Friday, September 3, 2010

Brown Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions

Last night for dinner I made Brown Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions from one of my favourite cookbooks, The Kind Diet. It doesn't call for kale, but I added it because, well, kale is delicious. I also used rice wine vinegar instead of brown rice vinegar because that's what I had on hand.

Brown Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions

Olive Oil
1/2 a large red onion, sliced
pinch of salt
white wine (abt 1T)
1 carrot, diced
1 parsnip, diced
about 5 stems of kale, leaves removed from stem and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 C pecans toasted and chopped
3 T Pumpkin seeds
2 C Cooked brown rice
1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Place 2 T oil and onions in a skillet, when onions begin to sizzle reduce heat and add wine. let cook, stirring frequently, until nicely caramelized, about 20 minutes.

While the onion cooks, heat oil in large skillet. Add a pinch of salt, parsnip, carrot and kale. Sautee over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes.

When the vegetables are tender turn off heat and add in pumpkin seeds and pecans. Stir to coat with oil. Add rice and vinegar, stir.

Transfer to a bowl, top with caramelized onions and scallions. Enjoy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Chocolate Shoebox!

I think I have a new favourite store in Seattle - The Chocolate Shoebox! Vegan shoes and chocolate. . . and purses!? So. Awesome.

They carry some super rad bags by Matt & Nat. (Mine, pictured below, is made from 21 recycled plastic bottles!) Adorable shoes, belts, amazing nailpolish colors (I'm currently wearing "Shrewd", pictured below). . . and CHOCOLATE!

They are on Greenwood, so check them out if you're in the hood!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shout out to the MO500

I wanted to take a moment to post the Humane Society of Missouri newsletter and give a shout out to the AMAZING people who have worked tirelessly caring for these dogs since Mid-Summer, the countless volunteers who took time away from their own lives to come help give these dogs a chance and everyone involved in the investigation that lead to the rescue of these dogs. It was an honor to be part of your 'team' for a week, and an experience that has forever changed me!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Leaves and Squirrels!

Ok, so really the title should just be "Leaves", but since I was a little girl every Autumn my mother and I would bake sugar cookies in the shapes of Leaves and Squirrels. As a child I would exclaim (and still do in the early Autumn) "Time for Leaves and Squirrels!" and a saturday would be spent preparing dough, rolling, cutting, baking and frosting.

When my mom died I stopped making Leaves and Squirrels for a very long time, about 7 years. I could not bring myself to bake them alone. A few years ago I fianally made the decison that the Leaves and Squirrels tradition must be continued, that it didn't have to be a sad event, and could be a way for me to honor and remember my mom.

We always used the same recipe, out of the same Betty Crocker cookbook that she had since she was a teenager, a red binder book with stained pages, a book I still have. This year presented a different challenge as I could no longer use my traditional BC recipe. It didn't take me long to find John and Kristie's Vegan Sugar Cookie recipe online, and I decided to give it go. It was perfect, tasted almost identical to the recipe I'd used for years. I decided to only make leaves this year, the tails seem to always break off the squirrels and I didn't feel like dealing with that sort of carnage on this particular day.

These cookies tured out beautifully and were very well recieved by a child (the TRUE test of the 'yumminess' of vegan food!).

Now I am super excited for Christmas, when the cookies will be made again in the shapes of stars and bells and santa, just like they have been for the past 30 years, only this time animal-free with a dash of compassion.

Monday, October 19, 2009

1 of 500

I recently returned from a one week deployment to St Louis Missouri. I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Humane Society to help with the care of 500 dogs, mostly Pit Bulls, rescued from a dog fighting ring raid back in July.

The first story of the bust, can be found here: Dog Fighting Raid

I spent my week, 10 hours a day, caring for dogs who have lived the last 4 months in a temporary shelter in St. Louis. It was physically and emotionally demanding work. Some of the HSMO employees have worked every single day since the raid, caring for these dogs. Due to the pending Federal Investigations and a confidentiality agreement I signed I can't disclose the workings of the shelter, conditions or fate of the dogs. However. . . slowly. . . as people plead guilty and custody of the dogs is relased to the Humane Society of Missouri - dogs are going home. Today I was fortunate enough to see a video of one released boy playing at his new home in Tennesee. I cried. I've watched it about 400 times today. To see that dog, even just ONE dog, so happy now and begining his new life, makes it all worth it. The week I took off work, the physical demands, the sadness and heartbreak. . . It all fades away watching that dog play.

Below are links to videos that have been taken and released by HSMO. You can read updates on the dogs here: HSMO. Please, we must end dog fighting.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's getting hot in here. . .

For those of you who know me you know that last Winter I became addicted to Bikram Yoga when I did a 2 week trial at Bikram Yoga Seattle. For those of you who don't or who don't know what Bikram Yoga is, here is the run-down.

Bikram is a guy. Bikram Choudhury to be exact, the founder of the Yoga College of India. Bikram practiced yoga 4-6 hours a day beginning at the age of 4. At the age of 13 he won the National India Yoga Championship. At the age of 17 Bikram shattered his knee in weightlifting accident and was told he would never walk again. He went to his yoga teacher for help, and had a functioning knee again in 6 months.

Bikram developed and copyrighted his style of yoga, a series of 26 postures (pictured below), each done twice over 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 degrees with a humidity of 40%. That gives you a heat index of about 121 degrees F. Check your pride at the door, if you are wearing anything more than required to cover your nasty bits - you will be uncomfortable.

After about 4 months of practice I took the summer off from Bikram Yoga to spend time outside with my dog, and to save a little money. (Yoga is a little pricy.) I started back this week. The first two classes were awful. I laid down for about half the class wishing I was dead, reminiscent of my frist Bikram class ever. Here's the thing about Bikram Yoga. . . My frist class was horrible and I laid down a lot, a lot of people around me also laid down, and lot of people didn't. With varying levels and intensity to each class, it is suitble for beginners all the way to advanced so there were people in my class who'd been practicing for 10 years, and people like me, practicing for 10 minutes. I left class SO proud of myself for at least trying it - for doing as much as I could even though it was painfull, and hard and hot and I alternated between wanting to pass out and wanting to puke. . . that my first thought after class was not "I'm never doing that again" . . it was "wow, I kind of did that. I want do it again, and see if I can do more". And more I did, I began to practice 4-5 times a week. . . In posture #5 above you start out just holding your foot in your hand, knee bent, standing leg locked. For the first month or so, my standing knee kept bending, or I'd topple over or my foot would slip out of my hand, but all of a sudden my standing knee was staying locked, too afraid to kick out I would continue to hold that pose, knee bent, foot in hand, for the full minute. Then one day I hear from the instructor at the front of the room "Kelley, you can kick out - you're ready." - "No I'm not!!" I screamed at her from inside my head, but she was watching me now and I had no choice. I started to kick out. My leg was up, but still bent. "Kelley, keep kicking. . . becuase I think you can" - ugh. . I continued to kick out until I found myself with two locked knees, one standing, one parallel to the floor. After about 5 seconds my entire body was shaking violently working so hard to stay in this pose, I couldn't stay in the entire time, and I gently pulled my knee back in, waited for others to finish, then returned to standing. THAT was my "ah ha!" moment. That was the moment I knew could never not practice. I felt like I had accomplished so much in the first few weeks, what could I accomplish in the next few years? I've never felt such a confidence boost from a sport before.

The choice to take the summer off from Yoga was one I think I had to make to realize how much I need this in my life. I will never ever take a voluntary 4 month hiatus again, I missed Bikram Yoga every minute of my summer. Yesterday was the 3rd class back after my break. It's been challenging, I've laid down a lot, felt fat, out of shape and wondering why I was doing this again. I was reminded of why I came when I heard the same message from Penni that inspired me the first time around. "Kelley - start to kick out - you're ready".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash and Snickerdoodles

Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash

Earlier in the week my step-mom invited me over. She said she had acorn squash and she would save them for the night I came. I started scouring the internet for acorn squash recipes when I came across an adaptation of the Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash recipe from Vegetarian Compass at Heidi's website 101 cookbooks. Squash and corn happen to be two of my favourite things and I knew I had to veganize it (and I added shallots, becauseI love them.

2 small (2 lb.) acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoonolive oil
1/2 cup Soy Milk
1/2 cup Soy Creamer
2 egg equlivent of Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (or more if you like)
1/4 teaspoon anise seed, chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees with a rack in the middle.

Rub the orange flesh of the squash with the oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. You want your squash to sit level so your filling does not spill out. YOu can cut off the bottom to make it flat. Cover the squash with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash starts to get tender.

In a bowl combine the soy milk, egg replacer, corn, anise seed, half of the scallions, shallot, nutmeg, and salt. Fill each of the squash bowls. VERY Carefully put the squash back to the oven.

Continue baking uncovered for another 30 - 50 minutes, or until the squash is fully cooked through, and the pudding has set - I forgot to set my timer and have no clue how long this cooked for, it felt like a long time, but one of my sqush was quite large. Just check it every 10 min or so. . Let sit about 5 minutes, sprinkle with the remaining scallions and more shallot if you desire.
Serves 4.

For dessert I decided to make snickerdoodles, which are one of my favourite cookies. I've made snickerdoodles before from Lauren's Vegan Yum Yum website. Imagine my delight when her book launched on Sept 16th and included her recipe! I've made these several times and had 3 omnis tell me they were the best snickerdoodles they've ever had. My roommate, who claimed not to like snickerdoodles ate 3 of them. Lucky for you all - you don't have to buy Lauren's book yet, the recipe is posted online here: Snickerdoodles