Friday, December 24, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cookies

It's time for Christmas office parties. It didn't take me long to figure out what I wanted to bring in -- cookies. Cookies were a big part of our Christmas tradition when I was growing up. Every year my family (including my grandfather) spent a whole day making mountains of cookies to give to friends and relatives. We always made two kinds -- a butter cookie and an oatmeal chocolate chip. My parents mixed the batters and manned the oven, while my brother, my grandfather and I dropped spoonfuls of cookie mix onto the trays. 

I haven't had these cookies in years, not since my father passed away, but it felt right to make a few batches of them this year. I veganized the butter cookie recipe for the party tomorrow, and will make the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for Christmas Eve. 

Here's a picture of the butter (or non-butter!) cookies. They were always my favorite -- not too sweet, with a nice crunch to them.  
Non-Butter Cookies

4-5 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 lb Earth Balance, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the Earth Balance in a large bowl until creamy. Add sugar and flour, one cup at a time, until you have a crumbly cookie consistency. Roll batter into balls and flatten onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 9-10 minutes. The tops of these cookies will not brown. 

Make 3 dozen small cookies. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Loving Hut

Loving Hut is coming to Pittsburgh!! The website is here. I've wanted to go to this restaurant since reading about it on other vegan blogs, but thought I'd have to wait for another visit to Hawaii to try it. According to the City Paper, the grand opening is December 19th. I'm so excited!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Scotch Broth and the Dilemma

It's winter. I'm not really for winter yet, so I'm trying to prepare for the bracing cold with some nice hearty winterish meals. Scotch Broth from The Vegan Table is a new favorite. It's got split peas, red lentils, barley, and potato chunks in it, so it's very hearty.Other highlights of the week have been J's perfected vegan chili and borscht. All served with slices of rye bread.
So I've been a vegan for nine months now. My vegan diet has definitely made me healthier, helped me shed some pounds and maintain my weight, and made me a better, more adventurous cook. Pre-vegan, I'd cook the same six or seven things, over and over again, and almost all of them contained hamburger. Now, I try at least one new recipe every week. Cooking is fun rather than a chore. 

But I've come to a dilemma in my vegan lifestyle. Which is this. I knit, but I stopped for about a year. I'm back with a vengeance, just in time for the holiday gift-making season, but remembered something about myself: I'm a tactile knitter. I can't bring myself to knit with a yarn that isn't completely wonderful and soft. I'm inexplicably drawn to merino wool, mohair, cashmere (not that I've ever been able to afford cashmere) ... well, you get the picture.

I also have a stash of woolly/mohairy yarn goodness. In fact, there is nothing in my stash that isn't animal-based except for these babies:
It's a sock yarn made out of corn fiber and elastic nylon. It's neat to think of a pair of socks made out of corn fiber, isn't it? And the yarn is soft, so it gives me some hope. 

I also know there's yarn out there made out of soy and bamboo, though it's tricky to find these without a blend of wool added in. Acrylic is out, pretty much. I hate the feel of acrylic. And cotton? I went to my LYS (local yarn store) earlier this week, to scope out their cotton yarn. Maybe I haven't found the right brand yet, but every single ball of yarn felt unpleasant to touch. I did find a super-soft skein and got really excited, until I looked at the label and realized it was wool yarn that had accidentally gotten misplaced. Oops.

So this is a real challenge for me. I'm content without hamburgers, leather, and chicken nuggets. I understand and accept why supporting the silk industry is wrong. But a good skein of wool yarn is very hard for me to put down.

I've decided to use my stash up -- I think it would be silly of me to throw or give it all away, and I don't know enough knitters to arrange a yarn swap. Anyway, it's the perfect time to knit woolly presents. I already finished a sweater for my mother, and am 50% done with a pair of superwash wool socks. After the New Year, I'll cast on the Maizy yarn for a pair of socks for myself. I'll  let you know how the journey goes.