Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I've been busy. Perfecting a vegan Pumpkin roll. Put it at the top of my list of accomplishments for 2010.
I made a few of these for Thanksgiving. About 15. They all went to good homes.
I made some Apple Pear and Ginger pies too. Only 10. They did not all go in my belly. Pinky swear.
Of course now that Thanksgiving is over, I can focus on things like gingerbread and peppermint. More on that soon...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Urban Housewife at Grindcore House

Melisser Elliott, otherwise known as The Urban Housewife, is releasing a book: The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life. And she'll be in Philly next week for a book signing at the most excellent Grindcore House coffee shop. Wednesday, November 10th, from 6-8 PM. It's going to be awesome. Philly vegans, especially all you lovely vegan ladies, I'm expecting you to represent. I know I'll be there, dorking out, and I'm totally bringing some snacks for the author. Carbomb Cupcakes, perhaps? (Now completely vegan, of course.)
And while we're on the subject, let's talk about that awesome coffee shop. Oh Grindcore House, how I love thee. Let me count the ways...

1. Finally! A coffee shop in my neighborhood! Something I can easily walk to from my apartment that I actually want to walk to? Didn't think I'd see the day down here!

2. This isn't just any coffee shop. It's 100% vegan. A vegan coffee shop. In deep South Philly. I totally did a triple take when I first saw the sign.
3. They've got a big pastry case full of cruelty-free tasty treats. Some from Vegan Treats, some from North Port Fishington Cookie Factory, and the rest from lots of other local bakers (wink, wink).
4. Sandwiches are on the menu too. And bagels with a big selection of flavored cream cheese options. They carry Better Butter as well for your snacking pleasure. They've got their bases covered.

5. Their iced tea is BANGIN'.

6. Seasonal favorite: Hot Apple Cider

7. Five different alternative milk options (coconut creamer, soy milk and creamer, rice milk and almond milk), and agave syrup on the bar.
8. The shop is a much-needed beacon of light in what can be an otherwise dismal neighborhood.
9. Baristas that are sweet, not snobby pants.
10. The owners, Mike and David, are probably the nicest people on the planet. Fact.

And of course, they do some great events. Besides the Urban Housewife, here's some other events coming soon:

I hope I see lots of your smiling faces next Wednesday, for Melisser's book signing. Tell your friends. Grab a copy or two of the book, meet the author, and snack on vegan goodies. What else are you doing on a Wednesday night?

Monday, November 1, 2010


Soup is in the collective unconscious. Seems like every blogger out there has made soup in the last two weeks. And who's to blame them? A chill in the air, sweater weather, and autumn vegetables filling up market stands just begging to be tossed in a pot and simmered with stock. It's soup season.
And I've seen those vegetable stands. I've been working some farmer's markets lately with Wild Flour Bakery. It's kind of the best job ever. I get to sell breads and pastries, talk about food, meet wonderful people, and at the end of the day come home with more bread and vegetables than I know what do with. Well, that's not true. I know exactly what to do with them. Throw those veggies in a pot, and eat that bread with the soup. Problem solved.
Ok, Hold on. Can we talk about this bread for a minute? Wild Flour is not a vegan bakery, so none of their pastries are vegan, but most of their breads are. And their bread is amazing. I started working for them just to keep up with my bread habit. True Story. They've got a couple of beer breads that they make with Yards beers, a local Philadelphia Brewery. There's an ESA Multi-Grain, a Porter Pumpernickel, a Jefferson Whole Wheat, and a Tavern Spruce Rye (my personal favorite).
There's also an olive bread that will knock your socks off. It's full of kalamata olives and herbs de provence and fills your mouth with briny bready goodness. The American Grain is pretty damn tasty too, but the honey keeps it from being vegan. I recommend stopping by a farmer's market soon and grabbing a loaf or two or three for your snacking/sandwiching pleasure. Eat one today and toss one in the freezer for later. You can find them at the Bala Cynwyd and Fairmount markets on Thursdays, Bryn Mawr and Rittenhouse on Saturdays and Headhouse Square on Sundays.
But let's get back to the soup. I don't have many go-to recipes when it comes to dinner. Truth is, I don't make dinner very often beyond pasta or box mixes, and leave the snack DJing to Ken (though I'm trying to change that). But this recipe for Mushroom Barley Stew is a go-to recipe. It's hearty. It's filling. It's vegan. And I pull it out every time the temperature drops. It's easy as can be, and feeds 2 people for at least 2 days. It's a great way to get that warm and cozy feeling on those nights when you need to pull out a blanket.

Mushroom Barley Stew
adapted from How it all Vegan

2 carrots, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
15-20 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
1 cup dry pearl barley
1 tbsp Braggs or soy sauce
1 tsp cumin
3-4 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
tabasco to taste

In a large soup or stock pot, saute the carrots, onion, peppers and garlic in the olive oil until onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms, and saute until mushrooms are tender. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer until barley is fully cooked, about 20-30 minutes.