Sunday, November 30, 2014

Daiya's Fire Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Talk about a delicious surprise.
Happy last day of November! The month seemed to sweep by fast. It just came and drove off with lightning speed.
Alas our little wonderful Dayton vacation is over. Saw my family and my sweet friends. Such a special slew of unforgettable memories acquired in a course of seven days.
I tried Daiya frozen pizza for the first time. I'm sure every vegan has eaten or wanted to eat them.  I'm here to egg on curiosity. They were on sale at Kroger for $7.19. So of course I had to pick one. Between Cheese Lovers, Mushroom & Roasted Garlic, and Fire-Roasted Vegetable I went with the latter. Monstrously pleased with amazingly cooked end results. Thin crust was flavorful, chewy consistency, minor delicate crunch. Not bland or overly salty. That I enjoyed. Sweet, savory tomato sauce base blended marvelously with delicious melted Daiya signature mozzarella and generous amount of peppers and onions. It wasn't even as greasy as the delivery pizzas of old. Just a terrific balance of layered ingredients and a hearty crust strongly holding satisfaction together. Cannot wait to try other flavors.
The only problem was that I couldn't find two other people to share with.
Ate the whole thing in one sitting. And feel no shame. 
Bravo Daiya! Excellent addition to an already impressive arsenal of vegan products.

Used the bake on cardboard method and it came out splendid!
Slice one.
Perfect.Anxious to try the other ones!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Chocolate Almond Butter Cranberry Smoothie

Have no plans for leftover cranberry sauce? Well have no fear.
Yesterday was a fantastic breeze.
Participated in Blackout Black Friday. 
No shopping. No spending hard earned dollars on retail garbage. No point in all that when there's no justice in this country. Plus reading books, writing, cooking, painting, and family time were far more valuable to consume. We went to see the annual children's parade. Saw our modest city engage in igniting holiday spirit to young and old.
RTA's "Happy Holidays" green trolley bus. It's the first time its been down Third & Main for a grip. Ahem....
DP&L reminding us that heat bills will rise. Cool blue trees though.
Sesame Street characters dancing jigs.
Candy canes and "candied" trees.
Tinsel and glitter and colored lights galore-- only during the holidays does downtown Dayton look so alive and vibrant. Beautiful sight despite chilly cold.
Crowd anticipating the next surprise.
Baby Princeton upset over Auntie J leaving for school tomorrow. Just kidding. He was hungry and not used to being out at dinner time. Still. So cute. I miss him already.
So what is a vegan to do with her extra cranberry sauce? She is fresh out of Gardein Turk'y Cutlets (terrific by the way!) and there's no stuffing. Might as well make a sweetie sweetheart smoothie right? Yes, sweetie sweetheart. Cranberries are vividly red like a heart and made into a sauce-- the tartness becomes so sweet. Corny, I know, but they're cold honest facts. I figured using Wild Friends Almond Butter would be a perfect accompaniment. Never had cranberries in a smoothie-- let alone with a nut butter, especially a chocolate sunflower seed nut butter. This treat isn't for those who despise little chunky pieces of real fruit. Despite wide variety of fruit, cranberries and nut butter seeds stand out. Just the way I wanted it.

Chocolate Almond Butter Cranberry Smoothie Ingredients and Preparation

1 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 cup frozen fruit (used mix of cherries, strawberries, and blueberries)
1 banana, ripened
2 tablespoon water
1 packet Wild Friends All Natural Chocolate Sunflower Seed Almond Butter
pinch of cocoa powder

There is only one step. Blend all the ingredients together. Bam. Sweet and terrific blend of nuttiness and tart. No tofurkey required.
Amazing! Contents that didn't make blender made my greedy fingers instead. Wickedly sinful delicious discovery. Not too sweet. Specks of crunchy bliss missing from traditional smooth vegan chocolate peanut butters out there. Been dying for texture and Wild Friends delivers!
Get ready for cranberry smoothie 'staches just in time to end Movember.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Roasted Pecan Pumpkin Bread With Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Roasted pecans and pumpkin make this autumn sweet bread a hit.
Really enjoying the Canon. It's my first professional camera and the photos being captured are incredible. My critics are right. There's something about using a camera outside of its snap and shoot purpose, outside jurisdiction of cell phones and outdated photography tools. Now mine isn't the latest, newest thing on the market, but it's adequately sharp enough to get what I want. Color is more vivid, rich, and real, almost painter quality. No more unnecessary unfocused blurriness. I looked back on various old posts and was sadly shocked by past entries. Photos are the most important element of a vegan blog, for vegan food should look enticing, too beautiful to eat. It's a tough sell when the photos aren't up to par. So for now on, the standards will be met with concise precision and artistry.
Yesterday plentiful desserts passed around from caramel apple to sweet potato pie were not vegan. It was alright. I didn't have room at all for anything sweeter than a cup of R. D. Knudnsen Sparkling Cherry Beverage-- another family favorite tradition.
I'm more of a pumpkin fiend than sweet potato anyway.
For my favorite recipe-- pumpkin bread instead of walnuts, I made roasted pecans for the occasion. Moist and rich bread is then topped with incredibly sinful whipped pumpkin cream cheese icing and additional scrumptious pecans.Wonderful treat worth sharing.

Cinnamon Roasted Pecans

Pecan lovers rejoice.

2 cup pecan
1/2 cup cane sugar (or maple syrup or agave)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil a baking sheet.
Hand mix pecans, sugar, and cinnamon.
On baking sheet, layer them evenly.
Bake for 10 minutes.

Roasted Pecan Pumpkin Bread With Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup roasted pecans

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz vegan cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease either two bread loaf pans or
Mix flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together.
Whip almond milk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. (I pureed this in a blender)
Combine dry and wet, mixing evenly.
Add apple cider vinegar and roasted pecans. 
Pour into desired baking dishes and bake for 25-30 minutes.
While baking, blend cream cheese, sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Layer frosting on top of bread and add a few pretty pecans.
Sprinkle extra cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for extra holiday pizazz.
No one would ever guess these babies were dairy and egg free.
Decadent sweet yumminess.
Enjoy one. Or two.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Holidays My Friends From Me To Yours

Happy start of the season everyone!
I hope everyone had a merry day and that loving hearts were as full as bellies. Remember what this all means. Not engorging on food and television alone. Some families celebrate this fourth Thursday whilst others mourn, grieve for too much unjust loss. I'm not solely talking about grisly violence of now, but of history, of many yesterdays that can never be forgotten. Hold tight mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, friends, and so on. Let anyone that doesn't know how you feel about them. Let those who don't know they're loved that they are.

This year's cranberry sauce is comprised 2 cups water, 12 oz. package fresh cranberries, 1 cup cane sugar, and 2 teaspoon lemon juice. Simple, sweet, tart, and a bright pop of fruity color.
These would make great holiday gifts.
Daiya in the macaroni! Always.
Cheddar & Jalapeno Garlic Havarti cubes with red onions, nutritional yeast, and almond milk.
Melted, baked goodness.
Portobello Mushroom, Asparagus, & Walnut Couscous is always a winner! This is its third entrance.
The vegan plate. And yes, there were two. Just two. Today.
Holding little Princeton for a while. Cute as a button.
Playing games and holiday songs.
Peeping Tom between siblings.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Never Forget The Roots

The one seed that never stops being watered. Growth doesn't end with age. I will breathe and live in art forever. That's my happily ever after.
I'm home in Dayton for holiday break-- a much needed reprieve from stressful strenuous situations that reached to a critical breaking point. After assigned readings of Bell Hooks and Adrian Piper and trying to discuss those readings, personal attacks on race misconceptions burst inside overly heated seminar classroom last Monday. I found myself lost and shamefully led astray, needing compass and true direction. Conflicts that I shall not write into. In fact, since last night's Ferguson verdict, my mind has been stewing in pain and numbness. A wicked spider weaved a manifestation of anger filled thread into brain, layering thickly upon my heart. To bear witness to photographic images of a distraught family not receiving justice blew world to shattered smithereens. This case brought out the best and worst in the anonymous humanity. Internet serves as both fundamental education and grisly horror. For behind cyber screens are either powerful passionate activists dedicated to obliterating our country's massive problems or obscenely dangerous villains wanting only steadfast segregation.
Thus, a trip to Belmont High School this afternoon soothed like a healing balm, an elixir caressing inner wounds. Inside my former high school art teacher's classroom, Mrs. Carol Rogers that is, was once second home, a refuge (when she taught at Colonel White High School for the Performing Arts). Sounds of laughter and Damian Marley play loud. Happiness soon impregnated doubt, especially conversations about former students turning to arts colleges, refusing not to let their talents diminish. In other words, they were not statistics. 
Today I watched diverse teenagers, this up and coming generation of all sorts of different backgrounds and minorities. They chatted together whilst printmaking, drawing still life, or painting banners. I wasn't thinking about world news or social media or what happened in that classroom last Monday.
As I observed and learned:
I didn't see monsters or demons.
I didn't see "things" or "its" to fear.
I didn't see "black eyes filled with hatred."
I didn't see 3/5 of a human.
I didn't see threats.
I saw truth and promise.
I saw light, laughter and goodness.
I saw so much hope for dreams fulfilled.
I saw future artists, inventors, teachers, geniuses, and whatever they choose.
Most of all, I saw flesh and blood peoples deserving a chance just to be. 
Students worked with renown local artist James Pate to create large scale black and white portraits of phenomenal leaders-- Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. They each had a section of the grid and used charcoal on white paper to successfully render amazing, realistic renderings. I hear that Mother Theresa will be next in line for such a prestigious honor.
Bison mural unveiled last year also led by Pate. Three panels combined of individual student portraits form traditional Belmont mascot. Charcoal and chalk with red and blue (school colors) acrylic paint mixed with Mod Podge create a captivating composition that hangs in the school's main hallway. It was quite wonderful to see this being created by a bunch of enthusiastic students and playing a small part. There's truly nothing like working with youth who enjoy art. Nothing.
Student rolling up a woodcut print.
Wood cut close up entails a hand clutched basketball diving into the net.
"Without value you couldn't see anything," says Pate to one of the special drawing group-- a group for advanced young artists during last period. "If everything were the same exact color, there would be no contrast and no way to draw it. You can cheat nature if you understand value."
Their composed seemingly simple still life was plastic fruit, a cup, and wine bottle.
Students in action with charcoal.
Another student cuts out New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony.
This print came out wonderfully all due to this incredibly intricate line work. Short lines verses long lines in varied direction. Thick lines and narrow lines build intriguing highlights. Lots of precise decision making reflected here. He captured facial gesture, the very essence of this famous basketball player.
No words for special bonds forming between an art teacher and her fellow students. Mrs. Rogers has been a monumental figure in my life for seventeen years now. She's one of my dearest, truest friends and loves each and every one of her students-- has a memory like one wouldn't believe. It's amazing to see her each year, activating classroom, sprinkling her witty, humorous charm into the kids. They all love her as much as I do.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lemon Bananas & Cream

Incredible light and fluffy dessert.
Today I performed a small good deed. Taking advantage of Starbucks Buy One Get One Free On Holiday Drinks: Day Two, I ordered tall Gingerbread Soy Decaf Lattes, intending to drown sorrows into sugared condolence. Lackluster afternoon crit weighed heavily on mind. Except SB on Market Street was super busy. Faulty register broke down frequently much to customer frustration. And also, there were few seats for disheartened artist to put on her writing hat. I was fortunate to find a seat next to a young gentleman introducing himself as Maurice, a web designer. I have no idea how he figured me to be an art student. That was one of his first questions. He had no red cup drink of his own or intentions of buying one. Or maybe he had drunken coffee before arrival. I offered up my free one and warned him of it being decaffeinated, soy "milked," and needing no extra sugar. He didn't mind. 
All in all, it was sweet the tiny interaction we made: shaking hands, talking art, and sharing decaf lattes.

Edible Flowers are $1.29 each and a beautiful way to decorate dishes needing color accent.
I am both eager and frightened of food adventure. In every section of Whole Foods Market are daring challenges that I have yet faced to battle. Price is one factor. When I spied Organic Edible Flowers for a dollar and some change, curiosity forced my hand holding fresh basil container.
Now these little babies are in vividly intense colors. So I imagined flavor profile being just the same.
It tastes refreshing in this banana dessert. Takes on strong flare, more powerful than mint, lighter than basil. There is something special about biting into a flower bulb and knowing that it's a flower bulb. Texture has both chew and mild crunch. Although it seems rather pungent to add into sweetness, flowers add layers of phenomenal depth between scoops of thick Coco Whip and whipped banana amazement. Next time, I will mince up pieces, incorporating weaving in and out balance diversifying each singsong bite.
Overall, lemon bananas and cream tastes just like a Shakespeare verse.
Yet the love is made for a serving of just one.

Lemon Bananas & Cream Ingredients and Preparation

2 ripened bananas, smashed
i teaspoon lemon juice
pinch of cinnamon
1 cup So Delicious Coco Whip
2 teaspoon shredded coconut
edible flowers for ganish
finely grated lemon zest (optional)

Mash opened bananas with back of a spoon or fork.
Fold in 1/2 cup of Coco Whip and shredded coconut.
Top with remaining Coco Whip and edible flowers.

Coco Whip is such a blessing to banana heaven.
Poetry captured in a "Love Bug" glass.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Citrus Basil Tempeh Burger

This is no ordinary tempeh burger. Citrus flare and basil notes make for an amazing dalliance. And melted Field Roast Chao and tahini dressing ties yumminess together.
 I have humorously discovered that a Starbucks holiday drink can be decaffeinated (hey it's the start of 3 days of buy one get one free!) amongst other things. Tovah and I went out to SB this afternoon, excited and relieved from receiving good critic feedback. When she ordered chestnut praline decaf, I was shocked and grateful. Now I no longer have to endure painful stomach cramps just to celebrate free deliciousness. I enjoy Soy Gingerbread Latte with no whipped cream-- wonderful sweet treat. After SB, we were off to Blick's. More litho crayons! I need them since lo and behold our spring schedules were in our mailboxes yesterday!

Whoo hoo! Scored painting and lithography electives for the spring! I haven't drawn on stones since 2010- way too long a separation! Plus the amazing Titus Kaphar as my visiting critic!!! Very, very excited for 2015!
I have been reading overwhelmingly stimulating poems, criticism, theory, and artist books. Between revisiting Zora Neale Hurston and Wallace Thurman, I've been introduced to poet Paul Celan to artists Abigail Deville (my visiting critic this term), Mark Bradford, Carrie Schneider, Awol Erizku, and countless others.
In fact yesterday, PAFA started a new series entitled Painting and Photography-- lectures by Artcritical's David Cohen. Four parts will focus on the painter's love and hate marriage with the camera-- both artistic practices manmade inventions meant to capture the world. Back when daguerreotypes and whatnot were being used many painters outright quit and considered careers over.  Turner himself said, "end of art is upon us and I'm glad to have had my day." This quote from  John Berger's Ways Of Seeing, however, provides most invigorating thought about cameras and their intent.
"They're not truth, although appear so... deprives us of the best pleasures of society."
Lately, I have been feeling bewildered how much snapping takes place as opposed to simply enjoying moments or documenting in other ways. We're in a digital age of nonstop sharing and one wonders if revelations are beginning to be too much inconsideration. 
Yet something I'll never stop sharing is one of my favorite subjects-- food. Most specifically: vegan food.
First off, Pretzilla Soft Buns are amazing. Moist and pliant, easy to pull apart. They taste incredibly "buttery" and almost melt on the tongue. Half unsalted pretzel and half hamburger bun this is a holy matrimony everyone has got to try! Perfect to hold citrus and basil flared tempeh with oozing Field Roast Original Chao Slices.I used both dried basil (part of marinate to glaze tempeh) and fresh basil mixed into baby arugula. Feel free to use one or the other if not desiring to choose both.
This is a two serving meal. Unless you want to eat these two tempeh burgers on your own.

Basil Tempeh Salad Burger Ingredients and Preparation

1 pkg Trader Joe's 3 Grain Tempeh
2 tablespoon olive oil
juice from one lemon
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup baby arugula
1/4 cup fresh basil
red onion slices
Field Roast Chao Slices
2 tablespoon tahini dressing
Pretzilla Soft Baked Pretzel Buns

Heat skillet lightly doused with olive oil.
Cut tempeh in half.
Mix olive oil, lemon juice, lemon pepper, garlic, basil, and salt together.
Lightly brush concoction onto tempeh halves.
Layer them in hot skillet, cooking each side for 7-8 minutes.
Add one slice of cheese and cover. Turn off heat.

Carefully place tempeh "patties" onto Pretzilla bun and top with arugula, basil, and red onions.
Add tomatoes or mushrooms too for juicier, "meatier" flare. Otherwise admire your "salad" lunch.
Pour chose sauce atop and slap that Pretzilla bun on top!
Hand held melted goodness.