Vegan Princess in an Omni Kingdom

Adventures of a vegan girl living in an omni world.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Caffe Ladro October 17, 2012

Filed under: restaurant,Seattle,Vegan Mofo 2012 — bookie85 @ 7:45 PM
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The first fall after I went vegan I was so disappointed to find out that Starbucks put dairy in their pumpkin spice syrup, and thus pumpkin spice lattes were off my list of fall food options. Flash forward to this past weekend when I was standing in line at  Caffe Ladro (the Lower Queen Anne location) ready to order my usual spicy soy chai latte when this sign caught my eye:

Seasonal drink offerings at Cafe Ladro
Seasonal drink offerings at Cafe Ladro

Pumpkin sauce! This means that the fine folks at the Caffe Ladro bakery make pumpkin sauce from scratch, without all of the extra sugars and other junk that is found in typical pumpkin syrups. I ordered my first decaf pumpkin spice latte in years and it was delightful. I will be back many times during this cold, and sometimes rainy Seattle fall.

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First Snowstorm Blueberry Cobbler January 15, 2012

Filed under: Baking,cookbook — bookie85 @ 9:25 PM
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It snowed today in Seattle. My parents came up to Seattle for a basketball game and stopped to take me to lunch first. When I woke up this morning, it wasn’t snowing at all, but by the time I left my apartment to go meet up with them, it had started.

Snow day

Snow day

Now, for parts of the country where is snows a lot (which isn’t very many places this year, thanks global warming) the maybe couple of inches we get once a year or so isn’t a big deal, but this is Seattle, the land of hills and people who freak out at the first sight of a flake of snow (case in point: my Mom who insisted that my father pack a shovel in the truck to “dig out” after the game). Now, I am not such a fan of the snow, but since it was kind enough to make an appearance on a 3 day weekend where I had nothing to do, I took the opportunity to finally make something out of Vegan Pie in the Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

As I flipped through the pages, I hit page 84 and was struck by the description that said it was perfect for the first snowfall of the season. Well, who can argue with that? I modified a bit, as always, by not measuring the amount of blueberries I put in (2 bags seemed sufficient, it was overly sufficient, I will try less next time) and didn’t put in fresh lemon juice (bottled worked) and I didn’t have a lemon to zest, so I skipped that too (since another trip to the store in the blizzard was out of the question, heh).

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

It turned out really well. In fact, it is half gone, so I would call it a success. I will be making this one again, and trying out different fruit combinations in addition to blueberry.

 

Hottie Black Eyed Peas and Greens January 1, 2012

Filed under: cookbook,Cooking,Food,Holidays — bookie85 @ 10:09 PM
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Happy New Year! I decided this year was a good one to try the southern tradition of having black eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day for health, wealth and prosperity. The tradition is collard greens and black eyed peas, but when I went to the store last night I could tell that I wasn’t the only one making this meal today. They had no collards and the bulk bin was almost out of black eyed peas. I got rainbow swiss chard and about a cup of black eyed peas and some hot sauce and went home to pick a recipe to make. I decided to make the “Hottie Black Eyed Peas and Greens” from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, since it seemed simple and more interesting than simply steaming some greens and making black eyed peas.

It went really well, I will be making this recipe every year I think. The greens were nice and soft, the beans were great, it was a nice touch to smash up part of them to thicken the sauce, it made for a great texture. I think next time I will add more hot sauce, I didn’t put in very much because I bought Siracha despite the warning to get a milder hot sauce and didn’t want to make it so spicy I wouldn’t eat it. I served it with the rice from last night’s Indian food and ate some leftover dumplings on the side, along with some champagne. I think it was a great start to 2012.

Black eyed peas and greens

Black eyed peas and greens

Happy New Year!

 

Vegan Chili November 6, 2011

Filed under: Cooking,Family — bookie85 @ 7:24 PM
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Last weekend I was down in my hometown for a consult with the oral surgeon for the wisdom teeth extraction I am having done this week. I had the appointment on Friday afternoon, but decided to stick around the rest of the weekend to hang out with my family. My Mom and I spent most of Saturday running errands and trying to come up with vegan options (besides salad) for the two of us to eat.

My Mom has started eating mostly vegan when she spends time with me, as she is discovering how much better she feels when she doesn’t eat meat or cheese. This is not from lectures from me, this isn’t even from giving her a book. It is simply from making awesome food for us when I am home, or she visits me in Seattle. Anyway, after settling for pizza with no cheese for lunch we decided that it would be far simpler to make a vegan chili in the crockpot at home for dinner than try any further to get decent options out in a restaurant.

We used this recipe with no avocado, and a chili mix instead of the individual spices. We also discovered that the amount of liquid the recipe calls for is far too much, it says 7 cups of veg broth or water, I would do maybe 5. The end result was far soupier than we had envisioned for chili. It was still spicy and delicious though, and we enjoyed it with whole wheat rolls. My Mom informed me via text message a couple days later that “Dad enjoyed the soup,” which I consider a high compliment.

Simmering away in the crockpot, 5 hours in to the cooking process.

Simmering away in the crockpot, 5 hours in to the cooking process.

I only wish that I had a crock pot in my kitchen, but with little counter space and hardly any outlets that don’t require appliances to be on the floor, it is probably an appliance better used at my parent’s house. Which means, chili for everyone when I come to town!

 

Than Brothers Pho- Vegan Mofo Day #7 October 7, 2011

Filed under: restaurant,Vegan Mofo 2011 — bookie85 @ 6:56 PM
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When I woke up this morning, I had every intention of making pho from scratch for dinner tonight. Flash forward to when I left work this afternoon with a stomachache (which is mostly gone now) and no motivation to actually cook. Thankfully, I have a great pho place in my neighborhood, Than Brothers and they have vegan pho. I picked up my usual order to go, veggie pho with extra noodles and had a great comforting dinner.

Pho to go.

Pho to go.

I had so much pho that I had to put it in a mixing bowl. In fact, I have some left over so I think I will be saving the broth to make a homemade version for lunch tomorrow. I do have rice noodles in my pantry.

Big bowl of pho, sirracha in the middle.

Big bowl of pho, sirracha in the middle.

What is your go to comfort food for chilly fall nights?

 

Apple Butter- Vegan Mofo Day #2 October 2, 2011

Filed under: Cooking,Food,Vegan Mofo 2011 — bookie85 @ 8:05 PM
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I love apples. It has been a life long love affair, which makes sense given that I am from Washington, a state that is known for producing apples. I have always wanted to go to an apple orchard and pick my own, but since the orchards are mostly on the east side of the mountains and I am on the west side, I have never been. Today I settled for picking out several types of apples at the grocery store, which was a pretty good substitute. I thought the variety would add a nice depth of flavor, and if nothing else they were pretty to look at.

Apples waiting to be chopped up.

Apples waiting to be chopped up.

I sliced all of the apples with my XOXO apple slicer and corer, one of my favorite kitchen gadgets I didn’t even know I needed until I started my current job and found one in every kitchen in our office. It is an amazingly convenient device, and I don’t have to worry about the knife slipping while I cut apples anymore.

Apple slicer.

Apple slicer.

I placed all of the sliced apples in a large pot and filled it most of the way with water. I think you are supposed to cover the apples with water, but I sort of overshot on the amount of apples that would fit in the pot, so I almost covered them and just waited for the apples to reduce a bit, which they did the longer I simmered them.

Sliced apples in the pot.

Sliced apples in the pot.

The the waiting begins. I put the heat on high and boiled the apples for about an hour or so, at which point I turned the heat down to low and simmered for 4 hours. At this point I added cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I don’t ever measure spices that aren’t going to add a ton of heat, so I basically just shook the containers until it felt like the right amount. This comes with practice, and I know by feel how much spice I am going to want by this point.

Apples post simmer with spices added.

Apples post simmer with spices added.

At this point, I waited for the apples to cool a bit and then transfered them to the blender to blend out the chunks. I had to do this in two batches to avoid over filling the blender. Be careful when blending warm liquids, the heat of the blender makes them prone to exploding out of the blender, unless you have a Vitamix (which I unfortunately don’t).

Post blender, smooth apple sauce.

Post blender, smooth apple sauce.

At this point, the only thing left to do is simmer some more. I put the mixture back in the pot and simmered it on low heat for an hour, and the “warm” setting on my burner for another half an hour until the mixture had reached the consistency of apple butter.

Finished product!

Finished product!

In total this took me about 5 hours but most of that was the simmering time, which requires a very low level of involvement, just some stirring every once in a while. It made the apartment smell wonderful, and now I have enough apple butter to eat with toast, oatmeal, soy ice cream, or just with a spoon for a couple weeks at least.

What is your favorite thing to make with apples? Do you prefer apple sauce, apple butter or something else altogether?

 

Monday, Monday, Sure Isn’t Sunday September 20, 2011

Filed under: Life,shopping — bookie85 @ 5:55 AM
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Today was such a Monday. One of those days where everything at work seemed to go wrong, from the minute I hit the building. They are doing construction and today they were laying down carpet, which means glue. Stinky glue, which is probably (make that certainly) not vegan, but I was less concerned about that and more concerned about the fact that that stuff is toxic and was filling my lungs with all kinds of nasty chemicals. Add to that a database that kept telling me it was corrupt and you have a crappy day.

As I kept willing the database to just give me my data, I kept daydreaming about what I would do in a few hours to cheer myself up. A trip to Lush seemed in order, as I had somehow let myself run out of bath bombs, which is tragic. They have a special deal going on a tin of 9 bath bombs, all but one which are vegan, so I bought it, of course. The one that isn’t vegan, has honey in it, but I may just use it anyway, as honey is one of my flexible things right now. [Sidenote: I tell people that if honey is the only thing that makes something not vegan (and I am not purchasing it for myself, or in this case, purchasing it separately) then I will still use it. If I am intentionally buying the product then honey makes it a no-go.]

Lush bath bombs

Bath Bomb Set from Lush.

Another cheer up? Vegan pho. The vegan world (at least my vegan Twitter pals) have gone pho crazy in the past few weeks, so they are certainly feeding my cravings. The pho place was out of tofu, but they made up for it by adding extra veggies. They assured me that “tomorrow we will have tofu. You will come back.” So, I guess, pho tomorrow too? 🙂

Vegan Pho, No Tofu.

Vegan pho, no tofu this time.

All in all, my Monday ended up OK. Minor Monday annoyances can usually be fixed with a little vegan comfort food and retail therapy.

What brings you comfort after a bad day?