Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend of Preparations

 Aside from the usual soccer madness, we spent the weekend preparing for Halloween and for hurricane Sandy. We found the not yet unpacked box with all the flashlights and batteries we got before Irene last year. We tried on costumes. I brought rain boots up from a box in the basement. We carved pumpkins. We planned menus and decorated for our Halloween party. And secured our bikes outside.

 We are not quite sure what to expect out of this storm, but are looking forward to it being over. And we are thinking about our friends and family along the east coast in areas that are expecting much worse weather than we are here.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Past Peak

Camera fixed, yippie! (Now I just have to read up on how to use it.) I brought it out to the woods to take some beautiful fall photos - it has been gorgeous here recently. Just four days ago, I was out in the same woods with the kids and we picked red, yellow and orange leaves to bring home for crafts. Today I realized that the wind this weekend had blown most of the remaining leaves off the trees. It was still beautiful, just so much brighter with the light shining through. I love walking in the woods. I go every week with Russ while the girls are at a class. We walk around a little lake, and most times we don't meet anyone along the way, except maybe a chipmunk. I would say it is peaceful, but there's just no such thing with a four year old boy.

Swedish Hash / Pyttipanna

Pyttipanna is a Swedish stovetop hash, usually consisting of diced potatoes, onions and some kind of meat, in this case a couple of Tofurky beer brats (yum!). This dish would traditionally be made to use up leftover food, so just about anything can go in it. I especially enjoy it with some parsnips and rutabaga.

 Chop up into tiny pieces a few potatoes, an onion and whatever else you like to throw in. Veggie bacon, tempeh or vegan sausages would all work well. Start by frying the potatoes separately, as they need a while to get cooked properly. When soft, set aside. Fry the onion until translucent, add your "meat" and other ingredients if any. Most root vegetables need to be boiled first, as they take a long time to cook. Fry for a few minutes until evenly browned, then add the cooked potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and fresh parsley. Serve with pickled beets, if you are lucky enough to find them anywhere!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Hodgepodge Dinner

I have a few recipes ready to get up here, I just haven't had the time to yet. For now, this is what the kids and I ate this evening: Swedish style yellow pea soup (recipe to come). Oven hash with Brussels sprouts and mushrooms, because Dave was out. He doesn't like either of these, we do. And bruschetta. Because there were tomatoes that needed to be used, and an old stale baguette. And the oven was already on. A bit of an odd mix, like a potluck when you don't know what the others are bringing, but each of them were good.


I had told myself to never watch this film. But being home alone (sort of) last night I ended up curled up with Pandit (our dog) on the couch watching it after the kids were in bed. It is one of the most disturbing and unsettling things I have ever seen. I had to cover both of our eyes at times and I still feel nauseous this morning thinking about it. I so, so hope these are just exceptional and extreme cases, that would be bad enough. But despite the secrecy of these industries, the productions far, far removed from the consumers, these kinds of videos seem to show up often enough, so I don't know...

I am especially shocked to hear how many animals (upwards of 100 millions, but nobody knows) are being used in various animal experiments around the world each year. I had no idea. I wouldn't necessarily put myself against animal testing in all cases, but these numbers are absurd! I had to do a quick Wikipedia "fact check".

Here is the link for the film, It is not for the sensitive, though part of me thinks everyone ought to watch it anyway. 

Monday, October 15, 2012


I seem to have totally overestimated the amount of time I would be spending on Vegan MOFO. 20 posts, ha! I guess I am a bit of a wishful thinker, or a time optimist. Also, something happened to my new camera at the beginning of the month. I am pretty sure it is no big deal, but I haven't had a chance to get it taken care of yet, and it kind of took the fun out of food blogging this month.

I am otherwise having a great October, just enjoying fall here in Providence. We went out to pick apples again this weekend. Right now my father-in-law is visiting, and I think we are eating out tonight, but I am not sure where yet. I'll be back to report... Happy Monday!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Julian's Providence

This past weekend Dave and I actually had a real date night, paid babysitter and all! Our first since we moved here almost four months ago. I may have already mentioned that we live right around the corner from Rhode Island's only vegetarian restaurant, and while we love eating there, we also enjoy trying out new places. This time we decided on Julian's in the Federal Hill district. We had not been there before, so we didn't quite know what to expect. But several veg entrees, and "seitan for any meat" sounded good to us. We got there early, around 6, and still had to wait a while to be seated (they don't take reservations except for groups). The place is cozy and a little dark, the music a bit too loud for my taste, but I know that's something I am overly sensitive to.

I had the house seitan with roasted fingerling potatoes, maple glazed carrots, and stout braised cabbage. The seitan was a bit too salty for me, but otherwise good. The cabbage (hidden underneath) was very tasty! Dave had a burger with fries.

It was an interesting place. Very neighborhood-y with a pretty mixed clientele. Great place for beer nerds. Lots of interesting details to look at (including the Pez figure collection in the restroom).

For dessert, we tried the vegan brownie parfait: brownie, cashew cream cheese, and caramel, with a scoop of house made vegan ice cream! I know I will be copying this one at home. The ice cream was really delicious, I only wish the scoop had been bigger. We both felt we needed a glass of milk after finishing this one.

In all, we liked it, and would probably go back if we had a chance to. We probably wouldn't bring the kids (or our parents), except possibly for brunch. Their brunch menu looks pretty good (vegan sweet potato pancakes among other things), so maybe...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

National Cinnamon Bun Day?

Well it is, at least in Sweden. Gaya (seven) thought perhaps kids there have the day off from school to celebrate. They don't. Swedish cinnamon buns don't usually have icing on them, but are rather topped with things like pearl sugar or chopped almonds just before baking. But when you have left over vegan cream cheese icing in the fridge, you use it! I like to prepare these in the evening, and keep them rising in the fridge overnight.

Vegan Cinnamon Buns:
1/2 cup softened Earth Balance (EB)
2 cups almond milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
1 tsp dry yeast
about 5-6 cups flour
more EB, sugar, and cinnamon for filling.

In a large bowl, mix EB, almond milk, salt, sugar, and cardamom. Mix the yeast into some of the flour, add to the bowl, and keep stirring in flour until it stops sticking to the side of the bowl. Avoid using too much flour though, it will make the buns dry. Roll out half the dough at a time into a large rectangle (something like 12"x15"). Spread with EB and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to taste. Roll it up into a log, seam down, and cut 1" slices. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, cover, and place in fridge overnight. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes or so, checking often so they don't burn. Eat warm, or allow to cool completely, freeze, and take them out next time you have company!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Things To Do With 20 Lbs Of Apples - Three & Four

Dry them! Dried apples are great as a snack, or added to home made granola, cookies, etc. You don't really need a dehydrator or any special equipment to dry fruit, though I'm sure it's very helpful, at least for larger quantities. Just core the apples, slice thinly and dip in a bowl of water with a bit of lemon squeezed into it (to prevent browning). Place them on skewers with some room for air in between each slice. Rest the skewers on whatever contraption works for you, between two glasses, over an empty shoe box, etc. and put it out of the way for about 2-3 days. Done. I store mine in the freezer just because I would be sad if they got moldy.

Eat them. Duh! I was a little worried we had picked too much, that they would end up rotting on the counter. Well the apples were all gone in about a week! The kids ate up most of them. Time to go pick more!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Breakfast

Today is a pretty busy day here, so mind if I just share my breakfast? Swedish breakfasts are usually pretty plain, and not too sweet. Today I made oatmeal, cooked with water and just a pinch of salt, served with lingonberries and almond milk. We have been eating a lot of oatmeal the last couple of weeks, since the mornings have gotten a bit chilly here.

Lingonberry preserves can be found in some specialty food stores, or in the Swedish food market at IKEA, if you happen to live near one. Theirs, of course, does not compare to the real thing, but I am happy to have it over nothing.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vegan Month Of Food 2012

I am going to be eating and blogging about vegan food this month, as part of the Vegan Month of Food project (yes, they do abbreviate it). The goal is to get a new post up five days a week for the month of October. Sounds a bit intimidating, but I will do my best.

I don't really have an exact plan yet, but my idea is to share some of my favorite Scandinavian recipes. I do have three kids that are home full time, so I don't want to promise too much, but I am kind of excited about this. I am also excited to see what everyone else comes up with. For now, here's a video for you!

I swear, I had never heard about Swedish Chef before I moved here.