Saturday night we hosted a vegan potluck at our house with a number of local vegans as well as my friend Laura (vegan friendly omnivore) and Allie stopped in for a break from paper writing. Everyone brought a really great dishes including Laura who brought these tasty cheeze and chive biscuits that were so delicious but so not good for you.
Other items we enjoyed were:
Garlic- Scallion Yellow Rice
Vegan Kale Frittata
Extra Spicy White Bean and Upton's Naturals Ground Seitan Chili
Potato and Black Bean Chimmichangas
We also snacked on veggies and hummus while we waited for everyone to arrive and we ended the night with blackout cupcakes which I forgot to get a photo of. Overall we had a wonderful time having everyone over, sharing stories and enjoying yummy food together.
Today is my half birthday which means only 6 more months until my 26th Birthday. This got me thinking about that list I made back in August my 25 Things for my 25th Year and I decided it was time to check in and re-evaluate what I set out to do.
Final outfit our house so that it is “grownup” and organized. almost done with this!
Okay so it looks like back in August I was super ambitious about what I wanted to accomplish and a little travel crazy. Well let’s just say we won’t be doing all that traveling listed above so I’ve already set myself out to fail at these goals (which were kind of ridiculous anyways). So it looks like things are for the most part on track minus the traveling and there are some things that I am still working on and others that will need to wait for warmer weather- there is no way I am going on an overnight on the long trail right now!
So far here are some of the highlights of the year:
Visit to the Woodstock Animal Farm Sanctuary
Participate in the Marx Foods Blogger Mushroom Recipe Challenge
Released my first e-book Soups, Stews and Chili
Hosted 12 Days of Giveaways
Celebrate the Hubz 30th Birthday with Friends
Released my second e-book Cooking For Friends and Lovers
Start Date: January 16, 2011
End Date: February 19, 2011
Post By Date: February 26, 2011
When doing your final review of each months cookbook each of us will address the topics in our blog post: Layout
Is the layout clear?
Are you able to easily tell the ingredients apart for the instructions and the notes?
Are the instructions easy to follow?
Are the recipes numbered or is the section labeled?
Does the cookbook feature photos?
If yes, is there a photo for every recipe?
Do the photos of the recipes look like the actual results?
What kind of paper is the book printed on?
How is the quality of the photos?
How many recipes are in the cookbook?
What kinds of recipes will you find in this cookbook?
Is there a theme to the recipes?
Are the recipes complex or simple? would they be good for seasoned cooks and/or beginners?
Ingredients and supplies
Are the recipe ingredients easy to find?
Are there any items that stand out as being expensive or specialty?
Are there particular appliances that will be required such as blenders, juicers, dehydrators, ect?
Does this cookbook provide additional useful information?
What additional information beyond recipes does this cookbook include? Is it easy to follow?
Other important Information
You need to make the recipes! Yes, to get an accurate representation of the cookbook you need to try out at least 3-5 recipes. Additionally when you right your review you should make sure to include your experience while cooking the recipe:
How did the recipe turn out? How did it taste?
Was the recipe easy to follow?
Be honest when discussing the recipes you tried- if you didn’t like it then explain why.
FYI: Some corrections have been made in subsequent editions of Veganomicon.
Upton’s Naturals sent me a variety of their seitans for review last week and I have been working my way through the flavors. Last night I decided to make stuffed potato skins with the chorizo along with mushrooms, onions, garlic and topped with vegan cheese. The chorizo was really delicious, nice and smoky and the texture was great.
Chorizo and Mushroom Stuffed Potato Skins
Yields 3 servings as a main, 6 as a side or appetizer
3 baking potatoes, baked at 350F for 1hr 15 min and cooled
Garnishes: diced tomato, arugula, thinly sliced green onions and my smoked paprika aioli from my latest e-book
Preheat oven to 425F. Slice the cooled potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides just enough to stuff with 2-3 tablespoons of filling; place on a baking sheet and set to the side.
In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat; stir in the onions and cook for 5-6 minutes until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Stir in the chorizo, salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes- vegetables should start to caramelize and everything combine.
Scoop 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture into each of the potato skins; using all of the filling. Top with shredded vegan cheese- as much or as little as you like.
Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil- making sure to tent the foil so that the cheese does not stick ot the foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes until the cheese has melted and the potato skins are lightly brown.
Plate and garnish with your favorite toppings.
Disclaimer: Upton’s Naturals provided me with a their seitan for product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway. For more details read my bylaws.
The Hubz and I started off our weekend with a bagel and coffee from City Market and then headed to my G-Ma’s to visit, have lunch and then we headed to her art show. Over the past 10 or so years my G-Ma has taken up painting and each year there is a seniors art show where she features her art work- check it out:
G-Ma and Aunt Carol with G-Ma's Art
'rents and G-Ma art the art show
After spending the afternoon at G-Ma’s art show we headed to my parents house to visit with them before they head to warm, sunny Florida for 6 weeks *colour me jealous*. When we arrived we were greeted by this site:
The roof on the old barn at my parents house caved in last week due to the heavy, wet snow causing the entire barn to crumble. It is a huge loss for them and sad to see.
We spent the remainder on the night relaxing, looking over old photos:
My G-Ma and Grandpa (Dad's parents)
I love looking back at old photos and checking out the fashion back then- don’t they look so classy? Whatever happened to nice dresses and suits?
For dinner I decided to try out some of the seitan that Upton’s Naturals sent me in one of the recipes from Appetite for Reduction for the Cookbook Club. I made the Caulipots and the Portabello Pepper Steak Stew – my first recipes from Appetite for Reduction and both I really liked and so did the ‘rents and Hubz.
The Portabello Pepper Steak Stew does not call for kale but my mom had some that needed to be used up so I added it to the stew and it was a great addition. The stew was nice and peppery and the sauce was so tasty. I have to say salt was the only thing that the recipe needed a little more of but that may have been do to the vegetable broth that I was using. The Caulipots were good but I think I would try one of the variations that the cookbook includes because I really felt that there was a lack for flavor- again may have been partially due to the broth. Overall though I liked both recipes an it is a good start to this months Cookbook Club.
Sunday we headed home early so that the Hubz and I could get some work done at home (on our computers). We spent most of the day except when we headed out for groceries sitting on the couch enjoying leftover stew and caulipots as well as a few Oscar Best Picture nominated movies in preparation for our Oscar party next Sunday. We watched:
Out of the four we watched Winter’s Bone was by far my favorite- the movie is not weighed down by A List celebrities and the acting and story is really amazing. I would recommend that everyone see this – it is really a powerful movie. We still have to watch The King’s Speech, The Fighter, True Grit and Toy Story 3, however we are only planning to watch the first 3 and if we have time we will watch Toy Story 3 before Sunday. So far my top three nominated films are Black Swan, Inception and Winter’s Bone. Which one is your favorite? Are you planning anything for the Oscars?
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