Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving all month, please.

Jeepers, people. I could eat stuffing EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. With gravy, please. Something green on the plate, of course, because that's how I eat.
We had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday here at casa de Herbivore, sharing it with friends and adorable girl children doing cute stuff. Sassy the scared basset even warmed up to friends within 12 hours, which is a record for her. She warmed up so much she attacked the chocolate creme pie that was being refrigerated outdoors...no worries, she only knocked it down. We saved it from her short dog grasp!

Let me show you how much fun we had, and more importantly, what we ATE.

Stuffed roast seitan, green beans, potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, Sweetpea rolls, gravy to come....

A curtsey for you, from the art fairy littly lady!

One of the seitan roasts, rolls, beans, potatoes, stuffing...

Oh! The reveal! And the verdict was...delicious.

The non-traditional chocolate creme pie...and a shoefly pie from Sweetpea Baking Co.

Action shot of the stuffed seitan roast being stuffed!
There were also roasted roots, broccoli salad with almond dressing, orange cranberry sauce, seitan en croute, and mushroom gravy. The leftovers didn't last long enough! Long live vegan Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Papaya Pineapple Spinach Smoothie

I had never eaten much papaya until last spring, when we were lucky enough to take a trip to Mexico. We stayed in a friend's home, and spent some time with our friend's sister who lives there full time. She's a super cool raw vegan! And she made us some papaya "ice cream" just like what we make at home with mango -- and we got hooked. Papaya, I love you.

Now when I see those crazy big fruits I always buy one. Wait until they are ripe - looking somewhat blemished, or soft like a ripe avocado, peel it, slice it, remove the seeds, chop it up, lay the pieces on a baking sheet or cutting board and freeze 'em! Now we're all ready for THIS:

Spinach, Pineapple, Papaya. Add rice milk and BAM!   
 I wish I had a Vita-Mix, but I don't. I have a magic bullet that gets the job done. The bullet can't handle kale, so we stick with spinach for our green smoothies. And the single serving is nice because we can customize them if we want, too. Josh likes his super thick, but I like mine with more milk so it's easier to drink. So does the kid. And the lids come handy because the child usually doesn't drink all of hers in one sitting, so we can seal it up for later.

I love trying new foods and think it's especially important for my daughter. Apples, oranges and bananas are fabulous, but there is really so much more.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ruby's Mango "Ice Cream"

Every summer I make a pilgramage to the midwest to see my folks, and my daughter gets her fill of ice cream, sweets, skittles (never should have told my mom they are vegan) popsicles, etc. You name it, if it's vegan and has sugar, then Oma has it. This is my mother, who once bought me a five pound bag of gummie bears when I told her it was my favorite candy. Crazy! In her loving mind, she is insuring that Ruby won't be "deprived" of sweets, since her veganism means she's "deprived" of so many other things my mom thinks she should have....but that's a posting for another day.

So we live it up having ice cream every day and I shelve the word NO for the duration of our trip. But then we come back to our real life, the one that doesn't have 10 kinds of ice cream in the fridge. And I must wean the child off the sugar....and that's tough when she asks for it 50 times a day. Why do kids ask so many times?

This summer we created the perfect "treat" to replace the soy delicious, the coconut bliss, etc. We call it mango ice cream, and it's mangos and rice milk blended as thick as we can make it. Woo! Ice Cream! Sometimes we even throw in papaya or pineapple. As long as it's sweet, nobody complains. Sure to cure a boo boo or a sudden need for a treat. And thankfully, she has not mentioned that her mango ice cream closely resembles a smoothie....let's hope she doesn't wise up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

To Pumpkin Pie or Not

This morning Megan asked me what recipe I use for pumpkin pie. I looked at her and replied, "I don't make pumpkin pie." I know, crazytalk! But I've never made a pumpkin pie. Of course, we immediately we had to go looking at the books in the store to compare pumpkin pie recipes. Here are a couple that we think look like winners.

Classic Pumpkin Pie, Please

Both The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick Goudreu and Vegan Baking Classics by Kelly Rudnicki, have, you guessed it, classic recipes. Straight up, pumpkin pie. JOVB uses cornstarch as a thickener, and VBC uses tofu. 
Great Pictures in this one

Love the recipe & color pics!

But then we took a look at Sweet Utopia by Sharon Valencik and were seriously wowed by her Pumpkin Nut Pie, which is a basic pie using cornstarch and tofu, but with a cinnamony-sweet walnut topping. Finally, if you have extra time, or really love both pumpkin and pecan pie, you must make the pumpkin pecan pie in My Sweet Vegan by Hannah Kaminsky. Pumpkin pie, with pecan pie filling on top, finished with pumpkin creme. Lordy!

Super Decadent Fancy Pie

Truthfully, I never liked pumpkin pie until maybe the last 10 years or so. We didn't make it in my family...and whenever I had it, it was always jiggly and mushy - and with no crust on the top. Foreign food overly sweet at somebody elses house. Ewww. Besides, what kind of pie has no crust on the top? The best part of the pie is the crust. And since I am more of a fruit pie person, with cherry pie being my absolute most favorite, there has never been a reason to make pumpkin pie. But I do love pumpkin...and I have some adorable sugar pumpkins that were acquired on one of our many visits to various farms this fall...I think this just may be the year.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Narrowing it all down

Hello, my name is Michelle and I'm a cookbook-aholic. Don't judge.

Some that are waiting for a new bookshelf home.
These are my most frequented books.

The trouble with this addiction is not that it's too many books, I don't believe that should be classified as a problem. The trouble is that there are not enough meals in the day to actually COOK from all of these books. So this means a lot of these books never actually get used....save for the inspiration they give. To me, that is good enough.

Books that I do use, over and over again? The very first vegan cookbook we ever had, How It All Vegan! has the best zucchini bread recipe. Use that and adapt from that all the time. Veganomicon, for the chickpea cutlets, eggplant rollatini and so many more. The Real Food Daily Vegetarian Cookbook for the cashew cheddar, tofu ricotta, and lots of the finger food. Yellow Rose Recipes (published by Herbivore) for the vegan parm, the soups, the dips! And the very best pancakes in the world are from The New Farm Cookbook, a classic cookbook that screams it's hippie roots from the cover. There are lots more I use and love, but those are the dirtiest in my kitchen.

Often when I'm talking about cookbooks with customers at Herbivore, they ask me what is the ONE BEST cookbook to start out with when you're vegan. Ugh, that is tough to answer, because it depends on so many things. Do you know how to cook at all? What do you like to eat? Do you have lots of time and interest in cooking? So I find myself doing a short interview before I answer, since I don't want to just sell a book, but I genuinely want to make this person successful in their vegan life. That's my reward.

And here's the thing I've finally figured out; the very best book, that ONE BOOK, is whichever book they buy. AS LONG AS THEY USE IT! Just Cook! Cook simple, vegan food - or complicated vegan food...just get to know ingredients and follow the recipe, and use that vegan cookbook.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hey Good Lookin'!

Welcome to my world.

I'm Michelle, and I am one lucky vegan. I have an amazing, creative, hilarious husband (Josh) and an even more amazing, funny, sweet, etc., five-year-old daughter (Ruby). As co-owner of The Herbivore Clothing Company, I get to work at a place I own and love, and I get to be the boss. Woo! I live in Portland, OR, the vegan mecca of these United States, and my beloved company is located in the world's only All Vegan Mini Mall, right between Sweetpea Baking Company and Foodfight! Grocery. Scapegoat Tattoo is two doors down. Like I said, I am one lucky gal.

One of the very best parts about working at Herbivore is helping people. In my world, in order to really help animals, I must begin with humans. I show folks that veganism is easy, fun, delicious, normal and really the preferable way of life - and one that anyone can have - and it is awesome. Simply put. I am allowed to sell people items they need and want, that don't hurt animals and that will help them do good for animals, too. Ah, it sounds so goofy, but damn if it isn't true.

After four years working in our Herbivore storefront, I've congratulated and welcomed so many new vegans I can't count 'em anymore. I've also gently nudged some back into veganism after a fall back to the dark side....and I've demystified and preached the goodness of tofu, seitan, nutritional yeast and agar agar a jillion times. I can talk about vegan food, vegan health, vegan pregnancy, vegan kids and why vegan is so fantabulous in my sleep! I am also quite happy to detail the grim reality of farmed animals to people if that's what they need. I can also help you replace an egg in a recipe, lickety-split. If you have ever been to my house, I have cooked for you, guaranteed.

Cookbooks are a big part of Herbivore. I'm an eater, I love to cook, and in my opinion, there can never be enough cookbooks! The more there are, the more there will be, and the more vegans there will be. Which is a good thing. So what the heck, I'm gonna write one, too. It's called Eat Like You Give a Damn, just like our popular shirt. It's the motto I believe does a lot of good, which is the whole point.