Monday, June 16, 2014

My Favorite Vegan Ice Cream Recipes

It's summer (well, practically), and it's time for some vegan ice cream! I love me some ice cream. I think the fact that there are so many different recipes on this blog shows you that fact, but I want to reiterate: I love ice cream. I've gotten a bit "lazy" in the last few years (read: I owned a business for 2 years and now I'm a full-time student), and I have stopped making homemade ice cream, at least for the time being, BUT, that doesn't make me appreciate some dang good ice cream inspiration in the meantime.

Here are my favorite homemade flavors from this blog:

Rhubarb Ice Cream

Ice Cream Sandwiches (Gluten-free)

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Strawberry Milkshake

Candy Cane Ice Cream

Pear Gelato

Here are my favorite homemade flavors from other places on the internet:

3-Ingredient Ice Cream from The Kitchn

Ginger Watermelon Italian Ice from Oh My Veggies

Fig, Coconut and Blackberry Ice Cream from Green Kitchen Stories 

Date-Sweetened Ice Cream from XGFX

Snickers Ice Cream Bars from Chocolate-Covered Katie

What are your favorite ice cream flavors?

Friday, May 30, 2014

My 2014 Garden

When D and I were house-hunting last fall, we had a few things we were looking for in a new house: 1) the kitchen had to be at least a certain size (if not bigger, and with plenty of storage), preferably with an open gaze into the living room, and our yard had to be big enough (and let in enough light) to grow a garden. Luckily, we found the house we're currently living in, which had both of those things (and so much more).

our side bed, where the herb garden, strawberries and blueberries live
I can't believe how lucky we were to get a house that already had built-in garden plots. They are time-consuming and expensive to build, so to buy a house with them (and a sprinkler system) already set up was a true blessing. 

our raised garden plots, built into the hill on the side of our yard
As you can see from the picture above, in the fall, the many trees in our yard shed their leaves (and how!), and over the winter, we had no choice but to put some of the leaves on top of the beds (we ran out of room in our compost bin and weekly compost recycling). Doing that kept the weeds at bay, but it also made for a "fun" time this spring when we had to clean out all the wet, moldy, decomposing leaves so we could plant our garden. 

Our garden started out small and modest, but we're now able to get multiple servings of lettuce per day and still have plenty leftover, and I had the most delicious dinner of fresh kale and peas last night. I can't wait for even more bounty as the summer begins.

When we first planted, our garden was bare and humble...

onions and potatoes and cauliflower are in this plot

beets, brussels sprouts and more cauliflower in this plot

kale, beets, peas and broccoli are here

we found so many different kinds of lettuce!
After a few months, our garden has really started producing amazing vegetables...

we finally added to our last two beds: this one has peppers and squash

look at how the potatoes, cauliflower and onions have grown! 

we can't wait for our tomatoes to ripen - only 72 days until harvest!

our lettuce is really taking shape - we can have multiple salads per day for both of us and still have plenty left over

the broccoli plants have tiny little broccoli growing! and the kale and peas are delicious

more broccoli, beets and brussels sprouts

Having our own garden is such an enjoyable and rewarding experience; we couldn't imagine a house without a garden. 

What's in your garden?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Luce's Gluten-Free Artisan Bread Mix Review

I'm really excited to share a review with you today of a food that has really rocked my world recently. I received two free samples of Luce's Gluten-free Artisan Bread Mix (in Classic Sourdough and New Italian) and am here to say they are just amazing.

Here are the fronts and one back of the bread mixes. They come in really nice packaging.

The mixes are really easy to use. In fact, you literally just add water (just like the front of those packages say!) to it, mix for a few minutes, let it rest (I let one loaf rise, and wasn't patient enough to let the other one do the same), bake, and EAT!

The package comes with everything you'll need: flour mix, dusting flour, instructions, and a bag to bake the bread in.
See the long list of instructions up there? It seems daunting, but it really isn't. It's more about the technique needed to make this bread turn out just right. And, it certainly beats having to measure out each individual flour, proofing the yeast, and still being unsure if the recipe will turn out ok. This mix is a guaranteed WIN.
It's easy to transfer the dough to the included parchment paper, then slide it into the included baking bag, close it up, and bake for 85 minutes! What comes out is a delicious loaf of gluten-free and vegan bread. 
The worst part about this whole process is having to wait. D didn't like that very much:

D is seen here barely waiting for the loaf of Classic Sourdough to cool before digging in!
But once the waiting time was over, the breads produced were soft, tasty, and had a wonderful texture and flavor to them. We enjoyed the loaf of Classic Sourdough by ourselves, but we shared the loaf of New Italian with some friends who also really enjoyed it. 

Classic Sourdough
New Italian
Conclusion: I would absolutely eat these again. They are a bit spendy, but at the same time, my time is valuable too, and taking all the guesswork out of making and baking gluten-free bread is worth a lot to me.

Please visit Luce's Gluten-free Artisan Bread for more information!

Disclosure: I received two complimentary packages of bread mix from Luce's; however, all the views and opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring 2014 in Portland

It's officially spring in the Pacific Northwest! And even though I'm stuck indoors many hours of the day, either due to class, lab or homework, I've still had a chance (or two) to get outside and enjoy the beautiful blooming trees and flowers. Portland really is gorgeous in the springtime. Here are a few pictures from my forages into the springtime around my house.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen: A Review

I am sharing this review with you while wearing an extremely red face; I'm ashamed to admit that I've been holding out on you since January, but just haven't had the time to properly investigate and write about this cookbook until now. All I can say is: being a full-time student is very time-consuming, and I'm excited to have this last bit of spring break before embarking on another intense term.

In the meantime, here's my review of this wonderful cookbook!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen, but all the opinions stated and pictures are mine. 

I have to admit: when I first received this book, I was skeptical as to how many recipes I'd actually be able to try, given my numerous food intolerances and allergies. However, after flipping through and taking a careful look at each page, I started putting more and more post-it notes on pages and got more and more excited about trying the dishes. One of my favorite parts of the book is that each recipe has notations next to it, stating what country the original recipe is from (or at least inspired by), and whether it's quick and easy, low fat, gluten free, soy free, and/or nut free. Those notes were extremely helpful as I inspected each recipe; it saved me the time of looking at every ingredient to know whether or not I could eat the dish.

The PR sheet given to me with the book says this "innovative vegan cookbook combines the best of both worlds - comfort food and ethnic cuisine." I'd have to agree completely. Written by Joni Marie Newman (author of 500 Vegan Recipes, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutes [I LOVE that book!], The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites, and Vegan Food Gifts [another one of my absolute favorites]), it was pretty much guaranteed to be a hit no matter what the type of food it covered. Although I don't normally find myself reaching for fusion-style cookbooks, this one turned out to be an exception, and I enjoyed every single thing I made.

I decided to make an exciting dinner for myself using four of the recipes found in the book. It was delicious and filling and, I have to admit, not all that healthy, so I'll probably stick to just one dish at a time in the future. However, for one night, I had a great time not thinking about calories or fat; I just enjoyed yummy tastes in my mouth.

I tried the Hot, Sweet and Sour Sauce (p. 25), the Smoky Chili-Lime Sweet Potatoes (p. 118), the Hot, Sweet and Sour Cabbage (using the aforementioned sauce, p. 122) and Pupusas Gorda (p. 95). These weren't the most photogenic foods, but here they are in their delicious glory:

I can't wait to make more dishes out of this cookbook. I have my eye on a Garlic Orange Sauce (p. 19), Potato Mochi (aka Japanese Potato Cakes, p. 32), Indian Spiced Pumpkin and Jackfruit Chili (p. 70) and Sweet Orange Basil Curd (p. 150), just to name a few.

Thanks to Fair Winds for letting me try out this wonderful cookbook, and thanks to Joni Marie Newton for writing another great addition to my cookbook collection!


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