Monday, March 31, 2014

Vegan Mini Pepperoni Polenta Pizzas

Skip the dough fest and use polenta for a fresh spin on pizza!
Time is of the essence. Deadlines and critiques and graduation galore. My thoughts are of nothing else.
March is over today. After endless showers, the weather unveiled pretty sunshine. Well, sort of. The gusty wind blew away good intentions. Still a jacket required outing.
On the plus side, I used my new baking pan. For a while there, I used a cheap cookie sheet, now with this $25 retail valued nonstick addition found for $7, I feel a sense of worthiness.
Polenta. Polenta. How I love polenta. Once I had baked pasta with pepperonis because the soy ground was all gone. I called it pizza mac. Now here it goes with polenta- my other love. Who doesn't enjoy using polenta as a pasta substitute? Garden veggie polenta lasagna with tofu ricotta or ravioli stuffed polenta are just some delicious sounding meals that I would love to create sometime. Thankfully, polenta is versatile- a recipe underdog for the toughest entree fix. For now, here's pizza.
Seasoned with garlic, Italian seasonings, and olive oil, same ingredients added to homemade dough, little polenta rounds are then topped with tradition. I was disheartened that my oven is a weirdo. How else could I explain how some of Follow My Heart's cheese melted on some rounds and not on others?
Anywho, these miniature pizzas are quite delicious! Great appetizer fun. If having a party, five people could have five apiece, but if eating solo.... well, do your own kind of math. Ha ha! ;)

Vegan Mini Pepperoni Polenta Pizzas Ingredients and Preparation

1 18 oz. pkg polenta, sliced thinly (I made 25 slices)
olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic
1 1/2 Italian seasonings
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
tomato sauce
Follow Your Heart mozzarella, thinly sliced and cut into small squares
Yves Pepperoni (had 25 pepperonis)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake polenta for 30 minutes- 15 on each side.

Spread about 1/2 tablespoon tomato sauce on each polenta circle.
Top sauce with a sliver of cheese.
One slice of pepperoni each. Bake for 15 minutes.
While some of the cheese didn't melt like how I wanted (will maybe slice thinner?), still pretty good nonetheless!
Two bites and bam! They disappear instantly.
The melted cheese ones were the best surprises!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Vegan Gluten Free Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes With Blueberry-Lemon Maple Syrup

Blueberry supreme!
Graduation is hailing near. And frankly, I must admit, I forgot that I was graduating. Between immersion into being accepted into PAFA's MFA Program, watching old Guiding Light reruns (cannot get enough!), journal writing, crying over a dead laptop, gearing up for playing a greedy king in our seminar's Rumpelstiltskin play (next week curtains open!), and drawing lioness fantasies, somehow completing the intensive strenuous year long Post Baccalaureate program somehow slipped my mind. I missed the graduation rehearsal and everything. My only hope is that my name is pronounced right. On the plus side, I have two invitations and have to decide who I love more.
Can't I just invite pancakes? More specifically blueberry sour cream pancakes with blueberry lemon syrup drizzled on top? Imagine that having a front roll seat.
So here's a vaulted recipe from weeks ago.
Back in Dayton, on the strange weather nonsensical spring break, I really enjoyed these light, fluffy pancakes aided by the creaminess of sour cream and joined by bursting blueberry sweetness. The day before Krogers had a sale on organic fruit. I bought up a fresh pint of blueberries, thinking only of pancakes- that gluten free pancake/waffle mix had to be put to good use! Again as simple as the raspberry pancakes and just as delicious.
Why have maple syrup plain? Yes, maple syrup is so ridiculously good. Why mess that up? I adored the raspberry syrup so much, why not add another fine fruit to the mix? It was incredible! With lemon juice and ginger to counteract the sugared intensity, nothing is more fun than witnessing blueberries popping and syrup turning into an elegant shade of royal purple.
Pancakes that are perfect as breakfast, brunch, lunch, dessert, or dinner. Everyone would be sure to love them- vegan or nonvegan! :)

Vegan Gluten Free Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes With Blueberry-Lemon Maple Syrup Ingredients and Preparation

olive oil
1 cup Maple Grove Farms Gluten Free Pancake/Waffle Mix
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoon Tofutti Sour Cream
1/4 cup blueberries
pinch of cinnamon

1/2 maple syrup
1/4 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
lemon zest
pinch of almond extract

Heat skillet with olive oil.
Mix batter ingredients together.
Spread 1/4 cup onto warmed skillet and wait for the edges to brown/ center to bubble.
Flip over.
Repeat.

To sauce up your blueberry-sour cream pancakes, warm up syrup with blueberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, ginger, and almond extract for about 5-7 minutes until color changes to a deep purple.
Serve hot.

Served with a side of seasoned tempeh strips.
Perfect breakfast. Or dinner. Or lunch. Or whatever.
Yum.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Night On The Town Broadway First Timer Style

Mamma Mia at Broadhurst Theater.
"....money, money, money, must be sunny, in a rich man's world!"
I've had that tune in my head since intermission. That intermission on Sunday night...
Finally used my raffle prize winnings (from the Apothecary Theater Company- thank you all so much!) to see Mamma Mia on Broadway! Formerly, Once, couldn't contain excitement the moment I received my will call tickets and first Playbill.
A classmate warned me about the "annoying" antics of cheesy pop ABBA.
However, I found myself in total enjoyment, in total rapture in all honesty. Oh the theater! The theater is so much fun!!!!! So entertaining! So grand and viscerally engaging! The phenomenal acting, the powerhouse singing, the sync choreography, the glitzy costumes- wonderful! The cast was perfectly suited for every role. They had the audience in hysterics or in sorrow or dancing like queens (and kings!). Just a widened array of emotion! I had such a fantastic view of the stage and sat next to some sweet ladies. Cannot begin to serenade how joyous the Sunday had been. There were even encores galore! Show was scheduled to end at 9:30 PM- we left at 10PM! So amazing how much energy was on hand!
Today, I am still listening to ABBA- well, with headphones on. No one needs to know that I'm a Dancing Queen now...
Prior to the show- stopped at Terri again. Yes, I may have an addiction to that chickpea "tuna" melt (which will be a mimicked recipe this week!) and the Butterfinger milkshake is nothing to sneeze at. Post show, took pictures outside and met some of the Mamma Mia cast members.
Post show: discovered a 24 hour Starbucks and 24 hour Sephora. Plus various licensed characters like Captain America, Spiderman, and Elmo ruled the street- in front of a late night Toys R Us. Quite outrageous madness for a Sunday. But I guess that's how they do Times Square.
Funny coincidence alert- Judy McLane the actress playing hot mama Donna Sheridan was on Guiding Light. Ummmm..... remember that Tom Pelphrey (the APC co-founder, two time winning actor from Guiding Light- guy met in Brooklyn and skillfully dodged in Connecticut). So thus, this completed an oddly chained circle ignited by the dead soap opera- forever alive in my heart thanks to Youtube and a dedicated fan forum.
Life couldn't get any more seriously serialized than than that.

Cheetah scarf!
Does this look familiar? Why yes, it is Terri, my favorite eatery. Chickpea "tuna" melt and the irresistible Butterfinger milkshake.
The official Playbill and prize tickets!
Post-show.
Met the lovely, very talented Elena Ricardo, former gymnast, who played lead Sophie Sheridan.
Spiderman texting.
Captain America was heading straight towards me for reasons unknown.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse with Elmo calling it a night.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Roasted Asparagus With Coconut Mushroom And Tofu Cream Sauce

Roasted asparagus gets smothered in richly flavorful mushroom-tofu cream.
A yin yang is happening with the weather. One day the beautiful sun is out and the next wintry chills make the spine shiver, announcing that Jack Frost is far from being overthrown. Sadly enough, we are expecting more snow flurries this week and coldness always brings about reasons for making warm meals aplenty.
There's certainly nothing like the aroma of roasted vegetables. It fills up a kitchen with the beautiful promise of a spectacular dinner. Picturesque asparagus is a perfect candidate for a simple coconut curry sauce aided by chunky mushrooms and tofu. Upon being plated, the wondrous eye sees a deep, rich green coated in golden hue. Nostrils flare at varied scents peppering the nose. With the first bite of creamy decadence comes the taste of solid sophistication.
Meal is perfect for two. Or for one person to split in half. 

Roasted Asparagus With Coconut Mushroom And Tofu Cream Sauce Ingredients and Preparation

1 lb asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
good amount olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk
2 tablespoon coconut milk
1/2 tofu, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

On a cookie sheet, massage olive oil, salt, garlic, Italian seasonings, and black pepper onto asparagus, coating evenly. Roast for 13-17 minutes.
Browned and fragrant.
Definitely ready for the sauce.
First heat mushrooms until shrinkage occurs. Stir in tofu cubes, coconut cream, and coconut milk.
Very thick consistency, but perfect for making curries, ice creams, and puddings.
After adding remainder of ingredients, cook sauce for 7-10 minutes.
Pour sauce over asparagus. For added flavor sprinkle coriander atop if desired.
Closeup.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Vegan Chili Mac

Spicy beefy mac.
Spring is happening. The weather is warm and pleasant. Happy birds are flying around. I have been enjoying much needed walking exercise. Hopefully, everyone has been keeping active as skies become more filled with golden sun rays. 
Chili mac, however, is a dish best served for the cold, chilly wintry evenings. It is a simple dish- making a pot of macaroni, stirring in fiber packed beans (here I used black, my favorite) and soy ground, and omitting ooey gooey cheese factor. Certainly, if one wants to add Daiya or Follow Your Heart, by all means do so. Here, nutritional yeast gets the job done and is aided by delicious flavored tomato sauce ( a tasty vegetable garden by 365 Brand).  Also, I didn't add oil because there was already oil in the sauce- gotta be a good vegan sometimes.
Pretty, savory, and fragrant, chili mac is the perfect, easy-to-make meal. So so good.....

Vegan Chili Mac Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup elbow macaroni
1 cup broccoli, steamed
1/2 cup beans (black, red, kidney, or any desired)
1/2 cup soy ground
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of paprika

Prepare macaroni according to package directions.
Drain macaroni and place pan back onto the burner.

With heat set on medium high temperature, stir remaining ingredients together.
Warm for 5-7 minutes.
Dinner is bowled.
Serve with a side of iced lemon water.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Three State Weekend Paved On A Tiger Lily Road

Adele Dazeem also known as Idina Menzel has a new Broadway musical If/Then.
Remember on the night on February 22nd that I mentioned going to Torrington, Connecticut to see the premiere of Michael Medeiros's quirky independent film, Tiger Lily Road? It stars Tom Pelphrey (2 time Daytime Emmy award winning Guiding Light actor and theater aficionado), Ilvi Dulack, and Karen Chamberlain. Well, it finally happened.
My bus to a small, unlikely place for latest adventure was due to arrive at Philadelphia at 4:05 AM on March 15th. Yes. 4:05 AM. I had been way too excited to sleep. Prior to arriving at the Greyhound Station, I was in my studio eating chocolate bars and drawing mermaids. Practically high on sugar and happiness the whole way on the road. I kept to myself, scaring nothing but my own racing heart.
After arriving in New York and playing around willy nilly with the three hour layover (okay not playing I forgot where the NYC station was), I almost missed the transfer. I know. I know. I'm really bad with time. The driver even stated, "I would have left you and you would have to wait until 5PM for the next one." I already knew this information. But grateful, I thanked him for pausing for me. He didn't have to.
Hours later, I checked into my hotel and jumped on the bed for a while. Not lying. It's impossible not to be enthused about something I had been dying to see for so long. And it took being in a strange, unknown town for me to get to this point.
I spent the afternoon venturing around, familiarizing myself with the locale, the very locale Tiger Lily Road was filmed. Nice and quiet with melted snow.
By the way, this should surprise no one, I did walk through two wrong doors to get to the right theater, but hey, that happens to common scatterbrains...
Tiger Lily Road was well worth the wait. And believe me, I had been impatient for a while. I first saw its trailer years ago. Back then, it looked like a pop up dollhouse featurette. It had a campaign too. I almost bought the Jezebel shirt. Now I feel extreme regret over the Jezebel shirt- featured in a scene along with pink heart decorated pajama pants- an outfit rarely seen together on so masculine a man. That's another story. Still, that's why it's imperative to support a filmmaker's vision, especially if something within screenplay resonates to you- the viewer. I do feel horrid for not supporting Tiger Lily Road enough on its burgeoning baby wheels.
Seeing its premiere in the flesh was some redemption. The dark, edgy comedy was brilliant and funny with some sexiness and buns of steel and other unmentionable treats. Just everything I hoped it would be and more. I simply cannot get "don't be a lily all your life" out of my mind. That little phrase sings like a chirping bird. Maybe I should take that advice.
I wish I could see again... like tomorrow, like right now!
Michael said that they may be premiering it again in NYC come May or June. I pray that this is true.
In the meantime, I look forward to posting my review soon. Word of mouth must spread like bee honeyed wildfire to get a buzz going on this film. It deserves that. Plus, it won a Cincinnati (where yours truly scored her undergrad) Screenplay Award- definitely fate. If that makes any sense...
After the film ended and credits rolled, the Q&A started up. It turns out Tom wasn't the original male lead. How interesting! It was filmed during a course of 3 winters. Tom lived with a nice lady during his stay. Had car trouble. The film's opening scene also had another cast switcheroo.
"It just wasn't the right dog!" Michael exclaimed.
I also liked that a longtime Torrington resident said that he never seen his town depicted in such a way, that the film made him see it through new spectacles. That was so wonderful!
I jotted more notes amongst scribbled drawings of tiger lilies, filled out the little white response card, accidentally left new umbrella, squealed on camera how much I loved the movie (they were conducting live audience responses as well as the written), and left out the wrong door. Needless to say, in the shadows of a rain residue evening, I climbed and jumped atop things in a short dress (hey, I wore tights AND underwear- great etiquette!) and got boots dirtier. Kind of funny and ridiculous at the same time. At least, I didn't break an ankle or inflicted bodily harm- which klutzes are typically known for. Thankfully, no one saw me doing these things. I hope...
I skipped jovially back to the hotel, wondering how a lady gets so lucky when summer, birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are so many months away....
And speaking of early gifts- next Sunday is Broadway Sunday! My friend and I will be off to see Mamma Mia (formerly Once) thanks to the ATC raffle. I'm stoked!!!

Not the Greyhound. My bus transferred to Peter Pan. My first time ever on the green bus!
Form fitted dress from Philly Aids Thrift and a thick black belt found Saturday morning at Forever 21 on Broadway in NYC. Tie purposefully matches red lipstick. Yes. I look like a reporter lady.
On my way, I spotted a cutesy sign featuring a happy squirrel (or is it a raccoon?) holding chopsticks and a bowl of yum- the perfect lunch destination called Teriyaki Boy.
I ordered the steamed tofu bowl with brown rice and soy ginger garlicky sauce. So good.
Found one mural.
The horsey was the best! She/he is comprised of mosaic tiles and cut up paintings. So beautiful!
This little town of Torrington is quite quaint in certain spots, primarily downtown. I can see why one would film a movie here. It's nice really.
The main attraction.
The many years wait was over!!!
Really amazingly fragrant salad featuring crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, hearts of palms (first time trying this and it's delicious!), artichokes, and red wine vinaigrette.
Back to the room, watching "Set It Off," only the saddest film ever, guiltily enjoying Sahale Fruit & Almond Cherries, Apples, and Maple clustered snacks in bed. I promise no crumbs were left!
The morning selfie.
Toasted bagels and orange juice and a Golden Girls TV Land marathon. Made of breakfast win!
Trees are still naked, waiting for spring clothes.
Indigo, purple, and grey blue sky. Just lovely.
Lush greenery is finally spotted.
Frozen lakes and rivers.
Sun.
Going back to NYC.