Blog Recipe Round Up: Tacos

Oh boy are there a million tacos out there! We are just barely scratching the surface with what’s out there. And even though they are all over pinterest, I think this was one of the hardest compilations to get together. Why? I think tacos are just way too easy to stray away from the original recipe. But I did it! So check out the recipes below!

Falafel Tacos with Sriracha-Tahini Sauce

This recipe is actually an amazing weeknight meal. Aside from my kitchen being so small that taking out the food processor is a pain, it is a super meal. All you need to dirty up is really the food processor, a baking tray, and cutting board. And while the falafels bake, you can clean up most of the dishes. Brilliant! The dinner made pretty much spot on what it would make- granted if you eat only two tacos. That can be hard since they are so tasty, but two tacos has 16 grams of protein. Not too bad considering my husband at three- which would be 24 grams of protein. Downside, I think the sriracha-tahini sauce was a little too thick, but then again I was getting to the bottom of tahini where they was very little oil.

Bottom Line: Quick and easy weeknight dinner

Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos

There’s been a lot of hub-bub with Thug Kitchen and if their writing is mocking African Americans. Although I find the juxtaposition of harsh language in a medium that uses flower language funny, I do think they could of done it without singling out a certain culture. I never really intended to check out Thug Kitchen, but I found this really yummy recipe that I just wanted to try badly.

Did the recipe hold up? Umm…no. The salsa was pretty darn spicy. Which to me isn’t too big of a deal except there was a lot of hot sauce in the cauliflower portion. I like it when you divide the heat up within certain ingredients, not piling on everything hot. The cauliflower was very watery from the beer, which makes me wondering if it would of worked better as sort of a “refried” cauliflower filling? And overall there were WAY too much onion flavor. I didn’t even use as much as they recommend since I didn’t have them, like adding more green onions!

There were some great flavor combos, but there should of been more finessing with the cooking process. Maybe saute the onions in the cauliflowers, only spice in the salsa, etc. Overall it isn’t bad though. 

Bottom Line: Alright recipe, needs more streamlining.

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Sweet Potato Pecan Tacos

There is so much flavor going on with these tacos. They are easy to make and great for a more fall based taco when sweet potatoes are in season and when the temperature is going down (to turn the oven on). The great thing about the recipe is that the author is very open to variations so I did and found ways to improve the taco.

One thing I found needed improvement in the recipe is the texture. She has a smooth bean spread and soft sweet potatoes that probably have a nice outside texture from roasting. BUT I felt like it needed a little extra tooth, and adding quick pickled shredded cabbage I think did the trick. Avocados are also a major must as well, if it is in your price range.

I loved the flavor from the coconut cream, but it seemed more like something that would be great as a dressing. The blog post does suggest that this dish makes a great salad, so maybe I missed the memo that the cream was just suppose to be a dressing? Maybe, maybe not. But I wouldn’t bother with it unless you want to make a salad over a taco.

Bottom Line: Super yummy, but needs a lettuce or cabbage paired with it.

Black Bean + Tempeh Tacos with Cashew Cheese Sauce

This recipe is pretty easy and fast to make. What is both nice and disappointing about this recipe is how flexible it is. There aren’t any specifically highlighted flavors, which I tend to like from a taco recipe. But it does give a recipe for a very flexible taco filling that you can pretty much do any day of the week. Don’t have avocado? You’ll be fine. Don’t have cabbage? Just use lettuce. So I could imagine using this recipe as a basic structure to make on a busy weeknight.

I did NOT make the cashew cheese sauce mostly because I had some homemade vegan sour cream that needed to get used up. But the recipe for the cashew cheese sauce looks pretty good, and would of made a great addition to the tacos. Overall I think this is a recipe I might use again, it only took about 15 minutes to make. And as mentioned it is pretty flexible for interpretation, and she makes sure you still get your greens.

Bottom Line: Great recipe for starter vegans.

Tequila Lime Baked Tofu Tacos with Chipotle Crema

This recipe involves a lot of planning, but overall pretty easy. What takes the most amount of time is freezing the tofu, thawing it, pressing, then marinating. None of those steps take particularly long, but you need to think ahead. I think most vegans don’t know how to plan these steps since these are mostly common for meats. But I found that I froze the tofu one day, the next day remove and let thaw in the fridge. Then the day of making I pressed for an hour (it wasn’t fully thawed at the time), and marinated it before heading into work. That way it took a 30 minutes to bake giving lots of prep and clean up time.

BUT I do have a problem with the recipe. Although it was easy to make, there wasn’t nearly enough fat. The overall result was super acidic, but I wish she put a little oil in the marinade, or used cashews for the crema. Aside from that, I was totally happy with the results. There was a little extra of tofu for leftovers (hubs and I had three tacos each) so if you have a big family, you might want to double the tofu.

Bottom Line: Needs a little more fat, but tasty overall

BBQ Eggplant Tacos

Hmm… how do I feel about these tacos. So many emotions. First let me talk about prep work. It is pretty easy. I spent most of the time working on the peach-lime chutney. It wasn’t too hard, but it does involve a lot of fine chopping, so it was probably a total of 30-40 minutes, but worth noting there was lots of time to do other things. In fact I made the fennel slaw while the chutney cooked up. So all I had to do was roast the eggplant and put together the tacos when it came to dinner time. Dividing up the work makes the clean up more manageable.

Flavors have been interesting. I can’t say I hate and I can’t say I love it. My husband summed it up as minty and fruity. I think we both weren’t huge fans of the mix of fennel and peach. I think I might want to “dilute” the fennel by adding a little cabbage next time. Also I didn’t like how the eggplant “shredded.” I mean it kind-of did, but it was mostly just mushy shreds. I would probably just use beans or jackfruit in the future.

And it is worth noting that I had uneven amounts of food. I get it- when your recipe calls for one fennel bulb and mostly nothing else, you are going to have varied amounts. I ended up with a full little jam jar of the chutney. We had NO eggplant leftover, and there was enough slaw for maybe one two extra tacos. Not the worst, but something to keep in mind if you hate leftovers.

Bottom Line: Lots of prep, mixed emotions

What are your favorite taco recipes?

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My Vegan Restaurant: Circles

Circles

8 Powell Lane Collingswood, NJ 08108
812 N 2nd St Philadelphia, PA 19123
1514 Tasker St. Philadelphia, PA 19145
website | facebook | instagram | twitter | youtube

Vegan MOFO is done, but I thought this year I would try and do their minimofos. This month’s theme is lazy. I had this post sitting in my drafts for 8 months. Yup I started it in March and it is probably time I finish it up. XD Fits the lazy bill because I’ve been so lazy about making this post and I was lazy about cooking.

So here you go- a really old post….
It was a dark and stormy night…
Just kidding. Or maybe it was rainy? The details are a little hazy.

Let me paint the picture. Wolfie was only 3 months old. He is starting to sleep through the night, but still sleeping in his little crib. Jon and I wanted to have a baby free night and went on a date. This was the first time leaving the house late at night, and we had our friend Justine watch Wolfie. Sadly, he was starting to do the whole routine thing and falling asleep pretty easily.

It took us awhile to decide where to go, but we finally decided on Circles, a new to us restaurant that offers Thai food. The restaurant has various locations, currently two in Philadelphia and one in Collingswood. They aren’t a vegan restaurant, but offer many different options. We went to the Collingswood location since it was raining out.

Pad Thai with Tofu

The food isn’t just Thai- it is Thai fusion. But in many ways the food has some authenticity. The restaurants are owned by Alex Boonphaya who grew up in Bangkok. His family moved to the US and Alex spent his childhood cooking since his parents would work late. That is what makes Circles so great. There is a wonderful balance between authentic Thai cuisine and little American twists.

As mentioned the shop has vegan options, and if you are vegetarian you will have more options. Everything is well labeled about what is vegan. They serve seitan, so there are few appetizer items that have a meat and seitan alternative (such as vegetarian cheesesteak springrolls, not vegan sadly). There are also things like vegetable dumplings that can be ordered.

The main courses are almost all available as vegan. I would tell the staff up front that you are vegan, as they knew right away to use fish sauce substitutes, and you don’t have to ask about it for each individual meals. You can add seitan or tofu to the meal for an additional cost (they have meat options as well)

Pad Kee Mow with Seitan

Jon got the Pad Thai with tofu (top photo). He really liked it. The sauce had a nice kick to it. I personally found it a little too sweet. If you aren’t really familiar with Pad Thai you might be disappointed. Each family has their own Pad Thai recipe, and in the US many Pad Thai recipes are super peanut heavy. This was not, but I really enjoyed it. Very tangy and sweet.

I ordered the Pad Kee Mow with Seitan, and guys, I’ll be honest, I don’t remember much about it. I remember liking it a lot. I remember that it was spicy. And now that I look at the photos, I remember the tomatoes being the best. If you never had the dish before the major flavor notes (that I remember) were fresh thai basil, tomato chunks, fat rice noodles, and spicy flavors.

We loved the place and if we were rolling around in cash money we would be going back more often. The place is BYOB so bring a bottle of wine, or stop by Devil’s Creek Brewery across the street to grab a growler. I recommend parking at the PATCO station and walking to the restaurant. The photo doesn’t give a great representation of where it is, as it is in a small street that doesn’t get much traffic, under the new(ish) Lumberyard Condos. Also, don’t bother with the coffee…. they just use a kurig. There are many coffee shop options in Collingswood.

American Cakes: Election Cake

I did a lot of debating if I should save this recipe till next Vegan MOFO or not. I do want to continue my Vegan MOFO theme of American Cake Off for 2018, but this one I wanted to post this year. Why? THERE ARE STILL ELECTIONS GOING ON IN THE UNITED STATES!

Some of these elections are big deals. In New Jersey we are voting for a new governor (thank god), state legislator, and freeholder. And in my case, I have the questions to vote on, and people who are running locally for the board of education. This election is a pretty big deal as it can get more democrats into the senate, possibly getting the majority.

Part of the reason why there isn’t much coverage about the election is because it really depends on where you live. I am voting for some stuff that no one else is voting on outside of my town. There are lots of important mayor elections, and not every state even has an election going on.

So let’s talk about this election cake! I first read about it in American Cakes, but there isn’t a recipe. Perhaps it is because most people steer away from fruit cakes, or because the author didn’t find it unique enough compared to other recipes? Not sure. But I was very excited about the idea.

Back before women could vote- ladies would slave away in the kitchen baking cakes. They would use this as a way to encourage men to go out and vote. And boy did the original recipes feed many men. An original recipe called for thirty quarts flour, ten pounds butter, fourteen pounds sugar, twelve pounds raisins, and my favorites one pint wine and one quart brandy. This might make your jaw drop but this was intended to feed MANY people. 

For the 2016 presidential election OWL Bakery decided to start a campaign calls #MakeAmericaCakeAgain. The bakery posted a recipe on Google Docs for anyone to make, but sold the cake in their stores. Proceeds went to League of Women Voters, with many other bakeries across the USA contributing. There is already a vegan version of the cake out there by Yum Universe. But I don’t know about it, it is gluten free but uses bourbon to soak the fruit. Then she has the audacity to recommend tequila or gin to soak the fruit to make it 100% gluten free?! 1) not all gin are gluten free, and 2) what about wine based spirits?

The other problem with the OWL and Yum Universe recipes is that the cake needs the starter to go overnight. That is a lot of time. But I found a recipe from Food52 that only has your starter go for 3 hours. That is a lot more manageable, and the recipe looks a lot less scary in comparison. 

This recipe isn’t perfect. I wish I tried using only oil in the recipe, but I had a lot of little bits of shortening and an almost empty butter container in the fridge, so I used a mix of the three. I also didn’t have sherry wine or brandy, so I used amaretto and marsala. You can use whatever you want, but I recommend something sweet. So if you aren’t using booze, maybe a juice, kombucha, sweetened tea, whatever. Think about what flavors will go with figs, raisins, and the spices.

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Blog Recipe Round Up: Tomatillos

My goodness it has been a really long time since I’ve done one of these! I always try and write a review with any recipe I try online, make a category and hope they build up enough to be it’s own post. But that doesn’t always happen. Luckily my CSA forces me to try and figure out what to do with all these tomatillos so this post has been in the works for TWO YEARS!

Why did this take so long? Well I wanted to feature recipes that weren’t just salsa verde. I mean I made my own salsa morado, but I mean- it is just a salsa verde XD So I give you quite a round up! I hope you enjoy it, and there is even a sweet treat as well!

Roasted Tomatillo Hummus

I am frequent reader of Fragrant Vanilla Cake and saw this recipe using tomatillos in hummus. I knew I had to give it a try since it is an interesting way to eat the fruit. The recipe is pretty easy, roast tomatillos, blend with the hummus ingredients, serve. I have to admit this is a delicious and tangy hummus. Very different than what most people are use to for their hummus. I could picture myself just eating it as a dip with chips.

But I used it mostly in wraps with breaded green tomatoes, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and avocados. But I could use it in sandwiches, and a bunch of other ways. What makes this hummus so nice is that it is sweet and tangy but has lots of protein, so you get food that is nutritionally sustainable and filling.

Bottom Line: Quick and Easy, great for lunches.

Black Bean, Tomatillo, and Corn Soup

This is pushing the definition soup. It is more like a stew since it is so thick. It is indeed tasty, but I think there should be a little more broth to make it by definition a soup. Overall the dish is super healthy and full of vegetables and fiber. I think the longest part is getting all the vegetables prepared, especially since it calls for fresh corn. Because of this I think I would double the recipe next time so I could have leftovers to eat.

I also would add more tomatillos. Yes, you can taste them in the dish, but I wish there would of been more. I mean if you have tomatillos in the title, I better be tasting them. I think I ended up using more tomatoes in the soup than tomatillos! Aside from that gripe- I would give the dish a thumbs up on making it again.

Bottom Line: Easy and healthy soup. Recommend doubling the recipe for leftovers and adding more tomatillos.

Vegan Enchilada Suizas

I think what I’ve learned about these recipes is that maybe my tomatillos from my CSA are smaller than fresh tomatillos from the supermarket. So I doubled the amount of tomatillos in the sauce.

Looking at the recipe I felt like I probably should have a little more veggies in there, so I took away some of the beans, and added some sauteed sweet peppers. Also I didn’t use the suggested hot peppers in the sauce or any added salt since I was going to feed it to a 10 month old. Even without the salt, the dish carried itself quite well, but something to keep in mind with the spice levels.

Overall I loved the dish. I will make it again since it is easy to make and easy to prep ahead of time. I blended the sauce in the morning while my blender was dirty from smoothies. I set aside the sauce, so when it came to dinner time I just cooked the sauce, and put together the enchiladas.

My biggest complaint is that she doesn’t specify which sized tortilla wraps. I have “taco” and “burrito” sizes wraps, and I didn’t know which size, so I just made four big enchiladas as appose to six. Not the end of the world, but I can’t be the only one out there that didn’t grow up on enchiladas.

Bottom Line: Baby Approved, Just would make more sauce

White Bean Tomatillo Soup

This soup is much more “tomatillo-y” compared to the black bean recipe. This one uses a lot of beans and a lot of tomatillos. This is a simple soup that lets you enjoy the taste of tomatillos. Aside from cooking dried beans, the recipe doesn’t take long to make. All I did was soak the beans overnight, cooked them in the morning, then made the short 30 minute recipe. Though you could soak the beans in the morning and cook the soup for longer if you have the time to wait.

My only complaint is that she calls for 4 cups broth, 2 cups water. I feel like just sticking with 6 cups broth/stock would give a fuller flavored soup. Maybe it is to save people money? Most stocks are sold in 4 cup containers. Who knows. I didn’t read the 2 cups water so at first I had a very thick soup. Oops. But I really liked the recipe. Full of flavor, simple, and easy peasy.

Bottom Line: Super healthy and yummy soup. Would use all 6 cups of stock instead of part water.

Tomatillo Green Apple Sorbet

Sometimes recipes are so simple I find a hard time with them! Enter this recipe for a Green Apple and Tomatillo Sorbet. First what I ended up with was delicious, but there was a lot of last minute changes that I had to make.

The first change I had to make was that the portions on the site didn’t add up for me. It should I should of had about 2 1/2 cups by the end of the cooking process, but I had more like 1 3/4 of a cup. Eek! I quickly doubled the apple and tomatillo, started to cook them again, and got about the right amount. Blended it up and popped it in the fridge. Then when I put the sorbet in the ice cream maker, there didn’t seem to be much. This is something that annoys me with ice cream recipes. It takes a lot of work to make ice cream, and making just enough for two servings is a pain. So I quickly dumped some extra coconut milk into the ice cream maker.

The end result? A SUPER delicious recipe. Since I probably cooked the apples too much, I got a tart but semi caramel-like sorbet. The best part is that the ice cream kept really soft in the freezer, one of my first times doing so! I think adding the coconut milk in the end helped with the tartness. If I make this again, I will totally make some changes to the recipe, and you might find a similar recipe on the blog next year.

Bottom Line: Great inspiration. Overall great results, not sure if I will make this recipe 100% exactly the same

Chunky Tomatillo Tostadas

I took some liberties to switch this recipe up a little. Yeah, I got a little lazy in the tostadas part and was starving. So these got transformed into tacos. Oh well. I tried to keep the toppings in the spirit of the original post and let’s face it, a corn shelled taco isn’t too different from a tostadas. Personally the dish probably would of worked best in tostadas form, so keep that in mind. 

Naturally my main complaint is that recipe calls for x amount of tomatillos, not going by poundage. I added more to the recipe since the tomatillos picked from my CSA were a little smaller than most commercial grocery stores. Aside from the resulting faster cooking time, everything worked out great! The whole recipe will probably take an hour from beginning to end but is very easy to get the prep work done, and has a lot of hands off time. 

I really love how there were bursts of tomatillo flavors hidden in the pinto beans. I think there should be a little bit more tomatillo to bean ratio, but aside from that it is a great mix. As mentioned I made tacos instead and paired them with lettuce, avocado and tomato (no sour cream mix.) I will be adding this to my rotation during the next tomatillo season at my CSA

Bottom Line: Takes some time, but overall very easy and hands off.

This Month In Jen: October 17

It is definetly getting colder out. We survived Halloween, and we are already trying to transition Wolfie for daylight savings time. Or rather the end of it. I never understood the point of it. We also now need to start thinking about Thanksgiving, and I am now knee deep in looking at winter gear. Figuring out mittens and rainboots… and I guess snowboots? Ugh, and an umbrella! I’ve got two raincoats though! You really take for granted all the things you need for different weather patterns until you need to periodically buy them every year or so. XD

Reading I randomly picked up The Book of Other People from the library because of.. well… the cover. It was in he non-fiction section… which I dunno… seems to be the wrong place. It is a collection of short stories by various artists with the common thread of featuring a fictional character. The book was edited by Zadie Smith, and I am pretty sure the proceeds went to a charity, though I can’t remember it right now. It is funny reading reviews for this book because it gets a consistent review of about 3 stars, but everyone’s favorite stories are all over the place! I guess the best way of putting it is the no matter what type of author/story you like, you will probably like at least half of the stories.

Watching As always Jon and I tried to watch as many spooky things for Halloween- sadly horror films were a bad genre for when you are trying to be quiet. Why? The dynamic range in the soundtrack. You have to jack up the volume to hear the characters talk, and then all the sudden there would be a loud thud to creep out the audience. Since I didn’t get to do my normal reviews I’ll try and do the same in a very quick form.

Fright Night

Year: 1985
Directed by: Tom Holland
Rank: 6/10
Spooky Type: Vampire
Watch: Amazon + Netflix
Does anyone remember my review of An American Werewolf in London? Well, this has the same issues. A total sausage fest. There are only two female characters- the mom and a girlfriend who is still a virgin. Something I don’t really understand why it has to even be part of the plot. Just like An American Werewolf, Fright Night mostly focuses on humor, which I liked. The overall story is that a boy finds out that his new next door neighbor is a vampire. He tries to fight him, and even tries to get an old actor who plays a vampire hunter on TV to help him.

Extraordinary Tales

Year: 2013
Directed by: Raul Garcia
Rank: 8/10
Spooky Type: Edgar Allen Poe
Watch: Netflix + Amazon
This is a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories accompanied by CGI animations. Each story has it’s own style, so it isn’t a polished collection. You might like one short, but not the other. I have fairly “meh” feelings about most since they are usually just straight readings of the text with animations to go with it, one using an old recording of Bela Lugosi. But I think my favorite was the short for The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. The animation reminded me of a comic book (still featured above). This story was also done without an overall narration like the others. It is worth checking out, and many people say it is a great way to introduce Poe to kids, but the last story The Masque of the Red Death has some nudity and sexual content. So keep that in mind.

Fright Night

Year: 2011
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Rank: 6/10
Spooky Type: Vampire
Watch: Amazon
Why can’t they get this right?! I think this time around the story has a much better flow. The transition into the neighbor being exposed as a vampire seems better, and they don’t open with the main character whining about not having sex with his girlfriend. The story takes place near Las Vegas, so it makes sense why a vampire would move there. Being up all night won’t be so weird, people move in and out all the time, etc, etc. The old hack vampire killing actor is replaced with David Tennant who is like a Criss Angel type of performer. Turns out he is a major expert of vampires, and unlike the old version, actually believes in it. The downfall of the newer version is that everything is amped up to WAY OVER THE TOP! Car crashes, burning houses, just really ridiculous stuff. I mean David Tennant was pretty awesome!

Worst Witch

Year: 1986
Directed by: Robert Young
Rank: 10/10
Spooky Type: Kids Witches
Watch: Amazon
Before Harry Potter there was The Worst Witch. The story follows Mildred Hubble, who is the biggest fuck up in her class. She can’t get her cat to fly, she messes up her potions, and her cat isn’t even black! This made for TV movie has a star studded cast of Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Clue), Fairuza Balk (The Craft), Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life), and Diana Rigg (On Her Majesties Secret Service, The Great Muppet Caper). You would think it would be top quality right? WRONG! I mean the special effects were probably pretty good for a made for TV movie at the time, but goodness it is CAMPY. It has the best sequence with Tim Curry, which is probably why the film is a cult classic today.

Return to Oz

Year: 1985
Directed by: Walter Murch
Rank: 9/10
Spooky Type: Kids Fantasy
Watch: Amazon
If you are going to watch a “horror” film with a kid, this is a great place to start. I wouldn’t call it a horror exactly, but it does fit in with Halloween’s spooky environment. This movie takes from two different Wizard of Oz stories and mashes them together. It puts Dorothy in a weird spot, trying to stay true to the books but assumes that the viewer has watched the classic 1939 version. Dorothy has ruby slippers (she has silver in the book), but the Emerald City isn’t really all green (in the book the Wizard had citizens and visitors wear green tinted glasses.) The movie was a box office fail since the series is pretty dark. But it is worth watching. Fairuza Balk plays a great Dorothy, and there are some great stop motion animation.

Get Out

Year: 2017
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Rank: 10/10
Spooky Type: Suspense
Watch: Amazon
Look at me- being on trend! Yes, I watched Get Out in a timely fashion and it was awesome. I could talk about it, but I don’t think there is much to say. If you’ve never heard of the film, the storyline is that Chris is a black man dating Rose, a white girl. He is heading over to her parents for a weekend, meeting them for the first time. Naturally he is nervous meeting them, and seeing how they will react to their daughter’s new relationship. But things are really weird when he gets there, and everything escalades. I strongly recommend watching this film.

Hush

Year: 2016
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Rank: 8/10
Spooky Type: Serial Killer
Watch: Netflix
I usually hate serial killer movies. I find them… boring? I feel like that is the wrong word. Pedestrian? That makes me sound pretentious. Unrelatable? Probably the best term. I wouldn’t say my husband loves them, but some of his favorite movies are 80s slasher films. This movie is more a survivalist thriller, with a twist. Maddie is a deaf writer who moves out into the woods as a way to get over her ex. A serial killer comes to her house, and she has to act quick to survive. This is an interesting movie, as the director and his wife (who plays Maddie) both wrote the film. Like in realist cinema, they acted out the scenario several times to make it as realistic as possible. As a result, my husband and I were constantly saying “why the heck doesn’t she do this?” or “shouldn’t she hide there?” but let’s be real, when your in a panic, you don’t think straight.

We also have been watching the halloween episodes of Bob’s Burger and the Simpsons. Plus watching some R.L.Stine’s Haunting Hour and the Netflix series The Worst Witch. It is funny watching The Worst Witch because at first my husband was pointed it out that it was a rip off of Harry Potter till I said the series was written in the 70s. I wonder how many other books use magical witch schools as a plot?

Crafting So I’ve been trying to work more on the shop, but not much to show for it. XD I’ve been playing around with a bonnet pattern, which I made a sample using a Giants handkerchief. It turned out cuter than what I expected! But I will have to make alterations to the pattern to make it look nicer. Pretty soon there will be some new items on the shop just in time for the holidays.. hopefully there will be bonnets as well!

Podcasts Trying to squeeze in as many spooky themed podcasts as possible. So I’ve been busy downloading spooky themed episodes from Stuff You Missed in History Class. I think the ones that sticks out are the recent ones about Edward Gorey and Carl Tanzler. I thought it was interesting to hear about Gorey’s later life, and his love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And I although I like the haunting episodes, Carl Tanzler was just a very different narrative. If you listen, trigger warning of stalker-obsessive behavior.

Traveling We were going to try and check out Jawn of the Dead– a vegan halloween festival but there was a big storm that day. It was in Philadelphia so that would of meant driving in, parking, and walking probably several blocks with Wolfie. We decided it wasn’t worth it, and hope that next year they have the same popup. Wolfie will be older and will enjoy it a little more. Because of that Jon was pretty mad since he took some days off. So we looked at our local library for museum passes and decided to check out Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge. I am going to write up a review of the place on the blog because it was really beautiful.

CSA We are getting the end of the share. Just three more weeks left, getting our last share in time for Thanksgiving. Luckily we are dwindling down to the veggies that last longer, the roots and gourds. We got some long pie squash, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, lots of leafy greens, carrots (orange yellow and purple), radishes, and turnips. Since the weather has been crazy, raspberries are JUST dying out, along with tomatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers.

Articles I thought I would share this article about how a bartender is making motherhood work. As someone who loves cocktails, I always wonder if it is something I could pursue as a career. I don’t think I EVER want to be a bartender, but it does make me wonder how people do it.

Vegan MOFO 2017: In the Weeds

Okay so this isn’t a scary drink or cake for Halloween. This drink was GOING to be posted last week but I didn’t quite squeeze it in. Which means my last cake post will be tomorrow (or later in the week) as a result. Not quite making it for Vegan MOFO. NOOOO!

But if you want something spooky, might I recommend making the Masala Bloody MaryGreen Mary, Reanimator, Suspira, Spiced Pumpkin Carriage, or the Pumpkin Spice Macaccino for those who don’t partake in alcohol.

I could of named this cocktail something like Spicy Cucumber Lemongrass Spritzer, but cocktails need names damn it! Names that tells you NOTHING about the drink itself. Bloody Mary? Tells you nothing about ingredients (I mean other than something’s red), Tom Collins still nothing, Death in the Afternoon, nope. Manhattan– well you get the point.

So how did I get this name? Well, similarly to the Green Mary, I have a lot plants going into this drink. And for the most part, they are things I don’t use often enough. The lemongrass set forever in my fridge, cucumbers always go bad, and I have to be very careful with jalapenos since they can make the air toxic when cooking. Add in the slightly green color of the cocktail, I thought it was a great name.

I like this cocktail because you muddle the cucumber with a little bit of sugar. That way you don’t need any simple syrup or a juicer. Heck you don’t even need a fancy muddler- I just used the other end of my ice cream scoop.

As usual I am too lazy to actually buy citruses so I used some orange bitters to top it off and some lemon seltzer. I am glad about that choice because it gives the whole drink a nice light and clean taste.

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Vegan MOFO 2017: Green Mary

I’ve finally made this cocktail! I had the idea to make a bloody mary with tomatillos for awhile. But was nervous about where to start, so I googled it and there are MANY people who had a similar idea. At first I was going to make a recipe for a recipe roundup (the tomatillo edition will be coming up soon!) but I never seemed to have all the ingredients. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money for something that isn’t really food.

It also didn’t help that I never had vodka on hand. I am not a huge vodka person, I don’t quite see the point. So it doesn’t have any flavor? Isn’t the fun of booze to have the flavor? I get it- there is a time and place for vodka, and some of the liquors I like are pretty much infused vodkas.

So when it became tomatillo season here I knew I really HAD to make some cocktails with tomatillos. I jazzed things up a little and made the jalapeno lemongrass vodka, and decided to use it in the bloody mary. Since the vodka uses lemongrass, I tried to use more “asian” based mix ins. Instead of tabasco sauce, I used a little Sriracha. Instead of vegan Worcestershire sauce, I use some sweet soy sauce.

If you are interested in this drink but not a spicy person, simply make the lemongrass vodka without jalapenos. I would recommend keeping in the sriracha, it add just a hint of spice. The recipe makes 4 drinks, and they aren’t very strong. If you want to make them stronger just change the ratio of water to vodka, though you might want to change the serving size to 6 glasses instead of 4.

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Vegan MOFO 2017: Infusing Vodka- Jalapeno Lemongrass

I am always shocked at how many vodkas aren’t vegan. Stupid filters! And it gets more complicated when you start going into the flavored vodkas. Is the bacon vodka vegan? So cake vodka is vegan but not candy bar vodka? It can get all so confusing.

But in many ways, buying these flavored vodkas are pointless. It is so easy to make your own at home! It is literally as simple as dropping crap in a bottle, adding vodka, and waiting to two weeks, drain. Okay it involves a little foresight on your end, you need to start making the vodka before creating the cocktail.

I originally made this infused vodka last year… when I was pregnant. haha. I didn’t drink it for awhile. See my CSA started to grow lemongrass, and I didn’t have time to make a curry paste with it. So I soaked it with vodka, waited several months till I could drink again. I was going to make some recipes for cocktails, but I couldn’t find any lemongrass vodkas available commercially. So I knew I would have to make a recipe for the blog.

So now I decided to give the recipe. But I added a little twist. I had a jalapeno from my CSA and couldn’t use it because they were super spicy. Long story short- baby- can’t use it. So I thought make something ONLY for adults (and didn’t involve heating up the pepper). There is a slight trick to this, the jalapeno infuses MUCH faster than the lemongrass and only needs a few hours. 

So make this vodka, and I will have a recipe soon posted to use it.

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Vegan MOFO 2017: The Cowboy Cake

Rations, rations, rations. That is what motivates people to cut out eggs and dairy from their cakes. So I have yet another cake to share that was already vegan. Naturally I made some modifications, but let’s start with the history.

Many kids in America has played The Oregon Trail. I have not. But if you haven’t played it, the premise was pretty easy. It was a computer game where you traveled across the United States on the Oregon Trail to get to the west. On the REAL Oregon trail, you probably would of made this cake. Or if you were traveling anywhere really, whether you were a cowboy or relocating. Most everything in this recipe is shelf stable, making it great for most pioneers.

The recipe may look familiar with other cakes- boiled raisin cake, war cake, depression cake, or my favorite milkless eggless butterless cake (thanks wikipedia) What makes this version pretty awesome is that you don’t dirty up too many dishes. Unlike the Wacky Cake, which tries to only use one pan, this one really isn’t mess when mixing the batter. Sure you will have to dirty up another small pot, and something to drain the raisins, but overall it is a pretty easy clean up

Now I could of just made the recipe line by line, but I thought this could use some jazzing up. First I stuck with raisins, but you can easily swap out any other dried fruit. The recipe even suggests it. Just chop up any large fruit, and just follow the recipe. 

But I thought I would use a little booze in the recipe. I thought and thought about what kind- and finally settled on a gose beer (pronounced go-suh). A Gose is a sour beer originating in Germany. It is spiced with coriander, and is known to be salty. It gets it’s name since it originally was brewed in the town Goslar. The style almost disappeared in obscurity, but it has recently become really popular since the rise of sour beers.

Can’t find a gose beer? Any sour beer will work just fine. If you don’t know a lot about beer, just ask someone who is working at the liquor store or look for any bottle with sour, lambic, or wild ale. If you choose just a sour beer (or any type of sour juice) remember to add a pinch of salt, gose beers are naturally salty.

I used Sixpoint Jammer. It is a gose that is vegan and American, so I like that. I was lucky enough to buy the can individually from Total Wines and More, but you can also see if you can order it online. But remember, this isn’t the ONLY vegan gose out there. There are tons, and it might even be from the country you live in.

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Vegan MOFO 2017: Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake

“Why can’t you make normal cakes?” asks my husband. Duh- that would be boring. I am very much that type of person who hears about something weird and crazy and instead of thinking “that sounds gross, I should stay away” I think “my god, that sounds gross! there must be something to it!” I’ve ordered a mustard cocktail, miso ice cream, and spicy pepper ice cream. This is one of those instances- sauerkraut? In a cake?

Another appeal of this cake is that it has Pennsylvania Dutch roots. I probably should make a post of all the regional recipes featured on this blog. And this isn’t the only Pennsylvanian dutch recipe featured in the book. There the shoofly pie, which pushes the definition of a cake (and a pie) and the Moravian Sugar Cake, which sadly I know I will not have anytime to attempt (it uses yeast.)

Since it is National Chocolate Cupcake Day, here is a little fun chocolate cake history. It took quite sometime for bakers to add chocolate to their sweets. Originally chocolate was viewed as a medicine, and was more focused in Europe for melting in milk, or making milk chocolate bars. I think you can hear more about this evolution from Stuff You Missed in History Class But slowly it made it’s way in a cookbook in a very small amount in a spiced cake. Sarah Roerer takes the credit for pouring melted chocolate into a cake, to make a “healthy” cake. Do you think we will be laughing about how we make “superfood” desserts by adding spirulina and maca to our cakes in the future?

And there may be many of you wondering “what’s up with Devil’s Food Cake?” This is something I’ve been wondering for a LONG time as a child. According to Wikipedia and American Cakes– not much. Early recipes used a lot of different things in the batter- sour milk, heavy cream, sour cream, baking powder, baking soda, white sugar, brown sugar, melted chocolate, cocoa powder, spices, and even mashed potatoes. Confusing huh? Make things even more confusing not all Devil’s Food cakes has the same frosting. What can be agreed on that Devil’s Food Cake is a fun name next to the other American classic- Angel’s Food Cake. And in general, there’s more chocolate than normal so the cake is super rich and dark.

The recipe in American Cakes calls for chocolate sour cream frosting. The recipe reminded me of the simple chocolate mousse recipes I’ve seen using silken tofu. I would make my own sour cream from silken tofu anyways, so I just used the Chocolate Mousse from The Post Punk Kitchen (from the Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook) Depending on how you like the frosting you can halve the recipe. I use maybe 60% of the recipe, but it is plausible to use the whole thing.

Just like the book, I used canned sauerkraut. It worked out fine, but I think you would probably get dreamier texture by using homemade or “fresher” sauerkraut. I normally buy jarred sauerkraut but I didn’t have two cups. If you don’t really like sauerkraut but want to give this recipe a go, I suggest sticking with canned. It will have exactly enough you need.

this is what happens when you try and take photos for the blog with a kid… they just want to see what is going on.

Like any cake recipe this really isn’t “healthy.” But it does have a fair amount of iron and vitamin c (from the sauerkraut and cocoa powder). So I guess if you are a menstruating pirate- this will help fight anemia and scurvy! If you are a fretful parent who is thinking about making a fruit cake for their baby’s first birthday, this one isn’t the worst. You can cut down on the salt and sugar. And the frosting is made with tofu so you get a little bonus protein!

That being said, I am all for just straight up enjoying your cake. I liked the taste, and I think I would just chop the sauerkraut more in the future. It is super moist and easy to make. Oh and a little extra fiber. What is there not to like?

he eventually got that cake

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