Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Loooong Post
Hello! I was going to post this yesterday but my computer was being totally stupid so I couldn't but better late than never! Okay, I have lots of things to post about (and a heap of photos) so I'm going to do a few sections in kind-of chronological order. Here goes.

Saturday Night's Dinner

For dinner on Saturday I made Fettucine No-Fredo from Susan's blog and it was wonderfully, superbly delicious. I'm not going to post the recipe because I barely changed it, except I used spaghetti instead of fettucine, a bit more nutritional yeast than the recipe called for, and I chucked some kale in with the broccoli (cos you can never get enough leafy greens!). I highly recommend making it and say a big thankyou to Susan. If (when) I make it again, I will make one change - cut back on the water and add a little soymilk, just to make it creamier. By the way, what do you think of my photo? Personally, I'm pretty impressed!

Easter Presents
I decided to make my parents all vegan gift baskets for Easter and so on Saturday while they were out I spent 4 hours slaving away in the kitchen. I don't actually know if the baskets were 100% vegan, because I bought the carob chips in bulk and don't know the ingredients, although they did specify 'no milk.' I'm not going to eat them (too fatty/sugary anyway) so I wasn't too fussed - I figure they're still way better than milk chocolate. Anyway, back to the contents of the baskets. Both of my parents had basic chocolate brownies, mum had cornflake cookies and dad had carob-dipped orange segments (although he ended up eating a fair few cookies:-)They were a big success, except the oranges - dad could handle the carob in the brownies but he's just not quite ready for it on its own yet. So they were sprinkled on the backyard for birds (mum can't eat citrus fruit). Here is the recipe for the brownies - they are not like anything I would make for myself, so don't expect to see anything like this posted too often! (The recipe was adapted from a little cookbook called 'Brownies, Fudges and Toppings' - certainly not vegan!)

-75g vegan margarine (or a combination of margarine and peanut butter)
-65g carob chips/dark vegan chocolate
-equivelant to 1 1/2 eggs
-3/4 cup vegan sugar (pref. white but I used brown and it was okay)
-3/4 tsp vanilla essence
-1/2 cup plain white flour
-1/8 to 1/4 cup cocoa powder
-icing sugar (i think this is confectioners sugar in America?)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (350F). Use a wire whisk to mix the egg replacement, sugar and vanilla essence. In a separate (heatproof) bowl,melt the margarine and carob/chocolate over boiling water, then allow to cool slightly and whisk into the sugar and "egg" mixture. Add the flour and cocoa powder and mix until combined - don't overbeat. Spray a brownie tin with non-stick spray then line with baking paper. Pour in the brownie mixture and cook for 40 - 50 minutes (start checking after 35). Brownies are done when they spring back lightly to the touch. Remove the brownies and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. Chop into squares and dust with icing sugar.

Here is a picture of the finished product:

And this is what the baskets looked like, complete with fresh frangipanis (my favourite flower ever) stolen from down the road. Well, not stolen - I took ones that were already on the ground! I'm not going to post the recipe for cornflake cookies as it is very simple and just involves cornflakes, flour and lots of sugar and margarine.

Oh and if you're wondering, Easter was good to me too - I got four packs of dried fruit! (My biggest vice - once I start on it I can't stop). I got craisins (maybe not exciting to you, but very rare here in Australia), mango, paw paw, and a 'fruit salad.' Unfortunately, the fruit salad (consisting of apple, peach, apricot, pear and possibly something I'm forgetting) was the only one not coated in sugar. You can't really taste it on the craisins but the mango and paw paw... it's like eating handfuls of sugar! So I rinsed them considerably and dried on paper towels, and that's much better. I didn't take a photo, although I might still :-)

This photo shows the home of Spirit, the most beautiful, wonderful rat in the world! I adopted here from a shelter just over a year ago when she was only a baby, after she was found running loose in a cinema - goodness knows how she got there, but she certainly wouldn't have lasted long in the 'wild' as she is clearly a domesticated rat. It took a lot of tears and begging to talk mum into it, but I was eventually successful and mum doesn't regret it (she's allergic to Spiri, but only if she touches her, so it's not a problem). This photo is here because her easter present was the little hammock she is sitting in. I make them for her often and she then 'customises' them (with her teeth) to the point that they are falling apart, when I make her another. She has needed a new one for ages, and so for Easter she got it (and was very happy).

I did have one more thing to post but I am out of time, so I'll do it tomorrow. I would love some comments... haven't had any in a while! (And I still don't know how to put links to other blogs.)


At 11:18 pm, Blogger SusanV said...

Hey Freedom! I'm so glad you liked the no-fredo! Your photo looks fabulous and your changes sound great.

And those are the most beautiful Easter baskets ever! I bet your parents were thrilled.

And Spirit looks very happy on that new hammock.

Okay, are you wanting to put links to other blogs in your sidebar? What you have to do is go to Blogger and edit your template. If you scroll down to near the bottom, you'll see a section for the sidebar. Go to where it says Links and change the ones they have there (Google and Edit-me) to the ones you want.

I've found the easiest way for me to do this is to use a service such as Bloglines. I use Bloglines to read all the blogs I visit, and there's a piece of code you can get there to display your blogroll on your blog. Go to http://www.bloglines.com/ for more info. Once you've set up an account and gotten all the blogs you want added, you can click on the "Share" tab to get the code to put in your template. Then, to make changes to the blogs you list, you just go to Bloglines--you don't have to fool with your template again.

Gee, I hope that made sense! LOL

At 11:48 pm, Blogger Freedom said...

Thankyou so much Susan! It made perfect sense, to me at least. By the way, I'm glad your daughter had a nice ninth birthday - looking back now, I wish I was lucky enough to be a vegan at such a young age. You are setting E. up for a healthy and compassionate life and I think it is very impressive!

At 5:41 am, Blogger Dori said...

Hi Freedom, I followed another link and found you here. Your Easter baskets look great... hope the family was as happy as I owuld have been if it was me who received a special gift like that.

I also buy carob chips in bulk. When I inquired about ingredients on the ones I buy... they were vegan. Australia is along ways aways from me, but I thought I'd share that info.

If you are into making choclate candies or dipping things in melted choclate.. carob chips sweetened with barley malt syrup melts well for this... Other choclate chips without some kind of milk don't do well for me.

At 9:08 am, Blogger Freedom said...

Thanks Dori - I'm going back to the shop where I got the carob chips today, so I'm planning to ask. Sweetening with some kind of liquid sweetner like barley malt syrup sounds like a good idea.
By the way, I love your blog and I hope you're feeling better after your rather unpleasant sounding weekend!


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