I’ve been a slacker and a half in the kitchen and on this blog. And the Scrapbook Diary? A distant memory. Life keeps getting in the way. So I’m trying to reclaim some time for creativity by altering this thrift store find to be more Florida sun-friendly. Most notably, those sleeves are going going gone.

Though it sounds like a horrible disease, I feel I was lucky enough to be born under the best zodiac sign—Cancer. I think I just love being a child of the summer… and that I have an excuse to be moody. The sign is represented by a crab, which is pretty great, too. I mean, isn’t it just another reason to be vegan? Like, eating crab would somehow be cannibalistic? Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Either way, I think crabs are really awesome. Hence, the crab-shaped necklace my father got me for Valentine’s Day yesterday. And hence this vegan crab cake recipe.

Late last year I spent about 36 hours in beautiful downtown Baltimore, Maryland. It is the land of John Waters films, a Florida-themed bar (yeah, I was surprised, too) and of course, Old Bay. Their gift shops would lead me to believe they put it on everything and I really can’t say I blame them. It’s really quite fantastic and plays an instrumental role in making seafood taste like, well, seafood. If you have Old Bay already, by all means go for it. I just didn’t have it and couldn’t justify a trip to the store when I was in a time crunch. So I used what I had from this list and it worked out great. Instead of the lettuce, this recipe that I used as inspiration suggests nori which will help give it that fishy taste.

Vegan Crab Cakes
(makes about 10 small cakes, 8 thicker ones

1 large carrot
2 yellow crookneck squash
1 zucchini
1 yellow onion
¼ cup crumbled extra-firm tofu
Handful of shredded lettuce
½ to ¾ cup cornflake crumbs
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (or something like it)
Salt to taste

Place carrot, squash and zucchini in a food processor and set to “shred.” Mix all your shredded veggies together in a large bowl. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a small grater. It’ll take a while, but your forearms will get a nice workout, I suppose. The veggies have a lot of water, so you want to remove as much moisture as possible. You can wring it out with paper towels or give it a few whirls in a salad spinner.

After that, dice up the onion and sauté in a VERY lightly greased pan over medium heat. As the onions start to get soft, add the rest of your vegetables and cook until heated. Lightly salt. Remove from heat and drain out excess liquid. Press moisture out of the tofu with a paper towel, and then crumble into small pieces. Add it and the lettuce to the bowl of sautéed veggies and combine well with a wooden spoon. Pour in spices and cornflake crumbs until the mixture can be easily formed into 3-inch patties, adding more or less crumbs as needed. Arrange on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for several minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove baking sheet from the freezer and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes, then flip the patties over and cook for 15 minutes more. Check for doneness by the golden color of the cornflake crumbs and that the centers are thoroughly heated. Serve on a mini bagel with Vegenaise, mustard, vegan tartar sauce or horseradish. Impress your friends.

Happy Birthday, Dahli!

My precious schnauzer/dachshund pup turns three today, so I thought I would whip her up a sweet birthday treat. I wanted it to be vegan (though she is not) because that’s what I’m comfortable working with. I wanted it to be free of corn (she’s had some bad responses) as well as peanut butter (my family’s dog has not fared well with that creamy goodness). And, with the exception of the minor addition of crushed cracker as “sprinkles,” it’s gluten-free, too! All natural puppy-friendly goodness. Here’s what I came up with.

But would she like it? It was time to test.

She knows better than to eat off the table, so at first it went unnoticed.

When I finally pointed it out to her she was suspicious…

The smell must have grabbed her interest…By the time I took it off the table to feed it to her, she was darn near pleading.

She was so relieved by the time I let her dig in!

Her favorite part was licking the banana frosting.

Banana Oat Birthday PupCakes

1 ½ cup steel oats
1 tbsp. baking soda
2 ripe bananas
1 cup water
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tbsp. unsulphured molasses
Splash of vanilla (just a drop!)
Crushed crackers (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put cupcake liners in a pan. Grind the oats in a food processor. Add the baking soda and pulse until combined. Transfer the oat mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Add to the food processor one of the bananas, water, agave, molasses and vanilla. Process until smooth and bubbly. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk or beat to combine. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes (mine took about 24 minutes on the nose!)

Let the pupcakes cool on  a wire rack. Once they’re ready to frost, pulse the other banana in the food processor until some big banana chunks remain. Spoon it over the top of the pupcake. Sprinkle crushed crackers (if you have gluten-free, go for it!) over the top and serve. Your pup will thank you for it.

*Update* I almost forgot to mention, this recipe was inspired by (and vegan-ized) from the banana carob chip dog cake recipe here.

I spent a few hours last night at my friend Amber‘s house eating her delicious homemade vegan pizza and crafting things out of paper clay. I made a few things that I’ll wait to post until they’re all painted and pretty. Amber has a house full of adorable cats that made the night full of laughs as well.

Vegan Fondue for Two

Few meals say “romance” or “swinging ’70s key party” like fondue. However, fewer meals say “vegans stay away” like fondue, either. Determined to change that, I went on an Etsy and eBay hunt for a cute vintage fondue pot to stage a sweet, Valentine-friendly meal. I came close to spending a pretty penny on a couple of cute, colorful pots, but something kept telling me to hold my horses. The next day, I went thrift store shopping and stumbled upon a pot that was brand new and in the box–for only six bucks.

Now, she aint the prettiest, but she came with all I needed to get started. Ramekins, fondue forks, pot and stand. I got to work.

Vegan Fondue for Two

2 tbsp. white wine
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. mustard
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup grated non-dairy cheese
1/4 cup nutritional yeast cheesy sauce
1/4 cup spicy salsa
1 tbsp. soy milk

Heat the wine, lemon juice, mustard and soy sauce in a fondue pot or small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine. Slowly add in grated fake cheese, whisking continuously to melt evenly. Then stir in nutritional yeast cheesy sauce, salsa and soy milk. Whisk until smooth, melty, ooey gooey and delicious. Put your pot into a stand and start dipping immediately! Keep a candle lit underneath to keep the mixture warm, stirring occasionally.

Dipper ideas:

roasted sweet potato chunks, steamed broccoli, raw red pepper or mushrooms, bread slices, seared eggplant, chopped meat substitutes–just get to dipping!

Meet the Muses

Inspired by this post, I thought I would try my hand at painting pet portraits. It’s been a while since I picked up a brush, but I think they turned out pretty well. At the very least I now have a new hobby!

My mom has been hounding me (yuk, yuk) for some time to paint the family dog, Martin. Her request (no lie) was for him to be a king.

And this is Dahli girl. She’s been my muse for some time. Some people think she looks angry, but really she’s just patiently waiting for her next tummy rub.

I think I’m ready to start doing human portraits again. The oddball and imperfect ones are my favorite anyway. Like these.

My mother has been hounding me (hound–yuk, yuk) for one of our family’s dog, Martin for some time.

Ruffle and Lace

Lately I have been building outfits in anticipation of the next time I see someone very special who moved far away. In a world of working at home in pajamas and messy ponytails, putting together new and old pieces is getting me excited for a trip out of state in the very near future.

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