31 October 2011

**CLOSED** -Monsta Madness Giveaway! - Vegan MoFo Finale

11.4.11- Thank you to everyone who entered! I just drew the winner using random.org random number generator. The winner was Meagan G!! She was entrant #8 in the drawing. Congrats to you, Meagan!! I'll be sending you an email ASAP! Thank you for entering and we hope you love your mOnsta!!

I would like to introduce you dudes and dudettes to my mega-awesome pal, Steph B. She makes incredibly cool, unique, one of a kind mOnstas of all shapes, sizes and types. I kid not, I have never seen two that look alike. On top of being all-around rad, Steph is also super cool with the vegan lifestyle. And, she has a madd cute little kiddo named Olive. What could be more sweet than that? Oh, wait, I know!!! She's going to be giving away 1 mOnsta to a lucky winner.  Before we get to the giveaway, though, I'd like you to take a minute to meet, Steph, owner of the rockin Frankenstitch Productions!

This is my favorite mOnsta (Oona Owl). She's all mine. You can't haz.
  • What is your favorite food? 
    • My all time favorite food is saag paneer!
  •  What is your favorite vegan food?  
    • I love hooked up salads with spinach , grilled tempeh, avocado, chick peas, grape tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers and  peppers with a lemon wedge and when the seasons right chopped fresh herbs.
  • What is your favorite vegan sweet treat? 
    • My favorite vegan sweet treat would be Megs pumpkin cookies and the all time stand by would have to be banana with peanut butter.
  • When did you start sewing? When did you start sewing mOnstas? 
    • I started sewing monstas in 2003. I started after a couple years of sewing applique mOnstas on pouches that were 100% hand stitch and never to be duplicated even by me.
Seriously...how cute is this little bat?
  • Did you start mOnstas on your sewing machine or by hand? 
    • I started sewing by hand 100% for the first 4 year and very slowly transitioned in to the sewing machine which now I consider to be one of my best friends. When all else fails in the day, she usually seems to do me right, her name is dream boat- cause its nothing but smooth sailing these days.
  • Are the mOnstas created with vegan (non-animal) materials? 
    • All of the mOnstas are created out of fleece, faux fur, thread, poly fil, plastic safety eyes, cotton, some times vinyl accents and love. So yes these products are vegan :)
  • What inspired you to make mOnstas? 
    • Back in the days of Borders Cafe, I used to check out this big 3 inch book entitled 'Animals." I loved it so much it, and it would help me create my version of that particular mOnsta. Back then, I was only stitching them on pouches. My friend, Michael S., from work mentioned making plush to me, and once I started I never quit. It's way better to bring the mOnstas to life in 3D than to look at it 2D. I am hooked with the entire process- from the cutting to the sewing to the stuffing and mending the parts together- you really never know what you're gonna come up with till you stuff it up.
  • Which are your favorites to make? 
    • My favorite plush to make would have to be the OOAK (one of a kind) mOnstas. They take the most time and detail, but in the end it pays off. All of my mOnstas are one of a kind... I have a fear of patterns, maybe I'll kick it someday maybe not. I let the scissors do the work, otherwise it would stress me out. I do this to wind down for the day.
  • Do you have a website or Etsy where we can check out your creations? 
    • I am currently in the works of creating a blog- its nothing to talk about at this point. I sell most of my product locally in Flint via art shows and craft shows. My Flint friends are the reason I never quit doing what I'm doing; they've given me so much love and support!! I sell online at my etsy shop. I also have a facebook page where I announce my upcoming events and newest creations. I post the custom orders here that no one sees on etsy.
  • Do you take special requests? 
    • I do take special requests, If I can see it in my head and I feel confident taking on your challenge I will for sure do it. You can visit either the etsy shop and message me or send me a message on my Frankenstitch Productions page, both of which are posted above.
  • What is the biggest creation you ever made? 
    • The biggest creation I've made was a 5 foot 5 inch monkey named big Tim and a 4 foot Brobee (from Yo Gabba Gabba!) for my daughter who is obsessed. I'd totally have bought one at the store if they weren't non-existant last X mas.
  • Tell me your favorite quote about animals, food, or peace. 
    • Wherever you go, go with all of your heart!- yogi tea

Thank you so much for stopping by, Steph! And thank you so much for the giveaway prize. I'm not telling anyone what they'll get! It'll be more fun to be surprised :)

We are only able to ship to the United States and Canada for this giveaway! So, please don't enter if you don't have an address in either of these countries. The giveaway will end on October 4th at about 11PM eastern time. Just click the link below and fill out the form. Don't fret, I won't sell your info. Be sure to leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll just use a random number generator to draw the winner. Good luck!!

--> Click Here To Enter!! <--

29 October 2011

My Day in Photos - Vegan MoFo #28

I started my day off seeing this when I let my pups out this morning:

Then I went to Steady Eddy's diner at the Flint Farmer's Market with my mummy, as is our weekend ritual. I got awesome news while there! All soups for the forseeable future are vegan!! ROCK ON! So, for lunch today I had a giant bowl of seven bean soup and a vegan grilled cheese. Both were quite lovely. The sandwich looks burnt, but it wasn't. It's just the poorer quality phone picture. I must say, though, that I couldn't imagine a finer tasting bean soup. It was perfect!

Found the most awesome 3-foot-long brussels sprouts! Also, I snagged even more HoneyCrisp apples. I gotta get while the gettin's good!

Next, I did a little shopping, and stumbled upon these ridiculous xmas decorations:

Next, I snagged 3 pomegranates for $3.00 at the store.

Then, I found this massive red-tail hawk on my streetlight at the end of my driveway. I'm pretty sure it wants to eat Marley.

Came inside to find Daisy doing this:

And, finally, a Marley picture. We love couch snuggle time.

And that was my awesome day!

28 October 2011

Vegan Chicken Tacos - Vegan MoFo #27

You know how it is...sometimes you just NEED tacos. Today was that day. I decided to take a chance and try something new. I wanted to make an attempt at chicken tacos, but I was skeptical that they would work out. I'm a pro at making tvp tacos, tempeh tacos, chickpea tacos and even steak tacos, so I thought I needed to enter the final frontier in vegan taco-making. Haha. Tonight, I made the yummiest vegan chicken tacos. They were perfectly spiced using my own taco seasoning blend that I make regularly, and use in all sorts of dishes. No need to buy those little packets from the store anymore...some actually have powdered milk in them and all the ones I've seen have MSG. No, thanks.

The chicken analog I used was the Gardein Scallopini breasts. What I did was put a dab of coconut oil in my nonstick skillet and heat it over medium heat. Once hot, I added the scallopinis and cooked about 2-3 minutes on each side. Then I removed them and chopped them into bite-sized pieces on my cutting board. Next, I added the chicken back to the skillet, along with some chopped red onion and a little red bell pepper. After cooking about 6 mintues, I added 1 TB of my taco seasoning and about 1/4 cup medium salsa. Stir well, and cook another 5-8 minutes, until everything is married. Or blended. Or whatever. See how freaking easy that was? Too easy.

I loaded my tacos with some Daiya cheddar, romaine, red onion, and tomato. The topped it with a little vegan sour cream and some taco sauce. OMFG. So fucking good. You should really make them.

By the way, this should serve 2-4 people. We eat a lot of tacos, and didn't have any sides, so it only served 2 people. Should you add beans and rice, I bet you could serve 4 people.

27 October 2011

Pizza Rolls! - Vegan MoFo #26

Remember the beloved frozen pizza roll? That little frozen treat you used to eat everyday after school? No? WTF? Where have you been? Okay, they were awesome. And I've been seeing lately on some non-veg blogs that people have been re-creating them with wonton wrappers and baking or frying them. So, I had to attempt a vegan version. It's what I do. Have any recipes you want veganized, but don't want to do the work? Let me know and I might just give it a shot.

Anywhooo. The problem I encountered was that most wontons have eggs or egg whites in them. I suggest looking at your local Asian grocer. Sometimes they have them without animal ingredients. That's where I found mine. Same with eggroll wraps.

My batch made 20 pizza rolls, which served 2 people for lunch. The trick? You need to pulse your "toppings" ingredients in your food processor a few times to make them really small. I used half a pack of LightLife pepperonis, about 1/4 of a medium red onion, about 1/6th of a red bell pepper, and one clove of garlic. Scoop it out of the processor, mix with about 4 ounces of pizza sauce (I use homemade) and 1/3 to 1/2 cup of daiya cheddar.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat. Give the sheet a quick spritz of cooking spray. Now, go ahead and start scooping your filling into the wonton wraps. I used about 1 TB each. Then, dip your finger in some water and run it around the edge of the wraper. Gently press all the edges together to seal them up. Lightly spritz the tops of the completed rolls and sprinkle with a little salt. Cook about 11 minutes, flipping halfway. Dig in. 

Silly Vegan MoFo Survey - Vegan MoFo #25

What’s your favorite spice or spice blend? Lately, I've become obsessed with cardamom. It smells and tastes incredible! I need more recipes to use it all.

You have $20 to spend on fresh groceries and produce for the whole week (with a fairly well stocked pantry of dry goods, legumes, grains, and spices). What do you buy?  I'd hit the farmers market with my reusable produce bags and search for the in-season goods...HoneyCrisp apples, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, squashes, etc.

What’s your favorite way to make tofu? Scrambled with salsa, veggies and served on tortillas. It's pretty much the only way I can handle the taste of it.

Vegan guilty pleasure? Vegenaise. Lots of it, on occasion. And baked goods.

If you could make anyone vegan, who would it be? Probably the Obama family. It would be nice to see an influential family taking the plunge. It would probably inspire a lot of others to consider the lifestyle.

If you could only read one other vegan blog, what would it be? The Tolerant Vegan. She makes some super duper awesome food. I think we would be good food buddies.

Were you always interested in cooking, or did veganism change the way you saw and interacted with food? I definitely got into cooking after going veg. I feel much more adventurous than I ever did as an omni. I started trying so many more fruits and veggies and grains I never had given a second thought before. So, I am super glad for that.

What is the one vegan staple that everyone seems to love, but you can’t get behind? Soy milk. I absolutely can't stomach the nasty taste.

What was your first “wow, I’m such a stereotypical vegan” moment? Hmmm, probably when I catch myself starting to talk about how awful the meat and dairy industries are when my speech is completely unsolicited.

First recipe you veganized? I think it was a cheeseless pizza made on a pita bread.

What would you like to veganize, but haven’t yet? I really want to veganize the old junk food frozen pizza rolls. I grew up on those things. I think they could be super awesome.

Favorite kitchen utensil/appliance? Vita-Mix blender, hands down.

Most disastrous kitchen failure? I think it was a tofu-based dip of some sort. It was horrificly awful tasting.

First vegan cookbook? My first was Veganomicon when it was first published, even though I wasn't vegan quite yet.

What question about being vegan do you HATE answering? The old crappy protein question. I usually surprise them when I explain that veggies have protein. People honestly don't realize it. Same with calcium. People in my non-veg-friendly locale are shocked that meat and dairy are unnecessary for survival. And, I won't lie, sometimes I don't want to explain, so I say I am extremely allergic to dairy.

If you could tell the world one thing about vegans, what would it be? It would be that we don't necessarily love animals more than people. We just feel the need to protect them. And the earth. And our own bodies. End of story.

Funniest vegetable? Anything that can be phallus-shaped. Hahaha. Truth.

What is a family recipe you have veganized? My old recipe for taquitos was veganized to near perfection. Another favorite was my old chicken potpie, made all veggie and all awesome potpie-ness!

Weirdest food combination? I don't think I do any weird food combos.

Is there something you wish you could veganize, but can’t/couldn’t? Hmmm. I think it would be a really realistic parmesan cheese. I've tried the faux stuff and it is nas-tay.

Favorite ways to prepare tofu, seitan, tempeh, any other vegan proteins? I love making tempeh tacos SOOO much!

Favorite non-dairy milk? It is definitely Almond Breeze almond milk. Best. Milk. Ever.

What’s one “vegan myth” you’d like to squash? That vegan food is boring. I am pretty sure my blog proves it;)

26 October 2011

Vegan Apple Pie - Vegan Mofo #24

OMG! I made a pie! Wooooooooo!! It was awesome. I can't stop thinking about how tasty it is. Ha, I actually ate 2 slices because I was feeling like a vegan piggy. This is my first fruit pie and, actually, only the second pie I've ever made. I'm pretty impressed with its awesomeness. The only thing that confuses me is that the bottom crust seemed to just disappear once I baked it. The top was spectacular, though, so I am not really going to complain. This recipe makes one 9-inch pie. Oh, make the crust first. Then when it is done resting, go ahead and mix your apple stuff together.

My apple filling:
  • 4 large HoneyCrisp apples, and 1 small one. Peeled and cored, then cut in half and sliced thinly.
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • juice of half a small lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • about 1/2-3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp or a bit more nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup flour
Just mix all the ingredients together and then spoon it into the crust.

Double Crust:
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 6 TB (1/3 cup) earth balance
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 6 TB ice water
Pile all the ingredients (except the water) in a bowl and pop in the freezer for 30 minutes. You want really cold ingredients to make a good pie crust.

Then add the bowl of stuff to your food processor. Pulse a few times, until the largest chunk of butter/shortening is no larger than a pea. Then maybe pulse 3 more times, just for good measure. Now, make ice water (bowl, ice, water...do it). Once it's super cold, spoon in about 4-5 TB into the mix and pulse a few times. It should start clumping. If there are dry spots, add a little more water and pulse a few more times.

You'll want to lay out a strip of plastic wrap. Flop the dough balls (hahaha) out onto the plastic wrap and very quickly moosh it all into a ball. Cut the ball in half. Get another strip of plastic wrap and lay half the dough on it. You can either leave it in a ball or flatten it into a disc. This will make it easier to roll out later. Then seal up the wrap and put it in your fridge for 30 minutes. Do this with each half of the dough.

Put the crust in the pie pan. Fill with your goodies. Top with about 2 TB vegan butter.

Place the other crust on top and cut a few slits to let air out. Pinch the edges of the crust together.

I used a little foil around the edges until the pie had only about 10 minutes left. Then I removed the foil and baked the pie until the edges are lightly browned.


Gardein Burgers - Vegan MoFo #23

So much Gardein love lately. I stocked up yesterday because my grocery store had all Gardein frozen stuff for $2.99 (they're normally about $4.00 each). I had to try the burgers. How could I not, especially since I love the other stuff I've had lately?

You can cook these a few different ways, according to the package, and I chose skillet. I added a tiny bit of coconut oil to a large non-stick skillet. It was so easy. They tasted and felt like the old fast food burgers we all grew up on. Chewy with a little texture. They smelled a little weird when they were cooking, but they actually tasted pretty good.

I served mine up with a bit of vegenaise, some mustard, red onion slices, tomato and romaine lettuce on a store bought bun. I also baked some garlic potato bites and steamed some veg (cauli, broccoli & carrots). I'd definitely make the burgers again some time. They were a nice change from either the bocas or making my own. Maybe you should give them a shot. By the way, I bought these myself and no one has sponsored anything. It's just my opinion.

English Muffins a la Vegan Brunch - Vegan MoFo #22

I've never really much enjoyed English Muffins from the grocery store, and I'd never had homemade before. I feel like a gambler. Taking risks, reaping rewards and junk like that. I have loved absolutely everything I've made from Vegan Brunch thus far, so I took a chance and made the English Muffins (page 190). I was actually pretty nervous. I felt like the dough just wasn't rising enough (or fast enough), when it suddenly hit me: they're supposed to me discs, duh, not giant loaves of bread. I know, I know, seems obvious. But, understand that I have a rocky history with yeasted breads. Also, I never eat English Muffins. Cut me some slack, Jack.

Well, let me tell you, these buggers are AWESOME! I couldn't be any more in love with them than if they made themselves. They did take some time...about 90 minutes total, but I do believe they were worth it. I'm a little bummed, though, that I only made a half batch because I was worried I wouldn't like them. Big mistake. I ate 2 1/2 while they were still hot. Just slather on a little vegan butter and you're in muffin heaven. My only sadness was that I just didn't have the nooks and crannies that I was hoping for. maybe I didn't knead long enough or let my dough rise enough. Whatever, though, because they taste too awesome to complain for real.

You really need this cookbook already. Stop making me pimp it out. If only I got a dollar for every time I tell someone they need to buy it....I'd have a shit-ton of dollars.

Resistance is futile!! Get it. Make the muffins.

25 October 2011

Farmer's Market Quickie - Vegan MoFo #21

As always, I love my farmer's market hugely. Who wouldn't? Ultra fresh produce, friendly farmers, great deals and of course, my spice vendor. They're all perfectly reasonable, uh, reasons for going there at least once a week, but lately I've been a twice-a-weeker. I can't resist. Take today for example. I went looking only for more honeycrisp apples, which have been spectacular here in Michigan this year. I came out with:
  • 5 massive honeycrisp apples - $3.50
  • 3 perfectly ripe bosc pears - $1.00
  • 6 huge carrots - $2.00
  • 1 quart of dried cranberry beans (at least 2 pounds) - $3.00
  • 1 large bell pepper - $0.50
All that yummy food for just $10.00. Had I gotten it at my grocery store, it would have been at least $15.00. This is just part of the reason I buy locally whenever I can. It also supports my community, requires much less oil for transport, as most farms are within 30 miles, instead of cross-country or cross-world, I get to try local heirloom/non-gmo varieties, and I get to eat food that is extremely fresh and in season. Why wouldn't you want to do it?

A year ago today, I posted my recipe for a yummy garlicky hummus! You know you want some :)

24 October 2011

Chocolate Chip Scones a la Vegan Brunch - Vegan MoFo #20

Chocolate Chip Scones! OMFG! These are yet another reason that I absolutely must insist that you buy Vegan Brunch by Ms. Isa Chandra Moskowitz. We are completely in love with these buggers. They're perfectly crispy abound the edge and soft and flaky inside. They go perfectly with some vegan butter and a glass of cold almond milk.

I halved the recipe, making 6 huge scones. I used almond milk, butter flavor shortening, and coconut oil instead of the soy, plain shortening and canola oil, respectively. Mucho, mucho awesome.

Vegan Brunch is absolutely, hands down my most used cookbook. Do you really need another reason to buy this book already? I swear, I feel like I'm always trying to convince you guys. I'm like a crazed vegan cookbook pusher. Just do it.