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?


chanale said...

Well, I'm not sure where you're staying, and I don't know anywhere in L.A., but just in case you'll be in or near San Diego County, the raw vegan restaurants here are quite good (Cilantro Live! in Carlsbad, Hillcrest, Lemon Grove, and Chula Vista; there's also the tiny Greenery Raw Food Cafe in Encinitas). A lot of local vegans like Sipz Fusion Cafe in Clairemont, but IMO it's not impressive. My favorite restaurant food in San Diego is Apollonia in La Jolla or Cafe Athena in Pacific Beach (they're omnivore Greek restaurants, but they have quite a few vegan choices, which are all clearly marked with an icon) - my 3-year-old can eat all half dozen stuffed grape leaves by herself.

zippiknits said...

You have been very busy! Did you come to San Diego? Another site had a vacation listing the local vegan restaurants and when my DDs come in a couple of months, I'm going to do the rounds with them. Thanks for blogging, it's a joy to read your site.

Candice said...

Congrats on the Contest!!

Whoa Nelly food!! It all looks so amazing! On any blog you read, you read about those 2 cookbooks, they are hot hot hot!

Happy American thanksgiving!

Vegyogini said...

What a beautiful post! If I remember correctly, you haven't had a chance to try Madeleine's Bistro in Tarzana yet, right? Congratulations on winning the contest and for getting an honorable mention with another recipe!

aTxVegn said...

Congratulations on winning the contest! Both recipes look hits for kids and adults!

The new cookbooks are so fun. I love seeing what everyone is making from them.

VeggieGirl said...

Welcome back to blogging! :0)

Yikes, that's awfully concerning about the droughts! But so incredible that the squirrels are gathering their nuts now, and preparing to leave - just goes to show that animals are indeed NOT stupid.

wow, those jack-o-lanterns are gorgeous!! excellent carving work there!

mmm the Best Pumpkin Muffins (I just made pumpkin muffins yesterday! except my family requested raisins in them instead of chocolate or carob chips), Winter Squash & Sweet Potato Soup (two of my favorite fall ingredients, both in one soup!), your rendition of the Mexican Casserole dish, Carrot-Coconut soup (what an intriguing combination!), Veganomicon hummus, and 'Sweet Potato Lentil Chili' look positively delicious!!

congratulations on winning PETA's cooking with kids contest!! how exciting!! :0D

oh and your sewing is phenomenal - my mom is an avid sewer as well, so you two would definitely get along haha.

Anonymous said...

great photos.
Congrats on the Contest!! i always want one of those aereo garden, but they are expensive. i cant wait what you will plant in them.

have a great vacations!!

Taylor said...

You've been very busy? I love the quilt. One day I'll sit still enough to quilt.

Anonymous said...

I can see how Fall really inspires you. COngratulations on winning the contest. That sounds like a really fun recipe. The next time my niece is in town I'll definitely be making that with her.

Here in TN we're having a major water crisis and many cities have placed restrictions on water usage but I haven't heard about a town called Orem. Did you mean Orem UT? We're about 18" low for rain water right now. Yikes!

Vegan Knitting said...

We also have two walnut trees but the squirrels have to battle it out with the crows and scrub jays to harvest the acorns.

I hadn't though of adding chocolate chips to the pumpkin muffins but I might try it this week. Mmmm...

And thanks for the reminder to make a Mexican lasagna.

theONLYtania said...

I must be crazy! I just sent out my Christmas list to my family, it has like 7 cookbooks but I don't have either of those on there! I'll have to send out additions.
Those jack-o-lanterns look great! I think we only lit ours once, haha.
I'm soo jealous that you're making soup! It's totally soup season and I haven't gotten around to it yet.
Your quilt looks great! After I sent out my list my Grandma replied and told me to put her down for the sewing machine, haha, so maybe I will make a quilt soon!

Vegan_Noodle said...

My goodness you have been busy this fall season! That banner is so cute! I wish I could sew, maybe I should try learning sometime.
V-con and ED&BV are two books I can't put down right now! Every recipe looks so tempting. That sweet potato lentil chili sounds delicious.
How awesome that yall won that contest! Pretty exciting, congratulations!

Shananigans said...

, this all looks great! I've been making lots of soups and stews as well. I wish I had my sewing machine, I miss it (it's still sitting in my fiance's mom's basement, it's been there since we moved from the east coast in 2004!). I have 2 baby presents to come up with, haven't a clue what to get. I am still waiting for my Veganomicon to come in the mail. The anticipation is agony! Congrats on your contest win, that’s great. Be sure to visit Native Foods for me while you’re in SoCal :)

Cherie said...

The slow cooker soup looks like it's right up my alley! Yum.

bazu said...

Congratulations on winning the PETA contest! You certainly deserve it, when I hear of "cooking with kids" you are the first person I think of!

ooooh, and your craftiness has inspired me. I'm not very talented at sewing and other things, but I've been trying my hand at some of this stuff lately, and it feels wonderful. I regret not paying closer attention when my grandmother tried to teach me how to knit or my dad (yes dad!) tried to teach me how to sew. But it's never too late to catch up.

Have a wonderful holiday! Hey, I'll be in L.A. in December/January- any chance we would run into each other there?...

urban vegan said...

You're so modest, putting your big news last. Congrats!

Love the pillowcases and are a woman of many talents.

I also made the 'Omicon hummus and am in love.

Happy Thanksgiving!


maybepigscanfly said...

I love it- this post is so orange. Perfect food for fall. I love pumpkin muffins and I wish I could eat your through the screen.

I bet your enchiladas are even better than Amy's. They sure do have more tender love and care put into them- I think that's the secret ingredient.

Can't wait to see wait you make out of EDBV- I've been cooking from it like crazy.

Congrats to you and Liv! That is so neat that you won!

Have fun in So. Cal- I wish I could be there! If you're anywhere near Hermosa (or it might be Redondo) there's a great veg Mexican place called The Spot that I bet you would love.

vko said...

That's so exciting- congrats to you & the girls for the big win!!

And you are so right- those squirrels are so much smarter than us, in the face of global warming & droughts, people just continue to waste away our natural resources- sad.

on the other hand, all your cooking looks delicious, especially that lentil sweet potato chili- yum!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Wow, congratulations on your win!!!!!!

I love the angle from which that first picture was taken :o).

Liliy said...

Congratulations on the contest! It's really nice to see someone having fun crafting! The quilt is lovely. And yum... Food!

Kumudha said...


Wonderful pictures of kids and vegan dishes!

VegMomma said...

Wow, you've been busy! I may have to get that slow cooker book. I have a couple, but they just don't turn my crank. ;)
The sewing bug has bitten me as well... out of necessity, really, since xmas is fast approaching.
I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Lisa J. said...

Look at all your cooking & baking!! Wow. I'm impressed.

I can smell that squash & sweet potato soup.....

Anonymous said...

Your quilt is wonderful! I really like that you are re-using and thrifting fabric.

Congratulations on your win! That is quit an accomplishment.

Happy Thanksgiving!

reiskeks said...

Thank you for stopping by my little blog :-) I hope that you can find an English translation of this book, but I could not find it on Amazon (but there are some other Janosch books) .

It is not a real "cookbook", more a story, with some recipes in it, most are vegetarian/vegan, 2 contain fish (the one mentioned already, where the tiger refuses to eat any fish again). Janosch is basically known for writing and drawing about simple life, nature, humanity with all its smaller and bigger "faults" and great compassion for the poor, "ugly", strange forms of life...

BLASe said...

Hi again:

No, I haven't gotten Joy of vegan baking yet. Can hardly wait. Thanks for visiting:)

Jody from VegChic said...

This is quite a post. Your blog is the second one I've looked at today where with EDV Sweet Potato Chili. I've got to try that.

Congrats to you and Olivia on winning that contest!

Your quilt is beautiful as well.

Carrie™ said...

Places to eat? Hmmm....wherever Karen takes you!
I'm not a very good sewer and am fascinated at what people can do with scraps an no pattern. I never got better than junior high home ec. I adore quilts and yours looks smashing! And of course, CONGRATULATIONS to you and Olivia. What an amazing win with an amazing prize. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with it.

Anonymous said...

wow - what a post! i hope you and your family had a great time in southern california :)

Mikaela said...

Holy busy, lady! What a post :)

Catherine said...

Happy belated Thanksgiving, Vicki and family! I hope you all had a wonderful trip -- looking forward to pictures!

I'd love your opinion on my great Christmas Cookie Conundrum of 2007 -- head on over to my blog and cast your vote! (And the girls' votes, too! Advice from all cookie-eaters is welcome!)

Elizabeth said...

We took our annual trek to Tucson for Thanksgiving, and on the way stopped at the Palm Desert location of Native Foods. Yum! We liked it so much we stopped on the way back, too!

We saw some friends who live in Long Beach and ate at Cocorenas, a gritty Mexican restaurant that will make anything on their menu vegan. It was quite good, though I had my same old same old chile relleno that I always have. It's on Broadway in Long Beach.

Anonymous said...

The banners are so cool! I hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving!

Candi said...

You are so creative! I love the quilt and the Giving Thanks squares. :)

I'm curious about your slow cooker - do you use it often? I'm considering getting one, but am not sure how often I'll use it. Do you make foods other than soups in it?

Dori said...

What a great post! I love reading about your sewing adverntures and autumn.... my favorite time of year. This was a real treat to help me savor the saeaon that just ended in my area as the snow and ice are causing schools to be cancelled in my area.

I have been doing a little sewing also, although nothing on the grand scale as youir quilt. I love it!

Two thumbs up is my take on Dreena's latest cookbook, I loved that sweet potato chili also. I have been looking at the sweet potato squash soup.

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