Life + Kitchen - September

 

Hey Veggies –

Mike and I have now been in our new home for about a month and are finally nearing being almost done with unpacking (or in other words, done enough for now!).  Since we’re no longer spending every spare ounce of energy on unpacking, our routine is starting to normalize and I’m hoping this means I’ll be able to post more often next month…

Especially since October has so many great things in store for us including a visit from my parents, Chicago VeganMania (for my fourth time), a Power To the Veg “HalloVeegan” Food Swap, and an upcoming “Root Vegetable” themed Potluck!

Here’s a recap of what I’ve been up to behind-the-scenes in September:

I turned another year older…

Though since my birthday fell the week after our move, it was swept up in a whirlwind of boxes and was a pretty uneventful occasion this year.  I can’t complain though – I got a house for my birthday!!!!  …and, as always, a coupon for a FREE Birthday Bowl at Noodles & Company, which I finally claimed last week.

Noodle’s & Co’s Chinese Chop Salad with Tofu – Delicious!

My 14th Veggieversary

My Birthday also marks my Veggieversary each year.  Like my birthday, this year’s was uneventful, but I’m already dreaming about next year’s 15th Veggieversary for which I’m hoping to throw a seriously EPIC POTLUCK!

Me – just a few months before going Veg!

Getting Settled into our new home…

It was a miracle when after a couple of weeks in our new home, I could finally see the top of the Dining Room Table.  Previously, it had been covered in pots, pans, pantry items, and kitchen appliances since it took me a while to find the perfect place for everything.

Drowning in Catalogs

While our house came with some unexpected perks (the most amazing neighbors &  lots of wildlife in our yard), it also came with a surprise that I have not been loving so much…. 3 to 4 new catalogs in my mailbox EACH DAY! 

I’m not exaggerating either!  I’m guessing the previous residents didn’t know how to get off all of these mailing lists, which are now coming to me, addressed to “Current Resident”.  My heart hurts thinking of all these wasted trees.

Luckily, I know what to do.  I’ve used the website CatalogChoice.org for years to request to be removed from various mailing lists.  I just tallied up my CatalogChoice submissions for the past month, and I’ve already submitted requests to over 50 different companies I’ve received catalogs from. (I hadn’t even heard of half of the companies I’ve been receiving catalogs from – in fact, after years of watching Seinfeld, I had thought J. Peterman was purely fictional!)

Cooking with TheVegCookbookClub

I’ve been a huge fan of the VegCookbookClub for a long time now, so I was really sad when Britt announced that she was no longer able to run the club.  Luckily, several club members quickly banded together and kept it going (Thank you so much, Elizabeth, Julie, and Christine!).  It’s important to note that the website and hashtag (#thevegcookbookclub) have changed – now simply adding the word “the” to the name.

For September, TheVegCookbookClub cooked from books by Robin Robertson who has authored more than a dozen cookbooks, 4 of which were already in my cookbook collection, though I especially love Quick-Fix Vegan and More Quick-Fix Vegan (<–affiliate links).

(and in case you’d like to join us, in October we’re cooking from Chloe Coscarelli’s new book – Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen <–affiliate link)

Here’s what I made this month for TheVegCookbookClub:

  • Smoky Corn Chowder from More Quick-Fix Vegan
  • Curried Lentils with Carrots & Peas from Vegan Planet (This tasted very authentic, with a “wet masala” and a “dry masala” to flavor it)
  • Savory Spinach Bread Pudding from Vegan Planet (So Easy!)
  • Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Almond Butter Cream from Vegan Planet (loved these!  …though I did edit the recipe to add some pumpkin and maple syrup to the almond butter cream)
  • Red Lentil Linguine from One Dish Vegan (with a side of Farmers Market Broccoli) 

Pumpkin Pancakes with Almond Butter Cream & Linguine with Red Lentil Sauce, packed up for a week of meals at work

 I’ve also been following the #TheVegCookbookClub hashtag on Instagram and marking up my cookbooks to indicate the recipes the club is raving about, so I know what else I need to make soon!

 And last, but definitely not least, I got to meet Elizabeth (one of the club’s new organizers) since she lives in my new neighborhood!  

We met up for dinner at LYFE Kitchen one night last week, but we had so much to talk about that neither of us Instagrammers remembered to take any photos.

Love with Food

September’s Love With Food Box had a theme of “Spice Up Your Life” so of course I was intrigued and decided to order one.  I’m still working my way through the box but so far Mike and I both loved the Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips from Way Better Snacks and  I especially cannot wait to try the Sea Salt & Pepper Roasted Hemp Seeds from Ziggy Marley Organics.

The box also contained a pouch of Ghost Pepper Soy Sauce, Lemon-Rosemary Seasoning (which made the entire box smell amazing!), Churro Flavored Kettle CornCookie Thins, 5-Spice Caramels, and Green SuperFood by AmazingGrass.

Favorite Links of the Month

Anything & Everything MOFO

September was the annual Vegan MOFO (Month Of Food) – a challenge where Vegan Bloggers strive to post 20 times throughout the month.  I wasn’t participating in the challenge, but I had a great time following along from the sidelines by checking out RandoMofo.com (click through and it will take you to randomly selected MOFO blogs!) and reading the daily MOFO Roundups on the VeganMofo.com Blog.

Some of the highlights from my MOFO-browsing include:

    • VeganMofo “CHOPPED” – an annual MOFO tradition, bloggers competed against each other to create a winning dish that had to include this year’s challenge ingredients of Oolong Tea, Jalapeño, Fresh Prune Plums, and Radish.  If you think it’s impossible to make a delicious dish with all those ingredients, just click here to view the contestants submissions and be proven otherwise.
    • Hasta La Vegan’s “Bizarre and Outdated Cookbooks” Theme – You’ll both laugh and sympathize while reading along as she suffers for the sake of humor and tries out gruesome sounding (and on rare occassion, surprisingly tasty) recipes from the most ridiculous cookbooks I’ve ever seen.
    • Veganopolous’s “Will My Kids Eat It” Theme – Full of hilariously honest quotes from her kids, I couldn’t wait to see their response to each meal Faye made.  Just for a sample, here’s their thoughts on Edamame:

Arthur (age 10): “This is some seriously disgusting green version of a rabbit turd.”
DeeW (age 7): “I think this would be okay for people like you. But for people like me, it’s not good.”

Spooky Vegan’s Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Round-up

 Checking out this post of all the Vegan Pumpkin goodness at Trader Joe’s right now made my grocery list a lot longer! (and there’s nothing wrong with going pumpkin crazy, as long as it’s all on the list, right?)

Natural & Cruelty-Free Rodent Control

I think mice and rats are absolutely adorable, yet I’ve always had a serious sense of dread, hoping one would never ever step foot into my house.  My worry: While I don’t want to live in a rats nest, I also didn’t think I could ever “take care of the situation”, nor allow anyone else to.  It turns out, however, that rodent control doesn’t have to be traumatic for anyone (human or rodent).

Bonzai Aphrodite recently wrote this great post with tips to prevent & remove rodents as gently as possible.  I’ve bookmarked this article for future reference, in case a need for this advice ever arises in my house.

(source: Bonzai Aphrodite)

My Most “Liked” Photos of September

September was a big month for my instagram account I reached 1,000 followers! I love how collaborative & inspiring Instagram can be, so this means a lot to me.  I regularly get meal ideas and healthy inspiration from the hundreds of people I ‘follow’, and I hope my account does the same for others.  Fantastic conversations often occur in Instagram Comments and I love connecting with fellow whole-foodies online.

Here are my Most “Liked” Instagram Photos from September:

Spicy Kale & White Bean Soup
(recipe testing for An Unrefined Vegan’s new book)


Teriyaki Sweet Potato & Chickpea Parfaits
(recipe: http://naturallyella.com/2014/08/28/teriyaki-chickpea-loaded-sweet-potato/)


Maple-the-hut
(love her expression here, and her belly dangling over the gap between couch & wall!)

My Favorite Eats from September

And last, but not least, here are the best things I ate in September, all of which I unabashedly enjoyed second & third servings of.  Good thing I always make huge batches when I cook!

Chunky Monkey Baked Oatmeal
Recipe by Vegan Yack Attack


Almond Butter Soba Noodles
(Recipe Testing for An Unrefined Vegan’s Upcoming Cookbook)


Homemade Trailmix:
Cascadian Farms “Graham Crunch” Cereal, Dark Chocolate Chunks, Roasted Cashews & Raisins

 

I’d love to hear from you!

What was the best thing you ate in September?

What were your favorite posts/blogs/themes from this year’s Vegan Mofo?