Monday, February 25, 2013

The Marvelous Muffin Link!

So every now and then I check out my site's stats to see what dishes are popular, who's reading and from where, and how people are finding me.  In the left margin of my page is listed my top ten most popular dishes based on page hits. I find this interesting and sometimes see items move up or down the list.  Anyways, a few months back, I noticed my Sausage and Cheese Muffins came out of nowhere and zoomed to near the top.  Wha?? I was perplexed!  I mean I know they are simply fabulous, but that wouldn't explain their sudden rise in popularity.  :-)  I decided to find out what caused their jump. 

I did some sleuthing and tracked a link in my stats that I hadn't seen before.  It was to VegNews of all things.  I clicked on the link and found this wonderful article, "7 Out of This World Vegan Cheese Dishes."  In no particular order are listed seven dishes from the vegan online world that they rated as the seven best that had vegan cheese as an ingredient.  And, my humble muffins made the list!  They even put in a lovely description of them.  There is no photo, but they had a link to my recipe, and that explained the huge jump. 

I am not one to blow or even slightly toot my own horn, but this was so much fun, I thought you'd enjoy hearing about it, too.  The only thing I wish is that VegNews would have popped me over an e-mail or something just to let me know.  I'm very honored to have been noticed by them.  So, if this doesn't convince you to make those muffins, then nothin' will!  :-)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Savory Yellow Split Pea and Cauliflower Soup

Tis the season for soup, and this is a good one.  There are some uncommon partners in this soup, but they really work well together.  I like the combo of cauliflower and tomatoes and have been experimenting more and more with those these days.  You'll see another recipe coming up very soon with those two together again.  Also, the Napa cabbage is a nice contrast and mixes textures.  This will warm your tummy for sure.

Savory Yellow Split Pea and Cauliflower Soup


1 pound dried yellow split peas
Water to cover
1 - 32oz. box Imagine No-Chicken Broth
2-3 cups of Napa cabbage, chopped
5 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
1 - 29oz. can diced tomatoes
1 - 15oz. can tomato sauce
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste


Sort the peas for grit and place in a large pot.  Add enough water to cover the peas a couple of inches, and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes.  Add water during cooking time, if it's getting too close to the level of the peas.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook for another fifteen minutes.  So easy but good.  Feeds five hungry vegans.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Warming White Bean and Kale Soup

Here is a classic soup with my own twist on it.  For the kale, I used kale that was left over from the previous night's dinner, but you can certainly use fresh kale.  Also, I normally use fresh mushrooms, but I bought several cans worth at a discount store, so I put a can in; again, you can use fresh if you have them.  This hit the spot for me, and I hope it does for you too.

Warming White Bean and Kale Soup


1 pound white beans
Water to cover
2 russet potatoes, chopped
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained, maybe six ounces?
1 pkg. SmartBacon, chopped
2 cups cooked kale, or 4 cups fresh, chopped
1 tsp. dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste


Sort the beans for grit and place in a large pot with water about three inches above the beans.  Cook on medium heat for two hours, adding water as needed, to keep the level at least two inches above the beans.  Stir occasionally.  Add the potatoes and cook for another fifteen minutes over medium heat.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and turn down the heat to medium low.  Cook for another fifteen minutes.  Hits the spot on a cold day. Feeds five hungry vegans.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

GR's 13th Birthday!

My GR turned 13 on February 12th.  Most of you probably think it's Lincoln's birthday, but it's really hers.  Anyhow, she didn't want a party, just a fun day with her family that she designed.  She may bring a friend with us camping in a few months as a way to celebrate her birthday in that way.  She loves being outside, and so part of our day was at a park.  Enjoy the pics, another restaurant to add to the mix, some doggie catch-ups, and of course, dessert!

After Christmas, Michaels was selling off their gingerbread houses super cheap, like for one or two dollars, so I bought two more of them.  GR's been bugging me ever since to make them, so I let her do it the night before her birthday.  For the life of us, we couldn't get it to stick together or stand up, so I suggested gingerbread cookies. Everyone loved that idea, so they decorated the house pieces and had huge cookies for breakfast the next day!  This is what was left before I remembered to take a photo.

We took our lunch from Adalbertos to the park.  I had a veggie burrito without cheese, sour cream or guacamole, which has dairy in it.  Also, the Blessings had fries; if you order their fries, make sure you ask for new oil.  We've had bacon in our fries before, and that's how we discovered they use the same oil for everything. 

We also enjoyed a little croquet.  Here G is practicing his swing, which ended up doing him no good because I beat the pants off everyone!

Here's a shot of the birthday girl with her pup, Mindy.  The last pics I posted of the dogs, they were just about two months old.  Now, they are two years old as of November.

Here's a beautiful shot of them.

Not to be outdone, here's SR's dog and Mindy's sister, Abby.  Just to give you a quick update on Abby: she's currently undergoing heartworm treatment.  She apparently contracted it from a mosquito before we got her and Mindy on a program. We are praying for a full recovery.  In a few weeks, I'll have a post dedicated to gratuitous pet pictures. 

For dinner, GR picked one of our most favorite restaurants, Huong Sen Tofu.  They are located on Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento.  We go there at least once a month.  G used to work near here and learned about it from coworkers.  We started coming as a family when I was still pregnant with JK.   They are super affordable and offer a wide ranges of dishes.

Here's what it looks like when you order.  You can see one of the two brother owners in the background.  They make all of their dishes from scratch in their kitchen, including their mock meats, and everything is vegan, even their desserts, but not their waffles.  Don't ask me why they sell waffles, but they seem to be a real hit among the Vietnamese immigrants.

 They also double as a store, and here's their main refrigeration section.  On the left is their soy milk, which they also make there. 

 Here is a table in the center which stores some of their non-chilled items.  Not everything that sell prepackaged is vegan or vegetarian.

 G said I could take a picture of his dish, which is what he usually orders each time we come: steamed rice, a super tasty eggplant and tofu dish, and red seitan.

 The girls and I usually get the pho bo.  That's the garnish on the side.  So good.  JK just likes their tofu and steamed rice.

 For dessert, we met up with my parents.  GR asked for ice cream as her dessert.  When I asked if she was sure she didn't want a cake, she said she really wanted my Black Tie Cheesecake , but she thought it was too much work for me to make for her.  Pish posh!  My girl got her ice cream and her cake!  By the way, if  you haven't made it yet, the cheesecake looks hard to make, but it isn't. Give it a try!

So that's all the pics I'm putting up.  Hope you enjoyed the show.  Happy Birthday, GR!