i'll knit if i want to...or not

So this use to be my knitting blog, now its a purging place for all of my ramblings...whether it be craft, cooking, or just the craziness of my everyday life!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our First Christmas

This will be all of our first Christmas' away from home. To keep our spirits up and in an attempt to avoid the horrible sinking of homesickness we have decided to get into the spirit of a homemade holiday!

We went and got our Christmas tree from the Optimist's Club day before last. 

And now, the family photo (I'm thinking christmas cards, heh heh):

Happy Tofurkey Day!

Seitan Roulade with Apple Rosemary Stuffing!

Thanksgiving was full of hours of cooking, but I think it was the best vegan feast anyone could hope for! Photos galore to follow:

We found these Japanese Sweet Potatoes the morning of the big day at the market. They looked absolutely gorgeous with the other yams I used from our local Boggy Creek Farm:

Here are the finished Candied Lime Sweet Potatoes, a recipe by VeganYumYum. Garnished with pastry leaves and hearts, and a few fresh cranberries.  I made these last year as well, and they are one of Aly's absolute favorites!!

Now for Katie Rose's favorite dish of the day, Green Bean Casserole (recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen):

I, personally, have come to love cranberry sauce. I had never had it until just about a week a go, and I must say it is just delicious paired with the seitan roulade! I still have never had it out of a can, and can't say I ever plan to, but homemade with fresh organic cranberries..mmmm...

Another must have is "Macaroni Hates Cheese"
Even my cheese loving mother loves this. (It seems to be one of the things I am always making when I go home!) I don't make it to much these days, as it is full of many of the things I usually try to avoid, but on the holidays its just perfectly comforting!

Now last but not least...the pie! I actually made both apple and pumpkin, but the apple was so beautiful it hogged all of the pictures! The pumpkin was equally delicious though, I have really perfected my pumpkin pie recipe! Anyways...onward with more pictures!

Lastly, a close up of the pie so you can see my little heart and leaf cut outs :)

I hope that all of you had a happy day of thanks! I know we did! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For the Love...

It's finally finished! 

For the Love...
a small collection of my vegan recipes

This is a handwritten & illustrated vegan cookbook of a few of my favorite vegan recipes. It took me a few months but it's finally ready! Complete with 10 amazingly delicious recipes and a step-by-step how to roll sushi!

In the back are blank pages for you to continue writing your favorite recipes! My best friend gave me the best present in the world when she gave me a blank "chef journal" to jot down my favorite recipes! (Being the sweetheart she is she even included a few vegan recipes she found just to get me started :)

Written, illustrated, cut, copied & glue all on my lonesome! Its more than a cookbook...its a work of art! Now for sale at my etsy store!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


So I've been on a total pumpkin kick lately. Maybe its me wishing it was fall, even though thats a season we lack down here in the South.   Maybe its all the pumpkin displays at all the markets around here...or maybe I just really like pumpkin. 

Anyways, these are what I've been working on to get ready for our Halloween Bake Sale! Mini Pumpkin Donuts with a Spiced Glaze! These are the most adorable things in the world, I pictured it with the teaspoon measure to show you just how small they are!

Added bonus, I tweaked VeganYumYum's recipe, and the first attempt at the new, fall inspired recipe, was a success! I made a dozen and they were gone by the end of day, slowing disappearing from the kitchen one by one.

Now here is something you would never expect to find pumpkin in:

Spaghetti Sauce! Both Aly & I suffer from carpal tunnel, and mine has been especially aggravated lately (considering all of my hobbies/work involve the use of my hands...knitting, baking, cooking, drawing, embroidery...). Anyways, I am hoping to help the situation by reducing our use of nightshades, especially now that tomato season is over for us. Eggplant & potatoes are usually not an issue for us, since we don't really like either. And the only time we ever use peppers are jalapenos in salsa. But tomatoes...we love tomatoes. In salsa, sauces, soups, & on sandwiches & salads. I even put tomato in our macaroni hates cheese. So when Aly wanted lasagna yesterday, what was I to do? I finally made the Mama Mia sauce I learned in my 2nd week of school! (Yes, it took me about 10 months to finally make it). This is a sauce made up of onion, carrot, parsnip and, you guessed it!, pumpkin (i.e. winter squash...butternut, kabocha, ect.) After pressure cooking the veggies with some water, you use them as though they were a can of crushed/pureed tomatoes! Just saute some onion & garlic with some italian spices, and then add in your veggies. Now the kicker: you grate in some beet to turn it red! 

Now I had even told my little sister that I was going to make spaghetti sauce without tomatoes, but when she got home she looked at the lasagna..."ohh...so you decided to just use tomatoes?" No ma'am! I have to say it turned out just as delicious as it was beautiful. And I have enough left over to make pizza later this week!

**Not pictured in this post are pumpkin pancakes & pumpkin scones & pumpkin soup! I told you...I'm on a pumpkin kick!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


MMM....cupcakes! A few orders have started to come in & so I actually got to do quite a bit of baking the past couple of days. These are probably my favorite cupcakes as far as fancy icing goes! Cookies 'n' Mint Chocolate Cupcakes, wee style! These little guys are the tiny version. We crush vegan mint oreos and fold them into a peppermint buttercream icing. I think I enjoy them so much because they remind me of my sister, Leah's, Mint Oreo Ice Cream Cake she has every year for her birthday.

These are red velvet cake. I have perfected my vegan red velvet 
cake recipe.  To the left are the "sexy" version I had to do for a lingerie party...and below are more wee cupcakes for a birthday party, topped with vegan cream cheese icing.

And last, but certainly not least...the oh-so-simple mini chocolate cupcakes, with peanut butter chocolate buttercream icing: 

Now, I love baking. The endless possibilities, and even more so with vegan baking! I can look at any recipe and then turn it vegan, which is a lot more fun than it sounds, because it is a never ending challenge. And when it turns out just right....*sigh of satisfaction*....its just so rewarding. 

My one qualm with baking? Sugar, flour, baked...it's just not very good for us. Now a little something here or there...sure! But when you are a baker, you
 are constantly surrounded by cakes, cookies, sweet breads...good smells!! Which may sound delightful, but my body doesn't always thank me. The sugar wreaks havoc in more ways than one, namely my blood sugar levels screaming up and then smashing down, and the baked flour is tough on our digestion and very drying!

So in order to be able to still "have my baked, and eat it too" I have started a little experiment. I have always wanted to learn more about unyeasted breads...namely sourdough. So today I finally mixed together my own sourdough starter:

Real sourdough breads are completely digestable and much easier on our bodies. Even better if they are steamed! Which I am hoping to accomplish once I get my hands around just baking up a decent loaf first. 

In the meantime, I am busier now than I was when I had a job! Between baking, cooking for school & cooking at home, staying on top of multiple email accounts and websites...I barely have time to sit down. Which I have to say...is keeping me happy :) I am what one may call a work-a-holic, so hopefully the orders will keep rolling in and I will keep busy!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Where to stuff that Pecan Crumble...

In August, I think, I decided that I wanted to start a "zine" style vegan cookbook, coming out with a few volumes a year. The first one was originally going to be a summer issue...blueberry pie, barbecue seitan, ect, ect. It's now October, and I am still working on the first issue! But now as we transition into fall, barbecue just doesn't sound right! So I've been doing some tweaking and I finally came up with my final recipe! I am just finishing up my illustrations and it will finally be ready to go. 

In the meantime, here is that final recipe:

Baked Pecan Apples
~4 gala apples (smallish)
~1/2 cup oats
~1/2 cup whole wheat flour
~1/2 cup pecans, chopped
~2 tablespoons maple syrup
~2 tablespoons oil (I prefer to use safflower oil or untoasted sesame oil)
~1/4 teaspoon of each: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves
~Pinch salt
~1/4 cup apple juice or cider

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Form a cup out of each apple by cutting a cone out of the top, and scooping out any remaining core. In a bowl toss together the flour, oats, spices and pecans. Pour in the syrup and oil and mix well. Fill each apple with crumble. I prefer to bake these in my large muffin baking pan (grease the muffin cups). They fit the apples perfectly and keep it all tidy! If there is extra crumble, I put a scoop in the bottom of each muffin cup and place the apple on top. The apples can (and should!) be overflowing with crumble. Drizzle a tablespoon of the apple juice over each apple. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the apples are tender!

These are so easy, and can be ready by the time you finish dinner! Stay tuned for the full "cookbook", I plan to have it finished by the end of the week!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Baking on....

Hey y'all!

We are working on our myspace now : http://myspace.com/veganbakery . Please check it out for photos, pricing, and ordering.

You can email us at atxveganbakers@gmail.com for any orders or questions.

We are currently accepting orders for cakes, pies, cookies, breakfast pastries, and any other special requests your heart desires!

We will also be planning some special bake sales (thinking halloween...thanksgiving???)

Thank you again to everyone who has been there for us during this difficult time and we will continue to spread our baked vegan love!

andrea (517)624-7903 & kathryn (512)351-6502

Friday, October 03, 2008

No Really...It has been a bloody awful day

Hello my friends near and far, 

Its been a few weeks since I lasted posted...a rough few weeks. I have tried to post a few times (there are multiple drafts still waiting to be finished)...but words have been escaping me. I flew home to Michigan for a week to spend time with my Grandpa who shortly after we arrived passed away. I am still not really ready to talk about it but I have to say that the best gift in the world was being able to see him again before he passed. If you would like to read about him please visit my Dad's blog for 2 beautifully written posts

After feeling pretty numb and lost for a week I was (rather abrasively) shaken back to reality with this voicemail left on my phone Tuesday afternoon (about an hour after coming home from work.) 

"Hey Andrea, this is Lizzie from Toy Joy. Today we officially acquired Toy Joy and Dhaba Joy. I am just calling to let you know not to show up for your shift tomorrow as you are no longer employed."

Yup. I just lost my job. Without even an hours notice. This woman who called had waved me goodbye as I left at the end of my shift, telling me to have a nice evening. Only to leave a message on my voicemail (thats right folks...it seems I did not even deserve the respect of being told this to my face, by my actual boss who has since gone out of town, conveniently.) It seems that increasing their sales by thousand of dollars every month, developing new recipes, and working my ass off just wasn't enough to warrant a little advance notice so I could try to prepare. 

As of right now the new owners will be reopening the cafe, and some are "REALLY excited" about what has happened and a few of the dhaba staff may stay on to sell some vegan candy and coffee. I wish them and the new owners the best, as I understand what they are trying to do...but for myself and the rest of us not able to return...this sucks.

Now as I dread my tuition payment due in 2 weeks I sit here shell-shocked, not sure what I am suppose to do. My best friend who I moved to Austin with, and who initially I was trying to open and independent business with moved away to DC yesterday. I have to say...I'm glum. Sad. Betrayed. Grief-stricken. Poopy.

But there is a little light shining. I go to the most amazing culinary school ever...one that focuses on veganism, macrobiotics, and taking caring of yourself, others and the world. I live in a home filled with love and support, from Aly, Katie Rose, Roxie, Ara, and Meow (RIP Fatty). And my beautiful and talented baking partner, Kathryn Mueller, and myself are going to try to keep the baked vegan love coming. Independently, the best we can. Even (in her words) if we have to sell it in our front yards! 

And now with this little bit of extra free time coming my way, I will be finishing my cookbook hopefully by the end of the weekend, along with many more Etsy items to keep you warm & snuggly as the colder months approach.