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Happy New Year! I hope everyone survived the Holiday season & is ready for a fun & fabulous 2008! Here's a shot of our vintage silver tree complete with vintage ornaments. I wish I could capture the lighted color wheel as well, but the reflection of the tree on the walls will have to suffice.
The Christmas season started for us with a road trip to Southern California to spend time with Ryan's family. Being so close to Los Angeles, we decided to check out restaurants & meet up with friends. To kick things off, we dined together at Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana, a lovely restaurant with organic, vegan fare & a seasonal menu. The meal was just what we needed after the stress of a long drive! Lemon rosemary seitan with an asparagus crepe and vegetables, as well as a holiday special of "chicken fried seitan" with mashed potatoes, cranberry, & sweet potatoes tickled our taste buds! We wrapped up the meal with a trio of pies; pumpkin, pecan, & french apple & I insisted on the chocolate souffle. At the time, I didn't realize what a feat a vegan souffle can be! It was delicious & I feel as though I should replicate it when I have the time.
Another night brought us to Pure Luck in Los Angeles with a group of awesome friends from the blog world to the PPK! Bazu from Where's the Revolution, Teresa from MaybePigsCanFly, Sharon from To Live and Eat in LA, Trina from Your Vegan Mom, as well PPKers Mike, Jenny Shades, Jenny Stench & friends all gathered to nosh & drink beer together!
The jackfruit carnitas tacos are something that need to be tried to be believed! Ryan & I practically inhaled them with a side of fried pickle chips in BBQ sauce, as well as two more tacos filled with plantains with sweet cream! The jackfruit carnitas tacos have been on my mind ever since this meal, so I'm going to attempt to make them this week.
After the grub, we headed to Scoops across the street only to find they were just about out of vegan flavors! A few of us ended up with some Lemon Jasmine ice cream, not my first choice, but it was smooth & refreshing nonetheless. It sounds like I'll have to make it back to Scoops earlier in the day sometime in the future as we missed out on flavors like Strawberry Balsamic & Tiramisu!
Sharon was kind enough to bring mini cupcakes from Leda's Bake Shop for Ryan & I! Everyone "oohed" & "ahhed" at their lovely decor & they were throughly enjoy later that night in our car before heading home. In addition to the lovely cupcakes, Teresa gave me a copy of Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan & Bazu gave me a Make Your own Chai kit! Aren't I the luckiest?! Thanks again ladies!
On Christmas Day, we were back in the Bay Area to spend time with my family. I didn't think I would have time to bake, but I managed to whip up some goodies for the celebration! Once again the Snickerdoodles from Kelly & Garrick's upcoming cookie book were made with the addition of their amazing English Toffee Bars, which you can find a recipe for here! Make them! The easiest thing I whipped up was Peanut Butter Fudge, which doesn't get baked at all, so you can whip this up for yourself anytime.
Peanut Butter Fudge
3/4 cup Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
1 cup peanut butter (natural works best, as sweetened will be far too sugary.)
3 cups confectioners' sugar (sifted, if clumpy)
2/3 cup cocoa powder
Lightly grease a 9x9 baking dish, parchment is another option for the bottom.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt margarine.
Remove margarine from the heat and whisk in peanut butter until smooth.
Stir in the confectioners' sugar & cocoa, a little at a time, until well blended. It should be thick!
Smooth & press the mixture into your prepared pan & chill until firm.
Once it's firm, cut it in to squares & enjoy!
This fudge tastes awesome right out of the freezer! It's a somewhat soft fudge, & it melts a bit, so it's nice to have some completely solidified.
In addition to sweet treats, I had quite the feast of savory foods! Family dinners can leave a vegan's plate pretty empty, but my mother was wonderful & prepared the mashed potatoes & green beans dairy-free, plus she surprised us with delicious fruit kabobs. My plate was full with Celine's Seitan "steaks", mashed potatoes & punk rock chickpea gravy, Ryan's cranberry sauce, green beans, & fruit kabobs. Needless to say, I was very satisfied with my holiday feast!
Well, 2008 is here! I started it dancing on a bar & playing Guitar Hero with friends, but after some rest time, I attended a brunch at the home of Shane & Mel from Veglicious Recipes! Mel was the most amazing host & made all the food herself, which included Lettuce Wraps, Peanut Butter coffee cake, roasted vegetables, Apple & Pear salad, & Cherry Coconut muffins, many of which you can find recipes for on her blog! It was an excellent way to start 2008 & if it's any indication of the year in store, it will be a fabulous year!