Monday, October 26, 2009

New Kitchen!

After six and a half years in this house we finally broke down and remodeled our kitchen. The old kitchen had a certain funky charm with its huge cast iron sink and painted cabinets but it dated to when our house was built in 1958 so we figured over 50 years was a good life span for a kitchen. The main issues were the lack of a dishwasher and drawers that slid open on friction so we always had sawdust all over our pots and pans below. Plus the sink cabinet was completely rotten underneath from a long-ago water leak. We couldn't afford the higher-end builder we talked to so we went to Lowe's and made it work by getting middle-of-the-road cabinets and counters and doing some of the work ourselves. We gained some cabinet space and a good bit of counter space and are quite happy with the result.

Here's the "before" picture in all its cluttered glory.

We don't quite have a final "after" picture yet because there was a mistake with the countertop order and the sink counter arrived two inches too short. The short counter was installed temporarily but there's a gap between the counter and wall. Hopefully a new counter will come in any day now and the short one will be replaced. Once that's done we can mount a few things on the wall by the sink, and I'm also planning on building a new spice rack since there's not enough room for our old one anymore.

And now that we have a great new kitchen maybe we'll start cooking more in it and get back to posting about food one day soon!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Baked Spring Rolls

OK... this is mainly an excuse to re-hash some old content but for those who have only started reading more recently I did want to bring up this old standby. A couple weeks ago we got the largest head of napa cabbage I've ever seen from our CSA. It was still in the back of our fridge tonight and we really needed to use it so we decided to make spring rolls. There are any number of things with which to fill spring rolls but ours usually have cabbage as the main ingredient. If you have an Asian market near you that's where you'll find spring roll wrappers (as opposed to the more common egg roll wrappers which of course are not vegan). You'll usually find them in the frozen section.

One of our recipes, along with step by step instructions for rolling, is here. Most often we fry our spring rolls in a thin layer of oil in a wide flat skillet. If you want to use less oil though you can bake them like we did tonight and they'll still come out quite good. Just brush a thin layer of canola oil on a sheet pan, place the spring rolls on the pan, then brush the tops liberally with more canola oil. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, flip them over, then bake for another 15 minutes or until they're a little brown and crispy. And our first spring roll recipe, along with our go-to apricot dipping sauce recipe is here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Product Review: Cool Cups

Remember Jell-o? If you weren't vegan as a kid you probably ate plenty of it. I can't say I really miss this stuff, what with the artificial flavors and all, but I did jump at the chance to sample Cool Cups recently. In two words: vegan Jell-o. Oh, but so much better! No nasty gelatin for one thing. And no artificial colors or flavors for another. We had great fun snacking on all three flavors (orange, peach mango & black cherry). Our toddler liked them too but they do contain a good bit of sugar so mostly we kept them for ourselves. If there's one drawback it's the packaging. There's only one place I know of around here that will recycle the #5 plastic cups. Hopefully they'll figure out how to package them in something that's more easily recyclable. They're also supposed to be coming out with a powdered mix you can make at home, which will certainly also help reduce the packaging. I wonder if it'll work the same as Jell-o with alcohol. Cool Cups shots anyone?