Wednesday, September 19, 2012

spike your juice... NOW



my boyfriend, corey, is already into diy homebrew, but i was super interested in the possibilty of making wine.  
my next door neighbor filled my head with amazing stories of making wine when he was younger—picking and chopping fresh fruits and dandelions, storing huge vats of fermenting deliciousness in his basement, and of course, drinking the shit out of a beverage you had the satisfaction of making yourself. 
oh boy oh boy, i want.
we considered going out and buying a whole second set-up to use for just making wine, but we realized that storing it in the basement was not a viable option right now, and we already had buckets of homebrew taking up kitchen space.
then i saw…
spikeyourjuice
[♪ insert choir music here ♪]
whatthefux?!  its that easy? i couldn’t believe it, and i didn’t want to waste my money on glorified pruno…

the site claimed that its kits can turn any 64 ounce-sized 100% fruit juice (containing at least 20g or more of natural sugars) into a sparkling, alcoholic delight similar to federweiƟer. they stated that the finished product is between 4% and 14% ABV.  
okay, okay… i had to at least try it once, pruno or not.

  
i ordered the “mega pack” for $17.95.  it contains twelve packets for spiking, twelve labels, two airlocks, and two rubbed stoppers. (i didn’t want to use our beer airlocks and stoppers for the wine). it is a pretty good deal.
the directions are ridiculously simple… 
  • buy a 64 ounce bottle of juice.
    (UNrefrigerated, 100% juice with 20g sugars or more)
  • throw away the cap.
  • pour in the spike packet.
    (don’t stir it!) 
 
  • attach rubber stopper.
  • fill airlock to fill line and cap it.
  • attach airlock to the stopper.
 
  • fill out one of the enclosed labels.
    (make sure you mark both the flavor and the date!) 
  • store at room temperature.
 
  • wait at least 48 hours.
    (bubble. bubble bubble… this is the hardest part!)  
  • enjoy!
  • enjoy some more ;]
www.spikeyourjuice.com goes on to say that as it ferments longer, the sugar content falls (the beverage becomes dry and tart), but the alcohol content rises— up to 14% ABV! 

now, the actual taste… 
 we cracked our first bottle (100% blueberry) at exactly the 48 hour mark. wow. yummmm. it was light and fizzy, and definitely had a bit of a kick.  even my experienced wine-making neighbor thought it was tasty! needless to say, we finished off the whole bottle, and immediately started making another.

I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT!
its delish, makes a lot for a relatively small price, and its fun!

overall score:
 5/5

kid friendly - sloppy joes

little kai loves his joes



5 minute meal for kids... sloppy joes! 
and you can get most of the ingredients pre-packaged!



believe it or not... 
manwich sloppy joe sauce is vegan! woohooo! 
some other brands may also be, but you always need to check the ingredients for anchovies!
(weird, right?!)
the only challenge in assembling your joes is determining what to use in place of the ground beef.  you can use reconstituted tvp or tsp, boca crumbles, morningstar crumbles, crumbled tempeh, lentils, or pretty much anything that will give you that great, hearty texture. 
my personal favorite is trader joe's beefless ground beef-- joe's in my joes. lol.
even the meat-eater in the house likes it!
another tasty option is to saute some sweet vidalia onions and toss them in with your "beef" mix.
throw it on a bun... and patiently wait by with a wash rag to clean up the messy, happy faces =]


i will post a from-scratch sloppy joe recipe at a later date =]







Friday, September 14, 2012

vegan "ricotta" or italian pasta dish mix-y cheese stuff


frankly, most vegan lasagne, manicotti, stuff shells, etc recipes are gross. 
they use a plain old tofu and nutritional yeast combo to mimick the ricotta in the recipe.  

who are they trying to fool?

its not creamy or cheesy... just... blah.

i add tofutti cream cheese to my mixture... it really helps with the flavor.




MOCK RICOTTA





INGREDIENTS: 
* one tub of extra firm tofu
* a tub of tofutti cream cheese

* a few spoonfuls of nutritional yeast, to taste
* sea salt, to taste
* a drizzle of lemon juice (optional)
* garlic, to taste
* basil and oregano to taste (you dont need a whole lot!)
* a drizzle of oil oil (helps with mixing it all together)


mix it all together! you add just enough olive oil to make the mixing process a little easier.  
the lemon juice is optional-- just gives it that wee bit of zing, but i don't always have lemons on hand (oh noes!) and it tastes fine without it.


trust me, this will give new life to your bland and boring  tofu lasagna recipe!









Wednesday, September 12, 2012

store-bought gravy (as in pasta sauce)


sure, it is 100000000x better to make your own gravy from scratch, but sometimes you are just feeling too lazy or too overwhelmed, and you need a quick fix.
what do you do? you pull out some crappy jar of schtuff you found on the bargain shelf of the grocery store.
and it tastes like…. shit.
so fix it! there are a few easy things you can do that will still let you have plenty of free non-cooking time, and won’t make you want to hang yourself because your dinner tastes like cat ass.
1. OMG THIS IS SO FRIGGIN SALTY!
solution #1: add half of a peeled potato to the pot as you’re heating/cooking it.
solution #2: add a tiny bit of lemon juice. it will help cut the saltiness.  BE CAREFUL or you’ll end up with lemon gravy. ew.
solution #3: if it is just a tiny bit too salty, just cook your pasta noodles without salt. this way you won’t have a salt overload.
2. SUH-WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!
solution #1: add a little vinegar. the acid will help get rid of the sugary nastiness.
solution #2: add half of a peeled potato to the pot as you’re heating/cooking it.
solution #3: add a tiny bit (as in 1/4 tsp tiny) of cream of tartar
3. HOT HOT HOT! OMFG SPIICCCCYYYYYYYY!
solution #1: i could bathe in a vat of hot peppers. i don’t believe in this thing called “too spicy”.
solution #2: you can add some sugar or brown sugar, but c’mon.. too spicy? nahhhhh.
4. HOLY BITTERNESS, BATMAN!
solution #1: add a weeeee bit of sugar or brown sugar.
solution #2: add sugar AND baking soda.
solution #3: add pureed or shredded carrots for a sweetness boost.
5. WARNING! ITALIAN SEASONING OVERLOAD!
solution #1: add some extra tomato paste.
solution #2: add an extra can of tomato sauce.
6. OH SHIT! I BURN EVERYTHING!
solution #1: throw it away and make aglio e olio instead, lol.
solution #2: pour the gravy/sauce into a bowl - DO NOT SCRAPE THE BURNT SHIT INTO THE BOWL. add about 2 oz of red wine into a new saucepan with a wee bit of salt and sugar. once it is bubbly, add the gravy/sauce into the pan. season to taste.
7. UGHH THIS IS LIKE WATER!
solution#1: simmer until it thickens.
solution #2: add some chopped tomato or a can/jar of diced tomatoes.
solution #3: add some nutritional yeast, veg parmesan (or the real stuff if you prefer), or vegan (or real) cream cheese.
solution #4: add some veggies like mushrooms or carrots or zucchini! go crazy!
have a happy dinner! <3

corey's potato salad



“omg… is corey gonna make that potato stuff?!”

"the spca wants the recipe for their cookout"

"make it for my party!"


my boyfriend came up with this crazy potato salad recipe to compensate for the lack of vegan food at a b-b-q, 

but EVERYONE loved it… 
the dish is demanded at every b-b-q our neighbors have and at every local spca function. 
this recipe is almost entirely done “to taste”. 
i listed what we put in it, but you may want more vegenaise and less onion, or whatever.



COREY'S A-MAZIN VEGAN TATER SALAD





INGREDIENTS
* half a bag of yukon gold potatoes
* half of a small jar of vegenaise
* yellow mustard to taste
* little less than a handful of pitted kalamata olives
* half of a jewish deli pickle (or more if you want)
* half of a medium red onion
* sweet peppers or red and orange bell peppers (as many as you want)
* minced garlic to taste
* onion powder to taste
* sea salt to taste
* freshly cracked pepper to taste
* smoked paprika to taste
DIRECTIONS
1. cut the potatoes into cubes.
2. boil the potatoes in salted water, drain, and put into the refrigerator.
3. chop up your veggies (pickle, olives, peppers, onion) and place in a bowl.
4. add the seasonings to veggies.
5. once the potatoes are cool, mix in the vegenaise and mustard.
6. add veggies, mix, and stuff your gullet.

 it’s fucking good.





Tuesday, September 11, 2012

vegan hot dogs?! praise seitan!



i am reallllly not sure where we got the original idea for this, 
but its been kind of a staple around here, 
its easy to adjust to your own personal tastes, and its yummmy.
so... here ya go... 




Seitan Hawt Doggies!



INGREDIENTS:

* one package of vital wheat gluten
* your favorite store bought or homemade vegetable broth
* spices to taste (i.e. mock ham flavoring works nicely... smoked paprika... whatever you would normally use to get a nice meaty flavor when you cook!  this is where you adjust things to your liking! if you have a heavily flavored stock, you prolly wont need to add anything! i personally like to add smoked paprika, garlic, onion and extra paprika to make it red-colored)
* nonstick aluminum foil or foil greased with oil-- cut them into rectangles that are a wee bit wider than you want your hot dogs to be and long enough to roll dough logs into!
* a crock pot or a big assed pot for the stovetop


DIRECTIONS:

* spice your stock to your taste and mix it with your vital wheat gluten. make sure you thoroughly mix it and have no dry spots! it will have a weird texture like spongy play-doh.
* take some of your gluten mixture and place it on the foil.. roll it up to make your preferred hot dog shape and thickness. twist the ends so it is sealed!
* cook the hot dog foil logs in your crock pot! make sure they are covered by water. cook for approx 2 hours (depends on your crock pot!) until firm and dog-like. if you are making them on the stove, same principal applies! cover them with water, bring to a boil, then simmer until cooked thoroughly.
* you can eat them as is or brown them on the stove (my personal preference)



p.s. sorry for the crappy pic!
my camera is broken and 
all i have is my phone right now!
=[







Monday, September 10, 2012

cruelty-free giveaway #2



CONTEST IS OVER!  
the winners have been emailed! 
check your inbox (and spam folders)







just because you are a guy, it doesn't mean you have to buy harsh, chemical-filled items to look your best. as it turns out, every man jack has a rather impressive line of cruelty-free products-- most of which are vegan! so you can feel good about looking good! talk about impressing the ladies... woohoo!

every man jack has deliciously scented (or fragrance-free) shampoos, conditioners, body washes, shave creams, and many other items catered to the big-hearted guy who doesn't want his  grooming ritual to come at a cost to other creatures.  even the shave brush has synthetic fibers!  all of this is reasonably priced AND readily available at stores such as target, whole foods, earth fare, shoprite, pathmark, publix, and bed bath & beyond.



there will be TWO winners of this giveaway!
each winner may pick an item from everymanjack.com up to $15!!

this contest is open to
GUYS and GIRLS
(and talking animals...)
in the United States!

make sure you guys READ the entry requirements! i hate to delete wrong entries!


****i reserve the right to end this raffle early due to
 overwhelming entries or due to personal reasons.
thanks! ****


a Rafflecopter giveaway

egg substitutes for baking

i am gonna post this because i am currently making a cake that requires an egg and i am gonna substitute. 
i figured someone else out there may have a recipe that calls for eggs and maybe they are at home scratching their heads and their eyes out.
so here ya go…

EGG SUBBIES


*half of a mashed banana
(it will add a wee bit of banana flavor to your recipe!)
*plain soy yogurt
(one of those 4oz jawns)
*vanilla soy yogurt
(see above)
*tofu
(put in a blender with some water until you have about the same amount as you would with an egg. pleaseeeee don’t use this substitute in anything you expect to be really fluffy— it is better for breads)
*ener-g egg replacer
(which i believe is a potato starch + tapioca starch blend— just follow the instructions on the box)




*flax seed meal
(i boil some water in my tea kettle and add 3 Tbs of it to 1 Tbs of flax meal and let it sit til it kinda feels snotty)
*unsweetened applesauce
(1/2 of one of those 4oz snack cups)
*soy flour
(1 Tb flour to 1 Tsp water— i havent tried this, but as soon as i do, i will let you know how it goes!)
*approx. 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes
(weird, right?! it works!)

i have also heard you can use pureed pumpkin, pureed squash, and tomato paste…
i will experiment with these, and let you know!

happy egg-free baking! 







microwave brownies... ohhhh yehhhhhh

this isnt my recipe… 
 the same piece of paper i orginally wrote this recipe on has moved with me 
from refrigerator magnet to refrigerator magnet so many times 
that i no longer know its origin.
BUT who cares…. 
brownies in a microwave? 
a.s.a.p.?
fuckkk yehhh. 
thank you, original writer person… who ever you may be.


 MICROWAVE BROWNIES!



INGREDIENTS:
* a microwavable container — a big ramekin or large mug or stoneware bowl

* 1/4 cup of flour
* 1/4 cup of sugar 
* 1/8 tsp baking powder
* 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
* 2 Tbsp vanilla (or chocolate) soy milk
* 1 Tbsp melted margarine ( i use earth balance) 
* 1 Tbsp of your favorite chocolate chips or chunks or chips and chunks
* pinch of salt
* small dash of cinnamon (optional) 

DIRECTIONS: 
* mix all the dry stuff in your microwavable bowl thingie
* add the liquid ingredients and MIX WELL. get rid of any big lumps that you can
* add your chocolate chips or chunks 
* get any “batter” off the sides of your dish… you want it all pretty much together in one lump… smooth out your batter with a spoon
* cook it in the microwave for approx 2 minutes (or longer depending on your microwave) at about 75% power. you do not want your brownie to overcook! it is done as soon as a toothpick that you stick in the center comes out clean— it will harden slightly after you take it out of the microwave
and EAT IT.  ta-da! you have a quick-as-hell brownie for when you neeeeddd chocolate.




what to do with leftover... RICE



1. eat it plain or with your favorite condiment (sriracha, anyone?)

2. toss it in with in your salad

3. make bean, rice, and daiya cheese burritos

4. mix with veggie ground beef, onion, and garlic, and throw into a hollowed out pepper— aka stuffed peppers 

5. mix with parsley,  in some water with some lemon juice and olive oil added, and roll into grape leaves— dolmas!

6. make veggie sushi

7. if you eat eggs, add it to a scramble or make a frittata

8. heat it on the stovetop with a little bit of water so it “re-steams”… add some vanilla almond milk, earth balance, sugar and cinnamon— breakfast!
9. make stirfry / fried rice

10. mix it in with your favorite veggie meatloaf or meatball recipe


11. add to your tomato soup


12. make rice pudding 

13. let it harden into a brick  and throw it at your roommate  ( O_O)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

first giveaway... and then some!

giveaways are fun, right? duhhhh!

i will start doing TWO types of giveaways on my blog...
1. cruelty-free items such as cosmetics and food stuffs
2. gift cards or items from my favorite shops around the world wide web

oh and three... i lied...
3. well.. not the same, but i will be posting giveaways from friends blogs
to give them (and myself) more exposure


my very first giveaway will be for e.l.f. nail polish!
three ever-so-lucky winners will get three different e.l.f. nail polishes courtesy of me! 
bubble gum pink, chocolate, coral, cranberry, fire coral, mango madness, medium red, metal madness, mint cream, and party peach are the colors available!



e.l.f. (eyes lips face) is an amazing company to start off with-- they are firm believers that you shouldn't have to cut off an arm and sell a kidney to be able to afford glamorous cosmetics. they believe beauty starts from within, and you can look like a rock star on any budget! no more long drives to sephora or crying over the bill at M·A·C-- e.l.f. cosmetics can be found at your local target or k-mart!

best of all? e.l.f. does not test on animals AND none of their products contain animal-derived ingredients! woohoo! the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act does not require cosmetics companies to test their products for safety, nor require animal testing, so by purchasing cruelty-free cosmetics such as these, you not only save tons of bunnies, dogs, mice, rats, etc from pain and torture, but you send out a strong message to other not-so-humane companies-- WE DON'T NEED YOU OR YOUR TESTS!

for more information on animal testing, please visit http://www.peta.org/issues/Animals-Used-for-Experimentation/product-testing-toxic-tragic.aspx !




my new blog will be changing over the next week or so... don't be alarmed =] 
check back in a few days!

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