On this blog you will find... vegan recipes, products, and general info regarding vegan life. You will also find some art with the stories behind it, news of my shop on Etsy and someday hopefully some music.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A banana is stolen and Horchata bars are born...

     Here is something I have learned about life.  Sometimes you want to make Banana Pecan Pie Bars so, you get everything together and assemble your dry ingredients only to discover that your banana is not there because, your daughter has eaten it.  When you also discover that the only liquid you have in your house aside from water is Horchata you end up with Cherry Horchata Bars with co-co nut butter frosting instead.  Which really isn't so bad because these bars are pretty good.
     Sometimes my daughter and I will come up with a plan and make some really great food however, quite a few of my recipes are born because I forgot something, have something extra I need to use up or because I have no money and a collection of weird ingredients.
     The above mentioned Horchata bars  are from a recipe for banana pecan pie bars which used to be the macadamia nut blondies in Vegan with a Vengeance.  Horchata is a drink made from rice and cinnamon in Mexico.  The Horchata I used I think may have been rice dream.  The frosting in this recipe is my first attempt at vegan white chocolate which did not go quite as planned.  This recipe is not perfect. This is the first time I made it. If I make it again I will add a little more cinnamon, take out some of the sugar and add some walnuts or pecans.

The Bars
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 - 1 cup horchata
1/3 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried cherries

1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease 9" by 13" baking pan.

2. Assemble and stir all dry ingredients in mixing bowl.

3. Assemble sugar, horchata, canola oil. and vanilla in another bowl.

4.  Add wet to dry and stir until it forms a big lump somewhere between dough and batter add cherries.

5. Spread in baking pan, bake I think it was about 35 minutes.

 I bought this co-co nut butter because I was going to try to make white chocolate and I needed some kind of fat that would be solid at room temperature.  Let me say co-co nut butter is really good but kind of expensive. Also it is only solid if the temperature of your room is not very warm.  I didn't write this down right away but, I think I can remember how to do it.

1 1/2 TBSP coco nut butter
3 TBSP margarine
4 TBSP  sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp starch
add a TBSP of water at a time until it is smooth, shiny and pourable.

1. Melt margarine, vanilla, butter and sugar in double boiler on medium heat.

2. Add TBSPs of water at a time until it is smooth shiny and you can pour it. I think it was about 6 TBSPs

3. The starch should be dissolved in a little bit of water and added with the water.  However, we had to cook it for a long time to make it not taste like starch.  So my daughter and I decided that next time we make it it should not have the starch so you might want to try it without. I don't think the starch is really necessary. Also like I said I did not write this down right away so you may need to make some adjustments.  I plan to make these again some day and when I do I will post an updated version.  Coming soon my daughter's grilled portabella and some veganized Jamaican Jerk pies...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Japan book mark update...

To any one who has been keeping track of this I decided that the Japan book mark I made was not very appropriate and it did not come out very good.  So, I decided to make something else.  I made this Aceo instead which says love. The original of this is going to be for sale in my shop on Etsy and the profit will be donated to Americares.  If there is any interest I am also going to make prints which I will sell for about 8 dollars each.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Brief update on book mark to benefit Japan...

Just writing to let people know that the book mark I am making to benefit Japan is almost done.  Some one wrote the saying I wanted to write down for me.  I am going to pencil it in tonight and have some one check it for me on Monday.  If it looks good I will take it to the printer right after that. So, book marks should be on sale in my shop by Tuesday or Wednesday. 
The other picture above is a work in progress that is going to be a friendly alphabet poster that I plan to sell when finished.  I think it will be good for a child's room.  Each letter is in water color and ink and will be filled with and surrounded by the object representing the letter. The blue butterfly in the background of the letter B is a blue morph. I thought I might write the word in as well I haven't decided.  The background is not going to be white either I'll decide on the back ground when the rest is done.  Once I started with this one I started to get some ideas for themed alphabet posters such as alphabet outer space, alphabet insects, flowers so on and so forth so you may see those in the future.
The story of how a stolen banana gave birth to horchata bars is still on the way. Today I am a little fried on computers so, I will be making more art. See you later!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spinach and Tofu, delicious, easy and vegan

This is another rice and tofu dish that I make at work.  This is really easy to make and once again by the time the rice is cooked everything else will be done. 

The recipe is as follows...

1 block tofu extra firm
1 bag of baby spinach
1/2 a head cabbage
2-4 cloves garlic
soy sauce

Cook as much rice as you think you will need.

1. Cut tofu into cubes.  Slice cabbage.  Mince garlic and wash spinach.
2. Get some oil in a large skillet really hot!  Brown tofu each one on a couple sides.
3. Add spinach, cabbage and garlic saute briefly until spinach is starting to wilt.
4. Pore in mirin. I measure by going a circle around the pan while poring.  Pore about a circle and a 1/2 of soy sauce.  You can sprinkle in a little flour to make it a thicker.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve over rice.

Coming soon ...a banana is stolen and horchata bars are born.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gardening photos...



Our meadow and my cofee

Hello again!  These are some photos of my garden.  So far this year my garden is not going that well because lack of time,  and lots of rain have prevented me from planting anything new.  Our vegetable patch right now is a square of raspberries and fennel that kind of took over. Because, of all the rain the grass is very tall (I kind of like it that way) and I haven't planted any flowers yet.  But, some fun things are happening which is daisies and wild phlox planted themselves everywhere in our meadow.  Also our  sage and thyme came back.  So here are some photos. 

Horse back riding portrait, pen and ink

Portrait of my daughter and the horse she rides when she goes horse back riding.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Yaki-tofu-don, spicey browned tofu and vegetable dish, very delicious

Yaki-tofu-don ingredients

Lettuce and cucumbers over rice for Yaki-tofu-don

Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes with candied hot peppers.

Candied hot peppers

More candied hot peppers!
Hello again,  today's post is about food.  The first recipe I am going to show you I call Yaki-tofu-don which is influenced by the chef that I work with.  This dish came about because we have a dish at work called Yaki-niku-don which directly translated means cooked meat bowl.  It always looked good to me so I tried to make a tofu version at home.  When I told Osamu-san about it he made it and added some different vegetables.  Then I got some other ideas for it.  It is quite far removed from the original top secret Yaki-niku-don. I make lunch for the employees where I work quite often.  I make this all the time.  Even people who are not vegan really like it. Also it is very easy and fast.  I put the rice on, and do everything else while it is cooking.  Everything is done by the time the rice is done cooking.  This serves 2 people with left overs or maybe 4 in one night.

The recipe is as follows...

1-2 cups rice of your choice, I prefer sticky rice
1 zuchini
1 summer squash
1 red pepper
1/2 yellow onion
1 carrot
handful of snow peas
about 1/4 of a green cabbage
1 block firm or extra firm tofu
some green onions
1 cucumber
romaine or spring mix
sesame seeds
Sea weed dashi
chili garlic sauce
soy sauce

1. Cook as much rice as you think you will need.

2.  While the rice is cooking, slice the squash, zuchini, onion, red pepper, carrot, and snow peas into spears about 2 inches long.  Slice the cabbage into strips.  Also thinly slice some cucumbers with the peel peeled off in stripes, slice the romaine into bight size pieces, and slice the green onions.

3.  Get your pan with a little canola oil really hot!!

4. While it is heating slice the tofu into cubes.

5. Brown the tofu, when you have browned a couple of sides of each tofu add the vegetables that you have sliced and saute a little bit.

6.  I tried to measure this conventionally and the result was not very good so I will tell you how I do it normally.
     While poring swirl once around the pan with the mirin then immediately swirl 1 and 1/2 ish times around with the soy sauce.  Then add about 1 TBSP - 2 TBSP of chili garlic sauce.  Then just a splash of sea weed dashi.  Then sprinkle with about a TBSP of flour and toss or stir until the sauce is thick.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Remove from heat.

7.  To serve put a little rice in a bowl.  Cover it with lettuce and cucumbers.  Then pore on the tofu and vegetables Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion.

* Mirin is a sweet Japanese cooking wine that I buy at an asian grocer it is not very expensive. You can make your own Dashi very easily with dried sea weed (Konbu) which you soak for several hours and then heat to almost boiling or you can buy that at the store as well. You can substitute red pepper flakes and garlic for chili garlic sauce.  It is also good with out the dashi but better with.

The next recipe is also pictured above way back at the top.  Unfortunately I have not figured out how to put pictures consistently where I want them.  They just appear wherever they want. Sometimes I can move them and sometimes I can't.  This recipe is for candied hot peppers.  The chocolate cupcakes pictured are spicy chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache garnished with the hot peppers.  I can't remember exactly how I made those so that recipe will have to wait but I thought I would show you an example of what you can do with candied hot peppers which are very very good.
* I forgot to mention the lettuce in the picture is not romaine it was a lettuce experiment.  I didn't like it romaine or spring mix are definitely your best bet.
1. Slice you favorite hot peppers into thin slices.

2.  Heat 1 part sugar and 1 part water on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and it is simmering.

3.  Add a few hot peppers at a time and cook for about 5-8 minutes they should not be mushy.

4.   Remove and let them dry about 1 hour.

5.  Then you roll them gently in sugar and let them dry about 4 hours.  They will be kind of crunchy.  My daughter whose recipe this is completely covers them in sugar in a bowl.

These are also very good dipped in chocolate which can be accomplished by melting chocolate in a double boiler pulling the peppers through it and letting them cool.

Another great thing about this recipe is I now have spicy simple syrup which is turning into very yummy rock candy in my refrigerator.

See you later!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Some pages from my sketch book that I like...

 I have a card reader now so, I can get pictures out of my camera again. Either later tonight or tomorrow there will be some more recipes with photographs. Right now here are some sketches from my sketch book that I like.
This first one is called the bean.  He is the product of a game I play with my daughter we call you draw I draw. First I draw a little something then she does or vice versa and we take turns until we are get tired of it or the movie starts or whatever.  I like these you draw I draws because they are humorous. The one next to the bean is a strangely dressed faery.  Both of these are drawn in sharpy.

Bell Bottoms
 This set is woman dancing or just standing around.

Calico cat
Fancy young woman

Left Handed drawing
Okay getting the text and the pictures to go where I want is not easy at all!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Book mark to benefit Japan, work in progress

This is a book mark that I will be selling in my shop on etsy to benefit Japan by donating the profit to Americares.  It is almost done.  There is a Japanese saying I saw that I wanted to write on it in Japanese which is "Fall down 7 times, stand up 8" .  I am going to have some one I work with show me how to write it.  All I have to do after that is get prints and get them laminated.  I should have all of this done some time next week.  What do you think?

The Visitor, acrylic painting and accompanying very short story

This is an acrylic painting that is going to be for sale in my etsy shop. Sometimes when I draw, paint, write music, clean house or do other things like take a walk I write a story in my head.  I am not a great writer so, I don't usually write them down except as an out line sometimes to remind me of how I want a song or painting  to go.  However I decided to share some of the stories that go with my work here because I thought if some one likes a painting they might also like the story that goes with it.  The story that goes with this painting is really more of an introduction and most of it is still left up to your imagination.  It is told from the perspective of a very old man taking a lonely walk on the beach late at night.
                                                          *     *     *     *     *
     She was only there for a second and then she was gone.  She turned to look at me.  In her eyes I could see eternity, deep, calm, ageless and out side of time.  The waves broke against the rocks and water full of moon light decorated the air like strings of glass beads.  The life within her was also all about her.  Even the ends of her hair and her clothing seemed to be alive.
     Maybe the air is always alive but where she stood both a part of and a presence in her surroundings you could see that the air was alive.
     She was pale, translucent almost.  Like a pearl her face was smooth and slightly iradescent.
     She was only there for a second.  She turned to look at me.  "He's gone!"  she said.  Then she looked at the stars and and disappeared.  The surf still crashed and danced throwing glass beads into the air.  Waving goodbye?
     She was gone but her presence had changed things.  I could feel everything humming with life, the earth, the air even the stones.  Maybe the stars?  I could feel the world singing.  I stood staring into the deep blue of eternity feeling as well as hearing the song of the earth in the crashing of the waves and the roaring of the wind around me and I thought " I don't think any one is going to believe this..."
Coming soon... More food.  Unfortunately our camera is malfunctioning and recipes are not as much fun without pictures.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cosmic Dance, Original pencil gesture drawing, work in progress

This is a gesture drawing from my sketch book I am calling Cosmic Dance.  The figure in the center is drawn in white charcoal pencil and the clouds of dust around her are in prisma color pencil.  It is basically finished except that I have to spray it with fixative because of the charcoal and I don't know what it will look like after that.  I haven't posted it in my shop yet for that reason.  I'm getting some fixative tomorrow a long with a card reader for our camera so I can post some more recipes. See you later, thank you for stopping by!
*Okay, I went to buy the fixative and as it turns out it is very toxic and flammable.  I decided I didn't want to buy any so, this one is actually not going to be for sale. It seems to me that the charcoal pencil is staying in place but I don't want to risk sending it to some one and having it look like a mess when it get's there.