Sunday, February 17, 2008


That's how old I am today. I don't have huge birthday festivities planned; I went to Athens and spent yesterday with my best friend from college, we ate at The Grit where I managed to polish off a huge slab of their rich, delicious Vegan Chocolate Death Cake. We tried to go hiking but the trail we attempted was filthy and depressing--so we cut our hike short but on the way back down, we stopped at this stretch along the trail where the ground was absolutely covered with shards of broken glass. We filled up two Nalgene bottles with glass pieces, and if we had been able we could have filled up two more. It was so sad and so infuriating--who thinks that kind of thing is okay?

I might make cupcakes this evening to take to work tomorrow... so just you wait. In the meantime, here are a few of the things I have been cooking up over the past couple of weeks.

I got home from work one night in the mood to bake cookies--specifically, cookies with cranberries and walnuts in them. I flipped open my copy of Eat, Drink and Be Vegan and I turned directly to the Walnut-Cranberry-Carob Clusters--perfect! As I was whipping them up, the recipe on the adjacent page caught my eye--"You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate" Cookies! Mmmm.... What can be better than dark, moist chocolate cookies with chunks of natural peanut butter swirled in? So after I finished the first batch, I whipped up a batch of these as well.

The first batch tasted delicious and wholesome, and it really satisfied my strange craving for cranberry-walnut cookies. I loved their texture, too--they were soft and crumbly, almost like little biscuits.

But the second batch--those were the best cookies I have tasted in a long time. Everything about them was perfect--just the right amount of peanut butter to complement the chocolate, just the right amount of moistness and sweetness. I took them to work in an attempt not to consume the entire batch myself. A lot of them got eaten at work--I heard no comments on them and I brought them anonymously--but I still had to bring a few of them home. I shared them with a friend the next day, and she agreed with me--the best cookies either of us had had in a long time. This recipe is definitelya winner!

Speaking of peanut butter, I made these peanut butter-banana quesadillas for breakfast one morning. I grilled them on my George Foreman grill and the banana slices became soft and caramelized while the peanut butter became warm and gooey. I enjoyed a green smoothie alongside this meal for a nutritional boost.

Last weekend I made a large batch of Savory French Lentils from ED&BV. Unable to find mushroom broth that did not contain dairy ingredients (why??), I instead used vegetable broth and I added some dried mushroom pieces. I loved these lentils served over roasted acorn squash rings as the recipe suggested; I also enjoyed it several times for lunch at work with steamed kale. This recipe was very easy and the great thing about lentils is that you don't have to plan ahead and soak them before you can cook them--which, for my schedule these days when I just don't know when I'll have time to cook, is a huge help.

Speaking of my busy schedule, I recently received a copy of this book:

Quick-Fix Vegetarian by Robin Robertson. All the recipes are vegan, and all require minimal preparation time. I have not cooked from it yet but I have perused it from cover to cover, and I am hoping to be able to dive into it some this week. (By the way, check out Robin's Website. I am quite excited about her new cookbook, Vegan Fire & Spice. I am hoping to be able to check it out soon!)

Last night, my friend from Athens and I made these veggie-portobella fajitas for dinner. All it took was a red pepper, a green pepper, a red onion, and a couple of portobella caps, a little bit of spice mix consisting of chili powder, cayenne pepper, adobo, and garlic powder, some flour tortillas, and fresh lime juice to finish. While I made the fajitas, Mary Ann whipped up some fresh guacamole and some homemade tortilla chips. Such a simple meal but so fresh and flavorful...

On top of tax season, I have also joined a spring tennis league--so it looks like I will be hitting the tennis courts every chance I get over the next couple of months. I'll still be cooking, and after this weekend I'm really going to focus very hard on fresh, healthy, balanced meals so that I look and feel extra-healthy by mid-April. You see, I have planned a vacation to San Francisco!!! I've never been out to the west coast and I'm so excited. My friend Kelly and I will be leaving two days after the tax deadline, and I am planning to have the best time in the world. We will be there nine days, and I am open to any suggestions anyone has as to the best places to eat and visit while we're there.

I'll be around again soon--hopefully it won't be two weeks before I blog again. Take care!!


Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Millenium restaurant in San Fran. is wonderful and vegan and also expensive. But worth it once in a lifetime, you know?

Greens is very good too, as is Herbivore, though I haven't been to any of these in over two years.

Courtney said...

Happy Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had a great time with your friend, and I hope that you enjoyed your day.

All of your cooking looks and sounds fabulous! I rarely have time to cook during the week, and I love recipes like those lentils that you don't have to plan ahead for and that make a lot--leftovers are my best friend!


Sam said...

Happy birthday! I turn twenty four on the 28th. I loved San Fran. I was there over a year ago and loved that place. Chinatown has a ton of really good vegan/veggie places who know how to cook tofu to perfection. It will be a good vacation for you after tax time!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Happy belated birthday!!! You just gave me the perfect idea for cookies to make to take on my trip this next weekend (the pb chocolate ones!). And I love your breakfast quesadilla, a good way to mix things up!

What fun, a trip to SF!! One of my favorite places.... sigh. It's sucha fun place to just walk around. We like hanging out near North Beach and people watching. For food, definitely get to Millenium if you have the chance. Oh and Maggie Mudd's ice cream... a little out of the way, but so worth it!!!

Monika K said...

Happy belated birthday! 24 is a great year (I'm halfway through it and loving life! (-:). The PB cookies look terrific - I'll have to make them when my brother comes to visit (he's a PB junkie). San Francisco should be AWESOME! I've heard the Greens is terrific and I can't wait to see your pics and hear how it went.

b36Kitchen said...

happy belated b-day!

those cookies look devine!

Cara said...

peanut butter banana quesadilla's sounds like the best combination ever. I want some now! :-)

Happy Birthday!! I will be 24 in less than 6 months. How does it feel? ;-)

kindkitchen said...

Happy Happy Birthday to you! I am only a little over 2 months older than you-cool :]

San Fran-awesome!! I am so excited for you. I have only be their as a child, but I've heard many, many good things about Millenium.

Also, that's awesome you are starting tennis. That will be fun!

kindkitchen said...

"be their" = been there

haha wow

springsandwells said...

Happy Birthday Laura!
What a nice post. I am always amazed at how I can have a cookie craving, and one of Dreena's cookbooks will be there with the *perfect* recipe every time. I have GOT to try those peanut butter chocolate cookies... they sound wonderful.

Also, what sort of mad genius thinks up peanut butter banana quesadillas? I don't have one of those George Foreman type deals, but they do seem fun. For whatever reason, caramelized bananas have been on my mind a lot lately. I must do something about that!

Wonderful that you are coming out to San Francisco! There's plenty of good eating... Here are some of my favorite stops:
Millenium - so expensive, but very good and very fun, at least once
Rainbow Grocery - the hugest natural foods store ever with a *crazy* good bulk section
Ali Baba's Cafe - on Valencia. Their falafel is vegan, delicious, and HUGE
Maggie Mudds - fantastic ice cream parlor that has many vegan flavors

I have only been to Greens a couple of times and it was pretty good (also a bit pricey). Same with Herbivore, but it's not pricey. Herbivore is a little more "fast foody," I think.

In truth, most place in SF should be vegan friendly... so you oughta be able to eat wheresoever you please.

What fun!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday. It is so good to find a new entry at the blog. The cookies sound great!

Dolores Jones

aTxVegn said...

Happy Birthday, Laura! Your cookies look so good and I'm anxious to try both of those recipes.

San Francisco will be a great vacation for you - how exciting!

aTxVegn said...
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VeggieGirl said...

Happy belated birthday!! So glad to see that you've been cooking and baking so much!! I made those peanut-butter-chocolate cookies from ED&BV, except I substitute almond-butter and carob for my batch :0)

I own "Quick Fix Vegetarian," but have not been inclined to try any of the recipes... none of them really shout "TRY ME NOW!" (in my opinion), so I'm looking forward to seeing your own recommendations, once you start cooking from it.

ooh, the tennis league sounds fun, as does your vacation to San Franciso - have fun!! :0)

onward and upward! said...

Happy Birthday! It's belated and you don't know me, but I'm so impressed with your cooking and your thoughtfulness. For 24, you seem so mature and accomplished. I hope things resolve themselves in your personal life in a way that you can live with.
Best Wishes!

Erika (and maybe Matt, too) said...

Hi Laura, I've recently come across your blog and LOVE looking at all your pictures/descriptions of food...and I was thinking that if you ever got tired of accounting and I ever got really rich, perhaps you would like to be my personal chef?? I think your food looks amazing and it inspires me to try new things (since I've never heard of most of the things you cook with!). Anyway, just wanted to let you know I love your blog and happy belated birthday! -Erika (Stone) Bates

Urban Vegan said...

Looks like you have been eating well. I love you r PB & B quesadilla.

The trail does sound sad that people don't care as much abotu nature as some of us ;)

Urban Vegan said...

Oh--and Happy, happy b'day!!!

Johanna3 said...

happy belated birthday!!!

those cookies looks awesome.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Happy, happy birthday girl!

Looks like you've ben enjoying some great foods. Have fun on your vacation!

bazu said...

Happy birthday!! 24 was a really fun year for me- the year I started exercising, went vegan, finished my first year of grad. school, good times. I wish the same for you. How exciting about the S.F. trip! I haven't been back there in a couple of years, but I know there are so many cool things for you to see, and people to meet up with or get advice from! I grew up in the bay area, so if you want to chat about it, drop me an email!

Liz² said...

Happy birthday!

I can't believe you picked glass up off the trail, that's so hardcore! and your portabella fajitas look SO good (simple, fresh, and mexican usually means dinner perfection, eh?). AND those PB chocolate cookies need to get made, by me, so I can finally taste them and say they're the best cookie ever too.

and you mentioned wizard people dear reader before, right? Awesome!! Harry freaking Potter high five! XD

disa said...