Posts filed under ‘food’

Cookies Make it Better (a review)

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I spend a lot of time talking about how great and talented my friends are. This is because I have an upsettingly large number of people in my life who are exceptionally good at what they do. One of those people is my friend Rosemary. She is a baker, and makes some of the best vegan sweets I have ever had.

So when she called and asked me to review her new line of cookies I jumped at the chance. I get to eat cookies and talk about my friends? Seriously, is there a downside to this situation? Is someone going to jump out from behind me and punch me in the neck? Why is this even a question?

Cookies Make it Better
all of these cookies are all dairy-free, egg-free, vegan. they are made with all-natural ingredients, organic whenever possible (includes the evaporated cane juice and palm shortening) and chocolate items contain soy.

First, I just have to talk about the packaging. The Martha Stewart colors and the clean mod pattern serves as a perfect juxtaposition to the concept of these cookies.

The idea of the Cookies Make it Better line is to help you say those things you want/need to say to your friend / lover / significant other / co-worker / parent / classmate / cat / stranger on the subway, while softening the blow with a delicious cookie.

You can also use them if you want to be a dick, but an endearing dick. Thats what I would do.

Just kidding– I’m going to start with the meanest cookie in the bunch because it is also the most awesome. Imagine it, you hand this lovely heart-shaped cookie to the lady / gentleman / person / cat / timelord of your choosing.  They are momentarily filled with either  joy or anxiety and then they read it and react accordingly. With one simple cookie you have sent this person on an emotional roller coaster ride and you have given them the gift of either humor, or (if they cry) catharsis. This shortbread heart dipped in semi-sweet chocolate is not overly sweet, and has a delicate flavor. Perfect for whomever you choose, to choke down while crying in the bathroom, putting a sweet flaky band-aid on that emotional wound.

I hate your new haircut– I can’t hide it any more. Your Dorothy Hamill with permed  bangs just does NOT work for you! Here, have a Peanut butter sandwich cookie with organic raspberry jam center. This cookie is seriously good, the cookie is strong enough in flavor that the sweet jam doesn’t overpower it and they work together harmoniously, unlike that new weave and your  orange highlights.

You’re sweaty– We all know that feeling of being touched by someone who is overly sweaty. Whether it was your friend, having just run a mile in august, or just a stranger in an elevator trying to reach for the button. How about next time you see that arm coming at you, skin glistening with perspiration, you hand them this chocolate-chocolate chip-pecan sandwich cookie with DELICIOUS AS FUCK ganache center and let it tell them what you are too grossed out to say.

My food is my food, not yours

Honestly, I wouldn’t share this oatmeal raisin sandwich cookie with caramel filling either, I would probably punch anyone who wanted to take it away from me.

Stop wearing so much body spray–  Here, maybe the smell of this chocolate chip cookie with chocolate gnache centre will over power the scent of that… what is that? A chemical treatment plant? a flower grown in a caustic garden? The spray you use to make bathrooms smell like toxic potpourri ? Why would you want to smell like that?

You own several pairs of ugly shoes– It just needs to be addressed. Those went out of style before shoes were invented. This cookie will never go out of style. a light flavored sugar cookie with lemon curd filling. This flavor is timeless, those sneakers that your 7th grade boyfriend drew a lopsided skull and crossbones on are not.

Don’t you feel better now that all of that is out in the open? no? Here, have a cookie, it’ll make it better

These cookies can also be made gluten free, and gluten free vegan on request, and for those of you who have allergies, complete ingredient lists are available by request and can be included in the box.

Want to buy some? HELL YEAH YOU DO. There will be information about how to purchase on the Virago website by monday. They’re the perfect antidote or addition to valentines day.

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January 29, 2011 at 10:24 pm 2 comments

Starter kit for new vegans: Up the Folks style.

Today’s post was inspired by Mama Pea’s Employees Pick post over at Peas and Thank You

I feel like I talk a lot more about veganism than most of my friends and acquaintances would like. This would normally bother me, as I try to live my life in a way that offends as few people as possible. However, with veganism I usually throw caution to the wind, state my opinion, and encourage others to look in to changing their habits in a similar way. It is one of the only things about which I am unabashedly an activist.

I was recently able to see a whole new crop of vegetarian college students come in to being during an english 101 class where we read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I watched them beginning this journey and I felt old. They were worrying about things like protein and family dinners and all the things that I had to deal with when I first switched to a vegetarian lifestyle at 12 years old. 8 years later,  because of my years of experience, I want to offer a list of the resources, cookbooks, and reading materials that helped me when I was first starting out and have continued to use as I have been living my vegan life. I hope that if you (a theoretical stranger considering veganism) stumble on to this site, this list may help you with this process.

1.) Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

I first read VwaV about 6 months after going vegan (I say read, because I sat down and read it cover to cover like a novel) and even though the recipes are great and I have used them consistently for the last 4 years, they were not the most important thing about this book to my  newly vegan, isolated self. What struck me, and helped me about this book was Isa. Her writing made me feel like this choice I had made was smart and dooable and not something outlandish like most of my family (excluding the 5 people that make up my mother and her family) and all but one of my friends were implying at the time. this book made me feel like I was normal, and more importantly it made me feel like I was super punx.

2.) Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

I’ve talked about this book  ad nauseam, but in case you don’t feel like reading my lengthy review I’ll sum up my feelings about it in one sentence: It made me cry, and gave me hope.

3.) Earthlings
It is informative, terrifying, heartbreaking, and not something to watch if you aren’t completely ready to become a vegan. That is to say, it would be hard for the average human with even the slightest bit of empathy to watch this and not eschew all animal products and systems that allow animal abuse. I know vegans who could not watch this all the way through, but it is important. I leave the decision up to you, but suggest trying to give it a watch.

4.) Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook by Carole Raymond

This book really doesn’t have much to do with the ethics of veganism, but it does have a bunch of really delicious cheap recipes that make enough for 1 or 2 people. This works particularly well for me as a single college student. It uses simple ingredients that most starter vegans can find at a “normal” grocery store, and doesn’t require trips to specialty stores for every recipe.

5.) Vegan a Go-Go by Sarah Kramer

This is another book, much like VwaV, where the recipes are amazing but what really rules are the travel tips and stories that Sarah Kramer shares. I can relate to her stories, and she has an easy way about her writing that makes it seem like she accepts everyone. This is particularly great for new vegans who may be feeling intimidated by people in the community that may appear standoffish or superior. Sarah Kramer is neither of those things, she is awesome.

Please feel free too leave further suggestions for new vegans in the comments!

January 8, 2011 at 9:35 am 2 comments

I have 6 pie plates.

6! I really don’t even bake pies unless its thanksgiving. I have no idea how I got all of these pie plates.

Alright, today we’re talking about stuff I like, watermelon, my day, and why you should keep on keeping on. Sound good? here we go.

I woke up feeling okay, I could hear a couple who live here fighting outside my window. needed to go to the bank. Once I was showered and dressed though, something just felt off. I was anxious and jittery, and taking that step outside the door was harder than it has been in a while.  Once outside I was okay, I had my sunglasses to protect me and it was warm and sunny.
Then I got to the main drag and I just started to spiral. I felt like I could feel hate vibes coming off of everyone, someone who was sitting outside a store told me to “pull up my skirt” (I thought at first he was being helpful, that perhaps my skirt was hanging low and about to fall off, but it was secured firmly around my waist. The skirt goes to the top of my knee, so I can only interpret this demand as one to show more leg?) I felt attacked. I was uneasy on the way home, too. Generally I was feeling ill at ease and my day did not really brighten up until I decided to slaughter my watermelon.

It was so juicy that I had to put the entire operation in the sink. And as I was working my way through this deconstruction, a breeze picked up and the smell of a wood fire came wafting in to my kitchen and suddenly life was good again. Its the little things that really matter, right? Simple sense memory let me believe again that there is good in everyone and that tomorrow it will be entirely worth it to get out of bed.

Little things like woodsmoke, watermelon, The most recent installment of “My milk toof” and the most adorable notebook i’ve ever seen.

(art by Jeffrey Brown)

So thats the story of how crushing social anxiety was defeated by line drawings of cats and I lived to fight another day.

August 10, 2010 at 11:20 pm Leave a comment

Cupcakes and Friends!

today I had a sweets-filled day.

I made some glutard-friendly brownies from a mix that I got from the family Dufrense (since they are moving away and need to get rid of their foods)

Anyway, I made that and Brittany came over and we ate hella brownies with Trader Joe’s chocolate soycreamy. I did not get a picture of these brownies beause I am bad at using my camera. I did get a picture of Brittany (which I hope she won’t mind me sharing with the internet.)

Then she (sadly) had to leave for workz and I was left alone for a bit.

THEN Rosemary came over for a ladybro date (we have them on wednesdays, we’re cool.) AND GUESS WHAT WE MADE! PIZZA with some Daiya “cheese” that she was given at work to try, her boss is trying it out for her vegan pizza’s. From this same work she brought me a bunch of vegan cupcakes of which I only took a photo of one. They are amazing.

Where is this magical place that she works? home to vegan and gluten free pizza’s and cupcakes? It is none other that Virago (soon to move to maine street Landsdale.) She actually interns there, but whatever.

Last but not least we watched (the first 3 hours of) Pride and prejudice which I have posted about before, my love is no less now than it ever has been for Mr. Darcy.

Ittss summmerrrr.

May 6, 2010 at 4:55 am Leave a comment

Sweet peppermint iced tea.

I have this vague taste memory from when I was like, 5 of a sweet tea that tasted like peppermint. I have no idea who used to make it. Going on that taste memory alone and a vague concept of how to make a good sweet tea I came up with this.

Normally sweet tea is made with an assload and a half of sugar. Since I try to lean away from that much sugar in a beverage, I replaced it with agave. I think the sticky sweet of the agave plays nicely with the light flavor of the peppermint.  

It seriously saved my sanity yesterday when it was 95 and like 100% humidity. I think I drank something around 4 cups of it. 

Recipe: measurements are just what I use, its really kind of a “to taste” recipe. 

-8 bags of peppermint tea (if using loose leaf, about 6 tbspns in a cheese cloth or tea ball.) 

-5 tablespoons of agave nectar. 

Boil 5 cups of water in a small or medium saucepan with a lid. Once it comes to a boil turn off heat and place the tea bags in the hot water to steep. Put the lid back on the saucepan and WALK AWAY for at least 20 minutes (longer if you like a stronger tea taste, I often let it sit for 45 minutes.) the water should still be warm, add the agave nectar and stir until homogenous (this shouldn’t take long, the agave incorporates itself rather quickly in hot tea.) Leave the lid off and let cool to room temperature before putting it in a food safe pitcher (mine is glass) and popping that whole thing in the fridge for 3-4 hours, or until cool. I like my summer bevs super cold so I usually leave it in the fridge over night.

serve over ice.

its not the most complex of things, but its pretty much a weekly activity of mine in the summer.

May 3, 2010 at 11:26 pm 1 comment

Dumplings!

I recently journeyed to Produce Junction with my mom and I got enough mushrooms and spinach to kill an average-sized human being. Since then i’ve been basically eating sauteed spinach and mushrooms w/ rice and the occasional fruit on the side, but today I decided to spice up my life (sans spicegirls) and make some DUMPLINGS woooo. 

I make dumplings every couple weeks, usually with whatever vegetables I have around (most often:mushrooms/bok choy.)  the recipe is pretty much as follows:

put vegetables in a pan, sauté. add some soy sauce, garlic, ginger and Siracha sauce. 

then throw that in the cuisinart with some panco bread crumbs (I buy in bulk, so mine are often stored in a shady unmarked ziploc) and whirr until almost a paste. 

then dumpling that shit! I usually use store brand wonton wrappers from Hmart   I’ve found that the kind they sell in major grocery store chains are very seldom vegan. 

and then steam then for 2-3 minutes, drizzle with soy sauce or shoyu and eat them! 

Please excuse my aggressively neon dinnerware. 

dumplings are delicious!

Oh man, I completely forgot to tell ya’ll that I got my drivers license! I am now sentenced to a hundred years of being the designated driver.  

Also, looks like i’ll be up in Portland (Maine) solo this coming fall.

April 25, 2010 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

Cookies are delicious.

I’m getting tattooed later today! I’m very excited and accidently woke up at 6am. oops. I figured I’d look for my camera card reader and I found it!  So here I am at 7am, pounding water and blogging about cookies. I am so punk rock.  

Recently I learned that the center of the milky way galaxy tastes like raspberries (and smells a little like rum.) This makes me very happy, and lately I’ve been formulating a whole bunch of baked goods that taste like raspberries and subsequently like outer space. I plan on eventually making a vegan milky way bar that tastes like raspberries, but for right now I’m just playing around with the flavor. 

When I don’t know what else to do with a new flavor, I make cookies. 

Yes, that is a wholly unappetizing photograph. I never claimed to be good at food photography!

They are however, delicious. I used chunks of dark chocolate (green&black’s 80% dark) instead of normal chocolate chips because I wanted a more intense chocolaty flavor to offset the raspberry.  

Chewy chocolate raspberry cookies: TASTE THE GALAXY 

Ingredients: 

– 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 

– 1 tspn baking soda 

– 1 cup (2 sticks) vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance), softened.

-3/4 cup granulated sugar.

– 3/4 cup brown sugar (or, as I often do: a little less than 3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses.) 

– 1 tspn vanilla extract 

-2 tspns raspberry extract 

– 1 cup applesauce (unsweetened is preferable, but whatever you have lying around works.) 

-1 cup (or until it looks right) dark chocolate chunks. 

Preheat oven to 375 

Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl (flour, baking soda, salt.) Combine all wet ingredients (margarine, sugar, extracts, apple sauce) in another bowl, whisk together with fork until it looks pretty even. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients slowly, mixing them together as you do. stir in chocolate chips. 

throw them in the oven for 9-11 minutes (though if you like to make giant cookies like I do, try 15.) 

cool on pan for a solid 5 minutes, then move ’em to a wire cooling rack. 

Enjoy: 

yes, I have a messy messy kitchen. Get over it.

January 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment


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