Thursday, November 11, 2010

THANK YOU!


I want to thank those of you who stopped by to visit 'Rabbit Food' on my 'BON' day -- I'm touched by all your responses and hope I brought a little enlightenment into your lives as so much has been brought into mine.

Stay tuned as early next week I'll begin posting again regularly -- please visit my 'The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy' blog (you can get to it by clicking on it's blog button on my side bar) for an update on my blog absence as of late. :)

Thank you all again!

Much love, peace and serenity,
~Jo -- Cailyn Marie's God Mommy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

HUMBLED AND WOW-ED


Hello and a warm welcome to all from 'WOW' (Words Of Wisdom). I am so thankful to Sandy and Pam for starting this fantastic blogging group so as we can all be introduced through our blogs and find other common interests -- I am also equally grateful to be today's 'BON' (Blogger Of Note).

Many thanks again!

To all who may be new here -- my name is Jo, married Mom of two grown children (no grandchildren yet) and self-proclaimed Bohemian.

So, come on in, take in the incense and grab a cup of herb tea -- just be careful not to get tangled in my door beads.

Clearly I'm heavy into kitsch!

This is my vegan blog, "Rabbit Food". To set the record straight -- as there is still some confusion out there between vegans and vegetarians: a vegan is a person who doesn't eat meat nor dairy. I also don't use or wear animal products of any kind for moral reasons.

MY START IN BLOG WORLD:

I began blogging about a year and a half ago when my husband, Ed, and I were going through bankruptcy. It was a dark time in my life and I found blogging gave me the outlet I needed. In other words, a place to vent, negate and bemoan. Hey, it's what I do.

In January of this year, our bankruptcy came through and I began my "The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy" blog (you can get to that blog from the blog button on my sidebar) in which I focused on our new lease in life (for the record, our bankruptcy wasn't due to negligence nor credit card debt).

While times are still indeed tough, I find that I am nonetheless filled with immense gratitude in thinking about how things were last year compared to today. So, a few months ago I decided to share my love of veganism and enlightenment by also starting "Rabbit Food: A vegan Blog".

Ed and 'B' (our son) aren't vegans or even vegetarians, so I can say with all honesty that this is a non-judgemental blog as we are a family that's all about acceptance of others. Ed will go out of his way to take me to my favorite vegan restaurant in Santa Monica (Real Food Daily) just as I have no issues with buying, preparing and/or cooking meat and dairy filled dishes for Ed and B. I just personally choose not to eat them.

Ed and I:








B:







Why I became a vegan:

I started reading about fur being used in clothing lines which lead me to PETA's website to learn more about the fur, meat and dairy industry. From there I read all I could and made an educated and very personal life choice to no longer partake in the consumption or wearing of animals (although I never did wear fur). That was over three years ago.

I try not to bog down my blog with sad facts about animals -- however, if you would like to know more, feel free to ask me or click on PETA's button on my sidebar -- but instead I simply share my love of recipes, interesting facts and finds.

For example, did you know Oreos are vegan?








In addition to veganism, I am also an advocate and fundraiser for those who are afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis (I have a good friend who has MS and who got me pro-active in it's cause): I am about to embark on my 4th consecutive year participating and volunteering at the MS Walk. I am also an aspiring writer which lead to my third blog "Stranger Than Diction" (which you can get to from my profile page), where I am in the midst of my original story of fiction titled "More Than A Feeling" which takes place in the fictional seaside community of Aigean Bay, Ca. in the late 1970's -- I will be posting a new chapter this week. My love of family and rock-n-roll is at the heart of this story.

So, enough about me. Feel free to poke around (I'm afraid I still haven't figured out how to post links on here!) and find my recipes for vegan cupcakes, banana bread and pumpkin pancakes...perfect for Autumn!

Thank you so much for stopping by -- I am blessed.
~Jo

P.S. I would like to leave you with an easy vegetable noodle soup recipe courtesy of vegweb.com (only slightly altered) -- enjoy!:

Ingredients:

~1/4 cup cholesterol free oil
~4 teaspoons garlic, chopped or minced (jarred is easy and perfectly okay)
~1 onion, chopped
~4 celery stalks, chopped
~2 red potatoes, chopped (no need to peel them)
~6 carrots, chopped
~2 leeks (my favorite veggie!), chopped & soaked in cold water to clean & remove grit -- then drain
~1 can of chick peas (also known as garbanzo beans) -- drained and rinsed
~6 cups of water
~4 cups (2 cans) of vegetable broth
~6 ounces of whole wheat/whole grain linguine, broken up
~Thyme, rosemary, black pepper (to taste) and two bay leaves

Directions:

*Heat oil in large soup pot. Add garlic, onion and leeks -- fry for 5 minutes.
*Stir in celery and carrots and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*Add water, veggie broth, potatoes and spices. Simmer for 30 minutes.
*Add chick peas and linguine until noodles are done.
*Discard bay leaves.

**Serve with Wheat French bread or Keebler Club Crackers (yes, those are vegan, too!).

Serves four people with enough seconds for all and then some! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

GOING BANANAS!


No, for once I'm not referring to my mental state but rather what to do with all those bananas going bad too quickly.

Don't throw them away: I found a quick and easy vegan banana bread recipe that didn't require too many offbeat ingredients -- some vegan recipes are loaded down with a ton of ingredients (which can be off putting to a non-baker like myself) many of which can only be found in specialty food stores.

However, this one is simple, easy and equally as yummy!

EASY VEGAN BANANA BREAD

Ingredients:

~4 bananas (the softer and browner, the better)

~1/2 cup vegan softened margarine or oil (use cholesterol free)

~3/4 cup of brown sugar (packed)

~2 teaspoons baking powder

~1/4 teaspoon salt

~1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

~2 cups of flour (I use unbleached)

~1 teaspoon vanilla extract

**SIDE NOTE: Feel free to add a 1/2 cup of walnuts or semi-sweet chocolate chips if you'd like


INSTRUCTIONS:

*Preheat oven to 350

*"Smoosh" the bananas in a medium to large mixing bowl

*Add margarine (or oil) and mix with bananas

*Add vanilla -- mix

*Add brown sugar -- mix

*Add baking powder, salt and cinnamon -- mix

*Add flour and then mix all ingredients well making sure flour is thoroughly incorporated

*Lightly spray square glass baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until done (test center by sticking a butter knife or toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean, it's done).

*Let rest (on cooling rack) about 15 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving. It will still be quite warm.

*Top with vegan margarine and enjoy with hot cocoa or hot apple cider.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

AUTUMN PANCAKES



This month is 'National Vegetarian Month'.

It's also the time of year where I start to get excited at the prospect of cooler weather and warm, savory food to accompany it.

Mostly, it's those Sunday breakfasts that have become tradition to whomever is here to enjoy and indulge.

In the Autumn, that means breaking out the large mixing bowl to make a big batch of my Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes.

Places like 'I-Hop' start advertising their version of pumpkin pancakes for the non-vegans. Save yourself the expense and make your own: neither you -- nor your non-vegan guests -- will know they're vegan!

Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes:

~2 1/2 cups of flour (I use unbleached)

~ 2 tablespoons of sugar

~2 tablespoons of baking powder

~ 1 tablespoon of no cholesterol oil

~1 teaspoon of salt

~2 1/2 cups of soy milk or almond milk (regular or vanilla flavored would be fine)

~Half a 14-15oz. can of pumpkin

~A dash of cinnamon and/or nutmeg (or 'Pumpkin Pie Spice' or 'All Spice') -- optional

*Serves about three or four people depending on appetites and size of pancakes -- feel free to double the recipe using a whole can of pumpkin to accommodate more people.

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in one large bowl -- if mixture is too runny, add a dash more flour. If too thick, add a dash more soy/almond milk.

They cook up just like regular pancakes so you'll know they're done when they've risen and are no longer soft in the center.

They don't taste vegan so you won't miss the egg and dairy one iota!

Top with vegan margarine and serve with warm maple syrup -- feel free to add chopped pecans to the batter or top with sliced bananas!

Make the most of the season!

Enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

TABLE FOR ONE


How familiar is this scene?

Hunger has set in and the stove looks like a daunting task, especially considering there's only you for lunch or dinner.

Fast food is tiring, expensive and not a reliable source -- not to mention lack of variety, nutrition and availability -- for vegans.

Perhaps, like myself, you also want to tell peanut butter, and it's counterpart, Jelly, to go take a hike for a while (but not too far -- I'd miss you).

Once every few weeks I take a trip to 'Ralph's Supermarket' to stock up on some vegan goodies that can't be found at my local store, 'Food-4-Less'.

I know what you're thinking; 'Ralph's is expensive!' -- and you're right. But you can also find more readily available organic produce and vegan products if you, like myself, don't feel like taking a drive downtown to your local natural foods center. Use your Ralph's club card for extra savings, too!

Yesterday's trip proved to be fruitful as I discovered 'Simply Asia' noodle bowls in 'Spicy Kung Pao' and 'Sesame Teriyaki' flavors (but be cautious and read the labels: not all their noodle bowls are vegan):













With my 'Ralph's' card I got two for $5.00 and the directions are ultra easy and quick.

So, for my lunch today I partook in a noodle bowl and accompanied it with two veggie spring rolls -- I buy an 18 pack box of 'Chung's Veggie Spring Rolls' for about $10.00 at 'Food-4-Less' (sometimes I can even find it cheaper) and it lasts quite a while (certainly more economical than buying them at a Chinese fast food place):








After devouring all those savory, spicy Asian flavors, for dessert I like to cool off with a little sweet by indulging in 'Turtle Trails' flavored soy frozen dessert by 'Purely Decadent': chocolate covered pecan pralines, caramel and vanilla -- ALL VEGAN (and I promise you that CANNOT tell it's not ice cream!), also found at 'Ralph's':






Of course I realize that making your own noodle stir-fry and spring rolls is likely more efficient and economical, but for those lonely lunches and dinners needing a quick fix, I find this to be the next best thing!

"Mànmàn chī!"(Mandarin Chinese) which roughly translates to happy eating!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

CHEF CHLOE DOES VEGANS PROUD


Take that, naysayers!

Chloe Coscarelli, a vegan cupcake chef in Los Angeles, CA., won the Food Network's 'Cupcake Wars' -- and $10,000.

While the episode was shot in June of this year, I only recently caught it a week ago -- and I gotta tell you, my cheering for this 'little chef that could' would rival any die hard football fan on Superbowl Sunday.

I kept saying; 'We need this one, Chloe! I need this win.'

No, I'm not part of a 'Fantasy Cupcake Team' -- I'm just a vegan gal who likes to see our 'alternative lifestyle' get noticed and rewarded.

In case you've never watched 'Cupcake Wars', you can typically catch it on Sunday and Tuesday evenings on The Food Network channel.

The premise is very much like 'Chopped':

They start off with four pastry chefs, each allowed to bring along one assistant.

There are also three judges and one annoying host whom I'd like to shove -- along with his too tight jeans and UN-funny quips -- into a blender on high speed before throwing him into the oven.

I always thought the witch in 'Hansel and Gretel' was highly misunderstood.

But...I digress.

Each show has it's own theme, typically for a high powered event in which the winning cupcakes --and their makers -- get to attend.

In this case the event was a singles mix hosted in Hollywood, CA.

There are three rounds after which one chef gets eliminated per round.

The last chef standing wins $10,000.

Round one is basically 'Lets see what you got' where the competitors are given a choice of several nontraditional cupcake ingredients (some play it safe and some don't) and blend them into a tasty treat.

*Chloe won round one with her ginger nutmeg spice cupcake with vanilla bean frosting, date drizzle and sweet almond topping.

The judges -- while skeptical at first of an all vegan cupcake -- proclaimed her creation to be 'perfect'.

Round two the contestants have to make three different cupcakes in a short amount of time for the judges:

Chloe made chocolate strawberry shortcake, dark chocolate orange and raspberry tiramisu (for which the recipe is posted at the end of this post).

*Chloe won round two, as well. Judges comments? 'Flawless & beautiful'.

Round three -- two contestants left -- you have to make 1000 cupcakes in 2 hours AND create a massive dessert display.

Sounds like a lot to do in two hours -- and it is! -- but fear not, 'Cupcake Wars' provides interns to help with the baking process during this marathon round as well as two carpenters to make your display vision (which must go with the theme) into a reality.

Chloe created a fiberglass display with a silhouette of a man and woman on each side and 'flames' in the center. For an even more romantic theme, each cupcake was then placed into a wine glass on top of the display shelves.

*Chloe scores the winning touchdown, with the last contestant to go home sneering: "I can't believe I lost to a vegan cupcake!'.

I can. Now go home, change your attitude and your diet -- and please in the name of all that is holy, brush your hair! You're on national T.V. for Pete's sake!

Sorry, Pete -- didn't mean to drag you into this.

Congratulations to Chloe -- you make us proud!

Here is Chloe's winning 'Raspberry Tiramisu Cupcake' recipe -- enjoy!








Raspberry Tiramisu Cupcake:

Serves 12 cupcakes
Ingredients:
Cupcakes
1 ½ cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk, non-dairy milk, or water
½ cup canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Soaking Liquid
1/3 cup amaretto
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

Raspberry Sauce
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup agave or sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt

Frosting
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder ( I use Medaglia D' Oro brand. If you can't find espresso powder, you can use finely ground instant coffee.)
2 tablespoons amaretto liquor
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup refined coconut oil (I use Spectrum Organics brand, but feel free to use any brand that you find at your local natural foods market. If you cannot find refined coconut oil, use non-hydrogenated margarine or shortening.)
4 cups organic confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons water

Garnish (optional)
12 fresh raspberries
12 small mint leaves
½ cup raw cacao nibs or ground bittersweet chocolate

Procedure:
Cupcakes
Preheat over to 350.
Sift or whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the coconut milk, oil, vanilla, and vinegar. Combine the wet and dry mixtures and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Distribute batter into lined cupcake baking pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Soaking Liquid
Combine amaretto and espresso powder and set aside.

Raspberry Sauce
In small saucepan, cook raspberries and agave on medium heat on raspberries wilt down. Let simmer on low for 5 minutes until the mixture becomes a pourable consistency. Remove pot from heat and mix in vanilla, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt. Taste and adjust sweetness by adding more agave if necessary. Let cool in refrigerator.

Frosting
Combine espresso powder, amaretto, and vanilla in small bowl and mix or swirl bowl until espresso powder has dissolved (about 1 minute). Beat coconut oil in large bowl with an electric mixer for about 1 minute, then add confectioner's sugar and espresso mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until desired buttercream consistency is achieved. I usually beat on high for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides with a spatula often. Pipe or frost with a knife.

Assembly
Using a spoon, cut out a small hole from the top of each cupcake (scoop out about 1 tablespoon of cake) and discard. In the hole of the cupcake, layer approximately 1 teaspoon of soaking liquid, 1 tablespoon of raspberry sauce, 2 teaspoons of cacao, and piped frosting on top. Garnish with a raspberry and mint leaf. Enjoy!

Chloe and her assistant at the event standing in front of her winning display:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

THE HUMMUS COMETH


One of my favorite snacks is hummus with crackers. However, I simply HATE buying the packaged pre-made hummus when I can easily make my own for a fraction of the cost. I find the store bought hummus to be a little too strong in flavor and disliking to my taste.

Helping in my hummus endeavor is the fact that vegan crackers are in abundance and can easily be found in all markets.

Don't be afraid of the term 'vegan crackers' -- there are many name brands that you have loved for years that I would venture to guess you didn't even know were vegan:

'Wheat Thins' and 'Keebler Club Crackers' being my two favorites.
















Here is an easy hummus recipe, again for the fraction of the cost of store bought:

~Two cans of chick peas (garbanzo beans)

~2/3 cup water

~3 tablespoons of olive oil

~2 cloves of crushed garlic (or two teaspoons of jarred chopped garlic)

~1/2 small jar of pimentos -- or you may use a 7 oz. jar of sun dried tomatoes

~1/2 lemon

~Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

*Drain and rinse the two cans of chick peas thoroughly (they are very starchy and you will see them fizz when water is added, make sure to rinse completely until no fizz is left)

*Drain 1/2 of the jar of pimentos (or sun-dried tomatoes)

*Roll lemon to get the juices flowing (or put lemon in microwave on high for 10 seconds) and slice in half

**Add the chick peas, garlic, juice of 1/2 lemon, pimentos, water, olive oil and salt in food processor until smooth -- you want little to no lumps.

It is now ready to serve with your favorite crackers, pita bread/chips or veggies.

Feel free to change up the ingredients to your taste -- in this case, I would say it is perfectly okay to play with your food! ;)

Did you know....Hummus is a good source of protein?

Here's to a ho-hummus kind of day -- enjoy!