Sunday, January 18, 2015

Teff Love Winner is...

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest to win a copy of Teff Love! The random number was THREE and the winner is Chris. Keep your eyes peeled here for more chances to win Ethiopian spice kits and more books!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review and Giveaway: Laurie Sadowski Pies! Desserts! Tarts!

Laurie Sadowski makes lots of yummy pies and desserts.
I have a rheumatic kind of arthritis in my lower spine, so I'm not supposed to be eating refined sugar, but seriously there was no way around it last month. If you can't make and eat sweets during the freakin' winter holidays, then pffft. I'm still being really good, so don't rat me out to my rheumatologist--just a bit of dates and coconut sugar here and there, with the very occasional fair trade chocolate chip.

That's one of my favorite things about Laurie Sadowski's baking books (she has three). She recommends using unrefined sweeteners (Sucanat, dates, maple syrup, agave, etc.), but her recipes are fun, unique and super creative. Not dreary at all like these short winter days of ours. But if you prefer to use unbleached cane sugar, go for it. That's how I used to do it, and that works too. And now, I've been using coconut sugar, and still they work. Good times abound.

I've reviewed all of Laurie's books, because they're all XGFX to the MAX and full of seriously creative recipes. You can read about her bread book here, her cookies and cakes book here, and right now I'm gonna get you on track with the last in her Allergy-Free-Cook-Makes trilogy which is dedicated to Pies and Desserts.
Baking is super fun, but baking gluten-free is really only entertaining if you have good recipes to follow. Otherwise it can be brutally frustrating and painfully expensive. Most everything I've ever made from Laurie's books is stellar. And if you're new to baking with natural sugars and gluten-free flours, her recipes steer you along with loads of information and very structured and detailed instructions.

Her latest book is probably my favorite in this series--the recipes are crazy inventive. So far I've baked her Carrot Cake Tart, Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie, Teff-Sorghum Pie Crust, Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust, and Peanut Butter and Jam Tart (twice when berries were in season, 'cuz it's earth shattering delicious--I wish I had a photo to show it off).

The Teff-Sorghum Pie Crust is my new go-to pie crust. I made it twice using Miyoko's homemade butter, and it's seriously the easiest dough to work with. I'd say it's just a fraction harder than a regular wheaty pie crust. I did have issues over-baking the apple pie recipe my first go round, but I think it's a typo in the book, and not a reflection of the pie crust. It came out great baking at a lower temperature when I used it for an apple-raspberry-chocolate chip galette (riffed off the same recipe).

Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust.
The PB Blondie Pie is just what it sounds like--a very chocolate-y cookie bar baked into a cocoa flavored crust. This sets up very solidly and would be great traveling to a party or bake-sale.

Carrot Cake Tart, up close and personal.
I wish the books in this series had pictures, 'cuz it can be challenging to imagine how a recipe is gonna come out, especially when it's something unique. This Carrot Cake Tart was a happy surprise and a crowd favorite, when I brought it to the Herbivore Holiday Pop-up Shop. It's basically a carrot cake-like batter tucked into a crunchy crust and is seriously a cool recipe that I will be revisiting regularly.

Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie
I burnt the crust on my Apple Crumble Pie, which didn't deter it's demolishment one bit. Plus since I'm a drizzler, I added a bit of Peanut Butter Caramel from Ms. Smlove, and it was delish city. I tried this crust and filling again (but baked it at a lower temperature and for a shorter period this time), but turned it into a galette with chocolate chips and raspberries and it was great.

A few of my favorite things about The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts:
 Each recipe tells you how much of each flour and starch you need. No commercial mixes are called for anywhere in the book, and Laurie doesn't make readers mix up a flour/starch combo to use (and thus store) for the cookbook.  

 Laurie uses some of my favorite XGFX combos. Nothing beats sorghum, teff and tapioca, plus teff and chocolate together forever.

 This book has thorough information on the basics of xgfx scratch baking. My mom could easily handle these recipes. I feel like she'd be able to pop into her Whole Foods, grab what she needed and bake with success.

 These recipes show an impressive amount of creativity and inventiveness..

 There are plenty of fresh fruit recipes for summer months, and more pantry friendly recipes to perk up the colder times of the year.

My wee critiques:
 Since I'm rough with cookbooks (especially baking books), I don't need a book to be gorgeous, but this book could really use photos! I think there are some real gems in here, and I'm afraid I'm gonna miss 'em.

 If you're sensitive to xanthan gum, you'll probably want to play with adjusting the amount in some recipes. 

Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust.
  • Title: Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts
  • Author Laurie Sadowski
  • Blog:   Whisking and Writing
  • Publisher:  The Book Publishing Company
  • What I've Tried:  Carrot Cake Tart, Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie, Teff-Sorghum Pie Crust, Sweet Cherry Cobbler, Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust, and Peanut Butter and Jam Tart.
  • Photos:  None
  • Focus:   Vegan and gluten free pies, tarts, cheesecakes, cobblers, puddings, and desserts.
  • 6 Recipes to Intrigue:  Cherry Pie with Cacao Nib Pastry Crust, Chocolate-Hazelnut Truffle Pie, Chocolate Mousse and Brownie Pie, Pistachio-Cherry Ganache Tart, Strawberry Rhubarb Snickerdoodle Cobbler, Strawberry Ice-Cream Sandwiches, and Double Chocolate Raspberry Cobbler.
  • XGFXness:  100% Vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free.
This giveaway is open for a week! If you have a U.S. or Canadian address and wan to enter, simply leave a comment on this post with a way I can reach you. I'll pick a random winner by Midnight Friday, January 23rd. Good wishes for this goooooood book!

More Carrot Cake Tart Art.
Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie.
Disclaimer:  I requested and received a free review copy of The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts from Book Publishing Company.  No compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the opinion posted here is my own.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

The First Teff Love Giveaway!

I'm giving away the first copy! Right now.
Hi! Hi hi hi! I'm pretty excited to announce my publisher, Book Publishing Company, is expecting a warehouse fully stocked with Teff Love (affiliate link) on Monday! This means that Amazon will soon be shipping pre-orders to friendly and menacing doormats alike, and that stores near you will hopefully have the book in neat piles waiting for you to come and purchase it. There will also be an e-book coming shortly!

Pickled beet and potato salad, homemade cheese, stewed cabbage and split peas with a toasted sunflower seed milk.
All the Mmmmz.
In the meantime, I'm so excited to share Teff Love that I'm giving away the first copy here! So many exclamation marks!

To enter to win, please have a snail-mail address either in the U.S. or Canada and comment below by January 18th! If you want to be extra awesome, you could like my page on Facebooook or subscribe to my posts (on the left side of the blog), but since I love my readers, I will never force you to do that.

Scrambled chickpea tofu, split peas, and chickpea flour crackers in a spicy onion sauce.
I'm also working on a virtual book tour which will be taking place starting next month and going into April, so if you want more info about the book before you take the plunge, there'll be lots of pictures, recipes, and reviews coming soon. I'll also post a calendar of the tour with participating blogs/sites to follow, as soon as I have the details all starched and ironed out.

Homemade 100% teff injera.
Please be sure to comment by midnight PST on January 18th to win, and include a way for me to get in touch with you. The winner will be chosen at random, and the book will be given away at my own cost and expense.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Another Noro Knockoff!

This post goes out to my crafty, yarn lovin' friends out there. 
I whipped into Jo-Ann's yesterday for sewing supplies with my buddy Amanda, and accidentally stumbled upon another acrylic Noro knockoff. I'm so pleased!

You can read about my obsession for Noro yarn here. And if you're wondering why I don't advocate knitting or wearing wool, please read about the practice of museling and you will hopefully stop purchasing it too. Or, at the very least, make sure you don't buy Merino wool or other wool from Australia.

The yarn namers need to step it up a bit. 
The low-down on the yarn is it's made by Lion Brand and is called Landscapes. The colorway shown in these photos is Boardwalk, and it's the only one I found that didn't have a muddy look to it.

I think I'm gonna make a striped cardigan!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Dusty Ol' Recipes

Click up bunnies!
Hello! I've been working on stuff behind the scenes here at CM2TS, and I think I've finally got the recipe archives complete. To access them, simply click on "vegan recipes" at the top of the blog.

In July this blog will celebrate its 8th bee-day, which means there's lots of yooomy treasures hiding around here, bored and patiently waiting for a joyride. I thought I'd help by highlighting ten of my dusty favorites.

Mochi filled with fresh strawberries and sweetened aduki!
Brown Rice Upuma!
Sunny Green Crunchy Yum Crackers!
The Tastiest of Kale Chips!
Smoky Baked Tofu!

Sunny Green Crunchy Yum.
Raw sunflower crackers with kale and veggies!
XGFX Stuffed Cupcakes!
Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ichigo Daifuku (mochi stuffed with sweet beans and fresh strawberries)
Nola Style Red Beans
Mac n Cheeesie

See ya soon!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Earth Burgers Cart! Review!

L to R
PDmeX on a Happy Camper GF bun, hand cut fries, and the American Grafitti on a locally made gluten-y bun.
I haven't heard many folks talking about the Earth Burgers cart, but it's one of my favorite places to grab a burger and fries in PDX. And, since vegan and gluten-free burgers are a hard ticket to find, I crave them even more than other sorts of food and love hitting this place. 

The cart is located at the Tidbit Food-Farm-Nursery cart pod located at SE Division and 28th. And just so ya know, the pod has a dog-friendly covered eating area with warming poles, so don't let 47F hold you back wimpies.

Here's a few reasons I'm lovin' on Earth Burgers:
All of the burgers and sauces are XGFX.

 They have local buns for gluteneers and Happy Campers XGFX buns for only a dollar extra.

 The fries are handcut and my favorite sort--seasoned just a little tiny bit and slightly crisp on the outside with soft centers.

 The owners carefully source the ingredients (check their about page for details) and use organic spices and greens.

My delightfully manicured accomplice.
The burgers are obviously very tasty too, and stacked mile high. My favorites are anything with the housemade black bean and sweet potato patty--which equals the American Graffiti or the PDmeX (PdmeX usually wins tho, 'cuz avocado salsa and pickled jalapenos are hard to beat).

Tomatillo-Avocado  Peek-a-Boo.
I might venture to try the Beautiful South next, but once I know I love something, it's hard to get me to switch over to try something I might not like as much (even if it means I might possibly like it more).

Seriously, if you like burgers and fries, you should visit these nice folks!

Earth Burgers
At the Food Carts located at
SE Division and 28th Street
Portland, OR


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

All the Cheeseballs.

I have no intention of sharing my cheese-ball with this cheesy guy. I am all about cheeseball hoarding.
I decided to end this cheese-ball year properly, with Somer's Kick Ace Cheese-ball and proper company. 

I think I might be the last vegan on the internet to make this ball, but just in case I'm not, you should give it a go. It's super tasty! And the texture is smooth and melts in your mouth from the coconut oil. And since I just stocked up on cashews, I had everything I needed to make this happen without hitting the store. All thumbs up.

I rolled my ball in toasted pecans and chopped cilantro, because that's what I had in the fridge. Plus, I figure the cilantro factor might yield my portion higher due to haters.

Ginger Eyelashes! 
Happy New Year everyone!! I'm excited for January, because my book is released in two weeks!

P.S. The great thing about this ball is if you eat some of it before you get to the potluck, just roll it back into a smaller ball. Ha!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Pie and Dessert Giveaway Soon Come!

I present: Carrot Cake Tart
(A chewy, rich carrot cake-like batter poured into a crust and drizzled with some lemony sunshine).
Just popping in to let you know I'll be posting an extensive review and giveaway of Laurie Sadowski's latest and greatest The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies & Dessert on January 15th.

This cookbook might not have a flashy name, but the recipes (all vegan, soy-free, and gluten-free) are flash-dancy. F'sure, one of my favorite books from 2014.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Tempeh-Kraut Salad

Pretty-pretty red cabbage and red beet kraut went into my first batch.
Tempeh salads are such a handy side-kick to have in your repertoire, 'cuz they're fast as heck to make, and are versatile, healthy, and super-delicious.

Usually I see tempeh salad recipes that mimic the flavors in chicken salad, but since I was never a fan growing up, I usually go in a different direction. Especially since I love mine best with tart, crunchy apple added. 

Here's the second batch with a homemade turmeric-chipotle green cabbage kraut.
The past few months I've been on a homemade kraut banger, which gave me the idea to try some with tempeh. I usually have a couple different kinds hanging out in the fridge, but if you don't make your own, or have classy neighbors who share, store-bought kraut totes-ma-goats will work. But just so you know, if you like kraut, it's SO VERY EASY to make at home. I like playing around with flavors and adding stuff like beets, jalapenos, chiles, fresh turmeric, and ginger to mine. But feel free to be more restrained if you're not into bedazzling your kraut.

Here's my kimbap wannabe roll.
Tempeh Kraut Salad, fancy seasoned rice, red pepper strips, and avocado.
With a kiss of sriracha. Smooooooch.
I like how a yummy tempeh salad can be:
  • eaten on its own, 
  • added by the spoonful to a leafy salad,
  • rolled up with a little romaine into a sheet of nori (if that's your swang),
  • paired with that same nori sheet, plus seasoned rice and avocado to make kimbap,
  • or stuffed with all the fixin's and a collard leaf and rice paper to make a giant Salad Roll Whopper.
  • whew!

All the stuff, ready for the big reveal!
Steamed tempeh, chipotle kraut, green onion, pink lady apples, and lemon zest snoozin' around until the dressing and cilantro are ready to mingle.  
If you're new to tempeh, it's important to steam or cook it before consuming. Since tempeh is a live cultured food, it can upset your stomach if ingested raw. I steam mine in a basket for ten minutes, then let cool until I can handle it without burning my fingers.

Tempeh-Kraut Salad

This makes a nice bowlful. Enough for about 4 giant kimbap rolls, or 3-4 good knoshes.
You can have the salad just about ready to eat in 15 minutes, if you chop the apple and herbs and prepare the dressing, while the tempeh is taking a steam.

What You Need:
  • 8 oz tempeh, steamed and cubed (about 1/2" pieces)
  • 1 crunchy, tart apple (Granny Smith or Pink Lady), diced (about 1/2" pieces)
  • 1/3 cup kraut, drained and squeezed 
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 2 green onions minced (about 1/3 cup-whites and greens)
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayo
  • zest from 1/2 a big lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon onion granules
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
What You Do:
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cubed tempeh and apple, kraut, and herbs.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients to make a dressing. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Stir the dressing into the tempeh and toss to combine well. Season to taste with more salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Oh hey! If you want to subscribe to my blog, I finally added a little widget to the top left. Just add your email, and you'll get a message whenever I update. I'm late to the potluck, as usual.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cookbookery: Trusted Faves.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Portland has the best library system of anyplace I've ever lived. We're spoiled with an awesome phone app that makes putting books on hold super easy, AND, they have pretty much everything--except for XXX adult stuff (and maybe even some of that too). Usually there's a wait for new books or ones trending on NPR, but I never mind. Plus, I get an email when my stuff's waiting for me, so I just tool around in the meantime.

I have a few beauties checked out right now, including the Banh Mi Handbook, which excites me greatly as there are vegan tofu and tempeh recipes, proteins in a caramel sauce I think would work with coconut sugar and SoyCurls, plus bowl ideas for the bread challenged, and even an edamame pate. Vietnamese food is one of my favorites, but I never go beyond pho and bun, so my hope is to whack through this book!

Thinking about cookbooks today, made me realize I don't talk about them enough here, which is weird 'cuz I talk about them non-stop in person. I have favorites that I love pouring over but don't cook from, and those that I have put through their paces over the years (even if I make the same things over and over again).

Here's a list in no particular order of some of the great books I've used a lot over the years. These books are sorta old school, but have really great staple recipes worth adding to your collection.

Authentic Chinese Cuisine: For the Contemporary Kitchen
Bryanna Clark Grogan
Favorites:  all the stir fries, breast of tofu, gluten-strong vegan meats, and lemon chicken.

The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook
Louise Hagler / Dorothy Bates
Favorites:  biscuits, pancakes, melty nooch cheese, TVP balls, taco filling, and who could ever forget Uncle Bill.

Vegan Vittles
Jo Stepaniak
Favorites:  BBQ Ribs (one of my favorite gluten recipes), fajitas, muffins that taste like donuts, and chili bean macaroni.

The Spice Box: A Vegetarian Indian Cookbook
Manju S. Singh
Favorites:  masoor dal, aloo matar, coriander chutney, and mung bean kofta.

Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian
Madhur Jaffrey
Favorites:  lemon pickle, Jamaican peas and rice, Moroccan split peas, and cilantro and mint chutney.

Nonna's Italian Kitchen
Bryanna Clark Grogan
Favorites:  lemon-rosemary breast of tofu, tiramisu, dessert crepes, gnocchi, and bechamel.

Classic Vegetarian Cooking: From the Middle East and North Africa
Habeeb Salloum
Favorites:  all the hummus (hummi?), mujaddara, and spinach pies.

Real Vegetarian Thai
Nanci McDermott
Favorites:  all the curry pastes, all the noodle dishes.

I know you know something I should put on hold. Spillz!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ahoy Pouches!

Pouches and pouches and pouches.
I've been sewing a bunch of pouches lately. They're about 6 1/2" X 5" X 1 1/2" and can be worn on a belt (they have loops on the back), tucked inside a larger bag, or carried as a small clutch.

Depending on the zipper and pocket situation, I'm selling them for $20-25 each plus shipping (they fit in a small flat rate box, which is around $5.95 in the US.).

The front flap can be flat along the bottom edge, or scalloped, or edged in ric rac.
They're made from new cotton duck (a very sturdy canvas), lined on the inside, and are adorned with vintage details. They also close with velcro, unless you prefer a vintage button.

I can also add a zipper, instead of the little pockets in front.
Most of the pouches pictured here are sold, but I'll continue to make these as long as there's a demand for them. Email me if you're interested (envelope button on top right), and we can work out the details. You can also see lots more bags I've made here.