Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Category Archives: vegan food

WVBS – Falls Church, 2012

Last weekend I helped out at the local vegan bake sale that Gary puts on every year. It was my fourth year helping out as the event photographer, which is of course my favorite way to help out!

I am much more comfortable taking pictures of animals than people, but this event (as well as some of my fellow volunteers at the sanctuary) help me get more comfortable with the people pictures. And the kids eating the treats are my favorite pictures at these events. It helps that most kids are unselfconscious when it comes to pictures being taken of them!

This year shortly before the event was over, a man stopped by. The event is busiest in the first half, while the neighboring farmers market is in progress, but it was very slow when he stopped by, which was perfect because he had a lot of questions.

He started by asking generic questions about how you replace eggs in baking, but it was clear very quickly that he wasn’t your typical bake sale attendee! He works for a catering company that supplies lunches to some of the area schools, and of the however-many kids he provides lunches for, he has 21 vegan kids to feed. So he was there looking for ideas and information, which I thought was really cool. Those 21 vegan kids are going to be a lot happier with their lunches in the future, I have no doubt!


May 5: Falls Church, VA Vegan Bake Sale (with Homeward Trails!)


Though technically the official week of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale was last week, the bakesale I help out with every year will be this Saturday. And of course these bake sales can be held year round, so if you were thinking of holding one but hadn’t planned it yet, never fear! You can have it any time – one of the strengths of this event, after all, is how open-ended it is. There’s only two requirements, really:

  • Vegan Bake Sale
  • Donate proceeds (to charity of your choice)

That’s it!

I was very happy that first year, that when Gary asked if I could help out, he asked me to take pictures. That’s definitely my kind of help! It’s become a tradition – I show up, take pictures, and get paid in delicious baked goods.

Last year I interviewed Gary in the lead-up to the event – there are some great resources in the post, and also the story of where the idea came from and how it got such a big start so early on.

This Saturday’s event is being held in conjunction with Homeward Trails, which makes it extra special for me. I adopted Jake from Homeward Trails, who pulled him from a high-kill shelter. Without HT, I wouldn’t have Jake, and while without Jake I’d have more glassware, I’d also have a big hole in my life.

If you are in the Northern Virginia area this Saturday, stop by if you can. The baked goods are always absolutely delicious, but it’s also for two good causes.

WHEN: Saturday May 5, 9:30am – 1:30pm
WHERE:The front porch (covered) of the Falls Church Community Center
223 Little Falls Street in the city of Falls Church
[map]   [more info on Falls Church Community Center]

This is easily bike accessible from the W&OD trail – take the Little Falls Street “exit” off the trail. Left onto Little Falls Street if you’re coming from the direction of DC, otherwise go right. The Community Center will be on your right, and there is ample bike parking.

House Favorite: Lemonade

I’m probably late to the lemonade party, but just in case there are others out there who have not discovered how easy and delicious it can be to make your own lemonade, this is for you. I’m submitting this to the monthly “House Favorites: Vegan” blog event over at Chez Cayenne.

I came across a recipe in The Indian Vegan Kitchen, which was quite good. In the five hundred times I’ve made it in the past couple of months I’ve simplified it a bit, simply because I’m pretty lazy. The great thing is that it’s easy to customize to your own tastes, or mood. For instance, I add lime juice sometimes. I think fresh ginger would also be a great addition (based on a lemonade I’m addicted to at a local vegetarian restaurant), and I add a bit more salt if it’s extra hot out and I’m in need of a “recovery drink”. Or if I want to take it with me on the bike. Yup, this makes a great energy drink for long workouts!

Also, I cheat by using the bottles of lemon juice, rather than trying to have lemons on hand at all times. I seem to make this every couple days, if not more often, now that summer is here!

Simple Lemonade

2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon (warning: I like my lemonade pretty tangy, so start with less if you’re not sure you’ll like a strong lemonade…of course it can be diluted later.)
1/8 tsp salt
6 or more ice cubes

Add everything but the ice cubes into a container of your choice, something with a lid, so you can shake it all up together. I use pasta sauce jars, because I don’t actually have any other kind of container to use for this! After you’ve shaken it up a bit, add the ice cubes – as many as you can fit into the rest of the jar/jug. Shake it up some more, and store in the fridge.

Kale Chips: A House Favorite!

Early this month, a friend mentioned a blog meme that she wanted to start. House Favorites: Vegan.

As food bloggers, sometimes we get so caught up in trying new things that we forget about the dishes that we make all the time. These are the recipes we make repeatedly for house guests and potlucks. The ones our families won’t let us skip on the holidays. Our beloved signature dishes. Our house favorites.

What are your house favorites? This will be a monthly blog event where you can show them off. It will run from the first day of the month to the last.

Now, no one would mistake me for a food blogger, though of course I do eat food, and sometimes I even take pictures of it. The truth is that I’m not very good about either talking about or taking pictures of food. But I’m more than willing to help a friend with a cool meme, even if it means writing a food post! (And even if I put it off until the last possible moment!)

I have a hard time resisting new cookbooks, which means I’m often making new recipes to justify my (ever growing) cookbook collection rather than making certain recipes multiple times. Despite that, I do have a few recipes that I go back to again and again.

Unfortunately most of them are desserts. A couple of them are alcoholic drinks! Really, what would the children think?

Luckily I remembered Kale Chips!

I’d heard many people raving about kale chips, so I finally made a batch in January to see what the fuss was about. And wow! To call them addictive is an understatement. Shortly after that, I was visiting Mary, and kale came up in conversation. Last year when I visited, we had some kale, a green that she hadn’t ever really eaten, and which she wasn’t too sure of. She liked what we made with it, and even added it to salads, but once that bunch was gone she never bought another.

So we tried the kale chips this year. We used the recipe from 500 Vegan Recipes for the first batch, and then refined it to our tastes a bit afterward. The kale chips were a hit, and Mary has made these many times since my visit.

I’ve made this recipe often enough that I am not even sure how many times I’ve made them – they are approaching chocolate chip cookie status! It has even been suggested that I bring them every week to the sanctuary for an after chore snack…

So, after that absurdly long introduction, here is the recipe:

1 bunch kale – rinsed, torn into bite size pieces, dried with a salad spinner
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil (or any other oil)
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix nutritional yeast, oil, vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl or measuring cup. Put kale in a bowl, pour the mixture over kale, and mix well (with hands is easiest). Spread kale on a cookie sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 10 minutes, check crispiness, and bake for 5-10 minutes more as needed.

Jake is optional.




At the bookstore this weekend I browsed the vegan cookbooks, as I always do. There was only one I hadn’t seen before, and it didn’t inspire me to purchase it (as if I don’t have enough cookbooks to last a hundred years, anyway!), but there was one recipe that I was drawn to: the Snickeroo.

It is easy, few ingredients, but one of the ingredients was dark corn syrup. That made me pause. I don’t use corn syrup, normally. I suppose I could buy some, but then what? And do I really want to eat corn syrup?

I tweeted the question, what would make a good sub for dark corn syrup? I had several suggestions. Brown rice syrup, maple syrup, molasses, but the suggestion I decided to go with (via @gonepie) was to replace the regular sugar with brown sugar, and the corn syrup with rice syrup. Easy enough! Thanks to @veggiebex, @maryam, @kaisershahid, and @vk922 for the other various suggestions! I think they could all work, now that I’ve made them once. More on that later.

I seem to keep adding a “d” into the name, so this slightly modified version of the Food Allergy Mama’s Snickeroo has become the Snickerdoo. But don’t be fooled – I didn’t come up with the recipe, she did!

1 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup brown sugar sugar
1 (15-ounce) container creamy soy nut butter, or nut butter of your choice
6 cups puffed rice cereal
2 cups vegan chocolate chips, maybe more if you like a thicker chocolate topping

Lightly grease a 13×9×2-inch pan.

Add the rice syrup and brown sugar to a sauce pan and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, add the nut butter, mix well. Combine the puffed rice with the pb/sugar mixture in a large bowl. Transfer to the pan and pack it down a bit.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or on the stove top (remember to be careful: chocolate is easy to burn!), and then spread over the top of the rice/pb/sugar mixture. Let sit at room temperature until cool.

They’re easy and delicious! And, to my amazement, they aren’t all that sweet. They aren’t not sweet either, but there is definitely more room for sweetening, and for that reason I think that the various other suggestions could also be used, depending on how sweet your preference is. It could also depend on the nut butter you use – I used peanut butter, the natural (unsugared) kind.

Go forth and enjoy!

Kale and Cabbage, recipes please!

You know one of the hardest things is admitting that we need help. But I do, I need help.

I promised a friend that I would look up the recipes for my favorite Kale dishes. She has a bunch of it growing in her garden, and cabbage too, and is looking for recipes for them.

I’m struggling to find time to do the most basic things recently, and so I just haven’t had a chance to find those recipes for her. I feel really bad about this, and yet time is speeding by and feeling bad about the situation gets me no closer to getting her the recipes.

So, my vegan greens-loving friends, what recipes can you suggest? The kale and cabbage do not have to be in the same recipe, of course! 😉

My final VeganMofo post for 2009


This final post means I’ve actually completed the minimum posts according to the rules. It’s been a stretch for me, but was perhaps a little easier than last year. Talking this much about food is not an easy task, and it’s one that definitely makes me realize (again!) that food bloggers take on a challenging task.

A fun one too, but it is no small amount of work!

Oddly one of the biggest challenges for me ended up being the earlier and earlier nights. Natural light just works so much better for photos, but this is a time of year when the light seems to leak away at an alarming rate.

I met some very nice new-to-me bloggers:

I also feel quite honored to have been included in the the official VeganMofo Headquarters roundup on two occasions!

My go-to resource in my not-very-successful attempt to keep up with the other bloggers was the VeganDojo, which I found to be an amazing resource!

There were many other new-to-me people who commented as well as many of my long-time blogging or in-person friends, and I’m always happy to have people commenting! Thanks also to the link-love from Animal Rights at, Easy Vegan and Vegan Soapbox and Liberation BC on my Blog Action Day post.

I’ve probably forgotten others who deserve to be mentioned, and I certainly have done a spectacularly awful job at visiting most of the bloggers who took the time to leave comments for me, let alone the others in the greater VeganMoFo world! I vow to correct that in the coming month as best I can, which I might just treat as my VeganMoFo catch up.

One of the disappointments (other than the fading light) was that it took so much time for me to participate that I didn’t get to do much spectating. And I think that means I missed out on quite a bit! I might just take a different tact next year, and focus entirely on all the other participants! We’ll see, next year is 11 months away. 🙂

Thanks to everyone, and hopefully I didn’t bore everyone too much with my food blogging. More piglets to come, I promise.

In the meantime, I feel enriched to have met so many new-to-me bloggers, and seeing their creations and blogging fills me with awe and gratitude. There are some amazingly talented people out there, and hopefully it helps show the world just how awesome vegan food is.

Carob Molasses Cake


A year ago, miranda chelala left me an interesting sounding recipe in the comments of my “If you had carob molasses” post.

Hi all you carob molasses lovers. Yes I live in Beirut so carob molasses is plentiful and used daily as a dip at breakfast or in the afternoon as a snack. You mix tahine (sesame seed paste) with the molasses in a small bowl and use pitta bread to dip and eat. Yummy. You can also make a cake with carob molasses. Here is the recipe

2cups cake flour
2 cups semolina
1 cup corn oil
11/2 cups carob molasses
21/2 teaspoons baking powder

Heat oven to 300 F or 180 C . Place dry ingredients in a bowl mix togther. Add oil and molasses. Mix well. Use our hands its perfect. Prepare a round cake tin by lining with greaseproof paper and smoothing some tahina over the paper . Put the mixture into the tin smooth the top with wet hands and bake for approx. 20 mins on 300F or 180 C or until it is cooked. Cut into small squares once cooled. Absolutely wonderful and so easy to make. No sugar, no eggs, no butter. It’s good for you . Enjoy

I made it tonight, and I’m hooked. I used white spelt flour, because I didn’t remember to get All Purpose flour last time I was at the grocery store, but I don’t think it had any impact. Or maybe it did. See, the 20 minutes was a lot more like 1 hour 20 minutes for me. Maybe it was done before then – it is a very dense fudgy cake, so it’s possible that I was over cooking it. Or maybe it was actually too low of heat, but … I think that the long cook time at a relatively low (for a cake) heat worked out well. Maybe someone with more cooking / baking knowledge can weigh in here!

It is rich and dense and just as moist as you’d expect with a cup (a cup!) of oil in it, and yet it has a nice crispy top. The flavor is earthy and a little (but not overwhelmingly) carob-y. It’s nothing like the fluffy frosted cakes that we tend to have in this country. It’s not a cake that you have huge servings of. It is almost-not-sweet, and yet it is, actually, sweet. Sweet in a way that is not from sugar.

It’s hard for me to describe adequately. It’s something of an addictive surprise, much the way the Dibis Bi Tahina was. So maybe it’s the carob molasses I love most of all.

I love that it is such a simple cake, and that it is fairly fail proof. (I think I proved that!) I love that it’s not at all the typical cake, though I know it would not appeal to everyone. For instance, someone recently told me in detail how much they hated molasses. This is not a cake for that person!

However, for those with a fondness for molasses and a liking of carob, give this cake a try.

And then tell me what dishes you’d serve at a dinner that would be followed by this cake!

The Voluptuous Vegan


I asked for a vegan cookbook for xmas in my first year as a vegan. My mom didn’t trust herself to pick one, so when I was visiting them we went to the bookstore to take a look. I eventually narrowed it down to The Voluptuous Vegan.

My first few experiences with it were highly disappointing. I didn’t treat it as a menu-cookbook, I treated it the same as other cookbooks, as a collection of individual stand-alone recipes. It always seemed that everything was a lot of work for not very interesting results. Yet others would rave about it.

I finally started to understand that the recipes were not meant to be stand-alone dishes. One night I made an entire menu, and I was stunned. Individually none of the dishes thrilled me, but together on the plate it was an amazing blend of flavors, even for my lazy taste buds! Finally I could relate to what people were talking about. But I also knew that it was not a cookbook I would be using on a regular basis, because it was simply not meant to be an every day cookbook. It was meant for entertaining. This is actually made pretty clear in the cookbook, I just didn’t have a clue that recipes could exist such that they would only shine in conjunction with other dishes. (I’m typically a one-pot meal kind of cook!)

When I lived in Denver I had a friend who was interested in what vegans eat, and she was interested in it in a direct way. “Let’s make dinner together,” she told me one day, “so we can try your chili.” That began a semi-regular get together, where we’d try new vegan recipes. We used The Voluptuous Vegan several times, and it was a winner each time. She and her husband were more “foodie” than I am, which made it interesting, as they would put into words aspects of the meals that really just barely shimmered in my awareness.

I’d recommend this cookbook with enthusiasm and conditions. The majority of my experience with this cookbook was cooking with two omnis, one of whom was only cautiously open to new things. Thus, I feel confident in saying that these are recipes that appeal to all but the pickiest of eaters! There are ingredients in the book that are easy to find in most metro areas, but maybe not at the local supermarket in SmallTown, USA. This is a cookbook that pretty much requires you to make the whole menu, though there are a few recipes that work standalone, and she does a great job of pointing out which those are. She includes the order things should be prepared, including what can be done ahead of time. This was really handy when cooking with my friends, since we were chatting and drinking wine while cooking, and it was nice that someone else was organized for us! The recipes are not fast, in my experience, but they are worth it in the end. Especially if “the end” is a social evening with friends.

White Peppercorns


The Harvest Moon Soup I made recently called for white peppercorns. Through luck and a grocery list, I remembered to pick some up while at the grocery store. (Side note: I adore grocery stores that have a bulk section for spices.) Despite a rather eye-opening experience in my past when I learned that not all pepper is created equal, I was still skeptical of whether there was any real need for white peppercorns as opposed to the more common black. It was a light colored soup, and I figured that was the motivation. But it’s sort of silly to me, as far as motivations go. Personally I don’t care if my creamy yellow soup has black flecks.

The real question, to me, is whether the different types of peppercorn make a difference in the taste. The eye-opening peppercorn blend that I found so delicious in my past was a blend that had white, black, green and red, if I remember correctly.

I’m still not really convinced that the white peppercorns make a difference. I decided to do some online research.

It was interesting reading, especially about the history. And I had a little internal chuckle when I read that though Americans are the biggest consumers of pepper in the world, there’s virtually no market for high quality pepper here. It is hard to be surprised.

Spicelines said this:

Unlike black peppercorns which are harvested when the berries are still green, berries for white peppercorns are left on vine to ripen until they turn yellow or red. After the harvest, they are packed into jute bags or wooden barrels, then washed or soaked in cool water to loosen the outer shell. They are rubbed clean and washed again to reveal the pale inner core of the peppercorn, then dried in the sun or in a kiln.

White peppercorns tend to have a sharp. hot flavor and a relatively mild aroma since the outer pericarp where the fragrant compounds are located has been removed. White peppercorns that have not been properly dried and are still damp when packed develop an odor known as “dirty socks.” In the trade this refers to “a moldy, musty flavor” or a “soured aroma.”

And what did people, in general, have to say about the taste difference? Interestingly, people can’t seem to agree whether the white peppercorns are spicier or milder. It is said that there are less “citrusy” notes to the white peppercorn flavor. Citrus? I don’t remember ever tasting citrus with my black peppercorns!

Alas, this might be a question that is simply beyond my taste buds, which never function quite up to spec.