Sunday, December 26, 2010

We have a giveaway winner....

The time has come to announce the winner of  the Gilding Lilies 2011 Calendar giveaway.

Eleven people entered (in chronological order):

1. Alessandra (I left your name in because the rules say it's open to all the planet)
2. Michelle (LovinLivinVegan)
3. Melody
4. Laloofah
5. Michelle (DirtyDuck)
6. VegSpinz
7. Carissa
8. BlessedMama (in whose dreams I wash dishes very
9. Lizzie Bordello
10. Jenny
11. Thiên Ân

( I couldn't assign numbers to the comments because I commented in between etc...)

Part 1, the set up:

Courtesy of atmospheric noise and

Lucky number 7! Congrats to Carissa!

Email me with your address, and I'll get the calendar on its way in time for 2011!

Merry Christmas and Happy Stephen's Day to everyone! (We're still celebrating!)

I really feel fortunate to be part of  such a wonderful blogging community.

I'll leave you with a little holiday interlude brought to you by Mr Dandelion:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'Tis the Season for a Giveaway

Hey everyone, it's a celebration giveaway!

To celebrate the season, and in looking forward to the New Year, I'm excited to give away a beautiful 2011 Calender from Gilding Lilies. If you aren't familiar with Jennifer of Gilding Lilies' art, you're in for a treat. I've been reading her blog for a while now, and have been admiring her work ever since. She couples fine art photography with stunning graphical effects that end up as greeting cards, prints, jewelry and other items. Definitely, check it out!

I originally ordered this calendar as a gift...but then I ran out of people to give it to! So, I figured offering it through a giveaway would be a way to show my appreciation of all you interesting, fun, talented, and wonderful people out there in blog land.

Here's the calendar packaged up all lovely upon arrival:

I didn't want to open the package and get my grubby mitts all over the pages, so here's a sample of the inside taken from Gilding Lilies Etsy shop:

Image Source: Gilding Lilies Etsy Shop

...and of course, there are 8 more months worth.

To enter, leave a comment about your favorite ways to celebrate a holiday. It can, but doesn't have to be a December holiday, tell us about any celebratory traditions you especially like. Or, you can talk about anything else you want instead.

One of my favorite things to do at any holiday/family celebration is play games...charades, or balderdash, or even the limbo. Sometimes it's difficult to round people up, which is where nieces and nephews generally come in handy :)

I'll announce the (randomly picked) winner on St. Stephen's Day...Boxing Day if you prefer, or I guess here in the US, it's just plain old December 26th.

Official Rules and Regulations:
Giveaway is open to everyone on planet earth. Interplanetary restrictions apply---giveaway prize will be awarded to earthlings only. Oranges and nuts not included. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Treats! Treats!

...Cheezy Baco Treats!

Here's Scamp (aka Daffodil). She's a little on the rotund side...ahem... see how she fills up her play tube so nicely?  But as you can also see, she's dutifully eating her carrot sticks--she's on a little weight loss plan at the moment. Notice her good-natured, sweet demeanor in spite of it all.

Diet or no, everyone deserves a treat sometimes, especially when they are healthy, delicious treats like these from Molly at It's a Vegan Dog's Life. The recipe was for muffins, but she also gives conversion instructions, so you can make them into cookies, bagels, etc. (Very handy)

I'm sure a lot of you already know about Molly's recipes and her recipe book of vegan dog treats, but if not, definitely check it out! The treats are rat approved too! :D

Cheezy Baco Biscuits

Look at those cute little toes and fingers...or is it just me?

Here's Scamp as she finds the cheezy baco treats and tries to get two big pieces in her mouth at once:

Treats in mouth, she runs up to her nest to hoard them...that's what she does with prize booty:

I tried to get a sweet picture of her happily munching away on one of the biscuits, but her sweet demeanor seemed to vanish...

"Back off, These are my treats!" 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Vegan Pot Roast

I finally came out of a post MoFo-induced stupor and got these pics uploaded. It's a vegan pot roast.

Also, a mizuna salad with roasted squash and pomegranate.

I got the idea for the salad from Cadry's Kitchen blog. If you go to her site, you'll see that she has some fun cooking videos in the sidebar, and one of them talks about roasting winter squash, and some suggestions on how to use it. One of her suggestions was to put it in a salad, which I thought was a great idea. I found Cadry's site through MoFo, when she did a delightful series of posts around Deserted Island Packing Lists...(highly recommend), and thanks to Cadry for the salad idea! The dressing was just a little olive oil, whole grain mustard, and sherry vinegar.

The pot roast  is based on Jo Stepaniak's recipe in the Vegan Vittles cookbook. I've made it several times, and by now have  tweaked the recipe into my own variation by adding in a few bells and whistles, and omitting a few other things.

I like to eat it with sweet and sour red cabbage and/or lots of spicy mustard. Mr. Dandelion likes it ok as a pot roast, but prefers the leftovers broiled up with BBQ sauce.

Pot Roast Seitan, adapted from Vegan Vittles, by Jo Stepaniak

generous 1.5 cups vital wheat gluten....I usually end up using about 1 and 3/4 cups
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
generous pinch of celery seed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients, add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until it's all incorporated, then stop. Don't continue stiring or kneading, this will make the seitan come out rubbery. (I mean, it's a little rubbery anyway, but not to make it more so. )

Put the seitan on a work surface and shape into a rectangle. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high, add a touch of olive oil  and brown off the seitan rectangle on each side. Be sure to put it on a well-heated skillet, or it will end up sticking.  It may stick slightly anyway, but just keep sliding a spatula under the seitan as it browns to prevent it from sticking too much.

Setian Braising Liquid

1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium shallot, sliced
2 ribs celery, or 1 celery heart, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 carrots, chopped into large chunks
pinch of oregano, or other herb/s of choice
1 bay leaf
3 cups rich veggie broth ( I used 1 cup no-beef broth, and two cups low-sodium veggie broth)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Saute the onion and shallot over medium-low until the onion begins to caramelize ~ 15 minutes, add in the bay leaf, oregano, garlic, celery, and carrot, and saute for another 5 minutes. Add in veggie broth and vinegar and increase heat to bring the broth to a simmer. When the broth is simmering, drop in the browned seitan, cover partially, turn down heat just enough so it's not boiling, but continues to simmer gently. Allow the seitan to simmer for  ~ 60 to 90 minutes, turning the seitan about halfway through.

About 30-40 minutes before serving, drizzle a selection of veggies with a little olive oil (or omit for fat free) and ladle some of the simmering broth over them, then roast them in the oven.

After you remove the seitan from the pot, you can puree the simmered broth with the simmered veggies to make a gravy (you may want to remove the bay leaf first) :

Pot roast on the table. It takes about 2 hours from stove to table, but most of it is down time.

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