The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Sure, so maybe the holidays are, like, SO LAST MONTH. But my house is still dressed to party, and besides, better late than never! Vegan foods never go out of style, yo.

Let me begin by saying that I didn’t do nearly as much baking this year as last. With the exception of some cookies for our neighbors, I didn’t make any gifts by hand. Mostly ’cause I was pressed for time, but also because I’m still trying to work off the ten pounds I gained by “taste testing” 2010’s handmade presents.

Instead I hit up Vegan Etsy: an assortment of vegan candies from NoWhey for my grandma Arnie; SuperFoxySweets vegan chocolate truffles for my grandma Vita; and a PB lover’s sampler box, along with peppermint patties, extra peanut butter cups, and a pumpkin roll (all from Sweet Vegan Delight) for my mum – all for less than $150! SUCH A STEAL!

Elsewhere on the internets, a box o’ vegan wine for my aunt Cindy and her BFF Hank (from Clos LaChance Winery, though I don’t see any vegan options at the moment) and a Ron Swanson mug for Shane.

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“Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait … wait. I worry what you just heard was: Give me a lot of bacon and eggs. What I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Do you understand?
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(From Peachy Apricot on etsy, in case you want one for your own bad self.)

My sister Meesh was easy; her only wish was more fruit leather, so I sent her a few pounds of the stuff. (We have a huge container in the freezer. Great for distracting Ralphie from his allergy shots!)

My brother-in-law sent us a basket of vegan goodies from Marge’s Bakery in Northridge, CA. It’s not an exclusively vegan establishment, but it has a decent number of vegan options relative to its non-vegan offerings.

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The basket included four varieties of cookies: California Snowballs (melt-in-your mouth good!), Kiss of Lemon (thin and crispy and very lemon-y; my least favorite of the bunch), Ginger Snaps (soft, chewy, and surprisingly delicious, since I’m usually lukewarm on these) and Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies (crunchy, like most store-bought cookies, and super-delish – but also quite small). They were devoured in less than a week.

Also present: two loaves of sweet bread. Namely, zucchini bread and carrot cake. (The latter is technically a cake, I guess, but it had the look and feel of a sweet bread to me. It was remarkable similar in texture and sweetness to the zucchini bread, in any case.)

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The zucchini bread was at least as good as my own recipe, but not necessarily better. Sweet but not sickeningly so. I especially loved the sweet glaze on top of the bread, which added that little extra something to the bread. (Note to self: you simply must find that recipe!)

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The highlight of the carrot cake was most def the frosting, which was delightfully spicy (Not in a hot way! I detected hints of Pumpkin Spice – but then my palate’s not all that sophisticated, so who knows?) and stood a good inch in height. Maybe this is what transforms a humble carrot loaf into a cake? Either way, NOM.

(More below the fold…)

"I got heathens aplenty right here!"* Merry CriFSMas from our crew to yours!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

2011 FSMas Card MAIN

May your holiday be bright and shiny,
and your ‘verse, filled with shindigs and thrilling heroics.
– Kaylee and Jayne
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Happy holidays, y’all! As I said the other day, I’ve been dying to do some holiday cosplay with Kaylee and Jayne ever since we adopted them five years ago, and this year I finally got to it! I decorated the entire tree with pirates in their honor (The crew of Serenity? Space pirates! Totally relevant to Pastafarianism, since doctrine holds that the decline in pirates is correlated with global warming – and thus in order to avert the apocalypse, we have to bring back piracy. Check and mate.), which was no small feat seeing as I made most of the ornaments by hand over a two-month period. I also hired someone to custom-make Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb outfits way back in August. Oh, the planning that went into this holiday card!

Unfortunately, my seamstress totally flaked (Updated to add: full story here!), leaving me to cobble together costumes from off-the-rack pieces at the last minute. Instead of a green mechanic’s jumpsuit and floral blouse, Kaylee is wearing her shindig dress – that is, a Cotton Candy Dog Dress by East Side Collection. And while Jayne isn’t sporting a trademark brown Jayne Cobb ringer tee, she does look pretty badass in a green army jacket – really an Army Green Utility Jacket by Zack & Zoey.

Of course, the Jayne hat is the star of the ensemble; I actually had three custom-made for me by two different etsians: Sam’s Crochet (that would be the adorably floppy, Rasta-style hat Jayne and Peedee are wearing) and Whitaker Knits (the smaller hats with the orange tie, as seen on Ralphie and O-Ren, below). Rounding out Jayne’s look is a Browncoats logo pin I scored on Amazon. (It’s on her chest and not clearly visible in all the photos.) I also picked up some cute ID badges on eBay, but couldn’t find a place for them in the final outfits. Instead, they became ornaments for the tree.

Here’s a little character collage I put together for my family, who are not Firefly fans (THE HORRA!) and thus didn’t get the reference. Side-by-side comparison time! How do you think I did?

2011 FSMas Card - Kaylee-Jayne Comparison Collage

All’s shiny that ends shiny, I say.

Outtakes and extras after the jump!

(More below the fold…)

"Ha HA! Mine is an evil laugh!" (i.e., the shiny-yet-sacrilegious CriFSMas finery post)

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

This year I’d really hoped to do a “31 Days of CriFSMas” series. There was to be tutorials for making ornaments by hand, decorating tips, diy greeting card ideas, menu suggestions – even a list of festive viewing options. (Actually, I’ve planned on doing this for several years now, but veganmofo always leaves me exhausted and burnt out.) This year seemed an especially opportune time, seeing as I’ve been planning it since July and created many of the ornaments on the tree from scratch. But since time cannot be rewritten – that is, unless you are a Timelord or happen to know one – I’ll just have to cram it all into one ginormous megapost. Sound good?

The Pirate Tree

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What better place to start than the tree? Whereas in years past I’ve gone heavy on the pasta-themed ornaments, this year I decided to do a full-on pirate theme – with a special focus on Firefly. Space pirates are totally relevant when you’re a Pastafarian, yo! Also when you’re the guardian of two dogs who are named after characters on the show! I’ve been dying to do some holiday cosplay with Kaylee and Jayne ever since we adopted them five years ago, but this year I actually took the initiative and did it! (Hence the early planning.) I’ll post photos of the dogs later this week, but suffice to say that their costumes directly influenced the look of the tree. Since I’ve never done a pirate tree before, almost all of the ornaments and decorations are new this season.

The decorations are mix of re-purposed items (pirate toys from the Dollar Store; some cool and inexpensive pirate and nautical wood party favors from Jo-Anne Fabric; glass bottles that look as though they might hold messages from castaways, also from J-Anne Fabric; “gold” skull & crossbones metal charms found on eBay), Firefly merch (ID badges for Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb; a Serenity keychain), and diy ornaments made by gluing pirate stickers and photos onto bottle caps and card stock.

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It’s this last group that I wanted to make a tutorial for but really, it’s all very simple. Throughout the summer I saved up whatever bottle caps and lids I could (the flatter, the better) and when I had a pretty good collection going, I laid them all out on the floor of the barn (on top of a drop cloth, natch) and spray-painted them black. Since you’re likely to have collected lids made of variety of materials – plastic and metal, mostly – make sure you buy a spray paint that’s suitable for each.

Then hit the internets and gather up as many pirate-y pictures as you can: google Firefly/Serenity (the art produced by this fandom is both plentiful and delightful!), Pirates of the Caribbean, pirate Amy Pond, women pirates (girl power!), etc. (Though that last search term turns up some rather depressing results. To cut down on the number of sexy pirates, search for historical woman pirates. You won’t get many results, but the hits you do get will be awesome!) Next, resize ’em so that the portions of the photos that you’d like to use are similar in size to your caps and lids, then copy and paste them onto 4×6, 5×7, and/or 8×10 canvases (depending on the size, you’ll be able to fit between one and five images on each), and either print them up at home or order them online at Sam’s Club or similar.

The hardest part is cutting the images to fit snugly inside the lids. Cutting a circle freehand is pretty much impossible, as I quickly learned. Instead, try to find a circular item – a cup or bottle, for example, or even another, slightly smaller lid – and use it to trace a circle on the image. Though still difficult, the guide will help you to cut a much rounder circle. (Just go slowly!) When done, simply glue the photo into the lid. (A heavy-duty, acid-free glue stick works well for this.)

If you can find circular stickers – I happened to have some 1.5″ round skull & crossbones stickers left over from last year – these are a nice option too. While they don’t offer a whole lot of variety, they do come pre-cut. Score!

For hanging, you can either glue a jump ring (used in jewelry making and available at craft stores) to the back of the lid or, if it’s made of plastic and thick enough, drill a small hole into the “lip” of the lid. Either way, string some curling ribbon or a pipe cleaner through the ring or hole to make a loop that can then be used to hang the ornament from the tree. (Curling ribbon is much easier to work with, imho.) We stuck with black to match the tree’s color scheme (namely, black and gold).

(More below the fold…)

Tell them stories! Also: vegan experts needed, VegListings, and shopping vegan on etsy.

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Emma loves her Papa

Emma loves her papa!
CC image via flickr user Vegan Flower (Molly!).
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Hey there lovely people! I have a homework assignment for the dog people in the audience. Don’t worry, it’s short and kind of sweet and won’t distract from your holiday festivities. Dr. Frank McMillan at Best Friends Animal Society is studying human-nonhuman bonding and, as part of his background research, is soliciting stories of love and devotion from those who share their lives with dogs. How do you know that your dog friend loves you? The answer can be short or long-form, simple or multifaceted. Just TELL HIM STORIES! (Always quote His Dark Materials. ALWAYS!)

Here’s the call for submissions, which appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of Best Friends magazine:

BEST FRIENDS NEEDS YOUR HELP

If you have a dog who expresses love toward you, we would like to hear your story.

In a very special new study, we are looking in-depth at the emotions of bonding and affection – love – shown by dogs toward their human companions. For background research, we would like to collect stories of dogs’ expressions of love. The story could be about a single incident of your dog’s show of love and devotion, or the ways your dog demonstrates love within your overall relationship. It could simply be an answer to the question: How do you know your dog loves you? If you would like to share your story, please email it to Dr. Frank McMillan at dr.frank@bestfriends.org.

You may recall that I’ve written about Dr. McMillan’s research previously in this here space; see, e.g. Scientists, Poets, Changemakers and Heroes (Volunteer Opportunities & Action Alerts). (Wow, has it been two years already?) Participating in vegan-friendly research projects such as this is an awesome and fun way to contribute to science. And easy, too!

Dr. McMillan posts notices of current research opportunities in Best Friends magazine, which comes “free” with a $25 donation to Best Friends. (We made a donation in Ozzy’s name for their annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony.) In the future, I’ll try to relay new notices as quickly as possible, for those who don’t get the magazine. Forgetting is easy, since a) I tend to let my subscription lapse and b) the notices are somewhat inconspicuous and easy to miss! But I’ll do better, I promise. This stuff is important, yo!

While we’re doing the bulletin board thing, joyful vegan goddess Colleen Patrick-Goudreau recently posted this notice on her FB page:

Call for vegan experts: I’m building a directory of everything from vegan wellness practitioners (chiropractors, acupuncturists, dietitians, naturopaths, nutritionists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, massage therapists, veterinarians) to vegan cooking class instructor and chefs. Wherever you are, if you are vegan and fall into any of the first categories, please email lisa@compassionatecooks.com so we can include you. If you teach cooking classes or have a catering company or are a personal chef, please email colleendavis@compassionatecooks.com. We need the city and state your in, your name, and your website! PLEASE PASS IT ON!

Also, VegListings is a newish directory for vegetarian and vegan businesses; it might come in handy for shoppers as well as business owners, especially with the holidays fast approaching! In the past I’ve put together social justice-themed buying guides; this year, I briefly considered compiling a list of vegan shops on etsy (love me some etsy!) – and then I stumbled upon the Vegan Etsy Team page, making my idea seem redundant.

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…and I hope you will too!

So go, browse, buy (if you can). If not, maybe you’ll be inspired to give gifts crafted by your own two hands this holiday season. It’s fun!

(Image via Herbivore, by way of Vegan Etsy.)

Update, 4/9/12: Due to a recent negative experience on the site, I’m afraid that I can no longer recommend etsy to my friends, family, and readers (and ESPECIALLY not for expensive and/or custom orders!). While the majority of transactions do go smoothly, don’t expect any help from etsy’s customer service on those rare occasions when you have a problem with a seller. Seriously, they were a nightmare to work with – worse even than the seller who never delivered on my custom order, even after six months of haggling.

That said, I still love and support the many vegan storefronts on etsy, and will continue patronizing those that have a presence elsewhere on the web.

From Mint Chocolate Silk to Mint Chocolate Ice Cream: A Trio of Timely Recipes!

Friday, December 31st, 2010

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Left under the tree for Santa: one quart of each of Silk’s seasonal flavors. Left to right, there’s: Soy Nog, Mint Chocolate and (my personal favorite!) Pumpkin Spice.
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If you’re anything like me, the thought of Silk’s seasonal soy milk flavors send you into such a frenzy that you manage to overbuy at least one flavor (more likely, two or three). Every. Stinking. Year. Luckily, you can extend the shelf life of all that liquid nom by transforming it into an equally nomy frozen dessert.

Last year, I shared recipes for my very own Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream and Vegan Soy Nog Ice Cream. This year, there’s a new flavor in town: Mint Chocolate Silk. And it’s set to expire…yesterday! Eek! What are we waiting for? Let’s get to it!

Below the jump you’ll find not one, not two, but three (three!) recipes for making ice cream with that extra Mint Chocolate Silk. Recipe #1 I tried yesterday and, while I followed much the same process as in the Pumpkin Spice and Soy Nog recipes, the texture came out more like sorbet than ice cream. (I’ve really no idea why. High water content in the Mint Chocolate Silk? A minor but crucial flub-up on my part? Who knows.) Which is all fine and good – who doesn’t like sorbet, right? – just be prepared to defrost the leftovers in the microwave before doling them out. The “sorbet” gets as hard as a rock once fully frozen!

Recipes 2 and 3 are variations on #1 that should result in a frozen dessert more akin to ice cream. I say “should” because I haven’t yet gotten a chance to try them out. #2 is very similar to the recipes found in The Vegan Scoop, while #3 was inspired by this recipe for strawberry chocolate ice cream, which I made and loved.

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Mint Chocolate Silk Sorbet with chocolate bark and garnished with a strand of ribbon candy.
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(More below the fold…)

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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(More below the fold…)

Merry criFSMas, y’all!

Friday, December 24th, 2010

The beauty of a made-up holiday? You can celebrate it any old damn time you want! Traditionally (as in, for the past four years), the husband and I have observed criFSMas on December 24th. Given that I spend much of Christmas Day proper on the phone with far-flung loved ones, it’s just more practical that way. My criFSMas lasagna and mozzarella sticks will wait for no one! (Don’t worry, plenty of food blogging forthcoming.)

For this year’s criFSMas cards, we decided to go with a “pasta and peace” theme. (We aim to put the PASTA back in PASTAfarian here at the Garbato-Brady house, yo! That, and my “domestic terrorist” idea didn’t quite pan out.) Because he’s had a rough year, Ralphie was the obvious choice of cover model. Not to mention, one eye? Totally fits with the pirate side of flying spaghetti monsterism. As per usual, I couldn’t resist creating “outtakes” for each of the dogs. They’re all just so freaking cute, you know? (Rhetorical question; you best say yes!)

 

2010 FSMas Card - Ralphie (shot his eye out)

The “official” 2010 Garbato-Brady criFSMas card.
– Ralphie –
Wishing you peace & pasta this holiday season!
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2010 FSMas Card Message Labels (single panel)

Because years spent on the internets have forever ruined my penmanship,
I design and print message labels to affix to the back of each card.
This year’s greeting reads:
Happy Holidays! With love (& lasagna),
The Garbato-Bradys:
Kelly, Shane, Peedee, O-Ren, Kaylee, Jayne, Ozzy & Ralphie
“you’ll shoot your eye out, kid,” the one-eyed cover dog
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2010 FSMas Card Outtakes - Peedee

Outtakes!
– Peedee –
May your plate overflow with compassion & campanelle.
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2010 FSMas Card Outtakes - O-Ren

– O-Ren –
May love & lasagna warm your belly on a cold winter’s night.
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2010 FSMas Card Outtakes - Kaylee

– Kaylee –
May your heart be filled with joy & gemelli, today and always.
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2010 FSMas Card Outtakes - Jayne

– Jayne –
May you find friendship & fusilli this criFSMas season!
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Whatever you celebrate, season’s greetings and wishes of peace from all of us to you and yours!

I’ll leave you with this Christmas Manger / Vegan Silent Night video from Bea Elliott. While I’m not exactly a religious person (in the understatement of the year), I find it a bittersweet description of the conflicting feelings I – and many vegans, no doubt – oftentimes experience around the holiday season.

Peace to all; and to all, a good life.

the war on christmas: 2010 edition

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

The Daily Show: Monday December 6, 2010
The Gretch Who Saved the War on Christmas
The holiday season wouldn’t feel the same without people going out of their way to be offended by nothing.
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(More below the fold…)

dolphin nom!

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: googly eyes make everything awesomer. Everything.*

* Which begs the obvious question: why didn’t I think to glue a googly eye on Ralphie’s sewn-up eye socket for our criFSMas card photo shoot? Ah well, there’s always next year.

domestic terraist doggehs selebrate crifsmas wit toefoo nog (like duh!)

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

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domestic terraist bear is one of teh kewl girls.
Left to right: Kaylee, Jayne, O-Ren and the pirate-polar-vegan-terrorist criFSMas bear.
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Initially, I’d planned on doing a sort of “domestic terrorist” theme for this year’s holiday (read: criFSMas) cards, using the “domestic terrorist” apron from Green is the New Red as the centerpiece. (Product description: “‘Domestic.’ Terrorist. Get it? There’s nothing funny about the FBI labeling environmental and animal advocates the ‘number one domestic terrorism threat.’ But with the Feds attempting to infiltrate vegan potlucks, why not accessorize? […] Happy ‘terrorizing’! But be careful in the kitchen. Did you know tofu makes you gay?” Vegan chefs are scary, yo! Also: my dog-kids consume a fair amount of tofu. Additionally, they are super-psyched about today’s repeal of DADT. Draw your own conclusions, mkay.)

While my idea was solid, its execution was not: the apron proved way too large for the dogs (which was to be expected, even though it looks super-tiny – not to mention satiny – on the model), so at first I tried putting it on our pirate polar bear.

I think you’ll agree that she looks super-snazzy in it

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but she’s also, well, kind of a big girl. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you; she’s vegan and totes in shape. But it proved next to impossible to fit both her and a dog in the camera frame. And so I re-staged the set, hanging the apron from the tree and surrounding it with fake fruits and veggies and a vase filled with pasta-related kitchen utensils.

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(Ignore the white fur on the black apron. Living with four white dogs and a mostly-white cat, it cannot be helped.)

Better, but once I went back and examined the photos on my computer monitor, I realized that the paddles looked really odd and stupid. Tremendously so. Plus, there was still a lot of floor and wall showing. Dislike.

So on day #2 of shooting, I ditched the setup and instead opted for a sea of book piles, coupled with a vase filled with angel hair pasta, and complemented with a sparkly “peace” ornament and baby flying spaghetti monster. The new theme? Peace and pasta.

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That taste? Perfection!

Not wanting the domestic terrorist photos to go to waste, I decided to make a series of (VEGAN!) lol dogs out of them. And so I give you: domestic terraist doggehs! (And one kitteh, who barely sat still long enough for me to take three pictures of him. His caption is most fitting.)

lol ozzy - is a terror allrite

title: lol ozzy – is a terror allright
caption: “domestic terraist kitteh” is a redundancy
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lol ralphie - thot u said petdown

title: lol ralphie – thot u said petdown
caption: domestic terraist doggeh will take that patdown now, mkay
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lol peedee - go boom

title: lol peedee – go boom
caption: domestic terraist doggeh be a walkin’ thyme bomb
(idea shameless borrowed from a blog of the same name)
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lol rennie - be happy 2 show u her mitts

title: lol rennie – be happy 2 show u her mitts
caption: domestic terraist doggeh be hostin a v-gun potluck next week
(u bring teh loaded taters kay?)
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lol kaylee - kills wit spiceness

title: lol kaylee – kills wit spiceness
caption: domestic terraist doggeh is about 2 es’splode ur taste budz
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lol jayne - is be busted

title: lol jayne – is be busted
caption: domestic terraist doggeh pleads deh lish
(hint: if you don’t get it, sound it out loud!)
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In many ways, I think I like this series better than the “real” card I ended up with (and the outtakes I made for each dog; yes, I’ve been a busy bee). But hey, there’s always next year. Well, not really. I’ve already got plans for 2011, and they involve Kaylee, Jayne and Joss Fucking Whedon. (One hint: SPACE PIRATES!) 2012, perhaps. I’m sure the theme will still be relevant then, unfortunately.

your annual criFSMas update

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Even though I rarely blog here anymore – V for Vegan is my main space now – I’d planned on posting a few more FSMas tutorials in the days leading up to December 25th. Alas, exhaustion and burnout from veganmofo iv, coupled with the foolhardy decision to make many of my gifts by hand this year, have pretty much blown that plan out of the water. (Oh, the boiling, pasta-filled water. FSMas NOM!)

But seeing as I’ve already taken and uploaded a number of photos, it’d be a shame not to at least throw up a photo essay. So here’s a sampling of this year’s decorations. You can view the entire set on Flickr, along with those from years past. The dogs’ annual criFSMas humiliation is forthcoming – they deserve their own post, dontchathink?

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The “pirate altar” in our front window features a mix of relevant books, framed flying spaghetti monster photos, pirate accessories, pasta decor, gold tinsel and doubloons, and sparkly flying spaghetti monsters.
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A closer look at book collection #1, which consists of vegan/vegetarian/Italian cookbooks (including Cathe Olson’s Lick It!, which I snagged in a veganmofo contest) and – of course – a copy of The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
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(More below the fold…)

veganmofo iv leftovers: frozen feasts, hot chocolate, criFSMas fun & assorted mofo miscellany

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I had hoped to feature reviews of Sistah Vegan, Eaarth and Diet for a Hot Planet in the final days of VeganMoFo IV, but…no such luck! Between holiday decorating, dog pampering and workworkwork, I didn’t quite accomplish all of my mofo goals. That’s okay, though; there’s always tomorrow, yes?

Until then, I have plenty of “leftovers” to share. Cue: all the mofo miscellany that passed under the radar…until now!

  • Frozen Thanksgiving Feasts

    Yes, the husband and I really did have frozen Tofurky pizza and apple pie for Thanksgiving! Neither of us was in the mood to cook, so this plan worked out nicely. Instead of spending the day toiling in the kitchen, I slept in, did some yoga, hung out with the dogs and read a few chapters of The Vegan Revolution… with Zombies. At night, we caught up on The Walking Dead (awesomeness!) and finished off the last three episodes of Battlestar Galactica (waaaay better than Lost‘s final, convoluted season!).

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    A Tofurky Cheese Pizza with extra toppings, namely Lightlife Smart Pepperoni, black olives and sundried tomatoes. One pizza is roughly the size of my dinner plate.
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    I’ve seen a number of vegan bloggers review the newish frozen Tofurky pizzas this month, with mixed results. Personally, I like ’em; so far I’ve tried both the plain cheese and sausage varieties, and I’d nom on either of them again. The crust, though definitely on the thin side, crisps up nicely when baked. Eaten on its own, I found the sausage to be a little spicy for my tastes, but this is tempered by the crust, sauce and cheese. And of course you can’t go wrong with Daiya!

    On the downside, these pizzas are definitely pricey. I’m trapped under a dog at the moment and thus unable to dig up the necessary receipts, but I think they cost upwards of $7 each at Whole Foods. According to the packaging, each pizza is supposed to serve two people, but, um, not so much. The husband and I can easily polish off a pizza apiece, with plenty of room left for dessert.

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    For dessert: apple pie topped with a copious amount of vanilla So Delicious ice cream.
    Quoth the husband: “You gonna have some pie with that ice cream?”
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    (Apple pie with vanilla So delicious, can I get a hells yes!)

    At best, they make for a nice luxury purchase – but unless it’s a special occasion, I’ll stick to my homemade pita pizzas, thankyouverymuch.

    (More below the fold…)

  • a very vegan mofo wishlist

    Friday, November 26th, 2010

    As the day after Thanksgiving, today begins the annual FSMas decorating marathon at the Garbato-Brady house! The primary goal is to assemble and decorate the tree as quickly as possible, so we can get the holiday cards shot, designed and printed ASAP. Then comes all the other festive stuff: stockings, garland, lights, gold doubloons, pirate gear – and sparkly red, green, gold and silver monsters as far as the eye can see. Beyond this, you’re likely to find me making extra pipe cleaner flying spaghetti monsters right up ’til the 24th (which is when the husband and I celebrate FSMas).

    Anyhow, since today also marks the first day of the x-mas shopping season, I thought it might be fitting to post my own holiday wish list. You know, just in case an anonymous admirer/fairy dogmother is out there, lurking and looking to unload some gifts on a certain lucky vegan blogger. (Me, me, me, pick me! ETA: I also accept cash and PayPal transfers. For your convenience, of course.)

    A (Stainless Steel?) Cookware Set:

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    Cuisinart MCP-12 MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set.
    Image via Cuisineart.
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    I’m still cooking with the same set of pots and pans that I bought when I moved out of my parents’ house. Ten years ago. I’d say that the peeling Teflon – or whatever that gunk is, who can tell anymore? – was the first indication that the set needed to be replaced…only I can’t remember a time when the set wasn’t flake-free. I know, healthy right?

    Problem is, there are so many options out there, and I’m not really sure which is right for me. I’m leaning toward stainless steel because of its durability, but am worried that some foods will stick to it. Copper sounds ideal, but is way over my budget. Thoughts?

    (More below the fold…)

    Vegan Soy Nog Ice Cream! (Need I say more?)

    Thursday, December 31st, 2009

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    Vegan Soy Nog Ice Cream

    2009-12-31 - Soy Nog Ice Cream - 0012

    Inspired by this Egg Nog Ice Cream recipe at VegWeb.

    Ingredients

    2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
    1 cup soy milk (divided into 1/4 and 3/4 servings)
    3 cups soy nog (I used Silk)
    1 teaspoon nutmeg
    3 tablespoons brown sugar

    (More below the fold…)

    Wishing you a delicious (vegan!) holiday season.

    Thursday, December 24th, 2009

    Since I’m a grumpy, grinchy atheist, the husband (also an atheist, though not as grumpy and grinchy as yours truly) and I celebrate as different kind of winter holiday. Based on the teachings of her Noodleleyness, FSMas is all about pasta and pirates. Which goes a long way towards explaining the cards below.

    We’ve been sending out custom holiday cards 2002. For the first few years, we included every animal companion in the photo; easy when you’ve one cat and one dog, right? Once we added Peedee to the family, Ozzy got bumped from the card; and, with the adoption of Kaylee and Jayne, group shots became an impossibility. So we’ve been rotating ever since. (So sad!)

    While every dog-kid got his or her due in 2009, Ralphie & Rennie took center stage: they were our cover-doggies, complete with a fierce “Booty & The Beast” theme. I’ll let y’all figure out who is supposed to be “Booty” and who is “The Beast.”

    FSMas 2009 - O-Ren & Ralphie are Booty & The Beast

    Ignore the glaring age disparity, mkay? Normally I don’t like pairing a young little lassie with a much older gent – seeing as how it’s a reflection of our sexist societal norms – but there’s, like, zero chemistry between the two oldest dogs, Kaylee and Ralphie. Seriously, I could not get the two to sit next to one another for more than 30 seconds at a time. And yes, I might have bucked the hetero trend with a same-sex pairing, but I thought that might have come off as homophobic and/or mockingly emasculating, given the theme. (Yes, holidays are political for me; what of it?)

    (More below the fold…)

    another year over

    Thursday, January 1st, 2009

    Even though the song title is Happy Xmas (War Is Over), I’ve always fancied this more of an ode to the New Year – to starting over, blank slates, opportunities renewed. “Another year over, and a new one just begun.”

    So here’s to another year of peace, love, compassion and activism.

    PCRM - 2008 New Year Card

    And many, many thanks to all of you who have stopped by and (hopefully) taken action on behalf of the animals in 2008!

    (Video via Cara @ The Curvature; incidentally, and even though it’s not at all related to animal advocacy, you should totally go check out her “Yoko Ono: A Feminist Analysis” series. Part Two is here, along with links back to previous posts.)

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    Tagged:

    Comrade Kelly’s Communist Manipesto (Chapter 1)

    Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

    I started to think about this year’s FSMas feast well before November. Since we’re talking about a (spoof) religion which revolves around pasta and pirates, a noodle-based dish is basically a given. Last year, we had lasagna…the same as every x-mas before. What can I say? The pasta, I loves it. That, and I’m not especially adventurous in the kitch.

    But in the spirit of Vegan MoFo, I vowed to try out a new dish this year – but what?

    Stephen Colbert to the rescue! (@ 2.27):

    Communist Manipesto – that’s the ticket. Naturally, a “Communist Manipesto” dish must involve manicotti and pesto. And sundried tomato pesto is the shit! Blend a pesto recipe with a little tofu for bulk, stuff it in a package of manicotti, and there’s a FSMas dinner to (not) die for!

    So I started by Googling around the internets in search of sundried tomato pesto recipes, finally settling on this one from All Recipes:

    Ingredients

    * 4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
    * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    * 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
    * 1/4 cup chopped pine nuts
    * 3 tablespoons chopped onion
    * 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    * 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    * 1/3 cup crushed tomatoes
    * 1/4 cup red wine
    * 1/2 cup olive oil
    * 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    * salt to taste

    Directions

    1. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with warm water for 5 minutes, or until tender.

    2. In a food processor or blender combine sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts and onion; process until well blended. Add vinegar, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and red wine, and process. Stir in olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt to taste.

    Of course, this was only a starting point – I had to modify the recipe a bit to make it vegan. And, you know, adjust certain ingredients according to what I did and didn’t have in the pantry. And add a few extra steps.

    Here’s the final version of the recipe…well, the final version of Chapter 1, anyway. I’m not in love with it, so likely there will be additional “Chapters” forthcoming. More on that below!

    (More below the fold…)

    Step Inside My Noodle House (Take 1)

    Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

    2008-12-28 - Noodle House - 0004

    Last year, when I initially conceived of FSMas, one of the first diy craft ideas to pop into my head was that of building a Noodle House. (Think “gingerbread house,” but with uncooked pasta instead of cookies and icing…and not at all edible, natch.)

    I finally found some time this month to experiment with my first noodle house. Even though it turned out to be a bit of a flop – I spent a good half hour yesterday dismantling what I’d made, so I could at least recycle the cardboard frame – I’m going to blog the process anyway, share what worked and what didn’t, and hopefully hammer out some new ideas for the 2009 holiday season.

    OK, well, where to begin? I started with two smallish-medium square cardboard boxes. The larger box, the dimensions of which were slightly longer/wider than the length of a lasagna noodle, formed the base of the house. I taped the top and bottom closed so that all the surfaces were level.

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    Doggeh Pirates & Noodle Monsters – It’s FSMas card time!

    Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

    I’d wanted to feature Ralphie and Rennie on this year’s holiday card, but they weren’t exactly cooperative during the photo shoot; Rennie wouldn’t sit still, while Ralphie, laying listlessly under the tree, resembled a piece of roadkill dressed in pirate gear.

    Luckily, Peedee saved the day! While we were taking pictures of Booty and the Beast, we had the office door closed so Peedee, Kaylee and Jayne couldn’t distract our would-be cover dogs. But as soon we finished up with Ralphie and O-Ren, I opened the door and in ran Peedee, who promptly plopped himself down right in front of the tree. First shot, and bam! Perfect. There was our FSMas card:

    2008 FSMas Cards - Peedee V.1 [5x7]

    Because I had so much fun making Peedee’s card – and I didn’t want to leave any of the dogs out – I created a few similar cards from the “outtakes.”

    (More below the fold…)

    A monster for every occasion.

    Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

    I’ve been trying to take a bit of a break from the internets lately – too many kerfluffles to suffer, I say! – so this week I’ve kept myself occupied with two of my favorite things: FSMas crafts and Lost. On Monday, I churned out a Duggar family’s worth of Flying Spaghetti Monsters – a bunch of festive holiday ones, mostly, but I also experimented with some other colors and holiday themes. Since I didn’t elaborate much on this in Sunday’s tutorial, I thought I might share some family snapshots to give y’all a better idea of how you might diversify your brood of FSMs.

    First, those festive FSMs.

    You can make a larger monster by twining two (or more) pipe cleaners together before assembling the monster. Or, you can birth a baby by cutting the pipe cleaners in half first. Here’s a “giant” monster I made, along with a wee little FSM:

    2008-12-16 - Festive FSMs - 0048

    It’s a little hard to see in that photo, but the giant FSM’s noodles are super-long and, well, kind of undulating and hypnotic:

    2008-12-16 - Giant Festive FSM - 0008

    I also gave her a set of extra-large googly eyes, and used faux cranberries for the soy balls; the cushy pom poms were just too small for this BBW.

    (More below the fold…)