Well, it is a new year, and I still haven’t gotten my shit together with consistently updating this blog. Things have drastically changed over the years. For starters blog just aren’t as popular as they once were. Everyone is flocking over to instagram, which is nice, but I despise the new “blog” format that is now taking place on it. Like, it was originally made for scrolling, and having several paragraphs on an image is exhausting to read, and type on a phone (I know I could type it on a computer and copy and paste but you get my point) Plus, I am sure many of the people who read my blog know, I am not aiming for only polished celeb blogs. I read all kinds. Everyone has something to bring to the table, and if I just want to read polished fluff, I think instagram does that just fine.
But the computer situation and napping situation is constantly changing, and finding time to sit on the computer and write is getting increasingly more difficult. But I would like to keep this blog going, as it does give me a creative outlet. But I do have some goals for this blog this year.
This seems obvious, but I have a bunch of ideas I want to write about. There are a million posts started waiting to be finished, so you know, I would like to finish them. I think I just need to get a little more casual about what I write and keep things to the point. I am not writing a mini novel.
Post more on Instagram
I love Instagram, and I remember when I first started blogging, instagram was kind-of just a way to plug content on the blog. I mean it still can be, but I am trying to get a little more open about just posting on a whim. It might be a little more kid/parenting centered, which may or may not be everyone’s cup of tea. And that is okay, but I do want to make more of an outlet for in the middle vegan parents. So much is super health and hippy dippy and I can’t relate to that. I know there has to be other people like this.
Update the layout
How many years do I say this? I would like to make upgrades to the layout because I will always love to make money from this blog because you know, we live in a capitalistic society. Upgrading the layout would help with search engine optimization and the like. But I won’t go totally crazy of trying to make my blog a marketable zombie though.
Visit more vegan restaurants
Part of what took so long for my “new year resolutions” post (site resolutions?) was that I was spending all my napping minutes looking up on Happy Cow at all the vegan restaurants in New Jersey. I want to try and buy less little snacks and spend my money at locally owned vegan restaurants. it seems more ethical to spend $15 buck on a meal at a small business than $15 on lots of little snacks at various major super markets.
And that is it, my major goals this year for the blog. Anyone have some fun goals for 2020? My personal goal is drink a lot during election day. God I am so stressed. I hope I don’t cry as much as election day 2016 *crosses fingers* But for now, here are some rando links that I’ve dug lately.
Gastropod: Eat the Invaders Episode – I love gastropod. They don’t release a ton of episodes but each one is well research, well structured, and well edited. This episode had me wanting to do some foraging with Wolfie in the spring.
Eat the Invaders – this is the site that is referred to in the podcast. It is worth checking out if you just want to skip to foraging, though it is just for North America.
Lott House and Old Cake Recipe – This article I found via The Full Helping and I found it really interesting. And naturally being a history nerd, I will be trying out this cake recipe (veganized naturally)
Oh No! Ross and Carrie Cafe Gratitude Episode – I love food history, especially vegan/vegetarian food history. Oh No Ross and Carrie do a double whammy episode talking about The Source Family, and their vegetarian restaurant (one of the firsts) and they talk about the shady background of the current Cafe Gratitude.
I feel a little bit like this “produce bucket” series is just a bunch of root veggies that I have no idea what to do with. It isn’t that turnips are bad, they just tend to be treated like an uninspiring root that can be swapped out with anything else. I often found roasted with a bunch of other roots under a roast (or vegan “roast”). It is also guilty of following the recipe patterns of other root staples, fries, simple roasting, latkes, chips, or the dreaded mashed recipe.
These are all fine and dandy, I am sure shredding turnip and frying it like a latke tastes awesome. But I always like to have interesting and creative recipes to try out. So let’s start with some basics:
Produce Spotlight: The Ultimate Guide to Turnips
After finding this website with their detailed information about kohlrabi, I figured I would swing by to check out if they had one on turnips. They did! The page gives you everything you might be asking, do they give gas? are they healthy/starchy/high carb? what do they taste like? what’s up with these greens? A quick little TLDR; is that rutabaga (or swedes) are NOT turnips. They are very similar and probably could be switched out quite easily if in a jam but you might need to adjust cooktimes.
Why bother eating your turnip? Why don’t you spend lots of time making it into a lantern! How could I not mention this since it is so close to Halloween?! Before pumpkins were available in Europe, people would carve faces into turnips. If you are not sure if it is worth the effort, I will say they do look terrifying!
Leek and Cannellini Bean Soup
This might not be the most soul inspiring soup mix. Cool white beans and leeks, but I do always get leeks from my CSA. Plus, I think I’ve been a little bit of an ignorant jerk with leeks. But I like the idea of a simple soup using turnips instead of starchy potatoes. The soup isn’t vegan, but easy to change. Use veggie stock and take away the cheese.
Chickpea, Turnip, and Lemon Soup
The hipster foodie in me is a little bit of a sucker of anything with lemon and chickpeas in the title. Who knows why. This soup does sound like a perfect cozy soup, maybe served with bread for dinner, or made for lunches for the week. Half of the soup gets blended to make a thicker broth, but still leaving chickpea and turnip chunks to munch on.
Soup Joumou (Haitian Beef and Pumpkin Soup)
Is this soup vegan? Um…. clearly not. But it looks fairly easy to veganize if you sub the beef for either a fake meat like seitan or something simple like beans. The best part? It is a great soup to make during the October/Fall season when you have a few hot summer veggies producing in the fields, and some root veggies starting to come in. I easily have almost all the ingredients in my house right now.
Cabbage with White Beans, Turnip, and Pecorino
Again not a vegan dish, but you can easily sub the pecorino with some sort of vegan parmesan. I love these type of quick side dishes in the winter. Making a casserole? Baked tofu? Quickly cook this up while the dinner is in the oven.
Farro Salad with Turnips and Greens
If you are lucky enough to get turnips AND the greens this would be a great dish to make. I love these grain salads as they are filling and a great way to eat a whole grain.
Shaved Rutabaga and Turnip Salad with Scallions
I found quite a few “faux potato” salad recipes, which seemed like it might be pretty tasty to eat turnips. But I liked the look of this dish, even though it doesn’t have a mayo-like base, it makes me think of some of the oil and vinegar based potato salads. Nice and light side, that would be great to pair with some of the heavier winter dishes.
Miso Glazed Turnips
There have been a few recipes that mix together miso and turnips. It sounds like it would be a yummy way to add more flavor to this mild root. This recipe uses butter, but just use some oil of choice or some vegan butter.
Lo Bak Gou: Cantonese Turnip Cake
I’ve first became aware of these cakes from Susan as she usually gets a turnip cake when eating out at Chinese restaurants. I had never heard of it before, so I made it using a recipe from the V Street cookbook. Even though the name says Turnip Cake, it is usually made with daikon radish. But it makes my kitchen super stinky, so maybe I will try it with all turnip this time.
Turnips and Greens with Cashew Cream Sauce
Another recipe that uses turns AND their greens. I like how it is tossed in a cashew cream sauce, making it like those “faux potato salads” I said actually sounded nice.
This recipe is not vegan, and I am not sure how vegan-izable it will be. But it is TOTALLY speaking to me! I’ve tried it once with rutabaga, and honestly I have to try again soon. So this recipe sits here as inspiration for turnips. And if you are on this page and aren’t vegan- MAKE THIS AND TELL IF IT IS AWESOME! It just seems like such a great recipe for a Thanksgiving or holiday table.
Beet and Turnip Gratin
Beets are usually sitting in my fridge and I can’t figure what to do with them. I just get lazy, and maybe I just have this weird thing about roots? Anyways, this dish looks REALLY pretty! And pretty much vegan. Just use veggie stock and a vegan butter (or oil, or vegan magic)
Crispy Turnip and Bean Balls
These are super simple, only 4 ingredients plus salt. So I am really interested to see how they taste. But honestly, they just look so yummy. And they look like a quick and easy dish to make when serving with other sides and grains.
Turnip Veggie Burgers
This burger just looks crazy. Like in a good way. Perhaps burger isn’t the best word, maybe just sandwich is best way to describe it. I know there are so many people who scoff at the term burger being used for anything other than beef. The bulk is just rice and turnips, and a BUTT LOAD OF HERBS. They topped it with some fancy pickles and a tahini like spread, and it just sounds yummy.
Bean Bake with Greens and Turnip
Truthfully, I think this recipe will tank. Looking at the ingredients, just doesn’t give me a sense of confidence. BUT I find the idea great. Some classic baked beans (the tomato-y kind, not the sweet Boston kind) and topping it with some thinly sliced turnip that serve as a little roasted layer.
Yes, I’ve even managed to find some desserts that use turnips. The first recipe isn’t very pretty, to be honest. But it is sort of like a cobbler, part turnips-part apple. Honestly, I am not 100% sure if it is suppose to be a sweet treat, some veggie sides I find WAY too sweet (hello sweet potato casseroles)
Eastham Turnip Pie
There were a few turnip cakes out there, and honestly they are simple enough to make. Just sub any cooked mashed veggies for turnip. But pie? That’s another story. The recipe isn’t vegan, but I am sure you could sub some aquafaba, and the cream for a store bought creamer or homemade cashew cream. I tried making a similar recipe by using the pumpkin pie recipe from Vegan Pie in the Sky and it didn’t work. But I refuse to give up! I will try it one more time, sticking to this recipe a little more closely. And no, this isn’t hipsters gone crazy, it is a traditional dish. There is even a pie made with rutabaga.
Anyone has a favorite way to eat turnips?
1526 Sansom Street Philadelphia, 19102
Franklin’s Table at Penn 3401 Walnut Street Philadelphia, 19104
Whole Foods Market 2101 Pennsylvania Avenue Philadelphia, 19130
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This visit was not planned at all. It all started when I was listening to Gastropod’s episode on french fries. One of the hosts said their favorite french fry condiment was from Goldies. I knew the name, I knew it was vegan, and I knew it was in Philly. So I thought just hop on a train with Wolfie, get some fries and a shake and make a fun day trip. Somehow it turned out to be a big day out with mom’s and toddlers. The fun of that was getting the input of other people who weren’t vegan.
But some history on this place before the food. So Goldie is part of the Cook n Solo family. You might of seen our review of Dizengoff, or perhaps if you are a foodie you might of seen the Zahav book lurking on a cookbook shelf or cooking site. Also part of the family is the very non-vegan federal donuts, which has a pretty die hard fanbase. A lot of these restaurants draw a large inspiration from Middle Eastern and Jewish foods. You can get some bazooka gum at Dizengoff, Goldie says their kosher on their site, and Abe Fisher serves latkas. (It’s also worth noting that Federal Donuts, Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, and Goldie are all within the same two blocks on the same street)
So what is Goldie all about? The executive chef is the super rad Caitlin McMillan. They serve pretty much falafels, fries, and tahini shakes. And let me tell you, these shakes are legendary. As I walked from Dizengoff’s to Goldies, I tried to get Wolfie excited about the tahini milkshake. A woman walking by asked if we were going to Goldies, and only had to say “Those milkshakes are worth getting excited for.”
So what makes those milkshakes divine? Probably the Soom Tahini. I am normally too poor for Soom, but we use to carry their chocolate tahini at Animo and it was bliss. Soom is a local company that uses Ethiopian White Humera sesame seeds, which ends up being the smoothest runniest yummiest tahini ever. Then unlike some copycat recipes, they use an actual milkshake machine in the restaurant, making a hard to replicate thick shake. I got the original plain tehina shake, and my goodness it is heaven. You can taste the yummy bitter notes of the tahini, but it is perfectly balanced with sweetness. I was able to also try the mint chocolate shakes which are mint flavored shakes with chocolate chips scattered inside. This shake you could barely taste any tahini at all. I really wanted to try the turkish coffee, but maybe next time I go with Jon in the future I’ll get it.
But what about the fries? Well, they were pretty good. They were served with house made ketchup, which was the star of the show. The ketchup has a hint of spice to it, nothing too spicy, even toddlers were going nuts for it. They even sell the ketchup on it’s own, if you need more than the tiny little cup they give you, or if you need to take it home.
Sadly, I didn’t get to try the falafels, which is pretty hard to do honestly. You can get falafels in a pita, solo, in a salad, or even on the fries. Oh well.
We went to their main store location, but you can visit them at Whole Food’s Restaurant Row (reviewed here), or Franklin’s Table. This makes it available for lunch if your are visiting the various museums or if you are in University City. I can whole heartily suggest visiting Goldie, even if it is just for a milkshake. Be warned, the main location is small, and can fill up easily during lunch hours. You can easily take your lunch to go and eat at Rittenhouse Square.
My friend Justine came to visit and we ended up taking the train into Philadelphia and going to Little Baby’s Ice Cream, something she has wanted to do since Wolfie was a teeny little bb. They are known for their crazy flavors, and I love how they do fun flavors for both the dairy and non-dairy. Plus almost half of the menu is vegan so year. Wolfie got the chocolate milano and I got the balsamic banana. Justine got a mix of chocolate milano and red eye. If you check the place out, be warned, the baby size is very baby sized!
In the morning I quickly put started jars of pickled jalapeños and a cayenne hot sauce. The pickled jalapeños are just sliced jalapeños in a brine, nothing special. They are just good to have on hand during the winter instead of buying one pepper for a recipe. The hot sauce we will see how it turns out. It is just cayenne peppers, some tomatoes, and lots of garlic cloves and scapes. After 4 days I plan on blending it.
For dinner I made a massive pot of chili, using 6 cups of pinto beans, 2 asian eggplants, 3 lb roughly pureed tomatoes, 3 italia peppers, and quinoa. It made a bunch, and it was pretty tasty. My Mom gave me some avocados, so we sliced them and topped the chili with them.
I had to work today, so I packed (and didn’t photograph) the last bit of the tomatillo chili I made last week with some rice. Wolfie didn’t nap at my Mother-in-Laws, nor did he nap well last night, so he was an emotional roller coaster. I was too tired to think, so I quickly made the chili mac casserole. It definitely tastes amazing this time around, but I didn’t photograph it because it never looks amazing lol
Tuesday has been busy. Monday was a DISASTER of a day. No nap, Wolfie tried pooping on the floor (yes, you read that right), lots of screaming, and crying, yuck. But he fell asleep and slept through the whole night! I first in a long time. Then we had fun at a friend’s birthday party. We quickly made some cupcakes in the morning, but it ended up being unnecessary as they reserved a Mr. Softee truck, and got a Bomb Pop, which was MASSIVE! And he even managed to eat pretty much the whole thing (ignoring the amount the melted and dripped down his hands) But what did we eat from our CSA?
Well, what isn’t pictured is the stuff I ate during the day. I had a peach smoothie that morning. Although peaches weren’t included in my weekly tally, I did end up picking 9 pounds of peaches at an orchard near our CSA. Two of those pounds were made into a sorbet, and we have been mostly just snacking on them. But some did freeze up in the fridge, so we used them up in smoothies, which is a great way to use up veggies and fruit when they accidentally freeze. I also had leftover stir-fry and snacked on cherry tomatoes.
For dinner we made some dal from a kids book named Bilal loves Dal. It is a pretty simple slow cooker recipes, simple enough they have a recipe for kids to make. It didn’t use many veggies, other than some sautéed tomato and onion. Wolfie did help dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker so he was pretty excited to taste it. I served it next to a green bean dish from Vegan Richa. The green beans were fairly quick to make, and it was really tasty. I just had some brown rice cook up in the rice cooker and served some of the leftover tomatillo and chickpea curry.
Today wasn’t nearly as crazy as previous days, but Wolfie didn’t nap which really eats away at my ability to cook food AND blog. So hopefully this post goes up. The day was mainly snacking on some of the cherry tomatoes, ground cherries, and peaches. I didn’t really get to eat a proper lunch, and just wolfed down a bagel with hummus, using no produce. Dinner was a Vegan Richa recipe for a chickpea and eggplant dish. It was pretty eggplant heavy since one eggplant was more than what the recipe called for. But I served it with leftover curries and brown rice, in a sort of self serve sort of dinner.
Oof, what a morning. Wolfie didn’t want to eat breakfast and was HANGRY, and it was sooooooo humid at the farm. Yuck, yuck, yuck. It effected some our picking, as we didn’t get our full pints of ground cherries and blackberries, but we will survive. I have a good bit leftover this week, but some of it was a little bit that we didn’t get to eat, or because I never got around to chopping up a bunch of peppers for preserving.
We also had the option to choose cantaloupe or a watermelon, but Wolfie was super hyped about the watermelon. So I already chopped it all up and he already ate some. He also ate some of the ground cherries at the farm. And I ate a large amount of cherry tomatoes while putting together this list. And I used a bunch for the dinner tonight, so like, totally inaccurate list of produce lol. But here it is-
- 2 garlic scapes
- 1 green bell peppers
- 1 small head of cabbage
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1 large slicing tomato
- 2 cipollini onions
- 4 oz tomatillos
- 14 oz carrots
- 1 bunch of scallions
- 2 Hungarian wax peppers
- 1 lb 8oz beets (1 golden)
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 lb 6 oz rather large cherry tomatoes
- 1 quart sun gold tomatoes
- 1/4 pint blackberries
- 2 italia peppers
- 3 small leeks
- 3 scallions
- 3/4 pint blackberries
- 3/4 pint ground cherries
- 1 overflowing quart sun gold tomatoes and other red small cherry tomatoes
- 1 lb 3oz tomatillos
- 8 oz green beans
- 10 roma tomatoes
- 5 small slicing tomatoes
- 10 oz carrots
- 2 Japanese eggplants
- 1 lb 5 oz rather large cherry tomatoes
- 2 1/4 lb blue gold potatoes
- 2 poblano peppers
- 8 oz beets
- 4 italia peppers
- 1 1/4 lb okra
- 1 watermelon
When we got back from the farm I was starving, so I quickly toasted a bagel, and slathered on some hummus I bought and topped it was some thinly sliced tomato. It was heavenly. I partly did it because the tomato had a few bad spots coming through, so better use it now. Wolfie chowed down on a bowl of watermelon for lunch, as did Jon. And Jon and I totally had some leftover pizza as well (for like a mid snack?)
For dinner I made a moo shu styled stir-fry. I used the Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook as my base sauce, though I totally skipped the sriracha for Wolfie. I added some pan fried tofu, and served it with rice. What veggies were in it you ask? Spring carrots, cabbage, a green bell pepper, an italia pepper, and scallions. It was pretty good, except the carrots weren’t jiving. They were spring carrots so the earthiness was a little too pronounced. Oh well. Wolfie actually ATE THE VEGGIES!!! So I am taking it as a win!
Would you pick watermelon or cantaloupe?
My beets have been building up in the fridge, and I have been struggling to find recipes that use them. Most call for beets to be roasted, because let’s face it, it is best way to eat them. Sadly it is hot and I am not having my oven on for longer than 30 minutes. So, I figured I would try a sweet route- make beet jam. There was leftover blueberries and strawberries that Wolfie wasn’t really eating, so I figured why not toss them in with the beets.
While that was bubbling up, I had a tomato starting to go bad. I figured I would thinly slice it and make a quesadilla with it for lunch. Nothing terribly crazy, and I wish I added at least some sriracha but oh well. It was okay, pretty much the downfall is that Aldi’s vegan cheese doesn’t work well with quesadillas since it is fairly runny.
While starting to make dinner, I noticed all the okra was frozen (my fridge does this a lot, I also had to toss out frozen lettuce) and I wasn’t sure how baking it would effect it. So I tried my best to wash them off, and quickly chop them. Tossed them on a baking tray to freeze. At the very least I can try and make that pomegranate okra dish this winter, which called for frozen okra anyways.
So I ended up taking the leftover chili and made chili mac casserole. I chopped up the rest of the tomato from lunch, and yet another tomato that was starting to go bad, and sprinkled them on top. Sadly I am super unimpressed by the tomatoes this year, they have really large cores, making a big tomato half usable. You can even see the core in the chopped tomatoes below. Very unimpressed this year.
This dinner turned out kind-of disappointing. Lacking flavor, and I know the cheese sauce was lacking because I ran out of cashews. Bummer. But still was filling and good. And I eventually added more sriracha when I went for seconds.
Today is pretty much a leftovers day, so there isn’t much to report so I thought I would try and post about my favorite gear for a CSA. Clearly you can make do without any fancy stuff, but these are the items I find most helpful.
A Large Salad Spinner
We barely survived with a small spinner for quite some time. It was largely because we had small apartment. But having a large easy to use salad spinner is a MUST. You will get lots of greens and they will be dirty. I think I once washed a head of lettuce 4 times with new water. Oof. It has also proven to be helpful with other vegetables like green beans, or peas.
A Container that Keeps Vegetables Fresher Longer
I find having a container that has a basket that sits in second container is perfect for lettuce or greens. Sure you could wash your greens in the spinner and pop it in the fridge but it can take up a lot of space. Also by having this container you can wash some greens, store them for the week, and wash and clean another batch to store in the salad spinner (or use that night)
“Berry” quart container
Elizabeth’s Embellishments | Crate and Barrel | Food 52 | Creative Co-op Collection | Crisp Kitchen
I LOVE our reusable baskets. If you have to pick your own produce, then your local CSA probably wants their pints and quarts back. By the end of the season the baskets start to look pretty sad. These baskets were very on trend a few years ago, but now they are falling out of fashion (probably because most people don’t like to transfer their food from one container to another) I would like to buy more of these containers, and might have to visit crate and barrel and check out their super cheap ones, as one basket is proving to not be enough.
You can just wear regular old rain boots, but I recommend getting some really nice ones. I’ve heard great things about Muck Boots, and although they are not a vegan company, most of their boots are. If you don’t have tons of cash to drop, looking at the selection of boots in the gardening section is another great option, as you are battling mud more than water.
What do you guys think is a CSA/farmers market must have?
Oh boy this week is going to be CRAZY! So I am hoping I can keep up with everything. Needless to say I am probably not going to eat much of CSA shares outside of leftovers for lunches (if I am lucky) So you will largely see dinners. So here we go:
I honestly can’t remember what I ate for lunch. I can say that Wolfie ate the last bit of beet pasta, I have been giving Jon little bits of green bean and cucumber salad for lunch, and he had a wrap with tofu and leftovers. Nothing super exciting.
I got to make this AMAZING dish! This is always one of my favorite dishes from Vegan Eats World. Part of the reason is that I love the sweet and tart taste of cherry tomatoes when they get warm/cooked. It also uses up some green beans. I love how she uses small potatoes which makes my life easier, and oh yeah, that BAKED TOFU! I took the time to bake the tofu and made my house super hot, but no regrets. There’s leftovers and I am SOO excited about eating the leftovers this week.
Tonights dinner was super yummy, even if it doesn’t really look so hot. It is a Chorizo Chili with Tomatillos and Sweet Potatoes, a recipe I heavily modified from Sunbasket. I used Trader Joe’s soyrizo, so that’s the obvious swap. But I doubled the sweet potato, cooked in some red lentils to prevent it from being too soupy and to sub the black beans. They also just say “spice blend” so I just added whatever I thought sounded good. I am thinking about maybe using the leftovers for a crazy chili mac. *crosses fingers* I will totally have to do it, mostly because I just noticed the list for the week is all chilis and stews. Oops.