Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Thanksgiving and the Christmas Countdown

I have wanted to host a Thanksgiving dinner for a long time and finally had that chance this year. It's amazing the amount of work that went into planning the meal. Weeks of googling and saving recipes, choosing the right recipe and finally the preparation.

My cooking began two days in advance when I prepared the Pumpkin Pie from one of my favorite cookbook Oh She Glows. This pie was absolutely delicious topped with coconut whipped cream. I also baked cornbread for cornbread stuffing. Much time was spent researching cornbread stuffing, I just could not find a good vegan recipe, so I ended up combining a few recipes. The result was so good! My advice for Christmas is to ditch the regular stuffing and go with cornbread stuffing.


Oat Patties with Mushroom Gravy (This was contributed by a guest, but I am working on recreating these patties. Easy and Tasty!)
Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons (Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero)
Cornbread Stuffing (Inspired by Minimalist Baker)
Sauteed Cabbage and Carrots
Beans and Rice (Made by my MIL)
Roasted Butternut Squash (Oh She Glows)
Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Whip Topping (Oh She Glows)
Pecan Praline Cake (This was made by my very talented aunt.)
Pecan Bars (Fettle Vegan)

Dinner was lots of work, but the effort was worth it.

There is so much eating to be done over the next few days. Christmas breakfast at my aunt's home, my only contribution will be muffins that will come from one of my many favorite cookbooks, 150 Best Vegan Muffin Recipes. I do plan to prepare a Stuffed Seitan Roast from my other favorite, But I Could Never Go Vegan and cookies  from the website Fettle Vegan for an intimate family holiday dinner. I have to say something about this website, I recently discovered Fettle Vegan. I love everything I have ever made from this site. Please check it out!

The holidays are a time for family and good food. I plan to enjoy lots of it this season and hope you do too!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lots to Say!

Working on my Master's Degree and starting a new school year has pretty much depleted by brain cells which explains my absence from this blog. I had also began relying heavily on vegan convenience foods, which isn't very interesting to talk about....But I have mended my wicked ways and am back in the kitchen and have actually began buying ingredients again.

 Despite my lack of productivity in the kitchen I have continued expanding my cookbook collection. I think this cookbook has been used more than any other I have ever bought, 150 Best Vegan Muffin Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury. This cookbook has changed my life! I whip up a batch of muffins twice a week now, all of the recipes are easy and worth the time spent in the kitchen. Most of the recipes use vegan yogurt which can be found at Solomon's Fresh Market. I mostly use Almond Dream's Vanilla Yogurt which is afford-ably priced and not overly sweet. My favorites are the Chocolate Chip Muffin and Banana Walnut.

I don't usually buy Kindle versions of cookbooks, but had heard so many good things about Dreena Burton's Plant Powered Families that I decided to give it a try and wanted immediate gratification. I have also been having a BIG problem with trying to pack healthy, appealing lunches for my first grader. I hoped that this cookbook would help. So far I have tried about three recipes from this book and was pleased, my favorite has been the chickpea burgers. My entire family absolutely loved them which was a win for me. My only peeve is that all of the baking recipes are gluten free, but overall this is a good book for families trying to feed vegan kids.

Even though I am now a reforming junk foodie, I am happy to see the the wide variety of foods being carried in my local store. I recently found Earth Balance Cheddar Puffs, Popcorn and other items. YAY! I also have to recommend So Delicious Cashew Milk Ice Cream. This is the best vegan ice cream you will ever eat, I promise. These items are pricey, but worth the occasional splurge.

I was led to begin a clean up process in the diet of my family after watching OMG! a documentary about Genetically Modified Foods. I was inspired to start buying organic, until I picked up a pound of organic chickpeas being sold for nine dollars. Nope! Had to purchase the non-organic brand for one dollar and ninety-nine cents. I am trying to use the clean fifteen and dirty dozen resource while shopping. I guess I can aim for something close to perfection.

Unfortunately, my reading has been limited, but I was determined to carve out time to finish this latest book by Lynn Austin. The third book in The Restoration Chronicles, On This Foundation tells the story of Nehemiah who leaves Persia and travels to Jerusalem to lead the building of the wall. The story is familiar, so I think everyone knows how it will end. Yet, Lynn Austin does an excellent job of building suspense and intrigue. Halfway through the book, I read the book of Nehemiah just to check the facts and confirm what I was reading. Lynn Austin is a gifted writer who makes biblical history come to life. I hope this series never ends!

Happy Reading and Eating!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A little of this and a little of that!


Waking up late, going to bed late, cooking, eating, reading! All things I like to do during the summer. Unfortunately, pursuing my Master's Degree has but a little damper on my usual summer activities. But, I will not be dismayed I will find time to sleep in late, watch my favorite television shows, cook, eat and of course read.

I cannot resist a new cookbook and Facebook ensures that I know about every cookbook that is published. I had heard about Miyoko Schinner, because of her vegan cheese line. Unfortunately, living in paradise means that I may never taste these delicacies. But, if I have the inclination I can make them at home using her recipes. Yet, I have no interest in making cheese, considering I don't really like the stuff. Thankfully, this cookbook has so much more. My Auntie Esther makes pecan rolls that will make you scream... I have tried to recreate this recipe many times with so many failures. Schinner's Basic Yeasted Sweet Pastry Dough is the closest I have ever got. It results in fluffy, sweet dough! If this is the only thing I ever make from this book, it was well worth it.

Did I ever mention that I am obsessed with midwives? Well reading about them at least. I stumbled across a book on my Kindle called The Reluctant Midwife. This is not a christian book, but it is a good read. All the trials and tribulations faced by a very reluctant midwife during the Great Depression, while dragging along a catatonic doctor. Great read!

I received a free copy of the book The Midwife's Tale by Delia Parr. This book was less about a midwife and more about a town that is served by a midwife. Trinity, Pennslyvania is an interesting place with all kinds of characters that will make you love this town. Martha Cade faces an interesting dilemma, a doctor who threatens her position in the town, along with a mystery. Martha is an engaging character who has an interest in so many lives all over Trinity. If you love midwives and small towns, you will enjoy this book.

This month I traveled to San Antonio for a conference. During this time my church voted on an issue connected to women being ordained. Unfortunately, in the end the vote went the other way and women will not be ordained. Perhaps, this is why I found Refining Fire by Tracie Peterson so interesting. The story itself was not so engaging and I do not like books that leave you hanging which this book does. Yet, the story did make me think as Abrianna Cunningham, wrestled with the position of women in ministry. I thoroughly enjoyed her spirited arguments and determination to serve.

San Antonio! The highlight of this trip was my first ever visit to Whole Foods. YAY! I got to try Beyond Meat's Chik'n Strips and CHAO cheese. I love that place, and cannot wait to go back.

Another month left for my semi-vacation. Hopefully, I will be doing lots of cooking, eating and reading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Too Many Books, Too Little Time

I had decided to stop buying cookbooks... but then I thought, "Can a person ever have too many cookbooks?" Well, maybe they can, especially if they are overflowing and spilling off the shelf.

Nonetheless, I have an addiction to good fiction and cookbooks. Can't resist either one!

I recently got a chance to read Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas. This is her second novel and is a continuation (sort of) of her first, Miracle in Dry Season. That book told the story of Perla who always had her food multiply (in a five loaves, two fish kind of way). Until the Harvest tells the story of her son, Henry who I must say was the most annoying human in the world or in this book. The other main character is Margaret who has an awful mother, but saintly sister Mayfair. Mayfair is gifted like Perla is, though in a different way. The story explores the impact of Mayfair's gift, Henry's bad decisions and their effect on everyone and even Perla's past. I don' know if I will read another book by Sarah Loudin Thomas, I don't really like her style of writing. I  wanted the story to end and didn't feel any connections with the characters. I may decide to try this author again though, because I can't really resist a book. A free copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this very honest review.

I just picked up my copy of "Infuse." Now this was a weird choice, since I do not drink alcohol and look weirdly at people that have stuff floating in their water. But I decided to give this a try because... I love Mason Jars. I have a ton of them that I never use, and this provides me with the perfect excuse. Infuse has recipes for oils, spirits and water. This weekend I will be trying the Jalapeno-Spiked Grapefruit Water, sounds weird I know, but I cannot wait! A review of this book will be coming up shortly.

Vegan with a Vengeance was my first vegan cookbook, and despite the fact that I love Isa Chandra, I did not love that book. So why did I buy the ten year anniversary edition? Because I have a problem... could not resist. I plan to try out a few of the new recipes in it as soon as I get a chance. The pizza dough recipe in that book is the best ever!

Finally, when a person realizes that a cookbook is not a good fit, the best thing to do is to find it a new home. Last week I found new homes for Vegan Taco and Salsa and Moles. Under no circumstances should you leave a cookbook languishing on your shelf. Give it to someone who will love and cherish it!

Now, there are not many opportunities to visit a fully vegan restaurant in Nassau, but I must give a shout out to Eat Right Delights. This is a new vegan take-out located at the intersection of Wulff Road and Market Street. The food is affordable and good. Please give it a try!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Much Needed Break!

Finally!!! I finally have a much needed break from school---one month. A whole month to relax, read and try complicated vegan dishes.

                                                            Product Details

It all began with Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman. I have read a few of Cushman's books and enjoy her style of writing and the way she deals with difficult issues. Finding Me is about a young woman, Kelli, who is mourning the death of her father. His death leads to Kelli uncovering secrets kept by her father for a very long time. Secrets that reveal who she is, hence the name, finding me. The premise was a good one, but after a while I was like, "Just tell everyone who you are, Hurry up!" It moved kind of slowly, but was worth it in the end. I also recommend Cushman's book-Chasing Hope. That was a perfect book! (Bethany House provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.)

                                                       Product Details


Last week, I saw one of my students reading a thick book and had to examine it closely. After reading the first few pages of the book I was hooked. I went home and loaded it onto my Kindle and spent the entire night reading. The Mysterious Benedict Society! Its a book written for kids, but I could not put it down, Adventure, puzzles, suspense and character development, all in a book for 10 year old kids. If you have kids or love to read get this book. I have even read book 2 in the series, blew my mind!

                                                              Product Details

Now on to the next best part of my break, trying new recipes. I recently received a copy of the book Salsas and Moles. When I think of Salsa one thing comes to mind-tomatoes. This book goes way beyond that! There are classic salsas, chunky salsas and hot salsas. I immediately turned to Salsas for Tacos. I love tacos, and will grasp any opportunity to make them better. There is the basic guacamole and Pico De Gallo which were most familiar to me. Then there were recipes for Spicy Slaw and Taco Stand Onions. The book makes suggestions for use of salsas and I would recommend topping some Gardein Fishless Fillets with the Spicy Slaw. Avocados and mangoes will be here in a few short weeks and I can't wait to use them to try other recipes in Salsas and Moles. (A free copy of this book was provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for my review),

An entire month to savor good books and good food!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Vegan, Vegan, What do you see?

Vegan, Vegan, What do you see?

I see vegan sausages.
I see vegan pizza.
I see vegan ice cream.
I see vegan food everywhere.

For too long being vegan in paradise meant that food had to be made from scratch all the time! Vegan convenience foods were no where to be found. This is changing, over the past few weeks I have been so pleased to find  the variety improving along with accessibility.

Field Roast Sausages

I first saw this item in Grand Bahama and was overjoyed to see it in my local Solomon's Fresh Market. This was awesome served in gravy over grits for breakfast and then simply fried with Patatas Bravas (a recipe I found on The Minimalist Baker's blog). It is very expensive, but good for an occasional treat.
                                                 Image result for field roast sausage images

Daiya Pizza

I had taken to ordering a cheese-less pizza from my local pizza place, but never found this particularly satisfying. I then, started making my own pizza (Best Recipe Ever-Deep Dish Pizza in But I Could Never Go Vegan). I love making my own pizza, but there are times when I feel like eating but not cooking. Enter my new favorite, Daiya Pizza from SUPER VALUE Winton. When I saw this in the freezer I did a happy dance and even squealed. I had heard about it, but never had the pleasure. So worth it!! I had the Roasted Vegetable, but will be going back to try the others.

                                               Image result for daiya pizza images

Now to the best part-- Ice Cream! I love Ice Cream! I have missed Ice Cream! Yes, I bought an ice cream maker and a ice cream cook book. Unfortunately, I have never been successful with this. I had the great fortune to try So Delicious Ice Cream while visiting Florida, so I was happy to celebrate my birthday with the almond chocolate bars. Dinner was made complete with the Mocha Almond Fudge flavor. The items are pricey, think over ten dollars for a pint of ice cream. This will be a rare treat for me. You can find this at Solomon's Fresh Market at Harbour Bay.

                                                    Image result for so delicious mocha almond fudge

I have seen some other items that I plan to try as soon as I can. I love cooking at home, but am glad to see the variety of vegan foods expanding.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Good Food Day


What makes a good food day for you?

On a day when I have been particularly virtuous I feel like I have had a good food day. You know what I mean oats for breakfast, and lots of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. The cookbook, A Good Food Day by Marco Canora seems to have pretty much the same ideas that I have about what good food is.

Good food simply makes you feel good.

Lately, I have been eating only foods that promise to make me feel good, this means that I have slowed down considerably in my consumption of sweets. A Good Food Day is by no means a vegan cookbook, but subconsciously, I think it acknowledges that a plant based diet is the best way to feel good. A good many of the recipes are vegan by chance or design and are pretty good. I veganized the Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Porcini Mushrooms and Baby Spinach (p. 155) by eliminating the cheese and using Earth Balance Butter. The flavors were like nothing I had ever eaten, rich and earthy. I plan to try a few more recipes, veganizing those that need that extra special attention.

The ideas of the author are ones that all of us could pay more attention to. Cook real, quality food and enjoy what you eat. I plan to do this more and have a few more good food days.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Words and Chocolate

My classes are off to a bumpy start, my students can smell summer around the corner, and my stress level is through the roof. Yet, two things that can always calm my frazzled nerves are a good book and some chocolate.

The chocolate lover's box from Vegan Cuts was phenomenal. My favorite products were Jen's Zen Chocolate Raspberry Spread and a Bixby Bar. This box did help me reach the conclusion that I do not like dark chocolate or anything matcha flavored.

The words flowed with books from Bethany House. Like a Flower in Bloom. This book by Siri Mitchell told the story of Charlotte Withersby who assisted her botanist father. Charlotte is more than just an assistant, she has become her father's lifeline, since the death of her mother. An assistant, by the name of Edward Trimble arrives just as Charlotte's father and uncle decided it is time she met a husband. Through a series of improbable events, Edward and Charlotte end up in love. Unfortunately, I enjoyed the Note from the Author about women, botany and the Opium War more than the actual book.The theological discussion about a woman's role a a help was fascinating and enlightening. The events of the story were unlikely and just seemed contrived, I will try other books by this author as I found the main idea engaging.

After enjoying Book 1 in the Canadian West Series by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan I anxiously awaited book 2, "Where Trust Lies."I was sorely disappointed. The story follows Beth Thatcher and her family on a tour of Canada and the U.S. This story basically annoyed me as I never liked Julie, Beth's sister who was featured in this book. I preferred reading about Beth's trials and triumphs in the Canadian West. I am not giving up on this series though and see lots of room for development.

A free copy of both books was provided by Bethany House Publishers. The Vegan Cuts Chocolate Lover's Box was not free, but was worth every PENNY!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

February..A Time for Seitan and Chocolate!

It's February already!

The year is in full swing and I am swinging right along with it. My classes have begun again and squeezing in time to cook is hard. Yet, it has never been more important to me. The government implemented a new Value Added Tax (VAT) on January 1, 2015 and this spurred me to re-evaluate my spending. This evaluation led me to the conclusion that I am not eating out...ever. I have mostly been able to stick to this new rule, with very few slip-ups. So now I have less time to cook, but need to do it more than ever...sigh.

I have developed a new love for seitan. I had eaten seitan many years ago, when a friend prepared it for me. This convinced me that I did not like it, now I love it. What made the difference? Steaming! Boiling in my opinion, does not do seitan justice, just makes it all mushy. But steaming!!!! Wow!
Isa Does It! has a great recipe for sausage, Salad Samurai has a pretty good one that absorbs lots of flavor but my absolute favorite is found in my new favorite cookbook, But I Could Never Go Vegan!
Full of flavor! I love seitan (did I mention this?), but have found gluten flour to be expensive here. I ordered some from Amazon (Bob's Red Mill) and was pleased with the product and price.

Did I mention my new favorite cook book? But I Could Never Go Vegan! I had actually never heard of the author, but read about the cookbook somewhere and am so happy I took a chance on it. All of the recipes I have tried have been winners- Sunflower Sausage, Cornmeal Waffles, Seitan, Lentil Mushroom Meatloaf, Sausage Biscuits and Gravy. I am sure I said that I really like this book. I have even ordered it for a friend who is trying out the Vegan lifestyle. YAY!

February celebrates love and all things chocolate, which I happen to love. I ordered the Vegan Cuts Chocolate Lovers Box, despite my budget and some tummy issues. Who can resist chocolate, especially in February? I will fill you in on all the yummy details.

Happy February!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cookbook Review- Relae

I am unsure if the word cookbook should be used to describe Relae: A Book of  Ideas. I am looking for ideas, I want to throw away the measuring cups, spoons and recipes, in favor of a more relaxed style of cooking. A little of this, a little of that, you know the way grammy did it. Well, I may be getting better at this, considering I made an awesome chickpea curry yesterday without a recipe in sight.

Back to the cookbook... I mean The Book of Ideas. I truly enjoyed the story behind this book. Christian Puglisi tells of his journey from chef at the restaurant of someone else to his own. His restaurant is like none I have ever heard of, the ideas are unique and fresh. I loved the story of how he found the space for the restaurant. Think, broken down, drug infested area transformed to hip and upcoming.

Though this is a book of ideas, I don't think the average vegan/person would enjoy it. Everything is just too weird! I didn't see a single recipe..excuse me... idea that I would like to try. This will be used as a coffee table book for me.

I did like the premise that Mr. Puglisi puts forward. He advocates for veggies first. The meat is more of a side dish in his restaurant. I love this, perhaps if we keep pushing meat to the side it will become totally unnecessary to the wider population.

A free copy of this book was provided by Blogging for Books.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!

2015 is here!

What are your plans for the new year? This year I want to cook more whole foods, while working on my Master's Degree I have started to rely on convenience foods. These tend to be expensive and not as satisfying. So, I resolve to cook more..fresh veggies..less fake meat...wholesome meals!

My cookbook collection has expanded to include The 40th Anniversary Edition of Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen*. This cookbook is actually vegetarian, not vegan. It does include many vegan sauces, spreads and other recipes. What is most intriguing about this book is that it is handwritten with hand-drawn pictures throughout. I loved the story behind the book, how it started out as a collection of recipes handwritten for use in a restaurant.

I would recommend this book for someone who is exploring a vegetarian lifestyle. I know just the person. My beloved nephew has decided to become a vegetarian, YAY. His mother, my sister is spending lots of time stressing about what to feed him. He swims competitively, so needs lots of fuel to keep him going. I plan to pass this book along to her, it includes so many basic recipes (hummus) that she can begin with. Hopefully, one day I will be passing on a Vegan cookbook to her.

At the beginning of a new year people are more open to consider life changes. I hope we can encourage a more compassionate way of living. Happy New Year!

*A free copy of this book was provided by Blogging for Books. Thanks!