Friday, May 29, 2009

An Homage To...

Coffee!!!

I love coffee. I love the smell, the taste, the variety, the mood it sets...everything! Ok, so I don't love the jitters that much, but everything in moderation, right!?
Here are some aspects of coffee that I love most.
I remember my little brother loved coffee when he was about 3 years old. My grandmother would take him to ladies' breakfasts at church. He would have a tiny little suit on, and when the ladies set down their coffee cups to talk, I'm pretty sure he would grab them and throw them back. Hehehe!! These Coffee and Donut Cupcakes at Slashfood remind me of those breakfasts. Aren't they great?
In ye olde 1990's I got on the coffee house trend with a vigor! Jewel-toned cushy couches, cool lighting, poetry readings, hot mochas...mmmmm! The Singles movie also solidified my love for coffee, as it was all things 1990's in the cheesiest movie ever...heart!


Another thing I love about coffee is the beauty! I worked at a coffee shop in college, and one of my co-workers was quite the drink artist. She traveled to competitions and often came home with prizes for creating foam masterpieces!

Coffee life is also rife with opportunities for cute-accessory collecting.
Urban Outfitters has these cute reusable coffee containers that look just like their paper counterparts. Reusable and awesome!

This is my favorite coffee maker, the Eileen French Press from Bodum. I have had this model for about five years and still love it! Form and function is a plus.


Finally, there are few things that rival the giddiness I get when picking out new coffee beans! It's an adventure every time. I love trying new roasts from little indie companies the most. One of my favorites lately has been offerings of Alex Wrekk, zinestress extraordinaire. I've enjoyed her zines for a long time, especially Brainscan. Her book Stolen Sharpie Revolution is also packed full of goodness. She has a shop on Etsy and the coffee blends are terrific!
Thanks for enjoying my coffee stories! I can't wait till our honeymoon, when I will make it a point to slosh around Seattle sipping a nice steaming cup of joe and loving every minute of it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Paper Chase

I am really late to the game most of the time when it comes to music (um I am late to everything in real life!).

Today I am really happy about two new-to-me musical discoveries on the Kill Rock Stars label.

First, for that busy rousing type music, The Paper Chase.


And for lady awesomeness, Thao.
Next I think I'll go see what's been up with an old favorite, Rosie Thomas. I wish I could type that cute little heart-dotted "i" she does in her name. This video is one I took a shine to!



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yawn. Yum. Pup.



I'm kinda bored with the ye old Pixiepine Palace lately. It has gotten a little old taking pictures of my food all the time! This could be a result of wedding/housebuying exhaustion...I dunno. I like doing the blog, so that will continue, but I think the content will vary more. Maybe more of my other interests, like music and books and art and clothes and plants and bikes and all that stuff. I'm still a cheerful vegan, no worries! I think I'll just explore more stuff than what's on our plates. Hope whatever I'm digging is of interest to the lovelies who read all this stuff :)
That being said...heheheh...here is a plate worthy of attention! Well, the actual plate and the food! The plate is a favorite at our house, a really pretty reproduction of some kind of fancy pants Spode dish from way back when. Thanks TJ Maxx!

The food is from Vegan Appetite. I love this blogger's idea of featuring veganized versions of Food Network dishes. I love watching Food Network, but sometimes the conversions in my head get scrambled when recipes are way to meaty and dairy-y to keep up with. Like Bianca at Vegan Crunk said once, I often just look at foods and automatically pretend they are the vegan versions. Anyhoo- here's this great dish!


It was so tasty, and somehow getting to subvert the Food Network's meaty plans was fun!! Thanks, Miss Vegan Appetite!

Now in conclusion, is my doggie in a crown. I dunno how the camera got all glamour-shot looking, but it did!
Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

My new love.

How sweet it is. There is even a monthly-travel themed puzzle, and you can enter your correct answer on the website to win a spa vacation. Swoon.




(This is all made better by the fact that I didn't even pay for a subscription! Yay for nice co-workers who contribute all their Coke caps for me to get fun prizes. I don't even like Coke!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quiche...a fab Scrabble word!

Happy Friday!!!

Two words: Kittee & Quiche!



Leave it to Miss Kittee to develop a magical vegan quiche that really, really works. Eggs and cream and all that other narsty stuff can take a hike!!! I would seriously recommend this dish to everybody! It would be such a nice indulgent treat for someone you love who is watching their waist or cholesterol or any of that other health-stuff. I used a vegan pre-made crust, but I'm sure a healthy homemade crust would make this even more delicious and good for you!

Here is another tasty angle. This fancy pie was soooo good I forgot to take a picture first!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sugarpants





I am proud that I have somehow worked John Waters into a vegan/green living blog! (Bonus points, ok personal satisfaction..., if you know the movie this picture is from!) Mr. Waters' presence was sadly missed on Pixiepine up to this point. (Maybe in the future I can write a post on using vegetable dyes to achieve the hairdos in his movies...beets here we come!).


Anyway. I have been following My Year Without Sugar for a while. This is a blog chronicling a person's New Year's resolution to give up refined sugars for a year. It worked so nicely for her that she is now past the year and has kept on going.


It made me wonder if I could do that. I know sugar is the devil and all that (yes, I did google "sugar is the devil" and get all kinds of fun stuff. ) One thing that stuck in my mind thus far in my reading is this information on Columbia University's website:


"100 grams of sugar, the amount in one 12-ounce can of regular soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent for up to 5 hours!"


That freaks me out! Not to mention that most people don't go for a can, it's the 20-something ounce bottle of soda, the Big Gulp and its relatives, or several refills with a meal. Incapacitated!


I am wondering if I could go without sugar. I have already cut waaaay down on soda. The longer I go between sodas the more I feel the negative effects when I do have one. I can be having a great day, feeling good, and then indulge in a soda. Immediately my tummy rumbles, and eventually I feel wonky and cranky and whiny. Yuck. That certainly did not used to be the case, as Dr. Pepper was my #1 drink. I guess giving the body a break and then reintroducing such harsh ingredients is pretty telling.


I drink herbal tea with no sweeteners. I can drink coffee with soymilk only, but I am guessing my soymilk may have sugar in it. I can do no sodas. I juice my own fruits and vegetables. I think my major barriers would be:


*Oreo/Newman-O/ABC vegan cookie attacks- I have a heinous sweet tooth when it hits me.


*Baked items- I am not much of a baker, so crusts and cookies and such would be a challenge. I do like Ezekiel bread and other sprouted grain stuff.


*Sauces: pizza sauce, marinara, salad dressings, etc.- I already scour labels to be vegan, I dunno if I have the *mmmph* to cut out the sugars as well


*Alcohol? I have no idea what sugar is involved in a bloody mary or a glass of wine.


Hmmm...I think I will begin with cutting out sugary junk food (holy moly I will miss you, Starbucks soy treats...does an iced mocha have sugar?) like cookies and stuff. Then I might work up to the sauces and things. I have been making a goal to reduce the white flour, white pasta, etc., so this will go hand in hand. We shall see!





Thanks to My Year Without Sugar for getting me thinking!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blue Plate (er, bowl) Special

When I was an innocent un-veg-tastic youth, my favorite meal was the soup/salad/sandwich combo at the chain restaurants we would go to on family vacations. I remember gathering with relatives and and eating at those family-oriented places with the dark green carpet, circular booths, chipper waitstaff, and baskets of rolls on the table. I invariably ordered a club sandwich and a bowl of creamy soup (and maybe one of those insane chocolate chip cookie/chocolate cake/ice cream monstrosities for dessert!).
Things have changed since then, but I still crave those lunch specials! I made my own today at home. Not the healthiest meal on earth, but oh so lovely. I had a soup and salad combo, but sometimes make myself a vegan grilled cheese or giant pesto-y sandwich instead.

Here's my creamy tomato soup, just a can of Campbell's spruced up with some soy milk, spices, and fresh basil from my container garden.

The salad is spinach, baby lettuce, artichokes, cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, and Annie's papaya dressing, which I am completely in love with! (Thank goodness after the shamefully potty-water tastic garlic variety I tried. Yuck!)



I even built a little homage to the grotesque cold cut cracker on the front of this box! Yay for vegan deli slices!

Satisfaction all around...now I just need to build a vegan Molten Lava cake with some soy ice cream. MMMMM!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Chickpea-a-dillas!

Here's another tasty recipe from my handy little Compassion Over Killing booklet. These quesadillas don't involve any weirdo fake cheeses, hold together well, and are really satisfying. This may be my favorite basic vegan quesadilla yet! (I still want to try all these gorgeous quesadillas I am seeing on blogs...the ones with fillings like sweet potatoes, black beans, soyrizo, etc.!) I like more filling in mine than the recipe calls for, but that's an easy adjustment!




Quick Quesadillas


Makes 8 quesadillas

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1/2 cup water-packed roasted red pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 teaspoon cumin
8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 to 1 cup salsa



Drain the beans and place in a food processor or blender with the next five ingredients. Process until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
Spread a tortilla with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the garbanzo mixture and place in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle with chopped onions and salsa.
Top with a second tortilla and cook until the bottom tortilla is warm and soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook the second side for 1 minute. Remove from the pan and cut in half. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Can you believe it?!

Grape leaves in a can! (hahah bad joke!)

What?! Yes, I tried stuffed grape leaves in a can . I have to say...pretty delicious! Stuffed grape leaves are one of my favorite foods, although my skills at making them from scratch are not yet perfected..
The canned version was very tasty, with good texture. Definitely nice to know about in case of emergency grape leaf craving!

I ate them with these tasty crackers. A happy lunch all around!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Warning: Cranky Vegan



I don't think I have posted anything remotely rant-like on this blog thus far...I guess today's the day!

If you are vegan, or vegan-geared, you know that eating outside your home can take some serious preparation and research, but it's always rewarding. My bag almost always houses fruit, a Larabar, Sigg water bottle, etc. etc. My drawer at work holds herbal tea, oatmeal, trail mix, and dried fruit. I even have Newman O's and EcoPlanet crackers for junk food fixes.

What I need to rant about is the utter lack of anything healthy/veg-oriented at the major fast food chains. I usually don't deal with this, as I have the luxury of getting to go home for lunch. When we do eat out at lunch, we pick places with veggie burritos or veg sandwiches. That often involves going to a local establishment, rather than a chain, which is cool!

Today I was really rushed and had to run out for food to bring back to work. I drove away from 3 fast food joints before I found a menu that had anything that could masquerade as healthy or vegan. I ended up with a side salad with a miraculously vegan vinaigrette and a dry baked potato from Wendy's. Places that got nixed: McDonald's, Sonic, Burger King.

Now I hear you saying, what the heck is a self-respecting vegan lady doing at the places anyway? Well...you know those days! You are rushed, you are hungry, you are wholly unprepared for lunch, and you might cry if you don;t find a tomato soon! Plus, a ton of people who presumably would like to be healthy choose from these places every day. Bringing a packed lunch or eating at home isn't feasible for everyone all the time.



A rant needs a point, right? I guess mine is this. On television and in magazines, newspapers, websites (824,000 sites when I checked this morning), etc., every reliable source of health information is plugging 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. That's just the CDC's number...newer studies from Harvard and the like are now suggesting 9-11 servings for optimal health.

What are people to do? The fast food restaurants sell little fresh food. I am aware of an orange cup and an apple pack in terms of actual fruit options. The salads at most places are mainly iceberg lettuce and covered in cheese and bacon or chicken. What is up with this?! It's rather discouraging and seems rather unfair in the face of constant media telling us to eat healthier. I've seen a McDonald's commercial featuring sassy music and nice fresh produce being chopped and diced to the beat. I wondered where all that healthy food was when I looked at the actual menu.

Gah! I'm not sure what the solution is. Obviously, eating healthy food at home and supporting veg-friendly local businesses is the best plan. It still seems that something's got to give with the fast-food industry. Any ideas?



Check out the above Christy C. Road poster depicting some of the thoughts included in this blog post. Note the skanky and depressing signage. This poster is one of my favorites.
XOXO,
The Cranky Vegan

Vegan Cookie Fest!

I used to love baking, but now find that I usually crave savory treats, like Brussels sprouts or veg sushi. Strange, but true! That being said, when I bake, I BAKE!! I was in baking mood, so I decided to get out my copy of Soy Not Oi and bake the chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. The recipe makes a ton, and these things are delicious!

Look at these magical ingredients! I used a mixture of dark chocolate, regular, and white chocolate peanut butter!



Yummmmm!



And the final product, perfect with some cold almond milk!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tap tap tapioca buns!

Sometimes I get ridiculous cravings for junk! Thankfully, eating vegan lets me ingest theoretical crap without too many horrible digestive repercussions or emotional regrets.

Viva la chili dog!!!!


This one is on gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free tapioca buns. Wild! They are really dense but tasty. Accessories: 1 Smart Dog, organic pickle relish, vegan cheese, mustard, and magical organic black bean chili. YUM!

Check out my gourmet arrangement complete with giant glass of beer.







Tasty!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

La Dolce Pasta!

I heart my Sarah Kramer cookbooks. Sometimes I ignore them for newer flashier books, but I always come back. How It All Vegan was my first veg cookbook ever! I am looking forward to adding Vegan A Go-Go to my collection eventually.



I made the Pasta With Fresh 5-Minute Basil Tomato Sauce. It is delicious! I used a mixture of fresh regular basil and cinnamon basil right from my little container herb garden in the back yard. Can't wait for my tomatoes to come in and make this whole sauce from the garden! I used my new Tupperware Quick Chef (love this thing!!) to mix up this no-cook sauce and served it over veggie pasta. Delicious!

P.S. Try the baked bean dip in La Dolce Vegan. It has Liquid Smoke and faux bacon bits and is magic on a Frito. Super easy, and a perfect party food!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

So flippin' excited, must post!

Just got tickets!!! We are going on our honeymoon in July, the week of my birthday. I am so excited I might explode!!! We are going to Portland, OR to hang out and see bestest friends, then to Seattle for some music, and Victoria, BC for some tattoos. Dang! Must calm down...or not!!!





Mac-UN-Cheezy!

I was rifling through the cookbook shelf and found a handy little brochure from Compassion Over Killing. I tend to ignore all the old vegan pamphlets and such that I have, incorrectly thinking the recipes are too basic for my wise old vegan ways. Ha!!! I am so glad I took another look through this one! I love Compassion Over Killing's recipes, and this was no exception.

I made the Mac-Un-Cheese. I am always game for a new vegan mac-n-cheese recipe. Haven't met one I didn't like. This one was super easy and tasty!


Mac Un-Cheese

Makes 6-8 servings
1 lb (16 oz) pasta
2 cups vanilla soy/rice milk
2 tablespoons soy margarine
* 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (such as Vegenaise® or Nayonaise®)
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Cook pasta and drain. In a large bowl, combine pasta and all other ingredients. Mix thoroughly and enjoy.
For variety, mix in one cup of steamed vegetables, such as broccoli or peas.
*optional, but recommended for creamier meal

Also, hop on over to COK to take at look at their current campaign. Good stuff!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Juicy!!

Getting married is fun! Heheh! We aren't big shoppers (Bed, Bath, & Beyond may cause seizures...) but we geared up last Saturday to use the gift cards that we got for wedding presents. The mister and I are both really happy with what we chose.

1. New coffee maker (cheap but sexy...it has a timer!)- we got a nice black Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. It has a timer and automatic shutoff, meeting Brad's need for caffeine and my constant freakish worry that I left some appliance on when we leave the house. Everybody's happy! We are having a garage sale this weekend and will test run the new coffee maker all morning!

2. JUICER!!!! I am SO excited about this thing. It's a Sharper Image one (oh, conjuring images of chrome and glass furniture and weird ionic home accessories) that was smack in the middle price range at the store. Not the Jack Lalanne (because it was ugly) and not the Waring (because it was small). I got the motor a little hot the first day trying to shove a whole apple down the chute, but I got the hang of it and we have been having delicious juices. Homemade V-8 rocks!
3. Cute pink sponges, as our green turtle scrubber has gone on to the little turtle sponge's home in the sky.

4. Hairdo Kit for Brad- one of those fancy clipper things that comes in the carrying case with all those little attachments. Suave hairdoo, yeah!

5. A Gama-Go Birdie pillow...frivolity...needs no explanation.

6. We saved a giftcard for all the little bits and pieces you end up buying when you move into a new place...which should be very soon!

Here's my first juice with the new machine! Anybody got a favorite juicing recipe?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Stuffed Shell O-Rama

Oooh looky! I made one of our most favorite meals, using new wedding stuff!

The meal: Kittee's Stuffed Shells


MVPs of kitchen gear: New Tupperware Quick Chef (Thanks, Brittany, this rocks!) and an awesome purple knife off our wedding registry at Target. The Quick Chef is a manual food processor type thing with lots of attachments, and even a kid wandering through our kitchen wanted a go at it. I used it to process 2 blocks of tofu plus spices, and it did great! The knife was...blissful. I don't know if I have ever even used an appropriately sharpened knife before this, and boy was it great! Chop chop chop!





Knife joy!




The end product...a Pyrex dish full of heaven! There's magic under that sauce!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Salad Days

Whew it feels good to be eating healthy again! The wedding had us all running wild, with little time for making good meals! Here's a nice lunch from this week!
Salad salad salad! I started with a bed of baby greens. Then I threw in some carrots, yellow bell peppers, garbanzo beans, and tomatoes. I added some cooked faux chikin, a sprinkling of flax seeds, some vinaigrette, and voila!! Fresh, wonderful, music to my mouth!


Here's an amazing daisy from the wedding flowers.