The Bright Side

I don’t like to get into too much personal biz on this rather public blog but feel like I need to let people know that my recent absence can really only be explained by saying that it’s just been a really weird month. I can pinpoint the start of the weirdness pretty exactly to April 15th, the day of the marathon bombings.  But the last week and a half in particular has been just a crazy roller coaster of crap.

I missed the Virtual Vegan Potluck on Saturday and I’m super-depressed about it.  I think it’s such a brilliant concept and I was so excited to be a part of it, but life sort of got in the way.  Even though I was one of the shameful no-shows, I encourage others to visit the Potluck and check out some of the rockstar blogs that actually followed through with sharing their amazing recipes and stunning photography.  If I’m not blacklisted for life, I might try again to get in on the next one.

I’ve been trying really hard to look on the bright side of all things and just take really good care of myself, and my husband of course.  Summer is coming and I am very much looking forward to the relaxed attitude that falls over New England this time of year, to just enjoy the time I have with my family and friends and make really delicious and nourishing food for us all.

April-May 005

Recently I have been experimenting a little with my eating.  I’m trying to focus really hard on whole, unprocessed foods and balancing my diet a little better overall. It’s not always possible and it’s definitely not always easy. But I’m also trying not to be so hard on myself when my diet isn’t “perfect” or as “clean” as I’d ideally like it to be.

For our relay race two weekends ago, I made a huge batch of Winter Spice and Brown Sugar Granola (click for recipe) by PureWow.  I added dried cranberries for a little extra somethin’-somethin’.

Winter Spice Granola

This came out unbelievably delicious and smelled like heaven while it was baking. It’s sugary, yes, but highly satisfying and a little goes a long way.  And it certainly was great running fuel.  Highly, highly recommended (but be warned; it seriously makes a ton).

For dinners I’ve been all about the beans and greens. This time of year in general I find that I crave leafy green vegetables, and this is never something I feel guilty about eating!

This is Hottie Black Eyed Peas  (click for recipe) from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I added like a metric ton of hot sauce to the recipe after it was done because it just tasted so darn good with the black eyed peas.

Hottie Beans n Greens

I’ve also been enjoying Warm & Spicy Kale with Shiitake Mushrooms over Brown Rice (click for recipe) by Maria Guadagno of The Bombshell Blueprint.


I LOVE this recipe.  It is delicious and spicy, even as cold leftovers, which is fortunate because the recipe makes enough for three [large] meals! Just make sure you open some windows and put on your oven blower, if you have one, to avoid getting a blast of cayenne pepper to the face while this cooks.

Finally, there’s good old-fashioned Black Bean Burgers (click for recipe) served up with a side of greens, in this case sauteed collards.  The burger recipe is by Urban Vegan.  I also made roasted sweet potato wedges to have on the side.  And there was ketchup, obvi.

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Black Bean Burger

Sweet Potato Wedges

H was also a big fan of the patties.  I’m totally sold because they are so ridiculously easy to make, so his approval means they will be making frequent appearances on our lunch and dinner plates going forward.

So there you have it.  Look on the bright side and eat great food, and life is good.


Beanie Babies

Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero (which have been seen frequently in the blogosphere!)

The picture doesn’t quite do them justice…

I have made these four times.  The picture is of my fourth batch, which is the only one I baked (the others were fried).  I also made these with black chickpeas that I had soaked and cooked.  I left out the lemon zest that the recipe calls for because I had no lemons, and I think I actually prefer them this way.  They smelled unbelieveable while baking!  I ate one on a whole wheat hamburger bun with agave nectar-dijon dressing and a little ketchup.  I pretty much consider these a staple in my diet.

Chipotle Veggie-Bean Burritos from Vive le Vigan by Dreena Burton

These were scrumptious.  No other words need be applied.  My dad and I made them and our only deviation from the recipe was that we used fresh tomatoes instead of the canned diced called for. (This was before the current poisonous tomato season began, obviously.)

Cheater Baked Beans from Veganomicon (except that they are technically “peas”, and we didn’t “cheat”!)

Dad and I decided to make these for J’s girlfriend’s graduation party. We thought it would be cool to soak the beans overnight before cooking the recipe rather than relying on canned, despite the fact that the recipe’s title refers to the very fact that canned beans are used! But no matter. We used black-eyed peas, which we soaked overnight, and then proceeded in the morning to make the delicious sauce (we doubled the recipe), add the beans, and put it in the oven to bake for an hour. When we took the beans out of the oven, my dad sampled them and was a little surprised to find that the peas were fairly crunchy…much crunchier than one would expect from baked “beans”. We suddenly realized that we had neglected to cook the beans before baking them!! It was pretty funny actually. We ended up pouring the huge vat of beans into casserole dishes, adding water, and microwaving them for a few minutes at a time in an attempt to cook the beans. In the end they actually came out really well and were a hit at the party (about 2/3 got eaten!). Cooking is fun :-b

Smoky Grilled Tempeh from Veganomicon

Did. Not. Like.  This is the most disappointing thing I’ve ever attempted to cook.  I can’t figure out what went wrong.  All I know is that despite all the great stuff that went into the marinade, the only thing I could taste was the liquid smoke and I just couldn’t eat it 😦 Farley loved it though 🙂

Black Bean Burgers also from Veganomicon (not pictured)

These were so-so.  I made the recipe for a barbecue we hosted when my a cappella group was visiting my house and so I doubled the recipe.  The burgers tasted good but were overly gluteny.  I think that maybe gluten doesn’t need to be doubled even when the rest of the recipe is.  If I made these again I would definitely use less.