Archive | October, 2010

whats in my head.

28 Oct


I’m going to be Tal’s wife.
Tal is going to be my immediate family.
I’m Tal’s next of kin.
If Tal is homesick, I won’t have to bring him soup, because he’ll be home already.
Tal’s going to be my husband.
Tal is going to be my kids dad.
I’m going to have my own little immediate family.
I’m going to grocery shop for our kitchen.
I get to do our laundry.
We’re going to share a bank account.
I have to switch all my I.D to say Carmen Humphrey.
I get to decorate our place.
I’m going to have a husband.
Tal’s going to have a wife.

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food, the wedding, and other things that occupy my mind.

24 Oct

Every time I go to write a blog lately, I get about two sentences in, and then BOOM! I feel uninspired. I hope to complete this blog and finally post it! (I’ve reached the two sentence mark!)

Alright, so “the wedding” has been occupying my brain a lot lately… and although it seems forever away (279 days I believe…) I feel overwhelmed at what has to be done, and at the same time… feel like it’s too far away to do anything… oh well. One thing I have decided is the colour scheme that I like. I was sort of wishy-washy on it… and I have it picked out.. FINALLY! We’re all going shopping tomorrow (Jenny, Allie, Theresa, Cady, Katy, Charlotte, Mom, and Grandma) and now that I have a scheme of sorts, at least we can look for dresses along those colours, and it won’t just wandering around blindly in shops… which is my fear.

I’m horrible at planning things. Absolutely horrible. If you know me very well, you know that I don’t much like to take charge in these sorts of things, and don’t like to make everyone do what I want to do. Getting married seems to have a lot of situations where I have to take charge of planning things, and get people to do what I want them to do… (bah). I love it all the same though, and I hope that it all goes well.

NOW.. that the wedding stuff is over with…
oh wait.
I want to mention that Katy’s little baby Charlotte and my sister Theresa’s babies Taylor, and Lexington are going to be the cutest gnome fairies around and I can’t wait to see them with their wings and flowers, and balloons, and face paint. (at the wedding)

and my adorable mad-hatter ring-bearer.

Alright moving on.

A lot of people have been asking me recently why I’m vegan, and even though it seems like I’m always blogging about it, I thought I’d put it into a few simple statements that make sense to me. Also, veganism is not a religion of any sorts, and I don’t believe that spiritually I’m “awakened” or any of that mumbo-jumbo, I just feel, healthier as a vegan.

Here’s my reasons.

1. It’s better for the planet. If less cows/pigs/chickens were produced we’d have way less pollution (raising them, feeding them, cleaning up after them, and transporting them). That’s not saying, get rid of all the animals, but there’s absolutely no need for the mass production of them, they’re not products.

2. It’s better for my body. North Americans put SO many chemicals into their bodies daily, not only through animal products, but through most packaged foods (hi-fructose corn syrup anyone?) and I feel a lot better about my diet when I watch more closely as to what goes in. At the end of the day, if I can list (or at least try to) all the ingredients in my food, I feel healthy, and better. Also, it’s better for your immune system, your heart, your skin, your weight.. (the list goes on). For more information check out The Kind Diet , Food Rules , The China Study or many many others.

3. It really inspires me to get into the kitchen and create. I love cooking, and I love it even more as a vegan. I feel empowered, and excited at the prospect of a new recipe.

(for those of you that are still fuzzy on the vegan issue it’s no meat, no fish, no dairy, no eggs … and as much as that sounds like deprivation, I actually enjoy food more now!)

Alright, some recipes for you. I said I would post my dragon bowl recipe earlier on Facebook, but I got uninspired to write it… so here goes. It’s long because there’s a lot of components, but it’s really mixy-matchy, so usually whatever you have in your kitchen will work. Oh! and if you find any alterations that are super tasty, post them so I can try new things!

alright.

DRAGON BOWL! (the recipe)
So dragon bowl is a really popular interchangeable vegan dish, and it usually compiles of three parts, brown rice (or other whole grains), tofu (or other vegan protein), steamed veggies, sprouts, and a fabulous dressing. The rice I’ve found is quite time consuming, so I like to make up a huge batch and keep it in my fridge, then to heat it up, I just put as much as I want in a bowl, put about a Tbsp of water in it, and put it in the microwave. The tofu takes about a day to marinade, and can continue marinating for up to two weeks, SO you can make a whole bunch and use it in other recipes, or just eat dragon bowl for two weeks straight (you may want to)! The veggies/sprouts/dressing are easy and can be prepared right before you eat! (well unless you’re growing your own sprouts.. I have this really cool sprouting jar, and it usually takes me about 3 days to grow fabulously tasty sprouts! you can buy the jars and the sprouting seeds at the health food store!) If you want to know why I’m so enthused about sprouts click here.

part 1. TOFU skeptics listen up! This tofu recipe blew the socks off of me! I hated tofu, like gagged when I smelt it.. and then I tried this recipe, and I’ll never go back. It’s so good that even Tal loves it! (anything that is fiance approved is got to be yummy!) I found this recipe at Everydaydish.tv.

(this is what the tofu looks like)

you will need:
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of extra firm (or firm) tofu cut into strips (good for burgers, or a yummy side to mashed potatoes) or chunks (good for kebabs, dragon bowl, stirfrys ..etc)
1 and 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons dried sage leaves, crumbled (or 2 T. fresh, chopped)
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1/2 T. fresh)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 T. fresh, chopped)
1 small onion diced very fine.. basically minced

Cut up the tofu however you want it, or maybe do some strips, some chunks.. however you like.. Oh! but I should mention, it’s good to blot some of the water out of it before you cut it up! Then mix together all of the other ingredients and put it into a large shallow dish that has a lid (I used a casserole dish) and put your tofu in. Make sure they’re all covered, and stick it in the fridge (these can stay marinated for up to two weeks so you can just pull out whatever you need to cook).

When it comes time to cook the tofu you will need:
1 -2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of whole wheat flour (or any type of flour)
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

Mix together the flour and the nutritional yeast in a shallow dish. Dredge the marinated tofu in the flour mixture and fully coat it. While you’re doing this, heat the oil in a large skillet. When the tofu is coated, place on the skillet with the oil, and cook on either side until it is golden brown and delicious!

Alright, so now that the tofu is marinating, you can make a big ol batch of brown rice. A good ratio for brown rice is 1 cup of rice for 1.5 cups of water. For a big batch I use:
3 cups of brown rice (long grain or short grain)
4.5 cups of water

Put the rice and the water in a big pot and place on the stove. Bring the rice and water to a boil, once it’s boiling, cover and simmer for twenty minutes. Do not! I repeat do not OPEN THE LID OR LET OUT ANY OF THE STEAM! This will ruin your rice. Once the 2 minutes is up, keep the lid on, and fight off any temptation you might have to peak at it, and let it sit in the pot for another 20 – 30 minutes off heat. Then, finally after all the waiting, check out your perfectly cooked rice. If you have a gas stove like me, you may want to use a flame deflector while it’s simmering for twenty minutes… you don’t want the heat to burn the rice. Once the rice is cooked, put in large containers in the fridge for future use. Earlier I mentioned how to reheat the rice when you want to eat it!

So, you’ve prepared the tofu, you’ve grown your sprouts, and your rice is ready to go. Now all you have to do is cook the veggies (not too much.. it’s better if they’re still a little crunchy.. in fact I usually shred the carrots or beats and don’t cook them at all) so here’s a list of veggies that work in dragon bowl:

shredded carrot
shredded beats
sprouts
bok choy
kale
chard
broccoli
cauliflower
mushrooms
pea shoots
bell peppers
(or basically any other veggie that you can think of.. although tomato or potato I don’t think would work.. neither eggplant of zucchini.. no night shades..)

and last but not least.. the most amazing dressing I have ever made! It’s good on basically anything that could possibly ever need a dressing! It’s from a book called “How it all Vegan” which is full of absolutely delightful recipes! This one’s called “Sarah and Tanya’s You must-make-this-dressing”!

You will need:
1 stalk of green onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp of maple syrup
4 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
1 tsp of fresh chives
1 tsp of fresh dill
1 tsp of fresh parsley
1/c cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt

Basically chop up the onion, mince the garlic, and throw them and everything else into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and delicious. It should make about 3/4 of a cup.

TIME TO ASSEMBLE!

Start with a big bowl of brown rice (that’s been reheated), add your cooked (and not cooked veggies), then you’re pan-fried tofu, your home grown sprouts, and top with the most amazing dressing you’ve ever tasted! Ta-da! Dragon Bowl!

Alright, I think that’s all I’m going to post for now! Have a fantastic Sunday! (try dragon bowl (or some sort of variation of it!)

Peace.

A little something I picked up.

19 Oct

So, as most people could imagine, when you take ALL the animal products out of your diet you can swing one of two ways. The hardest but most beneficial way is to being super conscious and thoughtful about what you’re eating and how it’s helping your body and the environment, and the easier way is to start with good intentions, and then to eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches 3 meals a day! If I’ve learnt anything in all of this, it’s that it pays to be prepared. When you eat animal products, you can always just cook up an egg, or have a slice of cheese for protein, but when you’re vegan, and you need quick food… Well what are you gonna do?

All that being said, here’s a few tips/tricks/ideas for really healthy vegan eating!

1. Whenever you make a super delicious meal, ALWAYS prepare 2-3 times as much as you need. If it can be frozen, freeze it and reheat it for a quick meal, or put it in individual portions in your fridge for later use.

2. Whenever you have to prepare any sort of whole grain or bean, prepare them in SUPER large batches that can be frozen or refrigerated.

3. Make soups and stews in large batches. Soup is my ultimate quick food, I love heating up something super delicious and healthy and being able to eat it within 3 minutes.

4. When you marinate tofu, only cook the tofu that you’re going to eat, and leave the rest of the tofu in the fridge in the marinade, covered, for up to a week. Pull out more tofu whenever you want and quickly pan fry it.

5. Miso paste. Quickest, healthiest soup. It takes about 3 minutes to make from scratch and is as satisfying and comforting as your memories of chicken noodle soup growing up.

6. Make batches of granola that you can store in big cannisters. I could eat granola every morning with a little splash of almond milk.

7. Make dressings (salad dressings, dragon bowl dressings, sauces) and dips (hummus!) in batches that you can store in your fridge. Store bought dips and dressings don’t taste as good as homemade, and they’re definitely not as good for you!

8. Cook leafy greens into whatever you can. It’s a quick way of getting essential nutrients and loads of calcium!

9. Try new recipes and re make ones that were a hit in large quantities.

10. Start your day out with something very quick and delicious like a bowl of miso soup, a fruit, or a bowl of granola. Then your eating mindset for the rest of the day will be healthy.

If you’re a vegan whose trying to be as healthy as possible, go for it! Don’t let people get you down! I always remind myself thar if there’s sceptism towards whether you’re getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need, most people eating carnivorous diets don’t pay attention to their food groups all that much and are probably missing loads of things too! So if you slack off and don’t eat well for a couple days, don’t cry over it! It’s not like eating unhealthy as a vegan is any worse than eating unhealthy when you’re not vegan!

So hopefully some of these tricks sparked some inspiration to get into the kitchen and make some large batches of healthy nutritious food! I just love that God made all this delightful food for us to eat that is so full of everything we need to physically live!

Peace.

hot pot party. favourite soup potluck, and other festive food activities.

14 Oct

HOT POT PARTY!
I was reading a back issue of “veg news,” (a vegan magazine PACKED with recipes), and I came across this super cool idea of having a HOT POT PARTY! It’s sort of based around the fondue idea, except WAY healthier! It’s basically a super yummy veggie soup broth that you have in a little pot on a burner in the middle of the table, a bunch of fancy sauces, raw veggies, and Korean hot pot party pancakes! Basically you cook the veggies in the veggie broth and dip it in hot sauces, and the hot pot party pancakes, are sort of like Jewish latkes, but instead of just potato, you cook with cabbage and bok choy as well! I really hope to have a HOT POT PARTY before the end of the year!

FAVOURITE SOUP POTLUCK!
I’m pretty sure everyone has a favourite soup. Mine kind of varies, I LOVE BLACK BEAN SOUP, but I also love Kobacha squash soup, and butternut squash soup, and ALL SORTS OF OTHER SOUPS! (miso soup!) Anyways, the idea would be, I would provide a variety of breads and buns (what is soup without tasty bread and buns?) and a soup that was my favourite, and everyone else would bring their favourite soup! Then we could all have a ladle or two of everyones soup, and get a taste for everyones favourites!

Vegan Dinner.
I want to have a vegan dinner that is super extra tasty and delicious that will knock the socks off of any skeptical carnivore out there. The cool thing about it would be that everyone would cook together.. like get together a couple hours before dinner, and actually cook the yummy things that you’d be devouring.. I think it would be super fun to get together and cook with people, and have delicious, healthy food.

I think all of these dinner parties could be followed by a delicious vegan dessert, coconut icecream, tea, and a movie. Perhaps Christmas movies!

Anyways, I’m excited about planning these!
Eat yummy food tonight!
Peace

P.S Tal and I are in love with the indian restaurant by superstore (12 vegan samosas for 5.95!!!!) and now they’ve opened up their floor for dine in! WOOHOO another option for going out! (Mission’s small… 😦 and when another vegan friendly restaurant opens.. I get excited!)

more inspiration to dress vintage/2nd hand.

12 Oct

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1

Thanksgiving! (and new honey moon plans?).

12 Oct

My grandma and I worked out a really awesome cooking partnership for Thanksgiving this year. My parents were going to be arrive home from Austin (Texas) (they saw devendra banhart by the way… and I’m insanely jealous.) Anyways, my sister and her husband were traveling home from Penticton, so everyone was really super tired, which doesn’t make an excellent situation for a big dinner.. but it worked out. Grandma decided to make a ham,prepare hors d’oeuvres, bring cornbread muffins and bring pumpkin pie, and I decided to make the mashed potatoes, the roasted veggies, vegan corn bread muffins, and a vegan dessert. It took a lot of stress off to have half of the dinner done for you! Everything turned out beautifully, and I am very excited about some new recipes that I tried!


YUM.

So here’s some recipes. The Scarlet Roasted Veggies are from Alicia Silverstone’s book “the Kind Diet.” (buy this book! even if you’re not vegan, or not even interested in being vegan, the recipes are FABULOUS!)

These go really well as a vegan side dish to any big meal, or even just when you need veggies to go with your protein for dinner!

You will need (totally substitute different veggies if you don’t have these ones!)

4-6 shallots, pealed and halved lengthwise (these are like a combo garlic/onion thing.. so regular onion, and garlic will work as a substitute)
3 large beets, cut into 1″ chunks
2 parsnips, quartered lengthwise
1 large fennel bulb, halved, cored, and thickly sliced (this is delicious)
1-2 cups of butternut, acorn, or kobocha squash, cut into big chunks (only peel if the squash isn’t organic)
3-4 celery stalks, cut into 1″ pieces
3-4 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup pecan halves
6-8 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1-2 teaspoons soysauce (shoyu, or tahini)
grated zests of 2 lemons
2-3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley (for garnish… and it tastes good)

Preheat your oven to 350, and oil a big baking dish. I used two 9×11 dishes, and it worked really well. Half the recipe if you only want to make one big dish. Combine ALL of the ingredients (except the lemon juice) in a bowl, and transfer it to the baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes with tinfoil on top. Then after the 40 minutes is up, take the pans out, take the tinfoil off, stir around and put back in the oven for 20 more minutes without the tinfoil. The first forty minutes is to make them soft, and the next 20 is to make them a bit crispy. Once they’re done, toss with the lemon juice, and garnish with the parsley! YUM! It was like a combo stuffing-esque dish, with the sophistication of gorgeous healthy roasted veggies, a perfect vegan side dish to a big meal… and filling too.

Now, onto the PIE! (The vegan cornbread muffins are delicious too, and I’ll post about them in a different blog!)

This pie is filling, beautifully textured, decadent, and basically to die for. It’s also from Alicia’s book (buy it!).

2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
3/4 cup vegan margarine, melted
1 bag of nondairy chocolate chips
1/2 cup soy milk or hemp milk (but not rice or nut milk)
1 1/4 cups peanut butter, divided
1 box of silken tofu (firm)
1/4 cup syrup (maple or jemima :P)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract

FIRST! preheat the oven to 375. Mix the cookie crumbs with the melted margarine, and press that mixture into a pie plate, creating a crust going slightly up the pan. Then bake that for 15 minutes or so. Once that’s done, take it out and let it cool completely. Next with a small sauce pan, mix the chocolate chips, and the soy milk, on a low heat, keep stirring, and don’t let it burn, until it makes the most gorgeous chocolate mixture you have ever seen. Take about 1/4 cup of this mixture out, and set it aside. Take the rest and evenly spread it in your pie crust.

Put this in the fridge for an hour or so, and get ready for some peanut butter action! In a food processor blend together the tofu, 1 cup of the peanut butter (save the other 1/4 cup for later :)) the syrup and the vanilla extract. Blend this together until your ears cannot handle listening to the food processor any longer (or about 8 minutes). Scrape the sides down periodically, you want it mixed really well… no one wants to find a big chunk of unflavoured tofu in their pie… 😦 Once the crust and the chocolate filling has been chillin’ for an hour in the fridge, take it out and scoop the peanut butter mixture in, pressing it down into the pie lightly as you go. Then put this back in the fridge for an hour. FINALLY when you’re ready to serve it, well almost ready, mix the chocolate sauce that was left over and the extra peanut butter in a small sauce pan, and heat until it’s pouring consistency (and add a little soymilk if it doesn’t get thin enough to pour).. then put this on top of your pie, either decoratively in swirls, and designs, or just spread it evenly! Then put it back in the fridge for about 20 minutes… THEN YOU’RE DONE! and you’ll be super happy and content! It was amazing.

Okay moving one.

Honey moon plans. Plans were to go to San Fransisco… but now we’re thinking… and decided that we’d rather go to…. EUROPE!

We’re going to back pack through Europe for a few weeks, and do it super cheap, and have a huge adventure! More on this later! (but I will say that both of us agree, that if we don’t go now, we probably won’t.. and we both would LOVE to see so many places… so.. EXCITED! if you have any tips, or cheap ideas, or books, or tours or whatever that you want to suggest, let me know.. I’m going to do LOADS of research!)

Alright, well I’m going to go let my tummy rest, and get ready for the next week with a really long luxurious sleep. Hope your thanksgiving was awesome.

Peace.

when we get rich.

10 Oct

When we get rich (unlikely). This will be our home.