Monday, December 29, 2014

A Few of my Favorite....Blogs!

My day is not complete unless I have visited my essential websites  which include numerous vegan blogs. Unfortunately, I probably spend to much time online and these blogs do not help at all. They have helped me to see veganism as anything but restrictive and dull. Instead, the vibrant recipes and advice that I find encourage me to be more creative.

I feel like I know Bianca, the blog's author. Her posts are so chatty and full of information about everything vegan. I must admit that I have never tried any of her recipes, but love reading about what she ate. I appreciate the fact that she is very forgiving and does not belong to the Vegan Police.

This blog was my first introduction to just how good vegan food can be. Angela is so creative and everything I have ever made from her has been a success. I even have a copy of her cookbook, which is my favorite this year. She doesn't post as often since she had a baby, but this is a great resource.

I discovered this blog through Google when looking for a recipe. It was my greatest find! I spend most of my time baking, so this was perfect for me. The ingredients are simple and easy to find, also perfect for me. 

This was a very recent find for me, recommended by another vegan. So far, I have only used one recipe from this site and we enjoyed it. I plan to try many others.

I hope you check out these blogs and tell me about your favorite. 

On Instagram I started following Vegan Beast Mode. His story is amazing and he inspires me to at least get out of bed and stretch. Check him out!

I have one week left off from school and there is so much cooking left to do. I have three new cookbooks to work from and will be sharing the results with you.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Musings and Christian Book Review

It's almost Christmas!

I am seriously lacking the Christmas Spirit this year, not exactly sure why. Yet, I am not filled with the requisite excitement. Perhaps, it has something to do with me not having an oven and not being able to bake the usual goodies. Hopefully this will be rectified soon, and I will be able to have the joy of taking Christmas goodies from my oven. I did find an amazing no bake recipe at the minimalist baker, so we can have cheer without an oven.

This year there has been so much death and sickness, and the season is marred with the illness of a family member and the death of a fellow church member. It is necessary at times like these to remember the little things that bring joy and gladness. For example, the cheesy Christmas movies that I love so much. Wrapping gifts for family members, envisioning them being opened and the delight of my four year old when we pass a house that is covered in lights.

I am happy to be home from school and able to bury myself in the pages of books. I just completed the Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry, years ago I had read and loved The Giver. The other three books in this series were not as good as that one but were still pretty satisfying.

I had the chance to read The Patmos Deception* by Davis Bunn. I find that I need a change in my reading, so I find myself more interested in mysteries and adventures rather than romance. This book had a little romance and lots of mystery and adventure. The story takes place in Greece with the financial collapse as a prominent feature in the story. Carey Mathers loses a job opportunity and meets a family that cares for her as if she were one of them. Nick, an old crush and love interest, offers her a job and a chance to put her expertise (forensic archaeology) to work searching for corrupt people intent on stealing a great treasure. Dimitri, my favorite character, lives on a small Greek island that Carey and Nick travel to. Dimitri shows so much growth as a character, and his inner thoughts revealed so much. I did not like the way the story ended, it seems as if there is more to come. What did the ancient artifact say? Who will Carey end up with? All questions that were unanswered. If you want a break from monotony and want to learn a little about Greece, The Patmos Deception is for you, but if you need a story with no loose threads, you may want to pass on this one.

Well, most of you already know what you are cooking for Christmas dinner. I usually eat with my extended family at our annual party. This will be an adventure, as most of the food will not be vegan. I will prepare Dreena Burton's Festive Chickpea Tart. I plan to do some desserts, so I will be well-fed. I also love when people taste a dessert, then follow that with "This is vegan!!???"

 I hope that your Christmas is filled with joy, peace and lots of delicious food!

*A free copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Review- Provence 1970

 This book may not be enjoyable for the average vegan, as it contains considerable food porn that features meat prominently. Yet, I enjoyed it!. Provence, 1970 is written by M.F.K. Fisher's grandnephew. I have heard of M.F. but never read her work, after this book I plan to read her books and the work of James Beard. I was almost tempted to look up Julia Child's cookbooks too, but then I remembered ... Vegan???

The book tells of M.F., Julia and Paul Child, James Beard and Onley (a cookbook author, I had never heard about) meeting up in Provence. The times were changing, attitudes were shifting. French cooking had been seen as the ultimate, and Americans had worshiped at this altar for many years. After being ridiculed by French Chefs (Beck-Child's co-author) and Onley (American living in France), M.F. and Julia decided to turn their attention elsewhere and American cuisine became their focus. 

My favorite parts of the book were the letters traded back and forth by all the key players in the book. It made me want to purchase stationery and dismantle my email account. Luke Barr, did a great job of combining the letters with journal writings and personal stories to deliver a magnificent tribute to M.F. K. Fisher and other American Food Writers.

The book also mentions a shift to local foods, quality and even organic ingredients. Vegetarian cooking is even mentioned. It's a reminder that nothing stays the same, our attitudes towards food will continue to shift. Perhaps one day, the whole world will be vegan!

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through Blogging for Books.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing

I love food! I think about food constantly. I find myself thinking about what I will eat for breakfast at lunch time and planning by Sabbath Menu as soon as I am done eating this week's meal. This obsession with food takes time and energy, but it doesn't bother me because like I said.... I Love Food!

I am realizing the power of food, as I spend time reading about all the views on food. We have whole food plant based, plant based, vegan, paleo, and everything in between. What you eat pretty much defines you. I am a vegan! That is a part of who I am and shapes so much of my life and the decisions I make.

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking reminded me of how powerful food is, or perhaps the lack of food. This book is definitely not vegan, but I was reminded of truths about food and life.

Anya Von Bremzen a food writer, talks about growing up in the Soviet Union. I had heard about the Soviet Union, but never like this. The things Anya and her family endured are heartbreaking. What struck me the most was the longing part of the story. They truly longed for food; while reading books, while standing on ration lines and bartering for food to save their lives. Even after leaving the Soviet Union, they longed for the food of the past.

It made me so grateful to look in my fridge and see FOOD, in my cupboards and see FOOD; enough to feed myself and my family. I pray that I never take this blessing for granted again.

While reading this book I jotted down these notes:

Food =Religion
Food = Politics
Food = Feminism
Food = Freedom
Food = Bondage

When you look at your plate what do you see? What does your food say to you or about you? Who are you?

Much thanks to Blogging for Books for providing a free copy of this book for review.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Asian Pickles- Karen Solomon

I do not know what possessed me to try a book called Asian Pickles. Ah, I remember, my love affair with mason jars. Somehow I convinced myself that I would love to try pickling because I love Mason Jars. I know, Crazy right!

Very Crazy, because I have been staring at this beautiful book for many weeks and have not tried anything yet. Most of the recipes are vegan, so theoretically a vegan could enjoy the processes described in great detail in this book.

I have chosen a recipe that I will try- Red Pepper Murabba. I have seen this featured in cookbooks and have wanted to try it. The recipes in this book are simple and do not require fancy equipment, so I look forward to having my very own Murabba...... eventually.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Vegan Cuts- October

As you may now know I bestowed a three month subscription to Vegan Cuts Snack Box upon myself. October was the second month of my subscription and I wasn't blown away by this box. It had items that just didn't blow me away. But nevertheless, here they are:

I have heard about Zatar and was curious to taste the spice. It was interesting , but I am not a fan of chips that are a blend of stuff. This chip has black beans as one of the many ingredients. I left half the bag for my hubby, that says it all!

I love chocolate, and Vegan Chocolate is not always available. This dark chocolate was blended with berry and cherry flavors. Good!

I had totally intended to save this for my son, but somehow ended up polishing off the entire pack. It is a good alternative to the "fruit" snacks found in lunch bags.

Honestly, I have not tried this veggie protein powder as yet. I will let you know if it has the chalky taste of other powders.

I love popcorn, but hated this. I have never tasted anything flavored with truffles and never will again. I would like to try other flavors by POP ART.

I love chocolate and like coconut so this was something I thought I would love. Unfortunately, I did not. My husband though, liked it so much that I am checking local stores for it and may order a batch.

I love tea! Nothing brightens my day like sitting and sipping a hot cup of tea. I have seen this product in my local Fresh Market but never gave it a second glance. WOW! The flavors I got were...... CHOCOLATE! Yes, chocolate tea. Genius! This was so good. I plan to seek and find, then enjoy every single day.

I am not much of a soda fan, but someone who wants to drink soda without worrying about calories, sugar or artificial sweeteners might like this. My local Fresh Market carries this, so I have recommended this to my dieting friends who need soda like I need tea.

This box didn't blow my mind, but I definitely enjoy receiving it each month. I may decide to give myself another subscription, just to celebrate my awesomeness.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Christian Book Review: The Restoration Chronicles Keeper of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

After reading the first book in this series- Return to Me, I was on pins and needles waiting to find out what would happen to the exiles living in Jerusalem. Keeper of the Covenant did not pick up where the first book left off, but tells the story of the exiles living in Babylon. The book mentions the story of Esther as the Jews prepare to defend themselves from those who want to kill them and seize their property. I loved this portion of the book. I have read the story of Esther many times, but never thought of what the Jews experienced. First they waited for their death, then sought to protect themselves and their families.

The story centers around Ezra, who is a scholar and is has to determine how to lead his people while learning how to truly serve God. Reuben is another character who has his life changed in so many ways. Lynn Austin is a master at biblical fiction! I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Please read the first book and all of Lynn Austin's books. You will not be disappointed.

A free copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vegan Cuts- September Snack Box

Earlier I tried a one month gift subscription to the Vegan Cuts Snack Box. I decided to go for a 3 month subscription this time, and last month received my first box. I am always excited to get packages, but was anxiously awaiting this one. My box contained-

 This was the item I was most excited to try! I have not had boxed macaroni in ages, and was pleased to see the white cheddar flavor in my box. It was good! I expected an artificial taste, but was pleasantly surprised.

I love popcorn and I love Chai!  I got the Chai Caramel flavor, which was delicious. I need to find this again.

I think regular peanut butter has spoiled my taste buds, this nut butter was not sweet at all. It's interesting, but would take some getting used to.

I have never had protein powder before, and don't think I ever will again. I used this in a smoothie, but there was a chalky, weird taste that I just did not like. 

 This product was another miss for us, it is made from banana and coconut. The package states that the brown color is normal and we all know that bananas turn brown. Yet I found the color a little disturbing and didn't like the taste much either. I did share with a coworker who enjoyed it, so it may just be me?

 These were.... chips! Nice chips, but chips. It was nice to enjoy without having to read the ingredients and worry something non-vegan being sneaked in.

I enjoyed this blend of strawberry, banana and apple. It reminded me of applesauce, though it is referred to as a smoothie. I was pleasantly surprised to see it carried in my neighborhood Solomon's Fresh Market and have added Buddy Fruits to my son's lunch box.

There were a few additional items that I have not tried as yet, and probably won't try: a Shitake extract, and some electrolyte replenishing powder.

I am looking forward to October's box. Visit Vegan Cuts to get your own box.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Christian Book Review- Playing By Heart by Anne Mateer

Finding the time to read has been so difficult, so finding the time to write about reading has been almost impossible. I don't regret beginning my Master's degree, but despite having just begun I am counting down. I look forward to lazy afternoons with a book and nothing to do.

Playing By Heart takes place at a perfect time period. There is a bit of technology, but still a more simplistic way of life. I loved the fact that the sport of Basketball was just being introduced to the world, and the challenges faced by players, particularly girls.

Lula Bowman is a woman pursuing higher education at a time when women are pretty much expected to get married, stay home and raise children. Lula has a reputation for being flaky and her family does not consider her or her pursuit of education to be worthwhile. Circumstances force Lulu to live with her sister Jewel, providing financial support through her job as a teacher. Lulu holds on to resentment as she is forced to leave her education and scholarship behind.

Of course Lulu meets Chet, a teacher struggling with his own problems. I was dubious at the thought of Lulu abandoning all thoughts of education to be with Chet. I was very happy when Lulu and Chet arrived at their happy ending without Lulu sacrificing her own dreams. I have not read many books that take place in this time period and enjoyed the perspective and story. I think that teachers will especially appreciate this book, as it shows what teaching was like during a different era.

A free copy of this book was provided  by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Make-Up Meal

After failing to prepare lunch everyday like I had originally planned, I decided to prepare a make-up meal. Teaching, marking, chores and studying for my Master's degree simply became too much to handle and I was just unable to prepare lunch as I had planned. To console myself, I decided to prepare a meal that would make all my worries go away.

I began with two recipes I viewed this week on a blog I recently discovered. The Minimalist Baker has simple, but tasty recipes. I tried the No Churn Chocolate Ice Cream. Too good, Too GOOD! I paired this with some vanilla cupcakes, also from the Minimalist Baker. I love this site and can't wait to use this same recipe for my son's birthday party.

The main course consisted of Kale Salad which I found in Salad Samurai, Lentil Walnut Loaf (Oh She Glows), Yellow Rice, Roasted Vegetables and Sauteed Green Beans.

It was all worth it! I felt comforted and less guilty for not preparing lunch everyday. I don't know if I will meet my goals this week, but I will surely try!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Have I failed to lunch?

The pressures of a new school year and Master's Programme have begun to slow me down. Last week was great, I saved money, enjoyed great lunches and even dropped a pound or two. Yet, this week has gotten off to a slow start. Yesterday's lunch was simply a flour tortilla smeared with hummus and lots of fruit. Last night was spent trying to complete a paper that is due TODAY, so today's lunch will simply be some leftovers.

After preparing chickpea cutlets with mushroom gravy for Sabbath dinner, I had some Baby Bella Mushrooms left. I decided to use them along with onions, bell peppers and garlic to spice up some store bought tomato sauce. I served with thin spaghetti and topped with leftover veggie Parmesan made from pecans and nutritional yeast. This will serve as today's lunch. Hopefully, I will get back on track today. I have a great recipe from Salad Samurai bookmarked for tomorrow's lunch.

Friday, September 5, 2014

No Failure to Lunch- Flavor Packed Edition!

I am a big fan of Angela Liddon of the Oh She Glows Blog. I don't remember how I discovered her, but I did and I love almost every recipe I have ever tried from her site. I even pre-ordered her cookbook, counting down the minutes till it arrived. I must recommend the brownies and chocolate cake from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. Better than any I have ever had, vegan or not.

So,when I was looking for lunch ideas I immediately thought of the Cumin Black Bean Quinoa Salad . I have made this a few times before and always enjoyed. I subbed brown rice for Quinoa, since it is just too expensive here. The flavor develops as time passes, so its best to prepare the night before.

It's now time to plan for lunch next week. Any ideas?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Re-Purposing Leftovers! Vegan MOFO

On Monday, I used Nature's Vegetarian Patties with Pasta Salad to create a really great lunch. I was blown away by how the flavors in the Pasta Salad magnified overnight. Delicious! I have definitely added this to my list of regular lunch options.

Well, I had quite a few patties left over. I am not much of a sandwich fan, so I never felt motivated to use the patties to make sandwiches. My sister has been packing wraps for her family and raves about them constantly. So I decided to re-purpose my patties and use them in wraps. The patties can be a little dry, so I searched my freezer for something to kick it up a notch. I found leftover cheeze that had been used to make pizza. I found this winner of a recipe in Dreena Burton's Plant Powered Kitchen, the original recipe uses Spinach which I left out. I also used tomatoes, onions and lettuce, better than any wrap I would have bought and much cheaper!

Monday, September 1, 2014

First Day of School and No Failure to Lunch

Wow! First Day of School and first day of Vegan MOFO. Does any teacher sleep the night before? I woke up so many times to do the count down... 2 more hours, 1 more hour, 35 more minutes. What will this new year bring? That's the thing about teaching, it is so unpredictable. Every year and even day is so different from the last. Oh boy, now my stomach is full of first day butterflies.

So let me think about something that will calm my nerves- LUNCH! My theme is "No Failure to Lunch" because this school year I plan to do lunch right. Healthy, Filling and Delicious! Due to a new safety rule about microwaves, my lunch has to also be something that can be eaten cold. Currently I am having a love affair with Mason Jars, so expect to see them featured prominently.

Today's Lunch.....

Veggie Pasta Salad with Nature's Vegetarian Burger

Pasta Salad is so quick and easy. I simply boiled some penne pasta and tossed with veggies. I used what I had on hand:broccoli, sweet peas, onion, bell pepper, corn and a half of a tomato left over from sandwich making. I love Nature's Vegetarian Burger, you add hot water to a vegan mix of grains and form into patties. Tasty, and cheaper than frozen patties.

I plan to enjoy my first day of school, especially lunch time! What are you having for lunch today?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Vegan MOFO... The Countdown is on!

What have I done? In just a few days Vegan MOFO begins! Vegan Bloggers all over the world have committed to blogging at least 20 times for the month of September. So here I am, preparing for  school to open (NOT READY!), starting a Master's Degree program and gearing up for blogging at least four times a week.

I have chosen the theme.... No Failure to Lunch. Lunch is the one meal that I prepare pretty much everyday for every member of my family. "Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail." This is my philosophy about lunch and I have proven it again and again. On the days when I fail to pack lunch, I am ravenous- and end up buying something that is usually unhealthy. So in an effort to save money and trim down, I will be packing lunch EVERYDAY and blogging about it.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cookbook Review-VB6 by Mark Bittman

I find myself very conflicted about The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman. The author is a very popular writer who writes regularly for The NY Times, I even have his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian from my earlier vegetarian years. The reason I am so conflicted is this cookbook advocates eating vegan except for dinner. All of the recipes in this book are designed to help a person get healthier (?) and lose weight. Mark Bittman advocates a vegan diet for health and describes how a compromise between vegan and meat-eating helped him to reverse high cholesterol and other weight-related issues.

But, how do I as a vegan feel about this book? The author mentions that veganism just isn't an option for him, because he likes a wide variety of foods. I cannot agree with this at all. When I ate meat, I pretty much ate the same things all the time. Being vegan, opened me up to a wide variety of foods that I would have never heard of, much less have tried. I wonder if this book would lead someone to consider a vegan lifestyle or convince them that it is not necessary.

There are many differing views in the vegan community; I guess it will boil down to whether you choose this lifestyle for diet or the animals. I think that anyone who is exposed to animal suffering will ultimately make a different choice from Mr. Bittman.

Okay, I did try two recipes from this book- Mushroom Nut Burgers which were very good. I was prepared to not like these, but surprise! Very flavorful and satisfying. I also tried the Decadent Oatmeal Cookies- I liked them, but I do not think they were decadent at all. It tasted like an healthy cookie.

I plan to pass this book on to a family member that wants to explore veganism, but has found it challenging. I hope that this idea (VB6) will spur him to improve his health and transition to a new lifestyle.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Christian Book Review- Miracle in Dry Season

After reading the prequel to this book- Appalachian Serenade, I was anxious to read this book. I must say though that this book was not what I expected, AT ALL!

Perla Long arrives in Wise with no husband and her daughter. Of course, this gets the gossips talking. Especially when she stirs the interests of Casewell. This could have been a predictable love story, but it definitely is not. There are many sub-plots- Casewell's parents, A drought, conflict with the pastor and a love triangle. Perla stirs up mistrust and fear with the use of her gift which some called a miracle and some called a sign of something sinister. Despite all that was going on in this book, the true themes were forgiveness and acceptance. Sarah Loudin Thomas resolved each sub-plot, though I still felt as if something was missing. I wanted to know about the father of Sadie, Perla's possible reconciliation with her parents and the whereabouts of Pastor Longbourne. I didn't feel satisfied after reading this book and was disappointed after finding Appalachian Serenade to be such a delight.

A copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Traveling While Vegan- Grand Bahama

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the island of Grand Bahama to visit a family member. I must note that finding vegan food in Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport is pretty much impossible. Is it too much to ask that Dunkin Donuts stock non-dairy milk? I resolve to ask for soy milk every time I pass through LPIA, eventually they will get the message.

There were a few places in Grand Bahama that I was looking forward to visiting:

Livity Vegetarian Take-Out - This place definitely had an eclectic "Rasta" vibe going on, with lots of artwork on the walls and music playing in the background. Better than the atmosphere was the food, I ordered a "Rasta Pasta" which was good. The highlight of the dish was something I would not usually try- Apple Cucumber Salad. I need to determine what was in the dressing, that was delicious! I also had a Peanut Smoothie, that actually used peanuts. I don't know why it never occurred to me to use actual nuts in a smoothie, I have always only used nut butters.

Its About Time Vegetarian Food Store is a few minutes away from Livity and has a full stock of vegan items. I was so surprised to see items that I cannot find in Nassau. I was able to get some Field Roast Sausages. I have heard about these sausages, but have never had the opportunity to taste. They were O.K. I know right, but they didn't blow my mind or anything. I also got some Almond Butter that was absolutely delish! The prices at Its About Time were reasonable for the Bahamas and the owner was great.

My favorite vegan meal in Grand Bahama was at......... Pollo Tropical! I have actually never eaten at Pollo Tropical, but gave it a try. Their vegetarian bowl is sooo good. Black beans, Romaine and tomatoes over yellow rice. I will definitely have this again.

So if you are a vegan visiting Freeport, Grand Bahama, you will find options for great food and remember planning is the key to success for traveling while vegan.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cookbook Review-Brassicas by Laura B. Russell

Quick! Name 3 Brassicas. What?? You don't know what a Brassica is!

I am sure you are in good company, especially since I had no idea what a Brassica was until I picked up this book. If you are interested in finding out what Brassicas are and cooking them, then Brassicas by Laura B. Russell is the cook book for you. Brassicas range from the very mild Bok Choy to the pungent, Horseradish. I have never had much interest in this group of vegetables for many reasons, but Laura gives techniques for avoiding the stinkiness associated with this group of veggies.

This cookbook is not vegan, but there is a handy table at the back that identifies all the vegan recipes in the book. It is also filled with pictures, which may help you to decide that hmmm, cauliflower might be worth a try. 

I tried the Sweet Potato and Kale Saute. We devoured this in minutes on tostadas and topped with avocados. It can also be served over rice or as a side dish. This book is a good buy for persons looking to increase their intake of vegetables in a tasty way.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this unbiased review.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kitchen Essentials

I have never thought of myself as a foodie or kitchen elitist. Perhaps, I have naively considered myself “normal.” Well, this illusion has been shattered. I recently took a trip to a family member who shall remain nameless. We went to the local food store to stock up on necessities needed to cook up simple vegan meals. While attempting to prepare my meal I was frustrated beyond belief.  No paring knife, cutting board, chef’s knife, salad spinner. WHAT?? Each time I looked for a particular item, I would text my anonymous family member, “Do you have…?” Only to hear, “No, I don’t.” This was said with incredulity and an attitude that said, “Did you really expect me to have that?” Needless to say, I did not do much cooking during my stay and have promised my ------- that every gift she receives from me for the next five years will be kitchen related.

We have all seen the list of kitchen essentials found at the beginning of cookbooks. I never read these lists and always think, “Is there anyone who doesn't have these things? So I decided to make a list of my personal kitchen essentials, things I use often and do not want to have missing from my kitchen.

Knives- I don’t believe that you need to break the bank, but you do need three knives in your kitchen: a paring knife, serrated knife and chef’s knife.

Cutting Board- Now that I have visited two homes that do not have cutting boards, I will no longer assume that this is a tool found in every kitchen. I did have a bamboo cutting board that I loved, but it got mold so I recommend a plastic board.

Cast Iron Skillet- I plan to pass my skillet down to my grand kids (my son is four years old). It is great for making pancakes and pan frying crispy tofu.

Individual Blender- I have a regular-sized blender that I rarely use, because I hate cleaning it. I use my individual blender sometimes three times a day. It’s simple to use and easy to clean.

Food Processor- I strongly dislike using my food processor, because I hate cleaning it. Yet, I cannot deny its usefulness.

Toaster Oven- Unfortunately after seven years, my toaster oven has gone kaput. This is another tool that I use at least three to four times a week. I use it to bake up veggie burgers and even roast chickpeas in it.

Salad Spinner- Water pooled at the bottom of a salad bowl is unappetizing; this is where a salad spinner comes in. It ensures that greens are crisp and clean.

Slow Cooker- My slow cooker is used mostly to cook beans a pound at a time.

Popcorn Popper- Is this essential? Have you seen the price of microwave popcorn?

Metal Steamer Basket- This is a cheap metal steamer that can be placed in a pot; it can be used to steam vegetables. I have used my steamer to prepare seitan using Terry Hope Romero’s recipe from Salad Samurai.

I am sure that I can think of a few more “essentials” to add to this list, perhaps this explains why my kitchen cupboards are overflowing. What are your kitchen essentials?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Christian Book Review and Other Exciting News!


Perhaps because it's summer (YAY!) I was able to read A Match of Wits by Jen Turano in a day. Another reason may be that this book was laugh out loud funny. I have read and enjoyed previous books by this author that introduced the characters in this book. Agatha Watson is a progressive, young woman who works as an investigative journalist. Her work has caused her life to be put at risk and in her travels she finds her friend and love interest Zayne Beckett. Zayne is clueless, but dedicated to Angela. This dedication takes them both through many mishaps and adventures. They eventually find out who is trying to hurt Angela and (of course) declare their undying love for each other.

I enjoyed this book, it had so many funny moments. Yet for someone who was supposedly so smart Angela really annoyed me. She seemed to have no problem putting her own life and the lives of others at risk. I liked catching up with characters from the other books, but this book can be read and enjoyed without  reading the others. My favorite characters were Mr. Blackheart and Drusilla who had the ahem, privilege of escorting and protecting Agatha. I would like to see a book featuring these two.

A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for my review by Bethany House Publishers .

Now on to the exciting news...

September will be The Vegan Month of Food or VeganMoFo. Vegan bloggers all over the world will blog at least 20 times in the month of September on various themes and topics. For the first time ever I will be participating. I had already resolved that this year I will not buy lunch unless it is a life or death situation. So.. I have chosen lunch as my theme. Each day (fingers crossed) I will blog about the lunches I will pack for myself and hubby. I cannot wait to get started!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Afro-Vegan Cookbook Review

I think I know a thing or two about Caribbean Food, but transitioning to a vegan diet has taken me away from foods that are traditionally Bahamian. This cookbook will guide you back to the flavors you grew up with. It may not be exactly what you grew up eating, but it is reminiscent of what grammy and mommy cooked.
This cookbook is beautiful, I particularly loved the pattern found on the cover.  Each recipe is also accompanied by a song that I guess you could rock to as you cook. Its informative and I learned about indigenous foods and saw how their uses evolved over time.
Usually, when I receive a cookbook, I study it. I begin by marking the recipes I want to try, but I found myself marking very few pages in this book. The ingredients seem relatively easy to find, access to a farmers market would probably help. The recipes do seem to have a lot of steps, which is daunting when trying to decide what to make. I would recommend using this cookbook when you have time on your hands and want to impress.

I used the tofu marinade recipe from Lil' Tofu Po' Boys. This was the first time I saw a marinade recipe using water, the tofu was full of flavor.

I also tried the Sweet Potato Granola with Molasses-Glazed Walnuts. This was the recipe that felt like it would never end. But BOY, was it worth it. I wish that I had doubled the recipe. Sweet, crunchy, addictive.

 Afro-Vegan is an interesting cookbook that should be added to the collections of adventurous Vegan Cooks.

A copy of this cookbook was provided by the publisher through Blogging For Books in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Vegan on your doorstep

One of the things that every vegan does before eating a new food is read the label. Sometimes I am caught by surprise when something I just know is vegan contains animal products. Every day I learn more about other names for animal products that may be found in food. There is even an app called "Is it Vegan?" that promises to take the guess work and eye strain out of finding vegan products.

And if you don't want to read labels or download apps you can always order from Vegan Cuts- a website that offers monthly deliveries of vegan snacks. I indulged in a one month gift subscription to determine whether I really wanted to commit to this.

I was amazed to see the size of the box, for some reason I was expecting a huge box. But, after much thought and being pleased with the items in the box I got over these feelings. The following items were in my box:

So far, my absolute favorite thing in the box has been the lemon snakaroons. So good! Everything else was okay, nothing I would really go out searching for. I liked the chance to try new things that I might never see in a store, but was a sad there was only one of everything. I think I will subscribe to a year of Vegan Cuts and see what else is out there.