We are two individuals, sister-in-laws, and friends who are striving to thrive and be our personal best as well as making our surroundings a better place to live! Connected by faith, family, friendship, photos, and writing, we just want to share our journey with you!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Entertaining Vegan-Style!

Oh how I've missed my daily blogging! Dan's aunt and uncle were visiting from Winnipeg last week (they sadly left yesterday), and I worked quite a bit. Anyways, we decided to throw a family bbq at our place in celebration of having family to visit with!!!! Most of our family live in Winnipeg so we don't get to have big-family dinners nearly as often as we would like! I have a tendency to worry about things TOO much!!!! Little silly things like we don' t have the space for a lot of people to have a sit-down dinner, I wish that we owned a house...but really, we are SOOOOOOO very blessed and at the end of the day, if you have a 'home' where people you love can gather, nothing else matters! I don't know why but I guess because Dan and I will be 27 this year and perhaps because we have a son, we feel the pressure to provide and 'own' a home...but we know that this day will come and right now we are just focusing on the here and now! We have our health, we have our love and we have the support and encouragement of our friends and family...so really, we're feeling pretty 'rich'!!!

I am currently eating some DELICIOUS vegan potato salad (made with a vinaigrette (no mayo, or 'heavy' stuff), which is the PERFECT sunny-almost-summer-comfort food...I bought this freshly made from the Planet Organic deli but I am going to try to make my own rendition...so recipe to come!!! While I nibble away, I am going to tell you all about the FUN evening we had with family!

I was a little nervous because the only vegan eating the dinner I made was ME!!! I am so excited to share with friends and family that you can really eat such a HUGE variety of foods when you are a vegan and dazzle their taste-buds but when it's family that have grown up eating 'meat and potatoes' I can't help but worry that they will go home 'disappointed' or feel like they've 'missed out' on something!!!! Well I can ensure you that this dinner was SUCH a success that our Aunty Marlene couldn't stop RAVING about how delicious all the food was and everyone left feeling COMPLETELY satisfied, full and wanting recipes!!!!

Including Dan, Noah and I, we had ten for dinner. When everyone arrived, I had a bowl of fresh tortilla chips (made in B.C.), salsa and my own homemade guacamole!!!
Placing the ingredients for my guacamole into the food processor...

Voila!!! And with just one twist of a dial!!!! I LOVE my food processor!
I have previously posted the recipe for this guacamole for those that are interested! If you don't have a food processor, you can just mash it all together and cut the red onion and tomato into small pieces!
I also put out cucumber slices, with lentil hummus and a bowl with cubes of watermelon and strawberries. I made a pitcher of iced lemon-berry green tea. The guests brought wine and beer (I don't drink), and everyone just gathered around the kitchen and nibbled and/or explored our backyard (which has beautiful ocean views which always excites the prairie-people)!!!! It had been a TERRIBLE day but an hour before our gathering, the clouds parted and the sun came out shining in full force!!! It was LOVELY!
When we can, Dan and I slowly replace our hand-me-down stuff for things that we have picked ourselves! This glass pitcher is one of my favorite purchases because it makes your drinks (even water with lemon slices), look soooo refreshing and pretty! The bonus?!! You are not using plastic!!! I was so lucky because our land-lords gave us the exact same pitcher for our wedding present so now we have two!!! YAY! I put slices of strawberries and lemon into the lemon-berry green tea just to dress it up a little!

Dan and I wanted to mingle with our family and not put a whole lot of time into cooking the food we served, so while we mingled, I had placed a pan of veggies into the oven to roast for 45 minutes! I had done all the prep-work so there was really nothing BIG that had to be done while our guests were here! It allowed Dan and I to visit and made our dinner look easy and effortless!!! Earlier in the day I baked the Lemon-Poppy Seed Poundcake from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet. I had not made it before but it turned out to be SUCH a success! Alicia is so great and gave two suggestions for a glaze for the cake and I chose the lemon-maple glaze this time. You are supposed to make the glaze right before serving so that's the only thing that I had to do before serving it! I will list the recipe in a second but I just realized that I need to first let you know what else we served for dinner!
Dan handled the bbq and he cooked corn-on-the-cob and grilled teriyaki portabella mushroom 'steaks'! After the portabella mushrooms have been cleaned and had the stem removed, you just brush them gently with some teriyaki sauce, (I use Organic Ville Sesame Teriyaki Sauce because they don't add sugar - instead use agave nectar and they have 'cleaner' ingredients). Everyone raved about how delicious these mushrooms tasted!
I steamed green beans right before the roasted veggies were ready. Our aunt Marlene brought two vegan salads so I didn't need to make anything else! When the corn was cooked, I shucked the corn and brushed the corn with a mixture I had made (olive oil, oregano, lime and chili flakes)...it was DELICIOUS! When the food was all ready we all got our dishes and spread out wherever a seat could be found...and it was so FUN!
My mom brought over a piece of sole since everyone at our house ate fish/meat except for Dan, Noah and I...but I can tell you that the fish was the ONLY food leftover!!! Everyone savored and devoured the veggie dishes that Dan and I had made! YAY! I felt so happy to have shared good food with our family! After we finished eating, we decided to take our family to this beautiful look-out by our house where you can see the ocean and the scenery is so beautiful! We stopped at the park by our house and everyone took turns on the swings!!! So fun!
When we came home, I made the Lemon Maple Glaze for the cake and we all enjoyed some cake and sliced fruit! It was delicious and a wonderful way to spend an evening!
After making this poundcake, I will most definitely make it again!

Alicia Silverstone's Lemon-Poppy Seed Poundcake Recipe:

Serves 8-10 (I personally served smaller portions so it really served up to 16).

1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour (I used spelt flour and it worked beautifully)
1/3 cup of maple sugar
2 tsp. of egg replacer (Alicia recommends Ener-G so I tried it and it obviously worked well because the cake was perfect)!
2 tsp. of baking powder
1 tsp. of baking soda
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup of safflower oil (I used canola oil)
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
1 tsp. of lemon extract
2 tbsp. of poppy seeds

Lemon Maple Glaze
1/2 cup of Maple Syrup
1/2 cup of Lemon Juice
2 tsp. kuzu, diluted in a little bit of cold water

Preheat the oven to 350'F. Oil the pans (I used one 'square cake' glass dish but Alicia says that you can also use 3 mini loaf pans, a muffin tin or 4 mini bundt pans).

Combine the flours, sugar, egg replacer, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk with the lemon juice and set aside for a few minutes; it will look curdled. Whisk in the oil, syrup, and lemon extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until combined. Fold in the poppy seeds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake for 15-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake completely before making the glaze.

To make the Lemon Maple Glaze, combine the syrup and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the diluted kuzu, and continue stirring until the glaze comes to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute. Drizzle over the cake, and serve.


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