavors and textures and plain old comforting goodness. This falls into the latter category. There are four different protein choices including chorizo, tofu steaks, tempeh ribs and soy curls. In this platter most people pick two small portions of two different proteins, but I went with all soy curls. If we all have a predestined fate in life, being smoked and slathered with BBQ sauce is the destiny of a soy curl. In this form it is truly at it’s full potential. Oh momma, these things are amazing! On the side, maple BBQ beans and mac no cheese. The beans are good, reliably tasty beans. The mac no cheese isn’t like gourmet mac ‘n cheese, but there’s just something good and noochy about it. Must. Eat. More.

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You’d think I haven’t been food blogging for 4 years. I didn’t turn the cornbread around so you could see the inside of it! Darn, now I’ll have to go back. The sacrifices I make for this blog… Seriously, though, this is a gluten-free cornbread that has pretty flecks of flax in it. That’s fun to say, flex of flax. Now, I haven’t had much Southern cooking in my life and am very much naive to the art of cornbread, but this cornbread rocks. The texture, moisture, flavor, it’s all there. I never even thought I cared much about cornbread, until I started craving theirs. Add the sweet mint tea on the side… serious food heaven.

After you’ve stuffed yourself with smoked goodness, a mere four blocks away is Back to Eden, the new vegan bakery in town. A four block walk is exercise, right? That means it’s time for dessert.

Back to Eden is about as pretty a place as it gets. Decorated in 1930s farm house chic, the colors are warm and inviting, the decor is sharp with attention to detail and aside from the bakery items, they have all sorts of goodies to buy. Locally made jams, aprons, cards, a section of vegan cookbooks, and fun baking supplies, like fancy sprinkles fill the shelves. Plus they have, you know, the baked goods. They also have soft serve in TWO different flavors, which means… wait for it…. TWIST ice cream!

shown here with caramel sauce

shown here with caramel sauce

They carry Temptation soft serve, which you can get with a variety of topping/sauce combos or as a milkshake! And there are a variety of baked goods available each day, from breakfasty scones to decadent cakes and tarts. They have lots of gluten-free options, too.

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A strawberry filled chocolate cupcake. When I read the sign for it, I thought it said “strawberry fields cupcake” and I got all sorts of Beatles-excited… I was wrong, but I still needed the cupcake to calm me down. Even the frosting had a pronounced strawberry flavor that was amazing.

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A pumpkin whoopie pie. Soft, moist cookie outer and spiced creamy inner filling… Devilishly good. So devilish, in fact, that an evil kitteh couldn’t keep her mouth off of the pumpkin cookie part.

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Who knew bad kittehs liked pumpkin?

So this is my ode to Alberta Street, with new attractions motivating me to leave the SE bubble for things other than concerts.

book release par-tay!

21 Aug

If you pre-ordered through Amazon, you should have received a notice yesterday that the books will be shipping next week! Yay! If you didn’t preorder and are interested in buying one, please request one at your local bookseller. If they see a demand, they might keep it in stock!

If you’re in the Portland area, though, you might just want to attend this little event:

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Woot woot! We’ll have tons of samples and signing and free tattoos (for real)! When you buy a copy of the book at the event, you’ll get a coupon for a FREE (food-related*) tattoo. Skeleton Key is a vegetarian-owned shop and offers vegan tattoos (it’s where I got my bees). Any design you want! 2 x 2 inchers are free or 20% off a bigger piece. Offer is good on one tattoo to one person who purchases a book. If you’ve already purchased a copy of the book another doesn’t hurt, they make great gifts. 🙂

*sorry, I didn’t make that clear when I first posted this!

cookbook update and cookies for noming

3 Aug

Hey there!

Summer has us in a full-on whirlwind of hustle and bustle. I can’t believe it’s August! I remember agonizing over childhood and adolescence, just willing it to hurry up. Now I’m dragging my heels to make the wheels turn a little more slowly.

Anyway, I wanted to give you a little update on the cookbook. If you pre-ordered from Amazon you may have received an email that there is a delay. Our hope (meaning the publisher and myself) was the to have the book out in the month of August, so August 1 was more of an arbitrary date. There are so many variables in publishing that can throw off when a book is actually ready that pinpointing an exact release date can be a bit dangerous. I have a fellow author whose book came out 3 months after expected!

I’m happy to say that the book is finishing up at the printers right this very moment and will be (hopefully!) going to the distribution warehouse at the end of the week. So the book should be out and in the world this month! Very exciting.

As a preventative measure, since it will take a little longer for me to get my own boxes of wholesale books, I am planning on holding an awesome book release party in September. The nitty-gritty is getting worked out as we speak, but let’s just say it involves the cookbook, yummy samples and free vegan tattoos (for reals!). Details to come.

For those who are interested, I am working on a detailed tutorial on how to make jam. I swear, no more jam after that. 🙂 In the meantime, here is one of my favorite cookie recipes from the book. Oh, I can eat an obscene amount of these things and they are a perfect cookie any time of year. Light and citrusy for hot summer days and a bright spot in the dreariness of winter.

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Lemon Drop Cookies
Prep time: 15 minutes

When I first went to college, I basically lived off of powder sugar-coated lemon wafer cookies that were made by a major cookie manufacturer. Naturally, because I liked them, they stopped making them about a year after I got hooked and I spent nearly a decade feeling sorry for myself before realizing that I didn’t care about their silly cookies- I could make my own! These little cookies are crisp and tart, with the powdered sugar taking the edge off and adding a sweet coolness to each bite.

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
juice from 1 lemon
2 teas. lemon zest
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and shortening until smooth. Mix sugar to combine, then incorporate lemon juice and zest. Add flour in small batches until well incorporated.

Spoon teaspoon sized balls of dough onto cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 8- 10 minutes until edges are set and are slightly browned. If baking both sheets at the same time, switch shelves halfway through. Remove from oven and let cool completely before coating each cookie in powdered sugar. To coat, us a fork to support each cookie and roll cookie on each side to coat in sugar. Store cooled cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

*For best results, zest the lemon before juicing. You can use the small holes on a grater for a fine zest.

breakie and kitteh

23 Feb

Breakfast is my favorite meal. Pancakes, yogurt, cereal hot or cold, fresh fruit, hot tea, toast with Earth Balance and jam, hash browns, the list goes on and on. But there are a couple of things that I particularly love, the kind of breakfast foods that I literally dream about. The main one is a treat I don’t make very often because it’s time consuming. When I do make them, I savor every minute.

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Crepes filled with vanilla soy yogurt and a warmed frozen fruit mixture from Trader Joe’s with mango, blueberries and raspberries as the filling. A drizzle of warm chocolate syrup was the finishing touch. Oh, I love crepes and I don’t know why we don’t have them more often. Probably because the batter has to chill, where as I can toss pancakes right onto the griddle, but when I take the time they are so delicious.

On the side, I made up our old favorite of a tofu scramble: carmelized onions, sweet corn and kalamata olives with some dried herbs.

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We haven’t had tofu scramble at home in such a long time, so I really savored it. We’ve been so busy that the simple act of a leisurely Sunday brunch seemed like a celebratory occasion. You know you’ve been burning it at both ends for too long when having breakfast together seems like a holiday or something. 🙂

After letting our big breakfast settle, I tweaked a batch of cookies for my new book- Mocha Stripes. Chewy coffee cookies with chocolate stripes on top. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I LOVE things that are coffee flavored. I just adore these cookies.

Mocha Stripes

Mocha Stripes

Later, Linus helped us pay bills. We assigned him the duty of licking the envelopes. Just kidding, of course. 🙂

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He’s so funny, he kept trying to get in Jim’s lap while we were organizing our finances and so finally we decided that he could be a letter carrier. Linus wasn’t really happy with the offer.

Hope you all have a wonderful and delicious week!

i’m back in the saddle again

26 Dec

I’m not afraid to admit that I love Aerosmith. How can you not?

Hello there! I hope that 2008 is ending on a high note for all of you.

At the end of 2007, I decided to take a break from blogging to focus on some other things in my life that needed some focused attention, namely work and going back to school. All throughout the year, though, I lurked on everyone’s blogs, keeping tabs on the latest and greatest vegan creations on the internet. As the year has continued, though, I have really missed blogging. Many moments presented themselves when I thought, “Oh! I want to blog about this!” So I decided that I will.

Squirrel’s Vegan Kitchen is still up as an archive, but this is my new site. We all get to times when we need to let go of things and move on, and it’s that time for me and the squirrel. But don’t think the squirrel love is gone.

Mama Squirrel

Mama Squirrel

I also have some exciting news to share with you all, but that will come soon. You can figure it out yourself if you explore the new site a little bit, but I don’t want to shamelessly self-promote tonight. I want to talk about food.

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Ginger Spiced Dark Chocolate Chunk cookies and Snickerdoodles, waiting for Santa.

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday or if nothing else enjoying the time off work. 🙂 See you again soon!