| Vegan MoFo 2012 | Day 4

4 Oct


Much thanks to everyone who left suggestions for my grocery list!  It seems I  forgot quite a few important things.

Most days we eat pretty simple meals– see also dry cereal pictured above (best way to avoid soggy cereal is not adding milk, no lie).  Fortunately, when it comes to simple, fast, and delicious I have a few cards up my plaid (because it is Fall, and I like to dress like a lumberjack) sleeves.  My most notable card? Appetite for Reduction– I am pretty sure when Isa sent that baby off to the publisher she put a finger in the air and gently whispered, “Count it.”

The other night I made the Cauliflower Pesto soup in, like, 20 minutes.  Even if it had tasted mediocre it would have been worth it to have something healthy and from scratch cook up in such a short, mom-friendly amount of time, but it tasted awesome.  Like Cauliflower frackin’ Pesto in my mouth, ya’ll.

I’d post my low quality Instagram photo, but I can’t bring myself to muck up your feed with all those pixels.





| Vegan MoFo 2012 | Day 1

1 Oct


It is full on Fall and VeganMoFo has begun!

This is MY season.  To me, wearing a sweater is like wearing a hug all day long, and warm, stick-to-your-ribs cooking has soul healing properties.  I am so ready to get down to it, except… I’m not.

It is exactly one month since we moved, two weeks since our belongings joined us, and I still don’t have my kitchen in order.  For me, MoFo is going to be heavily dedicated to getting my pantry set up.  It has been a long time since I have had to start completely from scratch.  So all suggestions are welcome!

Here are some of my Vegan Pantry Musts:

  • AP flour
  • White Whole Wheat Flour
  • Quinoa
  • White and brown rice
  • Starches (corn, arrowroot, tapioca)
  • Whole Wheat and Brown Rice pastas
  • Dried beans (chickpeas mostly)
  • Active Dry Yeast
  • White and brown sugar
  • Better Than Buillion Veg Broth
  • Maple Syrup
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Rolled Oats
  • Vinegars (as many kinds as we can fit)
  • Olive, Peanut, and Sesame Oil
  • Coconut Milk
  • Jarred tomato sauces
  • Tomato Paste
  • Miso (usually light)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Herbs/Spices (whole and ground) (as many as I can find space for)
  • Powdered Soy Milk
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Chocolate Chips (my kitchen isn’t square if I can’t make cookies with what’s in my pantry)
  • Peanut and Sunflower seed butters


Did I miss anything important?  Do you have any store or brand specific must-haves?  I am living within reasonable distance of both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for the very first time.  I’d love some suggestions of what to take advantage of.

Happy MoFo, ya’ll!

14 Sep

Milo at my parents’ cottage.


Have you ever had to rely on the generosity of other’s to get by?  We had to leave our apartment in New York before Mr. Darling was released from the military.  It put us in a weird position.  He only had a few more weeks of service left, but he didn’t have a civilian job lined up yet. We never really considered NY our home, but we really didn’t know where we were going to end up.  After spending a reasonable amount of time panicking, a loose plan was made.  Our belongings were moved into storage.  Mr. Darling stayed in NY with a friend whilst he finished up his service.  The kids and I began a tour of homes in the Midwest.

We stayed with friends, with aunts and uncles, with parents.  We were excitedly welcomed into home after home.  It felt so natural and easy to ask for their help, and they gave so willingly, that I have to remind myself how fortunate we were to receive it.  We saved a lot of money, stress, and frustration, and we gained so many terrific memories.  There were times I was overwhelmed and tired of having so little personal space.   Still, when I look back, our summer was lived on generosity and, pardon my schmaltz, love.  I can truly say it was one of the best of my life.


13 Sep

Exploring our new town.


Enjoying:  Civilian life!  My husband’s work week is only FIVE days long.  BLISS.  He wears JEANS to work.  BLISS.  If he does have to work overtime he gets PAID for it.  BLISS.  And, most importantly, when he comes home from work he isn’t carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.  BLISS.  BLISS.  BLISS.

Stressing On:  Figuring out when our movers will finally arrive. Figuring out our health care sitch’ (“Free” health care was one of the very biggest perks of the military).  Figuring out how to start over and make new friends in our new town.

Eating:  Everything frozen and packaged from Trader Joe’s (no kitchen equipment + first time living near TJs = full freezer).  The first thing I am making when my kitchen arrives is a huge, from-scratch apple pie.  It is gonna taste so. damn. good.

Watching:  Agatha Christie’s Poirot.  Mr. Darling is even more into it than I.  I love it as much for the Art Deco sets and wardrobe as for the mysteries.

Looking Forward To:  Fall!  Trips into the city (Chicago) to visit friends and family.  Having a full and organized house again.


(“Currently” inspired by the series over at Sometimes Sweet)

summer in the dozen

12 Sep





I spent my summer moving my family back to the Midwest!  At the end of June, we put the majority of our belongings in storage.  It stayed in storage while we lived on the generosity of loved ones for the better part of the past three months.  Then, just last week, our stuff was finally picked up by movers.  Hopefully, it will be joining us in our new home by the weekend.   We have been here since the beginning of the month, and we are lonely for our things.  


ghost baby


 I am really excited to get reacquainted with all of my kitchen gear, and jump right into this year’s VeganMoFo.  

foto friday (too much?)

20 Apr

Instagram for Android has pretty much made my month.





I’m on Instagram as corrinaxjane.


pre-swap kitchen testing

19 Mar

Homemade bagels, yo!  In preparation for an upcoming food swap I’ve been testing some fabulously brunchy recipes (from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, possibly my favorite vegan cookbook ever.  I mean, it’s about BRUNCH).  I also made tofu herb spread (seen decorating the bagels above) and english muffins.

The muffins, while tasty, were void of voids (where my nooks and crannies at?).  This may have been a shortcoming on my end.  When I read other recipe descriptions of the pre-rise dough I realized I may have added too much extra flour to it while kneading.  This was my first choice to bring along to the swap, but since I want a re-test I’d rather keep the results to myself.

Things went much better on the bagel front.  Mostly.  I figured out how to roll the bagels without too many ugly cousins getting through, and they baked up very well despite my once again forgetting to move the racks in my oven BEFORE I preheated.  They were chewy and delicious.  My only lament is that Isa didn’t give any guidance on add-ins or changing the flavor.  I’ll figure it out, but it is always nice when it happens to be laid out for you.

So, the bagels won the swap battle, and I will be making a fresh batch on Wednesday for the occasion.  I get kind of bored making a whole lot of one thing so I am thinking of steaming up some seitan sausages as well.  One of the great adventures of swapping is trying to figure out what to make that will appeal to fellow swappers on that magical night.  I am very curious to see where seitan falls on the scale of appealing to pass.

Finally, unrelated to swapping, have you seen this recipe for nut, dairy, and soy free cheese that melts (and tastes better than Daiya)?

I dolloped the coconut ricotta on this pizza, and it quickly melted into a deliciously creamy mess.  I don’t think it tastes anything like dairy ricotta or mozz, but I prefer the taste over most store bought cheeze options I have tried.  It was so simple to whip up, and I will definitely make this recipe again.  However, I will leave it set as a regular block of cheese, slicing or shredding as the need arises, instead of blending it up.  Totally excited to add a simple, allergy-friendly faux cheese to my arsenal.


weekend ta-da list

9 Mar

Named such because it will feel like quite a feat if I finish it.

  • defeat laundry couch (the endless battle betwixt myself and a couch full of clean, unsorted, unfolded laundry)
  • meal plan (wow.  i fell of the wagon fast and hard with this one.)
  • sort and get rid of extra clothes
  • bake some bread (if just for that fresh bread smell)
  • decide what to make for food swap and do a trial run


A few weeks ago we went up to Burlington, VT.  It felt fantastic to get out of town, and I was absolutely blown over by Burlington.  I don’t even know how to explain it.  We just jived with the vibe (What? Yeah.).  We are definitely going back before we move.

After our trip we rolled right into the roughest part of Mr. Darling’s rotating work schedule, and we’ve been muddling through our days since.  A lot of stuff has fallen to the wayside.  Our apartment is a bigger disaster than usual, our eating habits have been atrocious, and we’re generally feeling sluggish.  That’s why I made my “weekend” (it’s not really our weekend) list.  Today is the day I quit indulging myself and finally get back on track!


i just want to be alone

23 Feb

S’up, ya’ll?  I hope your valentined week was pleasant.  In the past, this was not a holiday my equal (better?  gal, please) half and I would partake in.  However, since having kids, our relationship has required more… maintenance.  Of course, maintenance is a part of all healthy relationships, but when your needs become secondary (thanks, kids!) it is really easy to lose site of that.  Anywho, in honor of the holiday and as part of our commitment to each other’s well-being, we gave each other a day to ourselves.

I got Saturday.  The husby took the kids AND babysat my friend’s son so we could have a lady-date down in Albany.  It was divine.  We ate a New World Bistro Bar.  They support local and seasonal food, and have a decent vegan menu.  I kind of regret not at least asking about their seitan, but much as I love seitan, I’ve seen it go very, very wrong.  I got a delicious, if safe, mushroom sandwich.  Our appetizers were fantastic, and our server was extremely pleasant.  It was fortunate my lady friend had the foresight to call ahead and make a reservation.  We were seated near the door and saw many people turned away because the restaurant and bar were full.  Clearly, I have neglected the Albany food scene, but I am not sure my wallet could handle a reform.

I gave my husband Sunday.   A day with no kids and no responsibilities.  He took the opportunity to go ice fishing with friends.

At home, we carried on like it was a regular week day…

Mr. Darling and I don’t hate being with each other though.  We totally pre-gamed Valentines the weekend before.  My aunt and uncle were in town and watched the kids while we got some together-alone time.

i still think corndogs are awesome

13 Feb

I was a very picky eater as a child.  I am sorry.  That is not the whole truth.  I was a very picky eater well into adulthood.  My favorite food group was corndogs for WAY too long– Thank you, vegan cooking, for guiding me out of that pit of darkness.  As a reformed picky eater, I have only explored spicy foods for a few years.  To be frank, I have no tolerance.  I want to tolerate it.  Nay, I want to enjoy it, but all I taste is pain.

Last week, Husby suggested we add the Appetite for Reduction Buffalo Tempeh to our meal plan.  I knew I was going to have to modify to suit my heat-intolerance.  I took some inspiration from AFR and some from the milder Tempeh Wingz recipe from an old vegan zine, Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk.  The result was a delicious sauce that will NOT melt your face off but still has some kick.

BuffMellow Sauce (Because it’s Buffalo sauce, but it’s Mellow!  I know… I apologize.)

  • 1/2 C veg broth
  • 1/4 C Frank’s Redhot
  • 1/4 C ketchup
  • 1-2 tsp agave
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano

I just dumped this sauce and my cut up tempeh into a pan.  Then, cooked down the sauce until most of it was sticking to the tempeh.  Reserving some sauce to add afterward is a good idea (Oops).  Eating this with the Coolslaw recipe from AFR is an even better idea.

(It probably doesn’t look like it from my unfortunately low lit picture, but the saucy goodness was well absorbed into the tempeh and filled it with flavor.  I PROMISE.)