Friday, December 30, 2011

Soap Making

Hey everyone!  As most of you know we are in the process of remodeling our kitchen, which still isn't finished yet, so still no food to blog about.  Yes, we are slow.  We did take off Christmas weekend though to be with our families, so that put us behind.  We hope to put our new counter tops in Saturday and hopefully "almost" finish things up over the weekend. 

Below is a picture of me making soap back in November.  Yep, I made some soap for Christmas presents.  They didn't turn out how I wanted them to, but they still turned out great.  I thought the recipe was going to make more than what it actually did, but it didn't.  Tony made me a soap box to pour the mixture into, but since I didn't have enough to fill the soap box up, I poured the mixture into silicone muffin cups.  Tony's genius idea.  So, instead of square bars of soap I ended up with round bars, which turned out pretty cute.

After the soap hardened in their molds for 48 hours, I dumped them out to cure for 3 plus weeks.   I had to flip them everyday so they would cure evenly.  All that has something to do with the lye that's in them.  The ingredients that I used to make the soap were coconut oil, shea butter, almond oil, water, sodium hydroxide (lye), and warm vanilla sugar fragrance oil.   We have been using the soap for several weeks now and absolutely love it.  It leaves your skin feeling so soft and silky.  Tony's already asking when I'll be making more.  My next batch of soap is going to be a type of oatmeal soap made with homemade almond milk.  It will make a bigger batch, so I will be able to use the soap box that Tony made for me.   My goal is to be able to make that around mid January.  If the oatmeal soap turns out as good as this batch did, I'll be doing a giveaway.  The only bad  thing about making the soap is that you have to let it cure for at least 3 weeks.   It's very hard to wait that long. :o)

Here we have a close up of one right after I took it out of the mold. Pretty bright looking huh.

Here's a bar after they had cured for over a month.  I took this picture with my phone, so the picture is a little on the dark side.  The soap did darken though as it cured.

Here's one all wrapped up ready to be gifted. 

I haven't heard how everyone liked the soap, but I hope they like it as much as Tony and I do.

I hope everyone has a save and Happy New Year!   It will be next year before I blog again and hopefully it will be with pictures of my newly remodeled kitchen.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Miso Soup

Hey all!   I hope this post finds everyone well.  I've been away from the blog world for the last couple of weeks, because we are remodeling our kitchen.  We literally have it gutted.  After Christmas I'll post some before and after pictures.  It has been something that we have been wanting to do for sometime now, so we decided to do that for our Christmas.  We were with out a stove for over a week, so that meant a week of eating out.  I never thought I would say this, but I am so tired of restaurant food!   We got our new stove delivered Friday, but it was the wrong one.  Thank goodness Best Buy left it for us to use until we get the right one delivered, which we should get on Christmas Eve. The funny thing is that we have a stove but no counter tops, so it is still very difficult to cook.   It's definitely been an experience to say the least  :o)  But I know it's all going to be worth it when it's all finished.  

We weren't able to get much done last week, because Tony got sick, then I came down with it.  It knocked us both for a loop.  We are on the road to recovery now, so last night I decided to make my first batch of miso soup.  I had to go grocery shopping before I could make it, because I was out of all veggies!  It's not fun being sick and not having veggies in the house!  For the soup, I went by a couple of different recipes and came up with the below recipe.   I thought it turned out great.  It was exactly what my body has been screaming for.  :o)    I also bought some Echinacea tea yesterday, so hopefully we will be 100% well in the next few days.  

Here's the Miso Soup recipe.

1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced
1 cup chopped kale
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
1/2  package tofu, drained and diced
3 tbsp yellow miso paste
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 cups water
2 cup vegetable broth

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and saute the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Then add the kale, carrots, and mushrooms and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add tofu, water, vegetable broth, ginger, and yellow miso paste and stir together. Lower the heat and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

I probably won't be posting again until after Christmas, so I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  I will be trying to catch up on my blog reading some this week as my work permits, so see you soon!  :o)


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Few Eats From The Weekend

Hey there!  I hope everyone is doing well!  I got a surprise in the mail Saturday.  I got my new Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook....YAY.   I glanced at it Saturday night and saw a lot of yummy simple recipes that I can't wait to try.  The first one that I tried was a breakfast recipe.  Sunday morning I made the Marmalade French Toast on page 40.  The recipe called for apricot marmalade, which I didn't have, so I used orange marmalade.  Tony and I both thought it was great.  I put a little too much maple syrup on mine, so it was a tad to sweet for me.  I had not problem devouring it though.

Saturday night I made HH's Cajun Meatloaf and Brown Gravy.  The brown gravy recipe can be found here on her website.  I'm trying to stay away from wheat for a while, so I used brown rice flower instead of whole wheat pastry flour, and it was just as good...maybe even better.  :o)   I've tried HH's other meatloaf recipes, but hadn't tried the cajun yet, so I thought it was time to give it a try.  I'm so glad that I did, because it was very good.  I also made twice baked potatoes.  I didn't have any vegan sour cream, but  did have some vegan cream cheese, so I used the cream cheese to replace the sour cream.    I thought the cream cheese was great in the potatoes.  In fact, it was so great that I doubt I'll ever use sour cream again.  I topped it with vegan cheddar cheese and imitation bacon bits.  It's been a long time since I've bought imitation bacon bits.  When I opened the jar, I poured some in my hand and threw them into my mouth.  At that moment I had a flash back into my childhood of getting in trouble for eating all the imitation bacon bits as a snack...ha  I had forgotten how much I loved them.

Sunday night I made some potato soup.    This was the first time that I didn't use a recipe.  I totally winged it, and it turned out great.  I cooked my potatoes in just enough water to cook them, then added a can of cream of mushroom soup, about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth, 1/3 container of vegan cream cheese, 1 tsp onion powder, salt, and pepper. The soup is done once you get the cream cheese incorporated into the mixture..  I then topped it with vegan cheddar cheese and imitation bacon bits....YUM!

Last night we made pizza.  Looks good right?  Well, in this case looks are very deceiving!  First off, I was supposed to have gone some where last night, so I hadn't planned on being home to cook.  Yes, Tony was going to have to fend for himself.  My plans fell through though, and I ended up being at home with no idea of what to cook for supper.  We had a can of crescent rolls in the refrigerator, so we decided to make a pizza crust out of it.  Tony rolled it out and put the dough onto our pizza stone.  He then added the sauce and our toppings and  put the pizza into the oven.  I cooked it for about 15 minutes.  I took a big ole bite of my pizza that looked so good and bleh....  The "pizza crust" was all doughy!  With that being said, we will never use crescent rolls for pizza crust again.  It may have been better if we had cooked the crust some before adding everything, but we didn't do that...oh well.  My half of the pizza is the left side, and the stuff that looks like meat is some cajun meatloaf.  The topping part of the pizza was very good.   We sorta turned into kids and ended up just eating the topping off the pizza....ha 

Oh, one more thing about the pizza.  Tony thought he would sit the pizza stone on the stove eye and try to cook the crust a little more. He had the stove eye on a med/high heat.  BIG mistake!  All the sudden I heard a loud pop and what do you know....the pizza stone broke into three pieces.  I guess the lesson learned here is to never use your pizza stone to cook with on the stove eye!  :o)  Lucky for us we have an extra one that we have never used.  :o)


Friday, December 2, 2011


I don't know about you, but I'm glad the work week is over.  Let the weekend begin.  :o)   Maggie lives for the weekends as well, because she knows we will be home to spend time with her.  She loves her blankets!

There hasn't really been any new food action going on this week.  I did make this Chickpeas Rice recipe that I found over at Chef In You though.  The recipe can be found here.  I came across this after going to the Chef In You site to check out the Tofu Turkey recipe that Andrea made for Thanksgiving.  The chickpeas rice was good, but I think I will leave out the cloves the next time.  There was something about it that my taste buds didn't really care for, and I think that's what it was.  Other than that it was very good.  I personally think it would be better as a curry dish.    I made some baked tofu to go along with the rice.  I sprinkled a little BBQ seasoning on the tofu for a little different flavor.   I didn't really taste the BBQ flavor for some reason though.  That doesn't mean that it wasn't good.  It hit the spot and oddly enough it went great with the rice.

One night I had a couple of Boca chik'n patties with marinara sauce on them along with some roasted Brussels and sweet potato fries.  This is always a favorite for me. 

Don't our animals just have it made...I know Maggie sure does....she knows how to spend her time.  :o)

I hope everyone has a GREAT weekend! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow....

This morning I woke up to snow on the ground.  Yay, our first snow of the year.  I don't ever remember us getting snow this early in the winter though.  I wonder if this is what's to come for the cold winter season?  I do love snow.  It makes me wish I was still a kid, so I could have snow days and get to stay home.  Luckily this snow didn't stick to the streets.  Even though the snow didn't stick the the streets, I can guarantee that everyone was at the grocery store yesterday stocking up on bread and milk.   The mention of snow around here puts people in a panic state of mind.  :o)

Yesterday afternoon I was having some serious stomach pains.  I'm not sure what they were from, but they lasted until about 8:00 last night.  With that being said, I did not feel like cooking supper, so Tony dove right in and took care of things while I laid on the couch cuddled up with Maggie.  We had planned on having pizza last night, and below is what my pizza looked like after Tony got finished making it.  How good does that look?  He even took the picture.   He used my left over fajita veggies that I brought home from Casa Marina (our favorite Mexican place) Saturday night.  He also added some Roma tomatoes and used some Newman's spaghetti sauce along with some Daiya mozzarella cheese.  He told me to remember that if it wasn't good that it was made with love.  :o)   No worries though....It was delicious, and actually better than the ones that I've been making lately.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Better Late than Never......

 Happy Monday!  I know this is a little late, but hey....late is better than never....right?   Here's the recap of my Thanksgiving.   I was a little like this after we ate our Thanksgiving meal. 

I made this Hearty Lentil and Mushroom Shepherds Pie from Fat Free Vegan to take for Thanksgiving.  It turned out great.  I'm sorry, but I don't have a picture of it.  I got in such hurry to get out the door that I forgot to photograph it.   After I realized that I never took a picture, I decided that I would take a picture of my Thanksgiving plate, but I left the camera out in the car.  I was about to starve, so I didn't go get it....sorry.  I had planned on taking some roasted veggies, but was told there would be plenty of veggies that I could eat, so I didn't make any.  After glancing over everything I asked about certain dishes to make sure they were vegan, and dug in.   Later on that evening my niece commented on how good the green beans were.  Then, out it came...the green beans were cooked in beef brother.  WHAT?  At that moment my little niece looked at me and said "you ate green beans didn't you?"  Yep, I sure did, because I was told they were okay for me to eat.  Apologies came from my SIL, and she said that she never thought about that not making them vegan.   Again, I explained what a vegan was, and explained my diet and what it did and did not consist of. Of course, I'm not the type of person that just blows my top, but I was very upset.  I felt like throwing up and my insides felt all dirty and violated!  After that I found out that several other dishes that were there were not actually vegan either, but was told they were.  I didn't eat those though...thank goodness.  From now on, I will for sure be taking my own meal to any family function that we have.  Shen, I know.....  It's not just family though , no one here in the South understands the full meaning of what a vegan is.  They all seem to think it just means that you don't eat meat.  No matter how many times you explain it, they just don't get it.  I have to admit, I debated about whether I should blog about my Thanksgiving or not, because I have family that reads my blog, but I decided that I wanted to and I hope that it doesn't offend anyone.   

So with all that being said, we all did a lot of this over the remainder of the long weekend..  I started to blog several times, but just couldn't bring myself to it.   :o)

I did take a little time to make Isa's Marbled Banana Bread.  I think I swirled the batter a little too long though.  It almost looks like plain ole chocolate banana bread.  Sure did taste good though.  Tony suggested adding walnuts to it the next time.  I think that would be a great addition. 

I also made some granola.  I've been wanting to make some for a while now, but just haven't done it.  I finally got around to it Saturday morning.  I used oats, hemp seeds, walnuts, shredded coconut, dried cranberries, dried apricots, wheat germ, safflower oil, brown sugar, rice syrup, and vanilla.  I used Alicia Silverstone's recipe in The Kind Diet as a guide to go by.  If you don't have her book, you can find the recipe here.

 I didn't have anything to take for lunch today, so I went to the cafeteria in hopes to get a salad.  I was a little too late though.  They were all gone.  I lucked up though, they had some steamed veggies....yay!

Anyway, I have a lot of catching up to do on my blog reading.  I do hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving weekend and I hope you aren't as behind at work as I am.  :o)


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blood Circulating Smoothie and Artichokes

Hey everyone!  I can't believe Thanksgiving is in two more days.  What are you having to eat?  We are going to my sister-n-laws to eat with the Tony's family.  I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to eat.  I'm taking a Shepard's Pie as my one dish to take, but now to figure out what to take for myself while everyone else indulges on the "bad" stuff.  :)  I thought about making the Tofu Turkey in Happy Herbivore.  Has anyone ever tried that before?  If so, how was it?

This morning I made a green smoothie to try to help improve my blood circulation.  I stay cold all the time...I mean I literally freeze, so I decided to do some research on the web and I really think that I have poor blood circulation. All the symptoms described me to the T.  I read up on what spices and herbs are supposed to be good for improving your blood circulation.  Ginger and Cayenne pepper happen to be among them, so here's my blood circulation smoothie for this morning. 

1 kale leaf
1 small banana
1 Clementine (peeled)
1 tbs ginger
1 tbs black strap molasses
1/2 apple
1/4 cup frozen mango chunks
1 cup water
a pinch of cayenne
a few ice cubes (I used 3)

Throw it all in a blender and blend until smooth.  I've never been a big fan of spicy drinks, but I have to admit that I really liked this.  Today I used a very small pinch of cayenne, but tomorrow I think I will use a little more.  The smoothie was sweet when I took my first drink, but all the sudden the spiciness came out, which I liked.  Another plus is that it gave me a good boost of energy. I always need energy! 

For my mid morning snack I had a bowl of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest cereal.  This stuff is GOOD!  Thanks Shen for recommending it.

About the artichokes...well, I like them...I mean really like them.  I decided to make FoodFeuds "Artichoke to Death" dish, and all I can say is WOW!  This was one of the best meals!  It was so different, in a very good way.  The tahini sauce was to die for.  I decided to try a bite at first without the sauce and then a bite with the sauce to see which way was the best.  The addition of the sauce was the only way to go.'re a genius.  :o)   I think I will try artichokes in a salad next.  Oh yeah....Tony decided that he needed some pineapple with his supper, so he fried some pineapple in some coconut about good!

I tried the chocolate soy pudding for my afternoon snack yesterday.  It was rich and creamy and tasted like the dairy pudding that I used to eat in my pre vegan days.   I'll definitely buy this again.   

I hope everyone has a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!