New toys

Rainbow

Val and I just got new phones (iPhones to be specific) and have been as my friend Xoch says a bit of iPhoniacs lately (Xoch swears she coined that term). We downloaded a fun app called ShakeIt Photo which emulates a polaroid camera. If anything it is a saving grace to the poor camera quality of phones. Here’s a few pics from my phone:

Sky

Pinata

Melody

 

by Ryan | 07.23.09 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Vegan Doughnuts

Here is the recipe I used for some delicious vegan doughnuts this week. It took some figuring out testing (oh! those poor lost doughnut souls) and finally I managed to get it right. Or at least right enough for now until I get curious and tweak it some more. So here you go for vegan yeast raised doughnuts.
Ingredients:
2 packages highly active yeast
1/2 cup + 1 tbps sugar
1 cup warm water (around 105 degrees)
4 1/2 and 2 tbps cups flour (you’ll need more for making the doughnuts themselves so have some on hand for dusting, etc.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla soy milk
3/4 bannana mashed (whip it until it has an egg like consistency, best if pushed trough strainer as well)
1/4 cup margarine, melted (measure cup in a dry measure first then melt)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
canola oil for frying
In a glass bowl, or a 2 cup measuring cup worked well for me mix 1 tbsp sugar + warm water add the yeast to the water and let it do its thing for 10 minutes. This should give you time to prep the rest of the ingredients but if you are slow hold off on this step until you get everything else prepped.
In a bowl sift flour and combine with salt. Set aside. In a separate mixing bowl (we use a stand mixer) combine the sugar, banana, margarin, soy milk. Mix on medium speed until ingredients are well mixed. You’ll want to make sure that the temperature of the butter does not heat things up past 110 degrees. I use soy milk from the fridge to prevent that.
Add the yeast mixture to the wet ingredients mix on low until thoroughly mixed. Don’t mix too much as the yeast doesn’t like to be beat up, yeast is super finicky and caused me to waste lots of flour and other delicious ingredients. Add in the dry ingredients slowly mixing on low speeds, when you get to about 1/2 to 3/4 of the flour mixture you’ll need to probably switch to a dough hook. Add in remaining flour, this should create a super sticky dough so have lots of flour on hand so that you can handle it.
Put dough in a well oiled bowl. I rub canola oil on the bowl and dust with flour for good measure. Cover the bowl and let the dough mixture rise for about 1 hour. It should be close to if not double the size when done rising at that time.
On a flour covered counter knead the dough/roll it out to about 1/2″ thick.  Take 6″ x 1″ strips (approximately) and roll them into doughnut balls. You can leave them like that, which is great for jelly filled doughnuts, or I poke a hole through the middle and shape into normal doughnuts. Place doughnuts on a baking sheet (again well oiled and dusted with flour), cover, and let rise for 20-30 minutes (or until double the size and light and fluffy). This should make around 20 or more regular size doughnuts. I also will roll up a few small 3/4″ balls for doughnut holes (which are great for testing the oil).
Heat oil over medium high heat. I use a shallow pan that I have set aside for frying things. You just need about 1 1/2″ deep oil at most. When the oil is hot fry the doughnuts up (you’ll know its ready beacuse the dough will sizzle and sit on top of the oil). It takes on a few minutes only in the oil to fry. Once done set them aside to cool, and glaze/frost/fill to your liking when cooled off.
For sugar glaze.
Heat up 3tbsp of soy milk add in about 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar. Mix well, and then dunk those bad boys in there.
For chocolate glaze (more ganoche than glaze).

Bring 1 1/4 cup of soy milk to a slight boil. Remove from heat. Add in about 6-8 oz of vegan chocolate chips and mix until fully melted. Add in 3 tbsp of powdered sugar mix until combined, and dunk the doughnuts in.

Doughnut2

Here is the recipe I used for some delicious vegan doughnuts this week. It took some figuring out and a couple failed tests (oh! those poor lost doughnut souls) but finally I managed to get it right. Well, at least its right enough for now, until I get curious and tweak it some more. These aren’t healthy low-fat doughnuts, they are delicious fried sugar coated packets of joy, so for those of you wanting an alternative to cake doughnuts here is my recipe for vegan yeast raised doughnuts.

Ingredients:
2 packages highly active yeast
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1 cup warm water (around 105 degrees no hotter than 110)
4 1/2 and 2 tbsp cups flour (you’ll need more for making the doughnuts themselves so have some on hand for dusting, etc.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla soy milk
3/4 banana mashed (whip it until it has an egg-like consistency)
1/4 cup margarine, melted (measure in a dry measure first then melt)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
canola oil for frying (or oil that you normally use for frying)

In a glass bowl, a measuring cup worked well for me, mix 1 tbsp sugar and the warm water. Add the yeast to the water and let it do its thing for 10 minutes. This should give you time to prep the rest of the ingredients, if you are slow in baking prep hold off on this step until you get everything else ready.

Sift flour into a bowl and combine with salt, set it aside. In a separate mixing bowl (we use a stand mixer but it isn’t necessary) combine the sugar, banana, margarin, and soy milk. Mix on medium speed until ingredients are well combined. You’ll want to make sure that the temperature of the butter does not heat things up past 110 degrees. In order to prevent that I use cold soy milk from the fridge.

Add the yeast mixture to the wet ingredients mix on low until thoroughly mixed. Don’t mix too much as the yeast doesn’t like to be beat up (but then again who does). As I discovered, yeast is super finicky and caused me to waste lots of flour and other delicious ingredients in my testing. Add in the dry ingredients slowly mixing on low speeds, when you get to about 1/2 to 3/4 of the flour mixture you’ll need to probably switch to a dough hook (if using a stand mixer), if not keep working the dough with a wooden spatula or whatever you are comfortable with. Add in remaining flour, this should create a super sticky dough so have lots of flour on hand so that you can handle it. You can actually add in more flour (up to a 1/2 cup or so) for a firmer dough which makes things easier to handle but I found the stickier the airier it was.

Put dough in a well oiled bowl. I rub canola oil on the bowl and dust with flour for good measure. Cover the bowl, set in a warm spot (like on top of the oven), and let the dough mixture rise for about 1 hour. It should be close to, if not, double the size when done rising at that time.

On a flour covered surface knead the dough/roll it out to about 1/2″ thick.  Take 5″  to 6″ x 1″ strips (approximately) and roll them into balls. You can leave them like that, which is great for jelly filled doughnuts, or I poke a hole through the middle and shape into normal doughnuts. Place doughnuts on a baking sheet (again well oiled and dusted with flour), cover, and let rise for 20-30 minutes (or until double the size and light and fluffy). This should make around 20 or more regular size doughnuts. I also will roll up a few small 3/4″ balls for doughnut holes (which are great for testing the oil).

Heat oil over medium high heat. I use a shallow pan that I have set aside for frying things. You just need about 1 1/2″ deep oil at most. When the oil is hot fry the doughnuts up (you’ll know its ready because the dough will sizzle and sit on top of the oil). It takes only a few minutes in the oil to fry. Once done set them aside to cool; when cooled off glaze/frost/fill to your liking .

For sugar glaze.

Heat up 3tbsp or so of soy milk add in about 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar. Mix well, and then dunk those bad boys in there.

For chocolate glaze (more ganache than glaze).

Bring 1 cup of soy milk to a slight boil. Remove from heat. Add in about 8 oz of vegan chocolate chips and mix until fully melted. Add in 3 tbsp of powdered sugar mix until combined, and dunk the doughnuts in.

Doughnut4

by Ryan | 07.19.09 | Recipes | 3 Comments »

Vegan Brunch

VeganBrunch1

Our good friends, Mark & Amy, invited us over to join them & others for a vegan brunch feast that could easily rival the best Thanksgiving spreads in variety, selection, & most definitely in flavor; I don’t know about others, but I know that I had been looking forward to this for days!

Ryan, after testing (& both failing & succeeding on different occasions) his own recipe several times earlier in the week, was able to triumph with this vegan doughnut recipe & they came out light, fluffy, & absolutely delicious! His dedication & commitment to getting these doughnuts right should not go unmentioned though, as he got up at 5am in order to have these delicious doughnuts ready for an 11am brunch (they take quite a while to rise & then rise again, etc. before you can fry them up).

In addition to his homemade vegan doughnuts, he made vegan, gluten free “Fauxstess Cupcakes”, spicy skillet home fries, & vegan savory swirls (otherwise known as “Ryan’s Rolls” by our good friend Ken). I think one word can sum this all up – YUM!

VeganBrunch2

Click here for more photos… (more…)

by Valerie | 07.19.09 | For Funsies | 4 Comments »

Stef’s Spicy Bloody Mary

Spicy Bloody Mary

Our good friend Stephanie is a very good cook & just so happens to make the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted. She was nice enough to share her recipe with me & I have enjoyed making this myself. You’ll notice there are no specific amounts listed below for the pepper, celery salt, or cayenne & that’s the beautiful thing about a good spicy Bloody Mary – you can decide for yourself what’s right for you or what you can do to make this even better; but remember, you can always add more so it’s best to add a little & taste it first! Here’s her recipe (with our addition of cayenne pepper):

8 oz tomato juice or spicy tomato juice cocktail
2 oz vodka (we like Tito’s Vodka)
1 tsp horseradish
3 dashes Tabasco sauce (or hot sauce of your choice)
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Squeeze of lime juice
Celery salt
Cracked black pepper
Cayenne pepper

Mix all these ingredients together, pour into a glass, garnish with a cucumber spear, celery stick, & jalapeno stuffed green olives. It just isn’t the same without the garnish, so don’t skimp on the garnish! Enjoy!

by Valerie | 07.19.09 | Recipes | No Comments »

Summertime Fresh Grilled Veggies

veggies

A quick trip to the store yielded a good crop of delicious vegetable goodness. In light of that some veggies tacos were made (see Señor Choppington’s Guacamole for a pic). This quick and easy to do recipe is perfect for those who don’t want to spend too much time cooking, its mostly prep work. For this dish it really is the zest and the nopales that make it delicious.

Ingredients:
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 nopales pads (prickly pear cactus pads), make sure to clean them real good
2 red bell peppers
1 poblano pepper
1 purple onion
1-2 garlic cloves
the zest of 1 lime
the zest of half a lemon
1 lemon juiced (yields about a 1/4 cup)
olive oil
kosher salt and course ground black pepper

Directions:
Halve the zucchini and squash, then slice into 1/4″ pieces. Chop the nopales into 1/2″-1″ squares. Chop the poblano into 1/2″ squares. Chop the bell peppers and onion into 1″ pieces. Rough chop the garlic. Throw everything into a grill basket, lightly coat with olive oil, add the lemon juice. Lastly add in the lime and lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. I recommend about a tsp of both salt and pepper. Grill until veggies are thoroughly cooked. We use a charcoal grill so grill temps and settings are a mystery to me, but basically when the coals are nice and glowing grey it takes about 10-15mins.

by Ryan | 07.17.09 | Recipes | 2 Comments »

Señor Choppington’s Guacamole

guacamole

Señor Choppington is our Global vegetable santoku knife. He is a mean bastard who has attempted to wound me on many occasions. But we have become friends over the past year and he has allowed me to wield his chopping power to make delicious food. This guacamole is pretty simple and fast to make.

Ingredients:
1 lemon juiced (yields about 1/4 cup for those who just want to use lemon juice)
3 avacados
1 jalapeño minced
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
Anywhere between 1tsp and 1tbsp of kosher salt

The directions are pretty simple. Split the avocados in half, pit them, scoop out the green and yellow stuff into a bowl. Add the jalapeño, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Mash together to a consistency of your liking (I like mine slightly chunky). Serve with tortilla chips or with delicious Mexican food. Here Señor Choppington’s Guacamole is sitting on top of some fresh grilled veggies.

by Ryan | 07.17.09 | Recipes | 3 Comments »

Princess Puppy Pants

Melody at the 2008 HSHV Walk & Wag

We couldn’t have a blog & not introduce you to our adorable, sweet, intelligent, all around fantastic dog, Melody (a.k.a. Princess Puppy Pants). We adopted her from the Town Lake Animal Center in Austin, TX in September 2001 & have been blessed to have her in our lives ever since. I can’t say enough good things about Melody, so feel free to comment on her fantabulousity yourself here, if you wish! Ain’t she cute?!?

Melody with her "Snow Camel"

Melody's waiting for her friends to come visit

by Valerie | 07.12.09 | Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Farmers Market, Summer Bounty

Market1

I love to visit the Ann Arbor Farmers Market (& Farmers Markets in general)! Buying fresh, organic, & locally grown produce & goods makes me feel good & it’s beautiful to wander around the stalls & take in all the colors, smells, sights, & sounds. Today, we picked up 3 bunches of sunflowers, sweet cherries, raspberries, red oak lettuce, sunflower shoots, sugar snap peas, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli, cilantro, basil, & a turquoise necklace.

Market2Click here for more photos… (more…)

by Valerie | 07.11.09 | For Funsies | No Comments »

Whirly Twirly Junk Food Fun

Carnival1

We went to the carnival that set up in the Pioneer High School parking lot, just down the road from our apartment, on Friday evening & had lots of fun eating snow cones, playing skee ball, & riding the rides (ferris wheel, Mardi Gras Fun House, etc.); with all the flashing carnival lights, the fireflies out, & the beautiful summer evening, it made me feel like a kid again.

Carnival2

More images after the jump (more…)

by Valerie | 07.10.09 | For Funsies | 2 Comments »

Duck Butts

Ducks 1

It’s summer in Ann Arbor & it sure is lovely! The flowers are in bloom & there’s lots of ducks & baby ducks in the pond at our apartment complex. Something that I find myself looking forward to each day is coming in/out of our apartment complex & looking over at the pond. Something about diving ducks with their butts bobbing out of the top of the water & their feet flailing in the air just makes me smile!

Ducks 2

Ducks 3

by Valerie | 07.06.09 | Around our home | No Comments »

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