Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hiking: Silver Falls

Guess what I did on Sunday? I went hiking at silver falls! It was lots of fun, I think we did the 8 mile route.

There's the first waterfall.

And again, so you can see more of it.

That's the lake/river thing it pours into.

And again, this one's more of a side-view.

That's the back of it.

Pouring into the lake.

The other side.

Very pretty.

Cute little bridge.

Bye bye waterfall! Bye bye bridge!

Ooooh, another waterfall! This one is very pretty.

There it is again.


The river.

The pretty surrounding trees.

Berries! They were tasty.

Another waterfall!

And another waterfall! I think we got to see eight or so total.

Another bridge.

That's all. I made a nice raw picnic that we were going to take along, and when we got tired we'd have a picnic, but it was heavy, so we decided not to take it, and we had it when we got home.

Vegan substitutions

I thought it would probably be a good idea to do a post on substitutions for meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal products.

Tofu, very tasty. Try to get organic. Best when pressed and marinated. You should be able to get it at just about any grocery store.

Seitan, also tasty, if made right. You could make it, or buy it at a health food store.

Tempeh, very nice. Best when steamed or boiled before cooking though, to get rid of the bitter flavor. Find it at health food stores.

Beans, high protein, tasty, and good substitute in a lot of things, especially burritos.

TVP, (textured vegetable protein) I've never had it, but I think you can get it at most grocery stores.

Mushrooms, extremely tasty, with a sort of meaty taste, and a nice texture. Sliced and sauteed are nice with almost everything,  and grilled whole portobellos make great burgers.

Store bought, there are tons of pre-made fake meats, including burgers, deli slices, chik'n nuggets, and everything else.

Plain milk: 

Soymilk, there are tons of brands, and I think just about every grocery store has at least one kind. There are also different flavors, like chocolate, vanilla, and I think I've heard something about chai, but I don't remember what brand that was. Try to get organic, if possible.

Rice milk, a little harder to find, but it's nice.

Almond milk.

Coconut milk, I really like coconut milk, but it does have a kind of strong flavor, so if you're using coconut milk, make sure coconut would taste good with whatever you're making. I don't suggest drinking it straight though, because of the strong flavor, and it's more like drinking cream.

Hemp milk, hard to find, but I really like it.

Water, you can only really use water in some baked goods, or just for drinking. If you've noticed that whatever you've made with milk, or a milk substitute tasted at all creamy, or milky, do not use water in place of the milk.


There are a ton of recipes on the internet, just do a search for "Vegan cheese recipes" Or "Dairy free cheese recipes" and you should find a ton. Not all of particularly tasty though. I suggest making a small amount of something first, or you may be wound up with a ton of untasty "cheese"

There's also something called nutritional yeast (Note: regular yeast will definitely not work), nutritional yeast comes in yellowish flakes, and they taste sort of cheesy, sort of yeasty, sort of nutty. I really like it, and it's a nice condiment. I've heard if you mix it up with some ground sesame seeds you get something similar to parmesan. It can usually be found in the bulk foods section. Some regular stores have it, some don't. If you can't find it, either get it at a health food store, or you could use brewers yeast, but nutritional yeast is fortified with nutrients, including B12 (which is very hard to get as a vegan, so it's very nice)

Also, in health food stores you can probably find some vegan cheeses, make sure there isn't any casein in it though. Casein is milk fat. Yet for some strange reason, they like putting it in the veggie cheeses. I have no Idea why.  Anyway, my favorite brand is Follow Your Heart, Vegan Gourmet, a lot of people like the cheddar, but I don't really. I really like the mozzarella.

Cream cheese:
You can probably find a lot of recipes for it with tofu. But this and this, are really great, I don't think I'd be able to tell the difference.

Coconut milk. It will not whip though.
Or there are some containers of vegan creams at health food stores I think.

The most popular, and I've found, the tastiest vegan yogurt is this one. It's actual yogurt, just made with soy. It's not just something yogurt flavored... It can be found in health food stores, and some grocery stores.

Margarine. (careful, some have milk derivatives) Smart Balance, Earth Balance, and Nucoa are some of the options. Smart Balance and Earth Balance are a bit expensive, but very realistic, in fact, I think they taste more buttery than butter. While Nucoa is very cheap, but doesn't taste very buttery.

Ice cream:
There's sorbet, with isn't really "ice cream" but It's a frozen dessert, made of fruit, I usually find it too sweet though.
If you have an ice cream maker you could make your own out of any of the milk substitute.
Then there are store bought ones, which most of, are very tasty, there are soy, rice, and coconut milk ice creams mostly, I really like the coconut ones, but the others are great too. I find most vegan ice creams a lot better than cow's milk ice cream.

This page has a lot of helpful information on egg replacers. I've found the 2 tbsp water+1 tbsp oil+2 tsp baking powder, very useful, and it has never turned out bad, except one time I made a cake that called for four eggs... I have however, had a few bad experiences with packaged egg replacers.

If I missed something, please let me know what it is so I can update this.
Also, even if I say a specific brand of something works as a substitute, ALWAYS check the labels, they put sneaky stuff in strange things, plus sometimes they change their recipe.


Pizza! It's oh-so-tasty!
And vegan pizzas don't have to miss out on the fun!

Here's a nice looking vegan pizza. It isn't cooked yet though.
I think it's pretty. And there's and art to making your pizza pretty.
First, the basics. The crust, then the sauce, then the herbs, and then if using, the vegan cheese. (I don't usually have any, but if I do, I like to put it on there) If I don't have any vegan cheese, I always add a whole layer of spinach now, it's not really A substitute, but I don't know, I think it helps with the texture maybe. Try it some time. Next come the toppings with the boring colors (not bright colors) like the mushrooms, and the onions. Then come the large pieces of pretty things, like zucchini, then pineapple, then the red peppers, and then the olives. That's how I always do it, and I always get at least moderately pretty pizzas. I've gotten some compliments on the prettiness of my pizzas. 

Here's the cooked pizza, looking mighty fine.
This particular pizza has a crust (obviously), sauce, herbs, spinach, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, red peppers, and olives. In that order.

Here's a very tasty slice of pizza. 

Phew! Seven posts in a day and I still have more to say. More tomorrow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Strawberry tasties!

Remember that post a while ago about me picking 38 pounds of strawberries? Well Here are some of the things I made:
Strawberry shortcake,
Strawberry smoothies,
Strawberry jam,
Chocolate covered strawberries,
Plain strawberries,
And strawberry pops!

(not my photo, Google images...)
Strawberry shortcake:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
few grains of nutmeg
7 tablespoons cold vegan margarine
1/2 cup soymilk
4 cups fresh strawberries,
3/4 cup vegan sugar
vegan whipped cream
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Sift. Work in margarine with pastry blender or fingertips; add soymilk. Mix just until dough is moist. Turn dough into a "buttered" and floured 8 or 9-inch round cake pan and pat into shape. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes in a 400° oven, or until golden brown. Test with a toothpick inserted in the center. If it comes out with dough clinging to it, lower the heat to 350° and bake about 5 more minutes. Remove from the pan and split horizontally with a serrated knife. Put layers together with strawberries and their juice between the layers and on top. Garnish with several whole berries and serve with whipped cream.

Whipped "cream" options:
You could either make some sort or tofu whipped cream (I've had bad experiences with those though... Be careful) You could buy some vegan whipped cream in a health food store, go without, or you could take a can of coconut milk (the light stuff WILL NOT work) Try to make sure the can is not touched or moved, or wiggled for a day prior. Then open it from the bottom (DO NOT shake it first, be careful and caring with it, move it as little as possible) Pour out as much of the liquid that comes out into a sealable container, use this to make curry, or as a milk substitute for something. There should be some thick stuff in the bottom of the can that didn't pour out, take that, and put it in your bowl, mix in some sugar and or vanilla if you'd like, try not to mix it to much, and don't try to whip it. It's kind of dense, but it works well enough.

Strawberry smoothies:
Put some strawberries in a blender and blend it up. If it isn't working, add a little water or juice. If needed, add some sweetener.

That however, is my photo. I should get better at taking pretty pictures of my foods.

Strawberry pops:
It's exactly the same as making the smoothie, then just pour it into a popsicle mold and freeze.

Live pasta

Here's some live pasta, also known as raw pasta, made of zucchini.

There are the noodles, you're "supposed" to skin the zucchini, but I decided not to. Makes it prettier anyway.
You could do this with a knife, which I have done before, but it does take a really long time, you should get a spiralizer instead.

Here's some of the sauce. Not a great photo...

And here's the finished product! Very tasty, and I'd assume, very healthy. Great for raw foodists, and gluten frees alike (and crazy people like me who just like eating this anyway).
Here's the recipe I used to make the live spaghetti. 

A meal I had the other day

Here's a meal I had the other day, I took pictures, although most of them aren't particularly flattering.
I made something based on something I had at a Thai restaurant, called "Peanut sauce lovers" or something like that. It was just some veggies, and tofu, with some peanut sauce for dipping. It may not sound like much, but I really like peanut sauce a lot, so I like it.
Here are the steamed veggies. I usually like more variety, but that's all we had. There are peas, potatoes, carrots, and broccoli. 

Here's the peanut sauce, with no animal products!
All you have to do is add a can of coconut milk, and let it simmer a couple minutes. Although I have cheated a few times by using soymilk instead with a little coconut extract. (if I have some)

Here's the plate, steamed veggies, pan-fried tofu (the cornstarch recipe), and peanut sauce.

Here it is again, a bit more flattering this time.

How to make salad rolls

Here's a post that teaches you how to make salad rolls, with plenty of pictures to help guide you through it.

Here are the wrappers. They should be hard and dry, and whitish clear.
There are little one, and there are big ones. I find the little ones easier to roll, but you'll probably be done making the rolls sooner with the big ones. I'd suggest the small ones until you get the hang of it.

Here's the layout, starting from the bottom left, going clock-wise, there's some fresh cilantro, but you can use pretty much and fresh herb you like. If you don't have any, you can use green onions, or just go without. Your fillings are pretty forgiving. Then there's thin carrot sticks, julienne also works, Then there are cucumber half slices, some whole pea pods, sugar snap or snow peas work here. Then there's a sliced avocado, and a bowl of cooked rice noodles mixed with some sweet chili sauce. Then there's the cooked wrapper. Many other veggies can be used, and some kind of tofu is almost always good.

The uncooked wrapper, about to go into a bowl of hot water. Make sure the water is hot, but not so hot that you can't get the wrapper out with your hands.

In the water, wait a little while, depending on the temperature of your water.

Take it out when it's floppy, and soft enough not creak when you bend it. But not so long that it gets weak and rips easily. It does get a little softer after it's been taken out. Do this one at a time, after you finish a roll.

Take a little bit of everything, and put it on your cooked wrapper, in a line, keeping from the edges.

Like this. (there are noodles under there, yes)

Start rolling, try to do it tight, but don't break the wrapper. Although you're bound to break a few on your first try. Don't worry too much.

Fold in the corners.

And roll it all the way.
On done, however many more you want to go.

If you're having more than just a few break, it could be because of one of these reasons:
1 You aren't very practiced.
2 You're keeping the wrappers in the water too long.
3 You're wrapping them too tight
4 You're over filling them.
5 You're in too much of a hurry.
6 You're hungry, and you want to eat the broken ones.

This is the sauce I use, not a great picture, but you could probably recognize the bottle in the store, right? It says "sweet chilli sauce" by the way.

All done! Those are extra cucumber slices I had.

Then I realized that I needed two plates, so I had to take it apart and put it on two plates. Here's mine.

All done! Now go make some for yourself!

Sunday get-together

Here's a post of the food of one of my Sunday get-togethers. This was a few weeks ago.

Pan fried tofu, with teriyaki sauce for dipping. Very tasty. To make it, just coat some tofu in cornstarch, and then pan fry it over medium to medium-high heat in a little oil.

Salad rolls. Also known as Spring rolls, Summer rolls, veggie rolls, and probably many other names. It's got some sweet chili sauce for dipping.

There was also some yellow curry with brown rice, but that was never photoed.

My garden

Alright! I still haven't found my own cord so I can upload my photos, but I borrowed my brothers, so I shall be posting my photos now!

First, I'd like to show you my incredibly cute bunny. Her name is Jasmine.

 She's a Netherland dwarf rabbit.

And here is the garden a few weeks ago (things are growing a lot more now, so I might take pictures later)
 Those are the honeysuckles. Very pretty. And they have a nice sweet nectar that you can drink. Well, not really "drink" since they only have about one drop per flower.

 Those are the, uh, flowers. I don't know what they're called. But in the background (to the right) are lillies!

There's the lettuce. It's much bigger now.

There's the squash and cucumbers. Much bigger now. You can also see the tiny little squashes now.

There are the carrots. They turned out to have been in there too long and became un-chewable. But we got to eat a few.

There's the tomato.

And a strawberry! We've been enjoying our strawberries. Especially dipped in chocolate. Mmmm.

There's the strawberry plant.

The last dandelion! Oh no! It's in a pile of forget-me-nots.

The basil. I should move the pot, they're getting fried by the sun.

The celery.

Pansies! They're such a pretty flower.

The roses.


The artichoke plant. It's taking over a little...

The peas. Those are very tasty. I never get to use them in my cooking though. They're always gone by the time I get inside. They're a great snack.

Here's the garden, it's two photos, so they don't quite fit together right, but you get the basic idea.

That's it for the garden. I'll post my food photos later. It takes a while to post large amounts of photos.

Many more posts to come!