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Happy New Year! We’re moving! (But staying in Seattle)

Published January 5, 2015 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Happy new year!

Happy new year!

This year I decided to copy my parent’s tradition of going out and buying a whole bunch of nice specialty foods to snack on, and just having a nice night in together. We had the best time!

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We had black beans, (2 kinds of hummus, which I happened to notice had milk in them before we opened them, so we skipped those), Earth Balance cheddar squares, garlic stuffed olives, chips and salsa, pita chips, grapes*, black berries, Fieldroast celebration roast, Daiya Jalepeno Havarti cheese wedge, and Fieldroast tomato cayenne and coconut herb sliced cheeses. It was great! *It is a Cuban tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight. As you can see here, we were more than prepared!

And our 1st order of business in what will be a very hectic, eventful, and expensive 2015 was to immediately start looking for a new apartment. Our current residence was one where we traded cheap rent and location for an old shoddy building, so it was time to get looking since I told them that January would be our last month. After doing tons of looking this week, I finally found “the one”! It had nearly everything on my list except a washer and dryer in the unit. (And a garbage disposal. I’m wondering if we can put one in…)

Lucky number 7

Welcome!

Read the rest of this entry →

Barnana’s gone Coconut!

Published July 1, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

COCONUT Hello again! So much busy going on over here lately, but here’s a long overdue review for you about Barnana‘s newest vegan flavor. You might recall I did a little giveaway featuring their original Barnana snacks during Vegan Mofo last year. Well, they contacted me again to take a taste of their new Coconut flavor. Like last time, they also sent along an additional package of vegetarian, but not vegan, Peanut Butter flavor too for Thomas to try. It seems that the only thing holding them back from being vegan is that same “honey like glaze” that they had on their chocolate flavor, which is all the information I’ve been able to get about the coating. Basically, they were barnanas coated with peanut butter and glazed. Thomas loved them, and didn’t even have to share!

Sadly, vegetarian, and not vegan.

Sadly, vegetarian, and not vegan.

Fortunately for me though, he doesn’t like coconut anything, so we each had our own bags!

MINE!

MINE!

These new Coconut Barnana treats are GREAT!! Have you had raw macaroons or power balls? They’re  kind of like that, but get by with just the banana and coconut. They are a little softer than the original, and get a nice little texture contrast with the shredded coconut mixed in. Subtly sweet, with a little complex deeper flavor from the dehydrated ripe bananas. These turned out to be cravable, and made a great pre-derby workout snack. Interested in getting your own Barnana snacks? You can sign up at their website for samples and discounts, as well as shop and use their store locator, look for them in your local health food shop, or order some from Amazon.

 

Travel posts coming up soon. As always, thanks for reading!!

I made Rat Lab AND got new skates! :D

Published April 6, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
You already saw this picture last month, but I thought it was appropriate since I was all decked out in Rat City gear.

You already saw this picture last month, but I thought it was appropriate since I was all decked out in Rat City gear.

Quick post to brag about my big deal derby accomplishments this past week! If you’ve been wondering where the heck I’ve been, well, I realized last night (after two back to back practices, and after watching another league’s bout) that I skated 6 of 7 days last week! I wasn’t consciously trying to do that, but that’s just how it ended up. Part of the reason was that it was really nice and sunny all week, so we went to skate around Green Lake last Sunday, and then Thomas had new wheels to try out, and then I got new skates.

What’s that, new skates?! I HAVE AWESOME VEGAN SKATES NOW?! YES, YES I DO!

They look like this!

They look like this!

The Bont microfiber boots I ordered during Fast Girl’s annivesary sale came in, and Thursday I was able to get them mounted and molded. Unfortunately, the plates I had on my old skates were too big for the new boots (so I will be selling them, as well as my other skates) but I liked them so much, I bought them again in the right size in a really pretty red.

Bont Hybrid in microfiber with Crazy Venus plates and lightweight kingpins.

Bont Hybrid in microfiber with Crazy Venus plates and lightweight kingpins.

These are incredibly light, and I got to skate in them a little bit yesterday afternoon. I already love them. Just have to finish heat molding the toe box, and get used to the slightly looser truck setting that I have them at right now.

And then the extra big news…

I skated for the Rat City Rollergirls assessment yesterday to try to get on Rat Lab Fundamentals. (read all about their multi tier freshmeat program here) After skating with their rec league sporadically, and having a few of the girls I skated with make it on in the last couple of months, I decided to go for it. I tried to remain as calm as possible all week, and not let me talk myself out  of it. (It helped that one of my good friends from PFM was going too!) It was a hard practice, but I made it through the entire thing, remained positive, and gave it my all. I got my closest to 27 in 5 yet, just a foot or two short of the whistle! I think I will definitely be getting there on my next attempt, after a plateau of 26.75! And even though I was sure that they’d pass on me this time, when it was all said and done, I received my congratulatory email yesterday as I was getting ready to go watch the Tilted Thunder Rail Bird‘s bout (banked track roller derby). I was in complete shock and overjoyed!

Midna & I all tuckered out at the end of the night last night.

Midna & I all tuckered out at the end of the night last night. (Photo by Thomas)

So I will now be officially training with the Division 1 WFTDA ranked #13  team, Rat City Rollergirls!!!!!! SO excited and thankful for the opportunity to take my training and skills up to the next level, just had to share. I would stay and tell you more, but I actually need to get dressed for my regular team practice!

I’m still working on finishing up that post on roller derby and body image, so that should be coming up this week!

As always, thanks for reading!

Ty / Vampira Knightley

PS- Check out the awesome dinner we had last night at In the bowl after my practices! It’s an all vegetarian place in Capitol Hill, right next to our apartment. None of the mock meats are vegan, but we love tofu anyway…

Thai Peanut Sauce with wide noodles and tofu, $10.29. Stir fried with bok choy, broccoli and carrot then topped with peanut sauce. OMG, YUM!

Thai Peanut Sauce with wide noodles and tofu, $10.29. Stir fried with bok choy, broccoli and carrot then topped with peanut sauce. OMG, YUM!

Thomas had Ginger Fried brown rice and tofu, $ 9.99. Stir fried with carrot, green onion, snow pea, celery, broccoli and fresh ginger.

Thomas had Ginger Fried brown rice and tofu, $ 9.99. Stir fried with carrot, green onion, snow pea, celery, broccoli and fresh ginger.

The triumphant return of Highline: Seattle’s only vegan bar!

Published March 20, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Around a month ago, a wonderful, fantastic, should-I-really-get-my-hopes-up? rumor started fluttering around vegan circles in Seattle… Highline is going to re-open their kitchen, but just for brunch. I was overjoyed, and immediately planned on starting a twitter campaign to let them know that I supported them. (Which I promptly forgot about, and never ended up doing!) Fortunately for us, this rumor turned out to be partially true.

Highline was planning to re-open, but only for dinner between the hours of 4 and 8, and only on Mondays and Tuesdays, to start.

So of course we were there on the very first day of renewed food service. And the day after. And the week after that. And so on.  Afterall, this is the bar we most fell in love with as soon as we moved to Seattle. The whole first year we lived in First Hill, we would check craigslist for apartments, and map them to see how close we could get to it. So you can imagine how sad we were when they closed their kitchen last summer. And even more so every time we passed the glowing sign these last 5 months, since we did in fact end up moving ever so close by.

So here’s what they promised:

We’ll be serving food from 4pm-8pm Monday’s and Tuesday’s for the next while. The menu and days, though short and sweet now, will expand as the weeks pass by. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone over the few weeks! On behalf of all the staff, a HUGE “thank you” to everyone who’s helped spread the word and aims to support us! This is a long time in the works and we expect to exceed everyone’s expectations. love-Highline Bar

And here’s what they delivered:

More Cumin Than Cumin Tacos and Seitan Fingers

More Cumin Than Cumin Tacos $9,  and Seitan Fingers $8

The above was from the opening night. They even came over to see how the food was, and to get our feedback on how we thought the reinvented Seitan Fingers compared. We were thrilled. They now have a dedicated taco section to their abbreviated menu, and after having these, and the ones from Taco Tuesdays of the past, I think it was an extremely wise and tasty decision!

Crazy Train and Reubender, $10 each, or $12 with a side

Crazy Train and Reubender, $10 each, or $12 with a side

These sandwiches were okay. I ordered the Reubender and it was pretty good, though I’ve had better. Thomas seemed to like it a lot, but to be fair, that’s typically the type of sandwich Thomas will order, and not so much my go to. I thought his sandwich was pretty good, except it was just a bit on the bland side. Either the tofu needed marinade or it needed a punchier sauce. They didn’t ask that week, so I didn’t get to give them the feedback that time. Not bad though. I’ve always loved whatever bread that is that they use.

Then there was a week when we didn’t get there in time for food, but stayed for a little while for Britt’s birthday. (Not pictured!)

The Bell Toll $10, and that night's special: Cactus, Potato, Soyrizo tacos $9

The Bell Toll $10, and that night’s special: Cactus, Potato, Soyrizo tacos $9

This was from our food last week. I decided to go with that night’s special, despite the crazy sounding cactus that was throwing everyone off. I’m pretty sure I’ve had cactus before, and basically as long as it’s not an animal or a mushroom, I’m game. YUM! I saved one for later, and it ended up still being really good after sitting in the fridge for nearly a week. Haha. Yah, totally ate it days later. 😉 Thomas’ sandwich was good too, especially after clearing all the mushrooms off!

Verdict:

So far, so good! We really love the punk, gothy, rock vibe of this bar, and will be supporting them in all their efforts. It was easy for people from other vegan friendly towns to complain about this or that off the old menu, but there was a tremendous void when Highline shut down; it was the only all vegan bar we had! Personally, I had very little to complain about the old menu besides that the quality of the food was sometimes inconsistent. I think with the smaller menu and their concerted effort, they’ll be able to keep that in check this time around, and hopefully be able to expand their dinner service again too!

WELCOME BACK, HIGHLINE! 😀

The new booze menu!

The new booze menu!

A very poorly lit pic of their new menu!

Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes with Chili Chocolate Ganache

Published March 19, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes with Chili Chocolate Ganache

Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes with Chili Chocolate Ganache

Tonight was a pretty inspired evening! I came home craving cake and chocolate. Not too much of a mystery why, since everyone at work got to eat from a very nice looking cake today. Truly, two of the girls tried to pick me up a vegan cupcake this morning, so they at least they did try to include me, but man, that cake did look good!

A quick text to Thomas determined that he’d take me up on the offer of doing my laundry if I made cupcakes. (Score!) So I got to spend tonight doing all kinds of non-derby things like shaving my legs (they were completely grown out! at over 2 months, it was a new record for me), doing my toenails, putting away laundry, and baking! Woo! Grooming, accomplishments, AND delicious goodies!

I made these using Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Just a few of shakes of cayenne pepper into the chocolate cupcake batter, and half a recipe of chocolate ganache made with half a bar of Green & Black’s Spiced Chilli dark chocolate. Wow, ganache is simple to make, and way easier than going the frosting route! It was my first time and it only had 3 ingredients: soy milk, chocolate, and maple syrup, which I just stirred until smooth over low heat. Easy!

If you like spiced chocolate, I highly recommend trying this or a similar variation. The cupcakes came out perfectly moist and rich! Mmm!

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And here are the boys being adorable while the cupcakes were cooling. It was a lovely, productive evening at home. ❤

Last week in vegan food, derby, etc.

Published February 19, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Here's a pro shot by Don Jensen from last scrimmage.

Here’s a pro shot by Don Jensen from last scrimmage.

So we had a busy last week full of ups and downs, but it was filled with food, derby, friends, and love! Here’s a picture heavy run through of the week…

One of my very best friends Joanna was in town from Denver, so I gave her a quickie vegan tour of Seattle on my day off Tuesday.

Dirty South, $10

Dirty South, $10

We split this awesome Dirty South at Wayward in order to leave room for some desserts and drinks. A half-rack of tangy BBQ seitan ribs, potato salad, and garlic steamed kale. We hit Violet Sweet Shoppe next for some coffee and tea and I had a little bite of Jojo’s seriously good snickerdoodle, but I was saving myself for Mighty O. I took her to see the Freemont Troll, and some other scenic locations before meeting up with Thomas at our favorite neighborhood bar for a quick drink before we said our goodbyes. It was so nice to see her!

Donut feast later that night with Thomas.

Donut feast later that night with Thomas.

Thomas and I also made a stop in at our extremely close and yummy vegetarian noodle shop, In the Bowl, this past week.

Phad See Ew with small noodles and tofu

Phad See Ew with small noodles and tofu, $8.99

Phad Thai with small noodles and tofu, $8.99

Phad Thai with small noodles and tofu, $8.99

We spent Thursday over at a friend’s for game night, and I snapped this pic of the space needle on our two block stroll back home. We LOVE our neighborhood.

Capitol Hill's view of the Space Needle

Capitol Hill’s view of the Space Needle

Friday night Thomas and I just opted for staying in and ordering burritos from Bimbo’s (not pictured). But Saturday we walked up to the Seattle Center to meet up with some of my derby girls to go watch the Rat City teams battle it out in Bout 2.

Me in all my Rat City/Grave Danger gear!

Me in all my Rat City/Grave Danger gear!

PFM girls plus one that we may recruit!

PFM girls plus one possible recruit!

The two bouts were both great to watch, and the Derby Liberation Front / Throttle Rockets game went into overtime in a edge of our seats finish with DLF winning.

DLF vs. Throttle Rockets in  the last few minutes of a tied game!

DLF vs. Throttle Rockets in the last few minutes of a tied game!

And here are some more pics by Don Jensen from our last scrimmage…

Lori coming in to block me

Lori coming in to block me

Me trying to get past

Me trying to get past

Success!

Success!

Me realizing Amy was getting by, and that Zwack needed some help!

Me realizing Amy was getting by, and that Zwack needed some help!

Coming in just a little too late.

Coming in just a little too late.

Jamming on through

Me jamming on through

Looking for a hole!

Looking for a hole!

As always, thanks for reading!!

🙂

Scrimmage 2 Success!

Published February 10, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Don't worry mom, that's only FAKE BLOOD!

Don’t worry mom, that’s only FAKE BLOOD!

I decided that since we don’t bout in PFM, and only get to scrimmage once a month, I might as well get my derby persona together for the occassion. So I did full on Vampira Knightley, with fake blood and all. I loved it.

Fortunately, I already have plenty of vampirey things in my possession.

Fortunately, I already have plenty of vampirey things in my possession.

My only other scrimmage was back in November, due to travels the last two months, so I was pretty excited to see my new skills and knowledge put to use. The 1st time, I basically knew very little about the rules of the game. We had only seen one Rat City game in person, and I had streamed a few during the 2011 championships. I basically only knew this:

So after watching lots of local bouts in person and streaming a whole bunch on youtube lately, I was curious to see what I had absorbed, and if any of those things would come out this scrimmage. I also spent a lot of time in the penalty box the first time (because of not knowing the rules) for cutting the track. So one of my goals was to spend less time in the box this time, and try my hardest not to get any cut tracks. (I did get one at the very end!)

This penalty was for failure to reform the pack. I think.

This penalty was for failure to reform the pack. I think.

(We had some issues with reforming the pack that landed almost everyone in the penalty box at one point, so we had a big meeting with the refs to go over the rules. Ooops!)

We needed a firm talking to.

We needed a firm talking to.

There were two separate occassions where I was the only black blocker on the track, with two red blockers. I tried really hard.

Uh, really? Again?!

Another big goal of mine was to get lead jammer at least some of the times. I’m not sure if I did at all in November, because it was such a blur. I just remember it was really hard to get by the walls, so I was determined to get through every time as well. (Which I did!)

Get those jammers, ladies!

Get those jammers, ladies!

So of course the thing about jamming is, everyone’s out to get you, as beautifully illustrated here. You can see I’ve fallen over the inside track as team black’s jammer, and team red’s jammer going down as well! (And I did NOT get a cut track here, I crawled to the back of the pack before jumping back in!) But I did manage to get lead jammer at least 2 of the 4 times I jammed (that I’m aware of), and I tried to work on jumping up from falls as quick as possible. I was also was amazed at some of the crafty little sneak bys I did by dodging hits and skating on one foot close to the line. Pretty freaking neat, and definitely all stuff I absorbed from watching so many games.

My delicious post scrimmage meal: No Huevos Rancheros

My delicious post scrimmage meal: 5 Point Cafe’s No Huevos Rancheros

A bunch of us went for post scrimmage food & drinks to 5 Point Cafe where I had this awesome protein packed No Huevos Rancheros (comes vegan, straight off the menus!) and some cider.

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Thanks to Thomas for taking all those action shots from above, and Allison for taking the cute photo of the two of us! I’m sure I’ll be sharing lots more of our professionally shot ones as they come available!

Don't worry mom, that's only FAKE BLOOD!

Don’t worry mom, that’s only FAKE BLOOD!

Thanks for reading!

Ty / Vampira Knightley \/^^^\/

Black Bean & Garbanzo Chili (Vegan & GF)

Published February 5, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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I was hungry and happened upon new vegan blogger Hayley’s Chili recipe at just the right moment. It made a great inspiration for this tasty chili. I liked her chocolatey ingredient, but swapped regular cocoa powder for raw cacao since it was going to get cooked anyway (/I’m running low / it’s expensive / I order it on Amazon). I made some cheezy beer batter cornbread (recipe below) to go with it, and served it over kale and brown rice as a bowl. I think the leftovers will be great tomorrow over some pasta, sprinkled with nutritional yeast, for an easy chili mac!

I was originally going to call this Cuban Chili, but I found out [after google searching] that that is apparently another name for Picadillo?! Weird. Picadillo is SO not like chili. (You can check out my vegan picadillo recipes here and here!)

Black Bean & Garbanzo Chili (Vegan)

2 tbsp. olive oil (I used coconut here like Hayley’s recipe, but I prefer olive, up to you!)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped finely
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. dry sundried tomatoes, soaked in water for 10 minutes, (or use the oil packed ones) drained, and chopped
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2  cans black beans, one rinsed and drained, and one can, liquid and all
1  can garbanzos, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. of frozen corn
2 c. vegetable broth
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
3 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground chipotle pepper, optional (in the bulk spices at Whole Foods)
2 tbsp. brown sugar (I used 1 tbsp. brown sugar and 1 tbsp. agave because I ran out of the former)
1 tsp. cumin
cayenne pepper to taste
~ 1 1/2 tsp. salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large pot to medium. Add in onions, peppers, and carrots as you chop, and cook until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook an extra minute.

2. Add all other ingredients and bring up to a boil. Drop heat to low-medium and simmer for 1-2 hours.

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So I was trying to figure out how to make some cornbread to go with the chili, using the contents of my pantry, and decided to take a stab at a gluten free beer bread. It wasn’t until I sat down to write it that I realized my obvious mistake. I used regular beer. I’ll have to give this one another try with gluten free beer, and see how it goes, but in case you’re interested, here’s what I did! (You can always use my Perfect Cornbread recipe, if you prefer!)

Cheezy Beer Batter Corn Bread (Gluten-Free if you use gf beer!)

1 c. cornmeal
2 c. all purpose gluten free flour (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
2 tbsp. sugar, optional (brown if you have it!)
1/4 c. nutritional yeast (nooch)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
few grinds of black pepper
1 can/bottle of gluten-free beer

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375*F and grease a loaf pan.

1. In a large mixing bowl combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, nooch, baking powder, salt and pepper. Pour beer into dry mix, and stir until combined. The batter will look liquidy.

2. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean.

3. Let it rest in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then turn out to slice.

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Isa Does It: Vegan Cookbook Review

Published January 22, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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My copy of Isa Does it came right in the middle of our last move in mid-October, so it got flipped through and filed away for a good long time before I actually took it for a test drive in my kitchen last week.

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I had originally pre-ordered a kindle edition, but then I was on the PPK one day, and saw they were having a promotion for these cute little reusable bags with proof of pre-order. So I went on amazon, to screen shot my purchase, but it sort of looked like the kindle edition wasn’t happening. Not only that, after hearing Isa talk about how nice the hardcover was going to be, I was having second thoughts. (Coming from the girl who owned Appetite for Reduction in BOTH editions, this shouldn’t be a surprise though.) So I cancelled my kindle order and put in for the hardcover. Looks like that’s the only thing currently available on amazon anyway, but I’m so glad I did! It is a really nice big book with great pictures, that does a great job of staying open to the recipe you’re cooking from. (The ultimate cookbook feat!)

And I’ll just tell you right upfront. This book is GREAT. Easy, fast, cheap. She’s totally got the amazing taste on a weekday timeline thing down. No crazy hard to find ingredients. It’s really made me want to cook at home all the time again. Something that’s been really lost for me for the last 2 years, ie. ever since I moved out of my giant kitchen.

Here’s what I’ve tried so far…

Dragon Noodle Salad and Sesame Tofu

Dragon Noodle Salad and Sesame Tofu

This was awesome. I traded grated carrots for sliced cucumbers (Thomas doesn’t like cucumbers, but loves pickles!) and skipped the sesame seed garnish. I chopped some cilantro right into the kale I used for the greens. The Sesame Tofu is broiled with some tamari & sesame oil. Easy peasy, and super delicious.

Did my prep in the food processor to make this super fast.

Did my prep in the food processor to make this super fast.

Instead of dredging, I let it marinate for an hour

Instead of dredging, I let it marinate for an hour

and broiled it in the same pan.

and broiled it in the same pan.

Sunflower Mac

Sunflower Mac

Next up was the Sunflower Mac. A lot of the recipes in this book call for soaked cashews (which Thomas may or may not be sensitive too, the jury’s still out), but Isa gives you the option to use soaked sunflower seeds instead. This particular recipe is made with just that, in honor of Ms. Jess Scone of Get Sconed(/the PPK/VidaVeganCon), who is allergic to tree nuts. Now I already knew from the past that Isa tends to give you extra sauce (and she mentions it in this recipe) so I used 12 ounces of pasta instead of 8, and threw half a bunch of kale in with the pasta for the last 2 minutes. Still PLENTY of sauce to go around. I also added an extra 1/2 cup of nooch (nutritional yeast) and used smoky sweet paprika all over it instead of just sweet, because YUM.

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash & Lentils pg. 77

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash & Lentils pg. 77

I have no idea what size my butternut squash was, but it was of a small to medium size and I chopped it up and roasted all of it for this recipe. I also used one bunch of kale (called for 8 ounces/cups), and extra garlic and ginger in the sauce. This came out GREAT.

Got the lentils and greens nicely tossed in there

Got the lentils and greens nicely tossed in there

and then added the lovely roasted squash after it cooled slightly.

and then added the lovely roasted squash after it cooled slightly.

Jerk Sloppy Joes with Coconut Creamed Spinach pg. 94

Jerk Sloppy Joes with Coconut Creamed Spinach pg. 94

Next up was the Jerk Sloppy Joes. The other alleged culprit in Thomas’ mystery allergy is now gluten, so we weren’t able to find any gluten free AND vegan buns, so we made this two ways. With tiny gluten free bread, and also as a bowl with brown rice. The recipe calls for gluten filled seitan, but offers up 2 gluten free suggestions: 2 c. of lentils or 1 package of crumbled tofu. We took the road less traveled by… I used the soy curls I had picked up two weeks ago at Food Fight! in Portland.

I put 2 cups of soy curls in warm water for 10 minutes to rehydrate.

I put 2 cups of soy curls in warm water for 10 minutes to rehydrate.

Then chopped it up as called for in the recipe.

Then chopped it up as called for in the recipe.

It worked beautifully!

It worked beautifully!

And here it was as a bowl!

And here it was as a bowl!

Pureed Split Pea & Rutabaga Soup pg. 31

Pureed Split Pea & Rutabaga Soup pg. 31

And for last, here’s the split pea and rutabaga soup. I had never had rutabaga before, so I was curious about this one. It also called for star anise, but I totally forgot to put them in 15 minutes after the boil, and threw them in at the end, so the taste wasn’t as pronounced. I had to blend the soup in two batches in the Vitamix, and I left just a teensy bit unblended which gave it a nice surprise pea here and there, which I didn’t mind. This was really good, comforting, and creamy. The leftovers were yum, and had more of an anise flavor too.

Final Impression:

YAY! A new Isa book that is everything I needed it to be! I can’t believe that I can get food that tastes this good, this easily on a weeknight. Thanks for breathing life back into my kitchen, Isa. Oh, and for those of you who care, all of the above dishes were made GLUTEN FREE.

Because once wasn't enough for you to look at this adorable picture of Isa and I at Vida Vegan Con II.

Because once wasn’t enough for you to look at this adorable picture of Isa and I at Vida Vegan Con II.

Vegan Babe Fest 2014: Portland for Melisser’s Bday

Published January 10, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
The babes. More hairspray and vintage than you can shake something mod at.

The babes. More hairspray and vintage than you can shake a vegan corn dog at.

We spent an awesome weekend in Portland last week for Melisser’s birthday, and I’ve slowly been trying to get all the highlights into a post for you this week!

We hopped into the car Friday evening and drove straight to meet up with the gang (most of whom we’d never met, but they turned out to be fantastic!) at Blossoming Lotus  Thomas and I had eaten lunch there once before, on our moving trip from Florida to Seattle back in November 2012, but not since. I was so hungry it was tough for me to decide what to eat. Thomas, however, settled on his right away…

Pot Pie with an enormous biscuit top!

Pot Pie with an enormous biscuit top!

Pot Pie $16, roasted portobello, carrot, turnip, and parsnip enveloped in a creamy herb filling, topped with a truffled biscuit crust. This thing was full of mushroom, so I stayed away, but it was a popular dish at the table, and Thomas did a great job of polishing his off. The picture doesn’t really do it justice. That is one BIG biscuit!

Ratatoullie!

Ratatoullie!

I finally decided on the Ratatouille $15 (Gluten free, Soy free), crispy polenta cakes in a roasted red pepper and tomato sauce, with roasted eggplant, zucchini, squash, onions and herbs, topped with walnut parmesean. Again, sorry for the dimly lit photo. This was really delicious. Two giant pieces of polenta with incredibly flavorful veggies, especially the eggplant. SO much food!

After this we went to a really weird drag show, then a super sweet arcade (GroundKontrol), and then a final end of the night stop at the closest food carts.

Fried dough. ALWAYS a good idea!

Fried dough. ALWAYS a good idea!

That’s where we found the yummiest truck of all [in my opinion], the Whiffies hand pie truck! While it may not be fully vegan, 1 of the 3 savory pies is vegan, and all 5 of the sweet pies are too. We ordered the Tofu Pot Pie and the Grannie Smith’s Apple Pie, both nights we were there! SO DELICIOUS. 😉 The other reigning champ for the rest of the table was the Potato Champion truck, where vegan poutine was gleefully ordered and shared on both nights as well.

Birthday hand pies.

Alex. Jon. Melisser. Birthday hand pies.

The Whiffies employee was also the one who gave us the rainbow birthday candle that would serve to adorn Melisser’s every meal all weekend. Said employee recognized me from the blog, and introduced himself as we were leaving. (Thanks for saying hi!) Turns out he was Rian of This Vegan Mouth, who blogs about all the amazing eats in Portland. (Check it out!) So nice to meet vegan interwebs friends in person! After this we finally went back to the house to hang out.

Melisser rented this super cute, 3 bedroom basement apartment for all of us to crash at on airbnb.com, which  made the weekend that much more fun.

Did you ever see that episode of Punky Brewster where a kid gets stuck in an old fridge?

Somehow I brought this, and how kids can get stuck in fridges up, so Kerry decided to disprove the myth immediately.

The non-believer.

Just for the record, Kerry doesn’t drink!

Kerry writes a vegan skate blog at veganskateblog.com. (It’s about skateboarding though, not derby!) Turns out that at least with this particular model of fridge, he was absolutely correct. (The one in Punky Brewster had an old-fashioned latch.) Very little effort required to open it from the inside. But just to make sure, we all had to try it.

Alex & Kerry, being fridge scientists.

Alex & Kerry, in a fridge. For Science.

Thomas and I in a fridge. For science.

Thomas and I, in a fridge at least twice the size of ours at home.

** DAY 2 **

Brunch was at Paradox Cafe, so Thomas and I decided to ride our bikes over. Seattle’s a bit too steep and crazy for me to get around much on my bike, so I was looking forward to getting to share Thomas’ favorite activity on flatter terrain. It turned out to be a really nice ride.

Vegan & Gluten free cornbread.

Vegan & Gluten free cornbread.

We beat everyone there because we biked, but that gave us longer to check out the menu. I immediately spotted the cornbread, but was bummed because it only said gluten free. However, the waitress assured us that it was also vegan, and that the menu needs to be updated, so we ordered it to start. It had green chilis throughout it’s slightly crumbly texture, and was from the less sweet camp of cornbread. Now we both prefer the more southern, sweeter cornbreads, but will eat absolutely any cornbread we can get, so we liked it anyway. It had a nice crisp outside, moist inside, and good flavor.

Solstice Corn Cake

Solstice Corn Cake

I had also spotted the  Solstice Corn Cakes, which are [vegan & gluten-free] corn pancakes with apples and toasted walnuts, but couldn’t decide if I wanted something more savory instead. Fortunately, Brittney was up for sharing one. YUM.

Mine

Mine.

I ended up ordering the Tempeh-Avocado Tostadas $6.95, Black beans, quinoa, tempeh, arugula, (I had them sub kale!), son risa sauce and avocado; served with homemade salsa. Totally delicious, huge portion, and cheap. If I lived in Portland, I’d eat there all the time.

Deconstructed burrito.

Deconstructed burrito.

Thomas got the The “Big” Burrito $8.50, A blend of steamed vegetables, tofu and our house chili; wrapped in a giant wheat tortilla, topped with salsa & green onions; served with breakfast potatoes. Only he got his deconstructed, served with corn tortillas to make it gluten-free.

(And yes, we’re trying to eat gluten-free now. He thinks that might be way he gets an allergic reaction on his face, and I know some wheat things give me hives in my mouth, so I thought it wasn’t a bad idea.)

Put a candle on it.

Put a candle on it.

I’m not exactly sure what Melisser had, but we made sure to put a candle in it!

And here we all are looking very full!

And here we all are looking very full!

After this, Thomas and I decided to head over to the vegan mini mall. And of course, we have footage…

I picked up some super elusive and exclusive Portland soy curls at Food Fight Grocery, and then picked up a couple of cute tops at Herbivore Clothing for my ever growing collection.

New shirt!

New shirt!

Then we cruised back home to get ready for a night of food and dancing.

A lovely little sunset was waiting for us outside to bike back.

A lovely little sunset was waiting for us outside to bike back.

Dinner was at White Owl Social Club. Melisser ordered this GIANT (Okay, Large) Hatch Chile Taco Mac, Vegan Mac and Cheese with Seasoned TVP, for us to share. It says the Large serves 4, but this was plenty of food for 6 people to share as a light meal.

Chile Mac

Chile Mac

Also shared were the Fried Moonbrine Pickle Fritters, With Sizzle Pie Vegan Ranch, and the Jalapeño Garlic cheese fries, Shoestring Fries smothered in vegan Cheese Sauce and Jalapeño Garlic Relish. YUM! No complaints on any of that! 🙂

Melisser blowing out her birthday pickle fritter. Fries also pictured, albeit dimly! -Thanks for the photo Thomas!

Melisser blowing out her birthday pickle fritter. Fries also pictured, albeit dimly! -Thanks for the photo Thomas!

After some fun with the photo booth, we headed out to Star Bar to get our dance on.

Elvis Face!

Elvis Face!

But Star Bar had another thing to offer us besides cool vintage tunes to dance to, they also had VEGAN JELLO SHOTS?!! Though half of the gang doesn’t drink, Alex and I were down, and Melisser decided to join us since it was her birthday.

Blurry, boozin babes.

Blurry, boozin babes.

The well chilled vegan jello shots have a pretty thick consistency, but they give you a little toothpick to help break it up. They come in Kamikaze flavor, which is really not the greatest, but hey, vegan jello shots! Who woulda thought? Thanks, Portland.

** DAY 3 **

A thoroughly unflattering last pic of me & Thomas at our temporary weekend residence.

A thoroughly unflattering last pic of me & Thomas at our temporary weekend residence.

Everyone slept in Sunday morning so we got a late and lazy start on our last day. Our last meal came from the Vita Cafe. They have lots of great sounding food, but we settled on these:

Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak

Melisser’sCHICKEN’ FRIED STEAK $8.50, Batter dipped deep fried organic tempeh, mashed potatoes and almond gravy, looked awesome, but sadly (for me!) the gravy is made with almonds. So Thomas ordered it and had them put the gravy on the side so I could try it. I did dip my piece in a little gravy though, and it was super delicious! I would totally recommend it!

Cheesesteak!

Cheesesteak!

I had the SEITAN CHEESE STEAK $7.50, Sliced seitan with sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms (no thanks!), and real pepper jack cheese, vegan cheese (+$1) , served on a baguette. It came with some yummy pickle slices and was so good that I devoured the entire thing in no time.

So what an entirely fantastic weekend! The food, people, and location were beyond great. We really want to try to make an effort to get down there more often. See you soon Portland! 🙂

What are your favorite Portland eats?

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