Friday, February 22, 2013

Birthday Bonanza 2013!

I'm another year older as of yesterday, and that means it's time for my annual birthday post!

This year feels like a new beginning, a rebirth, winter melting into spring...
Sweet Potato Birthday Blondiefly with Vanilla Glaze 

Isn't she pretty? 
Blondie recipe was from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar.

Store bought Chocolate Butterfly Cake.  So pretty!

 Birthday Eve Pizza.  All vegan, all organic, CSA and homemade!

Roasted CSA Peppers and Fennel with CSA Home Dried Herbs and CSA Marinara

Onto the birthday meal...
Birthday Beans!  
Organic Red Kidney Beans, Georgian Style with Walnut Cilantro Pesto and Jasmine Rice.
These are SO good.  

OK, on to the gifts!

I shopped at Wegmans for some cute kitchen gifts to myself...I love Wegmans!
 Cute kitchen towels (winter--citrus and spring--flowers themed!) and a bunch of winter/spring themed Ann Clark cookie cutters!
 The Dragonfly
 The Pineapple

A nice Mountain Bear waking from his winter hibernation, ready to emerge into a forest blush with green.

The King's Crown and the classic Butterfly.  Also, what I call "chef's socks," padded running socks that I layer over my regular socks to support my feet for longer hours in the kitchen (inside my Crocs, of course).

Raw Revolution...Rabbit Food? :-)  
The Vegan Easter Bunny probably gives them out!
JK.  I wanted to try these raw, vegan bars. They look great!

And I had to try Kettle's Spicy Thai chips.  OML.  They are fantastic. 

A lid from hubby for my biggest cast iron pan that he gave me for Xmas, an awesome loaf pan with a matching lid by Anchor (I really like this U.S. based company and their products) and my chef's socks again :-)

And what did Grandma Margie get me?
 Hmmm...Unopened padded envelope.
 Taped with some kind of rainbow, hippie, mail tape? :-)

 What could they be?
 Home drawn card :-) We all love Grandma Margie's cards!

Cute zip up, workout shirt, and, um, yup! More socks! Another kind I like to layer for working in the kitchen.
My mom is psychic that way.

At this point, Ollie could take it no longer...
She had to visit the gift table to see what was going on...

Yeah, she only looked when I called her :-)

Lastly, what did hubby get me?
This super cool bracelet! It's Rainbow Flourite and Amethyst (my birthstone).
It's from this cool shop a town over called The Crystal Tree.  Thanks, Michelle!

And a few more fun things from our local kitchen supply store: 
Syrup dispenser, squeeze bottles (for my sauces!) and a dough scraper!

And, drum roll, please...courtesy of Mom B...
Ta-dah! The Excalibur!

Watch out, CSA! Here comes the Excalibur to dehydrate your behind!

A huge thanks and many hugs to Mom B.!  All my dehydrated happenings will be chronicled here soon...but, for now, what's next?

Well, how about re-hydrating something dried?
 XL Favas! Never made 'em before, but can't wait...
They are soaking right now.

Thinking I may make Fava Beans with Spiced Salt, a recipe from Mediterranean Street Food, my newest library procurement, a hubby's pick (great choice, hubby!).

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday special, it was a great one!

And, now, onto my birthday weekend!  
(Don't birthdays last at least a week? )

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lessons in Love: V-day feast, Temp Tatts, Contest Win, Two Pies and a Tester

I love temp tatts, and I suggest you get 'em on for this post!  

Emory's Flaming Panther

 Daddy's Cobra

Mommy's BBQ Dragon

I love blueberries.  And lemon.

 Homemade Blueberry Lemon Compote
 Over Hoecakes!

Next...I really loved this recipe!
 DIY Bisquick from Betty Goes Vegan.  So useful! So fun to make!

I needed it to make the amazing...
Cheezeburger Pie (this is SO good).  I love savory pies!

A delicious, cheezy, doughy bite.

Onto another tester from Joni's upcoming book, 

The Sesame Sriracha Sauce:
I am in love with Joni's new book!  And, now I'm more into spicy stuff than ever (and that's saying a lot since I always loved spicy stuff).

Sesame Sriracha Sauce over Korean Fresh Noodles with Organic Baby Kale, "Heathy Food" Vegan Shrimp (:-) and Black Sesame Seeds.  SO GOOD.

I had never, ever seen baby kale before, but Wegmans had it last week in the pre-washed salad greens-in-boxes section.  It's DELICIOUS and super convenient.  I hope they will carry it on a regular basis.  I LOVE BABY KALE.  

A more traditional, Asian presentation.

And this year, I made a special Valentine's Day Dinner.  I used two recipes from The Inspired Vegan:

Beet Tapenade Crostini and (from scratch) Jerk Tempeh and Peppers over Coconut Lime Rice. 

Molded Beet Tapenade Crostini.
Unmolded! Served with a surprise olive oil (see below!). 

Jerk Tempeh:
This was a wonderful Jerk sauce, even though it had, like 1,000 ingredients!

For dessert, I was out of my Whoopie Pies, but, my friend had made a batch of her own (a GF version of the recipe in BGV!).  She had extras leftover and was nice enough to 
re-purpose some of them over to me :-)  

These were SO delicious.  She promises to give me her GF recipe for them, guys!
I love whoopies!

And, I got a big box on my porch earlier this week...
What could it be?

 Ah ha! My prize from winning The Urban Vegan's Colavita contest!  
I got both the Private Selection and the Argentinian Fruity Olive Oils. SCORE!

I love winning :-)

And here's an early birthday present to myself (to fill all those future whoopie pies I still want to make!):

I was a little tired of the pastry bag thing (they always have some kind of issue), so I thought I might try this gadget.  Got good reviews on amazon, so, we'll see...

My birthday is coming up (I love my birthday!!) and I'll have more exciting stuff to show you and recipes to share.  If you can't wait, here's my birthday post from last year! Gonna be hard to top that...

Anyhoo, have a great rest of your weekend, everyone.  

(I love Mondays off for President's Day :-)


Monday, February 11, 2013

Makin' Whoopie!

Yes, yes, yes...yes, yes!

Makin' Whoopie...with Betty!

Whoopie Pies, that is!

Heart-shaped Whoopie Pie Pan!  Get one for Valentine's Day!

You guys know how excited I am about Annie & Dan's book Betty Goes Vegan, right?

Well, I just couldn't resist the Whoopie Pies, so I made a batch of Red Velvet Pies with Vanilla Buttercream filling from the book for an early Valentine's Day treat.

The batter was very thick and fluffy!
I had to smush the batter into the cavities of the pie pan.  Kinda fun.

I baked them for 17 minutes, which was two minutes too long, I think...

The cake tasted amazing and the texture was spot on! But, since I over baked them a tad, they stuck to the pan where they rose above the cup cavities, and even though I loosened it before trying to remove them, most of them ripped off the bottom part of the cake (cleanly, though, leaving the heart-shaped part that baked in the depression still in the pan). But, not to worry! Broken hearts abound on Valentine's Day, especially depressed ones.

Good thing I can fix a broken heart :-)

A perfectly removed top. 

I actually just pushed the pieces together while they were still warm, like we sometimes do in relationships.

It worked out for the most part.  But, it cracked up a lot when I put the halves together and added the cream.  Kinda like when an already fragile couple (read: any couple!) has a crisis to deal with.  All the cracks are exposed.

But, just put enough (vegan!) buttercream on it, and it tastes great, despite the cracks. 

Love is restored, depression lifted! 

Anyway, this is a great recipe and I highly recommend it.
Betty Goes Vegan is so much fun!  

Happy Valentine's Day, guys.