Summer fun, food nerd edition: canning and jamming

Over a month ago, two food-loving friends, Adrienne, Roxanne and I were discussing jam-making and canning and the fact that both Roxanne and I hadn’t done either. We both love jam and have an appreciation for homemade food, but were both intimidated by the process of making it at home, (and I was admittedly fearful of botulism).

Thankfully, Adrienne is a pro at canning and jam-making, and even made homemade jam for each of the guests that attended her wedding last year – about 150 people! When she offered to teach Roxanne and I the basics of both of these activities at her home, we jumped at the opportunity. Who can say no to wine, good company, a new/educational food experience, and lots of delicious leftovers? Not this guy.

So we met up this past Sunday at Adrienne’s in Tacoma, armed with lots of strawberries and vegan-friendly sugar to make Blue Chair Fruit’s Strawberry Jam with Aged Balsamic and Black Pepper (and one batch without pepper too). The combo of sweet strawberries (and the classic nostalgia of this jam flavor), richness of balsamic and the kick that black pepper promised all sounded like an excellent mix to me, and I was excited to experience the results.

Once we arrived, we got to work quickly! Adrienne had Roxanne and I hull four pounds of strawberries for the first batch. In case you’re wondering, that’s a lot of strawberries:

After hulling, we put them in a large pot and added sugar, balsamic, and lemon juice. And then we got to stirring. One thing I learned about jam-making? It’s a mega arm workout. I could stand to make more jam.

Technically this is the beginning of batch two, but just wanted to show the beginning of the process.

Keep stirring until juice began to form on the bottom, and so that the fruit doesn’t stick to the bottom. The pot is heated to a boil at this point, so be careful. Skim away any excess foam you see if you don’t want it in the jar (we did this step, but it’s optional).

Me taking a photo of Roxanne photographing the process. Slightly meta.

Adrienne teaching/stirring away.

The jam we made was pectin-free, so we had to test to make sure that it had “jelled” by placing some of the jam on a refrigerated plate. It did, woo! Then it was time to fill the jars. Here’s all the quarter-pint jars we started with:And then we poured jam in through the funnel, filling the jars most of the way. No photos of this as we were busy learning by doing. Next the jars were tightened and put into boiling water for processing. And then…

…we had jam! It had to cool first, but you know, it was definitely jam at this point.

My sweet haul.

I had such a great time getting together with these ladies (who I sorely miss now that I’m a few cities away) and catching up, drinking lots of white zin and of course, dishing about how much we love food and all the summery things we were enjoying. If Adrienne does start teaching jamming classes soon and you’re in the South Sound, I highly recommend taking one. I’m much less intimidated by the whole process now. I’d love to get into canning right away but alas, this hobby will have to wait until I have more space.

One of the very best parts of this class happened the next morning: the tasting!

Needless to say, it’s delicious. The strawberry flavor was perfectly sweet – not too sweet like I feel most jams are, and it was enhanced and brightened by fresh lemon juice. The balsamic added a depth of flavor to this combo that was effortlessly natural. Balsamic isn’t something I think of when I think of sweet things, but I’ve always been impressed by how well it melds with them. That was definitely the case here. I couldn’t taste the pepper in the first jar we’re on, but I think we erred on the side of not pepper-crazy. If I were to do this again, I’d be more liberal with the grinder because I love some spice.

And here’s past Sunday’s breakfast: Ezekiel bread toasted, and slathered with this perfect homemade spread. We’re slowly enjoying it, and I’m also currently thinking up other ways to utilize it. If you have ideas/recipes/suggestions, please mention them in the comments.

For the teacher’s perspective of this class, the full recipe and much more precise directions, check out Adrienne’s excellent post.

From The City of Destiny back to The Emerald City

Life hasn’t slowed down for me lately, but in reality I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lots of life changes have been happening for me, and all of them seemed to have been pulling me in the same direction. Let me back up a bit, like a year ago.

Admit it Tacoma, you’re beautiful.

I started this blog last March in Tacoma primarily so it could be used as a resource for other South Sound vegans and vegetarians. I felt that the area needed more representation and coverage in terms of vegan events, people, restaurants and more. And I think that I accomplished that goal. Covering bake sales, new restaurant openings, vegan-related events and must-eat items was great, and it was amazing to meet so many other vegans. Every time it happened, I exclaimed “where have you all been hiding?” I ate some incredibly delicious meals there, (all of which I want to compile in a list…one day). And I loved it all.

Perennial fave and vegan-friendly Tacoma bakery, Corina.

I still do, and am going to continue doing what I love. But I’m going to be doing it in another city.

At the beginning of July, the partner, our two cats and I packed our stuff and moved to a much tinier place in Seattle. With both work and school here, it made infinitely more sense for us to relocate rather than have me commuting home on some late nights, and miss out on some networking and other relevant events. It wasn’t an easy decision for us by any means, as we both have strong ties to Tacoma. In the end though, we went with our guts. Change is good, and I think we were both in need of some.

Seattle. Where the streets are paved with Mighty-O Donuts.

I lived in Seattle when I first moved to Washington state back in 2006, and I loved the sense of awe I felt when roaming the streets and acquainting myself with neighborhoods. I also loved the plethora of vegan restaurants and vegan options that are available in this city. And guess what? 5 years later, there is so, so much more. It blows my mind to see how much has changed. I’ve naturally kept tabs peripherally through social media, but dang if I don’t see a vegan option on almost every menu in this city. It’s refreshing and a welcome change from Tacoma, where vegan is just starting to become an option that more restaurants and businesses are starting to seriously consider and take to heart.

And the home of the Georgetown Liquor Co. build-your-own Bloody Mary bar…

Tacoma’s a city where I changed a ton, learned a lot about myself, and is a place that really helped me in terms of getting my writing out into the world – something that I’d been wanting to do for years. My affinity for the city will never go away, and I will always defend it when people try to tear it down. A piece of my heart will always stay there, for sure.

…and so many Ethiopian restaurants with spongy injera! Oh how I missed Ethiopian food.

Though that’s the truth, I’m honestly very excited to be back. I walk to coffee shops, the co-op and restaurants, take the bus as often as humanly possible and am making plans to hang with all of my lovely friends who live here. The kitties have adjusted, and things are grand.

I can’t wait to get out and start reviewing all the things I find, previewing Seattle events and chatting about more general vegan things/topics. I have about three posts lined up for you all, but I’d been holding onto this news for too long. The move also explains my longer-than-normal quiet period. Hope you all understand, and hope you’ll all stick around though Vegan Moxie will now cover Seattle metro vegan-related events.

I realize that I’m fortunate to be in the best company here. Two talented and amazing friends – Anika and Helen – write fantastic vegan blogs here, as well as Molly, Rhean, and many more. We all have very different perspectives and voices, and I’m so happy to be among them. I don’t think a city could ever have enough vegan bloggers.

Thanks for being awesome as always, dear readers.

 

 

Tacoma Food Co-op: bruised but not broken

Hi guys! Remember me? Life has been kind of crazy from March on and I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like to. The past three weeks went into nutso overdrive and thus blogging has taken a back seat to other life happenings. Good changes have been afoot, though, and things are slowing down. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things here soon.

- – - – -

In case you haven’t heard the news by now, on May 31, a car drove into the Tacoma Food Co-op. Four customers were injured and taken to the hospital, in addition to employees getting knocked around. The car drove straight through the building’s glass doors and knocked into both checkout lanes/cash registers. The driver had passed out, and we’re still not sure why yet.

Thankfully, all of the individuals were released from the hospital the same night with only bumps and bruising.

I found out about the accident through Facebook, when a friend posted a photo. I immediately emailed a fellow board member, talked with her as she was arriving, then decided I needed to head over, too.

Interior after the accident. You can see that both registers/lanes were knocked from their original locations by the car.

When I arrived, many members from the community were there in solidarity/support. Some were taking photos/video, KIRO, KOMO and KING5 were on the scene with video cameras. Many more came by to ask if we needed help with anything. I must’ve been stoned faced when I walked on the scene, as I’d been in the store just about an hour before this happened. Though shocked and rattled, many of us got to work immediately to get the co-op cleaned up and to prep covers for the windows/doors that were knocked out.

So much glass.

As the co-op hasn’t even been open a year yet and is still very much in “startup mode,” this was a bit of a blow. Though we’ve been doing well financially thus far, any setback in the first year is rough. Thankfully, the co-op’s board, general manager Henri and employees are a strong-willed, determined bunch, and rather than worry about what was going to happen the next day, we all kept reminding each other that things could’ve been worse – a lot worse. We were all just happy that everyone came out of it okay.

I stayed for a few hours and some of the people who helped put the temporary plywood door up were at the co-op ’til 1 a.m. the next day.  A group of local bicyclists were out in front of the Red Hot nearby on the evening of the accident attending the last event of Bike Month. Henri mentioned many times that had bike folk from the Red Hot not yelled out “car, car!” he would not have known that there was a car approaching at 35 mph that wasn’t going to stop.

Co-ops are by definition voluntary organization composed of a group of people and formed for their mutual benefit. The co-op provides many in the community with healthy food and products. Though we’ve been around for only a short while, I’m amazed at how many loyal customers, members and fans have come about as a result of the store existing.

Our co-op’s bruised, but it’s far from being broken. Due in part to the amazing, sheer support, concern and help from the community, we’ve proven that it would take a lot more than this to take us down. This is one of the many reasons why I’m so thankful to be a part of this organization.

Functioning register success.

If you haven’t been to the store since the accident, know that we were up and running the next day at 8 a.m. Both registers are functioning, our plywood door will soon be replaced with an actual one, and all of your favorite items are still available. Employees and Henri appreciate all the concern, but more than anything they (and the board) appreciate your support.

Second annual Tacoma Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale recap

A little late, but worth the wait.

As noted a few posts back, on Sunday, April 29 two friends and I (Joy and Dan) held the second annual Tacoma edition of Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale at King’s Books. I had another fundraiser to attend and arrived late, but it was still hopping, brimming with delicious treats, and visited by great people towards the end.

After all was said and done we raised $590 total for Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest! We definitely couldn’t have done it without all the wonderful bakers, volunteers, our gracious second-time host King’s Books, and everyone else who helped spread the word and make this event a success. Thank you!

I’m sure you’re dying to see some photos of the delicious baked goods, so here they are. All photos are by Joy Clendening and Dan Martin.

Rice crispy treats, cookies and macaroons.

I made Coffee Chip Muffins again, and Joy made some delicious/healthy breakfast muffins and lemon chia bread, which is so yummy.

Large lit table with info from Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest and vegan books that are available at King's.

I think one of my favorite items for sale this year was Leah's pesto rolls, a combination of two delicious things.

Beautiful cupcakes and cookie display and boxes.

Like last year, we also had a giant table filled with nothing but vegan literature, info on the Chimp Sanctuary and also vegan/animal rights books for sale at King’s Books. No leftover baked goods from this event went to waste, and all extras were taken to the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

Did you hold a Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale event this year in your city? If so, how’d it go and what treats did you enjoy?

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

If you subscribe to the Tacoma Food Co-op‘s monthly newsletter, you may have seen this pop up in your email yesterday:

I wrote a short little piece about some of my favorite TFC food products, how it’s easier than you may think to be vegan and about the ways the co-op can help you if you’re considering transitioning to the diet.

In addition to the article, I also created a recipe for said newsletter. I am more of an eat-and-review type of food blogger rather than the recipe writer kind, but sometimes creativity strikes. Or, I realize I’ve got some recipes I created and have been making for years and remember that I should share them with you all. This recipe for Mediterranean Quinoa Salad pertains to the latter.

Quinoa salads (or any grain-based salad, really) are great because they are a nice change from the traditional all-greens based salad, they’re heartier, and they’re also very customizable and you can make one with whatever you have on hand. I used to make a plainer version of this for potlucks/gatherings, but last week I was feeling the nicer weather and leaning towards more Mediterranean flavors and ingredients. I think it turned out pretty well! I’ll include the newsletter copy for those who aren’t signed up yet, (and if you’re local, you should be! Sign up here).

With spring in full gear and summer coming soon, we tend to focus more on lighter, nutrient-rich meals that call for less prep, and less reliance on our ovens. This Mediterranean-inspired recipe makes use of quinoa, a nutty Incan protein-filled grain that is a great addition to salads. When combined with beans, spicy Italian parsley, red onions and a rich tahini dressing, it makes a colorful main dish or a hearty side.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Yields 4-8 servings, depending upon whether served as a side or main dish. Gluten-free and vegan.

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
¼ bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped (The original recipe called for ½ bunch, but that was a typo! If you like spicy, you can use the original amount.)
½ cup red onion, diced
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
Grape tomatoes
Kalamata olives

Tahini dressing:

Zest and juice of one large lemon
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons warm water
¼-½ teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Rinse the quinoa. In saucepan, combine quinoa and water and cook over medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, which should take 15 minutes.

Prepare the dressing while the quinoa cooks. Whisk together the lemon zest and juice, garlic, tahini, olive oil, water and salt. This might take a few minutes if your tahini was refrigerated.

Toss the quinoa, beans, parsley, red onion, and dressing. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Serve garnished with tomatoes, olives and a bit more parsley.

Enjoy!

The TFC also has their “Spring Into the Co-op” campaign happening now. Check out the website or Facebook page for more info on discounts, prizes and more goodies that you can receive by visiting the co-op five times by May 31.

Do you have any grain-based salads that you love to make during spring and summer? And do you have any fun plans for our 70-80 degree weather this weekend? Do tell!

 

 

 

Get your sweet treat on at the second annual Tacoma Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale!

Last year, two vegan lady friends and I (Joy and Lisa) thought that it was high time Tacoma was represented in Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale week, so we held what we believed to be Tacoma’s first vegan bake sale at the wonderful King’s Books. In our eyes, it was a massive success. We raised over $600 for Precious Life Animal Sanctuary, shared amazing vegan baked goods with friends and strangers, and brought more awareness to the vegan lifestyle and ethic in our town. And this year, we’re doing it again!

Sweet flier image courtesy of Dan Martin.

As you may have seen me mention via the VM FB/Twitter accounts, we’re holding the second annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale – Tacoma edition, (adorably titled “Sweet Eats!”) at King’s Books this Sunday, April 29, from noon to 4 p.m. This time around Joy, her man Dan and I are heading up the effort, and we hope to see some lovely faces come out and support this year’s cause: Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.

Here’s more info from the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale Tacoma Facebook event page:

We’re doing it again, baking up a storm of vegan goodies for charity. This year all the proceeds are going to Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW.
If you are interested in volunteering in any way, whether it be baking, set up or tabling, email me at: joy_clendening@yahoo.com
Of course anything you bake has to be vegan and it will have to be in sealed containers.
We look forward to tasty your yummy treats and giving a big donation to the Chimps!

Gracious sweet pea of King’s Books was kind enough to let us hold the event at his store again, and we’re amped to fill up as many tables as we can with sweet treats of all sorts. From loaded with sugar and flour, to gluten-free, raw and low-sugar, whatever your preferences, it’ll be represented at this bountiful spring vegan event.

Though the event is only a few days away, we’re always looking for/are welcoming of helpful volunteers. If you’re interested in contributing baked (and non!) goods or helping us set up the event, break it down or assist with the actual sale, please e-mail Joy at the address above. Our goal is always to raise as much funds as we can for the chimps, and volunteers are definitely an integral part of that happening.

Scenes from last year's Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale - 253 Edition.

I also want to make sure that everyone knows that you do not have to be vegan to come! You just have to love delicious treats! Though if you are baking, we do ask that you make your baked goods vegan, as not doing so would kind of defeat our whole purpose. If you’d like more info on Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale week 2012, want to get a glimpse of all the places participating, get some tips on vegan baking, or learn how to start a vegan bake sale in your neck of the woods, check out their amazingly resourceful website. And please be sure to let us know you’ll be attending the event by RSVPing to it on Facebook.

My goal is to bake espresso brownies, because the idea of the Valhalla brownies at Corina always make me swoon, but they’re sadly not vegan-friendly. I want to make another sort of brownie variation, and may whip up some Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies from “Veganomicon” that Roxanne made for our underground supper club, as they were a huge hit with vegans and non-veg people alike. Whether brownies are up your alley or not, please come out if you can, and I hope to see you Sunday!

The upcoming 2012 Tacoma Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale has been written about around the Internet! Check it out:

Post Defiance: Don’t be Scared, it’s just a Vegan Bake Sale

Tacoma Weekly: World Wide Vegan Bakesale in Tacoma on Sunday

King’s Books: Vegan Bake Sale

Wherein social media + vegetables + cocktails lead to educational dinner parties

If you asked me to compile the number of things that have come about in my life that began on the Internet, you’d get an exhaustive list. And I know I’m not the only one. This is a story of how awesome things can grow out of seemingly aimless discussions on the Internet.

Three Internet-turned-real life Tacoma friends and I were chatting on Twitter over a month ago regarding one’s week-long experiment with a juice fast. This friend isn’t extreme diet or liquid fast-prone, so I was genuinely curious when he brought it up. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Were you juice fasting?”

Brian: “Yeah, trying it out. I just need a better way to eat fruits and veggies.”

M: “I suggest cooking them (well).”

Etc. Soon, the two other friends that I’ve mentioned on here a few times before, Roxanne and Adrienne, chimed in with other tips on good, easy ways to integrate veggies into your diet. I think Adrienne mentioned throwing them in soup, Roxanne said steam them, and I said throw them in pretty much anything you’re cooking or making, (smoothies, pasta dishes, stir fries, etc.) and roasted Brussels sprouts, (because well, if you read this blog, you KNOW!).

Brian is a busy guy. He’s married, has a baby, works, partakes in the fine art of cocktail making and runs a cocktail blog that you should really check out. I totally understand how some may not know how (or just flat out don’t want) to cook with the little time we have left for the things we care about at the end of the day. That being said, sometimes you need something to go with your cocktails! I love cooking, and I didn’t learn how to until I became a vegetarian in college. I also love sharing, so as the conversation between the four of us progressed, I suggested this:

“How about we exchange some very basic cooking lessons for cocktail making lessons?”

And the rest is history.

Just kidding. Then Brian suggested we start a dinner club, (which I’ve fondly started calling our Underground Supper Club) started our Facebook group (*pushes back glasses*), and that’s when things really became history.

Last Sunday, we had the first of hopefully many of our underground supper club parties with partners (and baby) included, and it was lovely, delicious and educational. We decided to make the whole dinner vegan because apparently veggies outnumbered the carnivore (5 to 3, but who’s counting!), which was super rad of the group and convenient for us veg types. I sadly don’t have any pictures of people, (of course), but Roxanne snapped one and next time I’ll be sure to remember. Here are some snaps of all the food and beverages we enjoyed (and a recipe!):

This was how our evening started, which is to say it was a great foreshadowing. This is Brian's take on a Denny Triangle, originally created by Seattle mixer Jamie Boudreau of Canon bar. It contains gin and grapefruit juice among other ingredients, and was perfectly refreshing on a warm spring night.

Roxanne's photo of Adrienne (left) and I cooking on Brian and Brooke's amazing Viking Range, which I'm now coveting. Adrienne was at work on a soup, and I was making pasta sauce. I feel like we were both "in our elements" here.

Dinner is served! Adrienne's Root Vegetable Soup with Greens on the right, and my contribution: the Pasta e Fagioli with Spinach from "Appetite For Reduction." Both were delicious!

Adrienne created the soup recipe, and was kind enough to let me share it with you all. It’s posted up on her blog, A Big Mouthful, here. Go make it, soon! The original recipe contains beans, but she didn’t use them this time as we had a bean-based appetizer and my pasta sauce used navy beans. I suggest adding some vegan sausage to make it even more hearty for a main meal.

Roxanne's contributions were two wonderful iced teas and dessert (this is also her photo): these beautiful and amazingly rich Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies. You can find the recipe in "Veganomicon."

As we prepped the main parts of the meal, Adrienne and I coerced Brian into chopping and chatted with him about our processes/usual cooking steps. When it came to cocktails, it was his turn to teach. Here he poured Jamaican rum for our second cocktail: the Bywater, originally created by Chris Hannah.

Sadly, I didn't get a shot of the Bywater when finished, but here is a drink mixing action shot instead. This cocktail was just as excellent. It used green Chartreuse, which I'm a fan of due to local craft cocktail lounge, 1022 South.

Not pictured: Adrienne’s incredibly smooth, garlic-infused Rosemary White Bean dip. I kept running to grab some while cooking, it was so addictive and savory.

We haven’t planned any specifics for our next supper club gathering yet, but I am already looking forward to it!

Have any awesome food or drink-related events, gatherings or things come out of your online relationships and communities? If so, please share them!

“Internet” photo by Keith Ramsey, via Creative Commons

Food, blogging and social media

Picture from a Seattle Vegan Blogger meetup in a post about another food blogging gathering. Slightly meta.

The aforementioned things are the be-all, end-all in my mind – three subjects that I love and am ridiculously passionate about. Thankfully, I’m involved with a local group that’s letting me lead a discussion about all of them tomorrow night, and I’m hoping that if you’re nearby you’ll take the opportunity to join us.

Social Media Club Tacoma (you may have seen me sing their praises via Facebook or Twitter) aims to “get locals together to share, learn and build relationships” during monthly meetups, and this invitation is open to anyone and everyone.

I love any opportunity when social media can converge with food, and all of the SMC Tacoma board members are pumped for tomorrow’s happenings.

We culled together a group of panelists including Adrienne Kuehl of A Big Mouthful, Marisa Mezs of Clearance Cuisine, Roxanne Cooke of RoxanneCooke.com, and myself to discuss food blogging, food trends, social media and more. I know every individual who will be representing on the panel and I can tell you that you’re all in for a treat – literally and figuratively. These bloggers truly know their stuff and each of us will also be bringing a baked good to share with everyone. Win and win.

If you’re interested in any of these topics, are curious about starting a food blog or just want to meet new people with similar interests in your city, check out the link below and join us! With Bluebeard Coffee as our host and a $50 gift card to an excellent Tacoma restaurant up for grabs, it’s sure to be a lively and informative event. See you tomorrow!

SMC Tacoma presents: Food Blogging À La Carte
Where: Bluebeard Coffee Roasters, 2201 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
When: Tuesday, April 10 from 6-8 p.m.
What: Chat food, food blogging, social media and other nerd things
Cost: Free! (You do have to pay for delicious coffee, though)

Friday Snippets – ‘Hunger Games’ opening weekend edition

What does “The Hunger Games” have to do with my blog/veganism you may be wondering? Absolutely nothing, to be honest, and searches for “vegan Hunger Games” aren’t yielding anything either…yet. But I’m a fan of the books, the first film opens today, and I’ve been hit (pun fully intended) with HG madness just like the rest of the waking world. I’m actually finishing “Mockingjay” as I type this, but I just thought I’d throw a little nerdy shout out to anyone else who loves the books or is equally as excited for the film.

Okay, end geek rant. Onto this week’s Snippets!

Photo courtesy Fork & Beans

Vegan Lucky Charms, anyone? When I saw the Vegansaurus post on Fork & Beans’ genius creation of the veganized version of this cereal, I got a little giddy. Did anyone else love this cereal as much as I did growing up? Realizing that they’re basically just made with sugary marshmallows makes that love make a lot more sense now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be attempting to make these soon. Gluten-free friends, these are for you too!

Local South Sound/Seattle friends, this is your last reminder that VegFest 2012 takes place this weekend, March 24-25 at the Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall! I am personally pumped to try out the new Daiya cheese wedges, to visit the Wayfare Foods both and say hi to and hug Brit and just discover some new great products.

Photos courtesy Refinery29

Since the seasons officially changed from winter to spring, my mind has been on a few things: sunshine, picnics, drinks on patios and shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I love my knee-high brown riding boots over tights and my trusty Simple shoes (RIP) for walking around, but I am yearning for the days when I can walk around with adorable flats, put the socks away for a few months and also, grab some new kicks! For all my vegan ladies who also love their footwear, I’m sure you’re all aware of the Cri de Coeur brand, (and their price tags, ouch). Fashion/shopping deal site Refinery29 currently has a deal on said shoes: through April 3rd, spend $50, get $100 worth of credit. That’s 50% off for those counting at home, and a screaming deal. New spring flats, wedges and boots are that much closer to my and your closet.

I’m not sure if many of you South Sounders are familiar with Social Media Club Tacoma, but it’s an offshoot of the nationwide organization Social Media Club. I’m involved with our local chapter, and I’m very excited for our April Tweetup event that will take place April 10 from 6-8 p.m. at Bluebeard Coffee. We’re going to be discussing food, Tacoma, social media and food blogging, and I’ll be your gracious hostess for the evening! The event will feature some awesome special guest bloggers including: Roxanne Cooke, local photographer and baker, Marisa Mezs of Clearance Cuisine and Adrienne Kuehl of A Big Mouthful, (they’re all linked in the invite).

If you’ve never been to an event, we hold one every month and it’s a great way to network, meet new people, as well as discuss shared passions, and food is definitely a doozy. We’ll be bringing some tasty baked goods as well. If you come out, please say hi!

Enjoy the lovely weather while it lasts, and happy weekend!

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day 2012

As I mentioned in my last Friday Snippets post, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day this year, though usually we don’t! We didn’t do the traditional go to an Irish pub/drink green beer/get lots of whiskey route, but rather were invited to a family gathering across the Narrows Bridge. As the boyfriend’s mom is vegan (and gluten-free), we thankfully know that whenever there’s a family gathering, there will always be food for us to eat.

I didn’t take too many pictures, so here are a few that I shot throughout the evening:

This was taken during our trip over to the aunt’s house. I posted this to Instagram with the caption: “good ol’ unincorporated Pierce County.” It’s true, when it’s not crazy snowy/power lines aren’t going out, it’s a beautiful place! Views like this are why I love living in Washington state.

Here’s a set up of the table before other dishes were laid out, (aka, meat). I thought the green decorations were adorable.

The bf’s mom made the Gluten-Free Goddess’ gluten-free Irish Soda Bread and it was amazing! She left out the currants and caraway seeds, but it definitely didn’t affect how well this turned out. If you’re ever looking for a dependable gluten-free bread recipe to make on St. Patrick’s Day or any day of the year really, try this one. All of this bread was gone in a flash!

And lastly, here’s my plate which consisted of (clockwise starting from the top): Sauteed green cabbage in a white wine mustard butter sauce, gluten-free Irish soda bread slice, carrots and parsnips and baby red potatoes.

And not pictured: the awesome gluten-free peppermint brownies that I contributed, that were made from dun dun dun…a box! I know, I know, but I was running really low on time and really am not so well versed in the world of gluten-free baking yet. I thought I’d give Cherrybrook Kitchen’s Gluten Free Fudge Brownie a try, and they came out perfectly. I added 1/2 tsp. of peppermint extract and it provided just the right punch of flavor. I highly recommend it for anyone else out there who needs to bring a gluten-free dish to a gathering and/or is also short on time, (no one will ever know they came from a box!).

Said brownies were pretty much all gone at the end of the night as we nibbled on them/kept going back for seconds, etc. as we played Phase 10 throughout the night.

Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year? If so, what delicious vegan dishes did you make/enjoy?