Friday, January 11, 2019

Vegan 'Chicken' and Dressing

I went through the holidays really wanting to veganize a traditional chicken and dressing, but pretty sure someone else in the family would bring a vegan dressing to one of our many gatherings and did not want to step on their toes. As it turned out, nobody brought any vegan dressing or vegan stuffing so I went through the entire holiday season not having my dressing itch scratched in the least. I was also seriously off my cooking game recently and some of the dishes I made flopped or I ruined by falling asleep and letting them burn (I really shouldn't cook so close to bedtime!). The one thing that I contributed that people actually ate was a pan of sweet cornbread (see my chili recipe for that one), though my daughter said it was basically just cake. She doesn't care for my cooking in general, though, I think. Someday I will tell you how she adulterated my guacamole on Christmas. (haha)

So today, going into my last free weekend as the crochet orders have began rolling in again, I decided to tackle the whole vegan 'chicken' and dressing thing. Now or never, it seemed.

This took all day.

Seriously. I stood at the stove and stirred gravy until my back hurt. I am not used to making such a huge amount of sauce at a time and it takes a while to heat through!  In the future, I think I'd do some of the prep for this recipe the day before.

So... traditional chicken and dressing. It had been a while so I looked up a recipe to remind myself the ratios and the seasonings. This one is almost identical to how I remember it being made, though I am sure we never added eggs.  I based my amounts on this recipe, though I switched some of the combos. I made a gravy to take the place of  broth and cream soup and in my mind dressing has both cornbread AND biscuits in it. Next time I make this (now that I know it works), I will get more pictures, but for now I really just want to write this down before I forget what I put it there!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Christmas Presents 2018

I don't have a great deal of time to make presents anymore, but this year I was determined to make that time. Clemmie had been asking me since April to make her a doll from her favorite movie and every time Sully watched Peter Rabbit, I think I really have to make that Benjamin Bunny Hat.

Clementine's favorite movie is Kiki's Delivery Service. She has a Studio Ghibli- loving mother, so it's not super surprising a 5-year-old American girl loves a Japanese cartoon from the late 1980s. She has a big Kiki picture on the wall of her bedroom that she has shown to me countless times and asked me all year 'When you finish this caterpillar/dog, will you start on my Kiki doll?' I finally began telling her it would have to be a Christmas present, and it was a promise I definitely had to keep. So I stopped taking orders this year early enough to give me time to make gifts... which began with a hat for Sully because Kiki really needed a lot more thinking time!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

5 Ingredient Vegan Crockpot Chili

5* Ingredient Vegan Crockpot Chili
*more or less

Here is my very basic vegan crockpot chili that uses canned/packaged ingredients and mixes up very fast and cooks all by itself. It is a nice, thick chili, unlike a lot of vegan chili recipes I have encountered that are sadly soups and not chili. Is it a Southern thing that we like thick, hearty chili? I don't know. But if you can see through it, it's soup, people. You can't see through all soups, but if you can see through chili, it's a soup. Just... you know... setting that straight from the beginning.

Now. There are fancier chilis out there- vegan, too- with fresher ingredients and no preservatives, so  are way better for you. I don't always have the time to cook a bunch of things before cooking the thing those things all go into. You probably don't, either. I also have no problem eating something borderline junkie once in a while. I hope you, do, too. If you don't,  please don't tell me about it. Sanctimonious vegans are unbearable. Vegans sanctimonious to other vegans is unforgivable. We are all trying to save the world here, after all.

Besides being quick, there is the added bonus that this can be made quite kid-friendly by keeping the spice down and the tomatoes less obvious. Then the grownups can add in some spice to their own bowl in the form of Tabasco or jalapenos or something - or just dress it up a little for the heck of it. I like some spicy mustard (which I have been questioned for) or some vegan cheese. My daughter likes vegan sour cream on top (which she has also been questioned for). Do you like anything on your chili? Someone once told me they like peanut butter in their chili. I don't remember who that was. That was probably the day I stopped being friends with them. Too weird even for me.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar

The Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar is the larva form of… wait for it… the Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly! He likes to eat Spicebush (surprise!). When he’s little, he’s all brown and white splotchy and looks like bird droppings. After he molts a couple of times he looks like this. It is a form of protection called Mimicry. He will hide his body under leaves with only his front end and False Eyes showing. If a predator gets too close he will stick out his Osmeterium that looks like a snake’s tongue and can emit a very foul smell.

Swallowtail Caterpillars will spend the winter in their chrysalis in leaf litter, ready to emerge as a butterfly in the spring. Help to preserve their numbers and save their lives by opting to compost your fall leaves rather than burning them. Swallowtail butterflies are large and beautiful and easily recognizable, though, in my opinion, not nearly as interesting as their caterpillar form. 

Difficulty Rating: 

Crochet Terms: American
Language: English
Finished Size: 30 inches long, 23 inches around at widest point
In-line color changes: none
Skill Level: novice
Shaping: yes
Sewing: extensive
No. of Pages: 12
No. of Images: 24
Also includes: Alternative color suggestions, hidden osmeterium pocket

Friday, June 22, 2018

Golden Retriever Blankie Buddy

The 34nd Dog Breed Blankie Buddy is the beautiful and intelligent Gold Retriever. Originally bred as a companion gun dog, this dog quickly became the number one family and best friend dog of all time! 

Difficulty Rating:

Crochet Terms: American
Language: English
Finished Size: 26 inches tall
In-line color changes: none
Skill Level: easy
Shaping: minimal
Sewing: average
No. of Pages: 9
No. of Images: 20
Also includes: links to less-basic stitches used.