28 December 2013

Zombie Soup

Most days, I ride my bike to work. After a few months, I figured out something...
Rules for wearing a skirt (of any length) while riding a bike:

1) Don't.
2) Bring safety pins--both to pin up a long skirt before and to fix the inevitable rips afterwards.
3) Lose sense of shame.
4) Wear cute undies because you will flash people.
5) See Rule #1.

Especially because of the cold, I've given up on skirts for a while.

Soup! Because it's cold outside. There's probably 1,001 variations on some vegan, gluten-free, roasted butternut squash curried soup because it is brainlessly easy to prepare. Even a zombie could make it.

26 December 2013

Sourdough Joins the Mile-High Club

Happy Boxing Day!

Because Audrey, Jr demanded sacrifice, the sourdough starter ended up in the traditional Christmas morning breakfast: Mile-High Cinnamon Roll Bread.

Coincidentally, my friend from Colorado enjoys the Mile High Cinnamon Roll bread immensely (the capital Denver is the Mile-High city). He chooses to violate it with cream cheese while I like it with Earth Balance. Whatever floats your boat, man.

I like my green juice from a pilsner glass; some people prefer mason jars. All together, now...

21 December 2013

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice!
Wishing you a delightful return of the light on the year's longest night,

Please perform all sacrifices responsibly. :-)

17 December 2013

Starter Start-up: Flatbread

Starter Start-up: Flatbread

It was like having a pet. Or a vampire in hibernation. I had to go home every day at lunch, mix water and teff flour, and feed the starter. Methinks I should name it Audrey, Junior.

14 December 2013

In the Family | Berry Swirl Cheezecake

The snow has me grounded at my grandparents' house after our Army-Navy game party, and I made breakfast/dessert in my cupcake pan which I left here. Since my grandmother bakes frequently, her pans aren't "safe" for me (years of baked-on grease and wheat flour).

Her dessert for our "tailgate" party was the conventional version of cinnamon coffee bars.  Funny story, the last time I wrote about cheesecake, I had just made Chocolate-Covered Katie's Deep-Dish Cinnamon Roll Pie. The 2012 pie turned out tough because I was angry and tight. Tonight I made the pie again in cupcake format. The cupcakes baked up properly puddingy because I am happy and chill. There is substance to Como agua para chocolate!  

12 December 2013

Cooking with Gas | Penne alla Vodka

Cooking with Gas | Penne alla Vodka

Considering how I grew up on this dish, you might wonder why I needed a recipe.

Rules are nice, sometimes. As my high school Honors Biology teacher said, "Rules were meant to be followed."

'Cept when veganising and deglutinising recipes. Then rules are meant to be broken and rebuilt from their component parts into new arrangements. Kind of like proteins/amino acids.

Penne alla Vodka

1 pound GF penne pasta (I used brown rice rotelle and lasagne since I had kind of old boxes of each)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, grated
dash sea salt
1 cup vodka (my mom used Stolichnaya; I used Luksusowa, a potato vodka, because I'm not taking chances with grain-based alcohol.
1 14- or 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (I went for the 14 but the 28 would be better)
1 16-ounce bag frozen peas, slightly defrosted (optional)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
cayenne to taste (for lack of red pepper flakes)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautee with a pinch of salt (and maybe a splash of water) until softened and barely translucent, about 7 minutes.  If using a gas stove, remove the pan from the heat and add the vodka.  Bring to a boil and cook on high until bubbly and reduced, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and stir well.  Add the peas and cook until mostly defrosted.  Add the coconut milk and cook for an additional minute. Add the pasta and stir to incorporate and heat through. Turn off the heat and add the spices to your liking.

There's some hommos under there since the dish has very little protein sans cheese. I added the peas because I really wanted fettucini carbonara, but, alas, no liquid smoke nor tempeh to make vegan bacon. Confession: salty, preserved flesh (i.e., prosciutto, smoked salmon, jerky) is the only kind of preparation of animal protein I ever think, "Hmm, I miss that," as a vegan. Probably 'cause my Italian ancestors ate pancetta, et cetera. The smell of pork roll/Taylor ham makes me incredibly nostalgic as my grandparents always have it for special brunches.


Parting shots:
I began a sourdough starter on Monday: teff, water, apple peel, and cabbage leaves. Recipe's from Jennifer Katzinger, Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread.

I made veggie burgers that didn't fall apart! These are spicy black bean, sweet potato, quinoa burgers from What the hell do vegans eat?

The starter grew.

There was Japanese rice bread with some desiccated defrosted brown rice and the ever-popular blue cornmeal.

There was snow.
The starter kept growing!

This Pyrex plate blew when I attempted to make a water bath to bake some sourdough bread.

After the intrepid first batch of bread sat overnight in the fridge, then for most of the day on top of the fridge, I baked it in a sparkling clean oven with a proper water bath.

Sounds like crust to me. Smells like popcorn because of the toasted polenta/grits around it. I haven't had sourdough in...three or four years now. Don't think I had it much when I became vegan since I ate mostly spelt, kamut, and weird ancient grains breads due to the whims of my favourite bakery in Montclair. I have high expectations!

Saturday's post will be cheesecake, and not *that* kind of cheesecake!

06 December 2013

Cooking with Gas | Maple Bourbon Donuts

Part II of Cooking with Gas, a series on recipes featuring hard liquor.

If there's half a cup of water to replace 2 eggs, and the recipe is supposed to have alcohol, then that half cup of water is going to be alcohol. 'Nuff said. Had I been pulled over while driving to an appointment with The Local Massage Therapist in Arlington, I probably would've registered above acceptable blood alcohol content after having a maple bourbon donut this morning. Not that I was driving recklessly--these donuts are just particularly alcoholic. The glaze contains a teaspoon of whiskey and the donuts taste like alcohol, most definitely. They're good that way. The people who know these things keep telling me the GF alcohol I find is milder than the conventional types. I guess that's good for me since extremes (salt, sweet, etc.) do a number on me. It was too late last night to figure out an alternate glaze that didn't involve sugar, but I have ideas and 2/3 of a bottle of Queen Jennie sorghum whiskey with which to experiment. Queen Jennie is named after a bootlegger, and a distillery called Old Sugar makes it in Wisconsin. I had to special order it, after visitng and calling several liquor stores in the DMV region, and a bottle ran me $50. The list of distributors on the Old Sugar website is not accurate.

Maple Bourbon Doughnuts
Modified from King Arthur Flour

1/2 cup GF whiskey
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 cup King Arthur Flour Ancient Grains GF flour blend
1 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup arrowroot
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup vegan margarine, softened (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup (Grade B preferred)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a mini-donut pan and another muffin tin (I used 4 wells of a "Twinkie" or cream canoe pan).

In a small measuring cup, mix the whiskey and flax and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift then whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, leavening, and salt.

In another large, high-sided, bowl, beat the margarine and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the maple syrup and vanilla. As always, beat the shit out of it.  Beat in the flax and whiskey. Stir in the dry ingredients in three additions. Transfer to the pans (fill wells 3/4 full if you don't want Cthulhu donuts). Bake for 15 minutes (mini donuts) to 17 minutes (cream canoes) or until they pass the toothpick test, have browned a little, and spring back to the touch. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool.

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon bourbon whiskey

Combine all glaze ingredients in a wide, shallow bowl.  Dredge warm donuts in glaze and set on a rack to dry.  Store in the 'fridge or the cold trunk of your vehicle.

Parting Shots

Maryland is #2. Fucking A.

Sums up my year.

Yes, becoming vegan is the only reason my total cholesterol dropped from 193 (age 19) to 169 (age 21) in two years. Lower cholesterol is another reason veganism OR A MORE PLANT-BASED DIET rocks. There is no need to go "whole hog" if your body just doesn't function well without animal products. Just don't be an ass about your stats.

Green smoothies are where it's at: pear, kale, ginger.

Fogged up the window while working out.

Crazy post-workout wrap: brown rice tortilla, red cabbage, coconut yoghurt, coconut peanut butter, beet-kraut slaw, and I think that's it. Very tasty with ginger tea.

Some ass-kicking vegan cheezecake. First time I've made berry cheezecake: raspberry swirled with blueberry. The crust is graham crackers and almonds. Recipe will be on the blog next week.

05 December 2013

Detour | Another Beer Bread Variation

Cooking with Gas, Part 1B

This series is about cooking with hard liquor. The vodka quinoa muffins were the first post. This recipe is related by virtue of being alcohol. I used the last of the crappy (for this beer cannot be mentioned without being ridiculed) Redbridge I bought in April that sat in a cooler behind the Abbey for several months in a loaf of beer bread about a week ago. Then I fed the bread to my coworkers and GF friend. Talk about curse reversing...or dispersing. They all said it was dry, and I do not wonder why (besides the obvious, that teff is a very thirsty flour) . Dead hypotheses' dessicated limbs, to use a little William James terminology, break under the weight of live friends.

CryptiQue will keep these things in their crypts.

30 November 2013

Fluffy Bunny, Curse Reversed | Graham Crackers

Fluffy Bunny, Curse Reversed

"For what has been, thanks! For what shall be--yes!" 
--Dag Hammerskjold

What doors are you going to keep open, once opened?

Premise: I don't like marshmallows.

28 November 2013

If at First You Don't Succeed, Change Your Variables!

This year, I am grateful for learning the following lesson, and all the people, places, events, and things that taught me it. If I don't enjoy certain things with certain people under certain circumstances, I oughtn't write it off. Being open to try it again under different circumstances with different people can reverse the curse. 

Thanksgiving is one of those things.

23 November 2013

Querelous Quinoa Qualms | Front Porch Toast Bread

Querelous Quinoa Qualms | Front Porch Toast Bread

Read this:


I'm gonna judge, and I'm probably not in a position to judge as I neither have nor want offspring. I reference my personal experience to make a point. This is not an ad hominem attack on the parent in question in the article. Rather, I am questioning her methods. Enough nicey-nicey.

This is decadent. Wanting to expand your child's tastes & preferences towards healthier fare isn't bad in and of itself. Steering your child to eat your same "global," fancy-pants fare as you...why? There are distinctions between indulgence and control, and [the child's] agency in the realm of child-rearing, as I understand it. Of course a parent, if s/he has had the advantages in life to have pursued some kind of nutrition education, probably wants to feed his/her children the best food available. Moreover, in truly making this an educational venture, one should call attention to the systems that get the food from farm to table. Can the nanny impart this while feeding her charge organic quinoa cooked in free-range chicken broth and local vegetables sauteed in coconut oil? To unpack such a meal fully, if I may prescribe, exposing a child to new dishes ought to cover the gastronomic, economic, environmental, social, political, and spiritual aspects of consumption, from farm to fork, as it were.

Such instruction ought to
1) be done in a manner in accordance with the child's understanding
2) include instruction on how to eat *in ideal situations*
a) with ritual, making time to eat, preferably in a group
b) with thanksgiving, education, and acknowledgment of how the food arrived to the plate
c) with mindful chewing
d) (back to the beginning) with awareness and even participation in preparation.

I cannot tell you how many people at Princeton neither practiced decent community standards in the common kitchen nor knew how to cook more than reheating. Specialization will bite you in the ass when the zombie apocalypse comes (I warn, shaking my finger as I put on my tinfoil hat). Brain smarts don't equate to commonsense survival/domestic skills smarts. I'm not saying they must be positively correlated, but I'm not saying one should be focused on to the exclusion of the other. I may be able to bake a VGF blueberry pie and write an essay on apocalyptic messianism in Jewish mysticism, but I fall short in navigating healthy interpersonal relationships (workin' on it!).

As for exposing children to unique ingredients, look, I tried. There were a lot of kids who were around for Foodie Call and the ODD demos this summer at WFM. I made weird "fusion" (I'm being nice) cuisine, mainly desserts. In my experience, kids are a lot less likely to try new things based on (arbitrary?) colour, texture, and appearance preferences than adults, who can override those reactions with "but it's healthy, right?" Plus kids' palates are more sensitive since they haven't been drinking alcohol and coffee, and smoking cigarettes for x number of years. Kids like cupcakes. I've been paid to bake cupcakes for my mom's coworker's daughter and I was invited to my aunt's sister's house to bake cupcakes with her foster children. When I guest-taught a class on healthy snacks at Stafford Middle School, the students preferred the black bean brownies to the hommos. Brownies are delicious and familiar. Hommos is weird (to children from middle class, fairly rural Virginia). Any questions?

Kids generally want to eat what their peers are eating in the lunchroom. Granted, in NYC, the child in question in this story most likely wouldn't be unique if she brought the edamame and black rice to school. I was weird and I enjoyed the whole wheat wrap with red pepper hommos, organic yoghurt, fruit, and homemade cookie-of-the-week Ownie Mom packed for me, even though my lunch differed from my peers of the Lunchables and white bread crowd. Note: my mom was a stay at home mom with time to invest in making lunch for my brother and me. That's the biggest issue I take with this story, CLASS.

Privileged palates can enjoy the finest, most exotic ingredients money can buy. Being vegan and gluten-free and from a bourgeois background, I am well aware that  my diet can have a carbon footprint the size of Sasquatch if I'm not consciously choosing whole, unprocessed, local or domestic foods. I am well aware that eating a diet of high-volume, low-calorie foods is a privilege for those who can afford it (because government subsidies. Read Michael Pollan's Food Rules and anything by Marion Nestle for in-depth analysis). I am not saying, "Don't" to those who can afford to eat exotic ingredients from the world over and who can afford to shop local and purchase all organic ingredients. Just be aware of how and why you can. And look into what you can do to share your knowledge and resources with others who can't.

In sum, it is my wish for everyone to work on building a healthy relationship to food. No matter which nurturer provides it and how.

The mercenary side of me says, hey, I'm a health coach and I can teach both parents, nannies, and kids how to cook quinoa...and allergy-friendly cupcakes.

Now eat this:
My grandmother used to make cinnamon-raisin bread toast with butter for my brother and me. There's a picture of us eating it on the front porch of their house. I used to eat cinnamon raisin toast with peanut butter in college before I went vegan. Pepperidge Farms' cinnamon raisin bread contains dairy. This paleo-style (grain-free) quickbread combines all those flavours into one delicious treat. It is both boyfriend- and coworker-approved.

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Modified from Pecan Raisin Bread in Elena Amsterdam's The Gluten-free Almond Flour Cookbook

3/4 cup creamy, salted peanut butter (just peanuts and salt, not the other crap)
1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
1 cup water
4 teaspoons chia seeds

1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup raisins
1 cup pecans, broken to bits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.

In a blender or food processor, whip the peanut butter until fluffy. Beat in the chias, water, and maple syrup. Add the dry ingredients and process until combined, scraping down the sides occasionally. Fold in the pecans and raisins and mix until evenly distributed. Transfer to the pan and bake for 35-37 minutes. The top will be shiny but should spring back to the touch and it should pass the toothpick test.

Enjoy with a glass of nondairy milk!

 Parting Shots:
Shanna knows my style. Skulls!

Hey, look, it's a barbecue stand at PPL Park with my name on it! *Bored wanderings during football game.*

Pretty sunset over the Delaware River

Very kickass almond-teff beer bread (see Of Bread and Beer in May 2012 on this blog)

21 November 2013

Vodka Muffins | Mercurial Musings

Part I of Cooking with Hard Liquor

Vegan pica. That's all that justifies this recipe. I wanted to make

16 November 2013

Real Bread?

Ask a gluten-free person what they miss most and it's most likely bread and beer. When I brought this bread to my gluten-free friend, with shaking hands I presented it--"It's...it's bread."

09 November 2013

News Roundup

<meta>I go through this swing every Thursday and sometimes on Saturday: OMFG, so tired. I'm just going to go home and sleep and fuck the blog post. No one'll notice. Ahhh, now I have an idea. Oh shit, I didn't cook anything this week. Well, I'll be up late anyway. Ooh, now I'm looking forward to my fireside chat/captive audience. Man, lemme loose at the keyboard! I have ideas and pictures to share!</meta>

02 November 2013

Dear $(6,4)@#: #foodallergyproblems and Truthful Cake

$(6,4)@# answers a question on his nineteenth birthday.

What's the #1 thing you think everyone needs to know before dating a VGF person?

31 October 2013

Clingy Brains...er, Noodles

Happy Halloween!

Noodles look like brains. As I am Undead Q, brains it is for Halloween/my birthday.

A chance stop at Whole Foods in Tenleytown yielded this Creamy Tahini and Broccoli Pasta recipe, which is eerily similar to pasta nests that I remade from my mother's recipe in 2011. Like most Health Starts Here recipes, it is a blank slate. Add spice. I used a package of sweet potato noodles and two remaining skeins of millet noodles; they all clung to each other like the nests. Since I needed tahini for making hommos and had eaten the rest of a bag of broccoli-cauli mix last week, I substituted almond butter and indiscriminate frozen veggies for the eponymous ingredients.

26 October 2013

Treat Time, Tortillas, and Cookies

Happy Almost-Halloween!

Let's begin with a product review. Finding these tortillas was a treat. I half-assedly put "tortillas" on my shopping list since the Engine 2 brown rice tortillas had gone mouldy in my fridge (I bought them in September; what did I expect of 'natural' food?). I digress.

These La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Wraps are made from tapioca, teff, and millet flours, among the other fabulous ingredients present in most industrially-produced foods. They're not vegan since they contain honey. Honey is one of my two exceptions to veganism, one that I really ought to give up since it gives me the same kind of crash as white sugar. I digress again.

24 October 2013

A Different Path: Carnival Squash Blondies

Carnival squash smells like candy while baking. It ends up being milder when baked in quickbread. These would make good muffins as the maple syrup isn't quite at dessert-level sweetness.

19 October 2013

Out and About & Homework Muffins

I really frickin' like muffins. I'm sure there's a double entendre in there, but I care not. When I first printed the recipe for these muffins, I picked it up at the printer in the Loughlin Hall basement and then sat by the laundry room to do my Biblical Hebrew homework. A dorm denizen was listening to some alternative rock over his compy speakers. After a few minutes, I raised my voice to get his attention and asked who was the artist. Surprised at being interrupted, he responded it was Arcade Fire. Being a Luddite or a traditionalist, I didn't have my compy for BH homework, and I scribbled the band name on the top of the recipe. Confession: I used most of my print quota for recipes since I printed two pages per sheet and double sided for most readings.

17 October 2013

Veg*n Ventures | Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

Continuing on the theme of last Saturday's post, I realise since March I have patronized quite a few restaurants in the DMV area. Sometimes I was on dates, or artist's dates, or out with friends or family. As I pointed out last week, there is a difference in being veg*n or gluten-free by choice or by force. What do your vegan and gluten-free date's eating habits say about her bedroom habits?

12 October 2013

Vindaloo, Vampires, and Vegans

Not in that order. Found some interesting articles this week, beginning with this one on your date's eating habits, from which there shall be two posts. Today's post deals more with the meta aspects of dating a veg*n (vegetarian/vegan). The next post shall include reviews of eateries in DMV area that are veg-friendly (hell, that are Q-friendly, since as we know, just because it's vegan doesn't mean it's gluten-free).

10 October 2013

Pumpkin & Press

Power, paleo, pumpkin, press, pensamientos.

Reading is wonderful. As I'm not driving as much during the workweek, I read for news. I'm going to do what my grandparents on both sides fear about blogs: share my opinion! As if I don't any other week.

05 October 2013


I get my kicks by deconstructing and rebuilding Betty Crocker recipes. My spiritual mother Vicki gave me this snickerdoodles recipe from one of the classic Betty Crocker books and I remade it since I had a hankering for 1) cookies and 2) cinnamon on Thursday. As I'm satisfied with my pumpkin cookie game, I remembered I had this recipe and, as a classic recipe, it would be fit for sharing.

03 October 2013

29 September 2013

Poisoned, and an Antidote


As a friend of mine states it so elegantly, when we GF-ers eat gluten, if feel like "our guts are rotting." All of my food intolerances--dairy, eggs, and wheat--provoke that kind of inflammatory response from my body. The sushi I bought at work yesterday? Q-poison. Didn't read the label--rule number one in eating out as a VGF person--and I was already eating when I noticed the sesame kale rolls were vegan, but, alas, not gluten-free. Poisoned. It's a fitting twist of fate, given that I am beginning a new job elsewhere on Wednesday.

21 September 2013

Challenge: Savoury Yeast Bread

I love carbs. Probably because I'm exhausted most of the time (work hard, play hard). This will soon change when I have a stable schedule, about which I am more excited than Samhain and Winter Solstice combined. To make a new routine that revolves around a stable work schedule will help me get grounded and stay grounded. For I know I can jump to higher creative heights when I have a stable base from which to jump.

Speaking of jumping: a spot of exercise with your dear blogger. This is how I checked my form on one of my favourite moves from INSANITY. Exercising late at night obviously has its effects.

19 September 2013

Falling Hard Cider Apple Muffins/Muffbars

Avast! Happy International Talk like a Pirate Day! 

Throwback Thursday, circa 2007, when I began celebrating ITLAPD by wearing my pirate shirt to school. I raise a mug of tea, stolen off a British schooner, to ye.

07 September 2013

Luddite or Ludic? Tahini Granola

If you have known and corresponded with me for any length of time, at some point you will receive a picture of a written page instead of a typed message. In the case of my dear friend KJC, I sent her fourteen-page letters composed over several days and Metro rides last fall, pretty much every week. Writing is more efficient for me than typing, though I type faster than I write. Not all efficiency is speed, however. Writing with pen and paper satisfies me physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally more than typing (though there of course are times where my graphomania requires digital paper and ink, and much of it). Nay, while I may seem to undergo Luddite fits in which I shun technology, generally I am amenable to the shiny devices (phone, compy, iPad, iPod, camera) and the connectivity they provide. I just make them work for me.

05 September 2013

Devilish Chocolate Cake

Nutrition advice is everywhere. Or perhaps because I study nutrition, I see it everywhere. I predicated my junior paper, "Losing the Guilt: Language, Religion, and Weight Loss in Modern American Diet Culture" on this concept, focusing on how I observe(d) religion and nutrition occupying the same shelf space. While the literature I studied was mainly Christian, that's not to say followers of Jesus Christ have a lock on religious diet literature. Geneen Roth's Buddhist Women, Food, and God is but one of many New Age and Eastern mystic-influenced diet/heath/nutrition books (one which I consider particularly illuminating). 

29 August 2013

Avocados & Aggression

Sometimes aggressively remaking a recipe yields better results. I have made these waffles three times now and the last time, while not perfect, was the best of all three. These are more anti-James food since I used both avocados and strawberries, both of which are foods to which my brother objects. Good thing I made these just for me! I mucked up my waffle iron with the wet batter in the process, but I consider it well broken-in now. The cocoa makes the avocado taste more apparent, I think, unless it’s obscured with lots of sweetener. The strawberry version below has no cocoa.

24 August 2013

Pushing Potential: Yes, Virginia, Fruit is for Savouries

Why limit the potential of fruit? Roasting figs is the second best way to eat them, in my opinion, second to dried figs. I call this side dish a fall preview since roasting is a more energy-intense cooking method appropriate to complement the winding down of summer. Abbreviating the name of this dish would be FFEO, but I don't think this is an ugly recipe (feo is ugly en espanol). I seemed to have been on a purple kick since the figs, onion. and eggplant were all of the same hue. Maybe I should call it Figs Royale since purple is the colour of royalty in the ancient world...but then why choose a French adjective for a Greco-Roman concept? Too much thinking as a side dish, enjoy my favourite way to eat vegetables: al horno.

22 August 2013

My Protein Bars Bring All the Boys to the Yard

They really do.

I served over 250 squares of cacao goji hemp protein bars on Wednesday for Foodie Call. This week's theme was Whole Body, the supplements department. I modified this superfood bar from Earthsprout, having bookmarked the idea when Eleanor included it in her newsletter earlier this year.

17 August 2013

Devil's Food is but a Part of Donuts

To me, the devil is sugar because it is so damn addicting. These donuts are coated in it. Therefore, they truly are devil's food. I saved this recipe from Vegetarian Times in 2010 a few months into the whole veganism thing. I bought a donut pan about a year after saving the recipe. And I made the recipe about three years after finding it!

15 August 2013

Summer Cheesecake Rocks

Yesterday's Foodie Call second place winner was my Peach Cheesecake. I brainstormed it while rock-wall-climbing with friends that morning. I think I have a new addiction...rock climbing! This is convenient since there's a good gym on the road where I live and being further away from D.C. means I'm closer to parks and good scrambling/bouldering areas.

10 August 2013

Bundt Evil

How 'bout a little evil in your cake? As in, how about Q hides a can of beans in your cake and you don't know and you eat it and you love it anyway despite the fact that you think the "musical fruit" is the devil's instrument?

03 August 2013

Homesick Scones

When life at my alma interfector got to be too much, every weekend in my junior of college year I went home. Most weeks, my mom gave me a bunch of bananas to bring to school. Being only one person, I ate about half once they became ripe enough to eat. The rest I brought home and we made the Banana Date Walnut scones from Veganomicon, a version of which I posted here last year.

Honestly, the most negative thing about my current job is that it's difficult to get two days off in a row in order to travel. Once I had my own car and the means (and NJ highway-driving confidence) to pick up and go places, I did. My dad travels for his job most days a week; I think it's some kind of wanderlust (and a decent sense of direction) in my blood that makes me want to travel.

01 August 2013

Advocatus Avocado

Avocados are a polarizing ingredient, like cilantro. Either you think it’s the bee’s knees or you think it’s the devil’s hooves. Wednesday’s Foodie Call challenge ingredient was avocado. It’s nice to have over 200 recipes from which to choose (and that’s just my blog right here). I Vitamixed some avobachoco. As my student job supervisor said when I made it in 2012, many customers confirmed that it would be a great baby food. Funny, I forgot that it contained almond butter until I checked the recipe just now.

27 July 2013

Going Clean II: Detox Tea

Having your head stuck up your ass so far you can't see is the wrong kind of flexibility.

25 July 2013

Chutney & Authenticity

For a theme of "curry," I made peach plum coconut chutney. While it may not meet the Wikipedia definition of chutney (which I have no doubt is authentic; no sarcasm here) as it is uncooked, it's delicious. I would serve it with something plain, like tofu or noodles, since it is vibrantly spicy. You could add a hot pepper or some cayenne and take it up to your desired level of spiciness. The curry powder you choose also influences the heat.

20 July 2013

Going Clean: Strawberry Avocado Salsa

My assignment: Go maketh something tasty with the One-Day Deal item, strawberries. I wanted Mexican food, so yesterday I made strawberry salsa, which included avocado at the behest of the marketing team leader. Mango and pineapple salsas are a thing, so why not strawberry salsa? Aguacates y fresas son frutas tambien.

18 July 2013

Cookie Dough Dip--What in the Hooh Hah is in a Name?

Rather than quote a lot of Shakespeare, or speak in meta-voice about how much I struggled to write this post (I didn't...I just began writing), I begin at the beginning.

What is in a name?

As I served this dessert that met the Health Starts Here standards for Wednesday's Foodie Call, I refined my description. "Sweet hommos" was a turn-off to a lot of people. Come on, foodies, you'd try garlic ice cream, right? Roasted garlic ice cream would actually be pretty tasty, methinks. "Cookie Dough" confused many people into thinking it was actually raw dough. Nope, it's the flavour. Kind of like "Birthday Cake" ice cream from Coldstone Creamery. It ain't cake; it tastes reminiscent of the real deal. I could go on, and I don't intend to insult the patrons' intelligence. I'll pacify myself with the platitude, "genius is usually misunderstood," wink wink. Anyway, I didn't scale up the dates enough when I used an entire case of beans to make enough, so the dip was not as sweet as it usually is. 

13 July 2013

Chocolate Banana Cake

White vinegar: it’ll clean your windows and mirrors, de-scale your teapot, and make your vegan cake rise.

11 July 2013

The Sticky Rice Saga

The Sticky Rice Saga

In winter 2012, my aunt visited a friend of hers who is Thai. The friend made sticky rice for dessert and served it with bananas. My aunt and I tried recreating it with sushi rice and then with genuine Thai sticky rice. By the end of our experimentations, we had about ten pounds of Thai sticky rice in the house and no satisfactory results from the recipes we had.

06 July 2013


It’s squash season, or as I say it in my head, “skvosh.”

When I can use my mom’s or my grandmother’s food processors, I jump on it. I like my squash grated.

04 July 2013

Sacrifice II

Sacrifice II

My mother would be proud of me. This recipe contains chocolate chips. In the words of one of my fellow team members, “Is it going to be healthy, or good?” when I described the recipe I was going to present for yesterday’s Foodie Call. I remade the cereal bars I made last year for my friend Liz’s Fourth of July shindig. Calling them “Sacrifice to the Gods of Freedom and Democracy” would probably turn off most folk. Here is my recipe for the huge batch (three sheet pans!) of “Trail Treats.” You can customise the crunchy bits and trail mix to your heart’s content.

29 June 2013

Mix CDs and Porridge Bread

For weeks now, I’ve been wanting to give yeast bread a go at the Abbey in order to test a jar of yeast, to see if it was still active. Bread creation satisfies me on many levels. This is hardly a new observation.

Something I also find satisfying is making playlists and burning them to CDs.

27 June 2013

Seasonal Switch

Seasonal Switch

Cliché: when faced with a challenge, go with your strengths.

Thinking: when faced with the unknown, what’s in your toolbox?

22 June 2013

Pan-Fried Blueberries: Blueberry Blue Cornbread

Blueberry Un-Blues: Blueberry Blue Cornbread

Measure twice, cut once, as the adage goes. Measure once, make it, measure again, remake it, I say. Seeing blueberry cornbread “by the pound” at work made me want to make my own, with whole grain flours. In the first iteration, I used all coarse-grind blue cornmeal to make it truly blue.

20 June 2013

Quick Cucumber Mint Pickle

Quick Cucumber Mint Pickle

This was my third-place recipe for Wednesday's Foodie Call at ARL WFM. The ingredient was mint and the challenge was to come up with a recipe, make the recipe and get set up in two hours, and "demo" it--serve it in tiny bites with an attractive display--for another two hours.

While I've watched cooking challenge shows for years, this took the cake--or the cuke. Since I'm customer service, I could use any ingredient from the entire store to cook. Being vegan and gluten-free, and it being summer (tomorrow), I gravitated towards produce.

15 June 2013

Stocking the Freezer: Blueberry Cheezecake

Stocking the Freezer: Blueberry Cheezecake

Blueberry Un-Blues Part II of III

Don't you like my academic-style headings of late? The formula is "Gerund Phrase COLON Nouns Nouns Nouns." Or something like that. Add an "OF" phrase and you have it made.

"Gothic Granola: Deconstructing and Rebuilding the Nature of Reality" since 2011.

This recipe represents another must-do, like every vegan food blogger out there, to make raw cheezecake at some point, primarily using cashews and fresh fruit. Done and done.

13 June 2013

Blueberry Un-Blues: Blueberry Tea Cake

Blueberry Un-Blues: Blueberry Tea Cake

Part I of III on Blueberry Recipes

After buying a case of blueberries, ya think I haven't cooked with them? I made blueberry raw cheezecake, smoothies out to Kalamazoo, cornbread, and tea cake.

08 June 2013

Carnival Cookies & Preferences

This morning as I ran to the farmers market, I noticed my freshly-loaded iPod shuffle was set on alphabetical sort by song title. Yeh, I didn’t think “Amame” followed “All Because of You.” I prefer to listen to albums in whole chunks with the songs in the artist’s intended order. Having the device on shuffle versus loop would make little difference. I could react in a few ways:
1)    Stay pissed off and complain about it. Take out earbuds in disgust.
2)    Accept it and see how the experience of random alphabetical order sounds.
3)    Change it!

06 June 2013

Slippery Supper: Devil's Tentacles Pasta with Lemon and Arugula

Tofu shirataki noodles and I have a contentious relationship.

At 20 calories per serving (40 calories in the entire bag), what's not to love, you ask? (If I may put words in your mouth...)

01 June 2013

Shut Up and Listen: Raw Apple Pie

I am very American in the fact that I like my car. Today my car was the instrument through which I received another wakeup call.

30 May 2013

Trendy Thursday

Q is for Quinoa.

Quinoa pizza bites are all over the ’nets. Google it. Figured I’d throw my hat into the ring, my colonial tricorn into the Coraline other-world ring, that is.

The particular recipe I deconstructed and rebuilt is from a blog called “The Way to His Heart Blog,” taking its title from the phrase, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

25 May 2013

Q Stands for Quiche

“What does the Q stand for?” is at the top of my FAQ about Q. Especially since I work in a public place, people either see the tattoo on my arm or see my nametag. Yes, it’s my legal name. No, it doesn’t stand for anything, hence no period after the letter. Read here and here for details.

23 May 2013

Another Chapter in the Quickbread Chronicles

Another day, another dollar, another job application, another recipe…lest this gets boring, remember that you are alive, you can move, and you have the use of your five senses and third eye. Reverend Justin Terry’s take-home message from the Sunday evening service at Arlington Metaphysical Chapel was,

God is blessing you, whether you can see it or not. But it’s always there.

16 May 2013


I went to the Library at Alexandria yesterday and borrowed a few books. I get such a kick out of saying I went to the Alexandria Library when in truth I patronised the Public Library System of the City of Alexandria, Virginia. While I was on the search for fiction, I checked out the cookery books as well. The few vegan or gluten-free titles they had were classed with the “health food” and “reducing diet” cookbooks.


11 May 2013

Four Pieces of Advice

Four Pieces of Advice

What did my mother teach me how to do?

What didn’t my mother teach me how to do?!

Let’s not go there. We are spiritual beings having a material experience, and material experiences have limitations.

Meta-discussion out of the way (not sorry, as a religion scholar, I must always make such concessions), here’s a recipe and the advice.

09 May 2013

Gingerbread on the Fly

 Every artist is a cannibal
Every poet is a thief
Both kill their inspiration
And sing about the grief

--U2, “The Fly,” from Achtung Baby (1992)

Why am I sharing my signature dish? Why not. It’s carried me through pre-ganism (when I was testing out this vegan thang because I thought it would keep me safe from other issues with food…subject for another post). It’s carried me through breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks as a vegan and likewise when I became gluten-free.

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