Monday, August 29, 2011

Rejected Giveaway Ideas

I tossed around a few different ideas for my first giveaway. I could have taken advantage of an email offer I got about this, that, or the other. Or, now that I’m actually in pantry clearing mode, I could have offered up two cans of pumpkin. You know in a month or two people will be talking about hoarding them and buying the stores out!

photo (6)

Look – it’s best by July 27, 2013! Don’t worry, I made Pumpkin Curry and used up both cans last night. (Confusing recipe, but really tasty – made with lentils, onion, and coconut! I just still can’t figure out how much water to use once you “add remaining water” – but it worked.)

photo (8)

One idea that I almost used – a cookbook giveaway. I have a feeling that there might be people out there who would enjoy one of my cookbooks more than I do. Now, I’m not naming names, but there might be one or two that didn’t live up to the hype. Then I remembered how much respect I have for my readers… and so I passed on that one. I took it a step further and considered letting the winner choose a cookbook, and then I’d buy two copies – one for you and one for me. But that just felt like I wasn’t actually doing the work.

In the end, I decided it might be fun to share some local peculiarities. So, congrats to …


Isobelle of VGANJAR! Number one won! I need to shop for one perishable item once I hear from you, and then off in the mail it goes!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Burning Questions–Answered!

I know I’ve left some loose ends hanging out there recently. I can imagine that the most pressing question is: “what was in that package from the ever-elusive Shenandoah Vegan?” Next could be, am I moving? Did I get the job? Was a giveaway an empty promise? Read on, friends.


Do you know what this is? I received two packages of Hard Times Chili. Evidently Hard Times serves up Cincinnati chili in the DC metro area. I’m actually really glad I got two, because I kinda messed up the directions on the first one. Still turned out yummy, though.

See, I tossed in all my veggies at the beginning rather than at the end. I added jalapeno, mushrooms, zucchini, red bell pepper, and onion. No matter, though I did wonder why I was putting dry roasted peanuts in to simmer with the chili mix, which is TVP with seasonings.


I really was trying to follow the instructions. I served this over spaghetti, as instructed, with Daiya and separately-cooked kidney beans. I used green onions instead of raw yellow onions, just trying to use what I had in the fridge. This is some tasty chili mix! Thanks again, Shen!


In personal news, it is official – I got the job! Although we were considering leaving Cincinnati since last March, to be closer to family, Alex wasn’t actually sold on the idea of going back to Philly until I locked down the job. Now, he’s telling everyone we’re doing it for my sake. Y’all know better, right? We visited earlier this week and got a place in the ‘burbs. We’ll see how it goes.

Just to refresh your memory, or to let you know, Alex is from Philly. I am not. We met there and came out the Cincy together 3.5 years ago. I have been telecommuting to my job back in the area, and with this new job, it will be a help to be back near the office and go in every once in a while. (Same company, so I can keep the shirts, mugs, pens, tote bags…) Truth is, we both have sort-of reasons for going back. Time will tell whether those sort-of reasons turn into enough reason to stay.

Okay, personal interlude over. Did someone say giveaway? Alex has volunteered his time. He says that anything that happens is “between two consenting adults.” His enthusiasm for this is a little disturbing to me. So, sorry gals, you’ll have to contact him directly for that prize. Instead, I’m going with the Cincy locals package. The lucky winner will receive a goodie box of vegan treats straight from the Porkopolis.

If you’d like to win, just let me know in the comments. Sorry, no bonus points for Tweeting, facebooking, blah blah blah… let’s keep this low-key. My sparse posting might disappoint new readers. BUT---anyone who will help with the move will get their own box, plus the traditional pizza and beer. Message me for details. I’ll let random choose the winner next Sunday night. Good luck!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Zucchini and tater cakes

I won a copy of Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations from Food Feud and have been flipping through it, trying to choose my first recipe to make from it. I settled on “Red Potato Cakes with Tomato and Wilted Spinach” from the St. Patrick’s Day section. But since it’s made with green and yellow squash and recommended to be served with a roasted tomato slice, it’s perfect for summer.


I had my doubts about this recipe, but it turned out really well. These little cakes were made with cooked potato, raw zucchini, and soymilk – then pan-fried. With so few ingredients and chunks of raw zuke, I wasn’t sure they would turn out. But they did. I used two zucchinis and left out the suggested yellow squash. My mixture was a little wet, so I tossed in some cornmeal to help hold the cakes together. These guys turned out really well!


The serving suggestion was to put the cake on cooked spinach and top with a slice of tomato. I roasted my huge, heart-shaped tomato briefly under the broiler and served it on the side, along with some tofu scramble and collard greens.

Let me tell you, these little cakes were great straight out of the fridge the next day, too.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summertime is Grillintime

I love grilled vegetables. When Alex and I moved out of apartments, I bought a cheap gas grill to celebrate, like a housewarming thing. For me. And it’s just perfect for summer vegetables.


Everything I grill is my favorite. I love corn, portabellas, onions, and bell peppers. Yellow squash and zucchini are good, too. And I have okra coming in my farm bin Wednesday – it’s going on the grill, and it’s all mine.

Typically, I’ll cut the veg into chunks, toss it in some canola, and season with one of those shakers with a variety of pre-mixed seasonings. It’s my shortcut – I’m not endorsing it, and I can’t remember when or why I bought it. Sometimes, though, I plan a meal.


I recently grilled kale, sweet potatoes, and Field Roast smoked apple sage sausages. I love sweet potatoes and kale together, and grilling them worked really well. I used these instructions for pre-cooking and seasoning the sweet potatoes, and I just rubbed the kale with canola and put it right on the grill.


Some of it got a little charred, but that’s okay. It was delicious.

I bought one of those vegetable trays for my grill, and I just take it inside and scrub it after each use. It’s been in heavy rotation this summer.

In other news, I’m still waiting to hear back on the job, and honestly that’s been all I can think about lately. Sometimes I try to think about what to do for my first give-away, and here’s the problem: I learned so much about how to eat by blogging and “meeting” other bloggers. Seriously. I was eating tofu and black beans and had no idea what to do way back when. So what can give my teachers? A “best teacher” coffee mug? I am going to make a decision this week – promise. And a night with my wall-scaler Alex is still a possibility.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Excitement and Embarrassment

Let’s start with the embarrassment, in case that’s the only reason you’re reading this at all. I have been cooking, and I have some things to share, but I’ve also been eating out—and craving comfort food. For me, that’s fries and beer.

There’s one place around here, Allyn’s, where Alex and I like to go … and the last time we were there, our waitress knew we wanted veggie burgers. It’s entirely likely that we are the only patrons that order them, and it seems like we’ve been going weekly lately. So we were recognized. And that embarrasses me, but maybe it shouldn’t. It’s not going to stop me from going back.

photo (4)

This is a house-made veggie patty, and it tastes like cornbread with black beans, onions, and other veggies tossed in. I actually just eat the burger and garnish and leave the bun. They also have a variety of hot sauces at each table and I usually slather some on, especially the chipotle or mustard sauces.

Recently Updated2

It’s one of our favorites, and it comes with a side of fries for $5.95. I say: what a deal! Quick, cheap, reliable, and open late – and we get two burgers and two beers for around $22.

So, it’s been almost a month since I’ve even unloaded my memory card. I found some really good food memories! One thing I’ve been wanting for a while – but have been putting off until we move and possibly get a bigger kitchen – is an ice cream maker. Well, I found a tiny half-pint one at Target on sale for $20 and went for it.


I haven’t taken time to try out any recipes yet, but I did make some fro-yo with blueberry Silk. As in, just put the yogurt in and turn it on. Easy peasy!

So guys, this summer has found me focusing on work and trying to get a new job. Cross your fingers for me – all the interviews (and presentations) have been completed, and now I’m just waiting to hear!