tweets for 2015-03-27

March 28th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Cookbook Review: Simple Recipes for Joy, Sharon Gannon (2014)

March 27th, 2015 12:22 pm by Kelly Garbato

Really Enjoyed the Selection of Soups & Pasta Dishes

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.)

Sharon Gannon’s Simple Recipes for Joy: More Than 200 Delicious Vegan Recipes is nothing if not quirky – and I mean that in the best way possible. The cover features a Mad Hatter-style vegan tea party, and the interior of the cookbook has a fun, funky ’70s vibe. The glossy pages include tons of mouth-watering food photos, as well as shots of the author, both at work (Garon co-founded the Jivamuktea Café in NYC) and play (her costumes will leave all the hippie chicks in awe).

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The 200 vegan recipes are divided up into fifteen sections: soups; pasta and sauces; salads; dressings; dips and spreads; grains; beans, tempeh, tofu, and seitan; vegetables; potatoes; toasts; sandwiches; quick bread and crackers; desserts; smoothies; and tea and other hot drinks. Also included are a FAQ; cooking tips; notes on a well-stocked kitchen; 30 sample menus; and 21-day cleansing diets.

Since I first got to know Simple Recipes for Joy during the cold winter months, I veered heavily towards the soups and pasta dishes. At 50 pages, the chapter on soups is easily the largest – and one of my favorites. Save for the Cream of Broccoli Soup – which was tasty enough, but made me all kinds of bloated – every recipe proved a winner.

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The Red Lentil and Tomato Soup was awesome, and helped me to polish off a whopping two pounds of my homegrown tomatoes. It’s a little on the thin side, though; for a heartier soup, I added an extra cup of red lentils toward the end of the cooking cycle. That gave them just enough time to cook, but not dissolve entirely, like the first batch.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2015-03-26

March 27th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Lentil Bolognese

March 26th, 2015 12:28 pm by Kelly Garbato

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This little gem of a recipe is from Vegan’s Daily Companion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. While not a cookbook proper – it features 365 days of vegan inspiration, including but not limited to cooking tips and recipes – each weekend is all about recipes, so. Many of them are reprints from the author’s previous cookbooks, but this one’s an original sent in by Barbara Lyons. Barb, you rock, and so does your Lentil Bolognese. Packed with veggies and a whopping cup o’ red lentils, it makes me feel a little better about eating a carb-loaded meal. I almost didn’t have to nap after polishing off a plate!

I added more spices than the recommended amount (2 teaspoons oregano as opposed to 1, and 2 tablespoons basil, vs. the suggested garnish). I also swapped out the black olives for Kalamata, because hello? There’s just no comparison.

tweets for 2015-03-25

March 26th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Walls Around Us, Nova Ren Suma (2015)

March 25th, 2015 12:39 pm by Kelly Garbato

Dark, Haunting, Beautiful – One of My Favorites of 2015

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received an ARC for review from book blogger Miss Print. Also, trigger warning for sexual harassment and allusions to rape.)

Home is where the heart is, and where the hell is, and where the hate is, and where the hopelessness is. Which made Aurora Hills pretty much like home.

Amber Smith is a little more than three years into four-year sentence at Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Center for manslaughter. After she ages out, she’ll be transferred to an adult prison for killing her abusive stepfather, a crime she may or may not have committed at the tender age of thirteen.

Then one hot, humid August night, the cell doors come open – and for a few glorious hours (no one quite knows how long the power was out and the COs caught unawares; it’s as though time has stopped, or lost all meaning), the forty-one girls housed at Aurora Hills get a taste of the freedom long denied them. Some, like Amber’s cellmate D’amour, make a run for it – only to be carved open by the barbed wire atop the first fence, and then burned to a crisp by the middle, electrified fence. Others overtake the various wings – A, B, C, even D, which houses the suicides – ransacking the canteen and causing general mayhem.

But Amber? Despite her protestations that none of them are special (“…the exact opposite of special. We were bad. Broken. It was up to the state to rehabilitate us into something worthy, if it even could.”), that night Amber is afforded something very special indeed: a glimpse of their future.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2015-03-24

March 25th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Daily Vegan: A Guided Journal, adapted from Vegan’s Daily Companion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (2015)

March 24th, 2015 12:28 pm by Kelly Garbato

A Guided Journal for Joyful (and Occasionally Not!) Vegans

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Journaling can help you to organize your thoughts, sort through powerful emotions, even relieve stress and anxiety. Specialty journals run the gamut, from question-a-day mini-journals to those started – but never finished – by your favorite Amazon princess. (Eep, how cool is that?)

In this vein, The Daily Vegan is a (semi-)guided journal for vegans. Based on Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Vegan’s Daily Companion – which features 365 days of vegan inspiration, trivia, recipes, cooking tips, rescue stories, and more – and featuring artwork by Dayna Safferstein, The Daily Vegan offers vegans a safe and compassionate space to share their innermost thoughts and feelings. The journal includes a nice balance of writing prompts and blank pages for more free form journaling, and the drawings and quotations help set the mood.

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As you might expect, the prompts are written with vegans in mind: activism, nutrition, compassion, burnout, and gratitude are just a few of the issues addressed. If you’re read Vegan’s Daily Companion, you might recognize some of the topics from the “Optimum Health” and “Compassionate Communication” sections. Should you find yourself stuck and not knowing what to write about, the prompts can help to nudge you in the right direction.

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tweets for 2015-03-23

March 24th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

March 23rd, 2015 12:04 pm by Kelly Garbato

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Okay, so I lied!

The lovely spring weather has kept me so busy that my review of Simple Recipes for Joy is slow going. In the meantime, I decided to try another pasta dish: namely, the Creamy Mushroom Pasta, which is amazaballs.

Basically you saute the mushrooms along with some garlic and spices; mix in some mushroom stock (I used veggie), soy milk, water, and gluten-free flour for thickness, and then puree the whole shebang into a creamy mushroom sauce. So good! But I like my pasta with some chunk veggies too, so I upped the ten ounces of mushrooms to an even sixteen, and then held some back prior to adding the liquids. Once the sauce was creamed and the pasta cooking, I mixed the mushrooms back in with the sauce so they’d be nice and warm. Done and done!

From the looks of things, though, I probably could have went with even more ‘shrooms. Filing that lesson away for next time.

For the GF flour, I went with coconut, which made for an interesting texture. Once the sauce cooled, it got a little grainy, but…I kind of liked it! It’s reminiscent of the Fettuccine Alfredo from Mark Reinfeld’s The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe, which uses cashews in addition to mozzarella Daiya. The coconut flour bits are so similar to the little cashew crumbs that one’s easily mistaken for the other. And since Reinfeld’s Fettuccine Alfredo happens to be my favorite Fettuccine Alfredo of all the times…well, good memories, positive associations, and all that jazz.

tweets for 2015-03-22

March 23rd, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2015-03-21

March 22nd, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Stacking the Shelves: First One of Spring ed.!

March 21st, 2015 12:01 pm by Kelly Garbato

It’s been a few weeks – three, to be exact – so here you go!

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My copy of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible arrived just in time for a little culinary experiment I have planned – yay! I swear this book weighs more than some of the dogs I’ve fostered. Many thanks to Dianne of Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen and publisher Little, Brown and Co. for sponsoring the giveaway!

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Tor Teen made my Thursday with this copy of The Glass Arrow for review. I’m a sucker for anything marketed as even remotely similar to a Margaret Atwood book, okay.

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tweets for 2015-03-20

March 21st, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood (The New 52), Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang (2013)

March 20th, 2015 12:21 pm by Kelly Garbato

A Nice Starting Point for New Fans

four out of five stars

Up until The New 52, my experience with Wonder Woman had been limited to the live-action television show starring the incomparable Lynda Carter. While the reruns made a fan out of me (I still have my Wonder Woman underoos! Both sets! The tank makes a pretty rad dog costume, fyi.), I was never that much into comic books as a kid. As an adult, I’ve been trying to expand my tastes, but so far I’ve mostly been drawn to original series (Pretty Deadly, Sex Criminals, Saga) – or titles based on stories I’m already familiar with from other mediums (the Whedonverse; Stephen King; Django Unchained). I’ve steered clear of old-school superhero stories not for lack of interest, but because the sheer volume of content is so intimidating – it’s hard to know where to dive in. That is, until Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman reboot.

Praised as the Wonder Woman series for people with no more than a general knowledge about WW’s origins, history, or various story arcs (“It’s an intriguing concept and easy to grasp. The reader doesn’t need to know that much about Wonder Woman because she is, well, Wonder Woman.”), Blood is an excellent starting point for new and would-be fans.

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tweets for 2015-03-19

March 20th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Spaghetti and “Meat” Balls

March 19th, 2015 12:09 pm by Kelly Garbato

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You guys, can you believe this is my first and only post titled “Spaghetti and Meat Balls”? NEITHER CAN I.

Anyway. This is probably the last recipe I’ll try before reviewing Sharon Gannon’s Simple Recipes for Joy. I think the count’s up to eleven now, which is good enough for this girl.

So. Spaghetti and “Meat” Balls. Now you know I’m a rather rigorous judge when it comes to pasta dishes, since red sauce basically pumps through my veins. And I’ve had some frustrating run-ins with sketchy faux meatball recipes, so there’s that.

While these meatballs didn’t exactly come together as expected – the directions were a little confusing; the batter, super-mushy – I was able to salvage them with a few tweaks.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2015-03-18

March 19th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Pretty Deadly, Volume 1: The Shrike, Kelly Sue DeConnick & Emma Ríos (2014)

March 18th, 2015 12:09 pm by Kelly Garbato

Yee-hee haw (sung to the tune of “Oh Death”)

five out of five stars

Life ain’t ours to keep, girl. We get to hold some for a little bit, but then we got to pass it on.

What happens when Death gets his heart broken? The world goes to rot, of course. Say what you will about the guy (or gal); Death keeps the cycle of life spinning ’round and ’round. He is a gift, not a curse – for “it’s the dying that makes the living matter.”

And when Death stops doing his job – stops tending the Garden that is the soul of the world – well, it’s time for retirement. But what if the old bugger doesn’t want to go quietly? That’s the story at the heart of Pretty Deadly, Volume 1: The Shrike. And man, is it a doozy.

My love for this comic book? I can’t even begin to count the ways. The artwork is breathtaking; the colors, rich and moody and evocative; the story, enthralling and epic in scope. While it takes a little while for the puzzle pieces to come together (it happens midway through Issue #4), once the plot clarifies, it is legend.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2015-03-17

March 18th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato