BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked


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Busy, Busy Bee

We’re in the home stretch now, with only one week of finals and schoolwork ahead, it’s just a matter of holding my breath a little bit longer before I reach the surface.  My brain is rather fried, to say the least, so I still have no great words of knowledge to share, despite the overwhelming backlog of recipes I’ve begun to accumulate.  All in due time, right?  The summer is still far from over.

In other news, My Sweet Vegan is now available for download online, for either Kindle or iPad! I have neither, but it sounds like a pretty darn spiffy proposition. Now you can get all of the recipes for a greatly reduced price, and carry them with you to where ever you may bake!

The VegNews 2010 Veggie Awards are live, and remarkably, I have been nominated in three whole categories- Favorite Cookbook Author, Favorite Blog, and Favorite Column (My Sweet Vegan.) While I’m not deluding myself into thinking I have a chance of winning against such esteemed talents, I would still be very grateful if you wanted to cast just one vote for me, at least for this humble little blog.

Have you heard of the cookbook project, ThinkFood, that bloggers from all over have collaborated to create? Well, I was one of them! If you can’t wait for the hard copies to be available, sou can find my recipe for Superfood Fudge Pops, along with many other smart sweets and savories, on the website.

Finally, after all of this frenetic activity, I’m looking forward to a real bona fide vacation starting on the 15th; a family road trip around Europe. Posting will continue to be sporadic, but I promise to take and share as many photos along the way as possible, don’t tune out! We’ll be stopping in Weisbaden, Munich, Cochem, and Cologne in Germany, in addition to Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, and Amsterdam. Any suggestions on what to do, see, and eat?

Hope everyone else is staying happily busy as well! Sit tight for the next recipe, coming very soon!


23 Comments

A Cupcake in the Hand…

… Is worth two in the oven? Since the original version of that phrase makes so little sense in the first place, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

But soon, two hopeful readers will have their very own cupcake at hand, nestled into a cheerful, bright pink holder! Keeping it simple but throwing in a little superfood twist at the end, I decided to share vanilla bean goji berry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting with the winners.

Just like the above saying, there was no rhyme or reason why, but it sounded tasty and that’s good enough for me.

Okay, down to business. The first winner, chosen by a random number generator, is….

Commenter #13, otherwise known as long-time reader, sydneysunray!

Next up, laying claim to the second cupcake holder, is…

The lovely and ever-talented Oiyi!

Congratulations ladies, you’ll be hearing from me shortly! To everyone else, don’t fret; I happen to have a number of exciting giveaways planned for the very near future. Stay tuned…!


113 Comments

Happy Birthday…

…Dear BitterSweet!

Unbelievable but true, my baby has outgrown its diapers and training wheels, moving up in the world as a full-fledged toddler with four full years under its belt. No longer so uncertain on its feet, this humble little blog always surprises me at how strong it can be- And what sturdy support it has to fall back on when it isn’t. Not for a second did I imagine that it would still be around today, that I would still feel a passion for logging my crafts and recipes, putting my work on public display. Though the basic concept and look has changed significantly, it’s still the same creation beneath it all, and I still return to it for the same reason I always have and will: Because of you. My readers. I said this before but I’ll say it again, because I simply can’t stress how crucial a role you play in keeping BitterSweet alive and kicking. No matter if you’re one of my silent lurkers or vociferous regulars or fair weather blog buddies, I love you guys. Thanks for lending an ear, speaking up, helping out, and making the blogosphere a community where I feel safe and accepted, free to say it like it is. You guys rock.

But enough with the serious talk, I have some pure silliness to share! After saving up the most absurd and ridiculous searches that led some misguided folk to the blog, I finally have a plethora of bizarre search terms to give you a good laugh. Without any editing or further ado, My favorite picks from year four are…

what should we eat to become black eye
i crochet so i don’t kill people
to tie up his hose
pictures of real life canibalisim
how to make cocoa leaf into cocaine powder
pizza with a face “don’t eat me i love you”
melty pudding porno
lumpy separated pudding wrong error
malicious bunny
fuck +frosted

….I sure wonder if these people ever found what they were looking for. Perhaps not as crazy as previous years (I wasn’t checking as much, truth be told), but still worth a decent chuckle, right?

But you know, it just wouldn’t be a birthday party without presents, so I’d like to give you one! Actually, I’d like to give two of you lovely readers out there a Cup-a-Cake individual cupcake holder! Perhaps not the most exciting present, but I’ve had them rattling around in my baking drawer for ages, and I just don’t think I’m ever going to use them. Both are in pink, never before used… But if you play your cards right, I might just send them off with a trial run cupcake inside… You know, just to make sure they work properly. If you’d like one, just leave me a comment by midnight (EST) of February 16th, and tell me what you want to see in the coming year BitterSweet. More/less… reviews, recipes, weird stories, craft patterns, photography tips? Something I haven’t tried yet? Don’t be afraid to just shout it out!

But really, four whole years… They do grow up fast.


31 Comments

Thankful

Every past Thanksgiving, for as long as I can remember, has been a terribly ironic and unhappy day for me. Forced to look back and scrounge up some shallow and contrived reason to be thankful, nothing would come to mind, nothing but negative experiences and general discontent, every good thing in my life obscured in a fog of depression. Luckily, we never made a big scene of discussing the actual holiday, just slogged through it, so my dissatisfaction was only known through my incessant whines about having a big dead turkey on the table, how much work I could be doing if I had been left at home, and how little I wanted to talk to my relatives. Oh yes, I’m just a joy to be around on this occasion, and I know it.

2009, my 20th Thanksgiving, bears no greater happiness- In hindsight, it’s been a tough, unrewarding, and downright desperate year at times. However, that’s where the pattern ends. Despite all of that, it would be foolish to take all of my good luck for granted. For the family that continues to stand by and nurture me even as I sulk at the foot of the table, complaining about how there’s butter on practically everything; For the amazing opportunities I’ve had throughout the year, working with some fantastic people and organizations; For the support of every last reader who took the time to leave me just one or two words of encouragement in the comment section, and the few who delivered a whole novel’s-worth of pep talks;  For the nearly luxurious comfort of my home, and enough money to buy healthy, wholesome, vegan food; For the simple fact that I am still alive, as contrived as that may sound; For all of that, I am finally truly thankful, and endlessly grateful.

I hope everyone else can find at least one thing to be thankful for this year, too. Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!


5 Comments

Everybody Wins!

Okay, enough waiting; the suspense is killing me! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m just dying to spill the beans on who won a shiny new bottle of Xagave. So I’m getting right down to it.

The winner, randomly chosen via Random.org, is….

Commenter #37, who happens to be veganhomemade! And her favorite uses for agave?

But that’s not the end of the story here, not by a long shot. Because I love you guys, I love agave, and I’d like to think that all this love is mutual, I have a special gift for everyone. If you were so inclined to order yourself a bottle of Xagave, you can now plunk in the special discount code “BITTERSWEET” on the payment information page and get free shipping! Now you have no excuse not to try out this fantastic alternative sweetener, thanks to the Xagave’s generosity. Go forth and spread the agave love!


39 Comments

November, the Heart of Fall

Here we are, in the thick of it: Fall at it’s climax, nary a green leaf remains, and the trees growing barer by the day. With Halloween behind us, there’s nothing in the way of the Holiday seasons, and it’s full speed ahead in this busy kitchen. For my latest article in VegNews, you’ll find two candy recipes that would make both fantastic nibbles after a Thanksgiving meal, or perfect gifts for the winter holidays ahead. Of course, many of the candies in my latest ebook could also make excellent gifts… So there’s certainly no shortage of sweet treats to choose from.

Now on newsstands, this issue features my Chai-Spiced Pistachio Brittle (pictured above), and Peppermint Latte Patties (below), plus the much-anticipated Veggie Awards 2009.

While I didn’t win this year, I want to extend my warmest congratulations to the Fat-Free Vegan, which picked up the coveted “best blog” award. Way to go, Susan, keep up the awesome blogging!

In honor of the new month, I though I would try something new as well- A little bonus for those who want it.

This purple kale was begging to be photographed, and who was I to refuse? Click for full size, and save as a desktop wallpaper if you’d like! Just have the display set to “stretch” and it should fit properly on just about any monitor size.


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Garden Variety

Riddled with holes large and small, the mesclun greens planted outside look like shooting victims, thoroughly bitten and nibbled on by some lucky set of slugs. A few inches away, the snap peas aren’t doing much better, looking a bit yellow around the edges and leaning heavily to one side, as if exhausted of all vitality and unable to stand up straight. And the tomatoes? Well, they just seem to have forgotten to sprout altogether.

This sad assembly of twigs and dirt is my garden, which unsurprisingly, has failed to become prolific yet again. However, there is one bright spot in this otherwise barren patch this time around; Herbs. Perhaps the only thing to grow properly and happily under my care, all variety of herbs are now ripe for the picking, so to speak, and there are plenty to choose from.

Lemon verbena, mint, and a just a few leaves of stevia were the perfect flavors to infuse into a simple tisane, inspired by an inviting recipe too easy to resist. So pale that one might mistake it for plain water at first glace, the light herbal flavors impart just enough zing to make for a unique and refreshing drink.

Admittedly less gratifying than biting into a juicy red tomato that came from your own backyard, it’s just a joy to actually grow anything sucessfully at this point!  Now, there are some chives, parsley, and mallow to tend to as well…


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Go Dairy Free: Winners

The question of choosing a non-dairy milk is actually much tougher than it may sound, since the market is practically exploding with different options these days. Just name your grain, nut or seed, and there’s sure to be a “milk” produced by it, in all the colors of the rainbow and every flavor you can think of. For me personally, my all-time favorite has got to be VitaSoy‘s Holly Nog. And since I’ve unfortunately already run through my entire stock pile, I prefer Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze for the rest of the year. When it comes to baking though, plain old store brand soy is usually what makes the grade, due to the protein content and generally mild flavor.

Okay, have I kept you in suspense for long enough already?  I’m sure you’ve been dying to know the winners of the two copies of Go Dairy Free, and I can hardly wait to share this wonderful resource, so let’s get down to business.

The first winner is…

Comment #397, Karen, who says “My favorite – chocolate almond milk by almond breeze! for smoothies I prefer unsweetened almond milk or hemp milk, but often use rice milk, since it is easier to get in our small town. for cooking, I use rice milk – again with the availability and lower price! I am dying for a copy of this book!”

And last but not least, the second lucky commenter is…

Kitchenetta, of comment #302! And how perfect for someone with a blog entitled “Got No Milk.”

I’m sure both of you will love this book- You’ll be hearing from me shortly!

In case you didn’t win this time around, you can buy Go Dairy Free direct from the source, where they will ship internationally, or if you hurry, it’s on discount on amazon.com right now. Either way, it will be worth the investment!


16 Comments

A Heart-Felt Thank You x 280

Well. I certainly wasn’t expecting that. That being the amazing love-fest and outpouring of support that resulted from my itty-bitty little giveaway. Reading through each comment, one by one, pausing to take them all in, I quickly found myself in tears- And crying is something that I try in earnest to limit, so trust me when I say that your words truly touched me. More often than not, it will be some ungodly hour of the night/morning that I plunk myself down in front of the keyboard and begin pounding away, writing to no one in particular and wondering if these words will even reach human eyes. The distance that the world wide web puts between a blogger and a reader makes it hard to really feel connected, but you guys have proven, time and again, that you are really out there. Reading carefully, examining photos, understanding and thinking… It just boggles my mind. In short, thank you for giving me another 280 reasons to keep blogging.

So, let’s get to the real reason that you’re all here today at least; The giveaway!

Our first winner to get a copy of My Sweet Vegan is…

Breedale, who left me comment #188! Congrats!

And the second book goes to…

Lucky comment number 86, who happens to be Sayward!

I’ll be in touch with both of you shortly! And for the rest of you wonderful readers, don’t feel discouraged- I happen to know that there will be another giveaway, and very soon indeed.

Hope everyone has a lovely Valentine’s Day!


284 Comments

3 Years…

…And still going strong! It’s hard to believe that BitterSweet has been around for so long, and how far this baby of mine has gone. But really, it’s not the blog that I want to celebrate on this joyous blogoversary- It’s the people that made it possible. All of the encouragement, inspiration, and camaraderie I’ve found through this humble creative outlet is a true testament to the fact that there really are a whole lot of thoughtful and compassionate people in this world. Even if you’ve never commented before, the fact that you’re reading this right now makes a difference. Whether you’ve been following my ramblings from the very beginning or you just tuned in last week, thank you for reading. As a special little thank you gift, I thought it would only be fitting to give away two copies of My Sweet Vegan! You have until one week from now to enter.  As the winner will be announced on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, it only seemed fitting to award two people on this day for pairs.

If you want to win my book, then just leave me a comment (no double-commenting, please) and tell me: What’s your favorite part of BitterSweet? What makes you want to come back for more? The recipes, stories, pictures, crafts, or something else? Or a combination? Yes, I’m nosy and I just want to know, but I also want to know how I can continue to make the blog better, and provide more material that the majority of readers want to see. Sound like a good deal? Just tell me what you think!

And, in honor of this third blogoversary, I thought it was about time to air some of the gems I’ve been saving for these past three years- Some of the most entertaining search terms that led some lost souls here! None of the search terms that follow have been altered in any way. If you’re drinking coffee, I suggest you put it down for a moment, lest you spray it all over your keyboard…

disturbing bananas
IF HELL GOT FROZEN
cannibalism
dumbass cakes
tongue bars
homemade cereal killer and victim hallow
constipated pumpkin face
crocheted boob pattern
t & t supermarket tripe radish soup
swear finger
vegan in a can
what does sour puss taste like?
don’t eat me i love you pizza
my family is hot dogs
did an alligator really have five legs
adding flavor to crack cocaine
100 bricks of coccaine
bald painful tongue
turd sprinkles

…All I can say is, I hope these very unique visitors eventually found what they were searching for, even if they definitely didn’t find it here…

So I’m hoping that no one says that any of the above are reasons that they’ve been perusing the blog, but do let me know where your interests lie and enter to win a copy of my book!

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