Tag Archives: vegan mofo 2009

now bite your tongue and say “apple”

30 Oct

Remember doing that as a kid? The stupid things we did to try and get people to curse… so goofy. And it doesn’t even sound right.

I promise this post will be more productive than sad attempts at swearing and the effects better than that of biting your tongue. Ouch.


Apple Pie Butter, baby!

I wanted to make apple butter, but wanted it to be distinctly different than the pumpkin butter. When you start cooking down fruit and throwing around spices it’s all too easy for it to start losing it’s personality. The key to this recipe is one my dearest friends, vanilla. Vanilla really plays up the apples, adds a hint of creaminess and generally just kicks ass.

This recipe yields a lot of butter, so be prepared to eat, make Apple Butter Cookies from 100 BVBR or, reluctantly, share your bounty.

Apple Pie Butter

7 lbs apples, assorted varieties (I used Gala, Pinova, Honeycrisp and Granny Smith)
3 1/2 cups dark sugar
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 teas. ground ginger

Peel and chop up all of the apples. You could always peel them, cut them and then toss in the food processor to roughly chop. I like the hands on prep, so I peel them, cut them with my apple slicer and then chop the slices. Combine apples in a stock pot along with sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon and mix well. Cook the apple mixture on medium heat until juices are boiling and apples become very soft and begin to break down, stirring often, about 25-30 minutes.


Process apple mixture in a food mill, processor or blender in batches until it is creamy and smooth.


Return to pot, lower heat a bit and add vanilla. You may wish to add more sugar (do so 1/4 cup at a time) or more spices, to taste. Be mindful that the spices will intensify after canning. Cook down until the mixture is thick and sticks well to a spatula or spoon.


Can according to manufacturers directions in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let cool completely. Makes 4 1/2 pints (I ended up with 7 -1/2 pint jars and 1 pint jar)


I really think that making fruit butter is even easier than making jam, it’s truly so simple. If you are unsure about canning, you can always buy freezer canning jars and make freezer butters- they still make great gifts!

holiday gift ideas

29 Oct

If you’ve been a long time reader of this blog or my previous one, you know how crazy excited I get about the holidays. I LOVE everything about the holiday season, from Thanksgiving stuffing to New Year’s black eyed peas. I like to plan ahead for holiday gift giving as well. The cusp of November isn’t really planning that far ahead, but I wanted to share some unique ideas with you as that time of year is approaching. You could always can something yummy for your loved ones, make a fun cooking zine or bring tins of holiday cookies to share, of course, but in the spirit of consumerism, here are some very thoughtful gift ideas I’ve discovered recently that you might like, too.

My lovely co-worker, Molly, does more than rock the Marketing Department. She is also an awesome green craftster who crochets functional and stylish items from plastic bags. The majority of her products are bag-related (shopping bag, market bag, purse, messenger bag) but she also makes rugs, bowls, coasters and a variety of other neat items that are not only cool, but kind to the Earth. All of her items are made from 100% recycled content, with her supplies coming from plastic shopping bags that would otherwise be thrown out.


Red Spec and Striped Tote


Tan Striped Market Bag


Spec and Stripe Plastic Rug

I’m buying some of her market bags to put jars of jam in for the holidays- a fun, functional gift that is sure to be used and remembered. Because her items are handmade, planning ahead for the holidays is important! You can check out her etsy store here.

I have another gift idea that might be a bit emotional, but is truly beautiful. The company Memory Pendants hand makes beautiful, personalized pendants to remember your loved ones by. 2 1/2 years ago my father passed away and this summer I decided I wanted to get some sort of memory pendant to put some of his ashes in. I looked at just about every store online I could find, but nothing really seemed to fit both my taste and my dad’s memory. Then I came across the Huffman’s site.


They have a variety of pendant options, but the gist of it is that you send a very tiny amount of cremation remains and they hand build a pendant of your choosing around the remains. You can choose the colors, shape, etc, whether you want the remains visible or not and they made it a very sweet and caring process. I chose to have the remains visible in the very center and I selected blues (for my dad) and greens (for me). I absolutely love the pendant and wear it almost daily. The smooth glass front of it acts as a worry stone of sorts, as I find myself constantly rubbing my thumb across it.

If you or someone close to you has lost someone dear, this is a really nice way to keep them close to you. Memory Pendants can include the remains of more than one person and also do pet remains, locks of hair and create several other products as well. Because they are hand made, this is definitely something to order ahead as well, as it’s a little bit of a process (mailing things back and forth), but well worth it.

pumpkin in my pancakes, told a tale on you

28 Oct

I’m kind of classic when it comes to eating fruit butters- slathered on a chunk of bread or warm toast is all I need to feel bliss. But that was a very large amount of pumpkin butter to make, regardless of how much I love Dave’s Killer Bread.

Enter my favorite meal of the day: breakfast. Pumpkin is fabulous with breakfast. A chilly morning, coffee percolating, aromatic spices drifting from the kitchen- perfection.

Pumpkin Butter Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 white whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 teas. baking powder
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/4 teas. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teas. salt
1 cup pumpkin butter
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups milk of choice
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. oil
1/2 teas. vanilla

In a large bowl combine flour through salt. In another bowl combine the pumpkin butter, milk, water, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk to combine. Add more liquid as needed.


Let batter sit while heating your griddle. Ladle batter onto griddle using a measuring cup to ensure equally sized pancakes.


Let pancakes cook until edges are set and middle begins to bubble then flip, about 3 minutes. Cook other side for about 1-2 minutes. This will depend on how big your cakes are (we like ’em big!).

Yields 6 good sized pancakes. Serve with a smear of pumpkin butter and some syrup. We’re completely in love the with agave/maple blend from Trader Joe’s right now.


pump up the jam

27 Oct

After my canning frenzy this summer I took a break, but now I’m back in the swing of it with a fall line up of fruit butters in tow. First up, pumpkin butter.

Sadly, the USDA does not recommend home canning of pumpkin butter. This is because pumpkin is low in acidity and has unpredictable water content, neither of which was optimal when canning. I did can my butter, to sterilize and seal it, but am keeping it in the fridge.


I started with four medium sugar pie pumpkins. Halved and seeded, I placed them cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment and baked them at 350 for a little over an hour.


After roasting them in the oven the flesh shrank, making the skin easy to peel.


So colorful and juicy looking! Once peeled, I chopped the flesh into chunks and put it in my pot. I chose to cook it down a little more before just pureeing it, because some spots were harder than others. In went 2 cups of dark brown sugar, 3 tbsp of molasses, the juice of one lemon, 2 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice and one tbsp of cinnamon.


Once all of the flesh was uniformly soft, I pureed the batch in my Vita-Mix then poured it back in the pot and adjusted sweetness/spices to taste. My goal was to get pumpkin pie filling flavor, but because the spices will really bloom as the butter sits, I didn’t want to go overboard and end up with spreadable potpourri.

Once the butter was ready, I laddled it into jars and processed it in the hot water bath for 10 minutes. This made 4 pints of pumpkin butter.


It’s so delicious- spiced, creamy and rich. I love the taste of fall.

portland vegan 100

26 Oct

I got this fun list from Jess’ blog and couldn’t resist. If you’ve never been to Portland, you could rename this “100 Reasons to Jump on a Train, Plane or Automobile and Get My Butt to Portland!”

Here’s how it works:

1) Copy this list into your own blog, facebook or website, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

The PDX Vegan Hundred: 100 Great Foods in Portland, OR

1. Fries with spicy tofu sauce at Dots
2. $1 Corndog from Hungry Tiger Too (I don’t do corndogs)
3. Chick-o-Stick doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts
4. Tiramisu from Portobello
5. Vegan Mulita from Gorditos or Gorditos II
6. Nanotear Ham and Cheeze sandwich from Tube
7. Milkshake from Sip
8. Gnocchi from Portobello
9. Caramel Nut Bar from Sweetpea Baking Co.
10. Soft serve from Blossoming Lotus
11. Local cherry tomatoes from a farmers market
12. Dong Po Tofu from Bay Leaf
13. Jerked chickun from Assase Ital
14. A Big Big Lunch Special from an Indian cart
15. Soy latte made with Stumptown espresso
16. A crappy tofu scramble
17. Cornmeal pizza from Dovi Vive.
18. Weeping Tiger sandwich from Bye & Bye
19. Bye & Bye or Floor Punch from Bye & Bye
20. A Bowl meal from a cart (too many to count!)
21. vegan nutella from freddy’s hazelnuts
22. soy curls in bulk from food fight or proper eats
23. buffalo wings from Vita
24. the weekday vegan pancakes from Laurelthirst
25. Maple vegan sausage waffle from flavourspot
26. Drunken noodles with pepper steak from Thai Food Cafe
27. Macnocheeto from Homegrown Smoker
28. Veggie platter from an Ethiopian restaurant
29. Blackberries picked from a public place
30. Baba Ganouj from Ya Hala (THE BEST!)
31. Coconut Mashed Yams from Papa G’s
32. Butternut Squash Wontons from Hungry Tiger Too (these things are a little too good… greasy deliciousness)
33. Vegan slice from Bella Faccia
34. Apple pie from Whiffies
35. Chili dog from Zach’s Shack
36. Vegan poutine from Potato Champion (I know this place is popular, but the thought of twice fried potatoes dipped in gravy and faux cheeze sounds disgusting)
37. Missionary Chocolate Truffle
38. Apron Activists 4-Course Dinner
39. Hot Wok at New Seasons
40. Che Guevara Burrito from Laughing Planet
41. Bryan’s Bowl from Por Que No?
42. Pad Thai from Pad Thai Kitchen
43. Cupcake from a stand at Last Thursday
44. The Giant Pancake at Hungry Tiger Too
45. TLP from Red & Black Cafe
46. Cornmeal tempeh plate from Proper Eats (This is in my top 5 best Portland meals)
47. Tofu Po Boy at Palm State Gumbo
48. Maple Walnut Scone from Back to Eden
49. Vegan Mezza platter from a Lebanese restaurant
50. Crispy eggplant from Fujin
51. Lemongrass Tofu Sticks from Van Hanh
52. Tofu Salad Bun at Pho PDX
53. Cocktail made with local liquor
54. Biscuits and Gravy from Paradox
55. Smoky soy curls from Homegrown Smoker (SOOOO good!)
56. Field Roast sausage
57. Secret Aardvark Hot Sauce I don’t do spicy
58. Toddbot’s Triangles
59. Local microbrew
60. Hot Lips soda
61. Herb Crusted Tofu with Mushroom Marsala from The Farm Cafe
62. had a picnic in Laurelhurst Park
63. burrito from Shelley’s Honkin Huge Burritos
64. Eggplant tibs from Bete Lukas
65. Tator Tots before noon or after midnight (I’m from the Midwest, where I grew up eating tots in a multitude of ways before it was “hip” and I find them disgusting.)
66. Lone Ranger from Chaos Cafe
67. Sunday brunch at Sweetpea!
68. Tofu at a BBQ place (for example Derby Mustard Sauce Tofu at Russel Street BBQ)
69. Mint Fava Falafel at Nightlight Lounge
70. An unexciting hummus plate at a bar.
71. Vegan meatball sub from Aalto Lounge (bite my tongue)
72. Koi Fusion spicy tofu tacos (nothing about Korean inspired Mexican food sounds good to me)
73. Veggie dog from the Vegi dog stand
74. Sesame chicken from a vegetarian chinese restaurant
75. Bagel with Bacun Scallion cream cheese from Sweetpea. No scallions for me, thanks
76. Vegan savoury crepe
77. Veggie kibbeh (this paired with the above baba ganoush- heaven in your mouth. go Ya Hala, they’re the best!)
78. Club Vegan at Backspace
79. ice cream sundae from Back to Eden
80. Raw fudge from Blossoming Lotus (a serious weakness of mine)
81. Tempeh reuben (blech to sauerkraut)
82. Pause vegan burger
83. vegan ribs
84. something baked with local marionberries
85. Veggie bento box
86. Dave’s Killer Bread
87. Higher Taste Burritos
88. Thai food that the server swears is vegan, but you taste fish sauce. I don’t trust Thai restaurants
89. Elephant ear from the Saturday Market
90. Dovetail sticky bun
91. Savoury pie from Nicholas restaurant (I don’t like the food at Nicholas)
92. Salad rolls from the Just Thai cart
93. Vegan torta from Gorditos II
94. Nutritional yeast on your popcorn at a movie theater
95. Vegan grilled cheese from The Grilled Cheese Grill
96. Pasilla burrito from El Nutri
97. Something from the vegetarian menu at Andina
98. Vegan Steak and Cheese from D.C. Vegetarian
99. Dragon Noodles at Red & Black Cafe blame the cilantro.
100. Falafel from Wolf & Bears (Their falafel sandwich is out of this world!)

Wow, I feel pretty accomplished… in a fat kind of way. O_o That a lot of food and 95% of these things aren’t items I eat regularly at all. I can only imagine how many vegan items I’ve eaten from around town… I bet they could finance a nice vacation!

stuff this in your (pumpkin) pie hole

25 Oct

Somewhat recently I was with a friend at Starbucks. Yes, boo Starbucks, whatever, I was there on business. I always like to take a look at their bakery case because they are well loved for their seasonal treats. I have a knock-off of one of their baked snacks they have around Christmas time in my book (a lemon and cranberry bar with lemon icing). What caught my eye this time was a pumpkin muffin with a cream cheese filling. It looked decadent and inviting, so I made note of it.

Being that it’s pumpkin time and I like to put pumpkin in, oh, everything I bake at this time of year, I decided that a vegan version of this muffin was necessary. Like, now. I have no idea what Starbucks’ muffin tastes like, but I can guarantee that these muffins will draw out uncomfortably delighted yummy noises from those who eat them, so beware of the potential for embarrassment if consuming in public.


This recipe combines the flavors of two holiday favorites- pumpkin pie and cheesecake. The muffin itself is a moist, pumpkin fest to be enjoyed all the way down to the cheesecake dollop in the middle. As the spices deepen with a little time, I recommend making them the night before eating. These would be perfect to serve the morning after Thanksgiving as you power up to take on Black Friday or whatever it is you do with your family.

I desperately wanted to give them an actual name so here’s what you get when I try too hard:

Cheesecake For Your Pumpkin Pie Hole Muffins

2 1/4 cups flour (I used 1 1/4 white whole wheat and 1 all-purp)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 teas. salt
2 1/2 teas. pumpkin pie spice
1- 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 tbsp. molasses
1/2 teas. vanilla

2/3 container soy cream cheese (8 oz container, I used Tofutti)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. plus 2 teas. cornstarch
1/2 teas. vanilla
1 teas. lemon juice

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 400. Line a muffin tin with liners or grease lightly. Begin by making the filling. In a small bowl, using the back of a fork, mix the cream cheese until creamy. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add this mixture to the cream cheese. Add vanilla and lemon juice and mix to combine. Let filling rest in fridge until ready to use.

In a medium sized bowl, combine muffin ingredients starting with flour through pumpkin pie spice. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, milk, oil, vanilla and molasses until smooth. Add flour ingredients in batches until incorporated.


Spoon muffin batter into muffin tins until just below the rim. Remove filling from fridge and scoop into a pastry bag with a fat tip. Pipe the filling into the middle of each muffin evenly, pushing tip down into the middle of the muffin and lifting it up as you pipe. Alternately, if you do not have a pastry bag, you can carefully spoon the filling into the middle of each muffin. Sprinkle tops of muffins with pumpkin seeds and coarse sugar.

Bake for 19-21 minutes for regular sized muffins or 27-29 for jumbo muffins, until a toothpick comes out of the side of the muffin clean and cheesecake part is puffy and golden.

Yields: 12 regular sized or 6 jumbo muffins


pumpkin’s in the air…

23 Oct

If there is something I love about fall, it’s baking. This sounds pretty obvious, no? But really, it is the OPTIMAL time to bake. The spices are so earthy and deep and it take very little to make your house smell better than any stupid scented candle ever could- and you get to eat the results!

I did come across something surprising at my usual hangout, Black Sheep, the other day. They are going pumpkin crazy and are baking it into everything they can. Pumpkin coffee cake, pumpkin pie bars and these little beauties:


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, from my book! How cool is that? I’ve now discovered that the only thing better than homemade cookies you love is homemade cookies you love that you didn’t have to make! They just appear out of thin air!

With the season of pumpkin baking upon us, every other recipe calls for pumpkin pie spice. You probably have everything you need to make this blend in your own pantry, plus you can tweak it to your liking! I’m not a huge clove lover, so this recipe is bit subdued in that area. Make a nice big batch of it so you can just dip in as needed.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. plus 2 teas. ground ginger
2 teas. ground nutmeg
1 teas. ground cloves

Mix well in a clean bowl and combine well. Transfer to an airtight bottle or container.