Saturday, November 10, 2007

FALL . . . lots of sewing & soup

It's Fall. My favorite time of year. We've been immersing ourselves in bicycle rides, pumpkin patches, and piles of leaves.

Squirrels have been busily harvesting our two walnut trees. Hustling here and there stowing away for leaner times. As I read my newspaper recently, I mused how much smarter they are than we. Water has run out in Orme, Tennessee, and they say the crisis could serve as a warning to other communities to conserve water before it's too late. Any one's home town could be next, with long-term droughts and dwindling water supplies.

Here's two of our best jack-o-lanterns. Nothing fancy here, folks, but it was fun to light them and turn off the lights for dinner.

The Best Pumpkin Muffins' from Vegan with a Vengeance. Yes, these are good, and we thought even better with a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. But, really, there isn't much that those won't improve! :)

Winter Squash and Sweet Potato Soup' from "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker" is such a delicious soup, and this cookbook is the reason why I LOVE my crockpot. Here's it is before cooking. Six delightfully aromatic hours later, I pureed it, topped with toasted pumpkin seeds from the weekend carving, and served with crusty bread.

I was thinking about Amy's Mexican Casseroles, and wanted to see how close I could get on a homemade vegan version. Here's the ingredients minus some El Paso enchilada sauce.

Here it is out of the oven. The verdict? It was pretty good, and has lots of potential. Next time I'll cut the polenta in thicker slices instead of making a shell and add lots more sauce. It could be better.

Roasted Carrot Coconut Soup' from La Dolce Vegan! I omitted ginger, lemongrass, corriander seeds, and cilantro and still this soup was plenty flavorful for me. I really like that the recipe yields 2 large or 4 small servings - just enough for me to finish myself during the week. The soup coincided with a giant bag of baby bell peppers from Costco.

I've had the sewing bug lately. I made four Halloween pillow cases using these
helpful directions. Next time, I'll make the hem shorter because the case isn't quite long enough to cover the pillows.

I also sewed two baby blankets and 6 matching burp cloths for gifts that I forgot to take photos of. Congratulations to Esther & Elaine!!

I got the idea for these "Giving Thanks" or "Thanks Giving" banners from a Pottery Barn for Kids catalog. It is made from felt and sewing scraps. It was fun to sew, and the girls had fun helping me arrange the letters.

I also finished the anniversary quilt that I began in August. It's a full-sized and the back is completely denim.

Next on the sewing front, I want to refashion some clothes -- make a skirt out of old pants, or make a quilt from worn clothing. I vow to abstain from buying new material. I will use what I have, reuse items as fabric, and get it from a thrift store.

What's the latest on the vegan cookbook scene? These two much-anticipated gems, of course. Veganomicon is the size of a college textbook, and flipped through each page the night it arrived.

A Hummus Recipe' from Veganomicon made into a pita "sammich" as those brilliant cookbook girls would call it. The hummus is thick, and there are beets and organic baby lettuce to add some crunch. I ate these for about a week. I opted for cumin, and discovered a love match.

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili' from eat, drink, & be vegan. What a hearty and delicious chili! I love Dreena's flavor combinations. She gives some choices: I opted for coconut oil, green lentils, and black beans. I love the sweet contrast to the spices. I want to make everything in both these cookbooks!

Olivia and I received some exciting news recently....

We entered PeTA's first ever "Cooking with Kids Contest" and we actually won!! I feel so honored.
Fellow bloggers may remember that I posted about this recipe about a year ago, and decided to bring it back for the contest.

We're heading to southern California to spend Thanksgiving with family and we hope to check out some new places to eat... Any suggestions?