Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vegan Chocolate and Raspberry Pudding

I altered a vegan pudding recipe and it is so good.

The original recipe came from Rhymes with Vegan, but I have changed it quite a bit.  Jeff liked it so much, he said it was a big improvement over the original recipe (but I liked the original too).


1 cup vegan milk chocolate chips
1 box silken tofu (firm)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons silk soy creamer

Raspberry syrup:
1 box fresh raspberries (you could use frozen too I imagine)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup sugar

Mix the tofu and sugar in a food processor (I love my food processor, if there was any one kitchen appliance I would not live without it would be the Cuisinart 14 cup food processor).

Place the chocolate chips in a bowl over a pot of boiling water (or a double boiler) to melt the chocolate.  I mix the chocolate until it has melted.  This can also be done in a microwave, at 15 second intervals while stirring in-between.

Mix the chocolate into the tofu mixture in the processor.  Refrigerate (the pudding lasts for a couple of days in the fridge and gets firmer, improving the texture)

For the raspberry syrup mix all the ingredients in a small pot and heat on low.  Smash the raspberries with a potato masher.  Cook on low until raspberries gel with sugar, and syrup thickens (check syrup on the back of a spoon to be sure).

After the syrup has cooled place pudding in decorative glass, and layer raspberries on top (if you're not vegan you could add some whipped cream here, that would be really good).  Add a couple of raspberries for garnish.

This recipe makes two large servings of pudding and can easily be doubled (or tripled).  It is also great for parties because it can  be made ahead. 
Eat, be healthy, and enjoy (I know Jeff and I did).  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kitty Nibble

We are trying to train Rhea (our beloved kitty) to wear a collar in case she gets out.  We don't want our little baby to be lost.  When we put the collar on Rhea she seemed unhappy.  Jeff kept saying "she looks sad" so to make her feel better I took out the cat grass (is that what it is called?) I grew for her.   That way she could have a nibble (and stay away from my nest)

At first she did not know what to make of it.  She was being a little timid with the collar.  But she had a little nibble.

Please excuse my "proud mother" montage of photos, but I got some really cute ones and just have to show them off.

Just to confuse things we offered her the mouse too (that's her favorite toy).
..but it just confused her. 

Rhea is fine now and has totally adjusted to her new collar (which looks adorable by the way).

P.S. She still seems to like my nest better, go figure.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lavender Laundry

My laundry has had a strange smell of late.  Jeff's shirts come out of the dryer with a musty smell.  I have been using All Free and Clear, and it has not been working.  No I'm not overloading the wash, my water has a lot of debris in it.  I started adding some borax and that helped, which gave me the idea of making my own.  It took a lot to get my laundry smelling like lavender but boy was it worth it.

It all started with this little blog post I found over at The Cottage Grey.  Breanna gave me (and the rest of her readers) the recipe for homemade laundry detergent

As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to try it, but my husband was not as convinced.  Now Breanna  warned me that the cost of the ingredients was $20, but when my husband found out that he had to buy the big glass jar (an extra $15) and the only soap we could find was not cheap either he was not  happy.  In other words, this was going to cost much more then $20 and we were not even sure it was going to work.

This is where I get all mushy about how great my hubby really is, because with all the expense and running around trying to find Castile soap he let me get the ingredients and even bought me the big glass jar too (with only minor teasing).

Alright here are the ingredients, they are the exact same as Breanna's, but I have saved you some trouble by adding the number of boxes of the various ingredients.

16 cups of baking soda (eight 16 oz boxes)
12 cups of borax (one large box)
8 cups grated Castile soap (24 oz of soap, I grated it in the food processor, next time I will use Dr. Bronner's, now that I know how much is needed)
3 tablespoons of lavender essential oil (it took a whole bottle of lavender, 1 fl oz)
I grated the soap.  As I said I used the food processor and it worked like a charm.  Brilliant if I do say so myself. 

Then mixed all the ingredients together.  I didn't have a bowl big enough so I just mixed them in the glass jar.  Typical to my life, the jar was not very good for mixing so I was up to my elbows in the detergent.  In the end I was covered in detergent, but I smelled good.  

I just did a load of dedicates and they came out smelling amazing.   The lavender was great and the laundry smelled really fresh and clean. Goodby smelly clothes, hello fresh clean clothes.

Oh and the best part is that you only need an eighth of a cup, so this batch will last a whole year (not so expensive after all.).
The glass jar makes it just perfect!!!  (Thanks hun!)

The DIY Show Off


Friday, March 25, 2011

Sweet on Vegan Sweets

Jeff and I have been vegan for almost two weeks.  Except for the uncontrollable shaking and vomiting from cheese withdrawal I'm fine (JK).  Actually it has not been that bad.  I miss cheese the most, and sometimes seafood, but I'm alright with tofu, tempe, and setan most of the time.  We have been experimenting with recipes and have found some good ones.  But the after dinner sweets are my favorite part of the day, so I got right to work on some vegan deserts. 

I made two desserts. 

The first was vegan vanilla and chocolate pudding.  It was so good we made it twice (and doubled the recipe the second time).  I got the recipe from a vegan blog I found called Rhymes with Vegan.  The pudding is made from silken tofu.  It was great but had one problem...too much sugar. 
The consistency was good.  I even managed to lessen the sugar content and it was still good, but not something we should eat every day. 

On Saturday Jeff and I went to a great vegan restaurant to celebrate one week of being vegan.  For dessert I had a pear crumble.  I love crumble, apple in particular, but I never make it because Jeff hates cooked apples (Who hates cooked apples I have never heard of that? And I make an incredible apple pie, he is totally missing out.) he does not hate cooked pears however. 

So a few nights later I made my own crumble:

I used pear and strawberry (because we had them in the house) and a little extra flour in the crumble.  It was BETTER than the vegan restaurant!!!  Even picky Jeff likes it ... no ... he loves it.  He requested it again tonight.  What I like about this dessert is that it gives us a few more fruits for our daily fruit requirements, and it has much less sugar. 

I love desserts and may have to do some more experimenting soon.  I'm thinking about making that parfait again but with the vanilla tofu pudding (that could be really good).  

Strawberry and pear crumble with a cup of tea (with soy milk of course)...perfection!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

'Ring' in Spring

Spring makes me think of all kinds of ringing.  One spring I was in Paris and had to privilege of hearing the Easter bells.  It was amazing to hear the whole city ringing their church bells. Our hotel was near the Notre Dame Cathedral. Now I can't think of spring without thinking of those bells.  So to 'ring' in spring I decided to make a ring of my own...a wreath.

I went for a natural look.

Here's how I did it.
I gathered a wreath, some moss, ribbon, eggs, a bird and the nest I made form this post.  All I did was glue it together with my little mini hot glue gun and I was done.  I used some antique lace I had, but did not glue it down because it is just to special to use on a wreath (I imagine it on a wedding dress or something equally special).     
See how the ribbon even has little rhinestones too?  I love it.  I layered some green ribbon (leftover from Pottery Barn wedding presents) under it.

This little blue jay cost a bundle (OK about $4, but for me that is a lot).  I love how he sits on the moss.  That was my main plan.

I was not sure about the eggs at first.  There is nothing natural about their color.  Now I like them, they add a touch of whimsy.  Also, my nest finally found a home before Rhea (my cat) can eat it completely. 

My yard may look like this....
(yes it's snowing again)....
...but... least my door rings in spring. 
Here's hoping spring comes a little faster in your neighborhood (and could you send some of it my way?).


Bubbly Nature

A bowl full of lemons.: Silhouette GIVEAWAY!!!!

A bowl full of lemons.: Silhouette GIVEAWAY!!!!:

I want one of those things more and more. it seems like i see something new with the silhouette every day. Hop on over and check it out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

All Caged In...

In the last couple of months (OK the last year) I have been obsessed with cages, birdcages to be exact. I just love them.  I have seen so many beautiful birdcages.  They can be so dellicate and ornate, or simple and stunning.

I'm not talking about real birdcages (although some antique ones are great) but the ornate ornamental ones.  A friend of mine who recently passed away  had a whole collection of them.  She decorated her house with them, and even had some birds for them as well.  I'm not ready to have a bird (I 'm just not into birds) but I do want more than my one birdcage.  I have a vission of a tall stand with an anique birdcage standing in my dinig room. 

Now, before I started blogging I thought this idea was crazy.  Who would have birdcages without birds?  That is just silly.  I even let myself be talked out of buying a real beauty last summer at an antique store.  But now I have a whole new circle of freinds (my blog friends) who have been encouraging me.  I may just do this whole birdcage thing after all. 

With my new found inspiration I saw this amazing ornimental birdcage at Crate and Barrel.

I can just see this birdcage on a tall white stand next to a some blue curtains in my yellow dining room.  Oh it would be amazing. 

I'm not going to be getting this birdcage any time soon.  I first have to convince my hubby I'm not crazy.  Maybe I will find one at an antique store this summer and make it my own.  But now I have put it in writing, I like birdcages and I hope to have one someday. 

One question remains ... what do you put inside the cage if not a bird? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Art for Art's Sake

I love crafts, I make crafts, and I read about people who make crafts the rest of the time, but there is a very special place in my heart for fine art.  My father took me to museums all his life.  He knew the metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City like the back of his hand.

When he took me to the museum he would take me to see are the art he knew I would appreciate in certain times of my life.  When I was a ballerina he took me to see the ballet dancers in pastel by Degas.  When I was studying the middle ages he took me to see the tapestries of unicorns.  And when I was in art school he took me to the modern section to learn to appreciate Pollack and De Kooning.  He always had local listings for new shows cut out from the newspaper.  In short, my father taught me to love art. 

So when it comes to my art in my house I prefer to have fine art on my walls.  I got lucky, many people in my family are artists and I am the keeper of their art. 

Without further ado, here is my amazing art collection.
A close family friend painted this.  She took care of me when I was little. I love the colors and softness of this one.

This painting is so special to me.  It actually belongs to my step-mother, but I have been taking care of it.  My godmother painted this when she lived here in America.  She now lives in London and this painting is a daily reminder of how much I care for her. 

This one was painted by my ex-boyfriend, 'nuff said.

I got this water color from my father and step-mother it is of Swayambu (a temple in Nepal) and painted by my father's Buddhist teacher.  It was just a coincidence that the colors go with my living room.

Here is another one by my ex.  That statue on the left is Bertha (my mother's fertility goddess), she is really ugly, but I have to honor her until mom can come retrieve her.

Jimmy Hendrix (yes an original), was taken by my god father.  I treasure this photograph.

Finally, my sister, I am so lucky to have such a talented sister.  I am holding this one for her until she comes to claim it (see what I said about being the keeper of the family's art?).  It is a landscape and in the right light you can see the gold.  I have another one she made with items from my shower.  It is even better.  I have to find a place for that one.

These last two are very special to me.
(Sorry about the reflections on the glass I know it is hard to see. In case you can't tell it is two boats.)

I painted these two when I was in art school and could paint (I keep saying I will get back to it).  I framed the first one and gave it to my husband when we were just dating.  The second painting is one of my many "toilet paper paintings."  I have a whole series of them, most of which have been lost over the years.  

As you can see I'm a collector only of my family's art, but I love to have the original works of my artist family and friends, not only because I love art, but because each one reminds me of them and how special they are.

Crafts have a place in my heart, but fine art will always have a place on my walls.  I feel the art I display tells a little story about my life.  It brings character to my home and fills my house with memories. 

(P.S. Crafts have a place on walls too, don't worry)

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