Category: Food & Recipes, Dog

The Rat Terrier Review: Top o’ the Muffin to Ya!

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

This week was pretty low-key, mostly on account of the sweltering heat. Thus we spent quite a bit of time sprawled out on the bed, under fans, and (in the dogs’ case) on the nice, cool concrete floors.

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Wednesday night we saw Avengers: Age of Ultron (MEH. Especially on the woman front.) and Tomorrowland (not bad) at the drive-in; it was so hot that the dogs nearly polished off the bowl of water we brought. They even sat still when I started splashing water from my canteen on them (desperate times, y’all). Peedee was pretty good, though not quite as amazaballs as last time; he barked twice, once at other moviegoers who walked right in front of HIS WINDOW (which was cracked pretty wide, in his defense), and again at the racket from the truck yard next door. Anyway, a good time was had by all, and we weren’t any hotter than we would have been at home, so.

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The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2014 edition!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

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You guys, I baked so many cookies this year, I’m having trouble keeping track of them all! In addition to sending a basketful to our omni neighbors, I also mailed a giant box to my parents. They’re in the midst of a remodel, and the entire first floor of their house is pretty much unusable. Luckily my mom’s sis is conveniently located next door, so they’re been crashing at her house a lot.

(Fun story: I sent all their gifts to my aunt’s house – since they’d have to lug everything over there anyway – and Every. Single. Package. was delivered to my parents’ house instead. I.E. THE WRONG HOUSE. I expected that of USPS, but UPS? COME ON GUYS.)

Still, I thought cookies would be a nice gesture, seeing as they don’t have a kitchen of their own at the moment.

Plus we got to eat the extras our own bad selves, so bonus.

As per usual, most of the cookies were from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I pinky swear I’ll review this year. I had a few pretty epic fails, but overall I’m happy with my progress – I get better and better at cookies every year!

 

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Bacon Maple Biscuits for the dogs from Emma’s K9 Kitchen. With accidentally vegan bacon bits & lots of love! These smelled amazing when baking, but also lost their festive reddish hue. Not that the dogs much care. (The giant ones are for my mom’s big guy, Copper.)

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“Yummy for Dogs” Vanille Almond Pastilles

Friday, March 15th, 2013

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Mid-week I whipped up a batch of homemade dog treats in honor of O-Ren and Peedee’s adoption day anniversaries: Vanille Almond Pastilles, which is really just a fancy way of saying vanilla almond biscuits.

You can’t quite see them all in the photo, but I used a bunch of fun cookie cutter shapes: stars, hearts, bones, x’s and o’s, and the relevant birthday/anniversary numbers (8, 9, 1, and 0). I didn’t get as carried away as I did with Ralphie’s birthday, when I spelled out his name with cookie letters, but it was close. This time around I saved the middle pieces from the o’s and 0’s (really the same cutter) to make mini-biscuit bites for Mags. Her mouth’s so tiny she makes a mess with the larger treats. Thinking ahead, I’m doing it right.

As per usual, the treats were a big hit. Hell, my mouth even started watering while they were cooking!

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The obligatory furkid photos: O-Ren (top) and Peedee (bottom).
Nothing fancy, but gimme a break: it was only 40 degrees out!
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The recipe’s from Veronica Noechel’s Yummy for Dogs, which is sadly out of print. There used to be a website too, but it’s been offline for ages. Nearly everything is vegan, save for the odd recipe or two which contains honey – easily swapped out for agave nectar, maple syrup, or another liquid sweetener. (Still a bummer though!) There’s a really awesome looking recipe for Rice Crispy Treats that I wanted to try but, go figure, there was nary a box of Rice Krispies to be found in our cupboards. Next time!

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The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2012 edition!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

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A basket of chai cookies, oatmeal cream pies, and eggnog cookies for our neighbors.
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You guys, I did so much baking this holiday season! Instead of buying my family the customary vegan treats from etsy, I had the bright idea to make everything my own bad self. (“Make everyone’s presents by hand, she said. It’ll be fun, she said.” reads a mid-December entry in my journal.) Several weeks and a dozen or so batches of cookies later, and I am wiped out. Good thing I have extra cookies to keep me going, eh?

Many of the recipes are from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I’m quickly growing to love. My mom gave it to me a Christmas or two ago, but given my awful track record with cookies and other baked sweets, I hadn’t gotten much use out of it. (Until now!)

Much to my surprise, everything came out wonderfully! Not a single burned cookie in the bunch. I think the secret is in the parchment paper. I’ve been resistant to using the stuff in the past, because it feels like I’m wasting paper or something. But it really works! Pro tip: as long as they haven’t picked up any cookie residue, you can reuse sheets of parchment paper several times to save money and resources. This is especially helpful if you’re baking multiple batches of cookies in a single day.

Without further ado, here’s a rundown of all the holiday goodies to pass through my kitchen (and gullet! yay the imagery!) this month. Mostly cookies, but also fancy nuts, truffles, ice cream, pizza, and pasta!

 

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Chewy Spiced Molasses Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (page 228) – Mine didn’t come out quite as plump and chewy as the ones pictured in the book, but I think that’s because I made the cookies a little smaller than suggested.

Actually, that was a trend pretty much across the board – I ended up with more, slightly smaller cookies vs. fewer, larger cookies (the latter being the norm for me). It was all good though, because the smaller cookies were a better fit for the tupperware I used to pack and ship them. Score!

Chewy or not, these were still super-delish, though not nearly as nommy as some of the other cookies I tried.

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Apple Chews (for dogs and their peoples)

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Back in the day, Ralphie loved his rawhide chews. He used to stash them under the bed, wedge them in between cushions, hide them behind furniture – put them under the rug, even. Naturally, we’d buy him bones meant for larger breed dogs for maximum comedic effect. (Oh, the pictures! I won’t post them here, since they’re tragically non-vegan, but.)

We’ve sworn off animal-based chews since going vegan

– probably a good thing; not only are they gross and apt to goo up the furniture, but considering how he enjoyed hoarding those things, treats left unattended would likely be a source of epic conflicts in this multi-dog household –

and haven’t found a suitable replacement yet. Vegan “pig’s ears” are the closest we’ve come – but as pricey as they are, even those go quickly, devoured in a matter of minutes. Homemade sweet potato chews made in the dehydrator are pretty nifty: less expensive than the pig’s ears, but they last almost as long. The apple chips I made back in September got me thinking: maybe I could make a similar chew using apples. Nothing beats free, amirite people?

While the original apple chip recipe can easily work for dogs (indeed, the dogs begged much of that batch!), this time around I went with a thicker cut than you’d use to make chips: about 1/4″, sometimes thicker. (My hands aren’t always that steady, yo.)

When dehydrating them, you have two options: suck out most – but not all – of the moisture, or dehydrate the apple slices completely. Option A gives you a slightly spongier chew, which might be better for some dogs. (These will also need to be refrigerated or frozen.) Option B results in more of a chip-like chew, similar to the people chips I made, only thicker. I worried that some of the smaller dogs might have trouble chewing them, but so far so good. This includes Kaylee, who has a history of dental problems and is missing half her teeth, as well as Mags, who recently broke two teeth down to the nubs and has dental surgery scheduled in the near future.

If you’re unsure, try a batch of each and see what works. You can always throw the extras in your morning oatmeal or use ’em in a batch of homemade granola!

I also cut out the spices – the dogs enjoy the apples as-is, so why bother? – but you can season them with cinnamon and lemon juice if you’d like. (Just stay away from nutmeg, as it can be harmful to dogs.)

 

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Apple Chews (for dogs and their peoples)

Ingredients

Fresh apples (as many as your food dehydrator can fit!)
Lemon juice (optional)
Cinnamon (optional)

Directions

1. Clean the apples thoroughly before starting. Inspect them for any signs of damage – bruises, worm holes, etc. – and cut away any bad sections. Remove the stems and seeds using an apple corer. (Warning: this is a squirty, messy job!)

2. Slice the apples width-wise, so that each slice is donut-shaped, with a hole in the middle. Cut the slices between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick plus – a thicker slice will result in a heartier, chewier dried apple slice. If these are meant for human consumption, go with a thinner cut; for dogs, cut each slice 1/4″ thick plus.

3. If desired, season with lemon juice and cinnamon. Place the apple slices in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon – about a tablespoon and a teaspoon worth, respectively, per every eight apples – and mix well.

4. Place the apple slices on the dehydrator trays; they can be spaced closely together, but make sure there isn’t any overlap. Bake at 135F for ten to fourteen hours. About three to four hours in, flip the chews over so that they don’t stick to the trays. Around hour ten, check in on the chews and remove those that are done. Give each slice a gentle squeeze to check the water content.

– If you prefer a slightly softer chew, remove them once they’ve begun to shrink and most – but not all – of the moisture has been sapped out of them.

– If you prefer more of a chip-like chew, leave them in the dehydrator until they’re dry and brittle.

Continue to dehydrate in one or two hour increments until all the slices are done.

5. Store in an airtight container. Softer chews should be refrigerated and used within a week; extras can be stored in the freezer and defrosted as needed. Completely dehydrated chews will keep for a week or more on the shelf, but can still be refrigerated or frozen for maximum freshness.

 

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Eat to the Beat: Peanut Butter Dog Treats & Queen

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

 

The song: “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Peanut Butter Dog Treats from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

The connection: Ralphie turns the big ONE-FIVE today!

 

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Veteran mofoers! Maybe you remember Ralphie the wiener dog? Since his birthday almost always falls during Vegan MoFo, he’s made at least one appearance every year since I started participating five years ago. And the one year Vegan MoFo was observed in November? He had his eye removed that month! Naturally, mom plied him with delicious foods to ease the pain.

(For those not in the know: Ralphie had what turned out to be a benign melanoma in his right eye; as it grew it obscured his vision and would eventually start to cause him pain, so we made the decision to have his eye removed. While he did pretty awesome in the year following the surgery, he’s unfortunately experienced age-related degeneration in the remaining eye and is not-so-slowly going blind. He gets around okay considering, but a bout of vertigo earlier in the year kind of sapped him of his confidence. He’s a happy guy, in great health otherwise, but also much more dependent on his humans than he used to be. But still, he’s 15 and loves to dig for critters and go on hour-long walks! Focusing on the positive over here!)

 

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In honor of my little guy, this edition of Eat to the Beat is dedicated to Sir Ralphie. With a serenade by Queen, ’cause he and the other dogs are totes my BFFs, and a batch of Peanut Butter Dog Treats from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur because birthdays are for spoiling! (I actually considered making him a full-on cake, but thought it might be too messy and difficult to divvy out. I mean yeesh, some of the smaller dogs can’t even down a biscuit without trailing crumbs on the freshly vacuumed floor!)

Though The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur is 99.999% people treats, Kelly Peloza was thoughtful enough to provide a recipe for our canine friends too! These Peanut Butter Dog Treats are super-easy to make and consist of just a few wholesome ingredients (namely, whole wheat flour, oats, peanut butter, and water).

 

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The dough isn’t really meant to be rolled out for cookie cutters – it’s kind of thick and not very stretchy – but I just bought a few new sets that I was dying to use, so I gave it a try anyway and guess what? SUCCESS! For three go-rounds, then I threw in my rolling pin and shaped the rest into little discs by hand. Which is really better for tiny dog mouths, but not nearly as pretty for pictures.

 

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I mean, look! I was able to spell out Ralphie’s name and his age, throw in a few hugs and kisses (xoxo), and even make some hearts, stars, and bones. Adorable right?

 

Ralphie, enjoying some early birthday treats (0010)

 

I tried taking some pictures of Ralph with his giant platter o’ biscuits, but he wasn’t in an especially cooperative mood. Not surprising, since there was food on the table. I snapped a few quick shots before he grabbed the one and only “H,” effectively ending the photo shoot.

 

Ralphie, enjoying some early birthday treats (0027)

 

I mean, “Ralpie?” Who the eff is that?

In keeping with our new birthday tradition, here are Fifteen Little Ralphie Things, one for each year of his life on this marble we call Earth. There are so many more things I love about him – try kajillions – but these are just the first fifteen to come to mind.

I love you, little guy. Now and forever.

You, you’re my best friend.

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Iron Chef, Doggie Edition: Cinnamon Cranberry Carrot Oatmeal

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

My poor little lady Kaylee was brutalized at the vet’s yesterday. She went in for a dental cleaning and ended up having two teeth extracted. To be fair, this was no real surprise, what with her past dental issues. But her one remaining fang, GONE! The horror and injustice of it all!
 

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Kaylee circa 2007, after her second round of dental surgery. If you look closely (or click through to flickr for the notes!), you can see how her mouth is lopsided: many of the teeth on the left side of her mouth were removed, making her look adorably silly, but also kinda sad. As of yesterday, the “fang” on the right side of her mouth is now history, too.
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At our request, the vet also removed some rather large fatty deposits – which had been growing progressively larger over the past few years – from her left shoulder and right side. The one near her rib cage was especially stubborn coming out, and she’s got the 2″-long, ragged, angry red incision to prove it. Her shoulder looks even worse: because she had two lumps there (don’t worry, all benign, thank dog!), he had to make two separate incisions, which kind of meld together visually for an especially horrifying effect. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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Apple Cinnamon Muffins for the Birthday Boy

Monday, October 10th, 2011

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Ralphie! Everyone’s favorite one-eyed wiener dog turns fourteen years old today! FOURTEEN! He’s not old, he’s distinguished. Doubly so with all these surgical scars and skin tags and patches of missing fur. His motto? “Bitches dig scars.”

Hey, Rennie can’t get enough.

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(Note peeping Peedee off in the background. Pervert! Nevermind that I’m photographing their intimate moment.)

Rolling with the weather, we celebrated his birthday a wee bit early this year. On Friday, I baked him a batch of Apple Cinnamon Muffins

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and made him dress up in a silly hat –

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but not before he got the first taste of his pre-birthday treat.

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(The other six canines were pitching a fit, locked in the house away from mom and her nomz. I think Ralphie enjoyed that as well – almost as much as the muffins!)

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Banana Bread Soft Serve, for dogs & their people! Also: Ralphie’s 10-year adoption day anniversary!

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

To Ralphie

Today is Ralphie’s adoption day anniversary! (Ten years, bitches! TEN!) Okay not really, it was actually on Thursday, but I totally screwed the pooch and missed it. Though we did squeeze in a combination morning walk / digging session that day, so it’s all good. I didn’t forget his big day; rather, he’s so nice that we’re celebrating twice! Yeah, that’s it!

Anyway, I decided to make the dogs a batch of ice cream to compensate/celebrate. Also, ’cause it’s 95 degrees F with a heat index of 115 out there. BRUTAL!

I’d been storing some overripe bananas in the freezer in anticipation of turning this awesome banana bread recipe into a frozen dessert – and then I realized that the dish I had in mind would be suitable for the dogs, too. So we split a batch!

Of course, this meant that I couldn’t add any chocolate chips to the batter, but that’s okay; since I only got the 3/4 cup of leftovers, I topped my scoop with a whole damn candy bar. YUM.

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And yes, this ice cream does taste a lot like the original banana bread. I bet it’d be even better with chunks of banana bread mixed in, but I’ll have to save that experiment for another day. I’m fresh out of bananas, yo!

Oh, and the best part about this recipe (aside from its healthfulness, that is) – no ice cream machine required!

Banana Bread Soft Serve

Makes two to three generous (human) servings, or about 20 large dog treats.

Inspired by Shane’s banana bread & hipsterfood’s two-ingredient ice cream.

Ingredients

5 bananas – the riper the better – frozen and slightly thawed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup carob chips (for dogs) or chocolate chips (for their people) – optional

Directions

Combine the bananas, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice and carob/chocolate chips in a food processor and mix until blended (but still a little chunky). Enjoy immediately or, if the ice cream’s on the runny side, chill in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes for a thicker dessert.

If you’re making this for your dog friends, remember to omit the chocolate chips (carob chips are a nice replacement!) as chocolate can be deadly to canines.

For a slightly less messy dog treat, you can: spoon the batter onto a tray lined with parchment paper; roll it into small, bite-sized balls; or put it in an ice cube tray and freeze before serving.

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Bite-sized banana ice cream balls for the dogs.
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Peedee tries to sneak a treat!
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Ralphie, the man of the hour!
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* Please check out the Dog Food Disclaimer page if you have any questions or concerns, or before trying any dog food recipes on this site!

vegan v-day miscellany

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

So I know I’m a few days early, but for Valentines Day I made a double batch of Pink Pooch biscuits for my dog loves! Bone- and heart-shaped, natch:

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I mostly followed Molly’s recipe, but subbed in cranberry sauce for beets, since I didn’t have any on hand. (Also: a few added tablespoons of raspberry jam for extra coloring.) It took a bit of kneading before the jellied sauce was fully integrated into the dough, but once it was mixed in, it gave the biscuits a nice pinkish-purplish hue.

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The color faded a bit upon baking, but luckily the dogs don’t seem to mind!

For the heart-shaped biscuits, I just used regular Valentines Day cookie cutters that are available in most box stores this time of the year. The larger hearts are obviously too big for my little guys and gals to handle with ease, so I cut ’em in half, all jagged-like, before baking. I told Kaylee that that’s what she does to my heart every night when she refuses to cuddle with me in bed, but I don’t think she got the hint. Either that, or she’s just acting obtuse. She can be crafty, that one (and especially where food is concerned), so I wouldn’t put it past her. Harumph.

In other v-day news, I temporarily bumped this post – originally published two years ago – up to the front page in honor of the occasion. (I admit it – I love all the photos of gratuitous canine canoodling!) As has been the custom for several years now, I still plan on “tossing Valentines Day to the dogs.” The weather is supposed to warm considerably next week, and I hope to spend all my free time outside, soaking in the sun’s depression-busting rays, out-speed walking the winter blues, BDFs (best dog friends) at my side.

Whatever your plans for v-day, make them as cruelty-free as possible, mkay? If you’re still shopping around for edible goodies, please use the Food Empowerment Project’s Chocolate List as a guide. Better yet, give your sweetie some handcrafted sweets, made by you with love (and vegan, fair trade chocolate, of course!). May I suggest peanut butter cups, coconut bonbons, rocky road bark, or chocolate covered pretzels? Or perhaps some chocolate-shaped vulvas for the vegan feminist in your life? (Oooh, me me! Pick me!)

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criFSMas 2010: The Big Fat Saucy Vegan Food Post

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

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So. We’ve harassed and humiliated the dog-kids. You’ve seen my shiny sparkly goodies. Twice! And yet, my holiday blogging would not be complete without a FOOD POST!

While x-mas is oftentimes an excuse to overindulge, this year I went overboard – owing in no small part to the fact that I handmade a number of gifts, including a couple tons (okay, I exaggerate, but not by much) of chocolate goodies.

But let’s begin at the ending, shall we? As in: criFSMas dinner!

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I did most of the cooking the day before – which was, for us, the 23rd – so that we could be as lazy as possible the day of. I prepared a deep-dish lasagna feast with tons of veggies (green and yellow zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic) and plenty of oozy, gooey cheese (in this case, cheddar and mozzarella Follow Your Heart). (Jump to the end of this post for the recipe!)

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I also breaded and froze some vegan mozzarella sticks – my first-ever batch – so they’d be nice and ready for their date with the deep fryer next day. Spoiler: they are terribly delicious, and surprisingly easy to make. (Recipe via Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!)

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A Dozen Ways to Serve a Sweet Potato (A Photo Essay)

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Fry's Vegetarian - Sweet potato

Regular readers know that I’m no stranger to pop culture analysis. (In fact, I watch so much television that it’s only a matter of time before I start to resemble the potato above. But at least it’s sweet!) Well, for my next VeganMoFo trick, watch while I dissect the above advertisement – and then refute it with some super-hot vegan food (not-)porn action. Shall we?

A large, rather symmetrical sweet potato (Seriously, when’s the last time you’ve seen such a beautifully proportioned sweet potato? I would love to peel the hell out of that baby!) occupies most of the real estate in the ad above. The potato is dissected into six discrete pieces by a cartoon-like, white dotted line that’s been superimposed over it, thus evoking the look and feel of old-timey butchers’ posters. You know the kind: hanging in Sam the Butcher’s storefront, such posters helpfully illustrate the different “cuts” of meat one can obtain from the body of a murdered and dismembered nonhuman animal. (Google, for example, “cuts of beef”. This is an image that PETA seems fond of mimicking/parodying, with debatable success. But I digress, and dangerously so!) Other images in the series depict a zucchini and eggplant carved up similarly.

Because every “cut” of the sweet potato is identical to the others, the ad seems to be suggesting that such visual analogies are ridiculous; humorous, even. Compared to “meat,” plant-based foods are boring. Monotonous. Lacking in variety or diversity. Undifferentiated masses of blah. In other words, being a vegan/vegetarian sucks balls.

The most interesting aspect of this ad series is that it’s promoting – wait for it! – vegetarian food (!). Specifically, Fry’s Vegetarian Foods, which specializes in meals heavy in mock “meat.” Though I’m disappointed to see a vegetarian company engage in the negative stereotyping of plant-based foods, I can’t exactly say that I’m shocked, given the context.

I know, I know; it’s all in good fun, right? Except when it’s not. The consumption of animal flesh and secretions is largely a choice in Western cultures – and one category of “reasons” (excuses, really) that carnists commonly use to justify their dietary choices involves societal mythconceptions and prejudices concerning cruelty-free options, i.e., that any foodstuffs that do not contain animal by-/products are necessarily boring, bland and monotonous. Rather than cater to these harmful stereotypes, we should actively challenge them.

Which brings me to the VeganMoFo Photo Essay portion of this post. What follows are twelve gorgeous, creative, yummy dishes that incorporate sweet potatoes as a primary ingredient. (I might have just as easily executed this project with zucchini or eggplant, but hey, ’tis the season, am I right?) The tip of the proverbial iceberg, these photos and recipes demonstrate that vegan foods are anything but boring.

Now grab a knife, fork and potato peeler and dig in, MoFo-ers!

1. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad With Black Beans and Chili Dressing:

sweet potato salad

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Preserving Produce Like a Frugal Vegan Mofo: A Review of the Nesco Gardenmaster FD-1020 Food Dehydrator

Monday, November 15th, 2010

The first summer after moving into our new home, the husband and I found ourselves buried under a deluge of fresh produce. Some of it, such as the watermelons, cantaloupes, green and yellow zucchini, jalapenos, green and yellow peppers, and tomatoes (oh, the tomatoes!: Roma, Beefsteak, cherry and grape) came as no surprise, since they were planned, planted and grown in our very own garden. Most of the fruit, on the other hand, was wholly unexpected; when we purchased the house the previous spring, we had no idea that many of the trees in our front yard were of the fruit-bearing variety. The apricots, pears and apples (120 grocery bags full, for reals!), then, came as a shock. A happy shock, but a shock nonetheless.

With the threat of an overabundance of fruit and veggies looming, I hurriedly began researching methods of preserving the extras for winter. Canning struck me as intriguing, if a bit risky for a newbie like myself. Freezing, while quick and easy, brings with it the obvious space and energy limitations. Eventually, I decided that dehydrating the excess food was my best option: safe, uncomplicated and requiring the minimal upfront investment.

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My (then-) newly-purchased Nesco American Harvest Gardenmaster FD-1020 Digital Pro Food Dehydrator, still in the box.
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Enter: the Nesco American Harvest Gardenmaster FD-1020 Digital Pro Food Dehydrator. After quite a bit of online window-shopping, I finally opted for this make and model. A mid-range dehydrator, the Gardenmaster FD-1020 is one of the pricier models offered by Nesco, and yet it’s still less expensive than those made by Excalibur (which, if the Amazon listings are any indication, is the Lexus of food dehydrators). Currently, the Gardenmaster FD-1020 retails for $154.99 on Amazon, but is on sale for $116.95.

All things considered – e.g., price, customer reviews, expandability, accessories – the Gardenmaster FD-1020 struck me as the wisest choice: suitable for my needs, without going over the top. Plus, it only cost me $30 after I applied my existing gift certificate balance. Score!

This is my third autumnal season with the Gardenmaster; in this time, I’ve used it to dry a variety of fruits and veggies, including tomatoes:

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Decadent Delight Muffins for a One-eyed Wiener Dog (Also: A Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole for His Humans)

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

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A freshly baked (quarter-) batch of Molly’s Decadent Delight Muffins sits on a small plate, behind which lurks two identical, plush reddish-brown wiener dogs. Only, the dog on the right is missing one eye (his right one, even!), along with the tip of his nose. One of the first three adopted dog-kids – Ralphie, Peedee or O-Ren – chewed them off years ago. Do we have a psychic in the pack, perchance?
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Friday night, I made a batch of Decadent Delight Muffins (recipe via Molly @ It’s a Vegan Dog’s Life – the meeter of at least 75% of my dog treat recipe needs!) for the dog-kids. I wanted to pamper them a little bit, since we had an especially rough week. But first treats, then kvetching!

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Perched on the back of the couch, Rennie stares into the kitchen, entranced by the unbaked muffins sitting on the countertop.
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Packed with flax seeds, shredded carrots, natural peanut butter and freshly made (somewhat fortuitously, as I just so happened to be brewing the final batch of the season) applesauce, these muffins are both healthy and delicious. (And vegan!) I much prefer baking my own dog treats over buying commercial brands because I know exactly what goes into each batch. Plus, they’re really very easy to make and store well in the freezer, if need be. (With five dogs, treats are eaten up pretty quickly round these parts!) Of course, the dogs also enjoy licking the spoons and bowls. And what better way to a dog’s heart than through her stomach? Five paws up!

Okay, so enough of the muffins. Let’s move on to the one-eyed wiener dog, shall we?

To Ralphie

Ralphie mosaic!
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Ralphie.

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Friday Food: Sharing is Caring!

Friday, November 12th, 2010

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Miss Hash Brown – my parents’ beagle/terrier mix-breed dog-kid – tries to sweet-talk me into sharing a piece of my sun-dried tomato bagel with her. And by “talk” I mean “kiss.”
Needless to say, she had me at *sad eyes*.
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It took me a good six hours, but I finally finished working through this year’s veganmofo blogroll earlier this week. Everything looks so nice and neat and sorted now! Of course, this means that I have even more Friday Food to share with y’all! Enjoy the links, and try not to drool on your keyboard or, worse yet, lick your monitor (it’s not real, it’s just an illusion!).

Before we get started, though, I have got to direct you to the following blogs – or, more to the point, blog titles, which tickled me every shade of pink whilst browsing through them. Most are rooted in pop culture, which is totally my thing.

bite me, I’m vegan | http://bitemevegan.blogspot.com
Duchess Of Kircaldy | http://duchessofkircaldy.wordpress.com
It Ain’t Meat, Babe | http://www.itaintmeatbabe.com
It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Cooking…) | http://imonlycooking.blogspot.com
meansoybean | http://meansoybean.com
Meatless in Seattle | http://meatlessinseattle85.blogspot.com
No Murders in the Rue Morgue | http://nomurders.wordpress.com
Thyme Bombe | http://thymebombe.com
Vegan Dance if you want to. | http://vegandance.blogspot.com

Also be sure to visit Seitan Said Dance, who’s cooking up comic book themed dishes all week. Totally awesome. Bonus smiles: Mozilla recommends that I change “Seitan” to “Satan.”

 

Oat Pumpkin Pancakes

“Oat Pumpkin Pancakes” (recipe here). CC image via digiyesica on Flickr.
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Food, delicious food!

Tempeh Roulade en Croute from VegSpinz

Sweet Potato and Apple Bake from megatarian

Mint Chocolate Shots from Lustrous Musings

The (vegan) Soup Post! and Molasses Ginger Cookies! from Healthy. Happy. Life.

Cappuccino Muffins and Vegan Apple Hand Pies from Vegan Nom Noms

Rooibos Chai from Vegan Junk Food

Dad’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Bon Bons from In My Vegan Life

The Vegan Nacho from Unhealthy Vegan

Vegan Pizza Bites from Toast and Tofu

Braised Maple Tarragon Carrots from The Elizavegan Page

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Frugal vegans don’t waste food.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Rosie the Riveter

J. Howard Miller’s “We Can Do It!”, commonly mistaken to be Rosie the Riveter.
CC image via Wiki.
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A recent study in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology estimated that Americans waste nearly 350 million barrels of oil per year in the form of food. These figures represent 2% of our annual energy consumption, and are based in part on an even more shocking 1995 estimate that 27% of our edible food is wasted – simply thrown away – at both the individual and institutional levels.

While much of this waste happens before food even reaches consumers – for example, produce that looks “irregular” or is marred by “blemishes” may be tossed by farmers or rejected by grocers – who among us can say that she’s never thrown out a half-finished bag of moldy rolls or composted the odd bruised apple? If just half of this waste occurs in our own kitchens and pantries, then the average American is tossing nearly 15% of the food she purchases straight into the garbage.* By cutting out this waste, then, we could potentially save 15% on our grocery bills.

Reporting on these findings over at Salon, Francis Lam offers seven tasty ways to stop wasting food – six of which are vegan or vegan-friendly. These include:

  1. Be creative about stale bread;
  2. Freeze in-danger-of-expiring (nondairy) milk;
  3. Save trim and scraps for stock;
  4. Sauté leftover pasta, rice, and cooked grains (or, you know, just reheat and it, if you’re not a food snob like Lam);
  5. Repurpose leftover sauces, soups, and (vegetable) meat juices to add flavor to other dishes; and
  6. Don’t toss an item just because it’s expired – many foodstuffs are edible past date. Trust your senses and use good judgment.

Building on Lam’s list, Jordan @ vegansaurus! recommends that you be a more awesome vegan by:

  1. Making impromptu soups, stews, and curries with neglected veggies;
  2. Baking fruit crisps and crumbles with overripe apples and such;
  3. Liquefying extra produce into smoothies;
  4. Investing in high quality food storage containers; and
  5. Buying a spiffy new lunch set that will hopefully inspire you to take leftovers to work.

Of course, because I am a totally awesome – and usually-frugal – vegan, I have a few additional suggestions to add to the mix!

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chili sin carne, para los perros

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

This is a much, much milder version of Shane’s (award-winning!) Sweet and Spicy Chili. For the dogs, that is. (Yes, I feed my dog-kids a vegan diet. No, I’m not sacrificing their health and well-being at the alter of my own selfish ethics. For new visitors: you can find additional details and a disclaimer of sorts here.)

This recipe makes about 20 cups of food, or enough to feed 5 hungry little doggies for a week or so. If you’re not a borderline animal hoarder like moi (joking!), probably you’ll want to cut this recipe in halfsies.

chili sin carne, para los perros

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Ingredients

olive oil
3 Boca Burgers (optional)
OR 1 16 oz brick of firm tofu (optional)

water
1 16 oz can of diced, unsalted tomatoes
1 6 oz can of low salt tomato paste
2 cups of sundried tomatoes

24 ounces dried beans OR 6 16 oz cans of cooked, low sodium beans (chef’s choice!)
(I used 8 ounces each of dried pinto, black and red beans.)

3 cups texturized vegetable protein (TVP)
3 cups fresh or frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup diced green peppers

brown sugar to taste (I used 4 tablespoons)
dried mustard to taste (me: 1/2 teaspoon)
paprika to taste (me: 1/4 teaspoon)
chili powder to taste (me: 1/4 teaspoon)
cumin to taste (me: 1 teaspoon)
black pepper to taste (me: 1/4 teaspoon)
lime juice to taste (me: 1 tablespoon)
flour to taste
water and/or low sodium tomato juice to taste

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Thank dog it’s Friday Food!

Friday, November 5th, 2010

As promised, today I bring you a monster link roundup of all the yummy recipes I bookmarked with delicious during the past week. Though the series title is shamelessly lifted (“borrowed”) from Stephanie, this Friday Food is different in that it includes recipes published at any time in the history of the intertubes. I do a lot of browsing and surfing – even more so given the massive Vegan MoFo blogroll and RSS feed bundle – and thus, not a little backtracking. Most of these recipes are newish – many posted just for Vegan MoFo – but don’t be surprised if you stumble upon one from 1999. In which case, par-tay like – well, you know the drill.

And also, I am a junk food junkie. Judging from the unhealthy bent of this list, even more so than I realized. Problems, I got ’em. Sigh. So many sweets, so little time.

 

Chocolate-coconut truffles (recipe here). CC image via floridecires on Flickr.
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Food, delicious food!

Homemade Tofurkey with Brown Rice Stuffing Recipe from Chow, by way of vegansaurus!

White Trash Tater Tot Casserole with Daiya, Mac ‘n Teese® Cheese Casserole, and Cranberry Apple Crisp with Maple Syrup from SnarkyVegan

Blueberry and Earl Grey Scones from Cookin’ Vegan & Jessica @VeganFood

Vegan Black Bean Tostadas with Corn Relish from Veggie Terrain

Vegan Sweet Potato Naan from Cook’s Hideout

Kelly Beth’s Vegan Deviled Eggs (a.k.a. Potato Angels) from Vegan Etsy

Chocolate Coconut Truffles (above) from Veggie Wedgie

Super Fudgy Brownies (AKA Crusty Fudge) and Chocolate Viennese Whirls from Not a Rabbit

Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse, Berry Compote and Almond Milk Ice Cream and Fried Lemon Pie and Salted Caramel Ice Cream from vegansaurus! (and Project Just Desserts guest-chefs Melisser and Bianca)

Black Bean and Chipotle Dip from Wednesday Food Blogging

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The Return of "Frugal Vegans…" & delicious-ness, Hoarded

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

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During last year’s VeganMoFo, I launched a new series about how to live frugally as a vegan. The idea was to both offer helpful tips for those vegans looking to save money, while also providing a counterpoint to the idea that veganism is necessarily expensive. Loosely titled “Frugal Vegans…,” the series unfortunately fizzled and died with October, in part because I don’t do a whole lot of food blogging outside of VeganMoFo. But hey, look on the bright side! VeganMoFo is back, baby! And with it, “Frugal Vegans…”

As a sort of refresher course, here are the topics we covered last year:

(I also have an entire category dedicated to frugality, though it’s mostly comprised of the posts listed above.)

Today’s tip is short and sweet: hoard your deliciousness. By which I mean…well, go see for yourself: http://www.delicious.com/easyvegan/recipe

easyvegan's delicious tags (recipes)

Now look. I’m all in favor of supporting one’s favorite vegan cookbook authors and chefs (especially those who are also vocal advocates for oppressed animals, both human and non!). And you can and should support them by purchasing (and promoting) their cookbooks (and blogs, podcasts, appearances, etc.) when possible. But not everyone can afford to buy a new book every week, month or even year. Libraries rock – and, imho, borrowing cookbooks from the library, thus increasing demand for these titles, counts as support – but not everyone has ready access to a library or library services.

Luckily, there are plenty of recipes and ideas to be had for free online, as is amply evidenced by VeganMoFo. (Speaking of which, have you seen the tragically awesome RSS feed bundles yet? You will never leave the house again!) Just search for “vegan recipes” (over 4 million hits on Google!) – or hop on over to my blogroll of vegan foodies for a more whittled down version – to get started.

But how to keep track of all this vegan nom? delicious to the rescue! With delicious you can bookmark, tag, sort, share and comment on your favorite links.

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Golden Baked Tofu and Sweet Potatoes (for dogs & their peoples!)

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Finding myself with four soon-to-be-spoiled sweet potatoes, a few extra bricks of tofu, five hungry, barky dogs, and not a whole lot of extra time on my hands, I came up with this recipe on the fly last week. Though the dogs ate most of this dish, I did snack on the baked sweet potatoes throughout the afternoon, and…yum! Good stuff. Bonus points for the aroma, which stunk up the house something NOM.

Make this dish for yourself or for your dogkids – or, heck, make it and share! Eat Drink Dog Woman, am I right? (No offense meant, Shane.)

Golden Tofu and Sweet Potatoes (for dogs & their peoples!)

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