Friday, February 11, 2011

It's February! (?)

How did it get to be almost the ides of February and me without one blog post?  I'll tell you how: I've been thoroughly enjoying 'comment mode'...sitting back, relaxing, having a beer and letting you guys do all the work, heh-heh.

But seriously, I think I've been in a time warp; I've been telling myself for the last week or so "it's only the beginning of February, plenty of time for everything"...only to find that it's almost the middle of the month and I've not done anything useful in blogland.

First, I'm going to be useful and mention a fun swap that Cassie at Vegan Fox in the Snow has organized. Basically, she's pairing people off to exchange homemade vegan bookmarks...that's this month's theme anyway. It's sounds like fun, as well as easy on the pocket book. I'm already trying to think up a bookmark design. Check it out.

I'm also fostering 3 rat girls from the animal shelter. They were found in the apartment of a deceased person, where they were in a sorry state and half starved. They all needed medical attention. They've been at my house for the last week, and they're getting plenty of love and good food and doing great! Two of them are hairless. They love to sleep piled up together:

Kat (the little one in front) had to wear a rat-sized version of those cone collars they put on animals so they won't bite at their stitches etc. It was awful. She was such a miserable little trooper through all that; it broke my heart to watch her. Rats use their front paws to eat and clean their noses, and they groom themselves meticulously...she couldn't reach her face with her paws and she was so frustrated trying to eat and not being able to groom. I cleaned her nose for her, but she would have much rather been doing that herself! I'm so relieved her operation was successful and her stitches are healed, and she is so happy to be rid of that collar!

As far as food goes, I snapped a few pics of recent dinners...when I take photos after dark, they turn out dark and yellowy, but whatever.

Spicy Sichuan Eggplant from Authentic Chinese Cuisine by Bryanna Clark-Grogan. I added tofu, peppers, and green onion to the recipe. Plenty of sambal oelek to garnish. I've made several recipes from this cookbook and they have all been delicious.

Homemade taco bowls with tostones. I used the homestyle refried beans recipe from Viva Vegan, but left them whole instead of mashing them. Don't worry; it got all messy and delicious as more salsa and hot sauce was liberally applied and munching commenced.

To make  the tortilla bowls I followed this ingenious method, devised by talented Debbie over at Heath Seekers Kitchen. Actually, the whole dinner was inspired by her post: Thanks Debbie!

Unlike Debbie, I used store bought spinach tortillas instead of making them from scratch. The store bought kind are less elastic than raw dough, so I used some unwaxed dental floss to tie the tortillas around the dishes and make them bake without popping out at the sides. Works a treat...but, if you use ready-made tortillas, you have to watch them closely so they won't burn.

More of Vic's seitan steaks, this time in an oregano-scented tomato sauce with capers and sauteed artichoke hearts, onion, and mushrooms. The pic does not do justice to the deliciousness of this.

Some tofu phad thai, again with loads of sambal oelek.

A salad I took to work:

I flippin' love nutritional yeast on salad! Actually, I should say I love nutritional yeast blended with walnuts and a pinch of sea salt, which is what I use with some soy sauce or Bragg's aminos and cider vinegar...super yum!

Here's my boring desk at work...if you look closely, you'll see that I'm diligently working on the slides for the afternoon meeting gazing at Shen's blog.

Have a good weekend!


  1. Everything looks amazing! Your presentation of all of your dinners is beautiful; I'm way too lazy/impatient to eat to set it up like that haha

  2. Well, you haven't exactly sitting around doing nothing, have you? You've been cooking up a storm of gorgeous food to wow your readers with. Everything looks so good I don't know where to start. I always forget to sprinkle yeast flakes on my salad so thanks for reminding me. I'll try that tomorrow.

    Speaking of tomorrow, there are two vegan bake sales happening at noon — one at Arraya's and one at Sidecar. I'm supposed to be baking for Sidecar so I'd better get myself to the kitchen before I change my mind.

  3. friend, not many people can claim that they have cleaned a rats nozzle, that is so special.

    the rats that were hairles, they are a type of breed or...?that was such a great little story! about the trooper rat, i bet that could be turned into a pixar movie:)

    im totally craving tofu now....yours looks really really good!lol looking at shens blog at work! naughty!lol

  4. Poor little Kat... I'm glad she is healed up now. What a wonderful thing you are doing... animals are so precious...

    and the food... well, it's fabulous of course! I love that you love spice like I do!

  5. wow i love the idea of how to make the tortilla shells! i've always wondered how they did those. i cant wait to try it!

  6. Love your little ratties!! Pants is trying to talk me ito a mini Dachs to add to our traveling circus, so I countered with rats. Ratz 'n' Catz.

  7. It's so kind of you to nurse the little Rats. Wish they didn't get such a bad rap, they're so sweet and loving.

    All your meals look incredible. Especially Vic's steak. Such beautiful, imaginative and nutritious dinners!

    Wasn't it ingenious of me to take the title off my blog? Now no one knows what site you're looking at! Stealth vegan blog surfing. I was gonna take a pic of my cube at work (hopefully with me in it). It's quite the disaster area.

  8. It's always a very special event when there's a new Dandelion post to drool over! :-)

    I'm so glad that Kat is fully recovered, thanks in large part to your devoted TLC. I'm wondering the same thing Dirty Duck is about their hairlessness; is that due to their lack of food in their former situation or is it a characteristic of their breed? They look so adorable and snuggly in their cozy little cluster... how fortunate they are to have you be their foster mom!

    I agree with you that February is flying by at an alarming speed. But you sure have been making good use of it ~ all that food looks scrumptious, and that first photo just magically made Bryanna's cookbook fly from my Wish List into my Shopping Cart! :-)

    What a great idea for making those tortilla bowls! Stashing that one away for future reference for sure.

    I love nutritional yeast but have never thought to sprinkle it on my salads. I must try that - plan to make some big ol' spinach salads tomorrow.

    You going to Andrea's bake sale(s)? Maybe you two can finally meet in person. :-)

  9. Awwww so sweet of you to take of those rats. They are too cute!
    All of your meals look so delicious!

  10. Dianne

    Thanks! :) I know what you mean...I'm usually too impatient too, but sometimes manage to make the plate look a little more appetizing. I usually do my plate up first and take photos. I only plate up Mr D's food when the pics are done and we're ready to eat.


    I also saw a poster for a bake sale at the Chocolate Shoe Box, but I can't remember when it is! Sounds like you'll be busy selling your yummy creations. I'm getting a late start today, but l'll try to swing by Sidecar. Have fun bake saling!


    I think I should add Rat Snozzle Cleaner to my resume! The hairless rats are a specialty breed, like they have hairless cats too. I think one of these girls is a mix of hairless and regular, because she has some hair, The other little hairless one is a purebred I think. Poor little things, you have to make sure they have plenty of bedding so they can stay warm. :)


    Thanks! I think I'm addicted to sambal oelek, but I love heat in general too! :)


    I know isn't it a cool method? I felt the same way as when I saw them on Debbie's blog; so clever! I couldn't wait to try it. :)

    Good Luck Duck

    Oh, I think your traveling menagerie sounds like great fun! Seeing the world with cats, rats, and dachs! I have cats too, I've seen some people able socialize their rats with their larger animals...but I'm too wary of my cats...they're both the hunting type. They don't get entry privileges to the room where my ratties live. :)

  11. Shen

    Yes, that was very clever of you! I'm always up for some Stealth blog surfing! Ahh, the vegan food daydreams!

    I'd love to see your disaster cube! :)


    Yes, the hairless thing is a specialty breed. They have hairless cats too. I once kitty sat with a friend's hairless cat...his name was Frederic and he was soo smart! You have to make sure they stay nice and's ideal that these girls are in a trio...snuggling up together keeps nice and comfy warm. Sometimes, I want to crawl in and snooze with them...they look like they're having such delicious sleeps that way.

    Authentic Chinese cookbook has not disappointed! I would definitely recommend it. It's great for me, because I've never really had a clue as to how to make Chinese-style dishes taste really good like real stuff...this cookbook sorts that all out.

    And I agree, I love the tortilla method. I is definitely something that I will keep in my kitchen repertoire.

    I'm going to try and catch up with Andrea today...we'll see if I make it. I've got some errands to run and it's my mom's b-day.


    Thanks! :) And the ratties are really charming and adorable...I wish more people were like you and the rest of the commenters and open up to their charms instead of the bad rap they usually get! :)

  12. any Cajun or Creole Seasoning will do... even seasoning salt or even table salt. Tony's has a lot of salt in it, so if the spice blend you use doesn't you may need to add salt to taste. A T of soy sauce will work too.

    Also, my brother and family aren't vegan or even vegetarian (although they eat mostly vegetarian).. but they love my vegan food!

  13. Melody

    Alright! I'm on track with the Creole seasoning! Thanks for getting back to me. And it's not surprising your bro and fam love your food even though not even vegetarians. I think you could impress even the most rigid of omnivores!

  14. The foster ratties are adorable! I'm glad to hear that they're all doing okay now. You're awesome for taking them in.

    All of the food looks so good. The taco salad looks like something you'd get at a restaurant! You certainly have some talent for food presentation, Rose.

  15. Your foster children are so cute! I'm sure glad they had you to rescue them! And the food looks absolutely fantastic!

  16. I'm so glad those rats have you to take care of them! They are so cute; I imagine it will be tough to say goodbye when a permanent home is found for them.

    All of your dinners look so delicious, especially the taco bowls. What a good idea to bake tortillas in the oven like that, and the presentation is beautiful.

  17. Your photos look amazing! The "after-dark" lighting does something warm and hazy - I love it! Oh yeah, the food itself looks absolutely awesome too. You present it so nicely.
    The first meal looks especially great. I've been in a definite eggplant mood lately :)

  18. Thanks Everyone! :)


    You're right, it's so hard to say goodbye when they find a home. I'm holding out for a really good one! :)

  19. I'm amazed that someone thought to save the rats - were they known to be pets? It seems like so many people wouldn't bother to get them homes, much less medical attention. I'm happy to see you taking such good care of them.

    It looks like you've been getting some good eats - I always love a flurry of photos proving that you're eating well even when you're not posting. I really like the spicy eggplant dish - I'm with you on the sambal oelek!

    Is it bad that when work's too busy for me to read blogs at work, I fall behind?

  20. Jessica

    Yeah, they are domesticated rats...the kinds meant for pets. I was surprised the animal shelter spent so much money on them at the vet...I mean just because of their budget, not because they wouldn't care about rats. All in all, these 3 are pretty lucky. I really want them to get a super good home that they deserve.

    Don't tell, but I'm the same about blogs/work. :)

  21. Did you find anything at Chocolate Shoebox? I always find chocolate there but never shoes!

    I just dropped off my baked goods and left for a day of errands. Only bought 3 teeny tiny cookies for Miss E.

    How are the little rat-girls doing?

  22. Oh, I'm so glad you posted again. I needed my Rose fix! I know how it is to let time slip by. The rat cuties are precious! Would you be able to adopt any of them? The food, of course, looks amaaaazing. (Imagine a lilting voice saying that.) I'm going to have to investigate making my own tostada bowls. The ones in the store are so easy, though! But, I haven't used them in ages, so I don't know if there are preservatives are not. Homemade is best.

  23. Andrea

    No. Finding cute vegan shoes is a penance. I think it's a matter of preferences, but I'm not into baby-doll cut toes or flat/ballet type slipper things. A lot of the styles are just not my taste. I'm ever searching for a cute vegan clog!

    I got a pair of Novacas loafers from MooShoes last year and a pair of hemp ankle boots and I've nearly worn them through. I'm in bad need of new shoes, but keep putting it off.

    Saturday was a day of errands for me too, and also my mom's birthday!

    Thanks for asking about the ratties; they're doing great. The two hairless girls are still quite nervous, and it doesn't help that I still have to give them antibiotics until this Thursday, which they hate. But they're becoming hale and healthy and will learn to trust in due time.

    Talk to you soon,


  24. BlessedMama

    I agree that homemade is best, but often find myself opting for ready-made for convenience, especially during a hectic week. So long as you have the oven proof bowls though, you can sort of compromise like me and buy regular tortillas and just bake them into only takes a few minutes.

    I know you make your own tortillas too, which would work wonderfully with this method!

    Of course I want to adopt the rat girls, I become very attached and protective of them. But I already have two rattie friends and it's the vet bills that get you! When they get sick...and they will, the vet bills take you to the cleaner!

    Sometimes, I wish I were a vet...I could have saved a lot of money by now, but then again, I wouldn't be cut out for that type of calling.

    Talk to you soon,


  25. Oh my...the little rats are so adorable! That's so sad about Kat. I never thought about them having those little cones for rats. Poor baby...I'm so glad she is doing better!

    Wow, you've been eating some yummy sounding and looking meals! I love that you tied dental floss around your spinach tortillas...great idea!

    Ok, I am starving after looking at your food pics!

  26. Michelle

    They had to make the little rat cone by hand with some plastic, gauze, and bandage tape.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  27. I don't know how I missed this post. What beautiful looking meals, again! And those tortilla bowls are amazing. And you made tostones, too. Very cool way to feature them. And your salad...well, it looks like the salad porn Shenandoah is always featuring from Whole Foods :)

    Poor little rats...nobody likes to wear a cone...

  28. Zoa

    Salad porn...I like that! :)

  29. well, good grief...i don't even know where to begin. you have such a huge heart, and mine is warmed at the thought of you nursing these little loveys back to health. thank you for not giving up on them! and your tortilla bowl salad is so inspiring. and just everything else - well done.


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