Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Thank you Kiki for opening my eyes to the phenomenon that is Lolcat, and by association Loltapir.

I love you internet.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sugar free, the way to be!

In my never ending quest to eliminate the white stuff from my diet, I am always on the lookout for healthier non-chemical sugar substitutes. Enter: Brown Rice Syrup. I picked up a jar at Woodman’s. I am in awe of their extensive organic/veg/natural food isle and freezer section, massive selection with lower prices than standard grocery stores. Oh, how I love thee Woodman’s.

I modified my banana bread recipe to make pumpkin muffins with zero refined sugar. Results are tasty! Here’s the recipe.

Pumpkin Cranberry Nut Muffins (or quickbread)

2 T whole flax seeds (or 4 T pre-ground)
6 T water
4 T softened margarine (I use Earth Balance)
¼ c applesauce (I use unsweetened)
½ c soy milk
2/3 c brown rice syrup
2 T maple syrup
1 T molasses
1 t vanilla
1 c pumpkin (I use canned, I’m sure any cooked winter squash would work)
1 ¾ c flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
2 t baking powder
¾ t baking soda
¼ t salt
Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or ginger to taste
¼ c walnuts
¼ c dried cranberries (or any dried fruit you fancy)

Banana bread variation: Use 1 c mashed banana in place of pumpkin, decrease soy milk to 2 T. I haven’t tried this with the brown rice syrup sub yet, but it should work just fine.

If using whole flax seeds, finely grind in coffee grinder (I have one I use just for spices and seeds) or spice grinder or food processor and put in a large mixing bowl. Add the water. Mix on high speed until mixture becomes thick and glutinous

Add margarine, applesauce, soy milk, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla, beat until smooth, then add pumpkin (or banana) and beat 1 – 2 min more on high speed.

Combine dry ingredients and slowly mix into batter until just combined. Stir in your walnuts and dried fruit.

Bake at 350 degrees, 55 – 60 min if you make one larger loaf, about 40 – 45 if you make 2 shallower loaves and about 30 - 35 min for muffins.

Not as sweet as the brown sugar version, but still very good!

I had some VwaV seitan sitting around in my fridge, and I vaguely remembered Vivacious Vegan posting ages ago about some country fried seitan that I wanted to try (I remember the most random stuff). After looking it up I did up a quick lunch for myself. I rolled the seitan in flour, dipped in soy milk, rolled in Italian herbed bread crumbs (from a can) and browned them up in my cast iron just lightly coated with 2 t of olive oil. I didn’t really feel like whipping up any gravy since it was only me eating, but I ate it with some boiled purple potatoes from the farmers market and steamed green beans on the side. Delicious! As close to a fried chicken dinner as I’d ever want to get.

Sorry, no pictures. :( Jason took my point-n-shoot camera back east with him and I am scared to touch his fancy-pants camera.

Monday, May 14, 2007

How the other half lives…

Sometimes I hang out on this forum for people (mostly women) trying to lose weight and be fit and healthy and so on, and it’s a really great site. Good moderators, nice folks to chat with and get advice, and they really try to make space for a variety of people with different interests, following different plans, etc. One part of the forums I never peeked in before was the “Low Carbohydrate Lifestyle” boards, because (no personal offense intended to anyone who’s into it) low-carb and Atkins sound like complete crap to me. I understand that some people lose weight on it, but I am not convinced that it’s healthy or safe, I’m pretty sure it’s non-sustainable for about 99% of people (Never eat bread or pasta again? Yeah right!), and there is not a single good reason to go to such extremes in any direction to lose weight. It’s just not necessary. I am glad most of the low-carb hype has died down, because if I heard one more person profess the Atkins diet as though it were gospel, I was gonna puke. /rant about stupid low-carb.

Anyway, back to the subject of the post. The title of this thread caught my eye because it just sounded like it would be kind of gross. Little did I know. So, after clicking to view the recipe, this is what I found. I swear I’m not making this up:

Chili Dog Casserole

2 lbs ground beef
1 pkg Williams Chili Seasoning for 2 lbs meat
8 oz can tomato sauce (look for no sugar added)
pkg of 8 hot dogs (I used Bryan Juicy Jumbos at 2 net carbs per dog - you might score some lower carb ones if you look harder than I did)
8 tbs sour cream (I use Daisy Pure and Natural - it's JUST sour cream)
2 cups shredded cheddar (look for real cheese - not cheese like substances)
1/2 cup fine chopped onions

1. Prehead [sic] oven to 350.

2. In large skillet, crumble and brown beef. Drain well. While cooking - cut hot dogs into bite sized chunks and get the onion chopped.

3. Add tomato sauce and chili seasoning to beef. Cook and stir long enough to get it mixed up good.

4. Pack meat into bottom of small square casserole or cake pan.

5. Layer dogs over beef. Thickly spread cheese over dogs.

6. Pop it in the hot oven for 10 mins or until cheese just starts to brown.

7. Serve - makes 8 - on top of each serving put 1 Tbs of onion and 1 Tbs of sour cream. If you scoop it out of pan carefully it should hold together.

Yeah, um. I don’t even know what to say. And do you know why this recipe is supposed to be a good idea if you’re trying to lose weight? Because there are only 6.16 net carbs per serving. I’m sorry, but only a crazy diet has you eating beef, hot dogs, cheese and sour cream all in one dish and thinking this is good for you. Hello, reality check? Sad thing I just realized: there are probably far more people on the Atkins diet than there are vegetarians :(

Friday, May 11, 2007

Welcome to the World!

Jason's sister is now proud mother to a baby boy!

Yonaton Sol was born May 10.

Grandpapa's e-mail announcement reports:
"Happy & Healthy!
Mother & baby are bonding! Father is kvelling. Sister is happy to have a brother."

So exciting! I'm so disappointed I'm going to have to miss the briss. I probably won't be able to visit till fall. That is such a long time to wait!

Now I will have a fantastic niece and nephew. Life's grand, ain't it?

Edited 5/14 because I spelled the name wrong. (It's Yonaton, not Jonatan. I thought it was an odd spelling, but I don't speak Hebrew so what do I know!) Actually grandpa's e-mail had it wrong, that'll teach me to do my own fact checking ;)

Edited 5/15 to add adorable picture.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

News flash: I am officially old

Because now I have a mortgage. If that doesn’t make you sound like a certifiable A-dult I don’t know what does.

Yes, Jason and I have taken the brave step forward into home ownership. I have to give J a lot of the credit for doing much of the legwork and research, and we ended up with a fantastic townhouse after a scant couple weeks of looking. And we got a kick-ass rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage (see? Me old.)

We are closing on June 8 and plan to move in the following week. We still need to rent our apartment to someone else, so if you know anyone in the Madison area looking for a great 2 bedroom on the west side, please send them our way.

This is a serious upgrade in living space, and the condo association pool and clubhouse are steps from my front door. I will probably post some pictures after we move. OMG, we’re moving in a month! SO EXCITED!

PS – Just so you know I’m using “old” in a figurative sense, not indicating that anyone my age or older is actually old old. Just indicating that to me it seems kind of crazy and surreal that I am about to own actual property. I’ve been a renting nomad for so long, it might take a while to adjust.

PPS – Happy birthday to T-Bone!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Say it with me…Frittata!

Fun to say, no? Especially of you roll the "r".

Inspired by Urban Vegan, I dusted off the old VwaV and actally tried a new recipe. The frittata, p. 14.

I ended up making a few subs (sweet-hot mustard instead of Dijon, zucchini instead of asparagus, re-hydrated sun-dried tomatoes instead of oil-packed, and frozen basil cubes + dried basil instead of fresh…I think that’s it.)

The verdict: delicious, easy, versatile and filling! This is a good recipe to use up whatever vegetables you might have around waiting to go bad. Reminiscent of tofu scramble, but even easier to make I’d say. Plus, squishing tofu with your fingers is fun. My own omnivore has yet to try it. I thought he might not like the mac n cheez, but he ate it up, so we’ll see.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It’s been said before...

...and I’ll say it again. The Seitan O’ Greatness rules.