Happy New Year to all. I wish you a year filled with love, health, happiness, and peace.
I was planning on making soup from Veganomicon and some baked goods from My Sweet Vegan today, but I spent the day on the phone with people I love instead. Cooking and baking can wait sometimes. I do, however, have some product reviews and a couple stories for you.
I met my dad for breakfast at Follow Your Heart on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and forgot to take a photo of my breakfast with my cell phone camera. I had a special, which was pancakes with raspberries and bananas cooked into them, scrambled tofu (I substituted their fabulous white beans for the scrambled tofu because I can't get enough of them!), breakfast potatoes and veggies, and a vegan sausage link. The pancakes were wonderful with the fruit cooked right in. The sausage links are usually a little dry at FYH, but the flavor is good. To drink, I had their wonderful organic Bancha tea. It's smoky and delicious.
After breakfast, we shopped in the FYH market. My dad is so great; he always pays for whatever I happen to stick in my basket when we're there together. Thanks, Dad! On this trip, I bought some FYH cheese (jack and cheddar flavors), brand-new FYH cream cheese (for My Sweet Vegan recipes), Living Harvest hemp milk (original and chocolate flavors), Silk creamer (original, also for My Sweet Vegan recipes), mellow white miso, grapeseed oil, Wizard's vegan worcestershire sauce, and candied ginger. I'm sure I'm leaving some things out, but you probably don't care about all my grocery purchases anyway. ;)
The next day, I went back to FYH for lunch with Bazu and Daiku of Where's the Revolution, Your Vegan Mom with her husband and baby, Maybe Pigs Can Fly, and Textual Bulldog of Bigmouth Strikes Again plus one of her friends. Hopefully, Bazu will post a photo of my Tandoori and Curry, a "Tandoori Spiced Vegetarian "Chicken" and a Savory Tofu Curry, Served with Basmati Rice, a Vegetable Samosa and Mango Chutney." The chutney was actually mango puree and was delicious. The "chicken" and tofu are wonderfully spiced and have nicely contrasting textures. While the tofu is soft, the "chicken" is chewy. My entree came with soup or salad and I chose to try the mushroom cabbage soup. What a fantastic choice that was! The broth was spicy and savory and the vegetables kept their integrity. I also tried Maybe Pigs Can Fly's cauliflower soup, which was mild with soft vegetables.
At the FYH market on Sunday, I picked up two flavors each of Rice Dream and Soy Dream. Of the two Rice Dream flavors, I've tried the Chocolate Chai so far. The photo I took shows up sideways, despite the fact that I modified it in iPhoto, so I decided not to post it. This drink basically tastes like cinnamon-infused chocolate rice milk and is very tasty. I was surprised to find a little grit in the bottom of my cup, but it didn't bother me.
As for the Soy Dream flavors, I tried both the mint chocolate chip and butter pecan. They were creamy in texture, which I think is essential. The mint chocolate chip had a deep mint flavor and lovely dark chocolate chips. More chips would have been nice, but I'm not complaining. The butter pecan was also good with yummy little candied pecan pieces throughout. The base ice cream was a little too boring in flavor, though. Of course, I'm biased because mint chocolate chip has always been my favorite ice cream flavor, whether omni (many, many years ago) or vegan.
By the way, I was on an insanely wild goose chase this weekend for dutch-process cocoa powder that I needed for the My Sweet Vegan recipes. You see, Hannah only uses dutch-process cocoa powder in her book's creations. I looked at Follow Your Heart, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Ralphs, Vons, Cost Plus, and finally, on a whim, Gelsons. There it was at Gelsons for a whopping $9 per box, just hanging out innocently in the hot cocoa section (I figured that this particular story warranted posting the sideways photo). Good grief. The search occurred over a period of 3 days and I was about to start pulling my hair out over it. Thank goodness Gelsons saved me from baldness. Anyway, I have some things going on this week and this weekend that will occupy much of my time, so I'm not sure when I'll be baking. When I do, you'll see photos!