Saturday, January 28, 2012

Veg of the Week

...Keeping it simple.
This week was a busy week, and I found myself thankful to have random food options around the house. For example, on a busy morning before work, I threw some spinach and a frozen Morning Star veggie pattie, banana and a cutie clementine, and some oil and vinegar salad dressing into my lunch bag and rushed out the door. All of that was easy stuff to grab. It may not have been the fanciest lunch ever, but it was yummy and satisfying.
Simple, yet filling salad- veggie pattie, as much spinach as you want, and 1-2 tbsp of dressing. I would have liked some veggies in it, but life doesn't always go that smoothly! I ate a bunch of it before I remembered to take a pic...
Then, by the end of the week, I still just had a bunch of random items in the fridge that I had bought for other meals and not used all of. So another opportunity for a salad came about! I get bored with salad sometimes, and like to throw in fun twists for unique flavors. I had some spinach...
Some carrots, red peppers, tomatoes...
Some Gardein brand vegan buffalo "chicken" pieces (which were SOO GOOD MMM!!!)
The directions said to cook them on stove top in one Tbsp of oil, but I just used a little water in the pan. I don't like using oil all the time, it's really not necessary for certain things!
I threw all my ingredients into my just-emptied spinach container, sprinkled a few pinches of Daiya brand vegan cheese on top, and threw in two tbsp of barbecue sauce. This is what I mean by adding unique flavors- the buffalo flavor from the Gardein pieces plus the bbq sauce is so fun and different for a "salad!"
I put the lid on this and shook it all up...
And chowed downnnn...!
Yum. And Veg. Yay.
For dessert...I had this ice cream made with coconut milk in the freezer and had yet to try it. This was the first time I'd ever had it. Dairy free, woohoo! Pomegranate with chocolate chunks has been a favorite of mine in terms of the more popular dairy ice creams...I thought if I wanted to start cutting out dairy from my diet I just wouldn't be able to have it anymore.
I was WRONG!
Oh. M. Geeee. For reals. It really is easy and rewarding to eat vegan food when there are amazing, yummy options that give you such an uplifting positive feeling. Love it.
It was hard not to eat the whole container. But the serving size says 1/2 cup, so I stayed close to that amount...barely. Mmmmmm.
Of course I couldn't help but bake something this week as well... I made another item from the cookbook The Joy of Vegan Baking!
(image found using Google image search)
Soft Pretzels. Again, I don't want to post the exact recipe on here because it is not my right to if the owner has not themselves already posted it online. But you can get it fairly cheap at Amazon, see: http://www.amazon.com/Joy-Vegan-Baking-Compassionate-Traditional/dp/1592332803/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327887169&sr=8-1
But I can tell you that the ingredients list is very short! And as long as you can get your yeast to rise, the rest is easy easy easy!
You basically just let the yeast rise, mix your ingredients, and you only have to knead the dough for 3 minutes! You wont even break a sweat. Then let it rise for two hours, separate it into 12 balls. Then you roll the balls into long cylinders, make fun shapes, dip in baking soda/water mix, and put in the oven! I was curious to see if the recipe was floating around online anywhere. The first link I found was this one- it's not the recipe, but another person blogging about how easy it was! : http://cadryskitchen.com/2011/07/03/soft-pretzels-from-jovb/
Then I found the recipe posted at another site. So. I can tell you that other people have posted the recipe and it's quite easy to find online.
I cut the recipe in half when I made it...
Cute little dough ball, about to let it rise.
Separated into balls:
Rolled out. It said roll it into 16 in long sections, so I set a measurer out, lol.
Don't mind the dirty oven :/
And yes, there is something else in the oven cooking with the pretzels...you'll have to wait til next week to hear about what it is!
15 minutes, and not a second more, of baking- and PERFECTION!
The "P" is for Pooches For Peace of course :)
They were the perfect texture. A little firm on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. I ate some dipped in mustard, some dipped in hummus...
And some smothered in White Chocolate Wonderful vegan peanut butter. I have an issue with peanut butter in that I'm completely obsessed with it...
What I've been thinking about this week is this- it's so much easier to eat vegan and/or vegetarian food if your house is stocked with options. When I very first started trying to eat more vegetarian meals in 2008, it was easier than I thought because my stepmother is vegetarian, so I had always seen what she ate. Now that I'm working more vegan options into my diet, a big part of making it work is just shopping differently in general and stocking your cupboards with those options. And not doing it all at once probably makes it easy- I just slowly started changing what I bought as I tried different recipes (i.e.- vegan butter instead of dairy butter, vegan cheese instead of dairy cheese..etc). and before I knew it I had all these vegan options in the house.
-Hoping you all have a week full of yummy, ~Anna (&The Pooches)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Friday and Postcard Update...

From the cupcake patrol!






Here's what the weather is like this morning here in Ohio...excessive rain turned snow turned something in between....it's supposed to be nice and sunny for the second half of the day. Let's see if that happens. This is a typical day of our roller coaster weather!




As for the postcards, people are really excited about them! I've passed out 57 to family, friends, and co-workers so far, so I have 43 left. By the end of today I hope to only have about 20 at the most (actually I hope I can distributed the rest today, but I'm being realistic with my goal!). Some people who love dogs haven't even heard about HB 14 and have asked me how I get information about it, so it has created an opportunity for me to share that information as well. This has really been a great way to spread the word. My stepmom works at a positive reinforcement training facility, and they took a bunch to set on their counter! So in short, things are going well and not only are the postcards serving to spread awareness about HB 14 to the governor, but also to the public in general!


~Wishing a Happy Friday, -The Pooches (&Anna)

Monday, January 23, 2012

HB 14 Update

UPDATE BELOW!

HB 14 has not yet been voted on by the Senate, according to STOPBSL at http://stopbsl.com/2012/01/22/ohio-hb-14-still-on-senate-calendar/

Let's hope they vote for it!

I just looked up the tracking information for the postcards...and although I have not been home yet this afternoon to check, I think they will be waiting for me in the mailbox!!! I'll update if I get them!

Send Positive Thoughts to Ohio's senators for HB 14!!!!!!

Woofs of Hope, ~The Pooches (&Anna)

They DID come!


I hope I can give all these away! Yay!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another Yogi tea tag...

I accidentally ripped this one, but just wanted to post a pic of it because this hits on a topic that is easy for a lot of us to forget... That we all have radiance and sunshine in us... Sometimes it's just a matter of finding what brings it out in you. And also remembering not to let other people take it out of you, but rather, be your own self no matter what anyone else may think.
~Having Positive Thoughts, -The Pooches (&Anna)

Veg of the Week


...From Asian-Inspired to Italian.
After last week's excess of desserts, I was craving something light yet filling. I was thinking something like Lo Mein or Pad Thai maybe, but the thought of the heavy noodles just didn't sound good! So, I ended up making my own version of something!
Handful or two of spinach
1/3 cup of brown rice
Steamed Asian blend veggies, as much as you want!
One Quorn brand veggie fillet, baked per instructions with a tablespoon of Pad Thai sauce and a couple tablespoons of water spread over it. (I made a "boat" with foil so the liquid would stay with the fillet and not spread all over a pan).
Layer all onto your plate is in the pic, and drizzle two tablespoons of Pad Thai sauce over the dish (or you could use soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, etc.).
Yum!
The other dish I am excited to tell you about is something I saw on a TV show called "The Chew."
They called it a Pizza Roll. It's kind of like a Stromboli but better. The link to the recipe is here: http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/Michael-Symon-Pizza-Roll
But for the dough part, I used a pizza dough recipe and tutorial that I found on Oh She Glows.com, because I wanted whole wheat pizza dough: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/08/02/how-to-make-homemade-pizza-dough/
So I started with the dough recipe..mixing:
1 tsp sugar
1.5 cups of warm water at 110 degrees F
1 tbsp dry yeast
Waiting for my water to be the right temp...
My yeast mixture after about 15 minutes and letting it proof. You don't really have to wait that long, but I like to make extra sure my yeast is not dead because that happens a lot with me lol:
Once it proofs, you add in 1 tbsp of olive oil, then 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all purpose flour. Mix all that stuff up, put 1/2 cup all purpose flour on a surface to knead on, and knead your dough for a solid 10 minutes, til it seems nice and smooth and wants to stay in a ball. Here's my first batch of dough:
I made twice the dough recipe because there were going to be several people at the house. But, me and yeast don't usually get along- I can never get it to work in recipes, it doesn't rise half the time...and I didn't think the first dough ball looked very convincing. So I made a second double batch of the dough recipe while the first one was rising...
And my dough batch number 1 grew so big! I was excited that it worked!
Yeast proofed for batch number 2:
Dough ball after kneading, number 2. Now that's a pretty ball of dough! :)
More big dough!
Then, according to the dough recipe, you separate it into two balls (or 4 if you double the batch) and let these rise, uncovered, for 45 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
Lots of pretty dough balls!
I think there was something mentioned about wearing an apron? Oops...
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F!
After your 45 minutes of letting the balls rise, now is the time to start focusing on the Pizza Roll recipe (starting at step #5 on their site).
Roll out a ball of the dough in a 10in x 11in square:
Then add a little olive oil mixed with garlic powder (1/4th tsp + 6tbsp of olive oil is a good ratio, and you can just use a tablespoon or two on each of your flattened dough balls).
Spread at least 3 tbsp of pizza sauce over the dough. (I found myself wanting to taste more of that flavor)
Then add about a 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. I used a vegan brand, and I think next time I would do a 1/4 cup vegan mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Daiya brand cheddar, to add more flavor.
Then add a sprinkle of cheese and any other seasoning you like, and add a couple sprinkles of more cheese over that. Then add about 16 vegan pepperonis. (I think the brand I bought is vegan-it is definitely vegetarian though-I forgot to read the back of the packaging closely. It's a learning process to remember to do that all the time!).
Add 5-7 fresh basil leaves down the middle of the dough now.
Here's what it'll look like!
I added mushrooms to mine, so add any other topping you might like! Then roll it all up, starting with the side closest to you. Pinch the seam and tuck the ends under. Place on a baking sheet that has oiled parchment paper on it:
Drizzle with a little of your garlic olive oil mixture, some pepper and crushed red pepper, and cheese. Cut 3 slits in the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees F.
While you're waiting, if you live in a place that's cold in the winter, like us, drink warm tea in a cute wintery cup.
Take your golden-brown yummy goodness out of the oven. Try to wait a few minutes before stuffing your face so you don't burn yourself :)
I made one with mushrooms and one without, so I had to try some of each of course!
I love the mixture of flavors. The only changes I would make is that I was hesitant to use too much of the olive oil and garlic because I didn't want it to be too strong, and I ended up not being able to taste it much at all. So the amount I mentioned above it more than what I had used. I also, as mentioned above, would use the mixture of the two kinds of cheese. I had never had the type of vegan mozzarella I tried with this, but it seemed just a little bland. I think using the cheddar style and mozzarella style together would make it better.
I am going to have leftovers for the foreseeable future. Of course the one time I plan on my yeast-rising-attempt to fail by making a crapload of dough, both batches work and I have more dough than I know what to do with! Oh well, I must say, it was fun :) and so yummy. And Veg. Try this recipe and take a huge bite!
This took me a little over 4 hours since the dough takes some time to rise, and since I had so much dough that I had to do something with, but it was well worth it. If you follow the dough recipe from The Chew's website that is included with the Pizza Roll recipe, it sounds like it would save some time, because you can do it the night before and refrigerate it overnight.
~Having fun with vegan options and eating well, -Anna (&The Pooches)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Friday!

Mommmmm, do I reely hav to go potty in THIS?? It's cooollldd!








Here's how I'm staying warm this morning :) I saw this while walking down an isle in the grocery store and before I knew it, it was in the cart! Strange how that happens... It's pretty yummy though.





Shadow would like you to know that on Fridays, she likes to switch up her butt-on-the-cupcake-rug to butt-next-to-the-cupcake-rug. ...






She's getting a pedicure STAT when I get home from work today. I tried last week and she ended up shooting up from the floor and sprinting around the house and wouldn't let me finish. finicky girl. She usually likes the attention of getting her pedicures! *Sigh*



HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE! STAY WARM! It's a whopping 7 degrees F right now! ACK!