Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm Back!

Wow, I can't believe that it's been so long since my last post. I've been out of town traveling a bit, and it feels so good to be home.

The first trip I took was to Washington DC. What a spectacular place to visit. I wish I had more time to explore all of the museums and monuments there. I was actually in DC for instructor training for The Cancer Project. They are a non-profit organization advancing cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research. The Cancer Project is an amazing group that offers free cooking classes across the country. I am so excited to be a part of their organization.

I met some very cool people at the training from all over the country. It was so much fun to be with a group of fellow vegans. We really only had one night to play, and so before exploring DC we all had the same destination in mind. Sticky Finger's Bakery! OMG, it was so good! We ordered a number of different items, and dug in with forks. Pretty healthy of us, huh? Of course I forgot my camera at home, so unfortunately I don't have any pictures. Let me just say that the vanilla cake was unforgettable!

It was my first time in DC, and it was truly incredible seeing everything up close. I was really in awe. So much history right in front of my eyes. I didn't have much time to sight see, though we did get a quick tour one night after we had digested our Sticky Finger's meal. I look forward to going back to DC and sight seeing.

After getting back from DC, I flew down to LA for five days. My brother just opened a small cafe in Silverlake, California. Silverlake's a very hip and cool area in LA. He wanted some vegan items on the menu, and I happened to be his go-to vegan chef. Sometimes it pays to have a vegan chef for a sister.

The proud owner of Lunchbox

His shop is so cool, the kind of place that you want to frequent for your morning cappuccino or soy latte. The food is delish! I especially loved the vegan sandwich with white bean spread and arugula on an awesome fresh baked ciabiatta roll. He's also got paninis, homemade soups, salads and baked goods (with lots of vegan options). Oh, did I mention that he also has fresh baked vegan cappuccino cookies? Yum! His place is called Lunchbox, and is located at 2912 Rowena Ave, Los Angeles, CA. Just in case you need directions for that morning cup o' joe, vegan cookie or sandwich, the number is (323) 663-9900. His shop shares a space with Zanzabelle, a hip little gift shop.

My brother's dog Sam (my dog-nephew)

So that I don't completely bore you, I'll talk about the LA restaurants in my next post. Until then....Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Rice Pudding

I've always been a pudding person, and rice pudding is no exception. It's so quick and easy to make, I never mind throwing it together spur of the moment. I often make a double batch, because my kids love the leftovers for breakfast. I have a basic recipe which I use as a blueprint, and then will often vary it depending on my mode. Sometimes it's vanilla all the way, with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Other times it's chai spice or pumpkin or almond. I love the versatility. It really is endless.

Here's my basic rice pudding recipe, just in case you're in the mood.

Julie’s Creamy Rice Pudding
Makes about 4 cups (6 to 8 servings)

2 cups water
1 cup medium grain white rice (such as Cal Rose or sushi rice)
1-1/2 to 2 cups non-dairy milk (hemp, almond or soy), can be vanilla or plain
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
Ground cinnamon or nutmeg

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine water and rice and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
2. Add milk and sugar to cooked rice, stirring well. Return saucepan to stove. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, for 15 to 20 minutes or until very thick and creamy. If pudding is too thick, thin with a little more milk until desired consistency. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract or paste. Let rice pudding cool slightly before serving. If desired, sprinkle with ground cinnamon before serving.

For variations:
Almond, add 1/2 to 1 tsp almond extract in place of the vanilla
Raisin, simply toss in a handful of raisins when first cooking the rice. This will plump them up nicely (or add in with the "milk")
Pumpkin, stir in a little canned pumpkin puree with the "milk". You'll want to add pumpkin pie spice too, or ground cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg to taste.
Chai Spice, substitute unsweetened brewed chai tea as part of the "milk" -maybe 1/2 cup or so (or to taste). You can also add some additional ground spices for extra flavor
Ginger, stir a handful of finely chopped candied ginger in at the end of cooking (maybe a 1/4 cup or so)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A New Addition

No, I'm not expecting, but I do have some exciting news. We've just added a vegan cooking store to our Everyday Dish website (market.everydaydish.tv). We've been looking high and low for the best in cooking and kitchen equipment, from Bosch mixers to high powered and personal blenders, juicers, grain mills, bread machines, soymilk makers, pressure cookers, dehydrators and much, much more. Everything you need for cooking healthier meals. We're even carrying handmade vegan dishes! We'll be adding new products all the time, so if you're just curious or are looking for a new appliance, come check us out. We also offer free shipping on orders over $100.00.

Monday, October 1, 2007


We're always trying to get creative with dinners around here, which isn't always easy. You know the drill, kids, work, driving kids back and forth to lessons, sports, school events, etc... I usually start the week with the best of intentions, scribbling down recipe ideas, looking through clipped recipes and cookbooks I've been wanting to try. But then life happens and we're lucky to get a nice soup and salad on the table.

We'll I managed to get some creative meals on the table recently, which were all fairly easy to make.

This first shot is veggie sushi. Jay is an expert sushi maker, and makes awesome rolls. But he's practicing tough love these days, and if you want to eat you gotta get rolling. You have to work for your sushi around here.

The yellow sushi is something we found at our local Asian market. It's soy paper, and comes in different colors. They're supposed to be naturally colored, but I preferred this light yellow to the bright pink and green shades. The sushi is filled with different combos of spicy tofu, chopped toasted cashews, daikon radish, carrot, cucumber, avocado and daikon sprouts. Delish!

This second shot is of spicy green beans with chili and garlic. There's an awesome recipe for them in Bryanna Clark Grogan's Chinese cookbook. We fight over these babies, they're so good.

This picture is of one of my kids favorite dishes. It's Agedashi tofu. So, so good! My daughter has turned many of her friends into tofu lovers after trying this dish. The recipe and video are here, so give it a try.

I've got all kinds of things in the works over the next couple of weeks, but I will try and post when I can (and tell you all about them). Until then, go make Agedashi Tofu!!