Sep 13, 2007

Sweet Cuppin' Cakes!

It was mental. I got halfway through the cupcakes and realized I didn't have baking soda. My Old Man, in a gesture of wild charity, ran to the store and picked some up, along with the half pound of margarine I had forgotten. THE CUPCAKES WERE BAKING.

Then, a second problem. I didn't have confectioner's sugar. I was almost mad - can't make frosting! - and then remembered confectioner's sugar is also called powdered sugar. Genius! I got the rest of the granulated sugar, put it in the mini-food processor, and whipped it until it was fine. But..I still didn't have enough. I was pretty growly, and the kitchen was a disaster, and it was almost time to frost, and, etc. You get the idea.

Oh wait! Powdered Splenda! Perfect. Well, not perfect, but close enough. "Eating Live To" can wait a bit. The frosting came out nicely, the cupcakes were perfect...

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Ta-da, darlings!

I used the "Basic Chocolate Cupcakes" recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and the basic "Vegan Buttercream Frosting". I added some maple syrup and cinnamon to the frosting - you can see some of the maple-y goodness melting down the side of one cupcake.

The verdict? My Old Man just about had a boy-pudding in his pants.
"So you're cool with me going vegan, then? No complaints?"
"Murmmmphhh cupcakes mmphhurfff every week."
"Done!"

I made tempeh tonight also. For the first time, it worked. And it was aaaaawwwwesome. Fajitas with red peppers, tempeh, and onion, and some of the vegan cheddar. Vegan cheddar, not so bad, though I was lollin' that it's lone selling point on the package, "It Melts!" is in fact untrue.

Finally, groceries, and the perilous search for agar-agar

Finally made it to Whole Foods today. It's a little overwhelming - where do I look for miso paste? Bulk quinoa? "Agar-agar" powder, which I need for my cupcakes?

I asked an employee - I noticed everyone in there is polite as all hell - and he looked around and said they didn't carry it. Major blow-really wanted to make cupcakes today and all the vegan cheese recipes I'm finding need it. Off I went on a Dorothy-style WonderTour.

Soy yogurt - only comes in vanilla. Bummer.
Miso paste and tahini - man, are vegans made of money? 9 bucks each!
Brick of vegan cheddar - main selling point on package? "It Melts!"
Nutritional yeast - arghgjhaghfghjagj it better last a long-ass time at almost 12 bucks a bag.
Agar-agar: MIA

Finally get around to the makeup/personal care products section. Dirty hippie working there. Irony is also 100& vegan. But he's sweet and helpful and directs me to some soaps and stuff. I ask him about the agar - musta sounded like "Gwar" because he looked at me pretty funny and said "I don't know what that is."

Finally, on my way out the door, I say "hey you, you have black bean and corn salsa at home you wann eat. get chips." And what's next to the chips? Another aisle I didn't see, and what's in that aisle? Cheaper miso (the mellow kind I was looking for, too, which they didn't have at Chez Rich Guy Miso Outlet over by the cooler), and...agar-agar powder!

Cupcakes and nacho "cheese" floated into my vision. "Yes," came a voice from the part of my tummy I keep the ability to purr in, "you shall have these cupcakes, and they will be glorious. Remember about the chips."

I'm cleaning the kitchen and fridge as we speak. Tonight should yield my first food pics and recipes. Oh, and some new red leopard shirt wearing. ALL SHALL BE REVEALED.

Sep 11, 2007

The Great Lunch Rescue and my first recipe

Another day at work, another day I haven't been able to grocery-shop. 12-hour shifts make it tough to hit the store. And again, didn't bring a lunch. So utilizing yesterday's model, off I go to the nearby veggie store.

Picked up a can of chickpeas, 1 garlic clove, 1 red onion, some broccoli, and tomato sauce. Fried up the garlic and onion at work (residential facility, so we have a stove, phew), added it to the sauce and broccoli in a bigger saucepan, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. I was going for a kind of pasta fagioli deal, but it came out more chili-esque. It was heavenly, cheap, and vegan. And the growing desire to cook more came out in full-force. Now it's all I can think about. Gonna go to Whole Foods tomorrow morning since I finally have a day off.

All revved up to fight the Hazelton Lanes crowd. Rich douchebags, watch out.

Sep 10, 2007

Day One: Bread, Coffee, Craisins!

Went off to work today with black coffee and realized I'm not allowed to have artificial sweeteners for the 6-week "starter program" of "Eat to Live". No problem, I like my coffee shitty.

Also forgot to bring a lunch, lunkhead that I am. So here I was at the mall with a client and nothing to eat but "A&W" or, my favouritely-named but incredibly disgusting Chinese joint, "Pick n' Chu's". What's a gal to do? Go to the grocery store, that's double-a what.

Big, beautiful, premade, spinach/strawberry/walnut/Crasins salad. Perfect. 'Cept I can't have the Craisins - no dried fruit either. So picture me sitting on a bench, gettin' weird looks from people so old they can't chew pudding without breaking a jawbone, picking out these tiny little things that look like shiny, dehydrated assholes from a salad bigger than my head.

It was glorious. The salad was awesome, came in at a pound of raw veg (as per the aforementioned Live to Eat thinger) and filled me up. I was bouncy and joyful for the rest of the day.

Got home and talked to My Old Man about the new rules. He says, "Baby, you go for it, I'll look for some recipes." What a lucky lady I am, didn't even have to go braless.
Then he made chili! Ground soy "beef" from Yves, lots of raw veg, olive oil, and Piri-Piri, a hot sauce I fell in love with when I started dating his Portuguese fineness. They put it on chicken; I put it on tofu; smells amazing either way. Stuffed with chili, I leave you before the "winds of the south" start to blow.

Today I stopped myself from feeling nauseous - and there wasn't drinking last night

Today I "officially", whatever the hell that means, went vegan. I've been a vegetarian off and on for almost 8 years now, and the last two years I've been realizing that this kitten cannot live on "Weight Watchers" frozen ravioli and the disgusting slab of cardboard from Yves that passes itself off as a veggie burger any more.

More and more I found myself feeling slightly icky when I had extra cheese on my pizza, egg sandwiches made with fat-free cottage cheese (an old WW trick) and most of all, phenomenal amounts of cream in the gigantic amount of coffee I cram down the ol' gullet every day.
Then I started taking an anti-smoking drug called "Champix" and felt real, almost incapacitating nausea for hours every morning and evening.

I'm not sayin' the two are related, but being sick to your stomach and then feeling even worse because of what you're eating is a pretty powerful one-two. I started thinking more and more about this book I'd read,
"Eat To Live". Dude pretty much recommends a vegan diet, or at least one with the smallest amount of animal matter possible. Looked everywhere, couldn't find it debunked or called unhealthy. One of the symptoms of poor nutrition is claims to cure? "Bad stomach", the fancy term for which I figure is "entering the Chunderdome".

So off to the bookstore. Bought some cookbooks. Read 'em all, fast, taking notes. Everything in them looked good. Not just good - fucking scrumptious. I did more research.

I'm not gonna quote numbers and horror stories here. if you're reading this, I'm guessing you already know, or you just wanna fight about it. I am gonna say that all the vegans I knew and spoke to ended up being the healthiest, happiest, and most stable people I'd met.

Somethin' to this!

So here I go. I've eaten my last Baskin-Robbins sundae, and finished the night with some pizza. I feel gross and flatulent and bloated. Tomorrow I'll fire up my walking shoes and get to the local veggie store. Planning a trip to Whole Foods on my days off.

BEST OF ALL: I actually am excited about cooking again. If it weren't so late, I'd be making some of these awesome vegan cupcakes I'm drooling over. Maybe a cupcake-making party is something to consider when we move...