I'm leaving you, BlogSpot.

Well, this is it.

I'm leaving BlogSpot and heading to Wordpress. I have a new blog, a new mindset, and it's time to say goodbye. So come find me at my new blog and say hello!

Ciao for now,


CCV in a Box!

Hello, all my nonexistent readers! :P I returned from spring break and was promptly thrown right back into the crazy world of compsing. I took my big annoying exam first weekend, so I am now done with my comprehensive senior integrative exercise (if we're going to get fancy with titles here) and, barring failure of my exam, am free and clear to graduate college in June! Yikes/yay!

But now back to your regularly scheduled programming... food! But not really. In case you haven't heard, Katie, AKA CCV, over at Chocolate Covered Katie is giving away an amazingly awesome "CCV in a Box" - basically, it's all her favorite stuff combined in a package of tasty delight. You can enter to win by sending Katie an email with the answers to her fun little bloggy scavenger hunt, and if you have a blog you can earn extra entries by linking to the contest and/or making a CCV recipe and blogging about it. Fun, no? So head right on over to this page and enter!


Breaking for Spring Break

I'm just popping by to say that I'm on a brief hiatus. It's spring break, and I'll be home in RI for a week before heading to Chicago to visit friends during the last week of my break. I didn't bring my laptop home so that I can get lots of studying done for my comps exam, so I'm trying not to waste too much time on the internet. I will catch up with blogs eventually though!

Catch you all at the end of March!


"Cauliflower is NOT my name!"

A few years ago, a certain sibling of mine decided it would be hilarious to start calling me "Cauliflower." Apparently, "Kelly" and the "Cauli" part of cauliflower just sound sooo much alike. I still think "Kellyflower" would've been cuter, but I guess you can't pick and choose the nicknames your siblings give you - and hey, it could've been a lot worse! Smelly Kelly, Kelly Belly... my name lends itself to some unfortunate rhymes. Oh well! Cauliflower really isn't so bad, especially since I happen to be a cauliflower fan.

Cauliflower isn't (just) broccoli's albino cousin - it's a healthy cruciferous vegetable in its own right, loaded with vitamin C and respectable amounts of vitamin K and fiber. And it's downright delicious when roasted, covered in "Indian Barbecue Sauce" from VegWeb, and paired with cumin-y pan fried tofu and baby carrots.

Do I really need to say anything else? That all tasted as good as it looked. I halved the recipe for the barbecue sauce and further lessened the amount of oil, and there was more than enough for me, but I don't like lots of sauce on my food, so take that as you will. Oh, and I omitted the ginger just because I, um, don't have any. :P Anyway, I highly recommend that recipe and think you should all go out and stock your veggie drawer with cauliflower if you haven't done so already. Now go!


Picture Post: Sunday Breakfast

Pancakes from VWAV with a strawberry topping - the perfect way to start your Sunday. :)

P.S. I need your help! Let me know your favorite way of eating yams/sweet potatoes at this post. Thanks!


The Crinkly Nose Chronicles: Yams

I've never considered myself a picky eater. I like to think that if someone were to make me a meal, no matter what was on the plate (well, y'know, as long as it wasn't a big bloody steak or something, obviously!), I'd eat it willingly and gratefully. And I suppose that's true. But then I realized that there are certain foods that I just won't purchase or cook on my own because, well, I don't really like them! So I've decided that I'm going to try and overcome these food aversions - thus, the Crinkly Nose Chronicles were born. Why the name, you ask? Well, what facial expression does a child make when you ask her to eat a food she doesn't like? Yup - she crinkles her nose and pairs it with a disdainful look that leave no confusion as to her meaning. And the questionable food I'm dealing with today is the humble yam.

Now, the food I really have an issue with here is the sweet potato. I know that's weird, and I know that yams and sweet potatoes are not exactly the same thing, but my local grocery store had yams on sale last week - with no sweet potatoes in sight - so I decided to just pretend that once I learn to like yams, sweet potatoes will naturally follow.

I think my dislike of sweet potatoes stems from childhood. I've always had an issue with tastes - I don't like my dinner to taste sweet, and as I've mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of the savory breakfast. So, while regular ol' potatoes are just fine with me, the sweet ones have always tripped me up. As a kid, I'd watch the rest of my family enjoying baked sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar and wistfully wish I could learn to like them, but I just couldn't. Not only did their taste not fit with my conceptions of what dinner should entail, but their general flavor, quite honestly, just did not do it for me. I also have issues with texture - I hated yogurt as a kid and bananas still make me gag - and the texture of sweet potatoes was always slightly off-putting to me. As I've gotten older, I've grown more tolerant; if yams or sweet potatoes are part of a side dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas, I'll force down a small helping. But buying them and cooking them of my own volition? Not on your life!

...until last week, that is. I came home from the grocery store with two big ol' yams last Monday, and decided that the best way to trick my taste buds into enjoying them was to make baked yam fries - and yes, that's probably the same approach I'd take with a child, hehe! In search of some appropriate seasoning, the very first result from Googling "sweet potato fries" led me here. Hmm - her husband hates sweet potatoes but loved these fries?! Sounds good to me! So I chopped up my yam into some strangely shaped pieces, mixed up some olive oil (way less than the 1/4 cup in the recipe, goodness!) with some paprika and cinnamon (a spice mixture that sounded just crazy enough to work) and popped 'em in the oven.

Um, consider me chastened! These fries were delicious! I liked the ones where the skin had gone all crispy, but I was even able to eat the ones with mooshy insides without having texture OR flavor issues! In fact, I actually enjoyed the yammish flavor. I liked these fries so much that I made them again last night when I wasn't particularly hungry for a big dinner.

As you can see, I had the fries with some asparagus I needed to use up. The asparagus looks really shiny, but it's just flavored with a little Earth Balance and some squeezes of fresh lemon juice. Yum all around.

I've made progress, I think, in my journey towards becoming a yam/sweet potato fan. But I still have a ways to go. I've got to graduate to actual sweet potatoes, and I need to stop eating my yams as fries (or do I?) and try another way of eating them. In fact, I bought two more yams at the store today, and I promise that the next time I see a sweet potato, I will purchase it and try to enjoy it!

So - what's YOUR favorite way of eating yams/sweet potatoes?


Cupcakes, Pancakes, and Soup, oh my!

My cooking rut has ended, but my time crunch has begun, giving me a new reason not to post, alas! Carleton has a trimester system, so we have three 10-week terms per year. It's eighth week of winter term right now, and things are getting hectic. I've got all my regular work to finish, plus my huuuge comprehensive exercise exam for which to prepare. So that's my excuse for this boring, mostly picture-less post!

I tried the VWAV recipe for pancakes last week, and they were yummy! I added lots of cinnamon to the batter, because I love a little spice in my pancakes, and ate them with maple syrup and the applesauce and apples topping I blogged about here.

After picking up some canned pumpkin at the store, I made the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from VCTOTW. Mmm! They were like a cross between cupcakes and muffins, though the chocolate chips definitely pushed them towards cupcakedom. I thought they were *slightly* bland, but that might be because I'm so used to eating pumpkin based baked goods that use lots of pumpkin pie inspired spices.

This weekend, I made a big ol' pot of the Curried Split Pea Soup from VWAV. I'd had a bag of split peas sitting in my cupboard for weeks, so I was glad to finally use them up. I've never had curried split pea soup before; in fact, I'm not sure I've had split pea soup at all since going vegetarian just about four years ago! Weird, huh? I altered Isa's recipe slightly for lack of certain ingredients, namely onions, ginger, and cardamom. If I'd had them, I bet the soup would've been even tastier, but I really loved it as it was, especially since I chopped up a couple of baby carrots and added them. The curry flavor was mild, but I thought it worked well that way; the soup wasn't overpowering at all. I froze about half the batch, and tonight I ate my last not-frozen leftover bowl with some "sweet potato" (read: yam!) fries that might show up in a post soon. It was the perfect comfort meal on a cold night when I had a headache and generally didn't feel too well.

I did make one recipe from VWAV that wasn't a success, however. I decided to depart from my standby burger recipe - a variation of the Black Bean Burgers from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen - and try the TVP-based Veggie Burgers instead. I was not impressed. Granted, my substitution of chopped olives for the recipe's chopped mushrooms could have altered the taste, but I thought the flavor overall was just not good. I find that many of the recipes from VWAV are really salty, and this one was no exception, especially if you cook the TVP in vegetable broth, which is loaded with sodium. That plus the 3 T soy sauce, the Dijon mustard, and the optional liquid smoke (I didn't have any) equals waaay too much salt for my tastes - and I even halved the amount of soy sauce! I just wasn't impressed with the taste; there were too many flavors going on - Dijon mustard, peanut butter, soy sauce, and all the spices... bleh. I like the idea of a TVP-based burger, but I won't be making this particular recipe again.

That's all I have for now on the food-related front! I will leave you with a cute photo of my little Mistletoe as a thank-you for reading all this boring, picture-less food blather. This is one of her favorite positions, with her head resting between someone's legs - mine, in this case. Enjoy the doggie cuteness, and check out this post for a photo of my other baby.


Spinach Gnocchi, or, A Monochrome Meal

With a word like gnocchi, the temptation to make some sort of horrible pun is almost irresistible. A large number of such puns ran through my head the other day in a cavalcade of groan-inducing wordplay, yet tonight I feel braindead - none of those hi-laaarious titles will condescend to return to my memory. Maybe that's for the best, however, so I'll skip the silliness and get straight to the food.

It was my turn in the three-week cycle of house dinner making, and I felt like going all-out and going crazy in the kitchen. Obviously that meant making my own pasta. Potato pasta, but pasta nonetheless. For a first gnocchi-making experience, it went quite well. I followed the recipe from VWAV, and added spinach, as per one of Isa's suggestions. I ended up with a large batch of minty-green gnocchi speckled with darker bits of spinach. Kind of pretty, in a strange way, even in their misshapenness - they were certainly not all exactly the same size, and the little riblike lines that scream "GNOCCHI!" were not entirely noticeable. But they were certainly tasty, if perhaps ever-so-slightly gummy. Definitely not a light meal, that's for sure. I served them with a spinach thyme toss from Vegan Visitor and some marinara sauce, along with a side of green beans sauteed with garlic and - of course - garlic bread. Yum yum yum.

Without the marinara sauce and the bread, that meal would've been entirely green! Hmm... I think I know what to make on St. Patty's day! :)


Ethnically Diverse Toast (aka French toast made with Italian bread)

My lack of posts lately may hint in a fairly obvious way that I've been in a bit of a cooking rut for a week or so. I just haven't felt inspired, I guess. But luckily that all ended last night, when I journeyed into the land of pasta making and whipped up (cough, cough) a batch of homemade spinach gnocchi. Yeah, you heard that right. ;) But more on that in my next post, because this morning I made something you'd think really shouldn't be veganizable, since the original relies almost solely on animal products. Obviously I'm talking about French toast!

It was with a certain amount of, well, apprehension that I tried the recipe for "Fronch" Toast from VWAV. Isa says that chickpea flour possesses the magical ability to transform the egg- and milk-free version into one that tastes amazingly close to the real thing. Well, truth be told, I don't really care for the taste of chickpea flour. I learned this the hard way after I made a batch of pudla (Chinese scallion "pancakes" made with chickpea flour) based on this recipe. But since I was halving the VWaV recipe (I'm only cooking for one, here!) and it therefore only needed 1/8ish cup of chickpea flour, I figured I'd give it a try. Oh, and please excuse the questionable quality/composition of this photograph - my camera was having focusing issues, and this was not an exceedingly aesthetically pleasant food. It's rather... beige.

So - the result? Tasty, and surprisingly like "real" French toast (why does she call it "Fronch" Toast, anyway?), but not indistinguishable from the original. I added some cinnamon into the mix, because I don't have any maple syrup for a topping and wanted to sweeten it up. Unfortunately, I could taste the chickpea flour. That was a little disappointing, although I think I might've used too much flour, since I was just eyeballing it. Next time, I'll definitely be stingy with the chickpea flour. I'll also use slightly stale bread (mine was leftover Italian bread from the night before) and let it soak in the mixture for a longer period of time.

Oh, and that topping on my French toast? That, my friends, is a yummy, sweet, apple topping based on something my dad used to make when he'd cook up a big batch of pancakes for my family on the weekends. It's pretty simple - first, you pour about 1/4 or 1/3 cup of applesauce into a small pot and heat it up on the stove. While that's getting nice and bubbly, chop up an apple into small cubes and add it to the pot. Since I use unsweetened applesauce, I like to add a sizable sprinkle of cinnamon and a little sugar, but you can definitely leave the sugar out. If you have maple syrup, that works nicely too; Dad liked to use it. I bet you could give it a nice apple pie type flavor by adding nutmeg, allspice, etc. Anyway, once it's bubbly and the apples are nice and soft, just spoon it right over your French toast or pancakes and enjoy! I sure did. :)


Veggie Chorizo Brekkie Burrito!

Like many Americans, I am a cultural mutt. My mom's side is French-Canadian, English, and Scottish, while my dad's side hails from Portugal, Ireland, and Russia. While I can't say that any one culinary tradition was prevalent in my immediate family's kitchen during my childhood, special occasions were often an excuse for my extended family to make foods following those traditions. French-Canadian meat pie, or tourtiere, is a New Year's Day tradition on my mom's side of the family (and no, we're not talking about the Sweeney Todd type of meat pie!). On the other side, my grandmother always buys traditional Portuguese sweet breads - complete with the hard-boiled egg in the middle - on Easter and makes a variety of Portuguese dishes for family dinners or her annual Christmas party. Some sort of pepper and chorizo dish is usually present at these types of gatherings.

I've got to be honest - even when I did eat meat, I was never a fan of chorizo or any type of sausage. It seemed like the epitome of everything that was wrong with meat to me, all sorts of unidentifiable bits of animals thrown into a grinder and labeled edible. And the few times I tried it, I didn't care for the taste. But I was willing to give chorizo another try... in its vegan form, at least. :P

So I made the Breakfast Veggie Chorizo from VWAV. As usual, I didn't have a couple of the ingredients (bay leaves, fennel seed.) But it ended up being really tasty! It was sweeter than I'd expected, which was probably a good thing - I'm not really a savory-breakfast type of person. Nope, I'm a sweet-breakfast girl - I'll take pancakes/smoothies/cereal/waffles/oatmeal, please! But I tried something different with the veggie chorizo and was pleasantly surprised, especially because it tastes really great in a breakfast burrito mixed up with sauteed green peppers, onions, and potatoes! I even went so far as to top it off with a smidgen of ketchup, which is totally against my sweet-breakfast nature, but it was really the perfect topping for the burrito.

Tasty AND filling! And for a first experience using TVP, it really could not have gone much better. I'm sure this doesn't taste anything like real chorizo, but hey - I'm fine with that. :)


Peanutty Yumminess Part Deux, or, Making Do

I've been feeling a little under the weather today, with various aches, pains, and an overwhelming desire to go to bed that hit me a little while ago. So I was going to skip posting tonight until I remembered that I'd already typed out most of this entry a few nights ago. Well! That changes everything. ;)

Apparently my peanut inspired dinner on Monday didn't fill my daily peanut quota, because later that night (after dutifully finishing my art history reading) I decided to break in my new copy of VCTOTW by making the Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Now, one of the downfalls of going to school far away from home is that I am sadly unable to bring my family's well-stocked kitchen along with me. I live in an on-campus townhouse this year with B & E, my two best friends here, and although we're slowly stocking our kitchen with necessary utensils and whatnot, those things ain't cheap, and inevitably we find ourselves lacking certain items. So my Peanut Butter Cupcake making journey was a lesson in making do.

First, I don't have any molasses. I know, I know. So I substituted a little of the brown sugar for some of the white sugar and added a bit of applesauce, since molasses is sort of liquidy, right? And my lack of crunchy natural peanut butter led me to crush some peanuts instead. And because we don't have a sifter (I know, I know!) I sort of used a whisk to make sure my cocoa powder was lumpless. And since we don't have cupcake liners (...), I just (unhealthily) greased the muffin tins with shortening. Oh, and for once I don't have soy milk - just the almond milk about which I rhapsodized in my previous post.

When it came time to make the frosting, I used the same sifting... trick... to make sure my powdered sugar didn't have huge lumps. And then my lack of a hand mixer compelled me to beat the frosting with a fork, a strenuous process which has left me with a rather sore right arm.

Somehow, though, everything magically worked out in the end. The cupcakes themselves, to be honest, sort of straddle that line between cupcake and muffin, but they are still yummy. I wouldn't call them sweet though; they have a mellow, rich taste that doesn't hit you until you actually begin chewing on the bite you've just taken. I bet the molasses would've added just the right depth of sweetness.

And the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting? Well, let's just say that the next time somebody disparagingly calls vegan fare bland, boring, and waaay too healthy, I'll just whip up a batch of this frosting and in one fell swoop topple all those stereotypes! This stuff is super rich! Tasty, but heavy. VCTOTW suggests topping the Peanut Butter Cupcakes with a drizzle of ganache, but my lack of chocolate chips led me to make the buttercream instead. In retrospect, the buttercream is probably too heavy for this cupcake - it almost overpowers the peanut butter's flavor. Ah well. Live and learn and in the meantime eat lots of delicious cupcakes!

...or not, since later that night I had a very unpleasant stomachache which can really only be attributed to the rather large quantity of fat in the frosting. I've never been able to tolerate too much fat, so I think it did me in this time. Alas!

Anyway, now I'm going to curl up in bed with a comps book - Virginia Woolf's Orlando, which is one of those books that gets better and better each time you read it - and read 'til I'm ready to fall asleep. Ciao!


Nutty Milks - Who Knew?!

I have a new favorite thing, and its name is Milk - Almond Milk, that is. I've been trying to cut down on my soy intake, not necessarily because I've been frightened away by all the rumors about its possible health effects, but because I believe in a balanced diet. As veg*ns, it's all too easy for us to rely on soy-based products, so I figure that if I can use a non-soy based milk instead, it'll sort of balance out my consumption of tofu and such. As my momma always says, quoting my incredibly wise grandpa, "Everything in moderation." :)

But I'm not gonna lie - I'm having a hard time using this almond milk in moderation! The Blue Diamond brand was on sale for $1.79 a carton at the co-op, so I bought the unsweetened original and the sweetened vanilla varieties.

One sip and I was sold! The vanilla is so much creamier than vanilla soy or rice milk, but it's not at all overwhelmingly nutty. I will say that I think it's *just* bordering on being too sweet, so next time I'll get the unsweetened vanilla (the sweetener is evaporated cane sugar.) As a testament to how much I like this stuff, let me just say that I actually drank a glass of it with my dessert tonight. This is meaningful because I pretty much drink only water (and tea, I guess). I don't drink soda, I don't buy juice all that often, and I don't really count smoothies as drinks. :) As a kid I was never fond of drinking glasses of milk, and I don't like soy or rice milk enough to drink it plain, but I actually enjoyed this by itself. Pretty sweet. I haven't tried the original variety yet, but I'm optimistic about it and will probably use it mostly for baking/cooking.

You know, I'm lucky that I can drink this at all - nut allergies run in my family; my dad's allergic to almonds and my sister is allergic to all nuts. So when I am home (not at college, where I live at the moment) we can't keep stuff like this in the house. I think I'll try to explore other milk alternatives, like oat and hemp. :)

Tune in next time for part two of my peanutty yumminess series, wherein I will share my first experience with Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World! The dessert I mentioned earlier, which went so well with a glass of almond milk, will be featured prominently. Well... solely, actually. Hehe.


Peanutty Yumminess

Last fall, I made a food discovery that rocked my world and changed my life. Ever since this delightful spicy, salty, nutty goodness first danced across my taste buds, they've craved it at least once a week. What is this culinary creation, you ask? Two words: peanut. sauce.

...okay, so maybe I was the last person on the planet to realize that peanut sauce was even possible, but somehow I spent 21 years of my life in a peanut sauce-less flavor wasteland. The fact that I'd never encountered it before is odd, because I love peanut flavored anything and I love noodle-y dishes with exciting sauces in general. Possibly it has something to do with my younger sister's nut allergy; if she weren't allergic, I bet my culinarily gifted dad would've made something like it at some point. But anyway, I discovered it last fall and after I mixed up my first batch, I was hooked.

That right there is heaven in a dish, folks. I like to serve a large helping of peanut sauce over udon noodles and some veggies. I nearly always use broccoli, and in the past I've used snow peas with great success. This time I used some edamame, and then I topped it all off with some raw peanuts. It's such a simple dish, but it's so flavorful and delicious.

I don't really have a set recipe for my peanut sauce, but the key is to mix equal parts peanut butter (natural, duh!) and water and then spice to taste. I like to add soy sauce, garlic, chili powder, and enough cayenne pepper to give it a real kick. It's pretty simple, but so awesome over the noodles and vegetables.

Ah, peanuts. I can never decide if I like them in sweet dishes (mmm, peanut butter & chocolate flavored anything!) or in a savory, spicy incarnation, like this sauce. But hey - who said I have to choose?! :D


Kale Soup on Sunday

It was my turn in the rotation to cook Sunday dinner for my lovely housemates this week, and since I've been craving my mom's kale soup, I asked her for the recipe and set about recreating one of my favorite dishes from home. She varies her recipe based on what's in the house, so I tailored it to my friends' tastes. I was proud that my first attempt at making Mom's soup came out so well, and even though my friends had never had kale before (shocking, I know!), they enjoyed it and E had a large second helping. :) Anyway, I'm going to share the "recipe" here, although I'm guesstimating on some of the measurements because I pretty much winged it for most of the ingredients. It's pretty simple - but oh so yummy.

Mom's Kale Soup

2 quarts vegetable broth (I used 1 qt Imagine veggie broth and 3 cups water with a bouillon cube, just because that's less expensive)
1 bunch kale, shredded into smallish pieces
1 1/2 cans beans - I used a mixture of kidney and great northern; Mom suggests cannellini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped carrot (I chopped up baby carrots; I like the small rounds)
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
A couple shakes Tabasco sauce
Spices - I used dried basil and a bit of cayenne pepper; Mom suggests basil, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, but I didn't have the latter two in the cupboard
You can also add corn or a finely chopped potato or two, but I left them out because neither E nor B particularly likes corn, and I prefer the soup without potatoes

Pour a little broth into the bottom of a large soup pot; add the onions and garlic and cook until they begin to get soft. Shred up the kale and add it to the pot, adding a little more liquid as necessary. Once the kale has softened and cooked down, add all the other ingredients to the pot and let simmer for about an hour.

That's it! Super simple but really delicious. You can mess with the spices to taste; I think the fire roasted tomatoes and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce give this just enough of a mild kick to keep it from being boring. It wasn't really spicy to me at all, but E, a native Wisconsinite known for her aversion to spicy foods, said she could taste it.

I served the soup with a batch of Baking Powder Biscuits from VwaV. B loved the biscuits and couldn't stop eating them! They definitely rose nicely and were a great compliment to the soup, but they were too salty for my taste - I definitely won't put in a whole teaspoon of salt next time I make them!

That was my Sunday night meal. Simple, healthy, yet filling and yummy. And the night got even better when B and I returned home a little later from our comps meeting (comps are the big senior project type things we have to pass to graduate, eek) to find that E had baked a big ol' chocolate cake - and it just happened to be vegan and delicious! Best night ever. :)


Lentil Soup on a Frigid Night

Look at me - posting two days in a row! It's a record! ...aaand you know it's a bad sign when two days is a record. Oh well. :)

Tonight I was musing aloud and wondering if I should make some curried split pea soup from VwaV for dinner when one of my housemates, B, suggested I use up her lentils and make lentil soup for both of us. Works for me! I threw together a soup from the limited ingredients we had in the house. See, the arctic tundra has come to Minnesota this week, with temperatures in the negatives and windchills making it feel like -30ish. So, needless to say, we're avoiding leaving the house for anything other than classes. That means no grocery runs this week (since we walk to the store). Luckily I stocked up on Sunday, anticipating this week of being practically house-bound. Brrr.

Anyway, on to the soup! I kept it simple and sauteed onions, garlic, and sliced baby carrots in a bit of EVOO (good gracious, did I just use that acronym?!) and then dumped that mixture into a big pot of about 4 cups of veggie broth. I used about a cup of lentils, and then I added some leftover fire roasted tomato chunks for good measure. I added a splash of balsamic vinegar, and spiced it with oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, black pepper, and some cayenne pepper powder just because it was there. :P Oh yeah - I also added a potato, chopped into small pieces. I let it simmer until the lentils were soft and nearly all the liquid was absorbed/evaporated.

And then I devoured a large bowlful. It was surprisingly tasty, if slightly salty due to the veggie broth, which I made from a bouillon for availability/frugality reasons. But I was well pleased with it, and it was pretty much the perfect meal for a freezing cold winter night. :)

The return - for real this time!

If my lack of bloggage led you to believe that I have spent the past three months not eating, let me assure you, that is not the case. I am just phenomenally lazy when it comes to food blogging. BUT THAT WILL CHANGE. Even though I'm crazy-busy with classes and studying for my impending big ol' senior comps exam, I will post here IF IT KILLS ME. I just will have to give up on the idea of writing really long, elaborate posts filled with lots of pretty pictures. That can wait 'til after I'm all graduated and have entered the "real world" of unemployment and binge eating. Just kidding. Or am I?

Anyway, for Christmas this year I asked for some food/cooking related paraphernalia, and now I am the proud owner of Vegan with a Vengeance and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World! I know I'm pretty much the last vegan/aspiring vegan on the planet to have these, but whatevs, man. Last night I made the Black-eyed Pea and Quinoa Croquettes from VwaV, served on a bed of quinoa with a side of baby carrots. I still don't know exactly what a croquette is supposed to be, other than perhaps the female version of croquet (ha ha ha), but my little croquettes were like small, crispy-on-the-outside meatballs. Except flattened, like decidedly non-vegan marshmallows. They tasted... well, not bad. Not bad at all, but sort of bland, to be honest. If I make them again, I'll definitely add more spices. I also cheated and made mushroom sauce from a package, because I had to buy like 934 comps books this week and my checking account suffered a severe dent, so I didn't feel inclined to spend the extra money on stuff to make the sauce from scratch. Oh well. I guess this meal was sort in the B range. Acceptable, but not stellar.

Tonight I made curried chickpeas, served over cous cous and again with a side of baby carrots. The curried chickpeas were actually really quite good; they were simmered in veggie broth, lots of garlic, a curry powder mix, extra garam masala, and a bit of chili powder for some kick, which may've been gratuitous. I also added a bit of cornstarch when nearly all the broth was absorbed/boiled away to keep a bit of sauce. The whole meal was quite tasty and just spicy enough, but it was one of those heavy meals that just sort of sat in my stomach all night long and made me feel vaguely uncomfortable. :( I tried to remedy the lingering curry taste in my mouth by eating some (non-vegan) chocolate, but then I just felt even more icky.

So that's pretty much the rundown of my meals so far this week! Well, not Sunday, because my two housemates and I alternate making big "family" dinners on Sundays, and this week my roomie, E, made yummy stir fry with tofu, veggies, and rice. Oh! Last night I made Susan's Pineapple Coffee Cake because I had half a can of pineapple rings, and it was really yummy and a welcome warm treat in the subzero temperatures of the frigid Minnesota tundra. Not that we were eating it outside, but you know what I mean. :)

Okay! I am done for now! I don't have any relevant food pictures so I will instead post an old-ish photo of my adorable chihuahua, Tamale, being uncharacteristically sweet and demure.