Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ready for the Christmas Holiday!

Merry Christmas!

What is everyone planning for their big Christmas feast? Since we are staying in Oregon this year for Christmas instead of traveling back to Texas to visit family, we are having fun planning our meal.

Here's our menu:
  • Veganomicon's Cornmeal-masala Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  • Creamy Tomato Soup
  • Celine's Pumpkin Yeast Bread Rolls, with added cornmeal
  • Diet Dessert and Dogs' Tofu Fritata, with lots of good veggies!
  • Homemade Agave-sweetened Cranberry Sauce
  • Italian Cornmeal Cake, sweetened with all natural date sugar
  • The Happy Veganarian's Vegan Speculaas
  • Cinnamon Roll Biscuits, this time with a cinnamon-maple-fig filling
  • "Egg" Nog Spiced Smoothie
  • Dark Chocolate Bars for sweets! :)
Yummy, lots of leftovers expected!! We are so excited this year to stay here in Oregon and savor our all vegan meal, instead of being surrounded by non-vegan food and smelling the unappetizing meats. All vegan feast galore!What are all your plans for Christmas holidays? We recently attended a wonderful "Sound of Music" musical at our local theater, which got us into the joyful spirit of Christmas. We also plan to drive around and view the beautiful Christmas lights, as well as attend a Christmas Choir concert. Of course, we wouldn't want to miss all of those great classic holiday movies, such as "It's a Wonderful Life"! What is your favorite holiday movies? What is the one thing you most look forward to for the Christmas holidays?

Christmas can be a hectic time, especially if traveling is involved. This year seems to so far be a smoother, easy-going Christmas season. We also finished our gift shopping many weeks ago, mailed them all off in time, and beat the crazy crowds in the stores. Remember to slow down if Christmas gets to stressful! Christmas is more than just gifts and shopping and planning. Christmas is a time to relax, find comfort in family and friends, celebrate Christ's birth, and reflect on all the blessings God has given us.

May Love, Joy, and Peace dwell in your homes and hearts always!
Merry Christmas and God bless,

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Southern Cornbread Dressing

Hi everyone,

Sorry it's been so long since we last blogged. Work keeps us way too busy, the evenings we just want to relax and read, and then the weekends seem to be just as busy with chores and cooking meals for the work week.

The fall/winter CSA veggies have been fresh and delicious - lots of salad greens, kale, root vegetables, and cabbage. We seem to eat a fresh salad every day, while during the summer we didn't seem to eat as much salad greens. Here's a pic of some huge napa cabbage - it was like 1 1/2 feet tall.
How was your Thanksgiving? Our dad visited, and we cooked him a tasty Oregon-Southern feast. Cooked garlicy greens, asparagus, butternut squash with pears, and a fancy cornbread dressing!

Our grandmother makes her annual holiday cornbread dressing, and since our Dad wouldn't be able to eat her's, we made our own vegan version for him to enjoy. The week before we made our Harvest Cornbread recipe, without the banana pepper and red bell pepper, and with 3/4 cup corn. We baked the cornbread in a rectangular pan for 40 min, cooled it completely, then cut it into squares and put in the freezer. On Thanksgiving, we defrosted the cornbread, crumbled it into a large Corningware pan, and used the crumbled cornbread pieces to make a delicious cornbread dressing, recipe below! It was a full meal in itself, filled with black-eyed peas and veggies. For leftovers, we added cooked greens and asparagus, and olive oil or avocado slices.

LK's Southern Cornbread Dressing

2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 - 1 onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large zucchini, diced
1 vegetable bouillon (such as Rapunzel)
1 1/2 tsp store-bought Mexican seasoning (or a mixture of cumin, paprika, cayenne, whatever floats your boat)
3 cups black-eyed peas
3/4 tsp sage
1/2 - 3/4 tsp thyme
1/8 - 1/4 tsp celery seed
dashes of black pepper
salt to taste
1 batch cornbread
more cayenne or Mexican seasoning if spice is desired

Add veggies except zucchini in a large saucepan. Add some water and the vegetable bouillon, and heat veggies over medium heat until almost tender, then add zucchini and cook another 2-4 minutes until just tender. Combine the vegetable mixture in a large bowl with the black-eyed peas. Sprinkle the herbs and spices over the black-eyed pea veggie mixture, and mix until well combined.

Crumble the cornbread into the black-eyed pea mixture, and mix until thoroughly combined (may need a large bowl). Place the cornbread dressing in 2 medium or large rectangular baking dishs (it makes a lot, great to freeze for another week!). Bake for 40-50 minutes until thoroughly heated and slightly brown on top.

Delicious accompanied with gravy, olive oil, salsa, or a salad dressing. And it's always fun to change up leftovers like adding different spices or vegetables!


One question for the week - do you prefer veggie flavored dishes and meals, or do you like the meat-flavored foods? Do you like the taste of a vegan faux meat burger or sauce? At work we are experimenting with savory vegan snacks, and it was interesting to get people's opinions about vegan foods.

It was nice to not have any meat-flavored foods for Thanksgiving; our Dad raved about having a delicious meal without the meat and heavy foods!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Food Politics & Meat

Has anyone read Food Politics by Marion Nestle? An absolutely excellent book describing the relationship with government and the food industry! So many truths revealed about food policy, nutrition, food safety, etc.

A post on Nov 17, 09, "Want Safe Meat? Make USDA Do It's Job!" caught our attention right away.

The New York Times reports that the company selling contaminated ground beef responsible for killing two people and making 500 others sick, “stopped testing its ingredients years ago under pressure from beef suppliers.”

Recall that since 1994, the USDA bans E. coli 0157:H7 in ground meat. It encourages, but does not require, meat companies to test for the pathogen. Why don’t they test? Because they don’t have to.

If they did test, they might find toxic E. coli and have to cook or destroy the meat. As the Times reported in depth last month, Testing puts meat companies in “a regulatory situation.” As one food safety officer put it, slaughterhouses do not want his packing company to test for pathogens: “one, I have to tell the government, and two, the government will trace it back to them. So we don’t do that.”

Instead of requiring safety testing, the USDA uses a “restrained approach.” As Dr. Kenneth Petersen, an assistant administrator with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, told the Times, USDA has the power to require testing but doesn’t use it because it has to take the companies’ needs into consideration: “I have to look at the entire industry, not just what is best for public health.”

The moral? Meat companies will only produce meat safely if forced to. As we saw yesterday, oyster companies will only produce safe oysters if they have to. That’s why we need a food safety system in which all foods have to be produced safely. What will it take to get Congress to act?

It just amazes us that people in the food industry can get away with selling food that is not 100% safe. Shouldn't providing food to customers be about quality and service? Don't food companies want good reviews on their products?

In college, we learned a lot about the food industry and food swafety. Much of our food supply is produced and handled in a way that safety and health are jeopardized. There have been enough food-borne illness outbreaks in the US to arouse people's awareness and concern about contamination. It doesn't even seem like the USDA's seal of approval affirms safety. Our food policy and food safety regulation should be stronger to protect the consumer and society.

There are so many flaws in the meat industry! If one cow is contaminated with bacteria, than the risks of spreading contamination are extremely high, since many cows are processed together to make meat. One meat product sold in stores will probably contain the flesh of more than 100 cows! The high-speed production and the conditions in the packing plant have a direct effect on safety – if not handled properly, contamination can occur. As produce and meat are transported and handled by many, there is greater risk for cross-contamination into the fresh produce. There are regulations in producing meat, but there is still so much needed in order to ensure safety, such as the lack of recall authority that the USDA has over the meat corporation. Also, preparing fast food in restaurants pose many sanitation concern. Multiple workers prepare the meal, and the speed required to make a fast meal may hinder workers from following food safety principles.
Overall, the production and distribution of our food poses safety hazards that add to the health and political expenses of our food. It is great to be vegan, because we are not supporting meat production and the killing of innocent animals. We hope that more people can recognize the need for food safety, and even if they do consume meat, they can be responsible consumers and influence meat production practices. It's always best to purchase from companies with high standards, such as organic, fair trade, and ethical practices.

Marion Nestle (co-author Malden Nesheim) has a new book coming out in May, titled Feed Your Pet Right. Also looks very informative, for those animal lovers!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mezza, Bread, and the Staples

Hi Yall!

Sorry for the absence in posting, but we've been busy during the weekends with cooking/baking and being creative doing crafts and scrapbook!

Our lovely Mom is visiting us (she says hi to the bloggers out there!) and so we've been having fun with her here.

We visited the lovely Ya Hala Lebanese Restaurant in Portland, one of the best restaurants in Portland! Fresh out of the oven pita bread, with mezza platters that include hummus, tabouli, falafel, kibbeh (bulgur tomato pate), and swiss chard lentil soup! Great feast for a rainy day!

Our bread baking this week was soft wheat rolls! We are having some for dinner with lentil pumpkin seed veggie burgers and a spinach bean dip with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and parsley.

Tomorrow we plan on getting our food staples! Kamut flour, spelt flour, grain cereals, porridges, and flakes all at Bob's Red Mill! Our mom loves Bob's, so she's excited to go to the visitor center, and we also we will be doing the plant tour!

New to Bob's? Check out our visit back last October.

We are apart of the CSA Community Supportive Agriculture program and we've been enjoying fresh greens. Here we made pasta with greens, garlic, leeks, and olives!

Have a great week!

for giving us a blogger award! Check back next week for more awards given to bloggers who we feel are extra special!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oven 24/7 Oh So Sweet

Well, it sure seems like the weekends are all about the oven! We've been using the oven 24/7 to baking sweets, crackers, breads, and to cook casseroles and veggies! :O

It seems that as the holidays come around and as the weather gets cooler and wetter, we get the urge for soft homemade breads and sweet treats!

When we were little, every Saturday morning we would have a breakfast treat. Sometimes it was Pilsbury buttery crescent rolls, sometimes fluffy biscuits and jam, or even pancakes. But the sweetest breakfast we looked forward to was cinnamon rolls! We'd just take the refrigerated Pillsbury cinnamon roll dough from the can and quickly bake up sweet delicious cinnamon rolls. Our favorite was the orange flavored rolls. Don't you smell the sweet aroma of cinnamon and orange in the morning coming from the oven?

As we grew up, we ate less of those delicious (yet sinful, sugar-high) treats. Every once-in-a-while, though, we try to make our own. Very tedious! For an easy alternative, we sometimes make Cinnamon Roll Muffins, but this time we finally decided to try Cinnamon Roll Biscuits!
The biscuit recipe was virtually identical to our favorite biscuit recipe, so it was easy to whip up. This recipe calls for less water, to be able to form a dough that can be rolled out. We spread a filling of date sugar with lots of cinnamon, then roll it up, slice it, and bake it in the oven for ~18 minutes. Instead of margarine, we used coconut oil and brazil nut butter. For the glaze, we used only 1/2 cup powdered sugar and brazil nut butter instead of margarine.

Turned out awesome! The biscuit was flakey, with some crusty edges and soft centers and a delectable gooey filling. It could use even more cinnamon though. Other variations you can try include orange, maple, egg nog spiced, or pumpkin spiced! Great for special family breakfasts or dessert (because they are sweet). Another recipe we have our eye on is Celine's Pumpkin Oatmeal Sticky Biscuits.

For dessert, we baked up some Gluten Free treats!

First up Chocolate Chip Bars. We have the cookbook One Smart Cookie by Julie Van Rosendaal, but we haven't used it in years since we went vegetarian. Recently, though, we decided to try the recipes out again, making them vegan, because Julie really does have great recipes.

For the chocolate chip bars, we followed Julie's Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and put it in a 9x13 bar pan. We have Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free flour blend, so we used that with 1/4 tsp xanthan gum. The flour blend isn't as tasty as the gluten-free flour blend we use for Betty Lou's at work :) but that's ok, the chocolate hid the subtle beany flavor. To replace the egg we used 1 Tb flaxseed meal. We also used coconut sugar and date sugar, which gave the bars a subtle carmelly warm flavor. And of course, we added lots of Equal Exchange 80% and 71% Dark chocolate, which made the bars extra rich and chocolaty! We love chocolate.

Another gluten-free treat - go try Elana's Pantry Gluten Free Fig Bars! We made modifications to make Gluten Free Prune Squares, a perfect snack that's not too sweet but satisfies your sugar craving. We used oat flour instead of almond meal (for a nut-free bar), added a small amount of flaxmeal (for a binder and nutrition), and used prunes and orange juice for the filling. We also recently tried a cranberry lemon version, with dried cranberries and lemon juice. Other variations we would love to try include apple spice, apricot, pumpkin spice...any fruit imaginable!

We would love to hear about more about gluten-free baking and any ideas you all have. Since we do work in the R&D lab at Betty Lou's Inc (check it out!), we are currently focused on gluten free baking and we would love all of your suggestions and tips! Thanks!

So, one last question--what's the place in your house where you spend the most time, and love to be? Of course, ours is our kitchen. Even if it is tiny, we still manage to stay put in our kitchen most of the weekends. You'd think we'd become claustrophobic, lol..

Have a great week!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mama Mia, Let's Eat Mediterranean Fare!

Ciao! Don't you love Mediterranean-Arabic Food? Italian, Greek, Lebanese, etc...

Our favorite Lebanese restaurant is YaHala in Portland. They serve authentic food--the hummus, pita bread, and tabbouleh are to die for. They have such a huge menu that we haven't tried a lot of their food, but they serve delicious 'Foul Mudamas' (a lemony garlicky fava bean dish), Falafels, stews, soups, zaatar, and other meals. We love how they mark which items are vegan.

We were craving Greek/Lebanese food so much that we attempted to make a Lebanese feast. Hummus (good authentic hummus has to have a lot of olive oil and tahini--extra creamy!), tabbouleh, and oaty pita bread.The tabbouleh was so refreshing and flavorful, it was nice to have leftovers for lunch. Fresh parsley and mint with local cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, olives and lemon! Yummy. We used a 6-grain porridge-type grain that cooked up similar to bulgur, and it worked perfectly.

We've figured out that we like a little cumin in our hummus. Our coworker loves hummus without cumin, but we found that the cumin enhanced the hummus' flavor slightly and gave it a richer flavor. What do you all prefer? Extra Virgin olive oil and tahini make this hummus taste exquisite, otherwise it's just another bean dip.

One important thing about Meditterranean food is that you must never forget the olive oil. Good for your health, delicious, and authentic. We love buying different olive oils each time and distinguishing their different tastes, depending on the location the olives came from! Buttery and delectable.

For our Italian fare, we had the opportunity to use a pasta machine and make homemade pasta! It was labor intensive but a lot of fun. We mostly made fettuccine-style noodles as well as ravioli, but we also made a few bow ties. All of them were 100% whole wheat. Next time it would be fun to try a pasta with spinach or tomato paste or herbs for a flavorful pasta.

Here we are putting the dough through the pasta machine -- it has to be repeatedly run through in order to thin down. It was hard to keep the noodles straight as we laid them down to dry, because they were so long!

The fetticcini was the best, we just drizzled extra virgin olive oil and served it with some sauteed garlicky greens. The raviolis we stuffed with a tofu spinach dip mixture and served them with homemade spaghetti sauce with lots of veggies. The raviolis were a bit messy (some disintegrated in the pot while cooking), but they were delicious.
Buon appetito!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fun at the NW Veg Fest

It's been a while, but on Sept 19, we had a blast at the Northwest VegFest in Portland, OR.

Lot's of vegetarian/vegan excitement! Delicious food samples and giveaways, product handouts and education material, cooking demos, lectures, and music!

There were many restaurants that served all vegan food:

Blossoming Lotus: Lasagna, Chili/Cornbread, Cashew Hummus/Flax Crackers, Lavender Lemonade, Kauai Chai, Trail Mix Cookies
Curry Leaf: Samosas, Pakodas, Cutlets, Spring rolls
Papa G's: Mac and Cheeze, Curry Bowl, TLT Sandwich, Raw Pizza, Limeade, Keifer, Cookie Bars
Proper Eats: Collard Wraps, Mummy Balls, Hummus, Pesto, Miso, Sunseed Spread, Raw Crackers, Raw Veggies, Raw Fajitas, Date Fudge
Red and Black: Black Dragon Noodles, Kale and Quinoa Bowl
Sweet Lemon: Divine Thai Wrap, Very Curry Wrap, Rainbow Wrap, Supreme Salad Roll, Thai Iced Tea, Cookies
Vege Thai: Pad Thai, Thai Salad Rolls with Peanut Sauce, Salad with Soy Chicken and Peanut Sauce, Thai Iced Tea
So much to enjoy!

Here's a list of all the exibitors. Some of our favorites included Equal Exchange, Pacific Foods, Bob's Red Mill, King Harvest, Turtle Mountain (So Delicious Products), Wildwood Tofu, Theo Chocolate, Genesis Organic Juices, and Artisana.
Our favorite part about this fest was sampling food and seeing new food products. Pacific Foods was the best booth to go to! New Simply Teas and Yerba Mate Teas (flavors include Peach, Lemon Ginger, Traditional, Unsweetened, Berry, etc). Another new Pacific Foods product is their creamy hemp milk, perfect for ice cream or smoothies.

Lots of pamplets and information about vegetarianism, animal rights, and environmentalism.

We didn't have time to go to the classes or lectures, because we volunteered for a few hours in the kids area, but next time we will dedicate time to listen to the speakers.

It was neat to see all the families, kids, and couples all enthusiastic for vegetarianism and health. It is great to be involved in a community event that focuses on vegetarianism. Yay for VegFest!

Have a great Autumn week!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Texas Gals Southern Cookin'

Even though we live in Oregon, we are Texas gals, and we'll always have a place in our heart for Southern food!

Veggie pot pies, cornbreads, black-eyed peas, biscuits, gravy, and other spicy Southern food.

Cornbread is so easy to make and a delicious buttery (vegan) treat!

How about our Harvest Cornbread or Sweet Potato Jalapeno Cornbread? We've also love just plain cornbread, with a little cornflour for extra softness and melt-in-your mouth deliciousness. Great to make cornbread muffins for easy snacks. (*Update 10/4/09 We baked some jalapeno cornbread, made just a few modifications, and it turned out melt-in-your-mouth awesome).

Instead of the typical Italian calzones, why not a Southern calzone?!
Black-eyed pea calzones with a cornmeal whole grain crust! We just combined onion, garlic, bell pepper, chopped broccoli, black-eyed peas, oregano, and Cajun seasoning and used that for our filling. We served these calzones with homemade mustard vinegrette (with lots of garlic added to this recipe) and an awesome homemade barbeque-cajun sauce (tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, worceshire sauce, bragg's, garlic, oregano, vinegar, oil, and water). A cilantro vinegrette would be good too.

We make biscuits about twice a month! Tahini biscuits and pumpkin cornmeal biscuits, kamut biscuits, baking powder biscuits and cornmeal biscuits, sourdough biscuits, jam biscuits and spice biscuits, and so much more you can do with a biscuit recipe!

We recently tried Tritticale Rosemary biscuits - perfect with olive oil or Southern gravy - and a gluten free biscuit! Gluten-free baking has been an interest to us, especially since we've been experimenting with gluten-free in the R&D lab at work! With a blend of gluten-free flours (sorghum, tapioca, rice, and potato starch), coconut flour, and some xanthan gum, we followed Bob's Red Mill Buttermilk Coconut Pancake recipe (on the back of the coconut flour package) and made Gluten-Free Biscuits. We added 2 Tb flaxmeal and 2 Tb oat bran, and used a blend of hemp and soy milk to make a biscuit baked in the oven. Very good for gluten-free, held together well, and more of a fluffy texture like mashed potatoes in a bread. Good with garlic and gravy.

Veggie Pot Pies are always so comforting, but time-consuming to prepare! So we made it easy!

LK's Easy Veggie Pot Pie

1 vegetable bouillon
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tb nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp each sage and thyme
1/4 tsp each onion powder and ground mustard
1/4 tsp celery seed
2 Tb oil
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
1 cup broccoli, finely chopped
1 med yellow squash, diced
2-3 large chives or 1/4 cup onion
1 cup potatoes, diced and cooked
3 Tb flour
prepared pie crust or just biscuits or toast!

1. Add first 9 ingredients (bouillon through nutritional yeast) in a small stove pot and cook on medium high heat for 2-3 min.
2. Then add sage, thyme, onion powder, mustard, and celery seed, and simmer while you chop the veggies.
3. Place veggies in a microwave-safe dish, and cook until almost done.
4. Add flour to the stove pot and bring to a boil. Stir constantly until thickens.
5. Combine gravy from the stove pot with the vegetables in a large container.
6. Store in refrigerator until the day you want to have this for dinner.
7. When preparing your dinner, take your prepared pie crust and bake in the oven according to baking instructions (about 10 min).
8. Place the container of the vegetable filling in the microwave and heat until hot.
9. When the crust is just golden brown, take out of the oven. Pour the vegetable filling over the crust.
10. Cut and serve. This will be messy, so another delicious option is to break off pieces of the pie crust, place on your dinner plate, then pour the warm vegetable filling over it, and serve. Or just serve the vegetable filling over homemade biscuits or toast!

She's the sweetest little rosebud
that Texas ever knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds,
they sparkle like the dew;
You may talk about your Clementine,
and sing of Rosalee,
But the yellow rose of Texas
is the only girl for me.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Artisana Raw Nut Butters Winner!

We had a lot of fun with this giveaway--everyone had such great ideas! From breakfast to savory meals to sweet treats, it is wonderful how versatile nut butters can be with a little imagination!

For breakfast, Animal Friendly loves a heartwarming stick-to-your-ribs breakfast, with nut butter melted into oatmeal. Yummy! Ricki says nut butters are great made into a sweet sauce of nut butter, mylk, and spices, poured over baked sweet potatoes--a great alternative to the usual cereal breakfast!

Sweet Karoline is inspired by the coconut butter to make a Thai chickpea pancake, which can be enjoyed for a savory breakfast or as part of a meal later in the day.

Meghan uses nut butters to enhance sauces and pestos. Vegetation and Sara agreed with Meghan, that nut butters could transform soups or curries into "creamy deliciousness".

Most everyone has a sweet tooth, right? Vegetation also listed some easy ways to use nut butters-in smoothies, ice cream, or popsicles. Refreshing! Erica specifically loves raw banana soft serve--a blend of just nut butter, frozen bananas, and cinnamon. Vegan Lisa and Sara both love to top cakes, cupcakes, and caramel apples with luscious raw "buttercream" frosting.

For coconut oil, Deb Schiff recommends Ani's Pineapple Icebox Cake, a big crowd pleaser. She also suggests replacing oil in brownies with tahini--what a nice way to enhance nutrition and flavor in brownies! Rachel H also uses coconut oil for decadent melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies!

For those of you who love sweets so much that you'd also enjoy them for lunch or dinner--make dessert hummus and serve with cinnamon pita chips and some fresh fruit. Courtney is inspired by the idea of using different nut butters in hummus and changing up the flavors: Pecan butter with pumpkin and cinnamon, Almond butter with cranberries, Macadamia butter with cocoa powder and a touch of vanilla, or Walnut butter and Cacao bliss. Sounds heavenly!
Personally, we (LKSisters) have been using the nut butters in many ways--with fresh fruit over waffles, added to scones, cookies, and bread, swirled into a creamy smoothie, and spread on top of homemade graham crackers...

What wonderful ideas! Now, we're salvating for some delicious food and nut butters!

Alright, now to the results:'s Random Integer Generator was used to make this as fair as possible. We generated a winner in a more complex way just for something different and fun--Each person entered was randomly assigned a number between 1 and 200, using the random integer generator. Then, the random integer generator was used again to generate numbers between 1 and 200, and the first number it generated that aligned with a person's assigned number was the winner.

The winner will receive a sample of Artisana Nut Butters (tahini, pecan butter, walnut butter, macadamia butter, almond butter, coconut oil, coconut butter, and cacao bliss), plus a few brochures/coupons from the Portland Veg Fest!

Drumroll please....
The winner is-----------Erica from Discovering Raw blog!

CONGRATULATIONS ERICA! Erica, let us know where we can send you the Artisana sample pack! We will also email you through your blog just to be sure you get this message.

And thank you everyone for your entries and inspiring ideas! May you all try some Artisana nut butters and continue to be creative in the kitchen!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Sweet Reminder

Hey everyone!

It's been a busy week, but we wanted to remind you of our sweet giveaway ending this weekend!

You have a chance to win samples of Artisana Nut and Coconut Butters (sampler of Coconut butter, Coconut Oil, Pecan Butter, Walnut Butter, Macadamia Butter, Almond Butter, Tahini, and Cacao Bliss).

Thanks for all of those who have commented - great suggestions for using nut butters.

Tomorrow is the last day to be apart of this giveaway! On Sunday, we will choose a winner and post! We'll let you know also what our favorite Artisana product is, and the many ways we enjoyed the nut and coconut butters!

Did you know tomorrow is Saturday Sept 19th, Portland VegFest?! We are so excited, since we've never been to an all-out vegan festival. We are looking forward to all the delicious food, samples, cooking demos, handouts, speakers, and vegetarian trivia! And we get to be apart of the event by volunteering in the family/kids activities. Have any of you been to a Vegfest before?

So, have a great fun weekend!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hungry for Mex

Lately we've been hungry for Mexican food.

Vegan Enchiladas.
Spanish Rice.
Pinto Beans and Black Beans.
Chips and Salsa.


So, last week we had lots of it!

Amy's Kitchen Black Bean Vegetable Burrito and Pinto Bean and Rice Burrito - we are hoping to start up a tradition for burrito night with Amy's once a week! :) We like the black bean burrito better because there's a little bit more veggies and there's a creamy enchilada-style sauce. But the pinto one is good and creamy too. We love the wrap - wheaty and soft and huge; too bad Amy's doesn't just sell the wheat tortillas.

We tried Amy's Black Bean Enchiladas, but they weren't as good as the burritoes. Not as many goodies and needs more flavor, though it would be easy for a quick dinner to add some salsa or tomato-black bean-veggie side dish with it.

For a fun Labor Day outing, we stopped at Lifesource Natural Foods in Salem, OR - a great natural food grocery store and lunch stop! We enjoyed some Spanish rice, black beans, fajita veggies, and vegetable soup, with a delicious vegan creamy macaroni salad.

For snacks, we have had the munchies for chips. Have you ever tried Food Should Taste Good baked chips? Absolutely love! Not too salty and doesn't taste baked! So far we've tried the sweet potato version and the multigrain--we love the multigrain best, but the sweet potato is very good with a subtle sweetness.

We also recently tried the Lundberg Farms Rice Chips, with Sea salt, which are good, but not great. Some of their chips have milk in it, FYI. Good for those that want tortilla chips that are gluten-free.

At home, we cooked up some Awesome Homemade Veggie Bean Burgers! We also like trying new recipes, but once we found this, we have made it twice this month, and we are looking forward to making this again, with variations of course.

Awesome Homemade Veggie Bean Burgers
Makes 10-12 patties

1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup each cornmeal and wheat gluten
2 1/2 Tb nutritional yeast
2 Tb flaxseed meal
2 cups pinto beans
1 Tb canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tb Braggs
1 Tb stone ground mustard
2 - 4 Tb diced bell pepper
2 Tb diced onion

1. In a small bowl, mix onion powder, cumin, cornmeal, wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and flaxseed meal.
2. In a large bowl, mash pinto beans, then add remaining ingredients. Mix until just combined.
3. Add dry mixture from the small bowl to the bean mixture in the large bowl, and mix until well combined.
4. Form 10 - 12 patties. Place on a baking sheet that has parchment paper or has been sprayed with cooking spray.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-25 minutes, or until golden on both sides.

Variations: Add 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne
Add 1/4 - 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce or Balsamic vinegar
Use black beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, or kidney beans
Add 2-3 Tb finely chopped veggies

For your information, we recently stumbled upon a great list-article, "57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan". Great reasons to be vegan, to encourage friends and family to be vegan or vegetarian, or even to just motivate others to be vegan once a week! And thanks mom, if your reading, for your new dedication to a vegetarian lifestyle!

BIG REMINDER: The Artisana nut butter sampler giveaway contest is going on NOW, and it ends in 10 days, Saturday Sept 19!
Keep on posting your ideas: We want creativity-- It's great for you to tell us what your favorite way to enjoy Artisana nut/seed butters is...Also tell us about a dish/meal/snack (with details) you've tried that was
out-of-the-ordinary delicious! Thanks for those of you who have already commented and have suggested such inspiring delicious ways to use the nut butters! Some great ideas so far! Get in on the fun here!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Artisana Nut Butter Giveaway-Contest!

We recently received a large amount of nut/seed butters and coconut products from Premier Organics--thank you Premier Organics! We happened to get more than we ever imagined and have decided to have a fun contest! First, you must check out Premier Organics' great line of products:

Contest details are below, but first details about the prize! The prize is a sampler of many Artisana Organic Raw Nut/Seed Butters that include: Coconut butter, Coconut Oil, Pecan Butter, Walnut Butter, Macadamia Butter, Almond Butter, Tahini (sesame seed paste), and Cacao Bliss. (little 2 Tbsp sized glass jars of nut butter, perfect for taste-testing or dipping with your favorite fruit/snacks).The coconut oil is a great butter replacement, with a slightly cooling coconut taste. Very rich and satisfying. The coconut butter is great as a frosting spread or in a meal using coconut milk. All of the nut butters are nutty and delicious in their own way--we found that we liked the pecan butter the best. Although we aren't fond of macadamias, the macadamia was surprisingly delicious and sweet. The tahini was one of the best tahinis we've tried-not bitter like some can be. And the Cacao Bliss was decandent and fudgy!

We also received a jar of Amazon Bliss, which isn't included in the sampler. It was good, but not as "wow" as we'd hoped it to be--slightly dry and tastes like coconut butter with just a hint of fruitiness and nuttiness from the goji, cacao, acai, and other ingredients. But still very nutritious and tropical tasting!

We will definitely purchase Artisana tahini, pecan butter, coconut oil, and cacao bliss when the time comes! Although we personally can't tolerate nuts very well, the nut butters are very high quality, raw, organic, and delicious. We're sure that you will love all of Artisana products once you try them!

Ok, now more about the contest!

If you comment about a great & unique way to enjoy Artisana Raw Nut/Seed Butters (a recipe would be even better), then you will automatically be entered to win.

Here are the details:
  • Post a comment at the end of this blog post with your ideas --details and/or recipes would be great. You can also post on your own blog about this contest (but it won't count as an extra entry).
  • We want creativity--branch out and use the nut butters in something unique and delicious! It's great for you to tell us what your favorite way to enjoy Artisana nut/seed butters is, but we also need to know a dish/meal/snack (with details) you've tried that was out-of-the-ordinary delicious in order to be entered!
  • It can be sweet or savory, hot or cold and everything else in between! Of course, it must be vegan.
  • Only one entry per blog/person.
  • Contest starts Friday Sept 4 and ends in two weeks, Saturday Sept 19. Each entry will be assigned a number and a random number will be generated. Whoever matches the number wins the sampler!

We want some inspiration in the kitchen and can't wait to read about what all your ideas are! Pass the word on, too!

Have fun,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crunchin' Away

Crunchin' away with crackers!

With sliced avocado, dipped in hummus or salsa, or to crave those munchies, don't you agree that crackers are a tasty crunchy treat?!

Not so much a treat, when a small 8 oz box can be $4.00 at the store (Mary's Gone Crackers, Doctor Kracker, Back to Nature, Annie's Homegrown...).

Instead, get out your flour and spices, and be creative! Make some homemade crackers. And each time you make a batch of crackers, change up the spices and flours and make them unique.

Here's what we've been crunchin' on this month!

LK's Easy Whole Grain Crackers

Makes 35-45 small crackers.

Basic cracker ingredients:

1 1/4 cup whole grain flour**
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp, optional baking soda
1/3 -1/2 cup water
1 Tb oil
1 tsp, optional Dijon mustard

Spices to add:

1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp turmeric (for color)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
3/4 tsp Garlic granules/powder

1/2 tsp Onion granules/powder
1/2 tsp Black pepper

3/4 tsp - 1 tsp Curry powder
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Corriander
2 Tb Pumpkin puree - in place of some water

1/2 - 3/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Basil

1. Preheat oven to 375 - 400 degrees F.
2. Combine dry ingredients (including spices of choice) in a large bowl
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix bowl, and mix until combined. The dough will be a tad sticky.
4. Sprinkle parchment paper with some flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
5. Roll it out very thin, trying to make it as even as possible, and then cut it into cracker sizes.
6. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 18-25 minutes, flipping half-way, and baking until they start to brown just a little bit. Let cool.

**In regard to the choice of flours, try Bob's Red Mill whole grain flours, such as Kamut, Triticale, White Wheat, Barley, Oat, Spelt, or gluten-free flours like Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Amaranth, or Millet. Each grain gives a unique flavor, so we enjoy trying different flours to get different flavors, such as nuttier or butterier or wheatier flavor...

What's your favorite cracker flavor? We welcome any tips or comments on crackers and delicious new unique flavors.

Update 8/24/09: Thanks for all the great comments and ideas. Cornmeal would be a nice addition for flavor and crunch. Adding some oat bran, wheat germ, or flaxmeal would also be a healthy addition. And more flavors we thought of - cinnamon or spiced cracker, spicy Mexican cracker, or chocolate cracker!

Have a great weekend!