An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked



For over three years, I’ve worked at the same restaurant, but never before have I been around for Thanksgiving. With orders lined up on a spread sheet covering the entire front of one refrigerator, the sheer volume of food needed to be cooked was baffling. Never in my life have I seen so many green beans… Or dirty dishes for that matter. So instead of posting for this past week, I’ve been working overtime, cooking a Thanksgiving feast for a couple hundred people. Although I’m not really big on this particular holiday, it does force me to reflect on the past year a bit, and I do definitely feel grateful- Grateful to have helped so many people get a healthy vegan dinner… but above all else, I’m so thankful that I can take the day off now.

Luckily, my pumpkin cheesecake recipe was easy enough that I could throw it together in my “spare time” and bring something impressive to my own Thanksgiving meal. The recipe is in Go Dairy Free, an awesome guidebook/product listing/cookbook to make living without dairy effortless. Plus, you like that cover?  Would you believe that those are my pictures! Just another thing to feel thankful for right now.

Hope all of you enjoy an abundant and relaxing Thanksgiving today!


VegFest; the Aftermath

Wow… Just, wow. After that incredible onslaught of people, products, and free food, I’m still a bit shell-shocked. There’s no way to sum up this past Saturday at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival, so all I’ll say is thank you to everyone who checked out my book, chatted with me, or saw my demo. I nearly jumped ship before that demo, I was so nervous… So for anyone who waited around long enough to watch me massacre that cake, and then were so kind as to laugh at my odd comments, you guys were the real stars of the show!

There was no extra time to check out the other vendors or snap many pictures, but so far I’ve found a few [incredibly sweet!] comments about my act on Anali’s First Amendment, and an action shot taken by Simple Moth.

So who else was there, and what did you think of the event?


A Day Late and a Cookie Short

The most astute of you out there may have already realized this, but today is not, in fact, Friday. I may have missed my own cut-off date for the raffle, but I could have never even imagined that such an overwhelming number of people would respond! Little by little, I’m still working my way through the emails, reading every last comment, and I can’t thank you guys enough for all of your enthusiastic help. For everyone who asked to be a tester and still hasn’t heard from me, just sit tight; I’m sending out the responses as fast as I can type.

And for everyone who commented, wanting to test or not, one of you is going to get a box of chocolate chip cookies very soon! Using a random number generator to pick out the winner, it looks like the lucky commenter will be…

#101, LeAnn!

Thanks again for all of the helpful suggestions, and for those who didn’t win, there will certainly be more chances soon enough. Just stay tuned!


Summer in a Jar

Finally, a contest that wasn’t won by the very first commenter! This was definitely a tricky one, but I knew that you guys wouldn’t give up until someone nailed the correct yield of raspberries. It’s pretty crazy to think about the total amount, but let me just say that there was enough for me to make jam. While that might not sound too special, let me put it this way: I can easily eat 1/2 quart for breakfast, each and every day, plus another cup or two as snacks and nibbles. It takes a lot of raspberries to convince me that I can spare enough for jam.

And it wasn’t just any old jam that I made, oh no. This here is a lovely lemon and raspberry jam, packed full of fresh berries and astringent citrus, making for a sweet and tangy mix, all infused with real vanilla beans. One of a kind to be sure, I didn’t take notes or follow a recipe, so I hope that the recipient truly savors every last mouthful. So, how many quarts did we pick in all?

At the end of this season, I’ve estimated that we raked in a full 20 quarts of wild raspberries. And that means Inanna Mama, you’re the winner! A jar of homemade jam will be bundled up and sent off to you asap!

Thanks for playing along, and don’t worry if you didn’t win this one, as there will definitely be more quick little giveaways like this to come!


The Vegan’s Hundred

News travels pretty fast in the blogosphere, and the latest craze that’s been showing up on food blogs far and wide has been The Omnivore’s Hundred, a list of 100 foods that all omnivores should eat at some point in their lives. Well, I like the idea, but obviously that sort of thing just doesn’t fly with me. Instead, I present to you my revised list, The Vegan’s Hundred instead! Everything here is either naturally free of animal products or can be veganized, and just like the original, these foods vary from the every day to extraordinary, delectable and disgusting. They’re simply all of the things that, in my opinion, any vegan foodie should definitely sink their teeth into at least once.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu Scramble
4. Haggis
5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar
29. Baklava
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Stroopwafle
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. Piña colada
58. Birch beer
59. Scrapple
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets
64. Curry
65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies
73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can
76. Pomegranate
77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky
80. Croissants
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi
93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti
97. Potato milk
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough

(I’ve included links to things that might not be as well known, but this list doesn’t reflect what I have and haven’t tried.  There’s definitely a lot I have yet to eat!)


Feeling the Love

You guys are just too sweet! Seriously, between all the thoughtful comments, nice emails, and blog awards, I could spout out ‘thank yous’ until I’m blue in the face and it still wouldn’t convey my gratitude. Now, on top of all that, it seems that the kind folks over at VegNews have nominated me- Not once, not even twice- But THREE times in various categories for their 2008 Veggie Awards!

Now that I’ve picked myself off the floor after the initial shock, I’m so honored and thrilled to even be in the running for anything, especially amongst such talent. I hardly expect to win, but I would be just tickled if you would keep the love coming and vote for me once or twice. Check the ballot for Best Author, Best Column (My Sweet Vegan) and Best Blog!


I Went to Portland and All I Got Was This Crappy Tattoo

Kidding, of course… It’s actually a kick-ass tattoo! You’ll have to just take my word for it right now, as it has just entered the flaky/scabby stage of healing and wouldn’t make for the nicest photo. But I’m getting ahead of myself here- Obviously, there was much, much more to my trip than a stop at the vegan tattoo parlor, Scapegoat.

After a rough night of travel and only a handful of hours to sleep, I found myself being dragged out of my stiff hotel bed to start preparing for the book signing at Herbivore. Fueled by excitement and nerves, I soldiered on, seeing what cookies could be salvaged after their turbulent plane ride, and frosting them to the finished whoopie pies.

40 came out of my original 50, and almost all of the muffins survived fairly well, so I just crossed my fingers and hoped that I would have food for everyone that wanted a bite.

Pulling up to the famed vegan strip mall was truly surreal. Everything inside each store, and at least a good number of the people were completely cruelty-free. I don’t think it’s sunken in yet, even after experiencing it and returning home! Tempted as I was to poke about all day, duty called, and I got to meet a few wonderful people at Herbivore instead. Thank you to everyone who came out and got a book or took a sample! This was the first time I got to meet anyone who might have known my blog and made it a point to come see me. You guys are the best – especially those of you who then met me at the tea house later to chat – you make me want to move to Portland so we can hang out more!

Unable to resist the temptation of multiple u-picks scattered throughout the fertile state, the second day was dedicated to investigating the ample supply of ripe berries. Before this day, I had never tasted a strawberry quite so sweet, juicy, or flavorful, and now I don’t know how I can suffer through the standard supermarket berries again! The raspberries too were huge and incredibly flavorful.

Even the fields smell sweet, the scent of natural sugars wafting through the air and permeating the atmosphere. I swear, if you could bottle this stuff, you would have the most effective antidepressant on the market; I don’t think anyone could leave those fields without a smile on their faces.

The blueberries weren’t quite ready, but they were still lovely all the same. I had actually never seen blueberries on the bush before!

Come Tuesday, I still didn’t know what recipe(s) I wanted to demo with Julie… Which was something of a problem, considering that everyone was ready to start shooting right then! I’ll admit it- I totally crumbled and my nerves got the best of me. Julie was so wonderful though, noodling about with me in her kitchen just to calm me down again and chatting about foodie things that few others might understand or care about. No thanks would suffice; I couldn’t be more grateful for her patience and kindness. Leaving without filming one second of that day, she still somehow convinced me that I wasn’t a total failure.

Lucky for you guys, I came back the next day and bit the bullet. We even got through two recipes! Those should be up on the Everyday Dish soon enough, so I’ll make another post to alert you about that.

With all of the hard work done, I took Thursday for myself and got my tattoo. A little quicky that took a mere 30 minutes, it was such a joy to actually watch my artist, Henry, at work. Although my first tattoo took a total of 15 hours, I never got to watch a minute of it, since it was all on my back! For anyone who just can’t contain their curiosity, I’ll give you a little hint about what it looks like….

Now just keep your pants on until I can heal and photograph the real thing!

Unable to do much with a fresh tattoo biting into my wrist, we spent much of the remaining time browsing through farmers markets and cute little shops, each one inspiring and interesting to no end.

The rose garden was also a lovely little break from reality-

Our last full day was on independence day, so instead of trying to see things that were probably closed for the holiday, we ventured out into the “wild” and did some hiking around the falls. Packing a picnic and feasting upon hummus, veggies, and watermelon right next to the roaring water plunging off a steep cliff, it seemed as close to the “all American celebration” as I could come.

And Portland? I have to hand it to you: Those 4th of July fireworks were some of the best I have ever seen. Never before have I been so close to the action that ash has fallen on my face and in my hair! Truly incredible and unforgettable.

Thank you to everyone who made this an amazing vacation and showed that there is perhaps a place that I don’t stick out like a sore thumb. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like such a freak due to my appearance or eating choices. That, in and of itself, is more than I could ever ask for.

Trust me, I have many more pictures and stories, but I’ve babbled on for long enough as it is. You can find more photos on my Flickr page!



We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging for this announcement:

I’m coming to Portland! The so-called “vegan mecca” of the US, there are so many reasons to be excited about busting out of my little east coast home for a week to see another corner of the country. And, if anyone in the area is so inclined, you can see me! This weekend, Sunday the 29th at noon, I’ll be at Herbivore signing books, chatting it up, and most importantly, handing out free samples of some goodies from the book!

As if that isn’t enough exciting news, you might notice a new column in the July/August issue of VegNews just hitting shelves, by yours truly. Not only was I honored by being named one of the top 21 vegan blogs of the year (although I still have trouble believing it), but I also had the incredible opportunity to see my words in print for this wonderful magazine. Did you like it? Enjoy the recipes? Have suggestions for the next one?

Since my photos didn’t make it to print for some reason, here are my pictures of what the FroYo really looks like, in all of its meltingly delicious glory:

The vanilla base, straight out of the machine.

After being frozen a bit more solid and scooped.

The chocolate variation!

So, with all of that craziness said, I hope to either see you soon, or hear about your thoughts on the article (or both)!


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