I’m Back!!!

Apologies for the long absence from blogging…I was away in Panama for 3 weeks and while I did have sporadic Internet access, I was unable to upload pictures from my camera while there.  So now it’s time for a little catch up 🙂

I left on July 5th so I was at home to celebrate the 4th of July.  My daddy and I made something special that we’d been dying to try.

Smoky Red Peppers ‘n Beans Gumbo from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

We roasted a red pepper in the oven and used two tomatoes (also roasted) from our garden for a portion of the part of the recipe that calls for diced tomato.



Green food (this was “the trinity” plus okra)


Red food (this was the finished product)

This was SO.FREAKIN.GOOD.  As you can see from the pics, the recipe made a large amount of gumbo, and every last drop of it got eaten.  We ate it over brown rice.  I will definitely make this again!  It will be especially good during the cold Boston winter months that I will be facing in the near future…

Before I left I also made a batch of gigantic Super-Charge Me! cookies from Eat Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton.  I took these with me to Panama to use as breakfasts or to take with me on ecotours (I did alot of outdoor activities including very long hikes so these were perfect).  I love these cookies!  This batch was made with raisins, chopped dried banana, chopped dried apricot, and chopped dried guava, and without chocolate chips (since I didn’t have any)–instead I shaved in a little dark chocolate for flavor.

 

I did a tiny bit of cooking in Panama, but I should come right out and say that I was NOT vegan during my trip.  This would have been nearly impossible in the environment had I just been visiting as a tourist, but added to the fact that I was living with a local family and wanted to be as respectful as possible, it was truly impossible.  However, they did not serve me meat, and for the most part I was able to fend for myself, especially because I came prepared with my super-charge me cookies as well as tons of cliff bars, dry vegan soups, and other such marvels.  Now that I am back, I cannot even describe how good it feels to be back to my normal eating habits! My body is definitely happy…

Anyways on to the cooking!  I made chili for my host family, which they loved, and of which I did not take a picture 😦  I also made home fries, of which I do have a picture. 

This is my own creation: it’s just some nice potatoes boiled and then fried up with some onions and red pepper in a little canola oil with salt, pepper, paprika, and oregano.  These were a hit!  It was pretty amazing to be able to share ultra-American foods like chili and home fries with my Panamanian family, while they shared quite a few things with me as well, including cilantro rice, stuffed challote (a delicious soft pear-shaped green vegetable), and patacones (deep-fried plaintains)–my new specialty!  I will make these soon and post pics 🙂

All in all, it is good to be back and I am excited to catch up on everyone’s blogs and leave comments soon!

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Explosion Indeed

Double-Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton

I’ve been very curious to make these, as the cookbook’s description promises that these cookies will have vegan cookie critics “eating their words, and the cookies.” I figured they must be great!

 

Mmmmmm toasty chocolatey heaven!

Tomorrow is my last day at work so I wanted to make cookies (because any excuse to bake is a good one!).  I didn’t have a ton of time so last night I toasted the almonds and sifted out the dry ingredients ahead of time, then this morning I mixed the wet ingredients in and baked up the cookies.  I baked them in two batches.  While the first batch were baking I had to go over to my neighbor’s house to take care of their pets (because they are away, obviously).  I had set the timer and when I got back they still had 45 seconds so of course I was thinking “Wow good timing!  Go me.”  Of course, then Mom says “Oh the timer went off before, but the cookies still looked raw and the chocolate chips weren’t melted or anything, so I put them on another three minutes.”  Nooooo!  I always heed Dreena’s warnings about overbaking and I was pretty sure these would be all dried out.  They are a little dry but they turned out okay I guess (good thing our oven sucks and doesn’t get that hot anyway…you may have noticed that I never bake cakes or breads and that is why).  The second batch I guarded more closely and I am proud to say they turned out perfectly 🙂  Not one but two of the coworkers with whom I shared these little nuggets of joy asked for seconds!

Here are some members of the first (dry) batch sitting out to cool:

And here is the second (delish) batch getting ready for transport to the office:

I am definitely making these again!!!